14 Top-Rated Things to Do in San Angelo, TX
The city of San Angelo is the Visual Arts Capital of Texas, and it is easy to see why when you drive into the historic part of the city. From the unique statues in public spaces depicting elements of San Angelo's history to the detailed architecture of buildings like the Museum of Fine Arts, you can see that the arts are at the heart of some of the fun things to do in the city.
As you walk along the historic streets, you will enjoy the concept of "art in uncommon places" that is a hallmark of San Angelo, with murals that depict milestones in the city's history, and open-air modern art in places like the Pop Art Museum.
But the city's artsy side is only one element of its appeal. The remnants of its Western heritage are another, from the still-standing structures at Fort Concho to the restored buildings along historic Concho Avenue downtown.
The Concho River, which runs through San Angelo, is an important part of the city and where the renowned Concho Pearl is cultivated. The city is visually exciting, but so is the food. Find local restaurants like the Twisted Root Burger Company, Angry Cactus, and Helen's Bistro located inside the San Angelo Library, which have must-try local food.
As you plan your visit, see our list of the top things to do in San Angelo, Texas.
1. Fort Concho National Historic Landmark
Fort Concho National Historic Landmark is one of the top things to do in San Angelo, and a visit will provide a significant amount of history about the area. This fort was the central point in a line of Texas forts that stretched from the northeast border of Texas to El Paso. It was built in 1867 as an important fortification for settlers and protection of the West Texas region.
The buildings at Fort Concho were constructed from local limestone. The fort's 1600-acre complex includes barracks, officer's quarters, a hospital, stables, a chapel, and a schoolhouse. It served as a base for the Buffalo Soldiers and nearly 500 infantry and cavalry troops.
You can take a self-guided sightseeing tour of the fort grounds to see the construction of the buildings and learn about what life was like on the base. Start your trip at the visitor center, where you can pick up a map of all the buildings, and see which ones are open to tour.
Address: 630 S. Oakes, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: https://fortconcho.com/home/about/our-history/
2. The International Waterlily Collection
The International Waterlily Collection can be seen at the Civic League Park in central San Angelo, where there are several basins of water lily varieties on display. The park has a beautiful brick walkway through varying levels of landscaping that lead you to the water basins.
The collection features dozens of lily varieties, from Pink Nova, Wanvisa, and Chompo Nix to various types of hybrids. As you walk through the park, you will learn about the man behind the collection, Ken Landon, who collected the species of lilies from around the world.
Only a sampling of Landon's collection is on display each year, so there are always new varieties to see. September and October are the best times of year to observe the most stunning displays of the collection.
Address: 2 South Park Street, San Angelo, Texas
3. Miss Hatties Bordello Museum
A small and hidden-in-plain-view museum in historic downtown San Angelo is Miss Hatties Bordello Museum, which offers a glimpse into the rustic Old West. The discreet bordello operated in San Angelo for 50 years and was one of the most famous in Texas.
Texas Rangers closed down Miss Hatties in 1952, and it is now preserved as a small museum for visitors. The museum is located in the center of the historic downtown, where you can still walk on the plank sidewalks to get there.
Address: 18½ East Concho Ave., San Angelo, Texas
4. Chicken Farm Art Center
A truly unique place to visit while in San Angelo is the Chicken Farm Art Center, which has been a staple in the arts community since 1971. It is an old chicken farm that has been creatively converted into resident artist studios, a restaurant, and a bed and breakfast.
There are nearly two dozen studios that fill the vintage chicken buildings with arts on display and for sale, including sculptures, woolen goods, ceramics, paintings, and ironworks. The grounds are whimsical and inviting. A good time to visit is during the social gatherings on the first Saturday of every month, when the galleries stay open late, and musicians entertain visitors.
Another way to enjoy the Chicken Farm Art Center is to go and walk around when the studios are open and peruse the venue that continues to support the visual arts community in San Angelo. This is a great place to find a unique souvenir and support local artists. Stay for brunch at the Silo House Restaurant.
