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Travel Tuesday: All You Need Is Lubb

Travel never ceases to surprise and delight us. Sometimes the most unexpected destinations hold the key to a memorable vacation that checks off all the boxes.

And if those to-do list items of yours include wine, a vibrant culinary scene, wide open spaces, and cute-as-can-be prairie dogs (not to mention cute-as-can-be college guys), then add Lubbock to your short list of road trips or quickie Southwest flights this fall. (Sure you could go this summer, but we’d recommend waiting for more temperate times.)

Chances are you’ve been to some of the many wineries in the Texas Hill Country, but in reality, many of the grapes used in your favorite vintages likely came from the land surrounding Lubbock. Two-thirds of all Texas grapes are grown here, so head to the source for some surprisingly fab wines from right in our home state. But more on that later. We went to Lubbock recently to experience the city for ourselves and have a few recommendations for making the most of a long weekend of High Plains hijinks.


One of the city’s newest hotels, the Cotton Court Hotel delivers a distinctively Texas vibe (like its Court Collection sister properties Texican Court in Irving and Lone Star Court in Austin). We love these retro-style motor courts that offer a bit of nostalgia with the benefits of new construction and luxe amenities that take things up several notches from a true old-school motor lodge. Plus, they’re pet-friendly should you wish to bring along your furry pals.

The pool makes for a festive hang during warmer months and fire pits in the colder seasons add a nice touch of coziness, warmth and romance. An on-site restaurant, The Midnight Shift, live music most evenings, stiff cocktails and genuine friendliness from the staff make this a no-brainer choice for accommodations in Lubbock. (Take home the Cotton Court Hotel’s signature room fragrance, too. It’s divine.)


Being the heart of Texas Wine Country, Lubbock shouldn’t be overlooked for its bacchanalian delights. Six distinct wineries call this section of the Texas High Plains home. We didn’t have time to visit them all, but highly recommend English Newsom Cellars and McPherson Cellars Winery, both home to some splendid sips. Burklee Hill Vineyards also won our hearts and stomachs because they offer full brunch, lunch and dinner menus from their bistro and tasting room in an old Kress five and dime in a cool section of downtown. Though La Diosa Cellars may sound like a winery, it’s a local-wine-focused tapas restaurant that really wows with its colorful setting and Spanish-focused menu.

Elsewhere on the booze front, you’d be missing out if you don’t order a Chilton, an iconic drink served all over Lubbock. Named after a local doctor, the traditional version of the cocktail features but four ingredients: vodka (we recommend Tito’s Handmade Vodka, of course, because we’re devoted fans!), fresh lemon juice and club soda served in a glass with a salted rim. You can find variations on the theme all over the town and because it basically starts with the Official Gay Cocktail (vodka soda) you’ll probably love them all.

And if beer’s more your thing than wine or cocktails, head to Two Docs Brewing Company. Start with a flight then find your favorite to accompany eats from whatever food trucks may be present on any given day.

Our number-one food experience of our entire time in Lubbock was inside the private greenhouse dining room at The Nicolett. Nothing short of world-class, we’d return to the city simply for the opportunity to dine here again. The fine dining experience features lots of local ingredients in dishes that also pay tribute to the terrain and city’s history, including wonderful fry bread, a staple of indigenous people of the area. You’ll also find options such as pozole, lamb neck prepared like brisket and a ribeye built for two. The menu changes often, but we can practically guarantee perfection based on our single (and singular) experience.


Despite being a college town, the LGBTQ scene falls on the smaller side of things compared to other Texas cities. But there is a dedicated gathering spot with drag, drinks and dancing—Club Luxor, an “alternative lifestyles night club!”. And the community does support an annual Pride celebration, so even though we have a small presence in town, it’s not completely nonexistent.

Rock-n-roll legend Buddy Holly looms large over Lubbock, where the singer was born and raised. You can tour the Buddy Holly Center or catch legends-in-the-making perform at the state-of-the-art Buddy Hall Hall of Performing Arts.

If you’re visiting when it’s not 1,000 degrees, walk around the Texas Tech University campus where you’ll find a variety of fantastic works in the Texas Tech Public Art Collection. And as we mentioned earlier, you might see some collegiate eye candy while you’re at it. Win-win!

For some more time in the great outdoors, take the 90-minute drive to Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway. You might be lucky enough to see free-roaming bison, but for the love of Gaga, don’t try to pose for a photo with them!

Closer to home, but still giving you fresh-air opportunities, you can spend an afternoon roaming around Mackenzie Park, home to the world-famous Prairie Dog Town.

One of Lubbock’s stranger experiences can be found at the Bruno Steel House. Some say it looks like a pig, others something right out of the Star Wars universe. You’ll have to rent it by the night to see the inside, but even if you make a trip to simply drive by, it’s a site to behold. You can also see it with a Solange Knowles soundtrack if you prefer:

To build your own Lubbock itinerary, click around Visit Lubbock’s official site.

Lubbock, Texas