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Brownsville, is the 16th largest city in the state of Texas and the 131st largest in the U.S. Located at the southernmost tip of Texas, Brownsville is a popular location for Mexicans and American beach tourists. It is part of the Rio Grande Valley, a four county region known for its abundance in citrus fruit production and Winter Texan population. The city features a combination of different climate regimes: Gulf Coast plains and the Great Plains. There is a lot to do in this city: historical museums, art galleries, beaches, birding locations and natural wildlife refuges. The culture is predominantly Hispanic, which is due to the presence of being a border town.
Brownsville sits in the southernmost tip of Texas, is a border town and is also bordered by the Gulf Coast. These qualities make Brownsville a thriving city in the manufacturing industry. For this reason, Brownsville adopted the motto, "On the Border, By the Sea" in 1966. Since the early 1990's, the city has experienced a steel boom, leading to fast population growth. The area had around 98,000 residents over 20 years ago and has increased that number to more than double at almost 200,000 with the current census estimates.
Despite being from Texas, Brownsville doesn't live up to the common stereotypes of most Texas cities (western, rural). Instead, it acts just like any other city outside of Texas. One common thing to notice about Brownsville is that it is influenced by the behavior of South Padre Island residents (laid-back, casual). The presence of an island so near to Brownsville has rubbed off on the locals.
Culturally, Brownsville's residents are predominantly Hispanic. It's common to hear people mix Spanish and English in their speech given the presence of Mexico being so close to Brownsville. For this reason, the city holds many festivals and parades celebrating the traditions from Mexico that have been integrated into American culture.
As you make the drive from Kingsville, you will start to see an abundance in palm trees. The area is known to tourists as "The Green City" for having more lush, green vegetation and plants than other cities in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. Sabal palms are dotted all around the city. Recently, the city has taken a stronger focus towards greener resources. Wind turbines, bike trails and solar panels are becoming more common in the Brownsville area.
The sunrises and sunsets in Brownsville are quite exquisite. Be sure to grab your camera and snap photos of these events. The area is known colloquially as the "Sunrise Capital of South Texas".
What many do not know about Brownsville is how rich in history the city actually is. Brownsville was part of many significant battles during the Mexican-American and Civil War. The Siege of Fort Texas and the Battle of Palo Alto were both fought between Brownsville and Matamoros. Major Jacob Brown (not to be confused with hero Jacob Brown in the War of 1812) has many sites and buildings dedicated to his name. For this reason, you will find many streets in the Mitte Cultural District named after important figures in American history.
Major Zachary Taylor (who later became the 12th president of the United States), played a crucial role in the Battle of Palo Alto. This marked the first major battle that started the Mexican-American War. Taylor's army successful defeated the Mexican forces on May 8th, 1846, with American troops receiving few casualties, compared to the Mexican side.
The city was also the site of the First Cortina Troubles, a war between Mexican rancher Juan Nepomuceno Cortina and American forces. Fighting emerged after a Brownsville marshal shot a former Ranch Hand of Cortina's. Cortina then took control of Brownsville for more than two months after many residents in Matamoros urged Cortina to evacuate the whole town. The fighting extended all the way to Starr County, in what is referred to as the Batttle of Rio Grande City.
Things were relatively quiet in the city until troops took control of Brownsville, this time by Confederates after they found out the city was smuggling their goods into Mexico. This led to the Battle of Brownsville, where the Confederates blew up more than 8,000 lbs of explosives. A month later, the Battle of Palmito Ranch was fought and won by Confederates.
Several decades later, the Brownsville Affair occurred. This was a racial conflict between black infantrymen stationed at Fort Brown and white townsfolk. After several white police officer and bartender were shot, president Theodore Roosevelt discharged the regiment for "conspiracy of silence." During the 1970's, an investigation led by the Nixon Administration found that the black infantrymen were not guilty of the crime and had any dishonorable discharge reversed.
|Daily highs (°F)||71||74||79||84||88||92||94||94||91||86||79||72|
|Nightly lows (°F)||52||55||60||66||72||76||76||76||73||67||60||53|
Data from NOAA (1981-2010)
The weather in Brownsville can get very hot during the summer months. Temperatures in the low to mid 90's is not uncommon to see. While the city rarely exceeds temperatures over 100 °F (38 °C), the humidity makes heat indices go up to 105 °F (41 °C). Temperatures will rise above the 90's from May through September. Winters are usually not felt with the exception of a short cold snap or cold front that comes by. Usually, these events don't last too long.
As in most of South Texas, snow is a rare event. The number of days with temperatures below freezing varies from year to year. Some years will lack a freeze event while others will bring several days of ice to the area. Make sure you bring a thin sweater when visiting during January or February, when the temperatures tend to drop more frequently.
While hurricanes tend to be a threat to Brownsville, most come in weaker categories than those that hit other nearby states. This is due to the Yucatan Peninsula acting as a barrier for storms that travel from the south to north. The most recent 'major' hurricane to make landfall in the area was Hurricane Dolly in 2008, which left mostly moderate damage to weak structures and flooding.
Brownsville Convention & Visitors Bureau - Main office located at 650 Ruben M Torres Sr Blvd. Scale House located at 1700 E 6th St. For visitors coming into Brownsville, a good place to first visit would be the Main Office, clearly visible from Highway 77. The roof of the building is shaped to form a pyramid. A representative can assist you with any questions, local hot spots and anything related to Brownsville. If you have have further questions about events in the city, look at their website, which is kept up to date with any events for the whole calendar year. Also, for those visiting from Mexico, the Scale House is the perfect place to visit for questions on any attractions in the city. It is located right across the Glady's Porter Zoo and the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts.
