15 Best Things to Do in Odessa, TX

15 Best Things to Do in Odessa, TX

Named after the Odessa area of Ukraine, because it has short grass prairie, which resembles the steppe landscape of Ukraine. It is the county seat of Ector County in Texas. The home of First Lady Barbara Bush in 1948, it is also the place where the President lived at one time.

For those who love the sands, they will love visiting the city since it has the semi-arid climate, which is typical of Western Texas. The summers are extremely hot and sunny and the winters are very mild. Snowfall is extremely rare.

Look at a replica of the Oval Office at Presidential Museum and Leadership Library

Unlike most famous presidential libraries, this museum does not focus on the presidents themselves, but on the offices of the presidents who served the United States. It is located today at 4919 East University Boulevard but was originally located in the downtown side of Odessa.

It has a huge collection of campaign related stuff like memorabilia, signatures, documents, portraits, commemorative items, and more. There are also some political cartoons of presidents and vice presidents, including some really hilarious ones. Another interesting collection is a collection of Dishong miniature dolls, which were owned by the first ladies.

There is also an area called the library of the presidents, which is dedicated to John Ben Shephard Jr, who is the oldest son of the Texas Attorney General John Ben Shephard. This has more than 4500 volume of repository, including journals, newspapers, documents, periodicals, and other stuff related to the presidency. Another interesting collection that they kept was the exhibit called presidential hopefuls, which had a collection of memorabilia of the defeated candidates and who could not become presidents.

There is also a section dedicated to john F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson called the “We shall overcome” that focuses on the civil rights movement. There is also a replica of the Oval Office rug which was used by President Harry Truman during his tenure. You can find many such interesting artifacts and exhibits at this museum.

Visit the Odessa meteor crater site

Odessa meteor crater
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Located in the southwestern part of Ector County, and to the southwest of the city of Odessa is this huge meteor crater. It is one of the three major impact crater sites of Texas. What makes it important from a geographical point of view is that this crater was formed by the impact of thousands of octahedrites, which is an important iron metallic type, and fell in the ancient times.

There is also a museum dedicated to the Odessa meteor crater located nearby. It has 70 pounds sample of the meteorite showcased here. Over the years they have recognized and recovered as many as 1500 meteorites from the surrounding areas. It is a proud member on the list of the National natural landmarks by the National Park Service.

There is a small information area located here and a self guided tour over a nature trail can also be done. It is estimated that the rock must have been at least 63,000 years old, approximately. It is a really interesting site to visit and quite uncommon in most tourist places.

Play basketball at the Floyd Gwin Park

The Floyd Gwin Park is spread over 21 hectares which is a huge area of land. They have great specific areas divided into playing areas and playgrounds, which has various equipment the kiddos will enjoy including swings in more.

They have basketball courts, soccer courts, volleyball courts and baseball courts as well. The picnic pavilion is well constructed so and shaded so elders can relax as their children trot about and have fun. It is very neat and clean and the lawns are well manicured.

Look at pieces of art at the Ellen Noël Art Museum

Ellen Noël Art Museum
Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Art need not always be paintings or more and this Art Museum celebrates exactly this by embracing art in all forms and shapes. For example, they had held a beautiful exhibit related to wedding dresses as one of their themes. Such themed exhibits are the norm here and all the exhibits are really pretty. The best part is that the entry is free.

The museum itself is divided into many galleries and includes both permanent and rotating exhibit. They also have a photography section, there is a sculpture garden which is very appealing and beautiful to look at. There is also a quaint little gift shop where you can collect some souvenirs to take back home.

Look at the interesting Stonehenge replica

Stonehenge replica in University of Texas, Odessa
Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

Located on the campus of the University of Texas is this interesting spot to visit that you should surely go to. Most visitors and tourists swear that it was one of the best places to visit in Odessa and one of the most top rated parks. They have really huge monolithic rocks that remind you of the original Stonehenge.

You can even touch the stones if you wish to. And you can then revel in the textures and absorb all the grooves on the stones feeling like a druid yourself. It is a very meditative experience and you find yourself respecting and having a certain reverence for these so called primitive people who must have constructed these huge pieces of art. It is also great for some pictures to post on your Instagram and give them major travel goals.

Visit the amazing Parker House Museum

Parker House Museum
Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The House of the rancher Jim Parker, who used to live here in the early 1900s, this one is a fun place to visit if you want to look at how ranchers lived and learn about them. The home has been converted into a great museum today and has many artifacts and exhibits related to ranchers.

They also have period furniture situated inside. They have also displayed a lot of photos and other memorabilia. The experience is very informative and fun and one that you should definitely give a try. Though the visits are free, you might want to chip in for some donations.

