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12 Cool Things to Do in Alpine, Texas (& the Big Bend Region)

Alpine, Texas, is a charming and quirky little town in far west Texas.

While most people discover the town of Alpine on their way to Big Bend National Park, Alpine has been charming visitors for years.

Exploring Alpine allows you to see that there is more to this small town than just a stopover on the way to Big Bend.

Alpine, Texas, is a fabulous community with a fun sense of humor, an eclectic art scene, live music, and a good old wild-west country culture.

When you visit Alpine, you will discover unique shops, fabulous views, historic hotels, and great restaurants.

It doesn’t matter if you are visiting during a weekend getaway or during a Texas road trip, Alpine is definitely one of the cool places to visit in Texas!

Let’s check out all that Alpine has to offer!

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    Awesome Things To Do In Alpine, Texas

    Hike Hancock Hill

    desk on Hancock Hill

    Hancock Hill sits high above Sul Ross State University and is the perfect introduction to the quirkiness of the city of Alpine.

    Visitors willing to hike up Hancock Hill are rewarded with sweeping views of the Big Bend area.

    What makes Hancock Hill unique is the desk and journal that sit atop the hill.

    Hikers make their way to this desk to leave words of wisdom to their fellow hikers.

    The desk at Hancock Hill has been a West Texas tradition for years, so it is a must-do while visiting Alpine, Texas!

    It’s easy to get turned around in this part of the world, so if you are having trouble finding the desk, just ask. A local will surely help you!

    As the summer heat is brutal in this area, I would recommend adding this to your list of places to spend fall in Texas!

    Downtown Alpine Historic Walking Tour

    Another great orientation to the town of Alpine is to take a historic walking tour of downtown Alpine.

    Follow this self-guided historic walking tour to learn more about the town’s history.

    During this fun walking tour, stroll through the downtown area while being introduced to the homes, art galleries, colorful murals, historic hotels, railroad station, and post office.

    Keep your eyes peeled for the many murals on Alpine’s walls. There are a lot of them!

    We loved exploring Downtown Alpine and all that it had to offer.

    Visit the Museum of the Big Bend at the Sul Ross University

    the Museum of the Big Bend exterior

    A visit to Sul Ross State University not only allows visitors to see what college life is like in the small town of Alpine but also introduces them to some of the attractions of Alpine, like the Museum of the Big Bend.

    The fact that the museum is located on the Sul Ross University Campus makes it easy to see what campus life is like during your visit. Seeing how Sul Ross State University welcomes students from around the world to this little piece of the south is cool in its own right!

    The Museum of the Big Bend documents the history of the Big Bend region from pre-historic to modern days.

    Enjoy learning about the history and local tradition associated with the Big Bend area through their informative and unique displays.

    There are exhibits that include cowboy history, the Buffalo Soldiers, the railroad station history, and information on the surrounding mountain ranges.

    Seeing the compilation of information at the Museum of the Big Bend helps visitors better understand this remote region of Texas.

    Shop in Downtown Alpine

    Alpine, Texas, is the perfect place to shop, especially if you enjoy fun, quirky shops.

    Head to Downtown Alpine and shop ’til you drop at local art galleries, antique shops, clothing boutiques, and more.

    Each business in this area has its own vibe, which means you get a different experience every time you visit.

    The fact that most businesses are conveniently located in the heart of the town makes it easy to explore!

    Watch the Alpine Cowboys Play Play a Baseball Game

    Kockernot Field in Alpine TX

    Would you believe me if I told you that Alpine, Texas, is home to “The Best Little Ballpark in Texas?” It’s true! Kokernot Field was given this nickname by Sports Illustrated!

    In addition, Texas Monthly dubbed Kokernot Field “The Yankee Stadium of Texas.”

    With all this fame, you must add a baseball game to your list of things to do in Alpine, Texas.

    The ballpark was built in 1947 by Herbert Lee Kokernot, Jr., and has been hosting baseball games in Alpine ever since.

    Sports lovers will definitely want to have this historic ball field on their list of things to do in Alpine, Texas!

    Eat at Fun Alpine Restaurants

    The food scene in Alpine truly surprised me. There is so much variety that you will surely find something you love.

    I was surprised to learn that one of my favorite Fort Worth restaurants, the Reata Restaurant, originated in Alpint. The Reata does a great job serving up Texas cuisine with a culinary twist.

    You can try their traditional favorites like enchiladas or branch out of your food comfort zone when you sink your teeth into calf fries with creamy gravy. Whatever you choose to try, the Reata won’t disappoint.

    Another popular spot in town is the Century Bar and Grill in Holland Hotel.

    Guests love the Century Bar and Grill’s outdoor patio and their great selection of fun food and cocktails.