- American Eagle (Non-stop service between Dallas and Brownsville)
- United Express (Non-stop passenger service to/from Houston)
As of 2016, the airport is undergoing a major multi-million dollar renovation, which will include a redesigned terminal center at the west of the terminal that is currently in operation. Once the renovation is completed, the other terminal center will knocked down to make way for this new project. Long time travelers to the city should expect changes in the airport system in the coming years.
The city operates 11 different bus services. Each station is located at 755 International Blvd in La Plaza at Brownsville, the main terminal center. Brownsville's close proximity to Mexico has attracted several bus services from Mexico that offer rides to Matamoros. For more information on bus services and routes in Brownsville, check out La Plaza Terminal website.
Intercity bus services
- Greyhound- long-haul coach service with two locations in Brownsville. 4955 Lakeway Drive. +1 956 546-2264, +1-800-231-2222.
Regional transit agencies
- Metro Connect +1 956 681-3550 - local bus service acting as an intercity and regional bus.
- The Wave +1 956 761-3864 - provides rides from South Padre Island to Brownsville and Port Isabel.
- Valley Transit Company +1 956 969-5761 - regional transit service providing rides to cities in the Rio Grande Valley.
- Interstate 169 connects US 77 to SH 550 and FM 511. Splits with Interstate 69E at Olmito. Leads to SH 48, the main road towards South Padre Island.
- Interstate 69E connects with Harlingen and Corpus Christi. Shares part of their highway with US 77/83.
- US Highway 77/83 a co-signed road that goes to Harlingen, where it splits into US 77 toward Houston and US 83 toward Laredo.
- US Highway 100 is a road off US 77 leading to Los Fresnos. One of the two main roads leading to South Padre Island.
- US Highway 281 leads to Hidalgo County and then San Antonio.
- SH 550 is a new toll-road in the outskirts of the city leading to SH 48.
- Mexico's Federal Highway 180 is easily accessible across the Veterans International Bridge into Matamoros, Tamps., and leads to Tampico and eventually to Cancún.
- Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge meets at Mexico Blvd and into Palm Blvd, bridge is intended for passengers traveling from the West of Brownsville.
- Gateway International Bridge connects to International Blvd, eventually leads to US Highway 77.
- Veteran's International Bridge at Los Tomates connects directly to US Highway 77. Easy way to cross into Mexico. Informally called Los Tomates or Veteran's by locals.
You can arrive by boat on South Padre Island. Though there are no ferries to take you to the island, if you own a boat, simply direct yourself to the southernmost Texas coast. When arriving, there should be buses that can take you to Brownsville. The distance between the island and Brownsville is not that far apart so you should arrive no later than 25 minutes to the city.
The best way to get around Brownsville is by car. If you don't have a car, there are multiple rental car agencies dotted around the city.
Brownsville Metro (B-Metro) - Main bus service providing rides within thirteen different routes throughout the city's major arteries. The system operates from 6:00 AM through 8:00 PM each day except Sundays. The terminal center, called La Plaza at Brownsville, is located at 755 International Blvd close to the Gateway International Bridge. The center was completed in 2013 and also provides several restaurants with both indoor and outdoor seating.
There are several taxi services provided right outside of the Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport. They are easily accessible once arriving here (by plane). Prices depend on type of cab service.
- ABC Taxi, 1124 Taylor St, ☎ .
- American Taxi, 355 W Elizabeth St, ☎ . 24 hours. Only accepts cash, no debit cards. Also known as Brownsville Cab.
- Longoria's Taxi, 355 W Elizabeth St, ☎ . 24 hours. Bilingual taxi drivers serving Brownsville, South Padre Island, the Mexican city of Matamoros and bus stations.
- The RoadRunner, ☎ . Provides rides to tourist attractions, wineries and the airport. Department also has a limousine service.
- Valley Taxi, 147 Palm Blvd, ☎ .
- Yellow Express Taxi, 2254 El Brillo St, ☎ . , 24 hours. Provides taxi service to Los Fresnos, Rancho Viejo and across the border to Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Accepts payments in Visa, Mastercard.
By foot or bicycle
The city is known as the "Bicycling Capital of the Rio Grande Valley" so there will be several trails spanning long distances of the city. They connect to major arteries and other commercial areas. There are currently seven bike trails you can take to explore Brownsville (listed in the Do section of the article).
A new BikeShare Program by Zagster was unveiled giving tourists and locals the opportunity to explore various parts of the city by renting a bicycle. The program has six bike stations around Brownsville, including several in the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Other locations include La Plaza Terminal, CityPlaza, Linear Park, Washington Park, Dean Porter Park and the Belden Connect. Membership for the program costs $35 per year, $15 per month and $2 an hour.
Brownsville city leaders, in collaboration with nine other cities in Cameron county, signed a hike-and-bike network plan, connecting said cities with one another. The purpose of the plan is to attract tourists under the "active tourism plan". Paddles trails will also be included connecting Brownsville to other cities near the coast. This is an on-going effort to reinforce healthy lifestyles and more economic development in the region.
There are many different sites located in Brownsville that tourists could enjoy. Brownsville is home to many historic homes, battlefield sites, state parks, museums, art galleries and even a zoo. The presence of SpaceX has pushed the area to focus more on educating the public on the aerospace industry, which has dedicated several sites for locals to use to heighten their knowledge on rockets and space exploration.
Battlefield sites are sporadic in the city: you will find some to be located in the outskirts and others in the center of highly commercial areas. For this reason, it is advised to be on the lookout for these locations, since most blend in with its surrounding areas.
The state parks are included on here because they are preserved by the state of Texas, thereby restricting major developments from occurring in the area. They also resemble sanctuaries for endangered wildlife and marine life that are only common in Brownsville.
- 1 SpaceX South Texas Launch Site, 54298 Boca Chica Blvd (Get off ramp on Boca Chica Blvd, drive straight until reaching the end of the street, which meets several feet near the ocean.), ☎ . Aerospace facility lauching rockets from Boca Chica State Park. The project is expected to be completed by 2018, with rocket launches occurring monthly.
