“An oasis in West Texas,” San Angelo has a vibrant cultural scene that will leave you in awe and wanting more. You’ll find national landmarks, a thriving performing arts scene, art studios and sculpture competitions. The city pays homage to its rich history with colorful murals depicting the bygone era and fiberglass sheep that honor the region’s wool prominence. Stroll through historic downtown; take in a performance at the renovated theaters; and dine and dance at the popular pubs and lounges. You’ll make many discoveries in this charming Texas city.
San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts
Overlooking the Concho River, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts has phenomenal panoramic views of the city from its rooftop sculpture terrace. With three spacious galleries, SAMFA offers beautiful collections, including “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” featuring the work of Julie Heffernan and Kathleen Elliot and “The Ehrlich Collection of American and British Ceramics.” Before you leave, pick up a locally-made souvenir at the gift shop to bring a piece of the museum home with you. SAMFA also has Family Day, where you can spend a day with the kids getting crafty. To experience art outside the museum, take a short drive to the Sunken Garden Park to admire outdoor sculptures that are part of the Richard and Pam Salmon Sculpture Competition, a biennial juried exhibition hosted by the museum.
1 Love St., San Angelo
Chicken Farm Art Center
Don’t expect to find chickens running around at The Chicken Farm Art Center. Instead, you’ll be delighted to discover local artists set up in refurbished farm buildings showcasing their creations. Admission is free, and you can find everything here from paintings to sculptures. The center also has First Saturday, where every first Saturday of the month you can enjoy live music, kid’s activities and great food from the Silo House and desserts from Homemade by Helen. At the Annual Open House, Nov. 24-26, browse the local art scene when 30-40 talented artists display their work in booths outside as live music permeates the air.
2505 Martin Luther King Drive, San Angelo
Art in Uncommon Places
Art in Uncommon Places, a passion project from two retired art teachers, Julie Raymond and Joy Thomas, has been beautifying the Concho Valley city since 2006 with more than 100 locallymade art installations placed throughout San Angelo and the region. As you stroll City Park, you’ll find a vintage fire truck decorated with mosaic tiles honoring firefighters; a collection of sculptures with funky shapes and colors titled “Dick & Jane” greets you as you enter Concho Community Park; and solar charged glow stones light up at night along the trail in Red Arroyo Park. There’s something for you to admire around every corner.
701 S. Irving St., San Angelo
Fort Concho National Historic Landmark
If you’re a history buff, you’ll love spending the day at Fort Concho, located along the banks of the Concho River. From 1867 to 1889, the fort served as the regimental headquarters for the fourth and 10th Cavalry, which included the Buffalo Soldiers, who protected the West Texas region. The fort consisted of 40 buildings built from native limestone spanning 1,600 acres. Take a walk back in time through 23 original and restored barracks, headquarters, the hospital and residences. The fort hosts re-creations of the 10th cavalry on Buffalo Soldier Heritage Day in February. After your nostalgic visit to the fort, step back in time on Historic Concho Avenue and enjoy a meal at Miss Hattie's Restaurant and Cathouse Lounge.
630 S Oakes St., San Angelo
Historic Murals and Sheep Statues of San Angelo
You’ll instantly notice two prominent features in San Angelo— fiberglass sheep and vibrant historic murals. The sheep statues, placed in front of businesses, are decorated by local artists. These impressive statues commemorate San Angelo’s historical importance as a wool-making center and the annual Miss Wool Pageant, which showcased wool fashions from 1952 to 1972.
The Historic Murals of San Angelo preserve buildings of historic significance and promote community pride with impressive works of public art. The Mural Tour guides you to stunning works like the “Stagecoach Mural,” representing early transportation that brought pioneers to San Angelo, and the impressive “Chadbourne St. Mural,” which depicts carefully researched placement of businesses that existed on that street in 1908. This mural gives you a chance to simultaneously see the block in its past and present form. Now that’s something you won’t find anywhere else! After you’ve viewed the murals and spent some time on Historic Concho Avenue, grab a cold beer at the nearby Zero One Ale House, a modern hangout with a full bar and creative pub fare.
Miss Hattie’s Bordello Museum
For 50 years, soldiers and cowboys paid a visit to this friendly Concho city establishment— Miss Hatties Bordello, now a museum. The building dates back to 1896 and still has its original ceiling, floors, stairs and furnishings from the Hattie era that began in 1902. The Hattons moved in as a young couple, and soon were divorced and living on separate floors in the house. The first floor, currently occupied by Legend Jewelers, was where Mr. Hattons operated a saloon back in the day. Upstairs, Ms. Hatton turned to the oldest profession and ran the bordello until 1952. Explore your curiosity with a tour offered Tuesday-Saturday. Tickets can be purchased inside Legend Jewelers at the front desk. Afterward, walk over to Fat Boss’s Pub for a bite to eat and drink, and toast to the history of the city.
18 E Concho Ave., San Angelo
Angelo Civic Theatre
As the oldest community theater in the state of Texas, Angelo Civic Theatre traces its roots back to 1885, where productions continued during World War I and World War II. In 1980, the theater’s board of directors purchased and renovated the old-school Parkway Theatre into Angelo Civic Theatre. You can catch several community shows, including “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” Nov. 10-19. Watch as three madcap men in tights perform all 37 plays in 97 minutes. You’ll enjoy this montage as the men weave their way through all of the Bard’s comedies, histories and tragedies. In February, catch the winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, “Crimes of the Heart,” the story of the three Magrath sisters awaiting news of their grandfather who is living out his last hours.
1936 Sherwood Way, San Angelo
San Angelo Performing Arts Center
At the sprawling downtown campus of San Angelo Performance Arts Center, known as San Angelo PAC, you’ll find The Stephens Performing Arts Center, which was once a Coca-Cola bottling plant. The Center houses the Brooks & Bates Theatre, a Black Box Performance Space, theater shops and several ballet studios. After watching a captivating performance here, keep the night going, put on your dancing shoes and head over to nearby Blaine's for country music, or visit The House of FiFi Dubois for live acts performing everything from classic rock to country and blues.
82 Gillis St., San Angelo
Elta Joyce Murphey Performance Hall
At the San Angelo PAC campus, you’ll be impressed with the renovated City Auditorium, now the Elta Joyce Murphey Performance Hall. The original City Auditorium hosted the likes of Elvis Presley, former President Bill Clinton, Will Rogers, Alison Krauss and George Lopez. Preserving the original décor, it is now home to the San Angelo Symphony and Ballet San Angelo. The Ballet will be entertaining guests with a classical performance of “The Nutcracker,” from Dec. 15-17.
72 W College Ave., San Angelo
Come one and come all to San Angelo, where history and culture take center stage, and local artists add beauty to the city that sparkles along the Concho River.