15 Top-Rated Things to Do in Midland, TX

Written by Anietra Hamper
Apr 7, 2022

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The western Texas city of Midland has a history rooted in the oil and gas industries as evidenced by its landscape, but it also has many tourist attractions and things to do, from sports and theater to natural wonders that are unique to this region.

Downtown Midland, Texas
Downtown Midland, Texas

Midland is located halfway between Dallas and El Paso, in the center of the Permian Basin, making it a perfect location for The Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, an important first stop for any visitor to the city.

You will find important American history in Midland, including the Museum of the Southwest and the George W. Bush Childhood Home, where the 43rd President of the United States spent his early years.

Enjoy great sporting events at the Scharbauer Sports Complex, which has regular rosters of baseball, football, and soccer games, or catch a concert at the Midland County Horseshoe Arena.

While visiting Midland, you are close to some of the most unique natural wonders in Texas that are located in the region, like the Monahans Sandhills State Park, with 70-foot-high sand dunes, and the Meteor Crater Museum, which is housed next to the second largest meteor crater in the United States.

This western Texan city caters to a wide range of interests, so as you plan your visit, review our list of the top things to do in Midland.

1. Permian Basin Petroleum Museum

Permian Basin Petroleum Museum
Permian Basin Petroleum Museum | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

One of the most popular things to do in Midland is visit the Petroleum Museum, which has both indoor and outdoor exhibits. The heart of the story in the museum is about the area's rich petroleum and gas industry. The center explores the history of petroleum in the Permian Basin region and gives visitors insight into how science, technology, and art play a role in this important energy sector.

There are several sections to the museum, from the Mythcrackers Theater, which dispels myths about the petroleum industry, to the predictions that never took hold in the industry, and products like vintage gas pumps and signage from known brands like Pegasus, a Midland-based company.

Two popular exhibits are the replica 1920s Boom Town, which shows what life was like in the Permian Basin area during the oil boom, and the outdoor Oil Patch, with examples of power units, oil rigs, and other equipment used in the oil production industry.

Other notable galleries in the museum are the Mineral Gallery, housing unique collections from around the world; the Abell Family Gallery, featuring artwork by award-winning artist Tom Lovell, depicting life and landscapes in the Permian Basin region; and the Chaparral Gallery, with a collection of 1960s Chaparral race cars.

Address: 1500 Interstate 20, Midland, Texas

Official site: https://petroleummuseum.org/featured/exhibits/

2. Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center

Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center
Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

For a night of entertainment, plan to see a concert or performance at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center. The venue is owned by The University of Texas and attracts national acts, including Broadway shows, comedy, rock concerts, and symphony performances.

The center is located halfway between Midland and Odessa, and features over 150 live performances a year. It was designed to support arts on all levels, from collegiate to national performances. It is also designed to attract all income levels to take part in the arts in the community.

Review the Wagner Noël events calendar to book tickets before your trip to Midland.

Address: 1310 N. FM 1788, Midland, Texas

Official site: https://www.wagnernoel.com/

3. Odessa Meteor Crater Museum

Meteor Crater Museum
Meteor Crater Museum | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

Located on the western edge of Midland in neighboring Odessa is one of the most spectacular geological wonders at the Meteor Crater Museum. This is a small museum, but the grounds contain the second largest meteor crater in the United States behind Arizona and the sixth-largest in the world.

The 1,000-ton meteor that crashed in this region 63,000 years ago left a crater that spans over two square miles. Only in recent decades has more research been done on the site to identify that the meteor exploded before impact, creating clusters of meteor chunks that have been unearthed during the research. It is estimated that six tons of meteorites were found below ground under the craters. Some of those fragments are on display inside the museum.

Craters at the Meteor Crater Museum
Craters at the Meteor Crater Museum | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

The walking path outside meanders around two of the five craters, with signage explaining what happened in each location. Anyone interested in geology will enjoy the museum, which also features various meteorite pieces from around the world.

Address: 5599 Meteor Crater Road, Odessa, Texas

Official site: https://odessameteorcratermuseum.wordpress.com/

4. I-20 Wildlife Preserve

I-20 Wildlife Preserve
I-20 Wildlife Preserve | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

The I-20 Wildlife Preserve was designed to reconnect people with nature. It is one of the only urban playas in Texas, and it is a nice small preserve to visit to learn about the plants and wildlife that exist in the Permian Basin. This preserve is a 100-acre undisturbed natural area.

