Cadillac Ranch, a quirky roadside stop near Amarillo, Texas, is a bright and fun public art installation, great for a quick stop to stretch your legs during a long road trip through Texas.
Cadillac Ranch, located near Amarillo, Texas along Interstate 40, is an iconic roadside attraction and a stop for many roadtrippers as they cross the southern plains on the historic Route 66. Installed in 1974, Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of artists from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the artists came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. People would stop along the highway, walk out to view the cars — then deface them or rip off pieces as souvenirs. That was in 1974.
Decades have passed. The Cadillacs have now been in the ground as art longer than they were on the road as cars. Today, Cadillac Ranch consists of 10 Caddies, half-buried nose-first in the ground (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza) that have been spray painted in vibrant colors. It is literally in the middle of nowhere. Everybody is welcome to stop by to see this unique art installation, pose with the Cadillacs or get creative and leave your own mark.
The cars have thick layers of paint that actually makes you wonder how much of the actual car is left underneath there and how much is just the paint.
Fun Fact: In 1997 the art installation was moved from it’s original location in a wheat field.
My favorite part of the Cadillac Ranch was leaving my signature on the cars. If you bring spray paint to create your own graffiti art, make sure to click some photos. Because whatever you create at Cadillac Ranch will probably only last a few hours before it’s created over by someone else.
If you happen to find yourself going to the Cadillac Ranch, below is a list of items I suggest you carry with you:
- Disposable gloves to wear if you want to paint
- Spray paint in at least two colors – there is so much colorful coverage on the Cadillacs that you will want one color of paint to make your own base canvas, then a second color to ‘write‘ your name or initials
- Wet wipes – it was super windy there and I had some paint over me while I was spray painting
- Disposable small trash bags to toss your empty spray paint cans. I still had paint left so I gave my spray paint can to one of the kids there once I was done
Right down the road from the Cadillac Ranch is a gift shop. You can find any kind of souvenir that you may want. They also have clean public restrooms for you to use. Also, a huge cowboy statue and some more hanging cars.
If you’re traveling on Route 66 or the Mother Road, you might as well stop at The Big Texan Steak Ranch & Brewery – another popular stop on Route 66 famous for their 72 oz steak challenge.
Disclaimer: If you are passing by Amarillo, Texas, go ahead and stop at the Cadillac Ranch for a quick stretch of legs. But don’t travel far out of your way for this roadside curiosity.
Have you been to the Cadillac Ranch or The Big Texan Steak Ranch? What did you think?
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