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Quirky Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo – Ultimate Route 66 Attraction!

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture located along Historic Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas.

It is home to 10 perfectly lined-up tailfin Cadillacs covered in thousands of layers of spray paint.

The cars are buried from east to west.

Cadillac Ranch has been open since 1974 and has become an iconic attraction of the Mother Road.

Every year, thousands of Route 66 road trippers and Texas travelers stop here to take photos with the one of a kind artwork.

Also Read: 21 Best Road Trips in Texas

Where is Cadillac Ranch in Texas?

Cadillac Ranch is located on northern Texas’ Route 66 and is west of downtown Amarillo, just past the city line.

Also Read: Best Things to do in Amarillo, Texas

It is located in a cow pasture south of the frontage road of I-40, about two miles after exit 60. This road is also the Old Route 66 alignment.

Route 66 is the most famous road in the country and begins in Chicago and ends at Santa Monica on the Pacific Coast.

The Texas section of Route 66 is 179 miles long.

The art installation is located on the left side of the highway when traveling west on Route 66 from downtown Amarillo.

You will find many signs for Cadillac Ranch along the way.

The exact address is: 13651 I-40 Frontage Rd, Amarillo, TX

Cadillac Ranch is 10 miles away from downtown Amarillo, 372 miles from Dallas, and over 600 miles away from Houston.

Is Cadillac ranch worth visiting?

Yes!

Cadillac Ranch is a classic Route 66 roadside attraction in Amarillo, Texas.

The cars buried nose first with their tail in the air is a unique sight and definitely worth seeing on a Route 66 road trip in Texas.

Also Read: Best Places to Visit in Texas

History of Amarillo’s Cadillac Ranch

The art installation at Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, all well known American artists and designers who founded the San Francisco based art group Ant Farm.

Amarillo’s based philanthropist and millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 funded the work of art.

Stanley Marsh 3 had the reputation of being an eccentric man and he loved the idea of an artwork that would baffle the public.

Hence, he gave the approval for the installation as planned by Ant Farm.

It features 10 half-buried Cadillacs, nose first in the ground. The cars are from the years 1948 to 1963.

The ten Cadillacs were purchased from junkyards but were still in good condition on completion of the project.

And they also had their original colors then!

But since then, vandals and souvenir hunters have broken windows, stolen small parts and equipment including radios and speakers, as well as some of the doors.

Locals and visitors alike have spray painted the cars with graffiti since the project was installed.

Today only the bare bones of all cars remain at Cadillac Ranch – and they are completely covered in paint!

The result is an intriguing, vibrant, one of a kind art work that’s rich in story and changes every day !

Cadillac Ranch has become one of the most famous roadside attractions in the Lone Star State and along Route 66.

The Tailfin Cadillacs

The Cadillac Ranch art project was planned to pay a tribute to the remarkable tailfin design of the cars.

The Cadillac Tail Fins were one of the most memorable and iconic cars in America.

The design of these post war cars was inspired by a US fighter plane, the P-38 “Lightning”, which had striking twin rudders.

Cadillac Tail Fins, with their extravagant design, were an instant success in the 1950s and remained popular for over two decades.

In fact, they were a defining feature of America’s automobile culture in the 1950s!

Each car in the art installation is a different model and displays the evolution of the tailfin.

Car lovers can easily discern how the design evolved even though the cars are buried under many layers of spray paint.

Can you spray paint the cars?

Yes!

In fact, spray painting the buried Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch is one of the best things to do in Texas!

Visitors are encouraged to paint, leave behind their mark, and add inspiring messages on the cars.

You can either take your own spray paint or buy paint cans near the parking lot.

If you visit at the most popular times, you will be assailed by the smell of Krylon in the air!

Need to buy paint? Try the Home Depot in Downtown Amarillo.

Here are a few tips for painters: no surface of the cars is left unpainted, so you will be painting over other’s work.

If you plan to create an intricate design, then prep your canvas by a coat of black or gray color first.

Take a photo of your creation immediately, as it can be easily repainted by someone else.

Make friends and share colors with other visitors to make a more colorful impact!

We have often seen visitors create beautiful designs to commemorate a special trip or occasion.

Things to do at Route 66 Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo

There are a few other things to do at Cadillac Ranch besides spray painting the cars.

Cadillac Ranch is one of the best places to visit in Texas and an Instagram hotspot.

Visitors love taking photos and videos for social media at Cadillac Ranch.

This is also a popular filming spot.

The cars have appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, books, and in pop culture.

The spot has been the subject of Bruce Springsteen song ‘Cadillac Ranch’.

Be sure to clean up any cans or paints after your visit and do not litter Cadillac Ranch.

Also Read: The 7 Regions of Texas

How much does Cadillac Ranch cost?

Cadillac Ranch is a free roadside attraction and does not cost anything to visit.

It is open 24/7 though you need to visit during daylight hours to see the art installation.

How to Visit Amarillo’s Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 is literally in the middle of nowhere in the desert of northwest Texas.

You will find the attraction between exits 60 and 62 on the I-40.

Cadillac Ranch is visible from the highway and pretty easy to find.

The art installation is located on private land, but visitors are allowed to walk up to it.

You can park near the roadside / shoulder and enter through the small gate in the fence.

Then it’s an easy walk across the field to the buried Cadillacs.

You can snap photos, admire the artwork, spray paint the cars, and even buy chipped paint souvenirs on a visit to Cadillac Ranch. go outside to take a tour of the property.

Best time to visit Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch is located in the Texas Panhandle, meaning both winter and summer are extreme here.

Spring and fall are great seasons to visit this part of Texas.

We recommend visiting Cadillac Ranch earlier in the day to avoid crowds and other people popping in your photographs.

Sunset is also a great time to visit Cadillac Ranch – the painted cars and their tail fins look amazing in the golden light.

If it’s windy, stay away from other graffiti artists as the paint can spray across a large area.

Be warned: the field is very muddy after rain or snow!

Fun Fact!

Did you know, the Cadillacs were moved almost 2 miles from their initial location?!

The cars were moved in 1997 to the current empty pasture to make room for Amarillo’s new businesses!

Also, the cars were buried at an inclined angle of 52 degrees which resembles the angle of the Pyramid of Giza in Egypt!

Where to stay near Cadillac Ranch

Amarillo is the perfect base for visiting Cadillac Ranch.

There are plenty of hotels and motels in the area, as well as other great lodging options.

The Best Western Plus Medical Center is one of our favorites to stay in the area, plus it’s closer to Cadillac Ranch.

The Holiday Inn Express located near I-40 offers easy access to all of the city’s attractions.

Other Things to do in Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo is home to many attractions and activities for visitors.

The Amarillo Botanical Gardens has beautiful gardens with amazing views of the skyline.

The Amarillo Zoo is home to more than 200 species including tigers, lions, bears and monkeys!

Amarillo is also known for its famous Big Texan Steak Ranch. For those interested in shopping, there are over 100 stores at Westgate Mall.

One of the main attractions nearby is the Palo Duro Canyon State Park. You’ll be dazzled by the natural beauty here – it has rugged cliffs with red-rock formations that are unlike anything else in Texas!

Car enthusiasts or not, Cadillac Ranch should definitely be on your bucket list while in the Texas panhandle!

Have you been to Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas? Did you enjoy spray painting the cars?

Do you have any other recommendations for folks visiting Texas? Let us know in the comments!