The most picturesque time to visit is during the spring and summer, when native animals can be seen at the lake and in the surrounding forest. The habitat is home to turtles, snakes and lizards, and mammals that live in the marshes. The preserve is an educational stop with a focus on the conservation of the natural resources of West Texas.

Address: 2201 S. Midland Drive, Midland, Texas

Official site: https://www.i20wp.org/

5. George W. Bush Childhood Home

George W. Bush Childhood Home
George W. Bush Childhood Home | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

When you step foot inside the George W. Bush Childhood Home, you can feel the essence of the American Dream: that you can do and be anything you want in your life. The restored 1950s home is where America's 43rd President, George W. Bush spent his childhood years in Midland.

Take a tour through the home, which is located in a Midland residential neighborhood to see how the Bush family lived before their legacy in public life. The home also provides insight into American life in the post-World War II era.

Walk in the spaces where two U.S. Presidents, two First Ladies, and two state Governors once lived. For those who are interested in history or politics, the home is a must-see in the city.

Address: 1412 West Ohio Avenue, Midland, Texas

Official site: http://bushchildhoodhome.org/

6. Museum of the Southwest

Museum of the Southwest
Museum of the Southwest | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

The eye-catching exterior of the Museum of the Southwest is only a preview to the impressive exhibits located inside of the 1934 Turner Mansion. This is a well-rounded museum, with exhibits that cover various facets of West Texas, from archaeology and art to science and history.

You can spend several hours in the museum visiting the Marian Blakemore Planetarium, where there are daily presentations; the Turner Memorial Art Gallery, with rotating exhibits; and the Fredda Turner Durham Children's Museum, with interactive displays for children.

The Turner Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Be sure to walk the exterior of the museum to see the sculpture garden, which features 15 beautiful art pieces that you can explore on a self-guided tour. If you visit during the summer, be sure to catch one of the Summer Sunday Lawn Concerts.

Address: 1705 W. Missouri Avenue, Midland, Texas

Official site: https://www.museumsw.org/visit

7. Scharbauer Sports Complex

Scharbauer Sports Complex
Scharbauer Sports Complex | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

Sporting events are big in Midland, both for locals and visitors, and many of those events take place at the Scharbauer Sports Complex. The complex houses a baseball park, soccer stadium, and a football stadium, so there are sporting events happening almost year-round. There is also a pavilion for concerts and events.

Cheer on the home teams with a night at the ballpark rooting for the Midland RockHounds, a minor-league team in the Texas League. The local soccer team is the Midland-Odessa Sockers FC, which is part of the National Premier Soccer League. There are recreational fields surrounding the complex, where you can find local sports teams practicing on most days.

Address: 5514 Champions Drive, Midland, Texas

8. Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans Memorial | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

The Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a profoundly visual display located near the Midland Airport. The memorial is dedicated to the servicemen and women from the 30 counties in West Texas that make up the Permian Basin region who sacrificed their lives in Vietnam.

A memorial flame stays lit in the center of a granite marker on the plaza, commemorating those who sacrificed their lives while serving the Navy, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard.

The focal point of the memorial is the statue of the helicopter and soldiers in the main part of the field. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located next to a park, where you can extend your visit with a picnic or a quarter-mile walk on the Midland Health and Wellness Loop.

Address: 9900 Wright Drive, Midland, Texas

9. Sibley Nature Center

Sibley Nature Center
Sibley Nature Center | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

A visit to the Sibley Nature Center in Hogan Park is one way to combine an excursion that looks at nature through a historical lens. The 49-acre area has nature trails for walking, but its main purpose is to teach visitors about the flora, fauna, habitats, and history of the region.

In addition to nature trails, you can take part in interpretive programs and seasonal events, and visit the wildlife viewing garden. This is a great spot for photographers to capture images of monarch butterflies and local plants like the mesquite and yuccas.

The Sibley Nature Center Library is a great resource for learning about the history of the area, with archived articles and essays relating to the people and life of West Texas. Admission is free to visit the center and walk the grounds.

Address: 1307 E. Wadley, Midland, Texas

Official site: https://www.sibleynaturecenter.org/

10. Midland County Horseshoe Arena

Midland County Horseshoe Arena
Midland County Horseshoe Arena | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

One of the largest entertainment venues in Midland is the Midland County Horseshoe Arena, which is a multi-purpose facility that hosts regular events, from rodeos and concerts to sporting events. The area consists of an arena, amphitheater, and pavilion.

