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Tour Guide & Itineraries

For tour planning assistance contact: Connie Petross, Visitor Sales Director Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau www.abilenevisitors.com 800.727.7704 or email: conniep@abilene.com Return to top


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SERVICES_ ________________________________ Call us and we will put you in contact with the right people for everything from pre-arranged meals to special guided tours. We can also send an events calendar for the time of your trip, supply detailed directions, general information on the area, and locate accommodations. When stopping overnight, the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau’s professional staff can greet you with a welcome reception and a drawing for Abilene souvenirs. All listed tours can be customized to fit your schedule and we can help plan a special interest tour. Happy Touring! Whether you’re stopping for the day or planning to stay several days, Abilene offers you “One Stop Information Service”. Our professional staff can assist you with information on Abilene’s:  Accommodations  Restaurants  Customized and/or pre-planned tours  Attractions On overnight stays we can provide:  Welcome Reception  Drawing for Fun Gifts  Information Packet for each participant  Free Step-On Guide for tours of Abilene’s attractions (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

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GENERAL INFORMATION_ __________________ Abilene, home to 120,000 friendly people, preserves the traditional heritage of the old West while providing all the advantages of a contemporary city. The city is easily accessible by four major highways: Interstate 20, Highway 84 East/West, and Highways 83 and 277 North/South. It is also served by State Highways 351 and 36. Abilene is 525 miles from the southern border and 450 to 460 miles from each of the three borders. Major Highways: East/West: Interstate 20 North/South: Highways 83/84 & 277 State Highways: 351 & 36 Area Code: 325

Dress: Casual and Western styles prevail. Dinner theaters offer opportunities for formal dress.

Airlines:

MotorCoach Charter & Rental Services:

American Eagle 800-433-7300 Continental/Colgan 800-523-3273

CityLink—1189 S. 2nd—325.676.6287 Free trolley buses in the downtown area. Regular buses and handi-vans provide transportation around the city. Bilbery Tours—692-1308 Gotta Go Express—800-468-8239

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THINGS TO DO______________________________ Click on any blue heading to learn more about an attraction

National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature 102 Cedar

Frontier Texas! 625 North 1st.

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325.437.2800

Experience the big picture of the Texas frontier between 1780-1880. The story comes to life in this multimedia facility. Visitors can meet—at least figuratively—some of the real people who lived and dies on the Texas frontier. You’ll feel the terror of a wolf attack, the chaos of a buffalo stampede and the tension of a deadly card game shootout. Small admission with group rates and group tours available. Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

The Grace Museum 102 Cypress St. 325.673.4587

Three outstanding museums in one location: an Art Museum, History Museum and Children’s Museum. Tues., Wed., Fri. Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thurs. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Small Admission. Free on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. Closed Sunday, Monday and Major Holidays

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325.673.4586

This one-of-a-kind museum exhibits and tours the best works of today’s premier children’s book illustrators. Numerous family events, including free children’s art activities, are held in conjunction with the exhibits. Free. Tues. - Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday and major holidays.

12th Armored Division Memorial Museum 1289 N. 2nd 325.677.6515

The museum houses the Division’s Historical Collection and serves as a teaching museum for the study of World War II and its impact on the American people. Tues. - Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Small Admission. Group rates available. Closed Sunday, Monday and Major Holidays

The Center for Contemporary Arts 220 Cypress

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325.677.8389

This unique gallery is home to over 70-artist members and ten working studios. Four galleries present more than 24-exhibits annually by regional artist, as well as international photographers. Free! Tues. - Sat., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday, Monday and Major Holidays

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THINGS TO DO - Continued_ __________________ Click on any blue heading to learn more about an attraction Paramount Theatre

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

352 Cypress

133 N. William St., Buffalo Gap

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325.676.9620

This fully restored 1930s theatre features concerts and live theater, touring shows, classic, art house and special event films and outstanding architecture. Special features include: arched columns, two grand staircases, hand-blown glass chandeliers, Pueblo-Deco artwork ceilings and a 1,200 seat auditorium with twin-domed turrets, a velvet blue ceiling, drifting clouds and twinkling stars. Free self-guided tours: Noon to 5 p.m., weekdays

Abilene Zoo Nelson Park, Hwy. 36 at Loop 322 325.676.6085

Everyone enjoys this award winning zoo. Small admission with group rates and group tours available. Daily: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day Open Thurs., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

