5 Things You Didn’t Know About San Angelo
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Located just three hours northwest of Austin in the southernmost tip of the Panhandle Plains is a spot called San Angelo. With a population of roughly 100,000, this small slice of the Southwest is making a big name for itself. From a budding art scene to a rich history that permeates the culture, San Angelo is full of unique experiences that make it one of a kind.
It's Full of Stunning Outdoor Spaces
Home to over 350 species of birds and 50 species of mammals including a herd of bison and a herd of Texas State Longhorns, San Angelo State Park is a must-stop for outdoor lovers. Walk, bike or ride on horseback through its 50 miles of trails and be sure to check out the birding blinds which are named some of the best in the state of Texas. For those who love the outdoors but itch for something tamer, there's no better spot than the International Waterlily Collection. Hailed as the number one tourist destination in San Angelo, the IWC is a work of art that you can't experience anywhere else on earth. Visitors flock from around the world to view the display.
Art and History Collide in San Angelo
History comes to life in San Angelo and not just inside the museums or historic sites, but simply in the streets. Historic Murals of San Angelo, Inc. transformed the exterior walls of some of the town's oldest buildings into vibrant displays that tell the story of San Angelo in a creative way. Massive murals vividly cover historical topics such as the military, transportation, music, Native Americans, ranching and much more.
And the History Doesn't Stop There
San Angelo features many traditional ways to walk through history in its various museums and historical sites. During your visit, you'll undoubtedly want to visit Fort Concho National Historic Landmark. Originally consisting of more than 40 buildings on 1600 acres, Fort Concho played a major role in the development of the Texas frontier. Today, 23 original and restored structures remain and are open for exploration via both guided and self-guided tours. Other popular stops for history buffs include the Railway Museum of San Angelo, Miss Hattie's Bordello Museum and Heritage Park, a unique pocket park in downtown that showcases the area's history of ranching while offering passersby a shady spot to rest.
The Art Doesn't Stop There Either
Crowned the Visual Arts Capital of Texas, San Angelo is committed to showcasing its creative side to both its residents and its visitors. The San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts features art across all mediums, from paintings to ceramics, and has received international acclaim. Not bad for a small city! True to San Angelo fashion, the art doesn’t stop at the museum's walls.
Art in Uncommon Places, a nonprofit founded by retired art teachers, has filled the city with vibrant art installations. Along the banks of the Concho River, various installations such as colorful mosaic vehicles and artful displays beneath bridges are open and visible to the public. As you stroll through downtown, wander into Paintbrush Alley, which is exactly what it sounds like: an alleyway filled with beautiful paintings and murals by dozens of artists. Next, venture over to a colorful open-air exhibit called the Pop Art Open Air Museum. Look closely and you may even spot one of the dozens of famed fiberglass painted sheep throughout San Angelo! Regardless of where you roam, AIUP has ensured you'll never be far from beautiful works of art while in San Angelo.
Its Food Scene Will Satisfy Even the Most Refined Palate
Texas is known for both BBQ and Tex-Mex cuisine, and San Angelo is no exception. With plenty of smokehouses scattered across town, you can get your BBQ fix with world-famous Texas brisket, scrumptious smoked sausages and fall-off-the-bone ribs. And you can't visit Texas without experiencing authentic Tex-Mex cuisine, right? Locals are sure to know the best spots, and San Angelo staple El Paisano keeps 'em coming back for dishes like nachos, chile rellenos and El Paisano specialties like the El Rey Special, which is two slices of ribeye served alongside jalapenos, avocados, green onions and rice and beans. In search of something international? Head to What Da Pho for a piping hot Vietnamese noodle bowl.