Photo by David Winslow

Way out west lies Alpine, a small town with big charm that's surrounded by a gorgeous desert mountain landscape. Equally desirable is the weather: The dry air and elevation keep the days fresh and cool year-round, especially in the mornings and evenings.

Though it may seem far from big cities, Alpine is centrally connected to the most scenic routes in the state, with easy day-trip access to Big Bend National Park, Marfa, Fort Davis, Marathon, McDonald Observatory, and more.

Whether you're passing through or parking your suitcase for a while, here's what to see in Alpine:

Play ball
Located north of downtown, Kokernot Field has been called the “best little ballpark in Texas” by Sports Illustrated. It's the home of the Alpine Cowboys, a nonprofit team that plays in the Pecos League, a professional baseball club which is not affiliated with the Major or Minor Baseball League.

The field dates back to 1947, when longtime rancher Herbert Kokernot Jr. built a baseball stadium to replicate Chicago's Wrigley Field, using materials from his own ranch to add that personal touch. The Cowboys' season typically starts in late May and continues until the end of July (unless they make the playoffs). The players are recruited from all over the United States, with some having come as far as Japan and Puerto Rico.

Lace up and explore
So much beautiful scenery demands to be explored, and Alpine has plenty of parks and trails to satisfy that urge.

Hancock Hill, behind Sul Ross State University, has a small system of hiking trails that feature scenic overlooks of the town and the path to The Desk.

If you haven’t heard the story of The Desk, it goes like this: In 1981, three Sul Ross students carried a desk up Hancock Hill to study. Soon they were spending hours on the hill, enjoying the beautiful surroundings. When one of them left a notebook in a desk drawer and later saw someone had written in it, he replied and soon the tradition of a notebook associated with The Desk was born. There have been dozens of notebooks filled since that are now stored at SRSU's Archives of the Big Bend.

Of course, Big Bend National Park is not to be missed, and neither are Big Bend Ranch State Park and Davis Mountains State Park. Make sure you're appropriately prepared, with proper hiking clothes, plenty of water, and an emergency plan before you head out.

You can also spend a day at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center, where in addition to hiking trails you'll find informative exhibits and programs, a greenhouse, and a botanical center.

Museum time
Eager to learn more? Head to Museum of the Big Bend on the Sul Ross State University campus for what director Mary Bones calls "your best introduction to the Big Bend area."

The museum celebrates natural and human history as well as cultures of the Big Bend region. Rotating exhibits include paintings, photography, and more. If you love maps, you’ll be fascinated by the historical pieces in the Yana and Marty Davis Map Collection.

Saddle up
In 1948, the Sul Ross State University rodeo team met with 11 other schools and formed the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, or NIRA. Today, the university still hosts the annual Southwest Region competition and has several national championships under its belt.

Rodeo fans can also get their fill at the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo, held this year August 11-12.

More events
Get ready for a summer and fall filled with fun events, starting with the music festivals Viva Big Bend (July 26-30) and Fiesta 1888 (August 5). Art lovers should show up for Trappings of Texas September 14-16 at Museum of the Big Bend and Artwalk on November 17-18, while music fans will want to attend the Big Bend Bluegrass Festival October 6-7.

Round it all out
Wondering where to eat while you're here? There are several options for casual fine dining and plenty of spots that specialize in fresh seafood. Expect a lot of small, family-owned and operated restaurants and food trucks for a truly homemade flavor.

That's also the theme when it comes to shopping, with locally owned boutiques found throughout downtown, including a spot for vintage vinyl records and a fine independent bookstore with an attached coffee shop. While you're browsing, pause to snap pics at the more than 40 murals dotted throughout downtown.

Lay your head
Stay in the historic Holland Hotel, Alpine’s classic railroad hotel originally constructed in 1928. There were originally two railroad hotels: one for the ranchers and one for the workers.

In addition to trusted hotel chains, other hotels with unique vibes include Quarter Circle 7 at Hotel Parker, the Maverick Inn motor court, Alpine Bed & Breakfast, and more.

Learn more about Alpine and begin planning your visit here.

Kokernot baseball field

Photo by David Winslow

Kokernot Field has been called "the best little ballpark in Texas."

Photo by Ryan Kyte

Music lovers and foodies: Cruise to Austin for these can’t-miss summer experiences

Hit the Road

If the Live Music Capital of the World isn’t at the top of the list for your next road trip, you’re surely missing out.

With nearly 300 days of sunshine year-round, plenty of live music to keep you movin’ all night, and countless dining options, Austin always has more to discover.

After your first visit, you’ll want to come back for more — especially to avoid the FOMO (fear of missing out) on all these upcoming summertime events.