Watch a delightful light display at the McKinney Park

The light display is one to swear by here, and many people drive many miles to look at it. The fairy lights are very pretty and beautiful. Try to visit during the night when the lights light up the whole dark sky with hues of red, yellow, blue and more.

Sounds super cool, right? It is also pet friendly and you can carry your furry friend along. The playground is filled with swings and slide sets where your kids can play and have fun. Hence, don’t despair if you are visiting during the day times. They also have a baseball and basketball court.

Frolic in the water at McKinney Park sprayground

This part of the playground is really quaint and awesome, and kids will love visiting it. Located inside the main Park area itself, it is open during certain times of the year. But if you happen to be lucky enough to visit when it's open, do give it a try. Your kids will love to splash about in the water and frolic.

They have different water fixtures located in and around which sprays water at regular intervals. There is also a main water area which is spread over a big area and has a huge water bucket that throws water on you. Take a walk on the walking path or bicycle around if you want to.

Pay your respects to the US veteran Chris Kyle at the Chris Kyle Memorial

Chris Kyle Memorial
Cowsthatfloat, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dedicated to the decorated US Navy SEAL veteran and also a renowned military sniper, Chris Kyle is this wonderful monument. This Memorial honors his spirit and brave heartedness. It is a nice monument and well built.

Its mean and central feature is the statue of Chris Kyle holding a flag which is very well built and magnificent to look at. You feel an inner sense of reverence and aura when you take a walk around it. There is also a very beautiful and heartwarming message that is written on a plaque by his family. There are so many inspiring quotes written near the campus. Visiting the site reminds you of the great sacrifices that most people in the Navy and military services make for our wellbeing.

Make a furry friend at Kellus Turner Park

The Kellus Turner Park is extremely dog friendly, and wonderful if you want to make some furry friends on your visit to Odessa. There is also a lake located where you can feed the ducks. Your kids will especially enjoy this fun and cute activity.
So carry some food along for these little birds swimming on the waters. There are geese cackling on the banks waiting for your tasty tidbits.

Watch a theatrical performance at the Permian Playhouse

It's always a great experience to watch live theater. So do visit the Permian Playhouse to enjoy a performance here. It has a variety of theatrical performances, like musicals, plays and comedies that are enacted on stage.
Visit along with your family and book tickets in advance to a delightful experience. There are also many burger spots nearby so you can grab a quick bite when hungry and then enjoy an hour of or two of enthralling experiences.

Jump on the trampolines at the altitude trampoline park

Jumping on trampoline parks are always fun and remind you of older and simpler days of childhood. It doesn’t matter if you're a kid or an adult, the only thing that matters to have fun here to have a childlike soul.

It's a really exhilarating experience to jump in the trampolines and rise high up in the air and fall face down. Their enormous trampoline park offers exactly these experiences and promises you lots of fun. It's an awesome activity zone and entertainment center.

There is also an Olympic sized trampoline here. Other than this, they have many awesome and fun activities like the foam pad, the trapezes swing, the battle beam, dodgeball, and tumble tracks. Jump and hop along with your kids and try racing on these trampolines.

This public golf course is loved by all golfers, including tourists and locals. It has well manicured lawns and maintained grounds. With an 18 hole long course, it’s great to play if you are amateur golfer. They also offer various other services including rental carts.

Embrace your sweet tooth at Southern maid Donuts

We don’t know about buying donuts but this place is surely going to drive you nuts with its amazing variety of donuts. From strawberry to maple, chocolate, blueberries and even lemon and orange, it has many different flavors and tastes according to what you want to try out. Our must recommendation would be the cherry donuts, which are very beautiful and fluffy to look at and very tasty.

The doughnuts are very well made with the perfect sweetness. They literally melt in your mouth as soon as you take a bite and sink your teeth in. What's the best part is that they are totally reasonable and priced very well. We would even suggest that you skip your lunch and try buying a bulk of many donuts and tasting each donut if possible.

Have a tortilla at Rosa's cafe and tortilla factory

Mexican cuisine is always fun and exciting to try. And this tortilla factory serves you the best tortillas in and around town. You'll be spoilt for choice with a variety of stuff on their menu like fajitas, burritos, tacos, nachos, and of course tortillas.
For breakfast you can have the chorizo or other breakfast specials. It's an ultimate family friendly place and great if you want a quick bite. For those looking for something to satisfy the sweet tooth, do give the carrot cake and sopapillas a try. The ambience is warm and cozy along with being fun and it is one of the many upscale cafes of this area.