- 2 Spacecraft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Gigahertz Astrophysical Transient Emission (Also known as Stargate), 52448-54298 Boca Chica Blvd, ☎ . In collaboration with SpaceX, this will be a radio frequency technology park located directly across the SpaceX facility which is expected to commence construction in 2018. The facility will be used by researchers for technology and scientific research.
Museums and art galleries
- 3 Brownsville Historical Association, 1325 E Washington St, ☎ . Main office in charge of operating five historical buildings in Downtown Brownsville. Buildings include The Heritage Museum & Preservation Center, Stillman House, Market Square Research Center, Old City Cemetery Center and The Historic Alonso Building.
- 4 Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts, 660 E Ringgold St, ☎ . Beautiful arts museum focused on the works of local and Latin American painters.
- 5 Children's Museum of Brownsville, 501 E Ringgold St #5 (Take US Highway 77, get off ramp on Boca Chica Blvd, turn right at E 6th St and turn right at E Pierce St), ☎ , fax: . Museum involving hands-on activities, events and workshops for children. $8; Free for children 1 and under.
- 6 Commemorative Air Force Museum, 955 S Minnesota Ave (Drive along Boca Chica Blvd and turn at Billy Mitchell then right towards Minnesota Ave), ☎ . Air force museum displaying collections of aircraft from World War II. Hosts the annual AirFiesta in mid-February. Adults: $6, Seniors (55+): $5, Kids 12-18: $3, Kids under 11: Free.
- 7 Costumes of the Americas, 501 E Ringgold St #5 (Drive south on Highway 77 and take the 6th St exit.), ☎ . Museum housing one of the largest collections of traditional clothing worn by indigenous people in Latin American countries. $2 per person, Children under 10: free.
- 8 Fort Brown (Fort Brown Memorial Center), Fort Brown St (Take International Blvd and enter at Texas Southmost College). A military post used during the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is regarded as one of the most haunted sites in the city. Free.
- 9 Galeria 409, 409 E 13th St (Get off ramp on Highway 77 past Boca Chica Blvd, turn right on E 13th St, stop after passing Elizabeth St), ☎ . Art gallery showcasing work from artists in the Rio Grande Valley.
- 10 Historic Brownsville Museum, 641 E Madison St, ☎ , fax: . Museum displaying the history of Brownsville up to the first half of the 20th century. It uses pictures, maps, along with other visuals to document different aspects of the city from street views to education. Adults: $5, Seniors: $4, Students: $2, Children under 6 and BHA members: Free.
- 11 Market Square Research Center, ☎ . The predecessor to La Plaza at Brownsville, the current terminal center in Brownsville. Previously functioned as a terminal center for buses and an open air market. The building was constructed in 1850 and provides many photographs, costumes and an art collection. It is currently undergoing a multi-million renovation that will include a walkable street, life-size chess boards, fountains and bike stations.
- 12 Old City Cemetery Center, ☎ . One of the oldest cemeteries in the city. This was the burial location for many soldiers during the Civil War and Mexican-American War as early as the 1830s. Ghost tours are available. Free; For Tours: $7 (for groups of 14 or less), $4 (for groups 15 or more).
- 13 Palmito Ranch Battlefield, Boca Chica Blvd (Located on the way to Boca Chica State Park.). The last battle of the American Civil War. It is located close to the US-Mexico border. There are many speculations that the site is haunted. Free.
- 14 Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park, 7200 Paredes Line Rd, ☎ , fax: . The site of Battle of Palo Alto. Indoor museum includes artillery and a gift shop. A tour is provided along a walkway to the actual battle site with replicas of the artillery used in the war scattered throughout the place. Free.
- 15 Resaca de la Palma National Battlefield, 1024 Paredes Line Rd, ☎ . The site of Battle of Resaca de la Palma. A beautiful candle-lighting ceremony takes place each year around mid-November to honor the fallen victims of the war. Each candle is place in the parameter of the site. Free.
The city of Brownsville has an endless list of historic buildings located in Downtown. Many buildings include French, Spanish and sometimes a mix of both architecture styles. Take a walk through Downtown and visit these locations. Due to the high volume of historic homes in Downtown, not every home will be listed on here. For more information, please visit the visitor's website.
- 16 The Historic Alonso Building, 510 E St Charles St. A French and Spanish influence building popular for rentals and events. Includes an art gallery inside, a pool and tables outside for dining. Daytime Rental: Monday-Thursday: $150 (first hour), $50 (additional hour); Friday-Sunday: $350 (first hour), $150 (additional hour); Evening Rental: Monday-Thursday: 4 hour rental between 5PM-11PM: $800, Friday-Sunday: $1500.
- 17 The Stillman House, 1325 E Washington St (Same address as the Brownsville Historical Association), ☎ , fax: . The home of several important figures in Brownsville and Mexico. Charles Stillman, the settler who founded Brownsville lived here, as well as Mexican presidents and generals. Free.
- 18 Old Brulay Plantation (Plantation House No. 1), East of TX 4. A cotton-turned-sugar plantation used during the American Civil War. It closed approximately in 1910 when a Cuban tariff was removed. The home belonged to a French immigrant named George Paul Bruley.
- 19 Boca Chica State Park. Isolated beach across South Padre Island. It is known for its sandy dunes, quiet atmosphere and scenery. Regarded as a hidden gem by many tourists. Known as Boca Chica Beach to locals.
- 20 Brazos Island State Park. Beach north of Boca Chica State Park. Great for camping and fishing.
- 21 Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, 22688 Buena Vista Rd. Mon-Sun: 7AM-7:30PM. Located in nearby Los Fresnos. Very popular wildlife refuge where many different species can be spotted from the bobcat to the endangered ocelot. The refuge area is protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- 22 Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Clark/W Cantu Rd. Situated in nearby La Feria, is a popular birding and wildlife sanctuary with over 90,000 acres of dedicated land for animals and other species to live in. Resacas (or floodplains) can be found throughout the site.
