College Station, Texas is a city I visited on a five-city Texas road trip. Synonymously used with Bryan as in Bryan/College Station, the town(s) have so many cool and fun things to see and do, it will be hard keeping up. Home of the Texas A&M Aggies, it is one of my favorite towns in the Lone Star State. Here are ten fun things to do in College Station, Texas that might pique your interest.
This article was originally published in November 2016, but updated in October 2020.
Special thanks to the Bryan/College Station CVB for the hospitality, meals, and for hosting me. As with all posts on this site, opinions and conclusions are 100% mine and unbiased.
1. Grape Picking and Smashing at Messina Hof
Can you think of anything better than sampling 98 wines? That is how many types of wines Messina Hof Vineyard makes annually. The brand has won thousands of international awards, and after tasting them for yourself, you’ll see why. Attend grape picking during harvest season, where you will then jump into a vat barefoot to smash them with your feet. It is all in great fun, plus the grapes are cold and feel so odd squishing between your toes.
The staff at Messina Hof will teach you a few things about wine picking and making, show you the fun vineyard photos to take and let you sample the products.
Pro Tip: Spend the night or weekend at Messina Hof’s Villa Bed and Breakfast for a romantic and indulgent overnight. If you are a US President fan, sleep in the Thomas Jefferson themed room.
2. Sample the Local Brews
Visit the Brazos River Valley brewery and restaurant at the Blackwater Draw’s Northgate location. The beer list alone is one to be impressed by. The brewery’s owner, Brian, has found a recipe for success in brewing craft beer. He first opened Blackwater Draw in December 2015.
Try a Timber Snake IPA or a Border Town Mexican style lager. You can also find Blackwater Draw in the Bryan/College Station area convenience stores and grocery chains.
3. Eat Really Good Food
College Station has some incredibly tasty restaurants, all in the downtown area. RX Pizza (voted the best pizza in the Brazos Valley) serves up fabulous brick-oven pies in a no-nonsense eatery in downtown Bryan (in the historic James Pharmacy) that is both casual and fun. Try the Urban Cowboy with steak, caramelized onions, pesto, mushrooms, and blue cheese.
At The Village, you can have Sicilian or thin-crust pizza, or one of the amazing sandwich or salad creations. The Chicken Pesto Panini and Greek Salad are my faves. The Village also has yummy drinks such as the Honey Lavender Latte and Peppermint Mocha.
A third great place to sink your teeth into in College Station is Caffe Capri, one of downtown’s first restaurants. You can’t go wrong with any of the homemade pasta dishes, but the Tortellini Alla Capri, their signature dish, is pretty fantastic. Pair your meal with an Italian raspberry cream soda…yum!
4. Drink Ice Cream Martinis (and Eat Red Neck Desserts)
The Proudest Monkey features two signature desserts that are most noteworthy: the Red-Neck Shortcake (Twinkies with strawberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar) and the Ice Cream Sandwich Sundae (chocolate syrup, berries, whipped cream, cherries, and sprinkles).
If you prefer to drink your dessert, go for a Dreamsicle martini made with Absolute vanilla vodka, OJ, cream, and ice cream. Though not gourmet by any standards, they are damned tasty and super fun.
5. Tour a Pecan Farm & Sample the Goods
Pecans are a hot commodity in Texas, partially thanks to the fertile land around the Brazos River. Royalty Pecan Farms has been growing these favorite nuts for over 30 years. Texas produces 50,000 pounds of these delicious nuts per year.
On our pecan farm tour, a guide took us by tractor (pulling a passenger wagon) through the family-owned pecan tree groves while explaining the process from tree to table. The tour is informative, and you get to sample the pecans in the gift shop at the end, with a dozen or more of choices. The ones that pleased my palate were Maple Balsamic and Kahlua Kick.
6. Visit Kyle Field
Kyle Field, “Home of the 12th Man”, is the football stadium on the campus of the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and home to the Aggies. It sets the standard for college football stadiums. The Aggies bring out football fans in droves to this state-of-the-art sports facility.
Kyle Field is so impressive that several of their suites sell for 12 million dollars per year, without parking or food. Others start at $50,000, with no food or game tickets. The Jumbotron at Kyle Field is 47 feet wide and shoots out fireworks when the team scores. Gig ’em!
Read up on or learn the history behind the 12th man, a term used in football based on a historic event at Texas A&M in 1922.
While a painful thing to think about, visiting Texas A&M should include a walk around Bonfire Memorial to pay respects to those who lost their lives in the 1999 tragic bonfire accident. A beautifully designed memorial at the site of the accident shares Aggie traditions, stones representing the years the bonfire has taken place, a history walk, and a spirit ring representing the students injured in the accidental collapse.
7. Chow Down on Kai’s Doughnuts
These are no ordinary doughnuts at this tasty shop. Kai’s Doughnuts are creative, visually appealing, and freaking delicious! The doughnuts may include fresh fruit, Froot Loops, M&M’s, Reese Cups, toffee, nuts, cream cheese frosting, and English Toffee.
The Cookie Monster is the most popular seller and adorable as well. The doughnut revolution is alive and well in Bryan/College Station, Texas at this local sweet shop. Don’t skip the kolaches—that’s what I dream about when I’m back home in Florida.
8. Visit a Presidential Library
There is something to be said for touring a Presidential Library. The designers of these important institutions have a real knack for creating displays and settings that lure you in and make you want to get lost in American history.
The George Bush Library offers interactive museum exhibits including replicas of Camp David, Persian Gulf War relics, and family artifacts depicting our 41st President’s life. You can even sit in the President’s Chair in the mock Oval Office.
9. Treat Yourself to a 9-Course Meal
Picture yourself far in the forest under the twinkling stars and candlelight, while the delightful staff of Ronin Cooking serves you an incredible Full Moon nine-course tasting menu dinner. This farm-to-table dining experience is incredibly unique. Your senses will be heightened from the tasty eats, such as Quail, Wild Boar, Spaghetti Squash with green onion and lime, and tender Wagyu beef.
The culinary standards set by husband and wife team Chef Brian and Amanda weave the fabric for this successful enterprise played out on the couple’s farm. You can also visit Ronin Restaurant at the Ice House on Main in downtown Bryan.
10. Party at Northgate’s Dixie Chicken
The world-famous Dixie Chicken (known as “The Chicken”) is home to the ultimate nightlife in College Station, Texas and the oldest bar on Northgate. The Dixie Chicken, opened in 1974, sells the most beer per square foot than any other bar in the country. Known for good bar food and cold beer, it is located across the street from Texas A&M University campus.
Many proposals have taken place inside the walls of this jumping joint where all the action in town seems to be. The Chicken has a mascot located in the back near the restrooms; I will not spoil the surprise and tell you what the mascot is, but you should check it out.
Color Me Impressed with College Station, Texas
My first visit to College Station, Texas provided so much more than I ever anticipated. I can’t wait to go back and explore even more of this cool town.
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