Live music to my ears

The music scene in Austin is unforgettable, with hundreds of live music venues all over the city.

Legendary icons like Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin, and Gary Clark Jr. all have their roots in the Live Music Capital of the World. Historic experiences are alive and well in one of Austin's oldest and most famed dance halls, the Broken Spoke, and don't forget Victory Grill, a staple on the historic Chitlin' Circuit where W. C. Clark and B. B. King once played.

Gear up for the week-long takeovers of free music across tons of Austin venues during Hot Summer Nights every summer, and Austin City Limits Music Festival in the fall.

For your first summer trip tradition, make sure you pack an extra picnic blanket to catch Austin’s largest free concert series: Blues on the Green at Zilker Park in June and July. The city’s top local bands perform to hundreds of attendees every year.

And if you can’t get enough of the park, make plans to visit the free Zilker Summer Musical by the Zilker Hillside Theatre. This outdoor troupe hosts performances Thursday through Sunday in July and August starting at 8:15 pm.

Festivities for the foodies

You shouldn’t visit Austin without trying what they're most known for: barbecue and Tex-Mex. For those who don't eat meat, don’t worry — many iconic restaurants around town serve up a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Austin is also known for its unique food trucks, which can be found all over town.

Several James Beard award-winning chefs grace Austin with their culinary creations, such as Iliana De La Vega of El Naranjo, Edgar Rico of Nixta Taqueria (who was also named Austin's Chef of the Year at the 2022 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards), and Mashama Bailey of Diner Bar, who made it onto Texas Monthly’s list of best new restaurants of 2023. Bailey is also the executive chef of Grey Market.

Better Half Coffee & Cocktails also recently won CultureMap’s Tastemaker Award for Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year.

And you can’t say you had a true Central Texas experience without trying its signature cuisine. Franklin Barbecue is the most recognized name in town — and was even declared the best Texas barbecue by Southern Living — but others would put LeRoy and Lewis BBQ in the top spot after it was recognized by Texas Monthly in their list of best barbecue in the state.

Veracruz All Natural has been lauded by Food Network as one of the top taco shops in America, featured in the New York Times and winner of People’s Choice Best Food Truck and Best Tacos in the Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin awards

If you're looking for a beautiful fusion of live music and food that hits deep in the soul, the Hot Luck Festival May 25-28, 2023, is your ticket to a picnic-and-party experience that spotlights culinary knowledge and music.

Can’t-miss summer experiences

The capital of Texas is a year-round outdoor enthusiast’s playground, and summer is the peak time to try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking on Lady Bird Lake.

Go for a stroll along the Butler Hike and Bike Trail, then dip your toes into the eternally chilly waters of the spring-fed Barton Springs Pool, which was recently deemed the “most Instagrammable” pool in America. But before that great honor, the historic pool was once a sacred site for the Tonkawa people and later used as a mission site by Spanish explorers in the 17th century.

If you’re looking for an urban wildlife adventure, you won’t have to travel far. Austin is home to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats, which is the largest urban bat colony in the entirety of North America.

The bats call the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge their home, and you can watch them fly out for their nightly meal while lined up on the bridge or from a bat cruise or kayak on the river below.

Bat Fest in August is the city’s annual family-friendly celebration of the mammals’ nightly flights with live music, children's activities, a costume contest, and more.

Seek out the iconic murals and spectacular street art scene by exploring any of the city's neighborhoods. Look for iconic pieces like the "Greetings from Austin" mural, "I Love You So Much," or "You’re My Butter Half," along with hundreds of new and evolving pieces on nearly every corner.

Besides its endless music presence, Austin is also known as a film buff’s paradise. SXSW Conference & Festivals has a hand in that, but we can’t forget to give thanks to the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. From May through September, watch flicks that date back to the 1930s and go all the way up to the modern-day blockbuster. New films are announced every month, so you’ll be able to catch a classic or find your new underground favorite (to brag to your non-film friends about, of course).

Another can't-miss event, the Austin Pride Parade & Festival is celebrated every August (which is also Austin Pride Month) and is the largest annual LGBTQ+ advocacy and fundraising event in Central Texas. Gather with thousands of folks to show off your pride.

Whether you’re a painter or poet, musician or muse, tech guru or business icon, Austin is a city that will welcome you, engage you, and inspire you. Find more to do, eat, and see in Austin here.

Zilker Park

Photo by Ryan Kyte

Zilker Park is the site of many festivals.

Photo courtesy of Visit Brazosport

'Sea' yourself in Brazosport for a breezy summer getaway

Hit the Road

One beachy destination is nice, but five-in-one is even better. That's what you get with Brazosport, a coastal community located just 50 miles south of Houston that encompasses Clute, Freeport, Lake Jackson, Quintana, and Surfside Beach.