- 23 Sabal Palm Sanctuary, 8435 Sabal Palm Grove Rd, ☎ . Butterfly and Birdwatching center. One of the last locations in the Rio Grande Valley with an abundance in profuse grove of Sabal Palms. Adults: $5, Children under 12: $3, Year Membership: Family: $35, Individual $25, Half-year Membership: Couple: $25, Individual $15.
- 24 Glady's Porter Zoo, 500 E Ringgold St, ☎ . Popular zoo among locals and tourists. Showcases a variety of species from around the world and features a reptile house and an aquatic center. It is the only zoo south of Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley. Adults: $11, Children (2-13): $8, Children (under 2): Free, Seniors (over 65): $9.50.
- 25 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, 1 W University Blvd, ☎ . 24 hours. Beautiful campus with a bridge overlooking a resaca (or floodplain) and many palm trees. The bridge is a popular photography landmark for tourists and locals. Campus was founded in 2015 after University of Texas at Brownsville and University of Texas Pan-American merged. There are a number of trails going through the university. Check their website for any events or activities happening around the city. Most events are held in Downtown Brownsville and focus on the arts along with musical performances.
- 1 Camille Lightner Playhouse, 1 Dean Porter Park (Take same route as Children's Museum of Brownsville), ☎ . Popular performing arts venue featuring plays and musicals. Features adaptations of both local and popular acts. Plays: Adults: $15, Students (with school ID): $10, Children under 12: $5; Musicals: Adults: $20, Students (with school ID): $12, Children under 12: $12; Season tickets: $85; Winter Texan tickets: $50.
- 2 Jacob Brown Auditorium, 600 International Blvd (Drive along Highway 77, exit off ramp on International Blvd, drive straight until approaching Texas Southmost College), ☎ . Open floor auditorium with a 1,500 person capacity. Popular for graduation and theater events. Also features concerts involving musicians playing a range of instruments from the cello to the clarinet. Depends on event.
- 3 The Arts Center, 80 Fort Brown St (Take International Blvd, drive until approaching Texas Southmost College. Building located in back of Jacob Brown Auditorium), ☎ . Performing arts venue belonging to Texas Southmost College. Popular for performances in music and theatre.
Festivals and events
The city is home to many festivals and events with different variety for tourists and locals. Make sure to search the visitor's website for more information on upcoming events, as some events tend to be held at multiple times during the year.
- 4 AirFiesta, 955 S Minnesota Ave (Takes place in the Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport), ☎ . February 13-14. Professional pilots perform beautiful synchronized flybys in a variety of aircraft dating from the 1950's. Check website one to two months before event for prices..
- 5 Brownsville Beer Fest, 501 E Ringgold St (Held at Dean Porter Park), ☎ . October 1st. Oktoberfest-style festival with many different beer-flavors from around the world. Includes a performance from Los Angeles-based group, Metalachi. GA Tickets: $25, Pre-sale Tickets: $75.
- Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival, ☎ . Popular festival created by Latin Jazz legend, Tito Puente, celebrating local artists of the genre. Free.
- 6 Charro Days Fiesta, 455 E Elizabeth St (event uses most of the street), ☎ . Unique event celebrating the friendship between Brownsville and its next door neighbor Matamoros. Celebration starts in the end of February and features people dressed in Charro costumes, food, music and a parade. Free.
- 7 Christmas Parade, E Elizabeth Street (uses most of the street), ☎ . A longstanding tradition which many schools participate in by making floats and performing songs based on pop culture and traditional Mexican music. Free.
- 8 The Color Run 5K, 1000 Sports Park Blvd. December 10, 9AM-12PM. The only city in the Rio Grande Valley participating in this event. It is part of the Tropicolor World Tour. Runners are plastered with colors and are required to wear white. The purpose of this event is promote happiness and healthy lifestyles everywhere. Individual: $29.99, Team: $24.99.
- 9 CycloBia Nights, 1034 E Levee St, ☎ . Event where several streets in Downtown close to allow bicyclists to ride their bicycles around the area. Participants are also allowed to walk, skate, etc. Takes place three times a year: once in June, August and October. Free.
- 10 Fourth of July Parade, 1000 Sports Park Blvd (Same route as Charro Days event), ☎ . Parade starting in Downtown Brownsville and ending with a firework celebration (the largest in South Texas) in the Brownsville Sports Park. Includes food, music and Glow Dash.
- 11 Heart of America Shows, 1370 N Expressway (Right next to Sunrise Mall). Late October through Late November. Carnival tour with traditional games, rides, live performances from local bands, a fire show and food stands. The event is held in the parking lot of Sunrise Mall. 1 ticket: $1.25; Unlimited rides bracelet: $20.00.
- 12 Holiday Village, 1 Dean Porter Park. Cottages decorated with lights and live performances celebrating Christmas. Event starts from the first of November until the first of January. Free.
- 13 Memorial Illumination, 1024 Paredes Line Rd (Held at Resaca de la Palma Battlefield), ☎ . November 14. A beautiful display of 8,000 candles lit up to honor the fallen US and Mexican soldiers of the 1846 battles that took place there. Ceremony begins at sunset.
- 14 Sombrero Festival, 1908 6th St (Located in Washington Park), ☎ . Created to enhance the spirit of Charro Days, this festival usually occurs the last week of February. Membership: Single: $35, Couple: $60, Family (6): $150.
- 15 The Room Trap, 4215 Southmost Blvd, ☎ . Sun-Sat: 6:30PM-8:30PM. Game where players are trapped inside a room and given 60 minutes to escape on time. Very intellectual and challenging. Up to six people can play. Check website for prices.
