Alvin, Texas, nestled halfway between Houston and Galveston, has grown tremendously in the 21st century, yet the city’s Southern charm remains intact. It’s a hidden gem if you ask me.
Once a farming and ranching town, Alvin’s rich history dates back to 1845 and is widely spread in its museums and historical sites. It was founded by railroad man Alvin Morgan and was originally named “Morgan” before landing on its current name by 1893, when the settlement was incorporated. Today, it’s part of Brazoria County.
Today, with its big-city attractions and its forever charm, the Texas city of Alvin is a great place to eat, stay, and play… and a trip to the sandy beaches is only minutes away. Space Center Houston is a 15-minute drive in the other direction, and just beyond is downtown Houston.
Note: I was hosted by Alvin, Texas, but all opinions are my own.
Things To Do In Alvin, Texas
1. Bayou Wildlife Zoo
A fun family thing to do while in Alvin is to visit Bayou Wildlife Zoo. It’s the perfect place to make memories and get up close (really close) to feed the animals. You can ride a tram through the 80 acres on a safari-like adventure. This tram ride was one of the highlights of my visit, with fun and surprises along the way. I got to feed several exotic animals from the tram, and some were very eager to get my bowl of animal feed. Just seeing those long tongues was worth the ride! The tram ride is included in the admission fee; animal feed is extra.
Be sure to stop at the Big Red Barn to see the giraffes and miniature ponies and to visit the Bayou General Store. And before you leave, on your way out, the petting zoo is located at Addie Lou’s Barnyard on the left. This area is perfect for small children.
Pro Tip: The tram ride can get quite bumpy at times.
2. Original Goat Yoga
Nestled on the banks of the Chocolate Bayou, Original Goat Yoga offers exercise and animal therapy with goats. The goats know what to do, so you don’t have to. I experienced this type of exercise for the first time and caught myself laughing more than exercising. Once you’re on your back, a goat will jump up on you. It’s a hoot, really.
Linda, the owner, also has other animals besides the goats on her farm: ducks, chickens, geese, roosters, and a few dogs that help her round up the goats.
If you like goat yoga, perhaps you’ll also enjoy spending the night among them. Linda thought adding a room above the barn, a vintage RV on the property, and a safari tent by the bayou was an excellent idea for vacation rentals. I think so too. It’s called The Goatel. And let me tell you, all three are sweet! My favorite is the darling room above the barn, decorated with Southern charm and overlooking the animals.
3. Alvin Art Trail
From murals to animals carved out of the tree trunks left by a tropical storm several years ago, you’ll have a camera full of photos and lots of town history when you follow the Alvin Art Trail. You’ll find an online guide with addresses to each piece of art in the city. If you like taking selfies with wings, you’re in for a treat; I think I counted three or four different sets of wings in town. But don’t miss Stanton’s Family History mural. There’s a lot of history behind the Stanton family, and the mural was recently featured in a Texas Highways article.
4. Froberg’s Farm
Depending on what time of year, Froberg’s Farm offers pick-your-own fruit, vegetables, and flowers. With each changing season, the farm offers something different. Fall time features its annual fall festival with rides and several attractions. (I missed it by a few days, but I saw all the prep.) In the spring, the farm becomes a place to play among the flowers and fruits.
The country store is open Sunday through Wednesday. On my visit, I bought Brazilian nuts and chocolate-covered almonds for the drive home.
5. National Oak Park
This 8-acre park is a multi-functional park with a hiking and biking trail, skate park, playground, covered pavilions with picnic tables, and three animal tree sculptures (owls, wings, and birds) worth seeing. The sculptures are part of the art trail.
The park is conveniently located behind the Alvin Train Depot Centre, a 100-year-old train depot worth stopping by if there’s time.
6. Alvin Historical Museum
Calling all Texas Ranger fans! Alvin’s claim to fame, Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, has his personal collections — from his days as a little leaguer to his final Major League Baseball run with the Texas Rangers — displayed at the Alvin Historical Museum. His family moved to Alvin when he was an infant, and Ryan lived there until he moved to another Texas town in 2003. Other museum exhibits highlight NASA and Alvin’s history and culture.
7. Alvin Antique Center And Marketplace
Reminisce about days gone by and maybe find that antique piece you’ve been searching for at this 55,000-square-foot antique mall full of pieces from the past. If time allows, grab something to eat at the tea room, Teaspoon.
