Laredo marks the boundary between Texas and Mexico. Even though Laredo is on the Texas side, Mexican roots are clearly evident.
It is important to point out that Laredo was founded in 1755 but did not become part of Texas until 1846. This explains why Laredo’s history is so intertwined with Mexican culture and how, even now, the culture, traditions, language, and ideas are still reflected today throughout the city streets, in community events, the language, restaurants, stores, and the people.
We wanted to share all the visit-worthy sights and important places in Laredo, so you make the most of your next Texas adventure! These tips come from locals and tourists, so you’ll get the best of both worlds!
With our latest edition of our Texas Travel Guide, you can take an exciting vacation every weekend without breaking the bank and still have more to do! And in just one trip, the guide pays for itself! You’ll be amazed at all the hidden gems, international influence, and wacky attractions you’ll find all over Texas!
Not ready to purchase quite yet? We wanted to make this guide as accessible as possible, so we’ve shared our 1st edition of our guide, 50 Texas Trips Under $50. Click the button below to get yours for FREE!
Is Laredo Safe?
Before we begin, you should know that, although Laredo sits on the edge of the Mexico border, the overall security risk in the city is low. Laredo was ranked the 13th safest city in America by SmartAsset. While there are minor thefts and property crimes, violent crime is low, and the cartel war is not a problem for citizens or tourists. You can rest, safe and secure, knowing that Laredo might just be one of the safest towns you’ll ever visit in the US (much to people’s surprise).
Unlike most Spanish settlements in Texas, which were constructed around forts or missions, Laredo was established in 1755 as a ferry crossing. Tomás Sánchez is credited with forming what began as a Spanish colonial settlement, called Villa de San Agustin de Laredo. San Agustin de Laredo was a mouthful, apparently, and was eventually called Laredo for short.
One of the original border crossings along the Mexico-United States frontier is now located in Laredo. It serves as the biggest inland point of entry in the country. Laredo has been able to thrive as a result, fusing the two very different cultures of Mexico and the United States. Laredo is actually the only Texas community with seven flags flying proudly!
Visit the Museums
The Washington’s Birthday Celebration Museum – Inside the La Posada Hotel, you’ll find a collection of exhibits, pictures, and memorabilia from parties over the last 110 years celebrating George Washington’s role in welcoming immigrants who settled in Laredo. While the celebration occurs during the month of February, the museum is open year-round for visitors.
The Republic of the Rio Grande Museum – This particular museum is inside a historic home in the downtown San Agustin de Laredo Historic District. Admission is free.
Constructed in the mid-1800s, the house was once the home to the Mayor of Laredo and was once utilized as the Capital of the Republic of the Rio Grande. The flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande is still lifted high, and the residents have flown it since 1840.
The inside of the home is a recreation of an authentic home from the 1800s in Laredo. The kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms are staged to demonstrate their lifestyles during this time, helping you wrap your mind around the daily toil in those times. It also brings to life the timeline of what led to the Laredo we know today, such as how the borders were drawn and its cultural influences.
The Cathedral of San Agustin – This is one of the oldest buildings and one of the most famous landmarks in Laredo. It was founded in 1778 in downtown Laredo and is a part of the San Agustin National Register District, along with the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum and the La Posada Hotel.
La Posada Hotel – The interior is decorated in a Spanish hacienda style with bright colors, terracotta tiles, mosaics, and it is surrounded by natural vegetation that blends with the hotel. As previously mentioned, it is located in downtown Laredo and is a part of the San Agustin National Register District.
The Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum – This iconic red building is located on the banks of the Rio Grande and keeps with the predominant European style of the time, as well as the magnificent homes in the San Agustín District in the early 20th century. In 2002, Webb County and the Heritage Foundation began renovating and historically restoring the house to make it the landmark it is today. Today, the San Agustin Plaza is one of the most popular destinations for locals during peak season and throughout the year.
There are two exhibits: “Cantinfleando,” which tells of the famous Mexican comedian Mario Moreno, popularly known as “Cantinflas.” The other is a collaboration with the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the American Legion Post 59, featuring “War and Peace on the Rio Grande, 1861-1867,” an exhibit about the rich history of the American Civil War in South Texas and part of the Mexican American war. They also host movie nights in the courtyard and display the works of local artists.
The Laredo Center for the Arts – Here, you’ll find a constant rotation of different exhibitions for less than $5 per ticket! The Laredo Center for the Arts not only promotes national and international artists who bring their art to the people of Laredo, but they also support local artists.
The Laredo Selfie Museum – This is the perfect place to stop and stage photos for your Instagram. There are all kinds of setups, and any special occasion can be celebrated with them!
The Laredo Water Museum – I can’t say we knew much of what to expect here. A museum on the water? Instead, there were many ways that they immersed us in this museum. There are interactive displays, water facts, and lots of interactive activities and fun facts about water treatment and service in Laredo. At the end of the day, it will help you think critically about water and water use!
Casa Ortiz – A historic building built in the early 1800s by Jose Reyes Ortiz, the entire Ortiz family is a part of the main history of Laredo. It offers a magnificent view of the Rio Grande and has a beautiful garden surrounding the property. They also host events, seminars, and workshops. It was officially declared a Texas Historic Landmark in 1964.
Attention All Foodies!
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth – At Dulcerias Pinkis, there are aisles and aisles of Mexican sweets and even an entire aisle dedicated to Chamoy and hot sauce! All the amazing choices are almost overwhelming!