In our Must Do Neighborhood series, we take look at Houston’s vast array of neighborhoods to bring you five fun, tasty, and enticing reasons you should give each a visit. Originally published in 2016, we are now refreshing, updating, and adding to this series, including new neighborhoods and destinations.
This time, we’re taking a day trip to Brenham, which sits around 75 miles northwest of the heart of Downtown. The friendly city is known for its seasonal bluebonnets and German heritage, hosting an annual Maifest celebrating spring each May. But those are not the only reason to visit this charming part of Texas. There are stellar barbecue joints, the Lone Star’s favorite ice cream and more.
5 Must Do Things in Brenham
- Fill up on true Texas barbecue at Truth Barbecue – See why Truth Barbeque was named one of The 10 Best BBQ Joints in Texas by the venerable Texas Monthly (hint: it’s intensely meaty brisket, slightly sweet ribs, and ridiculously good sides like bacon-crumbled mac and cheese and buttery corn pudding). Though it’s only been around since 2015, Leonard Botello IV’s spot has become a fast favorite; and as luck would have it, the Houston native is opening up a second location in Houston. Click here for directions.
- Experience the arts – Catch live theatrical performances at Unity Theatre Brenham, set in a beautiful renovated warehouse in Brenham’s Downtown; look out for a lineup of events, from concerts to movie nights, at the The Barnhill Center in the historic Simon Theatre; or peruse local art. Located in a beautifully-restored building, the Downtown Art Gallery showcases the works of over 50 artists, from bluebonnet paintings and photographs to sculptures and jewelry. Back Lot Gallery sits on the back lot of Ant Street Inn, offering individual exhibits from a lineup of up-and-coming artists.
- Get a taste of nostalgia – Take a Step into the Past Historical Tour, stopping in sites like the Brenham Heritage Museum and the historic cisterns of Toubin Park; stay at the Ant Street Inn, which rocks antique furnishings, vintage rugs and stained glass; see the Flying Horses Antique Carousel, the oldest classic wood carousels in Texas; indulge in old-fashioned Southern pecan pie at Must Be Haven; shop for antiques Today and Yesterday; or stop by gift and collectibles shop Glissman’s Gift Gallery, located in an 1860s two-story masonry building in downtown. Once a buggy repair shop, the building once used a rope and cable system as an elevator, which you can still get a glimpse of if you peek upstairs. At Ballad of the Birddog on West Alamo in downtown, you’ll uncover a curated selection of leather goods, jewelry, apparel, and other items for the home. Plus you can even get a shave and haircut at a by-appointment barbershop in the back of the store.
- Unwind with a drink – Those looking for a fun time can enjoy live music and Texas craft brews at Home Sweet Farm, a farmers market that doubles as a biergarten and music venue. Brew fans can also check out the patio independent craft brewing company Brazos Valley Brewery, open Friday through Sundays; while winos will love Pleasant Hill Winery, which offers weekend tours and tastings (plus a wine and gift shop), and Windy Winery, a working vineyard with a tasting room open Friday to Sunday and by appointment only during the week.
- Get a scoop at Blue Bell Creameries – A trip to Brenham wouldn’t be complete without visiting everyone’s favorite “little creamery” of Texas, which opened its doors in 1907. The country store, ice cream parlor, and visitor center are open Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm, with the observation deck open 8am to 2pm. Click here for directions.