    Other local favorites are Magoo’s Place for delicious breakfast tacos or El Jardin for Mexican food. Of course, the town also has a food truck and places that offer live music!

    Stay at the Historic Holland Hotel

    Holland Hotel in Alpine, Texas

    To get the most out of your time in Alpine and the Big Bend region, you should plan on spending a couple of nights in this west Texas town.

    The Holland Hotel is one of the historic hotels in this area of the country and is considered one of Alpine’s top attractions.

    The hotel was started by a local cattle rancher, John Holland, in 1928 and is one of the local businesses that have been welcoming guests for years.

    The hotel strives to add a bit of country chic to the town of Alpine, thanks to the famed hotel architect Henry Trost that designed the building.

    Located right in the middle of town, the Holland Hotel makes for a great home base to explore the Big Bend area.

    You can easily get to nearby towns, including Marfa and Fort Davis.

    The hotel’s buildings are said to be haunted, so keep that in mind if you are choosing to spend a night here!

    Cool Things to Do Near Alpine, Texas

    As I said above, Alpine makes for a great home base to explore the surrounding areas and the many attractions offered in their part of the world.

    Here are a few of our suggestions!

    Explore Big Bend National Park

    Most people find themselves in this area of Texas on their way to Big Bend National Park.

    Big Bend is a huge national park covering over 800,000 acres and is the world’s largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert, so it is well worth some of your vacation time.

    With incredible views of the Chisos Mountains, loads of hiking trails, and an incredible bird and insect population, it is no wonder that people head from all over North America to see this part of the South.

    During your time in Big Bend National Park, you can explore archaeological sites that date back over 10,000 years or find the perfect hiking trail for your ability level.

    The park’s popular attractions include the Window Trail, Santa Elena Canyon, the Lost Mine Trail, and Emory Peak.

    It’s hard to imagine that Texas has mountain peaks that are over a mile in elevation, but it does!

    If you are planning to drive to Big Bend National Park from Alpine, you should note that it takes about two hours to get to the entrance to the park.

    Once inside the park, there is more driving to get to the popular attractions.

    Be sure to fill your car with gas and bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks for your day in the Big Bend region!

    While you’re in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to check out one of the most popular ghost towns in Texas, Terlingua Ghost Town.

    Day Trip to Marfa, Texas

    millions of stars in the Texas sky

    The artsy town of Marfa, Texas, is about 30 minutes west of Alpine.

    This small Texas town is big on the arts and fun boutique shops.

    After exploring the town’s art galleries and outdoor art installations, you can explore the historic hotel and many churches before heading out to try and spot the famed Marfa Lights.

    The Marfa Lights are mysterious glowing orbs in the mountains at the edge of town since the 1800s. These lights have always been unidentified and still remain unexplained today.

    For your chance to see the Marfa Lights, head to the Marfa Lights Observation area at night. Let us know if you see them. We didn’t.

    Visit Fort Davis

    Head about 25 miles north of Alpine to explore another fun Texas town, Fort Davis.

    Best known for the historic frontier fort, which is a National Historic Site, Fort Davis is the perfect day trip from Alpine.

    The fort is said to be the country’s best-preserved historic frontier fort, was active from 1854 until 1891, and sits nestled in the valley below the Davis Mountains just north of Alpine.

    When you visit the Fort Davis Historic Site, you can see over 100 buildings that make up the fort complex.

    This fort was imperative in protecting travelers and frontiersmen during the early days of settling this desert terrain.

    Of course, the fort is not the only attraction in Fort Davis. Visitors can also enjoy exploring Davis Mountains State Park.

    The State Park is the perfect place to go hiking, horseback riding, or mountain biking during your time in the mountains!

    If you want to spend the night in the State Park, you may do so in one of the primitive campgrounds or the on-site lodge.

    See the Stars at the McDonald Observatory

    McDonald Observatory

    Another must-visit place in Fort Davis is the McDonald Observatory.

    Here, visitors can participate in the observatory’s special night sky viewing opportunities or check out their onsite museum for daytime guided tours and solar viewings.

    The fact that the McDonald Observatory is located high in elevation in the Davis Mountains means that you get incredible views of the surrounding area and are treated to some of the most incredible views of the dark skies in the world!

    Be sure to check out the McDonald Observatory’s website for more information on visiting.

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    Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

    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 her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

    Melissa

    Monday 1st of May 2023

    I've never heard of Alpine Texas! But i've been really wanted to make time to see Big Bend and a trip to Marfa so this definitely seems like a great place to add on!

    texasonly

    Tuesday 2nd of May 2023

    It's a really small town, but super cute. You should definitely include it on a trip to Big Bend.