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From its remarkable arts scene to its vibrant nightlife, Victoria exudes a certain charm that isn’t often credited to south Texas. Only two hours from Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi, it is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway – with a positively delightful downtown that is a haven for history lovers and a food scene that’s a BBQ connoisseur's dream.

 © Jacob Rhoades / Lonely Planet

When you’re not visiting one of the many city parks, dining at one of the numerous eateries, or learning where Texas history began, you’ll want to experience the art and nightlife of Victoria. This hidden gem is chock full of museums, galleries, saloons and halls that make it more than worth the visit.

“Wake” is a limited-time installation piece honoring famed Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind © Courtesy of Explore Victoria Texas

From museums to murals, the visual arts are a treat

Despite, or perhaps due to, its small-town charm, Victoria packs a surprisingly vibrant visual arts scene that rivals cities twice its size.  If you’re in search of artistic enrichment, you’ll want to beeline straight to the city’s Nave Museum.  It is the oldest fine arts museum in the Crossroads area and features rotating exhibits of regionally inspired art. 

If contemporary art is more your style, Victoria has that too.  Stop by the Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art to see artwork celebrating the diversity of south Texas.  Exhibits feature cultural classics like elaborately decorated art cars, ornate low riders, and even bedazzling rodeo attire.

For residents of the area, the Victoria Art League is a place to showcase their creations with their own gallery showings.  But for visitors, it’s the perfect place for an intimate look at what art in Victoria is all about.  You can even take a piece of Victoria home by purchasing any of the artwork in their gallery.

The Victoria Art League is the perfect place to find out what the city's scene is all about © Montoya Hudson / Lonely Planet

If you’re here during the city’s quarterly art weekend, don’t forget to check out the Downtown Victoria Art Walk.  It’s a self-guided art experience highlighting local artists of all ages, art galleries around the city, and other local businesses.  It’s a fun way to immerse yourself in the art of the area while really experiencing the city of Victoria.

Want to make your own art while you’re here? Then you’ll definitely want to visit the Crossroads Art House.  It’s a collaborative space in the city for artists to meet and create together. It holds several family-friendly art classes from mosaic assembly to pottery making – right in the heart of Victoria.

Texas Tidbit: Experiencing the visual arts in Victoria is incredibly budget friendly. Most of the museums are free or donation-based.  Take it a step further and walk the city in search of street art – you’ll be blown away by artistic treasures like the mural on The Estate Shoppe, the ‘breathing’ sculpture called “Wake” (a limited-time installation piece honoring famed Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind, from the Five Points Contemporary Art Museum), and the colorful displays throughout Victoria’s historic downtown district.

The Victoria Ballet Theater is known for its exuberant choreography and spectacular performances © Courtesy of Explore Victoria Texas

Victoria’s performing arts scene is as unique as the city

The spirit of performing arts is alive and well in the city.  Catch one of Theater Victoria’s showcase productions at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Victoria. With iconic shows like The Wizard of Oz and The Little Mermaid, you’ll come away entertained, inspired, and educated.

Celebrate the art of dance with a show from the Victoria Ballet Theater.  The company is known for its exuberant choreography and spectacular performances.  The theater plays host to both classical and contemporary show favorites like Alice in Wonderland, Swan Lake, and Don Quixote.

At the Victoria Symphony, you can witness the art of musicianship with live orchestra recitals.  In addition to regular showcases, the symphony also plays host to special events for locals and visitors alike. This is no stuffy symphony! The music is as dynamic as the city of Victoria itself, with unique shows like an electric guitar concerto and concerts from artists around the world.

Texas Tidbit: The Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts is so much more than Theater Victoria and the Victoria Ballet Theater.  It also plays host to a monthly charity concert series with musical performances benefiting organizations across Victoria.

The thriving nightlife in Victoria feels like an art genre unto itself © Courtesy of Explore Victoria Texas

Have a Texas-sized good time when the sun goes down

With dynamic entertainment and live music options, the thriving nightlife in Victoria feels like an art genre unto itself.

Any exploration of the premiere nightlife venues in Victoria is bound to include Moonshine Drinkery.  It’s a laid-back, modern-day speakeasy serving up signature cocktails, craft brews, and live music.  You’ll love its outdoor patio where you can literally take the party to the streets.

Next, check out Aerocrafters – It has the usuals, like live music, handcrafted beverages, and more than 20 beers on tap.  But there’s also outdoor yard games, themed trivia nights, and creative dishes you won’t find anywhere else in the city.

Ready to take your nightlife experience up a notch? Dodge City Saloon fits the bill. It’s a billiard hall with ample pool tables but its real claim to fame is its unparalleled party atmosphere. With a rowdy waitstaff, hot-ticket musical performances, and a Texas-sized dance floor, it’s a guaranteed good time.

Texas Tidbit: Grab that quintessential small town Texas vibe by venturing a little outside of Victoria’s city limits. Schroeder Hall in Goliad is the second oldest dancehall in Texas.  While you’re there, you can Texas two-step to country classics played by local musicians. Or savor authentic Texas vintages with tastings and pairings at J Welch Farms and Gulf Breeze Winery.

Sponsored by Explore Victoria Texas

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