You can choose to concentrate on just one area, or spend your time city-hopping between them. Either way, there's plenty to do, see, eat, and explore with these recommended activities:

Surfside Beach
If the beach is your happy place, then Surfside Beach has got to be in your vacation plans. Miles of golden sand studded with seashells and marine life make Surfside Beach the perfect retreat for recreational athletes, sun worshipers, and nature lovers alike. With beach house rentals, motels, offshore fishing charters, restaurants, and souvenir shops all close at hand, Surfside Beach is a great spot for every type of beachgoer.

Sea Center Texas, Lake Jackson
At this marine development, aquarium, and education center you'll find vast aquariums that include the Gulf of Mexico, Salt Marsh, Coastal Bay, Jetty, and Artificial Reefs. Visit the 20-foot touch pool and handle marine animals such as blue crabs, hermit crabs, urchins, and anemones. The hatchery at Sea Center can produce 20 million fingerlings annually, primarily red drum and spotted sea trout, for release into Texas coastal waters.

Center for the Arts & Sciences, Clute
An art gallery, science museum, planetarium, and two performance theaters make up this mecca of culture. Featuring work by local, regional, and international artists, the gallery regularly updates its collection. The Center’s Museum of Natural Science contains one of the South’s largest seashell collections, as well as fossils of dinosaur and mammoth bone. The museum also features Texas coastal wildlife and a unique jade and ivory collection.

The BASF Planetarium offers a star show every Tuesday and on the fourth Friday of each month. Visitors can also view images from the Hubble telescope in the lobby through View-Space. The Center is also home to the longest-running community theater on the Texas Gulf Coast: Brazosport Center Stages, which offer five major productions each season. Pro tip: The Center is closed on Mondays.

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge
This extensive, 43,000-acre refuge has a varied habitat of salt grass prairies, mud flats, fresh and saltwater marshes and lakes, and salt cedars. These habitats make it a favorite for many species of coastal and migratory birds. Meanwhile, an auto tour, boardwalks, and air conditioned discovery center make it a favorite for Texas birders. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, it's also a great spot for kayaking.

Surfside Jetty Park, Surfside Beach
More than half a mile long, with flat surface walkway about five feet above the water, this is a great place to go saltwater fishing for redfish, sheepshead, shark, and spotted sea trout.

Surfside Bird & Butterfly Trail, Surfside Beach
Stroll 2.5 miles surrounded by native plants and woodland, and bordered by the Freeport Harbor. Opened in 2019, this is a great place to spot butterflies, herons, pelicans, egrets, terns and more.

Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, Quintana
Home to salt cedars, beach dunes, gulf frontage, and brackish marshes, and with an observation tower and trails open daily from sunrise to sunset, this quaint beach community offers one of the hottest birding spots on the Texas Gulf Coast. During the month of April, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory staff and volunteers provide local birding information, bird checklists, lead tours, and help identify birds for visitors at this site.

Christmas Bay Paddling Trail, near Surfside Beach
Find extensive oyster reefs and salt marshes ideal for fishing, bird watching, or just simply enjoying nature. It is very shallow and most paddlers can comfortably stand in its waters in most areas. But beware: If you wade or fish, wear ray-proof wading boots or shuffle your feet to avoid a stingray strike! The total trail length is 19.1 miles, with a 3.8-mile route and a 10.3-mile route. Launch sites are along Bluewater Highway between Surfside Beach and San Luis Pass on County Roads 257J, 257S, and at San Luis Pass County Park.

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Lake Jackson
Be sure to return in the fall for the annual Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza, which is held at the peak of ruby-throated hummingbird migration. It features symbolic hummingbird adoptions and live hummingbird banding, where you get the opportunity to see these amazing birds up close and in the hand.

Where to feed your hunger
Being located along the Gulf of Mexico, of course you'll find some of the freshest seafood around. But don't forget about Tex-Mex and dishes that reflect Texas' original German settlements. After browsing the locally owned boutiques in downtown Lake Jackson or a day immersed in nature, you'll want to dig in. Find an extensive list of restaurant's here.

Where to rest your head
Stay right next to the sand with beach house rentals at Surfside Beach. Staying a little longer? Check out Beach Resort Services for short-term rentals in Surfside. In Lake Jackson, post up at the Best Western Plus and Staybridge Suites.

Explore more about Brazosport and start planning your next vacation here.

Surfing man on Brazosport beach

Photo courtesy of Visit Brazosport

Feel those beach vibes.

