The small, quirky town of Alpine, Texas, can’t be missed while exploring the far west Texas area of Big Bend.
Exploring Alpine, Texas, allows one to feel the charm of this isolated city quickly. It is an eclectic mix of the wild west meets the arts sprinkled with some good old-fashioned Texas hospitality.
Home to historic hotels, sweeping views, fun restaurants, and quirky shops, Alpine, Texas, has plenty to offer visitors.
So, whether you are passing through to Big Bend National Park or want to explore some of the Texas towns, Alpine has you covered!
Let’s dive into the reasons to visit Alpine, Texas!
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Fun Things To Do In Alpine, Texas
Visit the Museum of the Big Bend
The Museum of the Big Bend is located on the Sul Ross State University campus and is commented to documenting and conserving the history associated with the Big Bend region.
Inside, visitors will find artifacts dating back to the dinosaur days in the area! Of course, there are more “modern-day” artifacts as well.
You can trace the history and local tradition of the area during your visit by learning more about the Big Bend area, including the surrounding mountain ranges, the railroad station history, cowboys, and the mining history that took place just outside of town.
During your time at the Museum of the Big Bend, read about the role of the Buffalo Soldiers in Texas history, and explore how the West was won in the many attractions inside the museum.
While you’re on the Sul Ross University campus, be sure to explore the campus to get an idea of what life is like at a small-town Texas college.
Hike Hancock Hill
Hike up Hancock Hill to the random desk and notebook left there for a fun and quirky attraction.
Situated above Sul Ross State University, this hike will reward you with magnificent views of the Big Bend region when you reach the top.
Atop the hill sits a desk and a notebook. Jot down your thoughts about the Big Bend area, or leave some wisdom for other hikers.
The Hancock Hill desk has been a West Texas tradition for decades and is one of the most popular things to do in Alpine, Texas!
Take note, though; it is easy to get off track and not find the desk. The hike should only take you about 20 minutes.
Do a Downtown Alpine Historic Walking Tour
The small west Texas town of Alpine is truly a little gem. There is no better way to get to know the town than taking a historic walking tour of downtown Alpine.
This walking tour of Alpine will allow you to see historic hotels, homes, art galleries, colorful murals, the railroad station, and the post office.
The Alpine Historical Association has put together a self-guided historic walking tour that is super informative.
Thanks to this tour, I loved learning more about the town of Alpine and the surrounding area!
Watch the Alpine Cowboys Play
If you are a sports fan, you must head to Kokernot Field and watch the Alpine Cowboys play a game.
This vintage 1940s baseball field was dubbed “The Best Little Ballpark in Texas” by Sports Illustrated and “The Yankee Stadium of Texas” by Texas Monthly!
Kokernot Field was constructed in 1947 by Big Bend rancher Herbert Lee Kokernot, Jr. for his semi-pro baseball team, and it has been hosting games since.
Watching a baseball game under the night sky in Alpine feels magical!
Add a baseball game to your Alpine itinerary while you are in town!
Shop in Downtown Alpine
I love the fun boutique shops that are found throughout the town of Alpine, Texas.
Nestled among the downtown buildings are shops full of country culture and fun, quirky vibes.
The Gallery on the Square is an art collaborative showcasing the region’s local art. The Francois Fine Art Gallery, located on the Sul Ross University campus, shows off the artwork of the Sul Ross students.
Antique lovers will want to visit Vintage Antiques and Snazzy Things. The walls of this business are lined with loads of art, antiques, clothing, and more, all indicative of the surrounding mountain region.
Stay at the Historic Holland Hotel
If you want to spend a night or two in the region, consider staying at one of the historic hotels in the area, like the Holland Hotel.
One of the historic buildings in Alpine, which is not also one of the town’s top attractions, is the Holland Hotel.
The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Alpine and was built by wealthy businessman and cattle rancher John Holland in 1928.
Designed by famed hotel architect Henry Trost, the Holland Hotel adds a bit of country glamour to the town of Alpine.
The hotel has greeted travelers from around the world to the Big Bend area for nearly a century.
The Holland Hotel is a great home base to explore the surrounding region, including Marfa, Fort Davis, the McDonald Observatory, the Glass Mountains, and more.
If you choose to spend a night here, you might want to note that the hotel is supposedly haunted.
Enjoy Alpine Restaurants
I must admit, we were pleasantly surprised by the food and restaurants in Alpine. There is truly something for everyone.
Whether you want white tablecloth dining or dinner from a food truck, Alpine has you covered!
Being from Fort Worth, Texas, the Reata Restaurant is a hometown staple, so I was pleased to learn that the original Reata Restaurant is in the middle of Alpine, Texas! The Reata serves traditional country “cowboy cooking” with a fun twist. They are an absolute must-visit during your time in the area.
Another Alpine favorite is the Century Bar and Grill in Holland Hotel. The Century Bar and Grill offers guests a great outdoor patio area to enjoy their fun food and cocktails.
Head to Magoo’s Place for some delicious breakfast tacos or a hearty lunch, or check out El Jardin for Mexican food during your time in Alpine.
Cool Things to Do Near Alpine, Texas
When you have seen everything in Alpine, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the surrounding area and the many attractions this part of the world offers! Here are a few of our favorites.
Explore Big Bend National Park
Encompassing over 800,000 acres, Big Bend National Park is why most visitors find themselves in the Alpine region.
Big Bend offers visitors incredible views of the Chisos Mountains and is the world’s largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert.
With archaeological sites dating back over 10,000 years, numerous hiking trails, and an incredible bird, insect, and plant population, Big Bend is a hidden treasure in its own right.
Some top sites in Big Bend National Park include the Santa Elena Canyon, the Lost Mine Trail, Emory Peak, and the Window Trail.
The drive from Alpine to Big Bend takes about two hours, but that gets you inside the park. There is still more driving inside Big Bend, so plan to be in the car for an extended time if day-tripping from Alpine.
Day Trip to Marfa, Texas
For a fun day trip, head to Marfa, Texas, about 30 minutes west of Alpine.
This community is big on the arts, which is apparent when you enter the town.
Check out the many art galleries and outdoor art installations throughout town before exploring the town’s many churches.
Of course, a trip to Marfa wouldn’t be complete without trying to spot the famed Marfa Lights. The Marfa Lights are mysterious glowing orbs that have appeared in the mountains since the 1800s and are still unidentified. You can try to spot the lights at the Marfa Lights Observation area during your trip.
Visit Fort Davis
About 25 miles north of Alpine sits another fun Texas town worth exploring, Fort Davis.
Fort Davis is a National Historic Site thanks to the country’s best-preserved historic frontier fort.
The fort, active from 1854 to 1891, sits dramatically against the Davis Mountains north of Alpine.
Visitors to the Fort Davis Historic Sites can see over 100 buildings used to house the soldiers protecting the travelers making their way through the desert terrain.
Another area to explore in Fort Davis is the Davis Mountains State Park. Here you can take in gorgeous views high in elevation as you hike, horseback ride, or mountain bike your way through the mountains.
Fort Davis State Park also offers great birding opportunities. You can choose to stay in one of their primitive campgrounds or in the lodge if you want to stay within the park during your visit.
See the Stars at the McDonald Observatory
Another great attraction in Fort Davis is the McDonald Observatory.
The McDonald Observatory is perched high in elevation in the Davis Mountains and offers visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal with the stars and planets of the night sky.
The observatory offers special night sky viewing opportunities, so check their schedule. You can also visit the onsite museum for daytime guided tours and solar viewings.
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.