LOCATION: Somewhere in the Texas panhandle. Lubbock is 318 miles from Dallas, 345 miles from El Paso and 500 miles from Denver.
NICKNAME: Hub City of the South Plains.
HIGH AND DRY: At 3,241 feet, Lubbock has little summer humidity. The sun shines an average of 267 days a year, which city fathers say is more than any other major city in Texas.
POPULAR GRUBBERY: Fifty-Yard Line Restaurant. It's a favorite stop of media, coaches and teams passing through. Features steaks with football position names.
TRENDY: Depot District. Unique nightclub and restaurant area featuring The Depot Restaurant, specializing in steaks and prime rib; the 19th Street Warehouse, known for premium live music; and the Depot Beer Garden, where you can relax under the stars.
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP: South Plains Mall has more than 150 stores and shops. Cactus Alley features specialty shopping in a quaint atmosphere. Three flea markets, too.
MOTELS: At least 30, including two Holiday Inns, two La Quintas, two Super 8s, a Sheraton, a Days Inn and a Best Western.
FAMOUS SON: Buddy Holly. Look for the heroic size bronze statue of the late, great rock and roll singer at 8th and Avenue Q.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Lubbock has its own symphony orchestra.
VISITOR INFO: 1-800 692-4035.
POPULATION: 548,000 in city limits, 1,003,100 in metro area. Austin is the second fastest growing city in the U.S.
LOCATION: Within 200 miles of San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, and 225 miles from the Mexican border.
NICKNAME: Live Music Capital of the World.
HIGH AND FLY: Austin is home to North America's largest urban bat population. Up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly nightly from spring through fall.
POPULAR GRUBBERY: Any Tex-Mex restaurant. Austin bills itself as the unofficial Mexican food capital of the known world. Or dine at one of Austin's brew pubs. Waterloo Brewing Co., The Bitter End and The Copper Tank are all within walking distance of each other.
TRENDY: Sixth Street. With its wide variety of clubs and restaurants, festive atmosphere and bustling street life, "Old Pecan Street" has been compared to Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Hang out at the Hang 'Em High Saloon.
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP: Many neighborhood shopping centers, plus the Dobie Mall.
MOTELS: Countless. In every price range. Many bed and breakfast establishments, too.
FAMOUS SON: Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum, 2313 Red River St., is open every day except Christmas. Admission is free.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Austin is the largest city in the U.S. without a professional baseball team.
VISITOR INFO: 1-800 926-2282.
LOCATION: About 90 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth in the Brazos River Valley.
NICKNAME: City With a Soul.
HIGH AND DRY: Suspension Bridge, a Waco landmark, was built in 1870 at Six-Shooter Junction and was the only span over the Brazos River on the Chisholm Trail.
POPULAR GRUBBERY: Tanglewood Farms, featuring homemade biscuits and desserts, steaks, catfish and, of course, chicken-fried steak. Voted Waco's best restaurant, it's located across from Baylor U.
TRENDY: Cameron Park Zoo. (Remember, Baylor is a Baptist school).
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP: Go to Brazos Square or Crossroads West or Eastgate Plaza or anywhere. As the Chamber of Commerce says, "shopping is definitely a form of recreation in Waco."
MOTELS: More than 20, including a Hilton Inn and a Clarion. Also, seven bed-and-breakfast inns.
FAMOUS SON: The Texas Ranger. You'll find an extensive collection of Texas Ranger and Indian relics at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum at I-35 and University Parks Dr.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Waco is the home of Dr. Pepper. A museum at 300 South Fifth St. features a turn-of-the-century soda fountain that dispenses floats and shakes.
VISITOR INFO: 1-800 321-9226.
POPULATION: College Station adjoins Bryan to form a Brazos County urban area of more than 100,000 people.
LOCATION: Ninety miles east of Austin, 90 miles north of Houston and 165 miles south of Dallas.
FLYING LOW: Bryan-College Station is home of the Texas World Speedway, the only super speedway west of the Mississippi River.
POPULAR GRUBBERY: Tom's Barbecue and Steakhouse, 3601 S. College Ave. Try Tom's Famous Aggie Special -- barbecue you can eat with a knife served on butcher paper with bread, pickles, onion and cheddar cheese.
TRENDY: J.D. Wells Rock and Roll Saloon at 913A Harry Rd. in College Station has unique blend of music from the 60s through 90s. For dancing, it's Hurricane Harry's at 313 S. College Ave.
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP: Post Oak Mall at junction of Texas 6 Bypass and Texas 30 features six department stores and 120 specialty shops.
MOTELS: Numerous, including College Station Hilton. Accommodations in all price ranges.
FAMOUS SON: Library of former president George Bush is scheduled to open near the Texas A&M campus late next year.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Bryan is named after William Jennings Bryan, the former Nebraska senator and noted orator.
VISITOR INFO: 1-800 777-8292.