Top things to do

Top Choice Nature Reserve in Brownsville

Sabal Palm Sanctuary

The only palm tree native to Texas grows at this 557-acre sanctuary, operated by a foundation for the National Audubon Society. It sits in a bend of the Rio Grande River with one of the few groves never to have been…
Mexican in Brownsville

El Ultimo Taco Taqueria

Tacos, flautas, tostadas and beans. That's it. Yet they're so good they've been voted the best tacos in the Rio Grande Valley several times, and the small dining room and large patio aren't enough to hold the crowds…
Historic Site in Brownsville

Fort Brown

This former US army outpost, dating from 1846, is named for Jacob Brown, who died here that year fighting the Mexicans. Flooding forced an 1868 relocation to the site, where several buildings still stand. They have …
Cemetery in Brownsville

Brownsville City Cemetery

Though only officially the city's cemetery since 1868, graves here date back as far as the 1850s. A walk through the well-kept grounds is a virtual tour through Brownsville's past, detailing gunfights and cholera ou…
Historic Site in Brownsville

Brownsville Heritage Complex

The 1851 home of Brownsville founder Charles Stillman, and later the Mexican Consulate in Brownsville, is part of the Brownsville Heritage Complex. Next door, in the main museum building, a reconstruction of the his…
Cafe in Brownsville

El Hueso de Fraile

This combination cafe-bar and Latin American-folklore preservation center has local artists' work for sale and daily live performances from 8:30pm. It tries to be a lot of things, but they all come off pretty well, …
Art in Brownsville

Galeria 409

Founded by artist Mark Clark to showcase local talent, this small gallery hosts rotating exhibits on important local issues (border communities, especially) and more whimsical themes. The building is a historic stru…
Museum in Brownsville

Historic Brownsville Museum

Housed in the grand Spanish Colonial–style 1928 Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, this small museum houses historical artifacts and photography. In the annex is an 1872 steam locomotive that once ran the route betwee…
Tex-Mex in Brownsville

Vermillion

Though a restaurant has operated on this very spot since the Vermillion family relocated here in 1934, things have gone a bit upscale from the original burger stand. Both the Tex (sublime chicken-fried steak) and th…
Arts & Crafts in Brownsville

Mercado Juarez

Housed in the former Majestic Theater, this small market is full of color from across the border. Clothing, pottery and other crafts sold by vendors from Matamoros and beyond are convenient for those who won't be ma…