I’ve lived in Texas my whole life but have never driven through or visited San Angelo. It’s such a shame, too, because by Texas standards, San Angelo is fantastic and just a short drive from San Antonio – only three hours. With a population of just over 100,000 people, San Angelo is the largest city in Texas without an interstate running through it. You’ll get a real Texas experience when you visit San Angelo with its small town feel and nature-based activities, but you can also take advantage of the conveniences that aren’t generally found in small towns with things like longer store hours, better medical care and more employment opportunities.
**Full Disclosure: This post was part of a sponsored project in conjunction with members of the Texas Travel Industry Association to feature their members. The partnership included lodging, food & beverage, and compensation for the trip. The opinions reflected are honest and based upon the individual blogger experience.
My husband, Larry, and I recently spent some time in San Angelo to celebrate our anniversary and had such a great time exploring! My list of things to do was a mile long, though, so we had to narrow it down quite a bit. To do that, we took the city map to figure out what was close together, then gauged how much time we thought we’d need at each stop before making our list.
For a city that seems to move at a much slower pace than I’m used to, there are far more things to do than can be done in just one weekend! Pick a couple of your favorites from this list and do two or three each time you go back.
Everything You Need to Know about Visiting San Angelo –
When Larry and I arrived in San Angelo, we went straight over to the visitor’s center and found the first of 100+ painted sheep in the city – the ‘Welcome Ewe’! We’d see many more sheep as we drove around town while we were visiting. If you are willing to find all of them, there is a full list of all the sheep online so you can check them off as you go!
Then we checked into the newest bed and breakfast in town – the Old Central Firehouse Bed and Brew. The Firehouse provided a super cool and unique experience! Each of the four rooms is firehouse themed and they each run $150 a night.
After exploring the bed and breakfast, Larry and I strolled along the Concho River and relished the perfect afternoon breeze. Visitors and residents alike can be found relaxing and enjoying the numerous free amenities that the San Angelo River Walk has to offer, including: The Bosque, Celebration Bridge and Art in Uncommon Places!
Then we went out for an early dinner at Miss Hattie’s Cafe and Saloon – an old-fashioned, friendly American restaurant & lounge in a Victorian-style building dating to 1884. Everything on the menu looked amazing so it was hard to make a decision but I ordered the Chicken Del Rio and Larry ordered the famous Miss Hattie’s Brothel Burger. It was out of this world!
At dusk, before heading back to the Old Central Firehouse, we drove through the streets of downtown to look at the murals, historic buildings, painted sheep and all the other neat things San Angelo has to offer!
Early the next morning, Larry and I started our day with a visit to Historic Fort Concho. The Fort is a National Historic Landmark which encompasses most of the former Army post and includes 23 original and restored fort structures. This is a MUST-SEE stop and will likely take 2 – 3 hours of your time but it’s well worth it!
From there, we went to the International Water Lily Collection. Did you know that San Angelo is home to the most extensive collection of varieties of water lilies? There are SEVEN ponds with more than 150 varieties of lilies which can be seen April through October. (Peak bloom season is September.) It was so peaceful & relaxing to walk through the Civic League Park while taking in the beauty of the lilies.
I’d seen Eggemeyer’s General Store from a distance and HAD to walk through it. The general store is amazing! The 13,000+ sq ft. of building space offers an authentic general store experience with historic tin pressed ceilings to the hardwood oak floor. You’ll find fresh ground gourmet coffees, kitchen wares, homemade fudge, jewelry, western books, fine leather handbags and so many more interesting things!
Before heading home, Larry and I stopped at Rosa’s Cafe & Tortilla Factory for lunch. Rosa’s Cafe is an upscale, fast-casual restaurant with an authentic and colorful interior – it’s so easy to get caught up in looking at all the fun decorations! Rosa’s Cafe was started in San Angelo in 1983 and have since expanded to 45 locations around the state.
I cannot wait to visit San Angelo again – but this time with my boys. And as much as I’d want my boys to experience all the things my husband & I did on our last visit, I think it would be more exciting for all of us if our list were a bit different. That said, I’d want to make a stop at San Angelo State Park, Miss Hattie’s Bordello Museum, The Railway Museum and Lake Nasworthy during our next trip!
- San Angelo State Park
- Offers wildflower tours, trail riding, star parties, bison & longhorn tours, full moon hikes, canoeing with a ranger, permian track tours and so much more!
- Miss Hattie’s Bordello Museum (located in Legend Jewelers)
- Miss Hattie’s is a glimpse of an era gone by. In 1898, Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Hatton built a two story building. After four years of marriage, she filed for divorce and they split the building with Miss Hattie living upstairs and Mr. Hatton running his business downstairs. He left shortly thereafter and Miss Hattie’s became a bordello. It remained in operation until 1952 when it was closed by the Texas Rangers. Guides will lead you on a tour through five bedrooms and you’ll be allowed to look around at your leisure. Photos encouraged!
- The Railway Museum of San Angelo
- The Historic Orient-Santa Fe Depot is fun and educational for the entire family, featuring railroad artifacts, photographs, rail cars and more!
- Tule Princess Steamboat & Lake Nasworthy
- Enjoy nature out west when you paddle boat, kayak, stand up paddle board or hydro bike around the lake. I desperately wanted to paddle boat around Lake Nasworthy but my husband and I ran out of time. We WILL do it on our next visit!
Have you been to San Angelo? What are your must-visit attractions?
**Photos by the author.
This post is part of the Summer Family Travel Planner created for members of the Texas Travel Industry Association. Read about the other destinations featured in the planner here.