325.572.3365

21-buildings from the founding of this area, most are over 100 years old and filled with artifacts. Small admission with group rates available. Summer Hours: (Memorial Day to Labor Day) Mon. - Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun., Noon to 6 p.m. Winter Hours: Mon. - Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun., Noon to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day

PrimeTime Family Entertainment Center Dyess Air Force Base 696-2863, Public Affairs

Home of the B-1 bomber and a Linear Air Park that displays 33-aircraft from WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, and Operation Desert Storm. Due to changing security levels tours of the base are limited. To schedule a tour, contact the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau - 800.727.770 - for specifics. Return to the top

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4541 Loop 322

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325.690.5555

PrimeTime Family Entertainment Center, your source of fun, features: • 16 lane state-of-the-art bowling facility • NASCAR Simulators • Laser Tag • X-D Theater • Bumper Cars • Billiards • Arcade games • 36-hole miniature golf course • 1,000 foot electric go-kart track • Restaurant • Meeting & party rooms. Open Daily. Prices vary.

Fort Phantom Hill Ruins of a frontier fort located 11-miles north of Interstate 20 on FM 600. Open dawn to dusk. Free.

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ACCOMMODATIONS_________________________ # of Rooms

Restaurant

Lounge

Airport Shuttle

Outside Pool

Inside Pool

Bellman

Abilene Western Inn 774 E. Business 20 | 675-0050

78

Abilene Whitten Inn, Expo 840 E. Bus. 20 677-8100 | 800-880-7666

104

Abilene Whitten Inn, University 1625 Hwy. 351 @ I-20 673-5271 | 800-588-5050

163

Best Western Abilene Inn & Suites 350 I-20 West 672-5501 | 866-672-5501

60

Best Western Mall South 3950 Ridgemont Dr. 695-1262 | 800-346-1574

61

Budget Host Colonial Inn 3210 Pine St. 677-2683 | 888-672-5293

98

Civic Plaza Hotel 505 Pine St. 676-0222 | 800-588-0222

113

Comfort Suites University 1902 East Overland Trail 672-0338

68

Courtyard by Marriott 4350 Ridgemont Dr. 695-9600

99

Days Inn 1702 I-20 East | 672-6433

99

Fairfield Inn by Marriott 3902 Turner Plaza | 695-2448

74

Hampton Inn 3917 Ridgemont Dr. | 695-0044

64

Hampton Inn and Suites 3526 West Lake Rd. | 673-4400

64

Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites 1802 E. I-20 | 675-9800

66

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Abilene Mall South 3112 S. Clack | 695-0500

66

Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel 5403 S. 1st | 795-8888

107

= Chamber Member

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ACCOMMODATIONS_________________________ = Chamber Member

# of Rooms

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Lounge

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Outside Pool

Inside Pool

Bellman

LaQuinta Inn 3501 West Lake Rd. | 676-1676

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MCM Eleganté Suites 4250 Ridgemont Dr. 698-1234 | 888-897-964

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Motel 6 4951 W. Stamford | 672-8462

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Regency Inn & Suites 3450 S. Clack 695-7700 | 800-676-7262

145

Royal Inn 5695 South 1st 692-3022 | 800-588-4Fun

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Super 8 North I-20 & Hwy. 351 | 673-5251

97

The hotels listed above represent facilities with 60 or more rooms that can accommodated a tour group. For a complete listing of accommodations, call the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800.727.7704 or click here to view a list of all Abilene hotels.

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DINING_____________________________________ This is not a complete list of restaurants, but are those most commonly used by tour groups. For specific information contact the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-727-7704 AREA 1—I-20 & Hwy. 351 or F.M. 600

AREA 6—Hwy. 83/84

Denny’s, Skillets, Cracker Barrel

(at Southwest Dr.) Zoo-kini’s, Chick-fil-A, Cotton Patch, Olive Garden, Buffet City, Jason’s Deli, Rosa’s Café and Tortilla Factory, Red Robin, Logan’s Roadhouse

AREA 2 - Judge Ely Blvd.

