See What the Inside of a Train is Like
At the Frances Lehnis Railroad Museum, they have model trains, a small train that you can ride on the weekend, and lots of history about the Sante Fe Railroad.
What I thought was so cool about this museum though was actually being able to walk through train cars from the era. We got to see the caboose and the cabins where the workers would sleep (I do not envy them).
Eat Lunch Inside a Retro Train Car
The Runaway Train Cafe is a popular 50’s style diner hidden inside a renovated train car. You’ll find a menu full of your favorite All-American items, like cheeseburgers and milkshakes, as well as homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches. Pick a booth or eat at their old-fashioned ice cream counter!
This family-owned business has recently been taken over by the sons of the original owners, which also own and operate the Intermission Bookshop! We love these passionate family businesses! They are active members of their community and regular participants in Brownwood’s Empty Bowl Project, which works to combat hunger on a local and global scale.
Visit a Harvey House
Brownwood really does hold on to its train history. Any train lover would love visiting Brownwood because of all of the train spots and things to learn.
During the era of the Santa Fe trains, there weren’t many options for quality restaurants at some of the smaller stops. Fred Harvey created the Harvey House to have restaurants along many stops that serve quality food and provide top-notch service.
Housed inside an old Santa Fe Railroad Depot is the Brownwood Fred Harvey House where you can see how the so-called Harvey Girls lived. They had to be single, live in the house, and they even had a curfew. They brought class to the Wild West, and it was quite the status to be a Harvey Girl. While I’m glad things have changed, it’s cool to see what it was like back then.
Drink Wine in an Old Bus
Don’t worry, Skies Over Texas Winery serves wine inside their tasting room as well! The environment is a lot of fun with funny signs outside, the iconic “I love you & wine so much” mural, and the kind owners who will share all their wine knowledge with you! It’s so nice to visit a place and have time to chat with the people who are part of making the wine you’re drinking. They have a great mixture of both sweet and dry wines as well.
Eat at the Turtle
No turtles involved here! Instead, the Turtle Restaurant is all about slow cooking to deliver the most flavor! We ordered the Lomo Saltado and the Curried Fig & Poblano Chicken. Not to mention, right next door you’ll find two more members of the Turtle franchise: the Turtle Gelateria (a gelato shop) and the Turtle Enoteca (a local bar). There really are some incredible restaurants in Brownwood!
Hike Brownwood State Park
If you’re looking for some more outdoorsy things to do in Brownwood, Texas, check out Lake Brownwood State Park with a large lake for fishing (with fishing gear for check out), swimming, boating, and more. You can bring food and enjoy the great weather or go hiking on one of their short trails. With all of the beautiful water views, Lake Brownwood is good for picnics and relaxing.
Catch a Play
This 1920’s theatre has been restored for the residents to enjoy local plays and movies in a beautiful historic theatre with all the 20s’ charm. The Lyric Theater has all kinds of happenings from plays, comedies, summer movies, fun events and more. Stay up to date with their schedule of events.
Enjoy Mexican Street Food
Mexican street food in the small town of Brownwood, Texas? Who would have known, but Tres Leches Bakery is serving up so many tasty dishes: street tacos, Conchas, menudo, breakfast burritos, and so much more. I could have eaten at Tres Leches every day! It was all so good.
Try a Beer Float
The Pioneer Tap House is the hangout spot for locals where you can try all types of Texas craft beers and ciders. They have board games that you can check out, or you can just relax and strike up conversations with the locals. We ended up learning so many interesting things about the city and its culture. One interesting thing they have on the menu is a beer float where you can pair your favorite beer and a scoop of ice cream.
Sleep in a Cabin
At the Hideout Golf Club and Resort, you can enjoy a relaxing evening in a tiny house overlooking the golf club. We loved having our own cozy space with a kitchen to make our own food, but the highlight was the infinity style pool. Read all about our stay at the Hideout Golf Club and Resort.
Don’t Forget Coffee
One of my favorite things to checkout are local coffee shops, and I loved that Common Grounds Coffeehouse and a cute little section to lounge, breakfast tacos for on the go, and plenty of coffee flavors and types for any coffee lover.
Fish and Admire Lily Pads
Purchased by the Texas Parks Board as a part of Lake Brownwood State Park, Jim Ned Creek and its neighboring park is known for its fishing opportunities along the bank, boating/kayaking/paddling, the beauty of its floating lily pads (when in season), and its abundant Texas wildlife.
Stay at the Historic R. B. Rogers House
The owners of this regal Airbnb near downtown Brownwood decided to open up this historic home as, not only a luxurious place to stay, but also as an event space. Since it was finished in 1905, this historic house has amassed a wealth of memorabilia that the owners wanted to share with the world.
