College Station, Texas, is home to the Texas A&M University (Go Aggies!). College Station is just a few hours away from Austin, Dallas, and Houston making it a perfect getaway destination for a couple of days.
Whether you are a parent visiting your Aggie student or just looking to stay for a day or two, College Station has a lot to offer. Here a few things to see and do in College Station, more than just a college town.
Museum of the American GI
What do you do when you have a passion for collecting rare old military equipment and vehicles? Well, when you run out of room, you start a museum. That is precisely what Brent and Leisha Mullins did. The Museum of the American GI has a wide variety of vehicles and displays, with many from WWI, including a rare FT Renault French Tank.
Except for a helicopter and Vietnam-era patrol boat, all of the vehicles are in working order. The Museum of the American GI also has a display of dog tags indicating all of the killed and MIA from Texas during the Vietnam war. It holds special events throughout the year where the vehicles are taken out for display. You can even ride in one of the tanks.
Veterans Park is a multipurpose athletic complex with softball and athletic fields, but it also has a 12-acre memorial site dedicated to first responders and the military. The memorial site is an easy walking path with bronze statues and info boards that honor the military and first responders. There are displays along the route giving information about every major conflict in American history and the military’s contribution to those engagements.
Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Museum
Located on the campus of Texas A&M University is the Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Museum. Named after Dr. Sam Houston Sanders, a major benefactor and class of 1922 alumni who was on the 1922 Aggie football team, the museum tells the history of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and their contributions. It also has displays of the 7 US Congressional Medal of Honor recipients that were Texas Aggies.
Bush Presidential Library
The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum tells the story of George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States. There are many displays, some permanent and some rotating, that tell about the President’s time in WW2. They also depict Bush’s work as Liaison to China under President Ford, his time as Director of the CIA, the Vice Presidency, and his Presidency. One of Director Warren Finch’s favorite exhibits is the letter he typed to his children on the eve of the Gulf War.
Where to Eat in College Station
If you are an Aggie Alumni, then you know about the establishments around North Gate. College Station has grown since all that was available were the bars and restaurants where freshmen got their drink on and fast food places that catered to late-night cravings.
Today there is a movement of bringing locally-owned restaurants that serve some delicious food, and a few of the older ones that then check have stood the test of time.
Stella Southern Cafe
If you are looking for something other than a drive-through breakfast in a bag, check out Stella Southern Cafe. Open for breakfast and brunch, they are one of the most popular places for locals. Michael Lair, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, brings his twist on breakfast with such items as Biscuit French toast topped with wild blueberry compote, fresh whipped cream and organic maple syrup and High on the Hog a Buttermilk biscuit topped with pulled pork, jalapeño pimento cheese, and fried onion strings.
The Brunch specials are equally as good with Shrimp and Grits, burgers, and Biscuit Pot Pie.
1775 Texas Pit BBQ
Located about 4 miles west of the airport on FM 60 is 1775 Texas Pit BBQ. A family affair run by the Doan family where Brad smokes up the goods, father Mark greets the guests and makes sure they have a good time, mom Belinda takes the orders and makes the desserts, and brother Brandon lends a hand at times. This is Texas, and Texas BBQ is king.
Where Texas Monthly has its yearly ranking of the top 50 BBQ places in the State, 1775 BBQ made the list in 2019, so you know it is legit. Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm, best to arrive early as it sells out fast.
Owner Pete Madden elevates the taco to new heights at Mad Taco. Using tamale bread to make the tacos, he then adds only the freshest ingredients while braising and grilling whole meat cuts for the tacos. Mad Taco’s menu has such creations as chili pork tacos, chili-rubbed chicken, the Cubano, jerk chicken, and fried shrimp. They also serve up a great selection of margaritas.
Gate 12 Bar & Grill
As someone who flies a lot, it is hard to get me excited about a restaurant at an airport. Gate 12 is a little different though. First, the airport is Easterwood, a regional airport serving College Station, not a major International airport. Second, the restaurant is popular with people working at the airport and locals who know a good thing.
Combine great food with sitting next to the tarmac watching the planes take off, the restaurant bills itself as elegant casual dining. Gate 12 is a relatively new establishment that is getting a lot of attention with tasty steaks, appetizers, burgers, seafood, and chicken dishes.
Koppe Bridge Bar and Grill
Koppe Bridge Bar and Grill has been serving up Aggies and locals for over 25 years. Sometimes you just want a good burger or chicken fried steak sandwich. You don’t stay in business as long as these folks unless the food and service are good. Just plain good food served in a family-friendly atmosphere is what you’ll get at the two Koppe Bridge Bar and Grill locations; the original on Wellborn Road (with a 3,000-sq-ft beer garden) and Harvey Rd.
With an open view kitchen, upstairs veranda, private dining room, and great wine selection, Urban Table is one of the restaurants in Chef Tai Lee’s portfolio. Urban Table offers steaks, pasta, Wagyu burgers, and other great dishes, and the full bar has a variety of beers, wines, and spirits. Sunday through Thursday has a happy hour with discounted drinks and appetizers. It is a great place for lunch or dinner and has quickly become a College Station favorite.
Things Sure Have Changed
College Station has come a long way from years past when there wasn’t much to see or do, and the food scene was limited, to say the least.
Whether you are in town visiting your Aggie student or want a place to get away for a day or two from Houston, Dallas, or Austin, College Station has a lot to offer.
Article written by Destination Expert Bob Bales of The Traveling Fool
Bob was hosted by the tourism board on this familiarization trip.
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