10 Places Where You Can Still Experience Old Texas
Texas is a state that’s proud of its history – that’s why so much of it is still on display! If you’re feeling particularly patriotic, there are a handful of spots in the state where you can still step back in time and experience Old Texas. From saloons and rodeos to replicas of entire Western towns, these 10 places across the state haven’t aged a bit since the age of cowboys and outlaws.
1. National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration (Lubbock)
Held each year in early September, this event exists to celebrate and conserve the culture of the American cowboy. It includes entertainers, poetry/storytelling, interviews with authors of Western books, film showings, a Youth Wild West Day, horse-handling demonstrations, a parade, Native American activities, a Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, and Western artwork/merchandise vendors. It's a rootin' tootin' good time for the whole family, y'all.
2. Mission Concepcion (San Antonio)
This gorgeous building was erected in 1755, and stands proudly today as the oldest unrestored stone church in America. Although the patterns that once adorned its surface have long since faded away in the elements, original frescos can still be seen in many of the rooms. Many Native Americans converted to Christianity in this very building, and visiting it today allows us to pay homage to a crucial aspect of our state's history.
807 Mission Rd, San Antonio, TX 78210
3. National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame (Fort Worth)
We hear plenty about heroic cowboys who dueled at high noon out in the desert, but what about their equally courageous female counterparts? This 33,000 square-foot museum is the only attraction of its kind in the entire world. In this building, women "whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the American west" are honored. There's also a Hall of Fame featuring 228 women - everyone from Sacajawea to Annie Oakley!
1720 Gendy St, Fort Worth, TX 76107
4. Enchanted Springs Ranch (Boerne)
This unique place is an exact replica of an Old West town! Saddle up your horse at the carriage house, then head on over to the saloon to enjoy a few ice cold sarsaparillas before getting dinner at the Chuck Wagon and picking up a few essentials at the general store. Whether you need a change of pace for a company event or family reunion, need a place to film a movie, or want a Western wedding to remember forever, look no further than Enchanted Springs.
242 State Hwy 46 W, Boerne, TX 78006
5. Buckhorn Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum (San Antonio)
For over 130 years, Buckhorn saloon has been a hub for friends and family to gather and enjoy a cold one while admiring some of the neatest aspects of Texas history. There are two museums on the property: the Buckhorn Museum and Texas Ranger Museum. The former features wildlife from all over the globe - fish from all seven seas and animals from every landmass. Among the most noteworthy creatures are the famous '78 Point Buck,' a 1,056 lb Black Marlin, and a 10,000 year-old Irish Elk. The Texas Ranger Museum pays homage to the brave folks that have defended our turf for centuries. There are hundreds of artifacts from revolvers to badges and everything in between. The highlight of the museum is definitely Ranger Town, a replica of San Antonio as it looked at the turn of the century. There's a saloon, jail cell, blacksmith, newspaper/telegraph office, and even a Bonnie & Clyde exhibit complete with their famous getaway car, a 1934 Ford V8 Deluxe.
318 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX 78205
6. Pecos Rodeo (Pecos)
Pecos embodies the spirit of West Texas like few other towns can. It's in the heart of the desert with towering mountains, former oil boomtowns, historic military forts, and the world's very first rodeo! That's right, the practices of cow tippin' and calf ropin' that we've all grown to love here in Texas started in Pecos in 1883. Today, it's one of the five best outdoor rodeos in America and among the top 40 prize money rodeos. The fun takes place from June 27-30, so get your tickets now!
1556 S Cedar St, Pecos, TX 79772
7. La Villita (San Antonio)
This iconic "Little Village" was one of San Antonio's very first neighborhoods, settled over 300 years ago. In 1939, it was converted into the historic arts center that exists today, with more than 30 shops and galleries selling everything from folk art to homemade jewelry and everything in between. Although times have changed immensely, you'll feel as if you're frozen in Texas past as you walk the streets of this charming villita.
br> 418 Villita,
San Antonio, Texas 78205
8. The Flat (Fort Griffin)
Fort Griffin was a U.S. Cavalry fort established in 1867 to provide settlers protection from Native American raids. The Flat was a town that sprang up just north of the fort, eventually becoming a stop for cattle drives headed to Kansas. Several notable gunslingers of the Old West passed through The Flat, and ruins of the town still stand today - among them a blacksmith and an old jailhouse.
This list wouldn't be complete without the self-proclaimed "Cowboy Capital of the World!" From saloons to cowboy museums to horseback riding and everything in between, the entire town of Bandera is a celebration of the American cowboy.
10. Spindletop (Beaumont)
Old Texas isn't only about cowboys! Oil was a very important part of our state's history - who knows where we'd be today if not for the great gusher at Spindletop. This geyser, blowing a stream of over 100 feet high, filled an estimated 100,000 barrels per day for over a week following the discovery. This phenomenon not only transformed the economy of Texas, but also kicked off the petroleum age all around the world. A museum exists today in the exact place where the gusher occurred over 100 years ago, and it would be almost criminal to not visit and pay homage to such a significant event in our state's development.
5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd, Beaumont, TX 77705
How many of these historic places have you visited? Where else in the state can you experience Old Texas? Let us know!
Oh, and speaking of rodeos, it’s almost time for the largest one in the entire world, located right here in Texas! Read more about it