Photo by Andy Austin

Soak up the sun with a breezy getaway to historic and outdoorsy El Paso

Sun City

Out in Far West Texas, the city of El Paso experiences more than 300 days of sunshine, making the self-proclaimed “Sun City” the ideal destination for outdoor adventure and experiences.

It also contains thousands of years of history while experiencing unprecedented growth, especially with a focus on the already booming downtown area.

Here's what to check out on your next trip to El Paso:

Vibe with Mother Nature
Towering above the city of El Paso is Franklin Mountains State Park, the largest state park in an urban setting. Here you can hike over 37 square miles of desert wilderness, scrub vegetation, and open space.

From Red Sands to Hueco Tanks State Park and the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso offers an impressive number of outdoor and eco-tourism attractions and sites.

At Hueco Tanks, visitors can hike, try rock climbing and bouldering, bird watch, study nature and history, picnic, and stargaze. Also available are guided and self-guided tours to view ancient rock glyphs.

And don’t forget your mountain bike, because El Paso’s 125 miles of multi-use trails and rugged mountain terrains are more than a picturesque backdrop to the thriving international border metroplex.

Step back in time
Take a half-day trip to the historic Mission Trail area on El Paso’s far east side to see three historic churches, originally built during the 1600-1700s. Some are still used regularly for services!

Along the Mission Trail you’ll also find the Los Portales Museum in San Elizario, the Tigua Cultural Center, and Licon Dairy.

Dive into downtown
El Paso is home to more than 10,000 hotel rooms, multiple museums, and countless attractions. Most of these sites — as well as an abundance of restaurants, bars, and sports and entertainment venues — are located within walking distance from one another in downtown El Paso.

Hop aboard the El Paso Streetcar to explore both downtown and uptown, or wander on foot to view Henry Trost’s iconic architecture and local artists’ murals.

Head over to Southwest University Park, home of the El Paso Chihuahuas Triple-A baseball team and United Soccer League team, the El Paso Locomotive FC.

Or take a walk through San Jacinto Plaza where, besides splashing around, you can challenge friends to a game of chess or table tennis, or simply enjoy the public art honoring the park's unique history.

Must-see museums
Dive deeper into El Paso’s history with a tour of the Magoffin Home State Historic Site, or learn about the U.S./Mexico border region at the El Paso Museum of History.

Of course, a guided tour at the El Paso Museum of Art is a must. Catch a special performance at the historical Plaza Theatre in downtown El Paso for even more culture.

Time to dine
Feast on steak, barbecue, and seafood at the cowboy-style Cattleman’s Steakhouse, or opt for Mexican cuisine at Los Bandidos de Carlos & Mickey’s.

Indulge in a wine tasting at Zin Valle Vineyards after testing your cooking skills at a Texas Culinary Institute class.

Where to rest your head
The Plaza Hotel at Pioneer Park, Conrad Hilton’s first high-rise hotel, has been renovated to its original historic beauty. The property offers 131 guest rooms, stunning views of Mexico, two restaurants and bars, one of the area's largest tequila collections, and it is located within easy walking distance of the El Paso Convention Center.

Now reborn as part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, the multi-million-dollar renovation of Hotel Paso Del Norte embodies the spirit of independence, channeling El Paso’s eclectic past through its design with vibrant restaurants, a rooftop bar, pool, and refreshed guest rooms and suites.

Learn more
Explore thousands of years of history and let your imagination run wild in the Sun City. Start planning your trip now.

People hiking in El Paso

Photo by Andy Austin

El Paso offers an impressive number of outdoor activities.

Photo courtesy of Round Rock CVB

Make a splash in historical Round Rock, the sports capital of Texas

Hit the Road

Did you know that Round Rock is named after an actual round rock that settlers used to cross Brushy Creek in the 1850s, and you can still visit it today? If you didn't, there are probably a few other surprises just waiting to be discovered on your next trip to Round Rock.

Only 15 miles north of Austin, the Sports Capital of Texas is home to one-of-a-kind attractions like America's largest indoor waterpark and unique treats like an Instagram-worthy 14-inch-wide doughnut. On top of all that, it boasts spectacular shopping and dining and a calendar packed with must-attend events.

Here are just a few ideas for your next getaway:

Upcoming events
Any time is a good time to visit, with Round Rock Market Days happening the first Saturday of each month and Music on Main Street occurring each Wednesday during the spring and fall.

From March 31-April 2, 2023, see stunning sugar creations from some of the world's most talented bakers at That Takes The Cake. In April, travel back in time for Williamson Museum Pioneer Days and then celebrate the Juneteenth Festival before the July 4th Frontier Days Celebration.

Chalk Walk Arts Festival takes over in October and then it's time for Dia de los Muertos and the annual Rockin’ Around The Holidays Bazaar, both in early November. Raise a glass to Beaujolais Nights on the third Thursday of November before it's time for the Holiday Model Train Exhibit and Light Up The Lake in December.