(and E.N. 10th) Arby’s, Betty Roses Little Brisket, Burger King, Harvest Moon, McDonald’s, Subway, Taco Bueno, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Chicken Express, Rosa’s Café and Tortilla Factory (near E. Business 20) China Express, Sonic Drive-In (E. Business 20 west of Judge Ely) Whataburger, Towne Crier, Clyde’s Place, Sharon’s Barbecue (at E.S. 11th) Lytle Land & Cattle Company AREA 3—North 1st and Westwood

Dos Amigos, Grandy’s, McDonald’s, Long John Silver’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Thomson’s Kountry Fried Chicken, Taco Bueno, Golden Chick AREA 4—Hwy. 83/277 and Ambler

(at Buffalo Gap Rd.—Inside Mall of Abilene) Chick-fil-A, El Chico’s, Dante’s, Spaghetti Warehouse (at Buffalo Gap Rd.—North & South Side of Freeway) Grandy’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Quiznos, Taco Bell, Taco Bueno, Golden Corral, Fazoli’s, Johnny Carino’s Country Italian, Chili’s, Pizza Hut, Rick & Carolyn’s Burgers and Fries, Buffalo Wing Stop AREA 7—S. Treadaway and E.S. 11th

Joe’s Italian Grill, Joe Allen’s Pit Bar-B-Que, Catfish Corner AREA 8—Downtown Abilene

Harlow’s Smoke House AREA 5—Hwy. 83/84/277

(South 14th - East & West Side of Freeway) Abuelo’s Mexican Cafe, China King, Dairy Queen, Domino’s Pizza, Seafood Tavern, Taco Bueno, Texas China Café, Little Italy

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(at and on Ridgemont Dr.) Arby’s, Casa Herrera, CiCi’s Pizza, International House of Pancakes, TaMolly’s Mexican Café, Chicken Express, Outback Steakhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In

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Alley Cats, Bogie’s, Cypress St. Station, Roberto’s, McKay’s Bakery, Subway, The Loft, Beehive Restaurant and Saloon AREA 9—Town of Buffalo Gap (Hwy. 89)

Bar-B-Que Barn, Deutschlander Freshwater Catfish Co., Perini Ranch Steakhouse, Lola’s Mexican Café


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SAMPLE ITINERARY_________________________ Click on any blue heading to learn more about an attraction DAY 1

Tour historic downtown and more!

Load the motorcoach and proceed to one of the following:

Arrive at the Visitor Information Center, located inside Frontier Texas!, to pick-up your downtown guide. (Free)

Wind Farms: Get up close and personal with these giant wind generators by touring one of the largest wind energy farms in the world.

Frontier Texas! Experience the big picture of the Texas frontier between 1780-1880.

The Abilene Zoo, compares the habitats of North American and African animals. The Creepy Crawler Center is a must see.

National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature: one-of-a-kind museum offers the best works of today’s premier children’s book authors and illustrators.

Potters of Hickory Street: artisans making both wheel-thrown and hand-built pieces, one-of-akind pottery, dishes, figurines and tiles.

The Grace Museum: three outstanding museums in one location: • History • Fine Arts • Children’s.

Head to your accommodations. Load the motorcoach for a tour of Buffalo Gap and dinner at a unique restaurant.

The Center for Contemporary Arts: four galleries featuring contemporary art, photography and sculpture.

The Buffalo Gap Historic Village takes you back in time to the founding of the area. Special features are 21-artifact filled buildings from the founding of the area, a gallery of historic maps and a great gift shop.

Paramount Theatre: self-guided tours of this grand theatre, restored to its 1930s elegance. Candies by Vletas: tempting treats include chocolate covered strawberries, handmade chocolates, fudge and brittles.

After your tour it’s off to the Perini Ranch Steakhouse. Enjoy mesquite smoked steaks and chicken or fried catfish served with home cooked vegetables. Perini’s famous whiskey bread pudding rounds out your meal. Choose between dining in the rustic restaurant or outside underthe-stars. When you are ready, head back to the hotel!

12th Armored Division Memorial Museum: houses the Division’s historical collection and serves as a teaching museum for the study of World War II and its impact on the American people. Shopping: Downtown offers unique specialty and antique stores. Lunch at Cypress Street Station, located inside one of the many restored historic buildings in downtown or dine at the Beehive Restaurant and Saloon another fine dining establishment in historic downtown.

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DAY 2

Western Flavor! Breakfast on your own. Load the motorcoach for a tour of James Leddy Custom Made Boots. All boots are made by hand, to fit each individual personally. They are made for entertainers, as well as the working cowboys. Click here to complete the sample itinerary


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SAMPLE ITINERARY -- continued_ _____________ Click on any blue heading to learn more about an attraction DAY 2

Western Flavor -- Continued

Jazz up your tour with a night on the town…

Head out for Art Reed’s Custom Saddles. Mr. Reed has been custom making saddles, chaps and belts for over 33 years. This small but unique shop is a treat to stop at.

