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Top Things to do in Alpine TX that you Shouldn’t Miss

While planning a trip to Marfa, we ended up staying 30 minutes away in the small city of Alpine, and I am so glad we did! Alpine is known as a mecca for musicians, poets, writers, thespians, and artists. It’s also one of the 16 designated destinations in Texas with a cultural art district!

While in Alpine, we enjoyed driving around, viewing all of the art, a funky hike, and a beautiful downtown area. There are plenty of things to do in Alpine to keep you busy for a day or for a weekend. This tour guide is part of my Texas Travel Series – dedicated to sharing the best trips for Texans. I hope you are able to find some fun Texan vacations!

painting in alpine texas

What is Alpine Texas Known For?

Alpine Texas, referred to as “The Eden of the West” by international journalist Enoch Worlanyo, boasts breathtaking views, fascinating geological formations, and a vibrant culture. History buffs will delight in exploring its preserved historic buildings, while outdoor enthusiasts can embark on adventures in the surrounding Big Bend Country.

Top Things to do in Alpine TX

See the Downtown Murals and Do Some Shopping

Alpine is not your city of Instagram murals, however, the city is covered in beautiful murals representative of the city and its history. Walk around the historic downtown Alpine area and catch the colorful murals all around.

In addition, you will find unique art galleries and cute shops that are quite different from your traditional downtown square vintage shops.

Stop at Kiowa Gallery for art from the Big Bend and Valley regions. Enjoy jewelry, ceramics, photography, and more.

a building with a sign on the front

Tom Curry is an artist and cartoonist with comic-like portrayals and commentaries. This is a truly fun gallery!

the curry gallery in Alpine TX

Murphy St. Mercado is the cutest shop with beautiful and unique Mexican imports and accessories! Stop by for a gift for someone else (or yourself) and take in all of the bright colors and fun items!

the murphy st. mercado in Alpine Texas

Check some local Art

If you’re looking for a place that’s full of local charm, you’ve got to check out Gallery on the Square. This place is a little goldmine for art lovers, with all sorts of paintings and sculptures that show off what this area is all about. Expect to see art that brings the stunning Big Bend landscapes right inside and works that tell stories about West Texas.

The gallery isn’t just a place to look at art; it feels like the heart of Alpine’s art scene. It’s super welcoming, too, so even if you don’t know much about art, you’ll feel right at home.

Visit a Bookstore

Front Street Books is an independent gem that boasts a curated selection of new releases, regional titles you won’t find anywhere else, and a treasure trove of used and out-of-print books. From captivating mysteries to captivating children’s literature, Front Street Books offers something for every page-turner.

They also host author signings and book events, making it a must-visit for literature lovers and anyone seeking a cozy escape in Alpine.

Go for a Hike

Hancock Hill is right behind Sul Ross University Campus and is actually a more stunning hike than I first expected.

a landscape with a city and mountains

After reaching the top, you are met with views of the city and a ring of mountains in the distance!

Another fun part about Hancock Hill is that in the 1980s, a few students from Sul Ross University decided to place a desk on top of this hill to study. The desk has remained a memento and a fun hiking destination.

The hike was a little rough, so I’m amazed at how they managed to get this desk to the top of Hancock Hill, but it has stayed there since. I have to admit, I’m pretty jealous of their study spot! On the desk is a notebook where you can sign your name and leave a little note for the next person.

a picture of a desk in a hill

Around the desk are other fun things, like bikes hanging from a tree and painted rocks. Getting to this spot could be a little difficult, and while I will try my best to explain it, I recommend giving yourself at least 45 minutes to find it (and then about 20 minutes to hike back down).

To get to the desk at Hancock Hill Park behind the campus of Sul Ross State University, drive into entrance 4. This is how you will get to Hancock Hill. Afterwards, you will need to climb the hill. For the most part, you will stick to the right. When you see the hanging bikes, you are there!

a tree with a broken bicycle on it

Visit Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is like a huge playground in southwest Texas. Picture this: vast deserts, rugged mountains, and a winding river all in one place. It’s named after a big bend in the Rio Grande River, which flows along the park’s southern border with Mexico.

Now, what makes this park so cool? Well, first off, there’s tons of stuff to do. You can hike, camp, watch birds, and even gaze at the stars. And speaking of stars, Big Bend is famous for its amazing stargazing because it’s far away from city lights.

One of the must-see spots is the Chisos Mountains. They’re like nature’s skyscrapers, shooting up from the desert floor. You can hike around there and get some incredible views. Then there’s Santa Elena Canyon, where the river has carved through towering cliffs, creating this epic canyon.

Plus, there’s a whole bunch of wildlife to see, like bighorn sheep and colorful birds. And don’t forget about the history! You can check out ancient rock art and old homesteads that tell the story of people who lived here long ago.

