Renowned as a genuine “cowboy culture” town in West Texas, Odessa is the setting for the “Friday Night Lights” film and book featuring a local high school football team. It also harbours a thriving performing arts scene, several quirky replica structures and one of the biggest meteor craters in the United States.
Things to do in Odessa
Dive into the Odessa art scene with an evening at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, where you’ll be dazzled with contemporary music productions, touring Broadway plays and modern dance performances. Head to the Ellen Noel Art Music of the Permian Basin, a Smithsonian Institute-affiliated venue with a collection of works by at least 400 American artists.
An unexpected treasure of Odessa is the Globe of the Great Southwest, a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. The theatre complex also holds an authentic recreation of Anne Hathaway’s cottage, a 12-room farmhouse belonging to Shakespeare’s wife. You can visit Odessa’s own Stonehenge monuments, as well as the Odessa Meteor Crater, created up to 50,000 years ago.
Travelling with the family? Take the kids on a scavenger hunt to find almost 40 small rabbit statues hidden throughout the town, each decorated with its own theme. The novelty is an extension of Odessa’s unofficial mascot, an enormous fibreglass jackrabbit named Jack Ben Rabbit, which is now a Texas Historical Landmark.
Join locals for a fun-filled day in Monahans Sandhills State Park, where you can learn the Texas sport of sand boarding. Rent sand toboggans and disks for sliding and riding the long stretch of windswept dunes or go hiking or horseback riding.
Getting around Odessa
Odessa offers public buses, taxis and rideshares for getting around. Rental cars are available at Midland International Air & Space Port, about a 15-minute drive away.