Theatre (Live & Dinner) Abilene Community Theatre, 801 S. Mockingbird Ball Ranch 525 S. Highway 83-84 Paramount Theatre 352 Cypress St. Ryan Little Theatre McMurry Univ. Sewell Theatre & Williams Performing Arts Center, Abilene Christian Univ. Van Ellis Theatre Hardin-Simmons Univ.

Tour 5-D Custom Hats and Leather. Lunch at one of Abilene’s outstanding restaurants. Let the convention bureau make all the arrangements. Do something you missed on your tour yesterday. Spend the night or head out of town!

673-6271 698-2186 676-9620 793-3889 674-2739 670-1405

Let the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau customize a tour for your group. Let us know what you’re interested in and we’ll go to work for you Other suggested tours: • Farm Tours • Texas Forts Trail Tour • Nature Tour • Giant Texas Tour

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GIANT TEXAS TOUR - Page 1 of 3_________________ Click on any blue heading to learn more about an attraction Day 1

Arrive in Fort Worth. — Where the West Begins! Fort Worth is the Texas city famous for its unmistakable combination of “Cowboys and Culture.” Now the 20th largest city in America, Fort Worth is home to beautifully preserved Western heritage, world-class museums and an exciting downtown district. Take a tour of Fort Worth, including Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth, the Cultural District and the Stockyards National Historic District. Day 2 -Relive the 1980s TV series “Dallas,” as you explore the homestead of the Ewing Family. Visit the legendary Southfork Ranch, you will tour the Ewing Mansion and have lunch on the grounds. On the drive back to Fort Worth stop by the Mustangs of Las Colinas sculpture, nine larger-than-life bronze mustangs galloping across a granite stream. Created by African wildlife artist Robert Glen, Mustangs are the largest equestrian sculpture in the world. For dinner, dine at the Reata Restaurant in Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth, for some legendary Western cuisine, (Reata is the name of the ranch featured in the movie “Giant”).

Day 3

Experience the history and lifestyle of the cowboys and drovers of the late 1800s to present. Visit the Stockyards National Historic District, where the Fort Worth CVB will welcome you with a “Happy Trails Greeting” and give each person a souvenir bandana featuring the history of Fort Worth. Then take in the full “Stockyards Experience,” including a walking or step-on tour of the Stockyards, an educational and fun program with the Fort Worth Herd Drovers, and a visit to the Texas Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. See the daily cattle-drive at 11:30 a.m. and enjoy lunch and shopping at one of the many restaurants and unique western shops in the Stockyards. In the afternoon, visit the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and the Amon Carter Museum. Return to your hotel, relax and get ready for dinner at the Stockyards, followed by entertainment at Billy Bob’s Texas, the largest honky tonk in the world, or visit the White Elephant Saloon. Championship rodeos are available on Friday and Saturday nights at Cowtown Coliseum.

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GIANT TEXAS TOUR - Page 2 of 3_________________ Click on any blue heading to learn more about an attraction

Day 4 - Time to start your hands-on cowboy experience Travel to Wildcatter Ranch in Graham, 90 minutes west of Fort Worth, in the beautiful North Texas Hill Country. On route to the ranch, visit Weatherford’s Chandor Gardens and pass by the house where Larry Hagman (TV Series “Dallas”) and his mom, famous Broadway star Mary Martin lived. Arrive in Graham, check into the Best Western Hotel or stay at the Wildcatter Ranch and Resort (only 16 cabins available). Dine that evening at the Wildcatter Steakhouse. Day 5 – Continue with the hands-on cowboy experience Morning activities at the Wildcatter include horse demonstrations, hay wagon rides, horse shoes and lasso games. Horseback riding also is available. A Dutch oven lunch at the Wildcatter will give diners a great cooking demonstration along with a good meal. Visit “America’s Largest Downtown Square” in Graham, ideal for walking and shopping. Tour nearby Fort Belknap. Return to the Ranch for a chuck-wagon dinner followed by s’ mores and relaxation. Day 6 - Experience Abilene and the Texas Frontier Depart Graham for Albany, to tour Fort Griffin and the Old Jail Art Center. Then continue the scenic drive to Abilene, a progressive city of 120,00 with a wealth of cultural and entertainment attractions. Three private universities call Abilene home, as does Dyess Air Force Base. The downtown area is celebrating a renaissance - with a steady growth of shopping, dining and attractions. But Abilene hasn’t lost its frontier soul. Thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to relive those early days. Frontier Texas! allows visitors to meet – at least figuratively – some of the real people who live and died on the Texas frontier between 1780 and 1880. Unlike a regular museum, Frontier Texas! uses first-person narratives rather than collections of artifacts to tell the story of the western Texas frontier, along with lights, cameras, action and big-screen special effects.