- 16 Zoofari, 500 Ringgold St (Held in Glady's Porter Zoo.), ☎ . October 1st. A live auction event with wine and other entertainment. The Peacock Ticket features a performance from a known country artist. Premiere Ticket: $135, Peacock Ticket: $10.
- 17 Riverbend Resort & Country Club, 4541 Military Highway 281, ☎ . Beautiful golf courses in an isolated location.
- 18 Brownsville Golf Center, 1800 W San Marcelo Blvd, ☎ .
- 19 Valley International Country Club, 95 Country Club Rd, ☎ . Voted the best golf course in the city by the The Brownsville Herald.
In Rancho Viejo (within Brownsville City Limits)
- 20 Rancho Viejo Resort & Country Club, 1 Rancho Viejo Drive, ☎ , toll-free: . Elegant golfing courses including El Angel and El Diablo Course along with a PGA Junior Golf League. Resort hosts wedding and meeting events as well as sports entertainment such as Tennis, Swimming and a Fitness center. Varies.
- 21 Massey's Gun Shop and Range, 1 Massey Way, ☎ . Mon-Sun: 10AM-6PM. Located in the outskirts of the city. An outdoor shooting range also doubling as a gun shop with a wide selection of guns to shop from. Offers free online courses. Depends.
- 22 South Texas Tactical Shooting Range, 2100 Village Center Blvd, ☎ . Mon-Sat: 10AM-9PM; Sun: 12PM-7PM. Modern indoor shooting range with a shop inside. Offers multiple target ranges with space between each station. Depends.
- 23 Belden Trail, W 3rd St, ☎ . Mile long trail connecting West Brownsville to other commercial areas. Pedestrian and family-friendly. Free.
- 24 Historic Battlefield Trails, Brownsville Historic Battlefield Hike and Bike Trail, ☎ . 9-mile long trail running north-south in the middle of the city. Free.
- 25 Brownsville Sports Park Hike & Bike Trail, 1000 Sports Park Blvd, ☎ . A trail in the Brownsville Sports Park with access to a lake, boardwalk and hiking pathways. Free.
- 26 Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge Trails. Trails around the Wildlife Refuge leading to tall, grassy areas. It is advised to watch out for any wild animals such as Ocelots and Cougars. Free.
- 27 Monte Bella Mountain Bike Trail, W Alton Gloor Blvd, ☎ . A 6.2 mile long trail in the outskirts of the city. The trail also includes a 21-hole Disc Golf Course. Free.
- 28 Paseo de la Resaca Trails, ☎ . A 7 mile long trail running through over 4 miles of resacas and 128 acres of parkland. Free.
- 29 Resaca de la Palma State Park Trails, 1000 New Carmen Ave, ☎ . 7 mile trail offering binoculars and bicycles for rent. The trail has the largest native habitat part of the World Birding Center. Free.
- 30 Brownsville Event Center, 1 Event Center, ☎ . Popular center for city events, weddings and other festivities. Rooms are named after important city buildings.
- 31 Ambassador Event Center, 2735 FM802, ☎ . Modern building perfect for weddings.
- 32 Amigoland Event Center, 1010 Mexico Blvd, ☎ . Large ballroom for weddings and other festivities. Amigoland Convention Center is right next door.
- 33 Brownsville Sports Park, 1000 Sports Park Blvd, ☎ . Sports park with baseball and soccer stadiums. It also has a new fitness center and a volleyball court. Very family friendly. Free.
- 34 Dean Porter Park, Dean Porter Park Dr. Clean park with many museums and a playhouse in a walking distance. It also includes a pavilion and a playground. Park is located next to a resaca. Free.
- 35 Lincoln Park, 2100 University Blvd, ☎ . Park right next to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Great for picnics or family events. A stone's throw from the U.S.-Mexico border. Free.
- 36 North Brownsville Park & Tennis Center (Known as the Brownsville Tennis Center), #3 Event Center, ☎ . Park right next to a canal. Beautiful trails with Victorian style lights spanning a large portion with small bridges along the way and 16 tennis courts for tournaments.
- 37 Southern Pacific Linear Park, E 6th St, ☎ . Family-friendly park next to Glady's Porter Zoo and the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts. Free.
- 38 Washington Park, E 7th St (Intersection of E 7th and Madison St), ☎ . Large park in the heart of Downtown. Perfect for strolls at night, bicycle rides and picnics. Features a fountain at the center. Free.
- 39 [dead link]Ringgold Civic Pavilion, 501 E Ringgold St Suite 5, ☎ . Pavilion great for family events and meetings. Next to a clean park, museums and a playhouse. Large: $75/hr, Small: $25/hr, Barbecue Oven: $5/hr, Patio: N/A.
- 40 Brownsville Farmers' Market, E 6th St (Located inside Linear Park), ☎ . Great place to shop for locally grown foods like fruits and vegetables.
- 41 Island Biplanes, 973 Minnesota Ave, ☎ . Tour operator providing visual tours of South Padre Island and Port Isabel by airplane.
- 42 Texas Gulf Trawling Shrimp Boil & Tour, 1430 Everglades Rd, ☎ . Relaxing boat tour around the South Padre Island and Port Isabel waters. The purpose of the tour is for shrimp enthusiasts who want to catch fresh shrimp straight off the ocean.
- Historic Downtown. Has a lot of retail shops and great local restaurants. Though much of the commercial activity has shifted northward due to the devaluation of the Mexican Peso, there is still a thriving scene as the city has taken increasing efforts to revitalize many Downtown buildings and streets.
- Pablo Kisel Blvd/Morrison Rd is the new commercial hot spot in Brownsville. Many national eateries and retailers have either moved from previous locations or have set up shop for the first time here. There are also many hotels in a short walking distance. Much of the success of both streets is owed to the proximity of the mall and the expressway.
