Ready for the ultimate Wild West Adventure? Welcome to Odessa, Texas. This hidden gem in the Lone Star state is known for its big rigs, cowboy culture, and Friday night football. But Explorers will find this small town might just be the perfect spot to launch their American Dream. Along with its sister city, Midland, Odessa offers outdoor activities, great food, engaging cultural experiences, and a welcoming community. Odessa and West Texas are often overshadowed by the state’s larger cities, such as Houston, Dallas, or Austin. However, Explorers will enjoy a lower cost of living, a family-friendly atmosphere, and a city rich in history.
Jack Rabbit Roping Capital
Odessa’s history dates back to the 19th century when it was founded as a water stop and cattle-shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway. Today, the area is mostly known for the energy industry and a very unique mascot. “Jack Ben Rabbit” is an eight-foot-tall rabbit statue built in 1962. The statue was a tribute to Odessa’s jackrabbit roping competition and has since become a resident favorite. Sunny days are a common occurrence in Odessa. The area has a semiarid climate. Summers are hot and dry, with average lows of 72°F (22.22°C) to highs of 94°F (34.44°C). Winters are mild and dry, with lows averaging 33°F (.55°C) to highs of 58°F (14.44°C). If you’re headed to Odessa, saddle up for some fun.
Quality of Life
- Cost of Living: 15.8 percent below the national rate
- Population: 112,906 based on the 2020 Census estimate
- Median Home Sale Price: $246,900
- Average Rent: $1210 (1 bedroom)
- Median Household Income: $66,796
- Per Capita Income: $32,728
- Live below the poverty line: 13.4 percent
- Median Age: 30.4 years
- Average commute time: 22.5 minutes
Odessa is home to Odessa Regional Medical Center and Medical Center Hospital, rated high performing in four adult procedures and conditions by U.S. News & World Report. Nearby Midland Memorial Hospital was also rated high performing in one procedure.
Explorers can enroll younger family members in an Odessa public school within the Ector County Independent School District.
- Overall grade: C (niche.com)
- Student-teacher ratio: 19 to 1
- Serving: students in Pre-K, K through high school
Midland Odessa Urban Transit District EZ-Rider provides public bus transportation throughout the Midland Odessa urban area.
Midland International Airport (MAF) has over 20 daily non-stop flights to Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Denver.
Mural Trail Explore Odessa’s diverse collection of murals depicting the city’s history, culture, and way of life. Start at Lake View Center off Dorado Drive and make your way west to Dough Boy Café off W. 10th St. and Lasseter Ave.
Shopping Chimney Rock Shopping Center has popular retailers such as Marshalls, Ulta Beauty, Best Buy, and T Mobile. Find Dillard’s, MAC Cosmetics, Coach, American Eagle, Dicks Sporting Goods, and more at Midland Park Mall.
Good Eats Whether you’re in the mood for Italian, American, Asian, or good ol’ Tex-Mex, Odessa has plenty of good eats and watering holes. Rooster’s Diner started off as a food truck, but this family-owned business has flourished, serving favorites such as wanton tacos and brisket grilled cheese. Try some Mexico City enchiladas, lemon ricotta pancakes, or kale chicken salad at the Red Oak Kitchen.
Odessa Meteor Crater Visit the area struck by a meteor approximately 62,000 years ago and discovered in 1892 by Julius Henderson, a nearby rancher.
The University of Texas Permian Basin UTPB is an educational, cultural, and entertainment asset in the heart of Odessa. Watch the Falcons compete in baseball, football, basketball, tennis, and more. See a play or watch a musical performance on campus.
Odessa Parks Take a few laps at an aquatic center, play disc golf, or hike and bike trails at one of the several parks around the city.
Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center Broadway, symphony, live performances; get your ticket for the next show at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.
Big Sky Drive-In Theatre Watch the latest Hollywood hits from the comfort of your front seat at the Big Sky Drive-In. Open Wednesday through Sunday, grab some popcorn and take in a double feature.
Museum of the Southwest Interact with the arts, science, history, and culture. A children’s museum, planetarium, art, and temporary exhibits provide visitors with educational and entertaining experiences.
Sibley Nature Center Explore 49 acres of nature trails, a museum, and a library at Sibley Nature Center in Hogan Park. Enjoy wildlife viewing and the natural beauty of the Permian Basin.
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