5 Must Do Things in Tomball

Toast to Deutschland at the annual German Festival in Tomball | Courtesy of Tomball German Fest

In our Must Do Things Around Greater Houston series, we take a look at Houston’s vast array of communities, neighborhoods and destinations to bring you five fun, tasty, surprising and enticing reasons you should give each one a visit.

Over the years, Tomball has grown from its origins as a railroad outpost into the bustling, small city that it is today, a perfect compromise between big city life and the quiet countryside.

From a place serving craft chocolate and smoked meat to the historic train depot, there’s plenty to do and see in this neighborhood.

Note: For the purposes of this list, Tomball is defined by the area covered in this map.

5 Must Do Things in Tomball

Three tacos filled with smoked sausage, onions and cilantro
Get the best of both worlds at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue | Courtesy of Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue

Double your pleasure at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue

Not only does Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue make some seriously excellent artisan chocolates, it also makes some seriously excellent barbecue.

Hit the dual concept to grab truffles and chocolates in unique flavors like jalapeño fig and key lime pie, then fill up on barbecue salt-and-pepper-kissed, fat-rendered smoked brisket, and ribs by the pound, plus some chocolate bread pudding with cajeta caramel sauce for good measure.

A bronze statue of a figure seated on a bench next to the yellow railroad depot
Visit the Railroad Depot in Old Town Tomball and other must-see spots | Courtesy of City of Tomball

Explore Old Town Tomball

You should definitely check out Tomball’s historic downtown when it hosts yearly events including the Tomball German Heritage Festival and Tomball German Christmas Market, but it’s also fun to stroll through year-round.

There’s music venue Main Street Crossing, where you’ll find a slate of live jams alongside pub grub and drinks.

You can also tour historic homes and buildings at the Tomball Museum Center or check out the family-friendly Railroad Depot.

And when you’ve worked up an appetite, go for smokehouse burgers at Tejas’ sibling establishment Tejas Burger Joint, dine on tea sandwiches and raspberry cream cake at Whistle Stop Tea Room, go for sweet and savory crepe and blini at Wholly Crepe!! Russian Bistro, and unwind with wine and cheese at The Empty Glass, a rustic chic wine bar and tasting room with a true Texas feel.

A wide view of the Paradigm brewery along with outdoor seating and people gathered at tables
Paradigm Brewing offers plenty of space for family fun at the taproom | Courtesy of Paradigm Brewing

Hit a brewery & explore local craft suds

Right in Old Town Tomball, Fire Ant Brewing rocks elevated pub grub and onsite brews at its brewpub, where you can go for American style Cream Ales and Summer Craze Blondes alongside Pimento Cheeseburgers and Togarashi Fries.

One of the co-founders of Paradigm Brewing Company is affectionately known as “Professor Pils” (he teaches a Brewery Operations and Management class at Texas A&M), so you know you’re getting a superior product, here. Take a brewery tour, or pop in the restaurant to sip hoppy suds like the clean and classic Precision IPA alongside Korean Pork Belly Bites, Nashville Hot Chicken, and Brewmaster Burgers.

People walking through two rows of stalls at a farmers market
Shop local and bring home fresh foods and produce from the weekly Tomball Farmers Market | Courtesy of Tomball Farmer’s Market

Shop local at the Tomball Farmers Market

This rain-or-shine market is open Saturdays year-round.

Show up early for the best selection of goods from over 50 vendors, featuring local produce, pasture-raised meats, farm fresh eggs, cheeses, seafood, and artisan treats like gourmet jams and local honey, freshly baked bread and handmade pasta, local coffee, and fiery salsas.

Open Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

Take the burger challenge at Mel’s Diner in Tomball | Courtesy of Mel’s Diner

Take the Mega Mel Challenge at Mel’s Country Cafe

Prepare your stomachs because the long-awaited reopening of Mel’s Country Cafe is on the way (slated for fall 2023).

You may be tempted to get the incredible, bigger-than-the-plate chicken fried steak on nearly every visit to Mel’s (as you should be), but you have to try the greasy spoon’s crazy burger challenge at least once in your lifetime.

The challenge works like this: finish the burger plate, featuring one and a half pounds of ground beef, a full pound of bacon, quarter pound of cheese and all the trimmings, in under 2 hours without help (and be able to walk and talk without getting sick), and you’ll earn yourself eternal glory.

Oh, and a highly-coveted spot on the wall.

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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .