Wichita Falls is a city in the north-central region of Texas, United States. The area where the city now stands was originally home to various Native American tribes, including the Wichita, Waco, Tawakoni, and Comanche. The first European to visit the area was the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who passed through the region in 1541.
In 1876, a settlement was established on the site of present-day Wichita Falls, and the town was officially incorporated in 1889. The town grew rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fueled by the discovery of oil in the area and the arrival of the railroad.
During World War II, Wichita Falls was home to Sheppard Air Force Base, which remains an important military training facility to this day. After the war, the city continued to grow and develop, with a particular focus on manufacturing and energy production.
In 1979, the city was hit by a devastating tornado that caused significant damage and loss of life. However, the community came together to rebuild, and today Wichita Falls is a thriving city with a diverse economy and a rich cultural heritage.
In recent years, the city has focused on revitalizing its downtown area and promoting tourism, with attractions such as the Wichita Falls Museum of Art, the Kay Yeager Coliseum, and the Wichita Falls Farmers Market drawing visitors from across the region.
Top Tourist Attractions
- Wichita Falls Riverwalk - A scenic walking and biking trail along the Wichita River that features waterfalls, sculptures, and beautiful landscaping.
- Lake Wichita - A large, man-made lake that is popular for fishing, boating, and water sports.
- Lucy Park - A 170-acre park with a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking. The park also features playgrounds, a swimming pool, and a golf course.
- Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University - A museum that features a collection of over 3,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics.
- Kay Yeager Coliseum - A large, multipurpose arena that hosts a variety of events, including concerts, rodeos, and sporting events.
- Kemp Center for the Arts - A cultural center that features rotating exhibits of contemporary art, as well as performances, workshops, and classes.
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum - A museum dedicated to the history of professional wrestling, with exhibits on wrestlers, events, and memorabilia.
- The Hotter'N Hell Hundred - A cycling event held annually in Wichita Falls that attracts thousands of participants from around the world.
- Wichita Falls Farmers Market - A weekly market that features local produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts.
- Sheppard Air Force Base - A military base that is home to the 82nd Training Wing, with exhibits on the history of the base and the United States Air Force.
Wichita Falls has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The city experiences four distinct seasons, with precipitation spread fairly evenly throughout the year.
In the summer months, from June to August, temperatures are typically in the high 90s to low 100s Fahrenheit (around 35-38°C), with occasional heat waves pushing temperatures even higher. Humidity levels can be high during this time, making the heat feel more intense.
In the winter months, from December to February, temperatures are usually in the mid-50s to low 60s Fahrenheit (around 12-15°C), with occasional cold fronts bringing temperatures below freezing. Snow is rare in Wichita Falls, but ice storms can occur.
Spring and fall are transitional seasons, with mild to warm temperatures and occasional thunderstorms. The spring months, from March to May, can be particularly windy, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour (around 95 kilometers per hour) not uncommon. Overall, Wichita Falls has a relatively dry climate, with an average annual rainfall of around 29 inches (around 74 centimeters). However, severe weather events such as tornadoes and hailstorms can occur in the spring and summer months.
The city covers an area of approximately 70 square miles (around 181 square kilometers), with a population of around 105,000 people.
Wichita Falls is situated on the banks of the Wichita River, a tributary of the Red River. The city is located on the eastern edge of the Great Plains region, which stretches across much of the central United States. The surrounding landscape is characterized by rolling hills, grasslands, and prairies.
Lake Wichita, a large man-made lake, is located on the southwest side of the city. The lake is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and water sports. Other nearby natural attractions include the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located about 50 miles (around 80 kilometers) to the north, and Palo Duro Canyon, located about 150 miles (around 240 kilometers) to the east.
Wichita Falls is located along several major transportation routes, including Interstate 44, U.S. Highway 287, and State Highway 79. Sheppard Air Force Base, a major military training facility, is located on the north side of the city.