This article has been updated for 2019, as there is always something new happening in Lubbock!
Picture the perfect, melt-in-your-mouth Texas brisket –smoked low and slow creating juicy meat and no sauce. Now picture a recipe for the ideal Texas community–one part big city living with small-town southern charm, sprinkled with a love of college football, a robust economy and unmatched outdoor beauty, and you get Lubbock, Texas. We have a saying around here, “Lubbock or leave it.” Here’s why you’re guaranteed to never leave it.
There is no denying that the Hub of the Plains is a great place to live, work, and go to school. Don’t believe us? Lubbock has been in the news more frequently, although for the strangest reasons. In recent years, Lubbock has been described as: “most boring city”, “best commute in the US”, “best city for 35 and under”, and “best city for new college grads“. We wonder what recognition Lubbock will earn in the future? Well, here is some information about Lubbock that may made us realize, it is the best place to live in 2019.
Enjoy Big City Life
Forget about flyover country. Lubbock is the 11th largest city in the state and falls in the top 100 most populated cities in the United States with a population of more than 300,000 people. And you might think all these people mean more traffic, but you’d be wrong. In fact, Lubbock was recently named one of the top 5 cities with both best traffic and work-life balance. Lower average housing costs, a large population with people under 45 years old, and the shortest commute time of any city in the rankings are just a few reasons why Zumper rated Lubbock in the Top Ten Best Cities to Raise a Family.
Nicknamed “Hub City” for being the major economic, educational, and health-care hub of the region, Lubbock is considered a large city by the US Census and it’s only getting bigger. By 2021, Lubbock is expected to pick up an additional 117,000 people or about a 7% growth rate. To put this into perspective, some of the largest cities in the country like New York City are experiencing a growth rate of less than 3%. Everything truly is bigger in Texas.
Not only are people moving to Lubbock in droves, but there’s also a lot of construction with many new restaurants and businesses coming to town. Just in the past several years, we picked up Costco, CarMax, Alamo Drafthouse, Torchy’s Tacos, Cabela’s, H&M, a Nike outlet and Dunkin Donuts.
Some of the entrants we’re most excited about? When it comes to donuts, few do it better than Shipley’s. Get these mouth-watering treats plain or blanketed in flavored icing, glazed, sprinkled, or with nuts. House favorites include kolaches, double chocolate with sprinkles, cinnamon, and boston cream. Master Brewer Greg Villarreal Jr. opened a new brewery in the Arts District featuring craft beer, live music, and tasty street food. Try the Buddy Hoppy IPA, you won’t be disappointed! And of course, no list of Texan food is complete without mentioning barbeque. You could say there’s been some BBQ wars heating up between The Shack and Texas Monthly’s choice for best in state, Evie Mae’s. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Get a Job
You can find just about any kind of job in Lubbock. Manufacturing, for instance, is going to make an even bigger splash in this West Texas pond. We have Tyco, UniFirst, Warren Equipment, and XFab that offer the most employment opportunities. Check out the largest employers of Lubbock to get a better idea.
In addition to manufacturing, there are a plethora of options at Texas Tech and other industries, call center and customer service jobs, oil drilling and clean wind energy! Austin tends to be known as the startup capital of Texas, but Lubbock does have a startup accelerator and Uber and Lyft rode into town! In 2016, Lubbock added its first co-working space and new technology companies like EyeGuide have been opening downtown ever since.
The unemployment rate in Lubbock has been steadily dropping, and is now at 3.1% as of March 2019, one of the lowest in the Lone Star state! Lubbock’s job market also increased by 2.4% over the last year and future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 39.8%, which is about 5% higher than the U.S. average. When you consider the 7-8% annual population growth, Lubbock has an economy that is strong and flexible. In fact, Lubbock was recently ranked as one of the top cities for job seekers by Wallet Hub. Forbes has also featured Lubbock quite extensively here.
Get More for Your Money
Not only are you likely to find a job here, but the cost of living can’t be beat. Compared to the rest of the country, Lubbock’s cost of living is 14.70% lower than the U.S. average. The median cost of a home in Lubbock is just $134,900. This buys you a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with between 1,200 and 2,000 square feet. We’re talking sprinkler system, 2 car garage, hardwood floors – the works! Yes, you can live in style and comfort. Expect to find a roomy, luxury 1,000+ square foot apartment for less than $800 a month!
Home values are rising too, meaning the value of your home will continue to increase each year – a big difference when you consider the entire subdivisions of new homes all over the country sitting empty.
The center of Lubbock. Well not really, but the center in the spiritual sense.
Lubbock has two major universities. Texas Tech is a state university ranked in the top 100 public colleges with undergrad, graduate and PHD programs in multiple disciplines. The school also offers one of the best engineering programs in the country. When in session, Lubbock is lively with its own subculture of around 36,000 students. And Texas Tech football is a hub of activity for thousands of people each fall.
But, Tech is not the only university of note in the area. Lubbock Christian University is a force to be dealt with, turning out hundreds of graduates in many different fields every year. They also have a baseball program that competes at a national level regularly.