- Boca Chica Blvd is known regionally as "Four Corners" for its wide street lanes meeting with another major artery in the city. The intersection has shaped all four sides to look like corners. With the arrival of the new SpaceX facility is less than a year, the street will be the main route to see the rockets being launched. The street experienced an economic decline years ago but has been bringing back national retailers and chain restaurants to the area.
- 1 BookBee, 2168 E Jackson St, ☎ , fax: . Local bookstore located near the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Sells school accessories such as medical and laboratory equipment.
- 2 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Bookstore, 83 Fort Brown St, ☎ . Located near the entrance from Texas Southmost College. Bookstore sells shirts, souvenirs with the university logo and has a coffee shop serving Starbucks drinks.
Brownsville's proximity to Matamoros introduced a "market" scene in Downtown. Many of the shops are local and sell a variety of items, including jewelry, dresses and shoes. Most businesses have operated in this area for several decades.
- 3 Sunrise Mall, 2370 North Expressway (Take ramp off Highway 77 near Pablo Kisel Blvd), ☎ . Popular mall featuring over 100 stores and four department stores (Dillard's, Sears, JCPenney and Bealls). The mall received a multi-million renovation in 2015 which added new tile, restroom signs, an updated light fixture and the addition of Dick's Sporting Goods. H&M opened its first location in the Rio Grande Valley at this mall. Varies.
Brownsville's local restaurant scene has seen a surge in recent times. Most of the eateries mentioned are newly constructed or have operated for a couple of years. Mexican is the most popular, as is Tex-Mex and Seafood but different options have been introduced such as Italian and Thai cuisines. This is due to the expanding diversity of the city with non-natives wanting to give natives a taste of their culture. Please note coordinate points are approximate, not exact.
- 1 Antonio's Mexican Restaurant, 840 Paredes Line Rd, ☎ . Local Mexican eatery serving spirits and provides a buffet. A local favorite. $8-14.
- 2 C&C Wings, 6550 Ruben M Torres Blvd, ☎ . Very popular local restaurant known for its buffalo chips and unique wing flavors. Has multiple TV's set up for weekend sporting events. $3-8.
- 3 Chopstix, 7102 Padre Island Hwy, ☎ . Chinese restaurant specializing in noodles and wings. $2.50-7.25.
- 4 Mariscos De La Rosa, 7738 Padre Island Hwy (Take SH550 and drive until reaching Padre Island Hwy.), ☎ . Restaurant serving cocktails, seafood, wine and beer.
- 5 The Oyster Bar, 153 Paredes Line Rd, ☎ . Long running seafood restaurant offering common seafood dishes.
- 6 Sasi's Thai Restautant, 2100 Ruben Torres Sr Blvd (In Paseo Real Shopping Center), ☎ . One of the only Thai restaurants in the city. Serves curry and other Asian meals like rice and noodles.
- 7 Taqueria Siberia, 2915 International Blvd, ☎ . Popular local eatery known for its unique tostadas. Also serves traditional Mexican meals. Has several locations around the city.
- 8 Terra's Bar & Grill, 915 E Elizabeth St, ☎ . Recently opened restaurant perfect for a date night. Features live music and is decorated with many art paintings, paying homage to the Hispanic culture.
- 9 Agave Blue Mexican Grill, 1805 E Ruben M Torres Blvd, Ste A17 (Next to the Northside Transfer Station), ☎ . Modern restaurant serving breakfast and providing live music at night. Serves margaritas and other spirits.
- 10 Cobbleheads, 3154 Central Blvd, ☎ . Popular local restaurant known for its live music. It also has an outdoor patio next to a resaca. Perfect for night dinners.
- 11 Contrappunto, 1237 E Adams St, ☎ . Elegant local bistro equipped with a bar. Live jazz music on the weekends.
- 12 Dirty Al's Seafood Market & Cajun Kitchen, 4495 N Expressway 77, ☎ . Popular bait-style restaurant serving seafood with a tropical atmosphere. Serves burgers and specializes in cajun-style meals. Originated from South Padre Island. $9-13.
- 13 Fabrizzio's, 3000 Pablo Kisel Blvd, Ste 200E (Located next to Sunrise Commons), ☎ . Brick oven baked pizzas with traditional Italian seating. Also does catering. $8-19.
- 14 Gazpacho's Restaurant, 2451 Pablo Kisel Blvd, ☎ . Elegant restaurant serving a variety of sandwiches from different Latin American and European flavors. Has a cozy atmosphere with fine dining.
- 15 Geko's Trattoria Italian, 2155 S Frontage Rd, ☎ . Local Italian eatery serving brick oven pizzas, wines, panini sandwiches and more traditional meals. Every item on the menu is written in Italian. $7-20.
- 16 Gio's Villa, 2325 Central Blvd, ☎ . Long time eatery serving Italian meals in an ambience atmosphere. $11-30.
- 17 Kaero's Restaurant, 3090 Pablo Kisel Blvd Ste A (Drive on Highway 77, take ramp leading to Pablo Kisel Blvd and drive until reaching Springmart Blvd), ☎ . Healthy eatery offering a selection of subs, sandwiches and smoothies at decent prices. It also serves crepes, soups, wraps and specializes in a "Create your Salad" option.
- 18 Khan's Grill, 2701 Ruben M Torres Sr Blvd, ☎ . Local restaurant specializing in Mongolian meals.
- 19 Kumori Sushi & Teppanyaki, 3340 Pablo Kisel Blvd #101 (In Morrison Plaza), ☎ . Local Japanese eatery serving sushi, cocktails and teppanyaki.
- 20 Pitti's Ristorante Italian Village, 1400 Palm Blvd, ☎ . Modest eatery known for its extra large pizzas. Small: $7.99, Medium: $14.99, Mega: $26.99.
