Welcome! No matter where you're coming from, you'll find a little bit of everything in Abilene, and much of it with a special West Texas twist.
The City of Abilene, Texas, is located approximately 180 miles due west of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. We’re situated in west central Texas near the geographic center of the state, Situated adjacent to Interstate 20, Abilene is the center of a 22-county area commonly referred to as the Texas Midwest or the Big Country. Abilene serves as the county seat for Taylor County, one of 254 counties inTexas. Taylor County has a current population of about 120,000, 115,930 of which live within the Abilene city limits.
View the Abilene Demographic Profile
Described as "the Future Great City of West Texas," Abilene was established in March 1881 upon the completion of the Texas & Pacific Railroad. Click here to read more about Abilene's colorful history.
Abilene 's civic progressiveness and its logistic function as a regional center for distribution, commerce, industry, transportation, and education provide an assortment of lodging, dining, cultural, and shopping opportunities typically found only in much larger cities.
Carrying On Our Western Heritage
With a history of cattle, railroads and oil, the City of Abilene retains a strong western legacy with a distinctive family atmosphere. Abilene‘s pride in this is showcased each May at the Western Heritage Classic, a three-day weekend event focusing on the western lifestyle and values of the working ranch. The highlight of the weekend, the Ranch Rodeo, features 11 historic ranches. Other events include a Downtown parade, the Ranch Horse Association of America (RHAA) Working Ranch Horse National Finals, the "World’s Largest Bit & Spur Show," a chuck wagon cook-off, cowboy poetry and music, matched horse races, a western art show, children’s events and other entertainment. For more information, phone 325-677-4376 or go online to www.westernheritageclassic.com.
Abilene continues its cowboy heritage by hosting numerous cutting horse and other western equestrian events held at the Taylor County Expo Center.
The West Texas Fair and Rodeo is held for ten days each September and features food, rides, exhibits and amusements celebrating West Texas. The remains of Fort Phantom Hill can be seen ten miles north of Abilene. The fort burned shortly after abandonment in 1854. The stone commissary, a guardhouse, a powder magazine, and numerous chimneys and foundations remain.
Historic Downtown Abilene
The downtown area is undergoing a renaissance with the steady growth of cultural, shopping, and dining attractions centered around historic Cypress Street, stretching from the Abilene Civic Center to the restored T&P Railroad Depot and the new Frontier Texas! venue, which houses a Visitor Information Center. Trolley buses provide free transportation to the downtown. Click here to take a virtual walking tour of downtown.
The Paramount Theater on Cypress Street is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This fully restored art deco movie theater features a ceiling with slow drifting clouds and twinkling stars on a blue sky, numerous archways, and a bell tower with twin domed turrets. The theater shows classic films on weekends and hosts art films, plays, and concerts throughout the year.
Two blocks down the street from the Paramount, and also on the National Register of Historic Places, is the Grace Cultural Center, a beautifully restored 1909 hotel. the Grace houses a history Museum, an art Museum and an interactive children’s Museum, as well as a permanent collection. Throughout the year, The Grace hosts special exhibits, classes, seminars, weddings and other special events.
The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) is housed in the restored Rhodes Auto Building at North 1st and Cedar Streets. The only one of its kind in the nation, the center features art exhibits from children's books. The NCCIL promotes educational programming by conducting docent-led school tours of featured exhibits.
In the area of the performing arts, Abilene has the variety you'd expect to see only in larger cities, including an opera company, a philharmonic orchestra, two community theater troupes, three university theaters, professional touring shows, and several dance studios.
For recreational pursuits, the city also offers 26 spacious parks. The largest is Nelson Park, located across from the West Texas Fair Grounds. The park features a lake, playgrounds, a duck pond, a festival garden (make reservations through Community Services – 325-676-6218), and is home to the Abilene Zoo.
Discover the wonderful world of wildlife at teh Abilene Zoo! Home to over 600 animals from around the globe, a visit to the Abilene Zoo is filled with fun and excitement for the entire family. Check out the King Cobra and the Creepy Crawler Center, come eye to eye with giraffes on the giraffe bridge and stroll through Elm Creek Backyard, home to dozens of Texas Species.
Hop abaord the Safari Express zoo train, treat yourself to a hot dog and a beverage at the Watering Hole and select a souvenir of your visit at the zoo store. Become a member and enjoy a year of free zoo admission. Take part in one of our many educational classes or programs. There's always something new to see and do at the Abilene Zoo!
Discover the wonderful world of wildlife at the Abilene Zoo! Home to over 600 animals from around the globe, a visit to the Abilene Zoo is filled with fun and excitement for the entire family. Check out the King Cobra at the Creepy Crawler Center, come eye to eye with giraffes on the giraffe bridge, and stroll through Elm Creek Backyard, home to dozens of Texas species.
You can treat yourself to a hot dog and a beverage at the Watering Hole and select a souvenir of your visit at the zoo store. Become a member and enjoy a year of free zoo admission. Take part in one of our many educational classes or programs. There’s always something new to see and do at the Abilene Zoo!
Abilene also boasts four public golf courses, six softball fields, and a very active tennis community. The city also offers two disc golf courses at Cal Young and Will Hair Parks and the first municipally-owned concrete skate park.
Two city-owned lakes also offer public parks with recreational facilities. Lake Fort Phantom Hill features:
Johnson Park, located at the northwest end of the lake adjacent to the dam, has restrooms and picnic tables with grills. The park is close to the Texas Parks and Wildlife boat ramp and dock, with a half-mile of shoreline.
Seabee Park, located at the very southwest end of the lake, offers a model airplane field with a concrete runway, restrooms and a small boat ramp.
(Bait stores a located at FM600 and Ambler, and on FM 600 at FM 1082).
Lake Kirby features eight lighted ball fields, a large picnic shelter, restroom facility, a floating fishing dock and a boat ramp.
The City prides itself on the good relationship it maintains with Dyess Air Force Base and its more than 4,000 civilian and military personnel. Dyess is home to the Air Combat Command B-1 Lancer and the Air Mobility Command C-130 Hercules. The base is open for prearranged tours and has a Linear Air Park exhibit featuring 30 aircraft from World War II to the modern era.
The City maintains a full-service regional airport with commuter flights to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport available from American Eagle Airlines. Facilities to support charter flights are also available.
Abilene has been recognized as having one of the best small transit systems in the country. CityLink offers service on 12 fixed routes throughout the city, including the popular downtown trolley. Paratransit, curb-to-curb service for the disabled, and extended hours service are also available.
The city is home to three church-related institutions of higher learning: Abilene Christian University (Church of Christ); Hardin-Simmons University (Baptist) and McMurry University (Methodist). US News and World Report has recognized all three as top private liberal arts colleges. The city's 10,000 + student population is supplemented by Texas State Technical College and the Abilene Education Center of Cisco Junior College. Texas Tech University opened the Center for Excellence in Engineering Graduate Studies and Research in Downtown Abilene in August 2002.
Average annual temperature is 64.5 degrees, with a hottest month average of 83.9 degrees and coldest month average of 43.7 degrees
Average annual rainfall is 23.59 inches, and average wind speed is 12.1 miles per hour. Average daytime relative humidity is 50 percent, and average elevation is 1,790 feet above sea level.