Lubbock is the commercial, educational and cultural center for the southern part of the Texas Panhandle known as the South Plains. The economic base is a mix of industry, agriculture, government, and healthcare. There is a small high tech industry but most employment is provided by agriculture-related businesses, healthcare and education.
The 28,000-student Texas Tech University provides a strong economic and cultural influence, and a college-town element with more than the usual nightlife and live music. The isolated location is 120 miles from the nearest metro area (Amarillo) and 320 miles from the Dallas and Fort Worth metroplex. The flat, monotonous landscape outside of town offers little to do. Cost of living and housing are low. Discount air service is very important to Lubbock residents.
Lubbock is located in the South Plains region, which is predominantly flat but with numerous dry stream valleys. The climate is semiarid and transitional between desert conditions to the west and humid climates to the east. Summer temperatures are pleasant with low humidity on the hottest days; tropical air invades occasionally bringing heavy afternoon thunderstorms. Winters are variable and can become cold due to altitude and northerly cold-air invasions. Snowfall is generally light and unlikely to remain on the ground beyond a few days. Prolonged, sometimes dusty winds in excess of 25 mph may occur in late winter and spring. First freeze is early November, last is late April.