So, if you’re into exploring nature, seeing cool landscapes, and learning a bit of history, Big Bend National Park is the perfect place to be. It’s like stepping into a whole other world!

Explore Big Bend Ranch State Park

Picture vast stretches of rugged terrain, deep canyons, and the kind of scenery that’ll make your jaw drop. It’s all about adventure here, with hiking trails, biking paths, and even horseback riding opportunities for those who love exploring on four legs.

And let’s talk about the views—oh boy, they’re something else! From towering cliffs to the winding Rio Grande River, there’s no shortage of breathtaking sights to take in. Plus, camping under the star-studded Texas sky? It’s like a dream come true for nature lovers!

Go to a Museum

Called the Museum of the Big Bend Region, this is where you can learn all about the history and culture of the Big Bend region. It’s like a treasure trove of stories and artifacts that show what life was like here in the past.

Inside, you’ll find all sorts of cool stuff, like old photos, Native American artifacts, and exhibits about the plants and animals that call this area home. There are also displays about the early settlers and cowboys who shaped the region, as well as the indigenous people who lived here long before.

One of the highlights is the museum’s collection of cowboy gear and Western art. You can see real cowboy hats, spurs, and even a chuckwagon! It’s like stepping back in time to the Wild West.

And the best part? It’s not just for adults. They have fun activities and interactive exhibits for young kids too, so the whole family can enjoy exploring together.

So, if you’re ever in the streets of Alpine and want to dive into the rich history of the Big Bend area, definitely check out the Museum of the Big Bend. It’s a cool way to learn and have fun at the same time!

Listen to Music

The Viva Big Bend Music Festival is like a big music party in west Texas! It’s where you can hear all kinds of live music, from rock to country, in cool places around the Big Bend area.

Imagine stages set up in bars, outdoors, or even in historic buildings, with awesome bands playing non-stop. It’s a chance to discover new music and enjoy old favorites, all in one place.

And it’s not just about the tunes. There’s also local food, art, and friendly folks everywhere you look. It’s like a big celebration of music and community in the heart of Texas!

If you’re up for a fun weekend of great music and good vibes, the Viva Big Bend Music Festival is the place to be. It’s like a music lover’s paradise!

Watch Alpine Cowboys at Kokernot Field

This baseball team is not in the big leagues, but they play in a cool league called the Pecos League, which covers the southwest U.S.

These guys have been around since 1946, and they’re a big deal locally. They play their baseball game at Kokernot Field, also known as “The Best Little Ballpark in Texas” by Sports Illustrated, and people love cheering them on.

Do a Historic Walking Tour

It’s a fun way to explore a small town or neighborhood while learning about its history and seeing cool old buildings and landmarks.

Usually, you’ll start at a central point, like a visitor center or a designated starting spot, and then follow a trail map or signs that guide you along the tour route. Along the way, you’ll come across plaques or signs with information about different sites, like historic buildings, statues, or important events that happened there.

These tours can cover all sorts of topics, from the town’s founding story to famous people who lived there to key events that shaped its history. Sometimes, you might even get to peek inside some of the buildings or museums along the route.

And the best part is that you can go at your own pace! Take your time, snap some photos, and soak in the atmosphere of the place. It’s a great way to get exercise, learn something new, and appreciate the beauty and stories of the past all at once.

So, if you ever find yourself in a new town or city with a historic walking tour, I definitely recommend giving it a try. Who knows what fascinating tales you’ll uncover along the way!

Visit historic Sites

Fort Davis National Historic Site is like stepping back into the Old West! It’s this awesome place in west Texas where you can explore an old military post that dates back to the 1800s.

Imagine big adobe buildings set against the backdrop of rugged mountains—it’s a pretty epic sight! The fort was established to protect travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso Road and played a crucial role in the history of the Alpine region.

When you visit, you can wander through the old barracks, officers’ quarters, and even the hospital. It’s like walking in the footsteps of soldiers who lived here over a hundred years ago.

One of the coolest parts is seeing the restored buildings and imagining what life was like back then. Plus, the park rangers are super knowledgeable and can tell you all sorts of interesting stories about the fort’s history.

And don’t forget to check out the scenic overlooks for some breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a great way to experience the beauty and history of the Old West all in one place!

Want to See the Stars?

The McDonald Observatory is like a window to the stars! The best place in West Texas where you can explore the wonders of the universe.

Imagine being on top of a mountain, surrounded by vast open skies. That’s where the observatory sits, giving astronomers a perfect view of the cosmos.

One of the coolest things about the McDonald Observatory is its giant telescopes. They’re like huge metal giants that can zoom in on distant stars and galaxies. Visitors can even take tours and see these massive telescopes up close.