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GIANT TEXAS TOUR - Page 3 of 3_________________ Click on any blue heading to learn more about an attraction Day 6 - Experience Abilene and the Texas Frontier - Continued Enjoy lunch at a variety of choices downtown. Within easy walking distance you’ll find the Paramount Theatre and The Grace Museum. The beautifully restored 1909 Grace Hotel now houses three museums: a History Museum, Children’s Museum, and Art Museum, which proudly rotates world-class exhibits. Grace Notes, an interactive sculpture created by artist and musician Edward Weiss, is a life-size artwork of colors, shapes and sounds designed for noise, fun and plenty of hands-on play. The Mallouf Boot Shop is a permanent exhibit that highlights the unique craft of custom cowboy boots. This shop features original equipment, handmade tools, many types of leather, the shop’s original cash register and Mallouf boots. The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, a one-of-a-kind in the nation, features original art created for children’s books by some of the country’s most renowned authors and illustrators. Just a block away, visit the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, which houses the division’s historical collection, serves as a teaching museum and provides educational programs. After checking into your hotel, travel 10 miles south to Buffalo Gap Historic Village. The Village preserves the heritage of the Texas Frontier by telling the story of the last 50 years of frontier life as the area slowly became “civilized.” The Village is a collection of 21 vintage buildings from the founding of this area and contains premier collections of artifacts, weapons and historic maps. It also houses the bookstore for the Texas State House Press. Perini Ranch Steakhouse is a great stop for lunch or dinner in Buffalo Gap, or return to Abilene for your choice of great steaks, barbecue or lighter fare. Overnight in Abilene. Day 7 Visit Texas’ premier ghost town and downtown Dallas. Return to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and stop by Thurber - Texas’ Premier Ghost Town. A company-owned town, founded and controlled from around 1888 through the 1930s by Texas and Pacific Coal Co. Visit the W. K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas and explore the birth and death of a company town. Continue to downtown Dallas to Pioneer Plaza to view the Herd Sculpture, the world’s largest bronze monument of longhorns and cowboys. Also visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and enjoy an evening in the West End, Dallas’ true historical district, full of entertainment and dining options. Overnight in Dallas.

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ANNUAL EVENTS____________________________ Click on any blue heading to learn about events

September Labor Day Weekend Chili Super Bowl (Chili & Brisket Cook-off) Starts 1st Friday after Labor Day West Texas Fair and Rodeo 4th Weekend West Texas Book & Music Festival Last Weekend Hot Air Balloon Festival

January 3rd Monday Martin Luther King Dinner 3rd Saturday West Texas Rehab Telethon February 2nd Weekend Celebrity Quail Hunt! 3rd Saturday The West Texas Sports Expo 4th Week Texas Farm-Ranch-wildlife Expo

October 1st Saturday Spirit of the Frontier Festival—Living history and more!

April 2nd Weekend Central Texas Gem and Mineral Show 3rd Weekend Buffalo Gap Food and Wine Summit

November 1st Weekend Christmas Carousel 2nd Weekend Christmas in November 3rd Weekend “The Nutcracker”—Classic ballet 1st Tuesday After Thanksgiving City Sidewalksg.

May 1st Weekend Cinco de Mayo Celebration 2nd Weekend Western Heritage Classic & Ranch Rodeo

December 1st Thursday through December 24th Christmas Lane-- Lighted outdoor Christmas displayse! Mid-December through Mid-January The Ice House ~ Outdoor ice skating rink

March 2nd Weekend Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round-up

June Last two Weekends Fort Griffin Fandangle

For a complete listing of events and their description to compliment your tour visit our web site: www.abilenevisitors.com and click on the calendar link.

July 4th of July Big Country July 4th Family Festival Several days around the 4th of July Texas Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo. Return to the top

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Abilene, Texas - Tour Planning Guide  

Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau Tour Planning Guide

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