Play ball
Round Rock earned its Sports Capital of Texas title because of the world-class facilities located throughout the city, including Dell Diamond stadium where the Round Rock Express, the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, play. Delicious dining, activities like a rock wall and a bungee trampoline, and family photo opps also await at Dell Diamond.

Head outdoors
There are more than 2,270 acres of parks and open spaces for visitors to enjoy here. A variety of outdoor activities can be enjoyed at Old Settlers Park, the crown jewel of Round Rock’s park system. The 640-acre park features seven playgrounds, disc golf, cricket, 20 baseball fields, a five-field softball complex, soccer facilities, fishing at Bright Lake, football fields, 40 picnic areas, a remote-control airplane area, and much more.

Speciality parks include the Play For All Abilities Park and Dog Depot Dog Park. Hit Brushy Creek Trail for 20 miles of terrain to bike, run, or leisurely walk. And of course you'll want to view theRound Rock at Chisholm Trail Crossing Park.

Make sure to practice your swing at Round Rock's top-rated golf courses, Forest Creek Golf Club and Teravista Golf Club, during your visit.

Make a splash
The authentically African-themed Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is the site of America’s largest indoor waterpark, at 223,000 square feet. It boasts 30 waterslides, 20 pools and whirlpools, a wave pool, wave simulator, and much more.

Kalahari is also home to Tom Foolerys, an indoor adventure park complete with arcade games, escape rooms, laser tag, and zip lining. Visitors won’t want to miss out on the relaxing spa treatments at Spa Kalahari, plus the artisan-style shopping and award-winning dining offered at Kalahari.

Dig in
Speaking of dining, Round Rock is home to a variety of local restaurants offering authentic Italian, Texas barbecue, and dishes from around the world. No stop to Round Rock is complete with a stop to the famous Round Rock Donuts, where you can order the 14-inch-wide Texas Size Donut for the entire family. Some other local spots that rock include Liberty Barbecue, Palermo Pasta House, and Rock N Grill Authentic Indian Cuisine.

Shop to it
Come for the Texas-Size Donut, stay for the Round Rock Premium Outlets. This open-air mall is home to 125 designer and name-brand outlet stores. For Round Rock souvenirs and other Texas centric items and unique finds, drop into boutiques such as Rhae Boutique, Mercantile On Main & Haute Boutique, Mays Street Boutique, Cristales - The Boutique, and Tammy Kay’s Boutique.

At Kalahari Resorts & Conventions you'll find Amatuli, an outdoor marketplace featuring handcrafted items made by local artists and African craftsmen, and Marrakesh Market, the perfect place to find a souvenir at the end of your trip. Ikea and Bass Pro Shops are also popular places to stop and shop during a visit.

History abounds
Downtown Round Rock is the site of the gunfight and subsequent capture — and then death — of train robber Sam Bass by a member of the Texas Ranger Division on July 19, 1878. Bass is buried in Round Rock Cemetery located northwest of “Old Town” on Sam Bass Road.

Get a glimpse of Round Rock's past when you view artwork from Texas sculptor Jim Thomas. He was commissioned by the city to create a 1.5 scale, 22-figure bronze sculptural composition depicting life along the Chisholm Trail in the late 1800s.

You can get more glimpses into the past by admiring the historical architecture of the Old Broom Factory, the J.A. Nelson Co. Building, the Masonic Lodge/Old Post Office Building, and more. Historical homes include the Nelson-Crier House (also known as the Woodbine Mansion), Palm Valley House, and Palm Valley Mansion.

Tour the Firehouse Museum and the Williamson County Old Settlers Association to gain even more insight.

Where to stay
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions has proved to be a sought-after lodging option for family, friends, and lovebirds alike thanks to its unique African-themed decor and one-of-a-kind attractions.

Visitors also rest easy in many of the local hotels, including the newly opened Embassy Suites by Hilton, Holiday Inn, La Quinta Inn & Suites, and more. For boutique experiences, The Ruby Hotel is the perfect boutique hotel for fun Instagram photos and a memorable stay.

Learn more about Round Rock and plan your next visit here.

Round Rock Donuts

Round Rock Donuts
Photo courtesy of Round Rock CVB

Don't forget a trip to Round Rock Donuts.

Photo courtesy of Kerrville CVB

Craft your own adventure in art-filled and outdoorsy Kerrville

Hit the Road

Located in a two-hour triangle between Austin and San Antonio is Kerrville, the official capital of the Texas Hill Country. Founded in 1889 with a spirit of innovation, the city still holds fast to its entrepreneurial roots as the home of James Avery Artisan Jewelry and a plethora of galleries, museums, and shops.

