Located in the very south of Texas, Brownsville is a lively city that sits near the banks of the Rio Grande, right on the Mexican border.
It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Brownsville has played an important role in military history.
Also Read: 40 Best Places to Visit in Texas
It was here that the important Battle of Palo Alto of the Mexican American War took place in 1846 that led to US Victory and invasion of Mexico.
And during the American Civil War, it was an important trading destination to avoid the Union Blockade.
You can see exhibits narrating this history at the museums in Brownsville.
Here is an epic guide to the best attractions in Brownsville, Texas.
Things to do in Brownsville, TX
Brownsville, Texas is located in the Rio Grande Valley of the southernmost tip of the Lone Star State.
Nestled up against the Gulf of Mexico, Brownsville offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore both land, sea, and culture all in one place.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to enjoy the warm Texas sun or an explorer wanting to discover the wildlife in the lush valley, this vibrant border town has something for everyone.
Here are the best things to do in Brownsville, Texas on your next trip.
Explore downtown Brownsville
Downtown Brownsville is an eclectic mix of old and new.
The historic downtown area boasts tons to explore, from the restored buildings from the early 1900s to the bustling marketplaces of colorful Mexican foods and goods.
Take a stroll along Southmost Road, which runs parallel to the Rio Grande River, and admire the murals and monuments along the way.
Take a stroll in Mitte Cultural District
The Mitte Cultural District is a vibrant area of the city that’s home to numerous cultural attractions and activities.
Check out the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, which features works from both local and international artists.
Or wander through the nearby galleries such as B & E Art Studio, or the Livery Gallery for some unique art.
You will also find several events and festivals happening here.
The Mitte district is located adjacent to Dean Porter Park.
Step back in time at the Historic Brownsville Museum
If you want to learn more about Brownsville’s history, then the Historic Brownsville Museum is a must-see.
The museum is located in the former Southern Pacific Railroad Depot and features a striking Spanish colonial style of architecture.
The depot was built in 1928 and is on the National Register of Historic Places which helps in preserving its condition.
Inside the museum, you will find many exhibits narrating the history of the Brownsville community.
There are also various artifacts such as photographs and documents from the 19th century.
Tour the beautiful Stillman House Museum
The Stillman House is a Greek Revival style home which was originally built in 1850 by Charles Stillman.
This is one of the oldest standing buildings in Brownsville and preserved in excellent condition.
This historic house museum gives you a glimpse into the past and features many period furnishings and accessories, as well as a collection of artifacts related to the history of Brownsville.
The Stillman House is located at 1325 E Washington St and is open to visitors on a regular basis.
Be amazed at the Costumes of the Americas museum
The Costumes of the Americas Museum is a unique museum which houses an extensive collection of traditional and contemporary Mexican, Central American, and Caribbean costumes.
Here you can explore the various cultural influences that have shaped each costume style and appreciate the intricate craftsmanship involved.
See the animals at the Gladys Porter Zoo
The Gladys Porter Zoo is the only zoo in all of South Texas.
With over 500 different species, it is an oasis for native and exotic animals alike.
Along with animals, you will also find a large and sprawling botanical park on the grounds.
Enjoy play time at the Children’s Museum of Brownsville
The Children’s Museum of Brownsville is the perfect place for families with kids to explore.
From art to science and technology, this interactive museum brings together fun activities and educational experiences for little ones.
Bike along the Brownsville Historic Battlefield Trail
The Brownsville Historic Battlefield Trail is a great way to explore and learn about the many interesting histories of the city.
This popular biking trail runs for 8 miles and takes you through sites of historical battles, memorials, and other places with significance in local history.
Fall in love with the exhibits at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art
The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art is a cultural gem in the city.
Featuring works from world-renowned artists, this stunning museum showcases a wide range of contemporary and traditional artworks.
The museum also hosts several exhibitions throughout the year.
Check out the Brownsville Events Center
The Brownsville Events Center is an exciting entertainment and cultural venue.
