As the weather gets warmer, splashes of color, singing birds, and blue skies begin to emerge after a long winter. Spring is a magical time of year, especially if you’re in Tyler. Known as the Rose Capital of America, this lively East Texas destination welcomes the season with gusto. Magnificent blooming azaleas, luxuriant pine forests, and daytime temperatures in the 70’s set the stage for a long list of ways to savor the season. Read on to discover how you can enjoy spring in Tyler, then plan your visit here.
Follow Tyler’s Azalea & Spring Flower Trail
No matter where you are in Texas, spring brings inviting weather, beautiful colors, and sunshine. In Tyler, the season brings so much more. Wander past one breathtaking home after another in the Azalea National Historic District, and you’ll be welcomed by nature’s springtime glory on full display. Budding dogwood, redbud, and Japanese maple trees, as well as tulips, daffodils, and azaleas, paint the neighborhood in glorious hues of pink, red, white, and yellow. So vivid are these shades of spring that this time of year is celebrated with the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail, a local tradition for more than six decades.
To get in on all the flowery fun, follow one of the two trails that weave throughout the historic district. These paths take you to breathtaking homes and gardens, giving you the chance to stop and smell the flowers. Along the way, you’ll run across the Rose City Ambassadors, who are the official greeters of the Azalea Trail.
Both trails offer plenty to keep you busy, but there’s more to see and do here. Browse an arts and crafts fair with 70+ vendors at Bergfeld Park, tour the remarkable 1859 Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum (where you can shop at the Rose City Artisans and Flower Market or attend the Vintage Quilt Show), check out the Annual Azalea Quilt Show or run in the Tyler Azalea 10K and 5K, among many other fun events. Don’t miss a visit to the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden, where you’ll stroll through 14 acres filled with more than 32,000 roses and other spring blooms. Make sure to stop in at the Tyler Botanical Garden while you’re there. Wander through, and you’ll see why Tyler is called the Rose Capital of America.
Escape to the Pineywoods of East Texas
With each step, you follow along a hard-packed trail that meanders between 100-foot-tall pines. Stop for a moment to listen to a gentle breeze rustling the leaves overhead or the distant calls of northern cardinals and yellow-billed cuckoos. Welcome to Tyler State Park, where the abundant beauty of spring in the Pineywoods of East Texas is on full display. Hike on 13 miles of trails that wind and weave between black walnut, dogwood, eastern red cedar, and pecan trees, or soak up the sun on the bank of the park’s picturesque 64-acre spring-fed lake. Their annual Dogwood Days Driving and Walking Tour often take place late March to early April. To spend some time on the water, rent a boat (or bring your own), and try your luck at hooking a bass, crappie, catfish, or perch from one of three fishing piers.
Once the sun sets, settle into one of the park’s cozy cabins that come with air conditioning, heat, water, electricity, and enough space for you and three of your friends. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon away from it all or a weekend in nature, Tyler State Park is the place to be. Better yet, it’s just 20 minutes north of Tyler. This is a great place to be immersed in the dramatic beauty of East Texas.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Feed a giraffe by hand, become fast friends with some penguins, and get up close and personal with all kinds of reptiles, all while reveling in spring’s beautiful weather at the Caldwell Zoo. Covering 85 acres just northwest of downtown Tyler, the zoo is the perfect place to spend the day with your family. No matter how old you are, you’ll discover something new as you encounter more than 2,000 animals from around the world, including African lions, black rhinos, giant anteaters, elephants, ostriches, and mountain lions.
Make sure to visit The Wild Bird Walkabout, an aviary where 600 birds, like rainbow-colored parakeets and rosy-cheeked cockatiels, flit from tree to tree. Buy a millet stick, and some of these friendly flyers may even come right up to you, an experience you probably don’t have every day.
Although the zoo has plenty to see and do if you just walk its grounds, there are other ways to take a walk on the wild side that you won’t want to miss. Book your spot on one of the zoo’s animal encounters that give you the rare chance to get close to penguins and an array of snakes, lizards, frogs, and more. Find out more about these animal encounters, and other special events, on the Caldwell Zoo’s website.
