What do you look for when you start to plan a vacation? Do you look for a destination that has a dynamic culture, a good art scene and interesting historical landmarks? Are you searching for a place where you can spend time outdoors hiking, biking or fishing? Do you crave authentic food?
Well, San Angelo, Texas is the perfect place to experience all that and more. Here are 10 reasons why San Angelo is wonderful, and why the city should be on your list of travels for 2019. There’s a reason why San Angelo is known as an Oasis in West Texas.
Learn about Western history in San Angelo.
Visit the 23 original and restored fort structures that make up the Fort Concho National Historic Landmark, the old frontier army post built in 1867 that’s now a historic preservation project and museum. See what life was like for the hundreds of soldiers who used the fort as their headquarters under the order of notable military commanders such as Ranald Mackenzie, Benjamin Grierson and William 'Pecos Bill' Shafter.
Continue the history tour at Heritage Park, the brand-new community park that sits on the corner of South Oakes Street and East Twohig Avenue. The newly constructed park was built with students and education in mind and is home to a monarch feeding station, a beautiful stainless-steel leaf shade structure that illuminates at night and a rainwater harvesting tube. The park highlights the history of ranching in the region.
While you’re in the area, see where it all started on Conch Avenue, the city’s first street, and the place to be in Historic Downtown San Angelo. Step back in time as buildings from the 1800s and 1900s surround you, showcasing the architecture that made these early Western cities so notable. Stop into Miss Hattie’s Bordello Museum, a testament to San Angelo's historic past, and brush up on your Western history by buying a few books at the Cactus Book Shop. End your stroll by visiting Eggemeyer’s General Store to find unique souvenirs to remember your time in San Angelo.
Enjoy the beautiful Texas weather at Lake Nasworthy, a great spot for fishing, steamboat rides and more.
You can’t visit San Angelo without spending time at Lake Nasworthy, the city’s stunning reservoir. Spend the day fishing for largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, white bass and sunfish or going swimming. During the spring and summer months, take a ride on the Tule Princess Steamboat. It’s the last operational, full-size walking beam steam engine that powers a side-wheel paddle steamboat in the world.
Walk the trails and keep an eye out for wildlife in San Angelo State Park.
Explore the more than 50 miles of trails at San Angelo State Park, located on 7,788 just outside of town. Walk, mountain bike or horseback ride your way across the designated trails, and stop at the wildlife observation area, where you can be on the lookout for the more than 350 species of birds and 50 species of mammals that call the park home. While at the park, view the Official Texas State Longhorn Herd and Bison Herd.
Dine at unique San Angelo restaurants.
Get your Tex-Mex fix at El Paisano Restaurant, where your meal begins with its famous chips, salsa and beans and you can’t go wrong with any of its steaks—locals especially rave about the ribeye. Or visit Jalapeños Locos, on Avenue K and Chadbourne, where the local hospitality shines.
You can’t say you’ve eaten in Texas until you’ve had a taste of Texas barbecue. Locals and visitors alike rave about R.J’s Barbecue. The brisket, ribs, and sausage are smoked to perfection. Don’t forget to have the peach cobbler or banana pudding for dessert. You can also satisfy your barbecue cravings at The Pit BBQ, another favorite, where the brisket is recommended.
For something sweet after your meal, grab a cone at The Latest Scoop or a shaved ice at Bahama Buck’s.
Enjoy the fresh air along the award-winning Concho River Walk while viewing Art in Uncommon Places.
Stroll along the Concho River Walk, an area designated as one of five Great Public Spaces on the American Planning Association’s annual “Great Places in America “list. Take advantage of the 4-mile public walkway and the river views, which also include gardens, water displays and outdoor art installations, including Art in Uncommon Places.
See who’s in town and catch a live performance at the San Angelo Performing Arts Center and the Murphey Performance Hall.
Making use of an old 44,000 square foot Coca-Cola bottling plant building, the San Angelo Performing Arts Center’s is home to the Brooks & Bates Theatre, a Black Box Performance Space, and the Ballet San Angelo studios.
Check the schedule for the performances at Murphey Performance Hall. The hall is now home to the San Angelo Symphony as well as the Ballet San Angelo's Nutcracker performance. But that’s not all you can find there; the performance hall is also home to Broadway shows and musicals that make their way through the West Texas area. Check the upcoming events calendar to see who is in town during your visit.
Dance the night away in San Angelo.
The House of FiFi DuBoisis where the party gets started and is one of the best live music venues in town. And, if you happen to be in town on a Wednesday, it’s the place to be for western swing. But, even when it’s not western swing night, FiFi’s attracts some of the best musicians around.
Whether it’s karaoke night or lady’s night, or its playing sports games on the big screen TVs, the Whiskey River Saloon is one of the laid-back local spots you can enjoy and live like a local.
The Concho Palace Dance Hall & Saloon is the place for country music and dancing. Expect traditional country and western swing dancing. The place is usually packed—especially on the weekends—so it’s best to reverse a table.
Get your art fix at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts or smaller galleries like the Kendall Art Gallery and the Black Swan Art Gallery and Wine Bar.
Near the heart of downtown, and overlooking the Concho River, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts is the place to indulge in incredible works of art. Advocates for promoting Texas artists, the museum has an impressive and rapidly growing collection of more than 300 contemporary ceramics, more than 60 contemporary paintings and sculptures, and over 100 major works of Spanish Colonial and Mexican religious art.
For smaller, more local shows, stop into the Kendall Art Gallery or head to the Black Swan Art Gallery and Wine Bar, where you can sip wine while being surrounded by local art.
Try to spot all 100 of the Sheep Statues around the city.
As you explore San Angelo, you’ll notice the beautifully decorated fiberglass Sheep statues and the historic murals.
You might be wondering what the sheep statues are all about. They hold a significance to San Angelo, which was historically a hub for the wool industry. Do more than just appreciate these statues that hold a special place in the city’s heart—try to spot all 100 during your stay and choose your favorite one.
Celebrate the holiday season at the Concho Christmas Celebration and Christmas at Old Fort Concho.
For more than 25 years the Concho Christmas Celebration has been the highlight of the holiday season for locals and visitors in San Angelo.
Drive the 2.5-mile stretch along the banks of the Concho River and take in the “Tour of Lights,” the community light show featuring more than three million twinkling lights. Drive, walk, or even kayak on the Concho River and enjoy the live nativity scene, take part in the community tree lighting ceremony and attend the celebration’s Tuba Christmas concert.
For three days, experience shopping, entertainment and more at Christmas at Old Fort Concho. As Fort Concho’s largest annual event, the fort transforms into a winter wonderland full of holiday surprises, magical displays, workshops and more. And everyone in the family will be amazed as hundreds of reenactors bring history from the 1800s to life right before your eyes.
Start planning your trip to San Angelo and experience the charm of this west Texas city.