This multi-use facility hosts a plethora of events such as concerts, sports tournaments, plays, conferences, and more.
See World War II era aircrafts at the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Brownsville
If you love airplanes, then the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Brownsville is a must-visit.
This museum displays an impressive collection of aircrafts from World War II era, including rare and historic planes such as PT-13 Stearman, PT-22, and German FW-44 Goldfinch.
The museum is a great place to learn about the history of aviation and appreciate its importance in our lives.
Admire the views at Dean Porter Park
Located in the heart of Brownsville, Dean Porter Park is a beautiful natural oasis.
This sprawling park features a variety of gardens and green spaces, as well as several walking trails.
You can also explore the various sculptures and public art pieces throughout the park.
Visit the Old City Cemetery
The Old City Cemetery is a historic burial ground from the mid-1800s.
This tranquil place has over 500 graves, including those of some notable people in Brownsville’s history.
Enjoy shopping at Sunrise Mall
Sunrise Mall is a great shopping destination in Brownsville.
This modern and vibrant mall has over 100 stores, featuring everything from apparel and accessories to home wares and beauty products.
It’s also home to several restaurants, cafes, and entertainment centers.
Watch a show at Camille Lightner Playhouse
The Camille Lightner Playhouse is a popular spot for watching performing arts.
This theater hosts a wide range of live performances, from musicals to comedies to drama.
Shop at Brownsville Farmers Market
The Brownsville Farmers Market is a vibrant community gathering place.
You’ll find local farmers selling fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal foods, crafts, and more.
Things to do near Brownsville, TX
Here are other fun things to do and attractions near Brownsville, Texas if you have more time.
Also Read: 15 Best Things to do in McAllen, Texas
Enjoy hiking at Sabal Palm Sanctuary
The Sabal Palm Sanctuary is a gorgeous natural area located south of Brownsville.
This wildlife sanctuary features trails that take you through the picturesque estuary and palm groves.
Go birding at Resaca de la Palma State Park
This area of South Texas is a paradise for birders.
Did you know that there are 9 World Birding Center locations in the lush Rio Grande Valley?
The Resaca de la Palma State Park is the largest of them all and spans over 1200 acres.
The park is home to hundreds of species of birds, animals, and plants.
Visit the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
Palo Alto Battlefield is a fascinating outdoor museum that commemorates the Battle of Palo Alto that occurred on May 8, 1846.
This was the site of very 1st battle between the United States troops and Mexican forces during the Mexican-American War.
You can tour the battlefield by following the well-maintained interpretative walking trail and understand the significance of this battle.
Relax on the beach at Boca Chica State Park
Boca Chica State Park is one of the most underrated state parks on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Covering the sandy shores of Boca Chica Beach, it is a perfect day trip from Brownsville, Texas.
The park also has excellent nature trails and wildlife trails for birders, photographers, and nature lovers.
Also Read: 28 Best State Parks in Texas
See the SpaceX spaceport ‘Starbase’
The SpaceX spaceport—also known as the ‘Starbase’—is a futuristic sight to behold.
Located just outside of Brownsville, this is where commercial space flights are launched and tested.
Build sand castles at South Padre Island
South Padre Island is the perfect family destination for beach lovers.
You can relax on the sand and build sandcastles with your kids or go fishing, surfing, and sailing.
The island is also home to many attractions including Sea Turtle, Inc, which is a great spot for learning about sea turtles.
Visit Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Located just north of Brownsville, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for bird watching.
The refuge also features trails and boardwalks so you can explore the park and observe the diverse wildlife.
Experience the culture of Matamoros, Mexico
Matamoros is a vibrant city located just across the border from Brownsville.
Visitors can enjoy unique Mexican cuisine, explore local markets and shops, visit historical sites and monuments.
With its sun-soaked beaches and fascinating history – not to mention its stunningly beautiful scenery – Brownsville makes for a fantastic destination for art and culture lovers as well as outdoor adventurers alike.
What are your favorite things to do in Brownsville, Texas? Let us know below.