Address: 2505 Martin Luther King Drive, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: https://www.chickenfarmartcenter.com/
5. San Angelo State Park
Plan to spend a day at San Angelo State Park, where you will not only enjoy outdoor recreational opportunities, but you can look for and learn about the longhorn and bison herds that are special to this park. A day-use fee is required to access the park, but you can plan on spending quite a bit of time there.
The state park has 55 miles of walking trails and several campgrounds. Water recreation like boating and fishing is popular on the O.C. Fisher Reservoir, which is accessible through the state park.
One of the most scenic places to visit in the park is the Cougar Overlook, which has picturesque views of the North Concho River. You can find park maps at the entrance to locate scenic spots and trailheads.
One of the treasures of San Angelo State Park is the wildlife viewing, namely the bison and longhorn herds that roam in their 600 acres of fenced landscape. With 17 longhorns, the park is home to the largest portion of the Texas State Longhorn Herd in the state. There are 24 bison that you can sometimes see from the road if you are lucky enough to catch them grazing near the fence line.
Address: 362 S. FM 2288, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/san-angelo
6. San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts
The building for the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most spectacular pieces of architecture in the city. Its massive arching shape is reminiscent of a covered wagon or a horse saddle, but it was just designed to inspire curiosity and creativity, which it does from almost any angle from the outside.
Inside the museum, there are exhibits that span a wide range of artistic talents, including sculptures, Spanish Colonial art, American glass, Texas art, and ceramics. Permanent collections are on display with hundreds of artifacts. There are also temporary exhibits that change throughout the year, featuring various artists and genres. The rooftop deck of the museum has some of the best views in the city, where you can see the Concho River and the skyline of San Angelo.
If you are looking for unique lodging in San Angelo to compliment the elegant and artistic influence of the city, you can find unique bed and breakfasts, like the Old Central Firehouse B&B. The adult-only B&B is located inside a renovated firehouse, with rooms that are outfitted with luxury bedding, chandelier lighting, and bathrobes surrounded by historic décor saved from the original firehouse.
Address: 1 Love Street, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: http://www.samfa.org/
7. San Angelo Nature Center
The San Angelo Nature Center is a small facility located on Lake Nasworthy but worth a stop if you are interested in local wildlife. The center features animals that are native to the southwest, like porcupines, scorpions, snakes, and lizards. Take a tour of the facility and talk to naturalists about regional wildlife, their habitats, and feeding habits.
After a visit to the nature center, you can walk to Marylee Park or Spring Creek Park, located next door, to enjoy some time outside by the water. The museum has limited hours, so you will want to plan ahead to make sure it fits into your schedule.
Address: 7409 Knickerbocker Road, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: https://www.cosatx.us/departments-services/nature-center
8. Historical Murals of San Angelo and Paintbrush Alley
San Angelo is quite famous for its collection of murals around town, each depicting elements of the city's history, and some showcasing the city's dedication to modern-day progress. Looking for the historical murals and exploring Paintbrush Alley on a self-guided tour is a fun way to explore the city.
A good place to start your mural exploration is at the corner of Avenue C and South Chadbourne Street, where you will find the first mural in the city entitled The Stagecoach. It illustrates the beginning of public transportation in the Concho Valley, when wagon trains and stagecoaches were used between 1840 and 1930.
Finish your mural exploration at Paintbrush Alley in the historic downtown, where you will find a contrasting and modern rendition of the vibe of San Angelo today.
Official site: http://www.historicmuralsofsanangelo.org/murals.html
9. Railway Museum of San Angelo
Like many Texas towns, the railroad changed life in San Angelo in the early 1900s, and the historic Santa Fe Depot is preserved for locals and visitors to enjoy. The Railway Museum of San Angelo is located inside the depot, where you can see preserved artifacts from when the railroad operated in town.
