Midland is usually associated with its nearest neighbor, Odessa – 25 miles west. Texans pronounce the two cities in the Panhandle Region as one – “Midland-Odessa.” But this west Texas town has a style and flavor all its own. Midland is part of the Permian Basin – a unique geological area that contains large quantities of oil, natural gas, and dinosaur fossils. Moderate in size, approximately 139,000 residents call the city home. The city sits on the edge of West Texas’ Southern Plains, where the summers are hot, and the winters are cold and dry.
Never a dull moment, Midlanders have their choice of arts, music, and festival entertainment. And not surprisingly, the nightlife has a decidedly western flair. Ready to have some fun in West Texas? Keep reading to learn about things to do in Midland.
Outdoor Adventures in Midland
The area’s landscape is unique. It offers Midlanders and their pets ample room to run and play under the Texas sky. They can choose from over 15 city-based parks and nearby outdoor preserves. There are also countless community pools, water parks, and splash pads.
Popular Midland Parks
- Sibley Nature Center
- Hogan’s Run Park and Dog Park
- Comanche Trail Park
- I-20 Wildlife Preserve
- Beal Park
- Centennial Park
West Texas is known for its wide-open spaces. Nestled in a geological area known as the Edwards Plateau, the 40 acre Midland’s Sibley Nature Center offers tours celebrating the region’s flora and fauna. It is adjacent to Hogan’s Run Park and Dog Park.
Comanche Trail Park is an area treasure offering 400 acres of outdoor entertainment. Park-goers enjoy a 6900-seat arena and various celebratory facilities. Outdoor activities include water sports, tennis courts, and a skate park. And like many of Midland’s other parks, it welcomes leashed dogs. Another area jewel is the I-20 Wildlife Preserve. The Preserve is a 100-acre playa lake wilderness and wetlands preserve open to the public.
Inside the loop, Beal Park is popular for get-togethers and outdoor sports. The park is also close to the Waggin Tails Dog Park. Downtown’s convenient Centennial Park offers a splash fountain, pop-up events, and an open-air stage.
Midland Water Recreation
Midland Water Recreation Destinations
- Doug Russell Pool
- Washington Aquatic Center
- Washington Pool
- Splash pads
The Midland area is home to several community pools and water parks. These liquid oases are the perfect places to cool off during a hot West Texas summer. The community’s Doug Russell Pool offers open swimming and a separate area with slides and a rock wall. The Washington Aquatic Center and Washington Pool are a water playground with two giant slides and a pool in the city’s heart. If you are up for a bit of a drive, the Sherwood Park Aquatic Center in Odessa is a fun-filled day.
Another way to cool off is the city’s many “splash pads,” upward fountain designs reminiscent of backyard sprinklers. HEB sponsors a splash pad, as does the Rockhound Baseball Complex.
Midland Hiking & Biking Trails
Popular Midland Trails
- The Preserve
- Comanche Trail Park
- Windlands Park paths
- Midland Trail Park
Midland is full of off-beat locations. Either for a leisurely walk or in need of a challenging bike trail, both The Preserve and Comanche Trail Park are perfect for hiking and biking. Closer to the city, one can jog the paths at Windlands Park.
Midland Trail Park, a single-track trail in SE Midland, offers easy access for hikers, runners, and bicyclists. A little further from home, the Odessa Meteor Crater Trail Loop is an easy .3 mile walk.
Midland has planned trails and corridors as a growing municipality, ensuring safe off-street hiking and biking for Midlanders.
There are numerous lists of Midland’s outdoor activities. However, hidden gems like Gafa Park or the Sibley Perimeter Loop shine through with some research and perseverance. The unique geological and topographical area that is the Texas Permian Basin offers an unending opportunity to explore nature.
The Best Shops in Midland
Midland Shopping Destinations
- The Pink Pug
- Escents Candle Company
- So Fly Boutique
- Midland Downtown Farmers Market
- Wall St Antiques
- Kingsway Antiques and Collectibles
- Cat’s Meow
There’s so much good shopping in Midland. Of course, one can find most of the major chain stores, but if you enjoy boutique shopping-this is the place.
The Pink Pug is a small gift shop with an array of gifts and clothes-perfect for browsing. Another fun shop is a family-owned and operated Escents Candle Company, featuring uniquely scented hand-poured candles. These small-batch items highlight fragrances such as “bourbon leather” and “Christmas morning.” Meanwhile, the So Fly Boutique sells an eclectic mix of retro and modern antiques.
Another great place to browse is the Midland Downtown Farmers Market. In addition to organic growings, one can find handmade jams, jewelry, spices, and oils.
Whether looking for high-end items at Kingsway Antiques and Collectibles or that perfect vintage treasure at the Cat’s Meow, shopping for antiques and collectibles in Midland is an adventure. And getting lost in Midland’s 19,000 sq. ft, Wall St Antiques — the largest antique dealer mall in NW Texas — is easy.
