By Angela Mason, Contributor
For those who are planning a vacation to Texas, or even those who call the Lone Star State home, there are several attractions that are absolute “must sees.” To make things just a bit simpler, we have compiled a list of our favorites, so be sure to add them to your list of stops if you’re planning a trip to sight see in Texas.
What trip to Texas can possibly be complete without a trip to the Alamo? Its rich history brings tons of tourists every year. The Alamo played an integral part in the battle for Texas freedom. In the hands of the Mexicans, the Alamo was more of a castle, but it was used as a fort by the Texans. The people of Texas also sold some of the buildings to be used as a wholesale grocer. The Alamo has also been a Mission, (Mission San Antonio de Valero), and was built by the Spanish to be a school for the Native Americans to teach them Christianity. Its final role so far? Historic Museum.
Many people believe that the Alamo has been located at other places. This is false rumor, however, as the Alamo has always been at its present location. According to their website, “This question is on the minds of many visitors. The source of the confusion rests with the fact that “Mission San Antonio de Valero” has not always been at this location. The original mission was founded near the headwaters of San Pedro Creek in 1718. In 1719 the mission was relocated a short distance to the south of where we are today. A 1724 storm destroyed structures at the new site, prompting Spanish officials to relocate the mission to its present spot. It was the mission compound constructed here at the 1724 location that later gained fame as the Alamo. While this is the third spot for Mission San Antonio de Valero, it is the only place the “Alamo” has ever been.”
If you’re looking for a place to stay near the Alamo, check out our article on The Best Hotels In Downtown San Antonio. In this piece, we step you through the best places to stay near some of the best sites to see all have convenient access to the San Antonio River Walk.
300 Alamo Plaza,
San Antonio, TX 78205
This beautiful mansion ranked number 2 of the 40 top attractions in Galveston Island, and is ranked among the top 100 homes in the United States, due to its architectural significance. The palace was built in 1893 and was home to a United States Congressman and former Confederate Colonel, the family of Walter Gresham. It is often called “Gresham House,” and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The home is 123 years old, and restoration has begun in some areas. This will not effect tourism in the home, however “visitors to the Bishop’s Palace will see Galveston Historical Foundation’s latest preservation project that includes new electrical wiring, updated historical paint colors, window repair, foundation work, and stained glass repair.” The roof tiles are being matched for historical impact before they will be replaced.
1402 Broadway Street,
Galveston, TX 77550
The Texas Capitol is located in Austin, Texas and offers several tours each day. It was “Completed in 1888 as the winning design from a national competition, the Capitol’s style is Renaissance Revival, based on the architecture of 15th-century Italy and characterized by classical orders, round arches and symmetrical composition.”
The Texas Capitol will feature a nativity scene for the first time ever this year. According to ABC, “The Texas Nativity Scene Project put up the nativity scene inside the basement of the rotunda on Sunday night. It will be unveiled to the public at 11 a.m. Monday during an event featuring several speakers and a children’s choir.”
“The nativity scene is privately funded, and the state has not contributed any money to the display or endorsed it.”
1100 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701
Bullock Texas State History Museum
Several blocks from the Capitol, you can also visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum. “From the 35-foot-tall bronze star sculpture that greets visitors as they arrive, to the campfire scene in the terrazzo floor in entryway that features a campfire scene with enduring themes from Texas’s past, every corner of the Museum proclaims the ‘Story of Texas’ in a bold and new way.” t
Named after Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, the museum features three floors of interactive exhibits. Each floor has a name; “Land” is the first floor, “Identity” is the second floor, and “Opportunity” is the third. The second floor of the museum features The Spirit Theater, which hosts the “Star of Destiny,” a special effects presentation of the history of the Lone Star State.
1800 Congress Avenue,
Austin, TX 78701
The elegant mansion was built in the late 19th century out of limestone, red brick, and terra cotta tile. It is full of antiques, decorative artwork, silverware, and furnishing which were all connected to the Moody family. This family is considered to be one of the most prominent in Galveston, Texas.
“Restored to its turn of the century splendor, the 28,000 square-foot, four-story structure was completed in 1895. Today, our guests visit 20 rooms on a tour that depicts the home life of a powerful Texas family. The Moodys established one of the great American financial empires. Based on cotton, it grew to include banking, ranching, insurance and hotels.”
According to history, the home was bought by W.L.Moody, just after a huge hurricane in 1900 from the heirs of the original owners. The family is said to have celebrated over eighty Christmases in the home, and the last Moody left the residence in 1986.
2618 Broadway Street,
Galveston, TX 77550
Tyler Texas Rose Garden
According to the City of Tyler website, “The Rose Garden is open from dawn until dark, seven days a week. Admission is free. The Rose Garden and Rose Garden Center can also be rented for special events such as weddings, parties, reunions, etc. This is the perfect facility to accommodate your every need. The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is a 14-acre park, making it the nations largest rose garden. The garden is full of breath-taking beauty, especially in the spring and again in mid-October when the Rose Garden is in full bloom. There are over 38,000 rose bushes of at least 500 different varieties, from tall grafted rose trees to miniature roses no larger than a dime.”
Only those who have visited Tyler’s Rose Garden can begin to imagine its beauty. It is the site of the annual Texas Rose Festival, which is held in October. Thousands of tourists visit each year to meet the Rose Queen and share refreshments while enjoying the gorgeous scenery. As the website explains, “The Garden is one of 24 All American Rose Selection (AARS) test gardens in the country where the newest varieties are evaluated over a two-year period. These are bushes not yet introduced, and the ones that pass the test for vigor, flowering, and disease resistance are then nationally introduced to the gardening public as AARS selections. Many folks visiting the rose garden bring pad and pencil to write down favorite varieties, making notes on fragrance, color and form.”
420 Rose Park Drive,
Tyler, TX 75202
Attractions of America – http://www.attractionsofamerica.com/attractions/texas.php#.VJD1_nveLrY
Kera News – http://keranews.org/post/here-are-39-things-you-should-do-texas-you-die
The Story of Texas – http://www.thestoryoftexas.com/index.php
City of Tyler – http://parksandrec.cityoftyler.org/ConventionTourismFacilities/RoseGardenCenter.aspx
Trip Advisor – http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g1887325-Activities-Galveston_Island_Texas.html
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullock_Texas_State_History_Museum
The Alamo – http://www.thealamo.org/