Alvin Antique Center is open Tuesday through Sunday. I can’t believe I didn’t have time to go inside!
8. Briscoe Park Disc Golf
Briscoe Park is a 42-acre park with a walking trail, a large dog park, an all-inclusive playground, a fishing pond, and a golf course lit up at night for fun under the moon. I was there during the day and watched a professional team play disc golf. Of course, I tried my hand at it, but it’s harder than I thought! Concessions and restrooms are on the premises.
9. Camp Mohawk County Park
A great place to stay, especially if the kids are with you, is Camp Mohawk. It’s a 55-acre day-use park with overnight cabins in a wooded setting along the Chocolate Bayou. It is great for bird watching, nature viewing, and fishing; plus, it has picnic areas with grills, a playground, and basketball and volleyball available. A marvelous place to stay for outdoorsy people.
Pro Tip: Bring your own linens and towels.
10. Gentle Ben Tasting Room
A great distillery in town offering bourbon, gin, and vodka tastings you won’t find anywhere else. Gentle Ben is a state-of-the-art facility with outstanding decor, a bar, tables, and two areas where you can sit in comfy chairs relaxing while enjoying your tasting and watching TV.
11. The Alvin Foodie Trail
Dine at some of the best restaurants in Alvin, Texas, and win prizes! I can attest to these places, as I visited them on my recent trip.
Two stamps earn points toward prizes from Visit Alvin. The more stamps you get, the more prizes you’ll get. Get at least five stamps, and you will be in the drawing for an Alvin weekend getaway. It’s a fun way to get to know the city!
Pick up an Alvin Foodie Trail card at any participating restaurant or visitor center.
Best Restaurants In Alvin
1820 Coffee House
1820 Coffee House is conveniently located in town and a great place to hang out with your group.
I had never had an iced coffee flight until now. It’s four cold brews of your choice. That’s my recommendation, but there are other coffees, such as specialty coffees for each season, house coffee, and many others. You may want to try something new and order the Cold Brew Spritzer (a cold coffee with lemonade) or Cowboy Cookie with Texas pecan coffee, mocha, cinnamon, and coconut.
MyLeigh’s Cafe & Catering
Serving made-from-scratch soups, sandwiches, and comfort foods, MyLeigh’s Cafe needs to be your next stop for lunch. My turkey cranberry sandwich was excellent and plentiful. The tuna salad sandwich was sold out when I got there, so if that’s a favorite of yours, get there early!
Gordon Street Tavern
Order a beer, a burger, pork short ribs, a specialty drink, or anything else on the menu. You can’t go wrong here. Gordon Street Tavern opened its door over 9 years ago in one of Alvin’s oldest buildings. With over 100 years of history inside those walls, a dish like Go Pig or Go Home, a Jamimn Waygu burger, and a delicious Devonshire Cream dessert, there is much to talk about.
Smokin D’s BBQ Fusion
How much do you like barbeque? How about a plate of smoked brisket with cheesy macaroni stuffed in a tortilla and topped with a signature Southwest ranch? Yes, it’s a thing, and it’s called Brisketmacilla. It’s one of those times when you might say, “don’t knock until you try it.” We ordered it, and it was delicious!
But Smokin D’s BBQ Fusion serves up some other fabulous items. To sample other foods, I suggest ordering the Jr. Plate. Not sure why it’s called “Jr.”, because it’s everything but. You’ll get a small portion of local favorites, including Brisketmacilla.
Grace Pizza & Shakes
I hear the pizza at Grace Pizza & Shakes is out-of-this-world good, but we went for the shake! One shake fed three of us — it’s that huge!
My advice: Go for pizza, but be sure to order a shake. If you’ve already had lunch, skip the pizza and share a shake.
Pro Tip: Be sure to visit the two murals on the building — one is a gorgeous wing.
Swing by Juanita’s Taqueria for delicious, homemade Mexican food. This is another favorite local spot for breakfast and lunch. I went for breakfast and ordered migas — crunchy pieces of corn tortillas with scrambled eggs, jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes. Whatever you choose, I recommend their green sauce with everything! Closes at 3 p.m.
For more inspiration for your Texas adventure, consider: