Like a Local
Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.
What do Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett have to do with this rustic saloon-style restaurant? It’s where the two, as former Texas A&M students, used to swap songs and perform impromptu concerts on the back porch. As the oldest bar in the Northgate District, today it’s a Texas A&M icon, specializing in burgers, tacos, fried chicken, and quirky Texas A&M drinking traditions (ask them about the “ring dunk”).
STELLA SOUTHERN CAFÉ
Originally just a place for breakfast, now Stella Southern Café is open daily from 7:00am – 2:00pm serving breakfast, lunch and brunch. Stella Southern Café brings scratch-made Southern breakfast food to the heart of College Station. Fresh made biscuits and stone ground grits will remind you why breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. No matter what kind of day you are gearing up for, Stella will get you ready to tackle it!
THE GARDENS AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Enjoy the great outdoors in the most beautiful scenery where you can find a quiet place to relax, learn, gather and experience. Pack a picnic lunch and dine al fresco in one of the many outdoor seating areas throughout the seven acres of The Gardens that serve as an outdoor classroom and peaceful sanctuary on the Texas A&M University campus.
YEAR ROUND SPORTING EVENTS
Sports fans can find an athletic event year round to cheer on your beloved Aggies! From baseball to tennis to volleyball there’s always a sport in season where you can catch a live game at one of the Texas A&M state-of-the art sporting facilities.
The best souvenir to remember your trip to Aggieland is a custom hand-created cowboy hat created by Catalena Hatters in Bryan. Producing quality custom hats for over 30 years has been the heart of their family owned and operated business since 1983. Their old fashioned method of making each hat by hand, one at a time distinguishes their hats as the best custom handmade felt hat in the world.
DOWNTOWN BRYAN ART SCENE
As a recognized Texas Cultural District, Downtown Bryan is arts and culture-centric. Galleries, festivals, street murals, art studio, theater and other activities highlight the diverse appeal of the arts. Visit W. 31st street murals for a Texas-inspired photo op you won’t want to miss. You can also sign up for class to create your own art at The Rustic Brush for a social crafting experience or attend an art workshop at Purple Turtle Art Studio to show your creative side.
How to spend 36 hours in College Station and Bryan, with Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center as your base camp.
7 p.m. | Bryan First Friday
If you’re here on the first Friday of the month, check out downtown Bryan for this street fair-style celebration, kicking off at 5:30 p.m. Expect shopping specials in boutiques and galleries, food trucks, and street performers. At 8 p.m., the Palace Theatre also hosts a live local band on its open-air stage for free.
10 p.m. | Ice Cream Martini Nightcap
Tucked between the Queen Theatre and the old Stafford building on Bryan’s Main Street, Proudest Monkey is a fun and funky late-night spot serving up a sweet twist on the nightcap. Try one of their ice cream martinis, like the Creamsicle, which mixes Absolut Vanilla, Triple Sec, orange juice, and a splash of cream, poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a giant martini glass.
8 a.m. | Campus Walk and coffee at The Junction
Start your morning right with a Last Shot Xpresso coffee from The Junction. Sit on the patio outside the restaurant and take in the unparalleled views of Kyle Field while sipping your morning brew. Once caffeinated, take a walk or bike ride around the Texas A&M University campus. Be sure to visit the Quad, Academic Building, Century Tree, Cushing Library and the Bonfire Memorial all within walking distance of the hotel.
11 a.m. | Brunch at Café Eccell
Is it even the weekend if you don’t do brunch? You don’t want to miss the amazing mimosa and bloody mary bar at Café Eccell. Try their big breakfast tacos to fuel you for the remainder of your day. And you can’t leave without trying their famous Strawberry Tarte.
1 p.m. | Visit George H.W. Bush Library
While this research institution is famous for its fascinating collection of personal papers and memorabilia from the life and career of George H.W. Bush. The museum's core exhibits reveal the unique influences and challenges that shaped George Bush's life and presidency, and frequently changing temporary exhibits present visitors new and interesting perspectives on President Bush, his life and work.
6 p.m. | Farm to Table Dinner at Ronin in Downtown Bryan
Ronin features family farm cuisine with a constantly evolving menu. Set in the beautiful, newly-renovated historic Ice House on Main in Downtown Bryan, Ronin Restaurant shares an open-air kitchen with their dining room, floor to ceiling exposed brick, and hand-built, suspension tables made using wood salvaged during renovation from the original office flooring in a communal and traditional seating environment.