It's also an outdoor lover's dream. Kerrville is situated along the banks of the Guadalupe River, which serves as the map for the multi-use Kerrville River Trail and provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Here are more activities to discover during your time in Kerrville:

Art for all
The world-famous brand James Avery Artisan Jewelry calls Kerrville home, and visitors can learn about the history of the company in a museum-like setting while also shopping for their very own piece of jewelry to take home.

The company's presence is felt throughout the city, most notably with the popular Mother's Love James Avery memorial sculpture right outside the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center. This is one of the 28 public art pieces dotted throughout downtown — keep an eye out for “Lupe” the Guadalupe Bass in Louise Hays Park and the “Welcome To Kerrville” mural.

Find peace with the The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden, featuring eight bronze sculptures inspired by Christian scriptures, including a seven-story-tall steel cross, that are surrounded by a prayer rock garden.

Visit the campus of the Hill Country Arts Foundation in nearby Ingram and come face to face with Stonehenge II, a nearly life-size replica of the famous stones in England that also include two 13-foot-tall Easter Island head copies.

Head into the 20,000-square-foot Rivers Edge Gallery to view an expansive variety of contemporary and traditional artwork, or explore life during the frontier days at The Museum of Western Art. The museum also offers workshops on such skills as leather working and candle making.

The Schreiner Mansion Historic Site, built by former Texas Ranger Charles Schreiner, offers a guided tour of the mansion with history on the family that ran a major department store in Kerrville (now Schreiner Goods) and established the Schreiner Institute, now known as Schreiner University.

Catch live music and other events at the iconic Arcadia Live Theater, see a play in the intimate black box VK Garage Theater, or pay tribute to Point Theatre, the oldest-running outdoor theater in Texas. The Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts also hosts Symphony of the Hills, nationally acclaimed musicians, and theater performances by Playhouse 2000.

Events for everyone
There's something for every season here, with the spring bringing the Kerrville Easter Festival (held this year on April 8, 2023) and the Kerrville Easter Bike Ride (April 7-9, 2023).

The Texas Masters of Fine Art Show (May 26-28, 2023) overlaps with the famous Kerrville Folk Festival (May 25-June 11, 2023), and the height of summer brings Kerrville’s Fourth on the River, scheduled for July 4.

Fall sees the Kerrville Triathlon Festival and the Texas State Arts & Crafts Fair on the same weekend — September 23-24, 2023 — with the Kerrville RiverFest and Kerrville Chalk Festival following October 14 and 15, 2023.

The Texas Furniture Makers Show is scheduled for November 2-December 15, 2023, and lots of folks turn out for the Kerrville Renaissance Festival that runs weekends in late January and early February.

Head outside
Kerrville’s mild weather allows for outdoor activities year-round. Hop aboard the Hill Country River Rat, a unique outdoor river activity where visitors can peddle to provide horsepower on a 25-foot-long, custom-made, 12-passenger pontoon boat.

Aside from water fun on the Guadalupe River, biking is also a popular outdoor activity. Pedal leisurely on the 10-foot-wide Kerrville River Trail, the city’s unofficial crown jewel, that parallels the Guadalupe for six miles. You can also walk your dog, go for a run, or relax on a bench and spot birds in the shade of Kerrville’s signature cypress trees.

There are multiple trail segments and trailheads that can be accessed along the Kerrville River Trail, notably Kerrville-Schriener Park and Louise Hays Park.

At 517 acres, Kerrville-Schriener is the largest municipal park in Kerrville, offering plenty of green space with a playground, butterfly garden, sand volleyball, basketball, 10-plus miles of hike and bike trails, river access, and more.

The popular Louise Hays Park features an interactive fountain, a playground, pavilions, trail heads, numerous picnic areas, and a stage that hosts music and dance performances. Louise Hays Park is also home to a variety of special events, such as Get Outdoors Day, Kerrville’s Fourth on the River, and the Kerrville Triathlon Festival.

To learn about the different critters and creatures that call Kerrville home, the Riverside Nature Center is the perfect place to explore. Wander through the gardens, educational exhibits, a gift shop, and much more.

Additional outdoor activities include golfing at Kerrvilles’ three golf courses — Scott Schreiner Golf Course, Comanche Trace, and The Riverhill Country Club — playing tennis at the HEB Tennis Center, and hunting at Y.O. Ranch or Shonto Ranch.

Time to eat
Enjoy dining with a view of the Hill Country and the Guadalupe River while exploring the craft food and beverage scene when you dine in Kerrville. From upscale dining experiences and wine tasting opportunities to delicious taco and coffee spots on the go, there's no shortage of choices.