- 21 The Vermillion Restaurant & Watering Hole, 115 Paredes Line Rd, ☎ . Popular local restaurant known for its Tex-Mex meals. The place has operated for more than 80 years.
- 22 Wing Barn, 3025 Boca Chica Blvd, Suite I-1, ☎ . Barn-style eatery serving burgers, wings and beer. Popular among locals. There are several locations around the city.
- 23 Campero's Bar & Grill, 2500 N. Expressway 77/83, ☎ . Elegant Mexican restaurant providing live music, bar and fine dining. $11-20.
- 24 Fiŝo Seafood Cuisine, 3101 Pablo Kisel Blvd, ☎ . Expensive seafood restaurant serving steaks, cocktails and martinis. They are known for their ambiance and creative touch in every meal.
- 25 La Pampa Argentine Steakhouse, 1655 E Ruben M Torres Sr Blvd, Suite 208, ☎ , fax: . Steakhouse serving Argentine meals and winery. Also provides big meals at expensive prices. $7-45.
- 26 Madeira Restaurant, 805 Media Luna, Suite 800, ☎ . Upscale, romantic restaurant next to a resaca. Serves Argentine meals as well as seafood.
- 27 Mi Pueblito Restaurant, 3101 Pablo Kisel Blvd,, ☎ . Mexican restaurant serving margaritas, spirits and more. Has an elegant outdoor patio set up with TV's to watch sporting events.
- 28 Toscafino Restaurant, 3001 Pablo Kisel Blvd, ☎ . Upscale wine bar with outdoor patio serving Italian dishes. Popular for a weekend hangout.
- 1 Adolios, 2370 N Expressway (inside Sunrise Mall), ☎ . Upscale local bar with an outdoor patio. Serves traditional Mexican cuisine and spirits. $7-17.
- 2 Billiard Room, 2104 Central Blvd (Take US Highway 77, then use ramp off Ruben Torres Blvd, turn left on Central Blvd and drive a little further from Rental World.), ☎ . Long-standing billiard bar perfect for a weekend hangout. Pool: $7.50/hr, $3.75/hr after 7PM.
- 3 Dog House Pub & Grill, 568 Springmart Blvd Suite 700, ☎ . Popular pub with spirit selection changing each season. Four locations, one in Brownsville, three in San Antonio. Provides live music and weekly specials. $2-6.
- 4 Highway 48 Bar & Grill, 7200 Padre Island Hwy, ☎ . Inexpensive bar with a Mexican-style atmosphere. Hosts a happy hour. $3-9.
- 5 Mynt Bar & Grill, 600 Springmart Blvd #8 (Take Highway 77, use ramp near Morrison, take a right at Pablo Kisel, then turn at Springmart. Bar is inside a plaza.), ☎ . Popular restaurant serving spirits and live music. Reservations are available. $7-10.
- 6 Public House Brownsville, 3254 Boca Chica Blvd (Get off ramp on Boca Chica Blvd, drive south along Boca Chica until reaching Tower Centre), ☎ . Bar specializing in drafts, meals and drinks. Range from $10-20.
- 7 Shenanigan's Irish Pub & Grill, 2451 Pablo Kisel Blvd, ☎ . Irish-style pub with a collection of beers. Popular for a weekend hangout.
- 8 The Bar, 1900 N Expressway (Take Highway 77, get off ramp on Ruben Torres Blvd, look for Boot Jack Plaza), ☎ . Popular barn-style bar with two floors. Very popular for billiards and music events.
- 9 The Palm Lounge, 757 E Elizabeth St (Take same route as El Hueso De Fraile), ☎ . Cozy, modern bar also acting as a lounge. Known as Historic Palm Lounge, adopting the name for being in the Historic Downtown District.
- 10 Zocalo Bar & Grill, 2353 Old Port Isabel Rd, ☎ . Upscale bar featuring Mexican recipes. Hosts live music in an outdoor patio. Range from $10-30.
- 12 Bubbly Brew TeaHouse, 3340 Pablo Kisel Blvd (In Morrison Plaza), ☎ . The only teahouse in the city. Serves bubble tea and smoothies. Popular for young locals and students.
- 13 El Hueso De Fraile, 837 E Elizabeth St #D (Take Highway 77, turn at 6th St, then make a right turn at Elizabeth.), ☎ . One of the most popular local eateries in the city. Popular with locals and tourists. Serves Latin American meals and provides soothing, live music at night. Specializes in in a variety of coffee and tea flavors.
- 14 Fina's Coffee Shop, 435 Old Port Isabel Rd (Take Boca Chica Blvd, then turn right on Old Port Isabel Rd), ☎ . Local restaurant serving Mexican dishes and coffee.
- 15 Marroko Discotek, 1655 Ruben M Torres Sr Blvd, ☎ . Popular modern nightclub with live music.
- 16 Wink's Saloon, Grill & Roping Arena, 10700 FM 1421 (Get off ramp before approaching Rice Tract Rd, turn left at Barreda Garden Rd and drive straight until reaching location), ☎ . Barn-style club with a bar, music venue and outdoor roping arena. Very popular on the weekends.
- 17 Half Moon Saloon, 1115 E Adams St (In the center of Downtown.), ☎ . Cozy nightclub with high ceilings, a bar and a projector to broadcast sporting events. Provides live music. From the exterior, the building is surrounded with multiple doors all in red.
Gay & Lesbian
- 18 Studio 69, 1260 W Price Rd, ☎ .
- 1 Americas Best Value Inn, 7364 South Padre Island Hwy, ☎ . Affordable hotel providing an outdoor pool, business center and free Wi-Fi along with free continental breakfast. $55.
- 2 Boca Chica Inn & Suites, 3280 Boca Chica Blvd, ☎ . Hotel in the heart of the city. Provides mini-fridges in each room along with an outdoor pool and free parking. $50.