9 p.m. | Drinks at Rough Draught Whiskey Bar
A mixture of chic and rustic, this whiskey bar serves up more than just Old Fashioneds, but also an artful amalgam of exposed brick, chandeliers, and mismatched furniture. The knowledgeable staff can help you select from 90 whiskeys and scotches adorning the back wall of the bar, any of their 30 beers on tap, as well as the occasional tequila or vodka.
8 a.m. | Breakfast at MESS Waffles
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and there’s no better way to start your day than with MESS Waffles. This once food truck now full restaurant is Aggie owned and offers a wide selection of unique waffle pairings all day long as well as other breakfast favorites.
10 a.m. | Shopping at Century Square
Experience this walkable neighborhood just across the street from the bonfire memorial which features shopping from both local and national boutiques like Runway Seven, Merge, and King Ranch Saddle Shop. Food options range from nitrogen ice cream made right before your eyes to Italian street food.
The best food artisans, farms, and local markets.
Messina Hof Winery
The most awarded winery in all of Texas is full of thrills. In addition to tours, tastings and fine dining, this winery offers a unique feature: For the past 40 years, the communities of Bryan and College Station have come together every August to help pick grapes in the morning, then hop into barrels to smash the fruit into a pulp that will become wine. The day concludes with a wine tasting followed by a special dinner.
All The King’s Men
Texas is known for its BBQ and All The King's Men serves the best in College Station. Their variety of craft BBQ, a diverse collection of rare bourbons and over 30 Texas beers on draft makes this restaurant a must taste. Visit their original location nestled in the heart of Downtown Bryan in a century old building that has been painstakingly remodeled to balance a contemporary aesthetic with the charm of history.
Rosenthal Meat Center
Producing high-quality cuts of meat is a Texas tradition, but getting said meat from the Rosenthal Meat Center is an Aggie tradition. Located on the west side of campus, this store works in conjunction with A&M’s meat science program and sells beef, lamb, pork, sausage, and special Texas Aggie-branded jerky that were all farm raised, butchered, and cured by students in the Agriculture and Life Sciences department.
These colorful works of art are almost too pretty to eat. Each little chocolate is bursting with flavor, from the key lime to the crème brulee. Stop by their College Station storefront to pick your own assorted box and learn about the three-day process to hand-make each perfect candy.
This small-batch bakery uses Old World traditions to create breads from flours that are unbleached, un-bromated, and have no additives or artificial anything. It takes three days to make each loaf of bread and pastry, which is why certain items are only available one or two days of the week. Be sure to call ahead to one of their three College Station locations if you’re looking for something particular.
When simply “seeing” a destination just won’t do.
Celebrate Texas Reds Steak and Wine Festival
What’s better than steak and red wine together? How about a three day festival to celebrate beef and wine with other wine and meat lovers! Taste wine from 25+ Texas wineries and 15+ Texas breweries along with grape stomp, live Texas music, food vendors, kids activities and local artisans. Mark your calendar for this annual event September 25-27, 2020 on the streets of Historic Downtown Bryan.
Get Wild! | Aggieland Safari
Just a quick 20 minute drive from College Station, you can get wild at the Serengeti of the South! Created by Texans and Aggie-owned and operated, Aggieland Safari’s organization was born from a love of animal stewardship and dedication to conservation. This adventure zoo offers 20 acres of walk-through zoo, 250 acres of drive thru safari from the comfort of your vehicle and unique private encounters with animals.
Did you know that Texas A&M University plays an important role in making sure the manuscripts, letters, books and memorabilia of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin? During his visit to campus to attend AggieCon he was impressed with not only the sci-fi and fantasy collection at Cushing, but the way Library facilities archived materials so he choose Cushing Library to deposit his personal collection of letters, books and manuscripts. Nearly 50,000 pieces contained in approximately 300 boxes are in Martin’s collection at Cushing and most of them are available for public view as well as several replica swords on display.
A Night on the Town | Northgate District
A trip to College Station isn’t complete without experiencing the nightlife at Northgate District. Located just across the street from the University, this tradition-filled destination is the perfect place for bar hopping, visiting the older bar on Northgate the Dixie Chicken, shooting a shot at the Dry Bar Saloon and taking a photo of Bottlecap Alley.
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A Benchmark Resort & Hotel
Texas A&M Hotel & Conference Center, 177 Joe Routt Boulevard • 1239 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843 P: 888-65-GIGEM (44436)