While Abilene, geographically, is near the center of Texas, make no mistake - when you're in Abilene, you're in West Texas. Reminders of the area's cowboy heritage are everywhere, and that heritage is celebrated every year.
The Western Heritage Classic is a 3-day cowboy celebration every May, and cutting horse and other equestrian events take place yearround. The West Texas Fair and Rodeo is a 10-day extravaganza held every September.
But there's much more to Abilene than just cowboy culture. The city is home to Dyess Air Force Base. The Abilene Zoo is one of the half-dozen largest in Texas and a great family destination.
More great family fun can be found at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature - a children's museum dedicated to kids' favorite books - and at Lake Kirby, a small lake inside the city that offers fishing and picnicking.
More water activities are available at Lake Abilene, southwest of the city, and Lake Fort Phantom Hill to the north/northeast. Lake Abilene sits next to Abilene State Park, which offers camping and hiking in addition to the lake. Lake Fort Phantom Hill is named for an abandoned frontier fort, Fort Phantom Hill, whose ruins can be accessed via FM 600.
The arts are strong in Abilene, too, with a symphony orchestra and several good art museums. The Grace Museum incorporates a Fine Arts Museum, a Historical Museum and a Children's Museum.
More Abilene Attractions
Abilene golf courses
Buffalo Gap Historic Village
Center for Contemporary Arts
12th Armored Division Memorial Museum
Dyess Linear Air Park
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Abilene is on the northern and eastern edge of West Texas. The city is accessed via Interstate 20 on an east-west route. Relative to other I-20 cities, Abilene is about 180 miles west of Dallas and 150 miles east of Midland. U.S. Highways 83 and 84 enter Abilene from the south, while U.S. 277 enters town from the southwest and exits to the northwest.
The Abilene area is served by the Abilene Regional Airport, which is operated by the city of Abilene. American Eagle and Continental Connection are the carriers, Eagle connecting through through Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Connection through Bush Intercontinental in Houston.
View Abilene on the map (link opens in a new window)
Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau
City of Abilene official website
Abilene Regional Airport
Dyess Air Force Base
Western Heritage Classic
Abilene Reporter-News newspaper