Cowboys, Cactus, and Oil: Midland’s Unique West Texas Charm

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Midland, Texas

According to a recent report published by IHS Global Insight, the city with the best economy in the nation is Midland, Texas.  Midland had one of the lowest unemployment rates in 2013 at just 3.9 percent, and one of the fastest-growing GMP (Gross Metro Product) rates – and with more expected growth in 2014, Midland will have one of the top GMP growth rates for the fourth year in a row.

If you are considering renting an apartment in Midland, here is what you need to know about this West Texas city:

  • Midland is located in the Permian Basin, the top petroleum-producing region of Texas. Most of the jobs in Midland are in the fields of oil and gas, and residents of Midland enjoy the second-highest personal income levels in the nation because of the oil and gas industry. The city’s motto is “Feel the Energy.”
  • Established in 1881 as a stop along the Texas and Pacific Railway, Midland was named for the fact that it was “midway” between Fort Worth and El Paso. Midland became an important cattle shipping center in the late 1800s. When oil was discovered in 1923, Midland became the administrative center of the oil-rich Permian Basin.
  • You’ll know it when you see it – that’s because Midland is also the “tall city.” The distinctive downtown skyline is punctured with soaring skyscrapers, the tallest being the 24-story Bank of America building. The city basically rises out of the flat West Texas landscape of open grasslands and grazing cattle, and it can be somewhat startling to the newcomer.
  • There’s plenty to do in Midland, from museums and historic sites to shopping destinations, art galleries, and restaurants. Midland is dotted with city parks, including the downtown Centennial Park, which includes benches, a water wall, and an amphitheater. Beal Park is a large 112-acre park with a fishing area, ball fields, a skate park, a pavilion, and a windmill. Midland also offers an aquatic center, the five-acre Hogan’s Run Dog Park, two sports complexes, and the Sibley Nature Center.
  • Sports fans can watch Midland’s minor league baseball team the Midland RockHounds at the Citibank Ballpark, and the West Texas United Sockers, an American soccer team, at the Grande Communications Stadium. Midland College offers several college-level sports events, such as baseball, basketball, and volleyball.
  • Year-round annual events in Midland include an annual mariachi concert, the Mex-Tex Family Fiesta, Summer Sunday Lawn Concerts, a Children’s Sidewalk Parade, the Cactus and Crude Bike Tour, the Midland Wine and Music Festival, the Permian Basin International Oil Show, and the Tall City Blues Fest. Theater buffs will enjoy Summer Mummers, the country’s oldest theatrical organization of its kind, with performances held at the historic Yucca Theater.
  • For outdoor adventurers, Midland is just three hours northeast of Big Bend National Park. This park is filled with deep, red canyons, cactus, a meandering river, impressive fossils, and 200 miles of hiking trails. Nature lovers will appreciate the park’s vast number of birds, bats, and cacti – more than any other national park. Activities in the park include backpacking and backcountry use, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, river trips, and fishing. Ranger-led programs are also available.

Midland’s exciting nightlife, museums, parks, and fine arts – combined with virtually no unemployment and high income levels – may have you ready to polish your cowboy boots and brush off your ten-gallon hat. If you are ready to “feel the energy,” start looking for your Midland apartment today.