PopulationMetro: 260,495
Centrally located and a transportation lynchpin for a century, Amarillo is an economic engine with a growing tourism industry built on increasing access to stunning natural areas.

Few places are as quintessentially Texan as Amarillo. Everything you might associate with the Lone Star State—wide open spaces, cacti, cowboys, steak, and oil—is here.

Located right in the heart of the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo has been a key transportation hub for hundreds of years and today is the largest city on the 178-mile portion of Route 66 that stretches from Oklahoma to Texas and into New Mexico.

The allure of the Old West draws thousands of travelers to the ruggedly beautiful Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the second-largest canyon in the country after The Grand Canyon—people describe it as a 100-mile smile across the panhandle—and a popular spot for hiking and biking.

Place 55
Product 42
Programming 15
People 44
Prosperity 63
Promotion 20

Over the years, the city itself has drawn a number of Fortune 500 companies—Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart and Bell Helicopter Textron among them—that employ thousands of residents and help keep the unemployment rate at around 3%, one of the lowest in Texas. What makes the city’s workforce so successful is diversity. Industries ranging from agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing and cattle provide lots of job opportunities. “You have multiple avenues, multiple industries that employ a lot of people,” says Marin Rivas, Director at Workforce Development, an organization that helps employers recruit, hire, and retain qualified personnel.

Amarillo lands at #18 in our Prosperity category, led by the fifth-lowest Unemployment rate among U.S. small cities, #28 for Fortune 500 Companies, and #42 for Median Household Income.