The museum has limited hours, and one of the best times to visit is on a Saturday, when living history tours are available. Even when the museum is closed, you can walk around the outside of the historic depot and see some of the train cars on display on the tracks from the Santa Fe line.
Address: 703 South Chadbourne, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: https://www.sanangelorailway.org/about-us
10. San Angelo Visitor Center and River Walk
One of the best ways to see San Angelo is along the River Walk, with trails that border the Concho River and connect parks, gardens, and landmarks. At any point along the trail, you can stop to observe the public art on display, relax on a park bench, or watch locals fishing in the water.
The trails extend for four miles, with bridges that connect the north and south banks. One of the most interesting is the Celebration Bridge, located close to the Museum of Fine Arts, and the riverfront amphitheater, where you can often find outdoor concerts and events happening.
Another key landmark along the River Walk is the beautiful San Angelo Visitor Center, where you can enjoy the outdoor sculptures and water features as you pick up information about the city. Look for informational signs located along the River Walk, which have details about things like the Concho River Pearl and the 12 varieties of freshwater mussels that live in the river system.
Address: 24 W. Concho Avenue, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: https://www.downtownsanangelo.com/riverwalk
11. Tule Princess Steamboat Cruise
Moored at Spring Creek Park, the Tule Princess Steamboat takes visitors on hourly excursions or private charters year-round on Lake Nasworthy. The Tule Princess Steamboat is notable because it is the last walking-beam engine paddlewheel steamboat left in the world.
You can spend a full day at Spring Creek Park before or after your steamboat excursion on the lake. There is RV camping available, fishing, and lots of recreational areas for walks and kayaking. Kayaks and pedal boats are available for rent on the lake.
Address: 2860 Fisherman's Road, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: http://tuleprincess.com/
12. Pop Art Museum
A unique example of artwork in San Angelo is at the Pop Art Museum downtown. It is an open-air museum that resides in the skeleton of an old bowling alley. Take a self-guided tour through the museum to enjoy the 31 pieces of artwork on display.
Be sure to go out the back to discover the Instagram-worthy photo op in the alley. There are QR codes next to each piece of artwork that tell the biography of the artist and their inspiration for the piece.
Address: 226 S Oakes Street, San Angelo, Texas
Official site: https://sapopartmuseum.com/
13. E. H. Danner Museum of Telefony
A quirky and unexpected tourist attraction in San Angelo that is worth some of your time is the E.H. Danner Museum of Telephony. The tiny three-room museum showcases examples of every kind of telephone from the 1920s forward.
Besides historic phones, the museum has equipment from the telephone industry that the public does not often get a chance to see, like underground cable vaults. There are also several manual switchboards on display from the 1890s to the 1950s.
Examples of telephones you can see in the museum include an Ericsson two-line telephone, Strowger Automatic Telephone, novelty phones, and common battery cradle phones manufactured in the 1920s. One of the most unique telephones in the collection is the explosion-proof telephone taken out of a gas plant that was used in the 1940s and 1950s.
Address: 630 S. Oakes Street, Officers' Quarters #4 at Fort Concho, San Angelo, Texas
14. Walk the Historic Main Street & Shops
As you drive or walk along Concho Avenue, which runs through the old main section of San Angelo, you can almost imagine the Old West in its heyday, when cowboys and railroad businessmen tied up their horses outside and frequented the establishments. The street still has the rustic feel of an early 1900s San Angelo, but the buildings now house restaurants and small shops.
One of the most popular shops is Eggemeyer's General Store, designed with vintage elements and selling everything from candles to cookware. The Cactus Book Shop features Western history books, and Cowboy Up Chocolates is an award-winning chocolatier that sells all cowboy-themed candy and handmade chocolates.
If you are looking to take home a Concho Pearl, which is only found in the Concho River, Legend Jewelers is known for its jewelry pieces featuring the pearl. All the shops along Concho Avenue have a unique history.
Address: Concho Avenue, San Angelo, Texas