On the Road
Big spirit and a love of the arts thrives in the tiny Texas town of Alpine
If a pilgrimage out west is on your list, Alpine is your picture-perfect stopover point. It boasts some of the best year-round weather in Texas, with dry air and elevation that keeps summers fresh and cool, especially in the mornings and evenings.
And it’s also centrally connected to the most scenic routes in the state, with easy day-trip access to Big Bend National Park, Marfa, Fort Davis, Marathon, McDonald Observatory, and more.
That said, Alpine proper has plenty to see and do, so make sure you carve out some time to stay a while and explore.
Say hi to downtown Alpine
With more than 40 murals to see, each picture is worth a thousand words in Alpine. From a historic map and vibrant storytelling renderings to bright pop art, the wall-adorning pieces offer glimpses of local history, folklore, and culture.
If history is your M.O., the town’s self-guided walking tour ventures through 44 different historic stops, including the Ritchey Hotel from the 1880s — one of the oldest commercial buildings still standing in Alpine — along with early 20th-century residences, churches, and more.
Enjoy the small-but-mighty music scene
The town is a certified “Music Friendly Community” and it’s kind of a big deal. There may only be 6,000 residents, but the music scene is major and diverse. On any given week, you can catch a variety of live music performances.
For starters, OldGringo Coffee & Cocktails has Tuesday open mics as well as a few music performances every week.
The historic Holland Hotel is Alpine’s classic railroad hotel, originally constructed in 1928. Now, it offers frequent live music in a beautiful enclosed courtyard or the elegant lobby.
Railroad Blues hosts notable talent in a funky, fun atmosphere, and Ole Crystal Bar boasts a first-rate outdoor stage.
All these places also happen to host artists during the Viva Big Bend music festival in July that brings in more than 50 bands to Alpine as well as Marfa, Marathon, and Fort Davis.
Hit the trails — and find The Desk
Hancock Hill, behind Sul Ross State University, has a small system of hiking trails that feature scenic overlooks of the town and the path to The Desk.
If you haven’t heard the story of The Desk, it goes like this: In 1981, three Sul Ross students carried a desk up Hancock Hill to study. Soon they were spending hours on the hill, enjoying the beautiful surroundings. When one of them left a notebook in a desk drawer and later saw someone had written in it, he replied and soon the tradition of a notebook associated with The Desk was born.
Learn about Big Bend before driving there
Located on the Sul Ross State University campus, the Museum of the Big Bend celebrates the distinctive natural and human history as well as cultures in the Big Bend region. Rotating exhibits include paintings, photography, and more.
And if you love maps, you’ll be fascinated by the historical pieces in the Yana and Marty Davis Map Collection.
Discover more reasons to love this tiny town with a bold spirit at Visit Alpine.