Sip Wine in the Spring Sunshine
A glass of merlot and a view of a sun-kissed vineyard. It doesn’t get any better than this. Unless, of course, that vineyard produces the fruit that makes up some of Texas’ best wines. Indulge in award-winning reds and whites at Kiepersol, a must-visit destination for anyone who relishes the finer things in life. Step into the charming tasting room to sample the winery’s range of estate-grown wines, including everything from a Moscato and a white zinfandel to a merlot and a syrah. While you’re here, take a tour of the winery and vineyard to learn more about the winemaking process, or stop by Kiepersol’s distillery to try its own bourbon, rum, and vodka.
When your appetite catches up with you, or you’re looking for a romantic evening dinner, head on over to The Restaurant at Kiepersol. The restaurant’s rustic elegance sets the table for a true fine-dining experience, and a menu that includes dishes like New York strip steak, lamb chops, and black pepper and honey-glazed salmon will leave you satisfied.
Far more than just a drinking and dining destination, Kiepersol is a luxurious getaway. Relax and unwind at the Kiepersol Bed & Breakfast, where old-fashioned charm meets upscale amenities. The bed and breakfast’s rooms are ideal for two, while The Stable House, The Cottage, and The Vines Chalet are perfect for when you bring your friends along.
World-class wines, delicious spirits, mouthwatering cuisine, and spring’s idyllic weather makes this season a great time to visit Kiepersol.
Shop the Rose City Artisans & Flower Market
Spring is the perfect time to be outdoors in Tyler, especially if you’re in need of some retail therapy. Browse all things gardening for garden lovers at the Rose City Artisans & Flower Market, held at the gorgeous Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum. You’ll find everything from plants, bulbs, garden décor, flowers, farmers market items, and more. Also enjoy live entertainment, gardening and plant inspired presentations by local experts, and food or drink from local food trucks. Plus, don’t miss your chance to take a tour of this impressive mid-1800’s mansion.
The Rose City Artisans & Flower Market isn’t the season’s only major outdoor market. The Azalea Arts & Crafts Fair, held at Bergfeld Park, is a showcase of handmade “by the vendor only” art, jewelry, food creations, woodworks, metal, sewing, and so much more from more than 70+ vendors. Enjoy live entertainment both days. Take your time as you shop, and you’ll no doubt find new treasures to bring home with you.
Visit Tyler’s Historic Homes
For those of you who are fans of historic architecture, the Azalea District is the gift that keeps on giving. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, these beautifully preserved neighborhoods are an exhibition of Queen Anne, classical revival, ranch, and other styles popular in the early to mid-20th century. Although you could take it all in on a cruise through the area, there are a few ways to take your time here to the next level.
Purchase tickets for the Historic Tyler on Tour’s Candlelight Tour & Party, where you can savor hors d’oeuvres, live music, refreshments, and lively conversation in the garden of one of the district’s homes. This is the kick off to the annual favorite, Historic Tyler on Tour, which happens in late March/early April. Throughout the weekend, tour some of Tyler’s grandest homes on this self-guided tour that allows you the opportunity to admire the architectural elements of the interior and exterior of some of the area’s historic homes.
Want to see it all for yourself? Find more information about both events here.
Enjoy Live Music Outdoors
The upbeat rhythms of jazz, the electric energy of rock and roll, and the folksy tunes of country music; no matter what kind of music gets your toes tapping, you can enjoy it in spring’s cool evening air here in the Rose City. Tip back a pint of local craft beer and listen to some of Tyler’s best artists at ETX Brewing Company and True Vine Brewing Company. For some of the best barbecue in town to go along with a full evening of live music, follow the aromas of smoked brisket and ribs to Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q. Performers of all styles also light up the stage at FRESH, where the diverse variety of cuisine, beers on tap, wine, and two nearby playgrounds make it a fun hangout for all ages. To see who will be playing while you’re in town, check out the “Gig Guide” here or download Eguide Magazine’s entertainment app here.
With its colorful blooms and all the ways to savor spending time outside, Tyler offers an idyllic springtime getaway to East Texas. Learn more about what the Rose City has to offer and plan your visit here.