Dine, shop, and live like a local in this charming East Texas town, known as the Rose Capital of America!
Want to getaway for a weekend? Home to perfectly prepared barbecue, stunning natural beauty, and classic southern hospitality, Tyler is a must stop on a Texas road trip. Its location in East Texas makes it an easy road trip from Austin, Dallas, Shreveport, and other surrounding cities. While Tyler has made a name for itself as the Rose Capital of America, there’s plenty more to do in this charming East Texas town to make sure everyone has a blooming good time! If you’re road trippin’ to Tyler, here are your must-dos for a weekend visit.
Happy Hour at a Brewery
Start your weekend getaway right with happy hour at ETX Brewing Co., a family owned microbrewery just “Off The Square” in Downtown. Sit on The Porch and try the Texas Stout of Mind craft beer while you enjoy live music! Another happy hour hot spit is True Vine Brewing. Try the Rose City IPA! You can even purchase a growler to-go at either brewery!
Dinner at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q
There’s truly no place like Texas when it comes to barbecue. If you’re looking for a barbecue experience that will blow your mind, or at least your taste buds, head to Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q for dinner. Voted one of Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas, Stanley’s is a must-eat when you’re in Tyler. Try the famous Mother Clucker sandwich while you listen to live music on the patio. And if you just can’t get enough, you can purchase their famous BBQ sauce to take home with you!
Jam Out to Live Music
Texas is known for its vibrant arts and music scene, so what better way to end your Friday night than by catching a live show! Check out EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide or the Visit Tyler app to locate all the live music and entertainment happening in Tyler. From the symphony orchestra to Texas country to rock and cover bands, enjoy a night out on the town listening to your favorite tunes.
Catch Some Zzzs
Whether you want the amenities and accessibility of a hotel in town or a unique experience at more intimate lodging, there is a place for you in Tyler. For a quaint stay in a historic landmark, consider Woldert-Spence Manor, Tyler’s oldest bed and breakfast. If you’re looking to combine the region’s natural beauty with laid-back luxury, give High Hill Farm a visit, where you can book a private bungalow. Whether 5 star or under the stars, Tyler has what you’re looking for. Check out the full list of lodging locations here.
Breakfast at The Foundry Coffee House
Kick off your day trip with some caffeine! Located in the heart of Downtown Tyler, The Foundry Coffee House is serving up some serious coffee and good vibes. The craft coffee is made with locally roasted beans from Porch Culture Coffee, another local establishment. Try the homemade rose syrup to commemorate your trip to the Rose Capital of America! While your order is brewing, admire local art in The Gallery and then enjoy your breakfast on the patio. If you taste an extra drop of goodness in each cup, it could be because The Foundry operates as a non-profit and gives back to local East Texas organizations. Sip sip hooray!
Stroll the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden
There’s no better place to stop and smell the roses than the Rose Capital of America! The world-famous Tyler Municipal Rose Garden features 14 acres, 35,000 rose bushes, and more than 500 varieties of roses. If you’re visiting in October or mid to late May, you’ll be able to enjoy the roses at peak bloom, but with the Tyler Botanical Garden located in the same space, the garden is a beautiful place to visit year-round. Make a stop in the Rose Museum and learn more about Tyler’s rose growing industry and the pageantry of the Texas Rose Festival, which is held the third weekend in October every year. You can even purchase a rose scented candle in the Gift Shop to take home and burn when you want to reminisce on your trip to Tyler, Texas.
Cruise the Azalea District & See Historic Homes
Cruise along the brick streets to view Tyler’s famous historic districts. If you’re visiting in springtime, expect to see a floral wonderland of azaleas, tulips, wisteria, dogwoods, and more in the gardens surrounding the historic homes in the area! The annual Azalea & Spring Flower Trail happens in March and April each year.
Lunch in Downtown Tyler
After a leisurely morning taking in the natural scenery, head back Downtown for lunch. Dine right on the brick streets in the heart of Tyler for a truly unique culinary experience. You’ll find everything from vegan to wagyu beef to authentic Texas barbecue at a range of restaurant options including Café 1948, Don Juan’s, Rick’s on the Square, Prime 102 and more. Several of these locations have patio dining which makes for lovely outdoor meal.
Check Out One of Tyler’s Museums
Learn about the history and culture of Tyler by visiting one of the local museums. Built in 1905, the Cotton Belt Depot is a railroad museum that showcases the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad and its Passenger Depot with displays of memorabilia, model trains, and operating layouts. Another popular attraction is the Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum, a historic home filled with antiques and memorabilia. Admission to both museums is free. While you’re in Downtown, you can also stroll the Half Mile of History, which is an outdoor loop surrounding The Square with stone plaques commemorating significant people, places, or events.
Explore Downtown Tyler’s Shopping & Culture Scene
While in Downtown, grab an afternoon treat at one of the locations in the Plaza Tower, then make a stop by the Tyler Visitor’s Center and gather information to plan your next stay! Here you can also shop the boutique, grab a locally handcrafted Tyler souvenir and take a photo with our rose mural wall painted by local artist Dana Cargile. Speaking of photo spots, grab a brochure for Art Alley, along with other public art, to capture your own Insta-worthy photos. Be sure to tag #VisitTyler in all your adventures! Hit up one of the funs shops or breweries to round out your trip.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes shopping. Live like a local and shop our boutiques and small businesses for an array of one-of-a-kind items, from boots to antiques to quilts. Purchase a Rose City shirt to take home as a souvenir!
If you’re looking for a refreshing snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, stop for an afternoon treat at Paleteria Polar, where they serve unique Mexican sweets. Try the Pinas Locas, made with chunks of pineapple, orange juice, chili powder, and lime juice, served in a hollow pineapple!
Wine Tasting & Dinner at Kiepersol Estates
After a busy afternoon in town, end your evening at Kiepersol Winery & Distillery to relax and savor your Saturday evening. Begin with a guided tour of the winery and distillery, then move on to The Grand Tasting Room for a wine tasting. We suggest sipping a glass of rosé on the patio as you wait on your reserved table at The Restaurant. Just like their wine, the steaks are perfectly aged. From Texas beef to fresh seafood, you will have a world-class culinary experience at Kiepersol.
Take A Nature Hike at Tyler State Park
Start your Sunday morning with a nature hike in the great outdoors! Tyler State Park features a cool, 64-acre spring-fed lake, 13 miles of hiking and biking trails, and 100-foot tall trees. Don’t miss the Whispering Pines Nature Trail, laid out more than 70 years ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps. You will appreciate this peaceful getaway to wander in the woods.
Eat Brunch at The Grove Kitchen + Gardens
Now that the nature hike has worked up your appetite, head to The Grove Kitchen + Gardens for brunch. The Grove puts an emphasis on farm to table with their chef-crafted menu. For Texas cuisine elevated, try the braised brisket benedict or the maple candied smoked bacon. Order a Howitzer to experience a Texas twist on the traditional mimosa, made with Devil’s River Texas bourbon champagne, orange juice, and agave. Sit inside their chic, colorful dining room or outside on the patio underneath a black and white striped umbrella.
Walk on the Wild Side at Caldwell Zoo
Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Take a walk on the wild side and visit Caldwell Zoo for the afternoon. More than 2,000 animals from 250 species from Africa, North and South America live in natural habitats at the 85-acre park. The zoo includes a children’s petting pen, two aquariums, picnic areas, and a café. Ask about the animal encounters if you want to get up close and personal with the creatures of Caldwell!