There are two upstairs suites with two connecting bedrooms and a shared bathroom. The home has original wood floors and magnificent columns framing the front door. It continues to capture the classic elegance of southern hospitality with several sitting rooms, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and an elaborate dining room.
Since this is a B&B, let us talk about breakfast! We were delivered a selection of fresh fruit, pastries, coffee, orange juice, water, and a warm quiche.
What’s even better about staying at the R. B. Rogers House is its proximity to the downtown area, with restaurants, boutiques, and tasting rooms. It makes it the perfect destination for your next Texas getaway!
Have an Axe-llent Time
At this family-owned ax throwing venue, Twisted Axes, you can throw more than just axes! Practice your aim with steel cards, darts, and even ninja stars! On Mondays, they also host pool tournaments! And kids are welcome!
Rex’s Texas Lanes is a local favorite that has been open for over 50 years. Back when it was known as Academy Lanes, it was featured on the A&E show, Save it or Sell It. After a 48-hour renovation,rather than selling it, the owners continued on with excitement about their business’ new-found potential. Following the remodel, a large lounge area, snack bar with ice cream floats, and an eye-catching mural were added.
Luckily, Rex’s Texas Lanes is open seven days a week, making it even easier for visitors to add to their itinerary on their next trip to Brownwood! While reservations are not required, they are encouraged, especially for large groups.
Step Into Beauty & the Beast
It’s kind of hard to miss the bookshelf mural on the facade of this building downtown. You’ll feel like Belle walking into the castle library for the first time.
The Intermission Bookshop started out as an exclusively used bookstore when it opened in August 2020 during COVID, but it evolved into selling new releases as well!
In the 1800s, it was one of seven theaters along the same street in downtown Brownwood. Along the walls, you can still see permanent stains from the outlines of the WWII soldiers who visited the theater when they were stationed at nearby Camp Bowie. How cool is that?
When it came into their possession, the owners completely gutted the inside and created the world of Intermission Bookshop. They kept the original woodwork and brick, added a second-floor seating area, and increased the height of the ceilings. They even went as far as building a bookcase ladder you’d typically see in 19th century shops! There’s also an archway made out of repurposed, damaged books.
Make Reservations for a Luxurious Dinner
Lucille + Mabel Kitchen and Libations has become a local favorite since it opened its doors in early 2022. With that being said, we recommend making reservations ahead of time so you can secure you and your party a seat!
Located in what was once the First National Bank, you can still admire some of its original features, like vault doors and teller windows that divide the dining room from the bar.
Elegant chandeliers hang from the high ceilings; there’s mood lighting once the sun sets, and the jade green wallpaper behind the bar and the crown molding all around just adds to its elegance.
We had the Korean Mac topped with Korean Fried Chicken and Kimchi, the Chicken Alfredo, and the Ribeye with a Drip Old Fashioned and the famous Candy Barr cocktail made with Bailey’s Irish Cream, salted caramel, Kahlua, vodka, caramel, sea salt, and espresso.
Fun fact: the Candy Barr is named after a famous stripper that once lived in Brownwood. Ask the staff to hear the story about Candy Barr while you wait for your food and they will be more than happy to!
Stone’s Grove is a hip, neighborhood bar serving up cold beer, classic cocktails, and specialty drinks. You can also order your favorite beer “stoned,” which is when the bartenders drape your glass with a Chamoy and Tajin rim, candy, and fruit slices.
Drop in after dinner for chill vibes, communal games, events like Friday night karaoke, and picture-perfect murals!
Do Some Indoor Fishing
Come on out and spend some time on Lake Brownwood at Wild Duck Marina. There’s a full bar, a food menu, free live music on Fridays and Saturdays, a sports bar with your favorite games, and even an indoor fishing dock! Or get away and spend time out on the open water with one of their rental tritoons.
Munch on All-Day Breakfast Burritos
Ricardo’s Tortilla Bakery has more than 20 combinations of breakfast burritos served all-day, as well as homemade tortillas and tamales by the dozen you can take home with you! On Fridays and Saturdays, they also serve up homemade menudo and a family style package of barbacoa with tortillas.
We visited on a Saturday morning and it was pretty busy. If you don’t want to wait, you can also order your food at the counter and take it to-go, or use the drive-thru.
Try Brownwood’s Famous Sandwiches
Steve’s Market and Deli is a quirky shop with a cute restaurant inside where you can have a sit-down meal or grab one of their famous sandwiches to-go. Their sandwiches have even been raved about in local publications!
You’ll also find the notorious bottled sodas from Dublin, Texas, along with sauces, spices, snacks, and more! It’s the perfect place to grab snacks for the trip home or to add something new to your favorite dishes.
Find Filipino Food
Manila Kitchen is a local Filipino restaurant and market serving traditional dishes like chicken pancit, lumpia, fried rice, and chicken curry. You’ll also find your favorite treats, like bubble tea and mochi, for dessert.