For a meal with a view, check out 1011 Bistro, Cafe at the Ridge, Thai Ocha, Pinnacle Grill, and Billy Gene’s. Texas tacos are obviously a must, so head to El Sol De Mexico, Mary’s Tacos, Taqueria Jalisco, El Jimador Restaurant & Bar, and Rita’s Famous Tacos.

Make sure to sample the local libations during your stay — Kerrville is located in the Hill Country after all. Turtle Creek Olives & Vines, Kerrville Hills Winery, and Wine-O-Bout It satisfy vino connoisseurs, while craft brew enthusiasts will cheers to options like Pint & Plow Brewing Co., Basement Brewers of Texas, and Trailhead Beer Garden.

Other popular eateries include Bumdoodlers Lunch Company, Francisco’s Restaurant, Grape Juice, and Rails: A Cafe at The Depot.

Shop to it
Visitors flock to downtown Kerrville to explore upscale shops as well as unique boutiques and antique stores. Schreiner Goods stocks a curated selection of women’s clothing, accessories, and stylish home goods, while Rustic Elegance is a home furnishing aficionado's dream store.

Stop by Creations, a destination for fabric artists; shop for crystals and other mystical items at The Fairy Moon Emporium; or go antique hunting at Sunrise Antique Mall. Of course, shopping for a piece of James Avery jewelry is a given while in Kerrville!

Rest your head
The River Trail Cottages are a fun way to depart from the normal hotel experience, with a unique variety of retro overnight options like Motor Court Cottages, newly built midcentury-themed Depot Alley or River View cottages, and vintage RVs filled with modern amenities.

At the River House, all guest rooms offer direct access to the river and the Kerrville River Trail that leads straight through downtown. The facilities also come with grills, bicycles, river floats, fishing poles, kayaks, and backyard games.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Guadalupe River Camp Resort is the perfect place for families traveling with little ones. Enjoy putt-putt, jumbo-sized jumping pillows, laser tag, playgrounds, and a water slide park.

For those looking for a resort feel, a stay at Inn of the Hills Hotel & Conference Center is an excellent choice. The hotel features a courtyard, swimming pools, 21,000-square-foot conference center, delicious dining at the full-service restaurant, and the Inn Pub, which features entertainment on the weekends and is the only dance hall in Kerrville.

Learn more about Kerrville and start planning your visit here.

Explore downtown Kerrville.

Photo courtesy of Kerrville CVB

Explore downtown Kerrville.

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These are the 6 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Barbecue, tiki drinks, seafood, and white wine are all on the menu this week as restaurants embrace the summer season. There’s also opportunity to get the kids out of the house for a fancy afternoon tea, and a Saturday book signing event will come with barbecue from a famous pitmaster. Save room for new Tex-Mex dishes launching at a Snider Plaza restaurant for its first birthday celebration.

Tuesday, June 6

Sonoma Summer Wine Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill
The Italian restaurant chain with locations in Dallas, Plano, and Hurst will welcome diners from all over DFW for a four-course summer wine dinner. Guests will get wines from well-known labels like La Crema, Mark West, Josh, and Kendall Jackson paired with crab and artichoke salad, linguine with crushed tomatoes and grilled chicken, Tuscan-grilled sirloin, and butter cake with berries. The dinner is $55 and begins at 6:30 pm.

Wednesday, June 7

The Douglas 1st Anniversary Party
The Snider Plaza bar and grill will celebrate its first birthday with a party, including the launch of Tex-Mex dishes. There’ll be live music by Ray Johnston, drink specials, and new menu items like smoked guacamole, queso, tacos al carbon with Wagyu skirt steak, and churros served with Mexican chocolate. The festivities kick off at 4 pm.

Thursday, June 8

Children’s Tea at the Dallas Arboretum
Bring the littles to an afternoon tea service geared just for them. The Arboretum’s Restaurant DeGolyer Tea Room will offer a multi-course, kid-friendly tea menu, including assorted sandwiches and sweet treats. The price is $42 for children 2-12, and $59 for adults. Reservations include parking and garden admission. The tea service will be offered on Thursday and Saturday at 2 pm.

Saturday, June 10

Aaron Franklin Barbecue and Book Signing at Loro Addison
The Asian smokehouse will host Loro co-founder and barbecue guru Aaron Franklin for a barbecue and book signing. Franklin will sell and sign copies of his latest book, Franklin Smoke, on the restaurant’s patio. He and his team will also prepare pulled pork and chopped brisket for purchase. The first 50 guests who buy a sandwich will get a free signed copy of the book. The event will run from 2-5 pm.