But it’s not just about looking at stars. The observatory also does research to learn more about our universe. They study everything from black holes to distant planets, helping us understand more about the mysteries of space.

And if you visit at night, you’re in for a treat! The skies are so clear that you can see thousands of stars twinkling above you. It’s a magical experience that’s sure to leave you feeling inspired.

See the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

It’s like this little oasis in the desert near Alpine, TX. You can stroll along trails and soak up the desert scenery, with cacti and all sorts of interesting plants. They’ve got these cool exhibits too, teaching you all about the desert wildlife and ecosystems.

It’s a great spot for nature lovers or anyone who wants to experience the unique beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert up close!

Hike at Davis Mountains State Park

It’s nestled in the Davis Mountains near Alpine, TX. Picture this: rugged peaks, lush greenery, and endless opportunities for adventure. You can hike, bike, or just chill out and enjoy the stunning views. There are campsites if you’re up for a night under the stars, and even some cool historical stuff to check out, like the Indian Lodge.

Discover Automotive Paradise

Stable Performance Cars is a place where car enthusiasts’ dreams come true! It’s like a playground for people who love cars. They specialize in high-performance vehicles, the kind that make your heart race just looking at them. From sleek sports cars to powerful muscle machines, they’ve got it all. And the best part? They’re experts in making sure these beauties run like a dream.

So if you’re into fast rides and top-notch service, Stable Performance Cars is the place to be!

Where to Eat

Alicia’s Burrito Place

Being from San Antonio means that breakfast tacos are one of the major food groups. Alicia’s Burrito Place has some seriously huge and equally delicious breakfast tacos! This one is the heart attack and comes with eggs, potatoes, bacon, chorizo, beans, sausage, and cheese. Oh my, it was good!

Remember to bring cash, as they don’t accept cards.

a delicious burrito

Tri La Bite

Alpine has quite a few food trucks, including the funky Tri La Bite with it’s giant dinosaur and food truck you can sign! Dive into juicy American classics like bacon cheeseburgers or savor Tex-Mex specialties. With friendly service and generous portions at wallet-friendly prices, Tri La Bite is a perfect spot for a casual and satisfying Alpine lunch.

a yellow tarp over a foodtruck

Reata

Reata offers an upscale twist on Tex-Mex cuisine. Savor their signature dishes like pepper-crusted tenderloin or lose yourself in the unique fusion of West Texas flavors, drawing inspiration from cowboy fare, East Texas Cajun, and classic Tex-Mex.

Where to Stay in Alpine Texas

Holland Hotel

Known for its elegant architecture and friendly service, the Holland Hotel, designed by architect Henry Trost, is the perfect base for exploring Alpine’s attractions. Each room is a cozy retreat after a day of adventure, blending modern amenities with rustic touches that reflect the area’s heritage.

Whether you’re in town to experience the stunning nearby Big Bend National Park or to soak in the vibrant art and culture, the Holland Hotel is the best lodging choice for travelers looking for an authentic Alpine experience.

a picture of a hotel

Maverick Inn

Owned by the same esteemed group as the renowned Holland Hotel, the Maverick Inn offers guests a unique blend of local charm and shared upscale amenities. Each room at the Maverick Inn is thoughtfully designed to provide comfort and a touch of local experience. This makes it an ideal home-away-from-home while exploring the area’s unique attractions, including the mysterious Marfa lights and the scenic trails of Big Bend National Park.

Related Posts: Best Affordable Airbnbs in Texas Under $150

Is Alpine TX in the Desert?

Yes, Alpine, TX is smack dab in the middle of the desert! Dusty plains and rough mountains surround it as it is located in the West Texas region. So, if you’re picturing cacti, tumbleweeds, and that scorching desert heat, you’re right on the money!

Is Alpine TX worth visiting?

Absolutely! Alpine, Texas has its charm. It’s got that small-town vibe with friendly folks and some neat stuff to see. The desert landscape around it is gorgeous, especially if you’re into hiking or just soaking in some natural beauty. Plus, there’s this cool artsy scene going on that’s pretty unique.

Permanently Closed Places That We Will Surely Miss

Head to Second Bloom for some cute second-hand items! This shop reminds me a little of a Buffalo Exchange with items like a tasseled vest and other vintage or modern goods!

a sign on a building

Related Posts: Most Beautiful Places in Texas That You Should Visit

Top Things to Do in Alpine TX – Final Thoughts

Sometimes it’s the small cities with the funky spots, cutest shops, and best food! Originally, Alpine was just a great place to lay our heads before heading to Marfa, but I’m so glad we took the time to explore this beautiful town!

Things to do in Alpine Texas

Last Updated 3 months ago by Jessica Serna | Published: July 16, 2018