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Deep in the heart of the Texas oil country, Odessa has become one of the fastest-growing small cities in the United States. This is balanced, though, by a strong sense of community and tradition, where the friendliness of the people makes everyone feel welcome.

Out in the hot and arid spaces southwest of town can be found the Odessa Meteor Crater, formed approximately 62,000 years ago. While the main crater is 550 feet across and 100 feet deep, there are also other, smaller craters formed by the shower, leaving the area pock-marked. If you're more in the mood for something quirky and wonderful, go to the campus of the University of Texas Permian Basin where you'll be able to visit a replica of Stonehenge. Although it covers the same area as the original, the stones are only about 70% as tall.

Odessa also has a thriving arts and performance scene. Take, for example, The Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale, which has a strong program of concerts with outstanding performers. The Globe Theatre, located on the campus of the University of Texas Permian Basin, is considered to be one of the most accurate reproductions of the original Elizabethan theater in London. They not only offer plays by Shakespeare, but also modern ones as well. The youth-oriented Permian Playhouse provides workshops for young people, so they can learn more about acting, as well as presenting family-friendly plays and musicals.

Of course, being a West Texas town, visitors will have no trouble finding great Tex-Mex and steak restaurants, but their choices are not limited to those. There are fine dining opportunities, as well as Asian cuisine. Look around and see what is available in this growing, vibrant city and you'll be surprised by what food, entertainment, and culture lies waiting to be discovered.