Pick-up a Gorgeous Charcuterie Board
Grazed and Confused of Brownwood is so well-known for their charcuterie boards, you have to order it for pick-up to get your hands on one! If you’re more spontaneous, they have other options available for you! Choose what you’re in the mood for and head over to the nearest park for some quality time outdoors or a cute photoshoot with friends!
You’re also welcome to grab a table for a sit-down breakfast, lunch, or snack on a grazing board for two in their dining room!
Book an Affordable Massage
Services at the Texas Massage Academy range from 15-minute mini-facials to full, 1-hour ultimate facials, body scrubs, wraps, and massages varying from deep tissue to relaxation. Meanwhile, you’re providing students at the academy with some active practice as they pursue their careers. Volunteer your tired body and simultaneously help out these practicing students! What a great trade-off, if I do say so myself!
Tour the Inside of a Jailhouse Castle
The Brown County Museum of History Museum showcases 150-year-old artifacts from the time of early Brown County, the Penateka Comanche, the earliest Texan settlers, and when Camp Bowie was inhabited by soldiers during World War II. You can also take a tour of the historic jailhouse across the street whose architecture was modeled after a castle.
Enter a Tournament
Drop in and pick up your favorite trading cards, a new board game, or stay awhile and play in a tournament or one of their publicly available games. Follow their Facebook for the most up-to-date information on their upcoming events and tournaments! They also sell snacks and soft drinks to keep the fun going for hours!
Build a Personalized Terrarium
Urban Roots is a local plant store stocked with all kinds of cute plant accessories, indoor plants, and a knowledgeable staff that are willing to answer all of your plant care questions.
We had so much fun with their build-your-own terrarium bar! You can choose the colored sand, rocks, and moss you want, along with plastic animals, and other add-ons. There are also different terrariums to choose from, from standing to hanging terrariums. The staff was great at helping us execute our idea for an ice cream themed terrarium to place inside our new Airbnb.
During the process, we also learned all about how to care for our new little succulent, which we carefully chose for our terrarium. They also had a selection of different flowering cacti and other small plants.
Visit Your First “Mantique” Store
Matt’s Mantiques & Mercantile stocks everything from sports memorabilia and kitchen accessories to cool camping supplies and clothing. Although it’s a “mantique” store, and you will notice a lot of items that are marketed towards men, there are always new things coming in from the auctions and flea markets that the owners are constantly visiting, so you never know what treasure you’ll find next!
Spend Time in the Great Outdoors
Coggin Park is Brownwood’s newly renovated, 15-acre park. You’re free to enjoy its multiple tennis courts and baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, a full-size basketball court, horseshoe and washer pits, pecan trees, a playground, paved walking trail, exercise stations, as well as pavilions, picnic tables, and BBQ pits available for reservations.
You can also take the kids to the splash pad at Allcorn Park, perfect for cooling off in the summer, or the skate park at Mayes Park.
Sip on House Made Texas Wine
As experienced members in the industry, Sara and Hayley Cox opened 10 Mile Productions out of love for winemaking and the city of Brownwood. At their tasting room, you can sample their selection of draft beers and house made wines made with Texas grapes before deciding what to order. Enjoy food, games, and the local art on display while kicking back with a glass (or two) of your choice.
They also host fun events like wine and yoga sessions and 2nd Sunday brunch!
Support Local Artists
The Brownwood Art Association is one of the oldest of its kind in Texas, clocking in at 97 years old! Entry is free and you can find updated information about their monthly classes, demonstrations, and new exhibits on Facebook. Each new exhibit includes a gathering on the first Thursday with light refreshments. You’ll also find a number of pieces for sale!
Kayak the Westernmost Bayou in the Country
The Pecan Bayou Paddling Trail is a 3.4-mile loop that is fed by Lake Brownwood via a dam, which you can also kayak to if you take the route all the way to the end. Riverside Park and Fabis Primitive Park both offer access points for kayaking or canoeing along the trail.
The loop can be kayaked in either direction for any amount of distance and you’ll likely glimpse abundant wildlife along the way. Fabis Park even offers overnight, primitive campsites (with a permit).
You can also book a kayaking excursion at Fabis Park during your stay at the Star of Texas B&B!
Shop 20+ Vendors in One Place
Shaw’s Marketplace houses a selection of goods from 20+ local businesses, including the candy store, Shuga Pops. You’ll find items like camping supplies, clothes, accessories, home goods, and even a little something for the little ones. I loved the live flower section where you can create your own bouquet of fresh flowers!
Whether you need to refuel or you just want something to sip on as you peruse, there’s even a coffee counter! They offer both caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, a huge selection of syrup add-ons, and a selection of tasty toast combinations, like Ricotta and Pistachio Toast.