Some of the regular features at the Horseshoe include livestock and equestrian events in addition to family entertainment shows. As you plan your Midland visit, you will want to look ahead at the events calendar to see what's happening at the Horseshoe Arena during your stay.

Address: 2514 Arena Trail, Midland, Texas

Official site: https://www.midlandhorseshoe.com/

11. Midland Community Theatre

Midland Community Theatre
Midland Community Theatre | Photo Copyright: Anietra Hamper

The Midland Community Theatre is one of the city's artistic gems. The theater hosts regular performances by local actors. There are generally monthly shows that range from classics like Cinderella to traditional holiday performances. The theater's mission is to provide opportunities for all ages to participate in performing arts, which makes this a nice venue to support during your visit.

Address: 2000 W. Wadley, Midland Texas

Official site: https://mctmidland.org/

12. Midland Army Airfield Museum

Midland Army Airfield Museum
Midland Army Airfield Museum | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

Anyone who enjoys aviation history will want to prioritize a visit to the Midland Army Airfield Museum. Located inside the Commemorative Air Force High Sky Wing hangar, the exhibits have many artifacts and military aircraft preserved for the public to see.

The experience at the museum is like walking into a 1940s bombardier training school, and provides one of the most unique looks into aircraft history. There are several exhibits that cover the role that West Texas played in WWII.

Some of the preserved aircraft on-site include the Aero L-39 Albatros, Cessna O-1A Bird Dog, and the North American SNJ/T-6 Texan. Admission is free, but hours are limited, so check the availability before you arrive.

Address: 9600 Wright Drive, Midland, Texas

Official site: http://highskywing.org/?page_id=3699

13. Monahans Sandhills State Park

Monahans Sandhills State Park
Monahans Sandhills State Park | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

A popular day excursion from Midland is to the Monahans Sandhills State Park, where towering sand dunes create a visual diversion from the otherwise flat landscape of West Texas. The state park is about a 45-minute drive from Midland but it's a worthwhile place to visit for a day playing on the dunes and witnessing one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the state.

The Monahans Sandhills is a stunning state park, with over 3,800 acres of sand dunes offering just a glimpse of their reach, which extends 150 miles north and is more than 22 miles wide. The dunes provide important habitat for plants and wildlife, but many visitors come here just for the chance to sled down them. Some of them reach 70 feet high. Sleds are available for rent from the park office.

Hiking and camping are popular at the park as well. There are no designated paths, which means if you plan to hike, you should be prepared for the journey. It is recommended that you take sunscreen, water, and sunglasses, as it is an open and sandy landscape.

Address: Park Rd. 41, Monahans, Texas

Official site: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/monahans-sandhills

14. Haley Memorial Library and History Center

Haley Memorial Library and History Center
Haley Memorial Library and History Center | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

The Haley Memorial Library and History Center is an educational resource for those who want to learn more about Western heritage. History buffs will enjoy just walking around inside and perusing the documents relating to the southwest pioneer settlement.

In addition to the research and archive collections, visitors can enjoy one of the center's many public events that take place throughout the year. Some of the best times to experience what the center has to offer are during the annual art show, or ranch storytelling events that include cowboy poetry, campfires, and stories from the Old West.

Address: 1805 W. Indiana Avenue, Midland, Texas

Official site: https://haleylibrary.com/

15. Chris Kyle Memorial

Chris Kyle Memorial
Chris Kyle Memorial | Photo Copyright: Ian Henderson

Take a 10-minute drive from central Midland to experience a moving memorial to Chris Kyle, also known as "The American Sniper." Chris Kyle is an American hero, born in Odessa, Texas in 1974, he died in 2013 after serving in the Iraq war and part of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 3.

The memorial plaza includes quotes from Chris Kyle that are etched into Texas limestone and granite, with tributes to his beliefs about service, honor, and treatment of military veterans. The grounds are artistic and symbolic.

The four live oak trees that surround the memorial were donated by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush from their Crawford ranch. The Texas and United States flags that flank the Chris Kyle statue are raised and lowered every day at sunrise and sunset.

Address: 8050 E Highway 191, Odessa, Texas

Odessa https://odessachamber.com/chris-kyle-memorial/

Where to Stay in Midland for Sightseeing

There are many types of hotels in Midland that range from suites and extended stays to budget accommodations. Here are some of our top recommendations:

Mid-Range Hotels:

Budget Hotels:

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