- 3 Magnuson Hotel, 715 North Expressway, ☎ . Modest hotel offering Wi-Fi, parking and meeting rooms. $59-63.
- 4 Motel 6, 2255 North Expressway, ☎ , fax: . Cheap hotel with an outdoor pool, free parking and coffee. $45.
- 5 Texas Inn Brownsville, 7051 S Padre Island Hwy, 845 North Expressway 77, ☎ . , Simple hotel providing free continental breakfast and an outdoor pool. Two locations in the city. $58-61.
- 6 Value Place, 995 Media Luna Rd, ☎ . Studio rooms with kitchens and a 24 hour coin-operated laundry room. $60.
- 7 Comfort Suites, 651 Sunrise Blvd, ☎ , fax: . 2-star hotel with an outdoor pool, gym and free breakfast. $89.
- 8 Courtyard Brownsville, 3955 North Expressway 77/83, ☎ , fax: . 3-star hotel providing contemporary rooms, an outdoor pool, a business center and a free local shuttle. $116.
- 9 Hampton Inn & Suites, 3000 N Expressway, ☎ . 2-star traditional hotel with an outdoor pool, free parking, Wi-Fi and breakfast. $84-93.
- 10 Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 1985 North Expressway 83, ☎ . 2-star hotel offers relaxed lodging, an outdoor pool, a gym and free Wi-Fi plus parking. $80-86.
- 11 Homewood Suites by Hilton, 3759 N Expressway, ☎ , fax: . 3-star hotel with extended-stay, a pool, a fitness center and free grocery shopping service. $98.
- 12 La Quinta Inn & Suites, 5051 North Expressway, ☎ . 3-star hotel providing straightforward lodging, an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi. $99.
- 13 Residence Inn Brownsville, 3975 N Expressway 83, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . 3-star hotel with modern atmosphere. Provides fully-equipped kitchens with free Wi-Fi. $159-174.
- 14 Rancho Viejo Resort & Country Club, 1 Rancho Viejo Dr (in Brownsville City Limits), ☎ , toll-free: . Golf course resort with suites. Also includes a bar, fitness center, tennis course, rounds of golf and a pool. $139.
- 15 Staybridge Suites, 2900 Pablo Kisel Blvd, ☎ . 4-star hotel provides outdoor pool and a gym. Free breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi. $89-91.
Despite Brownsville's reputation as a border town, the city is relatively safe. According to an FBI report conducted in early 2015, the Brownsville-Harlingen metropolitan area ranked last in a list of most dangerous cities. This makes Brownsville the safest metro area in Texas.
As long as you stay in the more commercial side of town and take precautions you will be safe. It is advised not to travel to Downtown around midnight. Most of the area is quiet and lonely around this time, raising the chances of theft or robberies. You should also lock your car when shopping, especially at night. While the city rarely experiences any major crimes, petty crimes like attempted robbery or vandalism are quite common.
If you are a victim of a crime or see one, please report it by calling the Brownsville Police Department at +1 956 548-7000 or simply at 911. Their main building is located at 600 E Jackson St.
It is important to understand how close Brownsville is to Mexico. When making a call or simply walking or driving around Downtown Brownsville or near the international bridges, expect your phone to change cell provider. Several Mexican cellphone providers that end up appearing in American phones include Telcel and Movistar. Locals have observed their phone changing cell phone provider throughout many parts of the city. If this happens to you, do not panic. It is very common for this to occur. A change in cell provider does not indicate Roaming is activated and it will not lead to overcharges in your account. This goes for any cell phone provider that operates in the United States.
Several hotels listed here provide free Wi-Fi service, as do many local and chain restaurants.
- Mexico, 724 E Elizabeth & 7th Sts, ☎ , fax: .
Brownsville has two public libraries, including a main library and a branch library.
- Main Branch - Located at 2600 Central Blvd. Large array of books to purchase and check-out. Also has a coffee shop, modern computer atmosphere and a study room.
- Southmost Branch - Located at 4320 Southmost Blvd. Good for studying. Provides a computer room, movie theatre, planetarium and a small coffee shop.
- 1 The Carriage House Day Spa, 319 E Elizabeth St, ☎ . Elegant spa center in the heart of Downtown. Provides an array of other services such as tanning, wraps and manicures/pedicures. $10-60, Packages: $140-260.
- 2 Serenity Springs Day Spa, 23 Palm Village (Located in Palm Village Shopping Center), ☎ .
- 3 Spa La Posada, 2370 North Expressway, Suite 1056 (Inside Merle Norman in Sunrise Mall.), ☎ . Spa with bridal, boutique, waxing, nails and other services. Packages: $55-325.
- 4 Massage Envy, 2100 Ruben M Torres Sr Blvd #2070, ☎ . Though the business has several locations in other cities, it provides great message sessions. Intro 1/hr Spa Session: $49.99, Intro 1/hr Healthy Skin Facial: $59.99.
- South Padre Island is a short 20 minute drive east of Brownsville and is home to Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark, beautiful coastlines for end to end, local restaurants, bars, condominiums/hotels, boat rides, bird watching, and concerts.
- Matamoros, Mexico, Brownsville's border town, can be easily accessible by foot or car by crossing one of three bridges and offers a nightlife for many young tourists. Also has a popular market scene and historic buildings.
- Monterrey, Mexico is a four hour drive west of Brownsville near the Cerro de la Silla mountains and home to many museums, art galleries, sport stadiums and lots of historical architecture.
- Port Isabel is directly across South Padre Island. Offers a quiet scene, nice local restaurants, fishing, boating/sailing charters, piers, museums, dolphin watch and the Port Isabel Lighthouse.
|Routes through Brownsville|
|Corpus Christi/Laredo ← Harlingen ←||N S||→ → becomes → Matamoros|
|San Antonio ← McAllen ←||W E||→ END|
|END ←||W E||→ Port Isabel → South Padre Island via|