Check Out Kirkland Dock
Kirkland Dock offers much of what you’ll find at Flat Rock Park and Campground, but there are also giant rocks you can climb for a great view of the lake below, and it’s a great spot to watch fireworks on the 4th of July!
Stay in This B&B on the Outskirts of Brownwood
The Star of Texas Bed & Breakfast has such a beautiful history that it would be a shame not to share with you. Deb and Don met at a party when he returned from his time in the Navy and they hit it off immediately. A few months later, they married and began making planes for their future. Don became a blacksmith, and they traveled all over the country selling his creations.
It was not until 10 years later that they fulfilled Deb’s dream and opened Oak Cottage, their first bed and breakfast. Since then, they have added three more residences to their 20-acre property: the Wildrose Retreat, Cottonwood, and Willowbend. Inside each of the cottages, you’ll see Don’s ironwork and Deb’s eye for detail and gorgeous vintage decor.
Despite the rural feeling of the property, you’re just 7 minutes from downtown Brownwood!
Since Don is also a chaplain, and Deb is a wonderful hostess, it was only logical that they made it a place for eloping couples to come and celebrate together. Today, the Star of Texas B&B is a popular destination for elopements, and more than 500 couples have since tied the knot.
You’re welcomed with such warmth and even homemade items like a refreshing rum punch for you to indulge in during your stay. The couple is just a phone call or text away if you need anything.
Breakfast is delivered to your door made with fresh herbs from Deb’s garden, and even farm fresh eggs!
So many little details make Star of Texas B&B the perfect place to stay on your next weekend vacation or romantic getaway. For obvious reasons, this property is very popular, so be sure to plan ahead and secure a spot early!
The selection of items on the shelves at Saturday’s Antiques is a carefully curated collection with a variety of treasures that are personally chosen by the owners at neighboring estate sales. The place has stunning art, china sets, furniture, and even vintage clothing! Keep an eye out for the friendly shop cat!
Eat Large Portions at This Local Favorite
Underwood’s Cafeteria is as country as it gets. It started out with a Texas butcher, M.E. Underwood, selling BBQ door-to-door to feed his family during the Great Depression. In 1946, the first Underwood’s was opened to the public.
This buffet style diner serves large portions of your favorite meats, like beef steak and smoked sausages, with all the fixings. They are well known for their cobbler, fried chicken, affordable prices, and huge portions. On Sundays, they pull out all the stops and prepare their largest variety of food.
Stay at the Harper House
The Harper House is a historic home constructed in Brownwood in 1917. Today, it is owned and operated by Elizabeth McCrane, who has deep family roots in Brownwood.
After undergoing restoration and the careful preservation of the home’s original character, you can now stay the night or host your next event in this gorgeous B&B! The interior is stunning, featuring bold, dark hues, wooden touches, and comfy furnishings that look like the stagings inside an interior design catalog.
See their website for other community events, like movie nights and sound bath sessions.
Spend Time on the Beach
At Flat Rock Park & Campground, you’ll have easy access to the lake for lots of swimming and sunbathing in the summer. RV hook-ups and primitive campsites are available, as well as boat launching sites and a fishing pier.
Sand volleyball matches, group events, and kayak rentals are also available. The seasonal shop on-site sells a variety of supplies, including burgers, ice, and bait.
Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, bunnies, turtles, and various bird species of birds, among other native creatures.
Things to Do Near Brownwood
Sip on Huge Margaritas
At La Botana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar, enjoy refreshing margaritas, your favorite traditional Mexican dishes, tableside guacamole, and mariachis.
Visit Los Trece, Texas
Next door to Brownwood is the town of Early, Texas where you’ll find the Old West settlement of Los Trece.
If you’re planning a trip to Brownwood, this is an activity you should NOT skip. It was initially created by a well-known artist, welder, and his wife for a family event. It has since grown into a uniquely Texas destination with gunfighter reenactments, free roaming donkeys that love to eat Fruit Loops, live music inside their authentic saloon, an on-site cantina and bar, a kid’s area, and so much more!
Visitors are encouraged to join the locals for a fun night out under the stars. Bring the whole family and your furry friends are also welcome! Be sure to ask about the second-story of the saloon for a great view of all of Los Trece.
Brownwood, Texas is a small town with a lot of charm. Driving around you will see plenty of historic buildings that the town has been renovating and turning into local businesses. With a top brewery, plenty of cute spots to getaway, and great food, Brownwood, Texas makes for a fun small town Texas weekend getaway.
Things to Do in Brownwood, Texas: Final Thoughts
Brownwood, Texas is a small, hill country town with a lot of charm. Driving around, you will see plenty of historic buildings that the town has been renovating and turning into local businesses. With a top brewery, plenty of cute spots to explore, and great food, Brownwood makes for a fun, small town getaway.
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