Delicious Restaurants in Midland
Popular Midland Restaurants
- Back in the Day Cafe
- Bob’s Better Burger
- Venezia Restaurant
Midland’s 200 restaurants offer a window into the city’s culture and style – from Sapporo Ramen to Librado, an intimate seafood eatery. An area jewel is Scotty’s Soulfood. It offers an authentic menu with generous portions in a laidback setting. Scotty’s is a few blocks’ walk from luxury townhomes and apartments. It even has bike parking. Craving biscuits and gravy or a good old-fashioned breakfast? Back in the Day Cafe is a local favorite.
The small plate eatery, Butter, provides a relaxing atmosphere. Menu offerings include Basil Pesto Hummus or Boudin Balls with Pepperjack Cheese.
Delight your tastebud with Midland’s famous Bob’s Better Burger. Located in an old burger stand, but don’t let the look fool you. Bob’s has been an area staple for over 20 years. Locals sing praises for the hot juicy burgers, crispy fries, and thick chocolate shakes.
Looking for an upscale Italian experience, visit Venezia Restaurant. This family-owned restaurant features an award-winning 500 item wine list and Northern Italian cuisine.
Arts & Culture in Midland
Midland’s vast artistic community enhances the city through unique offerings. Whether interested in an afternoon of browsing through classical and contemporary fine art galleries or a day’s adventure at the non-profit community arts center, Midland, Texas, will satisfy your artistic cravings.
Popular Midland Museums
- Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Library, and Hall of Fame
- Susie’s South Forth Confections Candy Factory
- Marion Blakemore Planetarium
- Haley Library and History Center
Museums abound in the Tall City. The area is known for oil production, so why not a museum housing the world’s largest antique collection of oil drilling equipment? The Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Library, and Hall of Fame.
For a sweeter day, visit Susie’s South Forth Confections Candy Factory, which holds a Guinness World Record for the largest piece of toffee. Up for a bit of science? The Marion Blakemore Planetarium houses a Spitz SciDome HD Star Projectors, one of a few in the world.
In search of history? Midland does not disappoint. The first Alamo bell is on display at the Haley Library and History Center. Nearby in Odessa is the Presidential Museum and Leadership Library.
Midland Art Galleries
Popular Midland Art Galleries
- McCormick Art Gallery
- Midland African American Roots Council
- Museum of the Southwest
- Baker Schorr Fine Art
- Fa-Fa Gallery
Located within Midland College’s McCormick Art Gallery offers student and professional exhibits in various media. The Midland African American Roots Council showcases African-American culture through contemporary media, art, artifacts, music, and performances. Another unique offering is the Museum of the Southwest, four separate facilities displaying permanent art collections, legacy, and transient art. This art complex includes the Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum.
A relatively new gallery, the Baker Schorr Fine Art, features twentieth-century modern art, focusing on American Abstract painters and contemporary art. Another unique working gallery is the Fa-Fa gallery – a local artists’ gallery.
Midland Dance & Theatre
Midland Dance & Theatre Opportunities
- The Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center
- Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale
- Yucca Theatre
The Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center opens its stage to Broadway tours, ballet, opera, and symphony. And it is home to the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale, which offers classical and pop performances, including a production of the Nutcracker. The 1800-seat hall also hosts the Live on Stage Permian Basin Series, highlighting pop and jazz artists from around the globe. The Yucca Theatre presents Summer Mummers – the oldest continuous summer performance in the USA.
Art thrives in Midland. Whether you are a patron of the classics, a member of the Quilters Guild, the Palette Club, or a writer searching for a home at the Permian Basin Bookies, there are infinite ways to celebrate art within the community.
Midland Nightlife Destinations
- Bean and Grape
- Little Woodrow’s
- The Hemingway
- Tall City Brewing Co
- The Rockin Rodeo
- Kojack’s Poker Club
- Big Sky Drive-In Theater
- Midland RockHounds games
Midland’s nightlife appeals to everyone – from laidback and cozy to swinging music and bright lights.
The Bean and Grape, a cozy wine bar, is great for a quiet evening. And, Texas Longhorn alums will recognize Little Woodrow’s – a casual sports bar with an outdoor patio peppered with fire pits. Little Woodrow’s is a quick trip from several West Midland gated communities.
For an intimate evening of small plates and drinks, visit The Hemingway. This unique bar provides an impressive selection of cigars. Relax either indoors or on the patio while listening to live music. Another option, the Tall City Brewing Co, offers crafts beers, music, and food trucks for a fun evening – dogs welcome.
The Rockin Rodeo, located North East of downtown, is a boot-stomping good time. The Rodeo features ticketed performances and non-stop dancing. The Ox Dance Bar and Night Club is a city favorite -known for dining, drinks, and live music.
For a night of cards, try Kojack’s Poker Club – a private BYOB poker club offering tournaments and snacks.
Midland is home to one of the last drive-in theaters. The Big Sky Drive-In Theater has two screens with first-run films. Snuggle in your car or bring chairs to the lawn.
If you prefer a sportier evening, try the Midland RockHounds – the “AA” affiliate of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.
Fun-Filled Days Await in Midland
Midland started in 1881 as a Texas Pacific Railroad “Midway Station” between the city of Dallas and the El Paso community. A vibrant city with its roots in energy production, the area’s economy has expanded to newer industries such as aerospace and healthcare. This diversity of industry provides economic growth, supporting a culture rich in art and community.