Most people know that College Station is home to Texas A&M University, but the city is also one of the best places in Texas to dine, sightsee, shop, relax, and learn a bit about world history. Yes — all that surprised me, too! Though Aggieland is the city’s baby, College Station is much more than a college town — it offers a variety of attractions and unique experiences for people of all ages. It’s also known for its friendliness: You’ll be greeted with an enthusiastic “Howdy!” wherever you go. The residents are always willing to lend a hand or offer their recommendations.
College Station is about 95 miles from Houston and roughly a 3-hour drive from Dallas. Whether you’re looking for things to do on a weekend getaway or checking out the university for your future college student, College Station is in full swing. Here are several attractions and experiences in the city that you should consider.
My stay was hosted by Visit College Station and Cavalry Court. All opinions are my own.
Things To Do In College Station
In College Station, not only can you get creative with your hands, eat delicious food, shop at some nice boutiques, and stay in a quaint hotel, but you can take self-guided tours of several attractions to learn more about world history. As I was planning my trip, I realized that one of my favorite Sunday-morning shows has a store in College Station, so I made The Texas Bucket List my first stop and the King Ranch Saddle Shop my second stop. While I was there, I learned that President George H. W. Bush, Barbara Bush, and their oldest daughter are all buried in College Station. I had a surreal visit and was in awe practically the whole time I was there.
Visit The George H. W. Bush Presidential Library And Museum
Although the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was closed when I was there, we did walk the grounds, where we saw a piece of the Berlin Wall, the gravesites of the former president and his wife, and a beautifully manicured lawn with gorgeous blooming flowers. That alone made my heart happy.
Pay Your Respects At The Veterans Park & Athletic Complex
The designers of the Veterans Park & Athletic Complex originally envisioned a space where families could come out to enjoy picnics, baseball games, and playgrounds. But they later realized it would be the perfect outdoor site to dedicate to veterans of our nation’s major wars. Today, the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial is one of America’s finest collections of war memorials. You’ll see life-size statues, a Wall of Honor, interpretive panels, and memorial sites here.
You can visit for free to catch a baseball game and take a tour of the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial. Quite honestly, I knew very little about the wars that went on in our day, and I felt a bit overwhelmed as a long-time resident of College Station took us around, talked about the wars, and described every statue out there, even Rosie the Riveter. It was a surreal moment for me. I might have shed a tear or two. I can’t wait to go back and see the 9/11 Memorial they are working on.
Pro Tip: The paved trails around the memorial are great for running or walking your dog. There are plenty of benches along the trail, and there are restrooms on-site.
Stroll Through The Gardens At Texas A&M University
A public garden with more than 7 acres of gorgeous seasonal flowers, an abundance of greenery, and a little river running through it, The Gardens at Texas A&M University offers quite the space to enjoy some fresh air and nature. Bring a picnic to enjoy. While perusing the website, be sure to look for special events happening throughout the year. Admission is always free, and parking is free on weekends.
Shop And Spa In Century Square
Just outside of Cavalry Court at Century Square, where I stayed, is a world of shopping. The popular King Ranch Saddle Shop makes its home in the square, as does the Galleria Spa Salon Boutique, voted the best day spa in the Brazos Valley for 16 consecutive years. You’ll also find Lucchese Boots and many other upscale shops and boutiques.
Stop To Smell The Flowers At Basecamp Farms
Just outside of College Station is an outdoor venue where you can cut your own flowers, explore a flower shop, take a tour, and sign up for a photography session among the big, beautiful sunflowers the farm is known for. You can even try your hand at making your own dried flower wreath. Basecamp Farms is a place to unwind, feel the grass between your toes, and take in the sunshine.
Explore Lick Creek Park
If you’re a nature buff, Lick Creek Park is the place to wander. Its nature center is a 2,400-square-foot facility with meeting rooms, outdoor classrooms, an amphitheater, native plant displays, and a monarch butterfly garden. You’ll enjoy nature to the fullest on the park’s paved and natural trails, watching for resident birds, butterflies, and snakes.
Experience The Northgate Entertainment District
If nightlife is more your style, then check out the Northgate Entertainment District. When the evening rolls around, this area is hopping with eclectic venues. Head to the world-famous Dixie Chicken, the oldest bar in town, and Bottle Cap Alley, where kids and adults alike can throw their caps on the ground. Where else could you do that and not get in trouble?
Restaurants In College Station
1860 Italia is a great place for oven-fired pizza, but also for bruschetta and grilled salmon with lemon and herbs, which is what I had. I could have had it the very next day as well — it was that delicious! If dessert is in order, plan to share the biggest piece of chocolate cake known to man. The four of us could not finish it! One lucky wife got to enjoy the rest.
The Republic Steakhouse
Steak, wine, and whiskey — take your pick, or go for all three! The Republic Steakhouse is open for dinner, and reservations are highly recommended. I also highly recommend the oysters, a glass of wine, and then steak if you’re looking for a nice meat meal.
I always want to eat where the locals do. Sal’s Garpez is one of those spots. It’s a local dive inside a gas station serving authentic Mexican food: breakfast tacos. Dine in or take yours to go; either way, you’ll have to wait — it’s that good. Look for the Shell at Highway 6 and Harvey Road.
Primrose Path Wine Bar
Primrose Path Wine Bar is a quaint place to go for lunch or dinner in a pretty setting. Get ready to be dazzled by the charm and by the beautiful chandelier hanging over the bar. You’ll enjoy the complete wine list, whiskey list, and artisan cheeses and charcuterie trays.
Gate 12 Bar & Grill
Gate 12 Bar & Grill offers great food and an amazing view of the planes taking off and landing at College Station’s only airport. When we were there, we saw at least 10 planes coming in for a landing. The chocolate cake was divine. Ask for spoons for the whole party and share it — it’s rich!
Hotels In College Station
While College Station offers the usual chain hotels, it also has some of the best boutique hotels I’ve ever run across. It may be tough to reserve a room for a time when a big event is going on, so if you’re planning a visit, book early.
Cavalry Court, an urban resort with a relaxed vibe and luxury amenities, is located in Century Square. You can splash in the pool, play in the courtyard, have a bite to eat in the adjacent Canteen Bar & Grill, and walk to the shops. A laid-back and fun scene is what you’ll find at Cavalry Court, where I was hosted. Relax on the patio while sipping handcrafted toddies from the bar, and enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday nights. You’ll also find complimentary bikes to ride.
The George, a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel where luxury meets rusticity, is directly across from Cavalry Court. There’s a wall of books on Texas in the lobby. You’ll enjoy the finest of things here, and you can even shop for luxury items in the gift shop.
In the heart of College Station, Vineyard Court, a much-loved boutique hotel, can house you and your entire family in one of their designer suites fit for a king. They are the only College Station hotel with a dog park, and all dogs stay for free.
Pro Tip: You won’t meet a stranger in College Station. If you need guidance, just ask, and you’ll get your answer and then some!