Dallas Tiki Week
A week of events offers a taste of the tropics without leaving North Texas. The annual celebration of tiki drinks and tropical vibes kicks off Saturday with a sip-and-shop at Savannah Hoffman Designs in Carrolton. Events through June 18 range from cocktail classes and tasting parties to a full-blown luau. Find the full schedule of events here.

Monday, June 12

Seafood & White Wine Dinner at Urban Crust
Kick off summer at this Plano dining destination with a light and lovely seafood dinner paired with four crisp white wines. Dinner is $59.90, plus tax and gratuity, and begins at 6:30 pm.

Controversial comedian Dave Chappelle plots out 4 Texas arena shows, including Dallas

Chappelle's Show(s)

Comedian/actor Dave Chappelle will soon bring his "Dave Chappelle Live" stand-up comedy show to arenas in four cities in Texas, including American Airlines Center in Dallas, on June 29.

Other dates include Toyota Center in Houston on July 1, AT&T Center in San Antonio on July 12, and Moody Center in Austin on July 14.

Chappelle is a complicated figure who's been celebrated for his trailblazing comedy and vilified for his controversial stances. Chappelle's Show, which ran from 2003 to 2006 on Comedy Central, was widely praised, and Chappelle remained extremely popular despite the abrupt end of the show and him choosing to recede from the spotlight in the following decade.

His re-emergence in the late 2010s brought success in the form of three straight Grammy wins for Best Comedy Album, but also continued jokes aimed at transgender people. He has been the subject of multiple protests over that material, and has even had a show canceled by a venue in Minneapolis after receiving criticism for hosting him.

As if to underscore the contentious nature of his comedy, no cellphones, cameras, or recording devices will be allowed at any of the four shows. All phones and smart watches will be secured in special pouches that can be unlocked at the end of the show. Anyone caught with a cellphone in the venue will be immediately ejected.

Tickets for the four shows will go on sale at 5 pm on June 5 at ticketmaster.com.

Dallas gelato startup featuring fun Filipino flavors hosts first pop-up

Ice Cream News

There's a new Dallas-based artisanal gelato with a Filipino twist. Called Sorbetera, it's a startup that delivers gelato and frozen desserts to your door, and is about to host its very first pop-up.

The concept was founded by pastry chef Cessy Mendoza and marketing/operations manager Kai Ayala, both natives of The Philippines who moved here in their teens.

In the Philippines, a "sorbetero" is an ice cream street vendor, typically manned by men. Sorbetera with an "A" is their twist.

"We want to offer a product that embodies Filipino flavors and brings nostalgic memories of back home," Ayala says.

They offer gelato in scoops and cups to-go, plus what they call "ice-candy" popsicles, featuring ingredients such as jackfruit, ube, and calamansi, the Philippine citrus that evokes flavors of kumquat and mandarin, purchased at local Asian markets.

"With Filipinos, word about authentic items spreads quickly, and about half of our business is in the Filipino community," Ayala says. "But the other half of our customers are a diverse, adventurous mix."

Flavors include:

  • Ube: Purple yam with latik (caramelized coconut curds)
  • Taho: Silken tofu, brown sugar syrup, and sago (little tapioca balls), typically served hot, which they transformed into gelato
  • Calamansi: Their first sorbet

They distribute weekly to a growing group of fans.

Mendoza comes from a family of caterers and has worked at acclaimed restaurants including Nobu Las Vegas, where she started her career as well as Nobu Dallas, Nobu Houston, Abacus, Georgie’s, Villa Azur, and the W Hotel.

Ayala has a background in corporate technology, and is also a food blogger. Their skills are complementary: Ayala leads marketing and operations while Mendoza oversees menu creation, which changes monthly.

For example, during May, they created two sweet flavors that were dedicated to their moms:

  • Abokado at Kondensada: "Tita Chit (Kai’s mom) loves everything avocado. She grew up eating it with sugar or condensed milk, just like our gelato! Tita Chit is a cancer survivor who continues to find comfort in eating all things avocado, including our gelato."
  • Turon (Banana and jackfruit in a spring roll wrapper and caramelized with sugar): "Tita Letty (Cessy’s mom) is a chef of her own right. Cessy learned how to cook and bake by watching her. Our Turon flavor is inspired by her. Tita Letty continues to be a huge influence in Cessy’s visions for Sorbetera."

On June 17, they'll do their first pop-up with a booth at Queens Market, a semi-regular event at Vector Brewing featuring 30-plus women-owned small businesses. They'll be offering gelato plus, two of their "ice-candy" (popsicle) flavors: Cantaloupe with evaporated and condensed milk; and Maiz con hielo IE, iced sweet corn. Admission is free, but you can make reservations and find more information online.