Wayland Baptist University also has a major branch in Lubbock, as does South Plains College. By the way, if you are into music, South Plains College has music degrees in performance, sound, production, and many other ways to make money in that field.
Best Medical Care
Lubbock has perhaps the largest medical system in the Southwest. Covenant Medical System operates two hospitals, and between these and the University Medical Center, you can get some of the best medical care in the country. UMC has a nationally known cancer research center, and both systems have outstanding heart disease specialists.
If travel’s your thing, Lubbock has you covered with the only international airport within 2 hours. People travel hundreds of miles to use Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. Southwest, American and United have affordable flights to Dallas and beyond. Direct, non-stop flights are available to most Texas cities.
You’ll experience fast security lines, affordable parking and remember Uber and Lyft are always options for getting around town. It may be the cleanest, smallest and least populated airport you ever visit. Fun fact: you can show up 30 minutes before a flight at the Lubbock airport and not be late! Take that DFW!
Spectacular Natural Beauty
Love hiking or biking? You’re in luck. Lubbock is located on top of the Caprock, which was originally the shoreline of the ancient Gulf of Mexico. That means there are two canyons nearby, which make for breathtaking hikes and challenging biking trails.
Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States, after the Grand Canyon. Just a 1.5 hour drive from Lubbock, it’s a convenient weekend destination with plenty of hiking, mountain biking, and camping.
Caprock Canyon is even closer and less traveled. Take in the rugged landscape and truly hike the real West Texas. It’s our personal favorite, there’s the State of Texas Bison herd, less people than Palo Duro and less mountain biking, perfect for hikers.
The Guadalupe Mountains, one of the most remote national parks in the country. Guadalupe Peak is 8,750 feet high and a 6 hour journey from top to bottom.
The Guadalupe Mountains is a Texas national park 3.5 hours south of town. Lubbock is the largest city within driving distance, making this national park one of the least visited in the entire country. With the largest mountain in Texas and an abundance of caves, even a local Lubbock grotto seeks routine spelunking missions to the Guadalupe’s. Carlsbad Caverns, a national park of New Mexico is also nearby for weekend excursions.
This guy put Lubbock on the map, so to speak.
Lubbock may appear isolated from other large cities and entertainment venues, but that just means we make our own entertainment! This slice of the state is the birthplace of many famous musicians including Buddy Holly, Mac Davis, Waylon Jennings, and Natalie Maines.
Our rich musical tradition is maintained at all levels, from the School of Bluegrass at South Plains College to the Cactus Theater and Moonlight Musicals. The picturesque and historic Depot District has nightly performances and great weekend shows. Fans of country music can regularly see major acts on tour in Lubbock.
The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra features classical music all season long with world renowned musicians and singers. In the summer, the orchestra plays in the park and during colder weather, it performs in the strikingly modern Civic Center. The Civic Center is also where Ballet Lubbock performs. The Lubbock Concert Band is open to adult instrumentalists, and presents several high-quality performances a year.
The fine arts thrive in this city, but that is not the only entertainment here. If you like museums, then the Museum of Texas Tech will blow your socks off. Contemporary art, sculpture, science exhibits, and some of the best dinosaur and wildlife exhibits are found at the Tech Museum. The Silent Wings Museum and Ranching Heritage Center are other great destinations for those who love museums.
There are several high quality golf courses in Lubbock and even a Top Golf! Youth sports thrive in the area with an entire complex dedicated to youth soccer and local high schools are packed for most sporting events.
Joyland Amusement Park is located in the beautiful MacKenzie Park, which is complete with a lake, stream and prairie dogs. Joyland is family owned and not only has a great variety of rides, but has an antique Carousel. Security is present at the amusement park, which helps when turning kids loose to run from ride to ride. West of town is a small waterpark for summer fun. In addition, Texas Tech has an outdoor aquatics center, complete with a lazy river and wave pool.
You will find some of the most creative minds right here in Lubbock! Maybe it’s because individualism is still valued here, but the arts are strong and highly regarded in Lubbock.
The Lubbock Arts Alliance does a fantastic job promoting arts in the Lubbock community, providing classes, art shows, and more. Their Lubbock Arts Festival has over 30,000 attendees every year.
The First Friday Art Trail is another fantastic opportunity to rub shoulders with local legends and entrepreneurs. Every month, you can attend this event at your own pace or take one of the trolleys downtown to enjoy the show.
The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts is a beautiful facility showcasing local artists. The Center is the jumping-off-place for the First Friday Art Trail, as well as for many other artists.
You also get beautiful sunsets, like this one taken at Higginbotham Park.
The Place to Be
How many other cities offer a great mix of job opportunities, low cost of living, affordable housing, and plenty of great food and entertainment? Lubbock gives you a big city with a small town atmosphere, and all of the opportunities you would find in the Metroplex.
Ready to start packing? Good, just don’t forget to practice getting those guns up!
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