Cadillac Ranch: A Staple of Roadside Texas
20-40 minutes depending on how into this you get
What To Do
Spray paint Cadillacs
Cadillac Ranch is a roadside attraction in Amarillo, Texas. And of course, it lies just off Route 66, where all good roadside attractions should.
As for curb appeal and intrigue, it can't be beat. When you drive up, the first thing you see is a row of brightly-colored horizontal Cadillacs. Who wouldn't stop and check it out?
When I approached the site, I immediately became enraptured by the layout of the Cadillacs. Each one is nose first in the ground, extending up at the exact angle as the one next to it. This feature and the brilliant colors make Cadillac Ranch a true work of art. And I am not the only one thinking this. The cars bring a constant flow of people to the attraction in order to participate.
According to RoadsideAmerica.com, the attraction was created as an art spectacle in 1974 by a group of artists from San Francisco known as The Ant Farm. The land was owned by a billionaire named Stanley Marsh III. Check out the link for more history on the site.
So when you arrive, you basically just take your paint and spray whatever you want, wherever you want, knowing very well that it will disappear under the layers within a week. That is all part of the allure though. The layers build over time and create a stack of dried spray paint that is quite beautiful. Artists come by and scrape off these layers to create jewelry, which, on a nice day, you can find for sale outside the gates of Cadillac Ranch.
As a preface, this may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but free things generally are not. Your kids will love it though. After all, how often do they get a chance to spray paint a car! (Or spray paint anything for that matter.)
If you are headed to Cadillac Ranch, make sure you take a can of spray paint. There are usually men selling some out of their vans at the site, but they'll of course be marked up, and I'm not sure of the legality of the situation.
So that's pretty much it. Grab some paint, grab your kids, and get outside to explore life.
1 can of paint goes a long way.
Do the owner a favor and take out what you bring in. This is not a dump, it's a work of art. The owner does the world a favor by offering this free attraction. The site won't be so beautiful if caked with trash.
If you have younger children, take one of those spray paint nozzles to make spraying easier.
Don't stand down wind when your painting. :)
If you enjoy Cadillac Ranch, don't miss the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Texas.