Burton Cotton Gin Festival

Did you know that the oldest operating cotton gin in the United States is located in Burton, Texas?

Every year, this historical treasure is celebrated at the Burton Cotton Gin Festival. A day filled with FREE fun for the whole family kicks off with a parade followed by a classic car & tractor pulling contest, demonstrations, live music, shopping, family activities & contests, and all the food and refreshments you would expect from a small town of German heritage!

Experience the sights and sounds of the old cotton gin in action as festival goers witness the baling process. And don’t miss out on a tour of the Texas Cotton Gin Museum, where you can learn about the foundation of the gin and the story of how it was saved from becoming the site of a convenience store.

 

Burton Cotton Gin Festival – Burton, Texas

April 20, 2024 |  10:00am – 6:00pm

Free Admission
10:00am – Parade
11:00am-Noon  – Annie Rost & Mike Stroup
11:00-2:00 – Tours of Burton Farmers Gin
12:00-2:30pm – Sean Orr & Texas Gold
12:30-1:30pm – Two-Step Dance Lessons with with Hill Country Two Step
2:30-4:00pm – Das ist Lustig
3:00pm – Cotton Gin Produces a Bale
4:00-6:00pm – The Czechaholics

Demonstrations throughout the day

Visit the Texas Cotton Gin Museum for more information.

Brenham’s Perfect Picnic Places

The weather is just right to enjoy a breeze and beautiful blooms around Brenham. In addition to taking in the scenic views, this is the perfect time to  grab a big blanket, your favorite lunch and head to one of these Washington County picnic spots. 

Old Baylor Park


Located in Independence, Texas, this historic site of Baylor University’s original female campus offers beauty and a breeze year round. Sit beneath the massive live oak trees at one of the picnic tables or on your favorite blanket as you take in a piece of Texas history. 

Old Baylor Park at Windmill Hill

On the east side of FM 50 in Independence (next to the Antique Rose Emporium), a reconstructed bell tower marks the archeological ruins of the Baylor campus for males. 

Hohlt Park

One of the prettiest public parks in the state, Hohlt Park offers 80 acres of shaded trails, playgrounds, fields, and plenty of places to spread out for a picnic. If you forgot a blanket, you’ll find picnic tables and covered pavilions for an easy option. 

 

Fireman’s Park

Historic Fireman’s Park is home to an antique carousel (open weekends, March through October), shaded playgrounds, and a large pavilion with tables. This beautifully landscaped park in the heart of Brenham also has a kitchen available to rent if your picnic is for a large group.

 

Jackson Street

Find a walking trail, playground, pickleball courts, basketball courts, and plenty of shaded picnic tables and a pavilion/kitchen at Jackson Street Park.

 

Antique Rose Emporium

This 8-acre retail garden in Independence features antique roses, native plants, perennials, herbs, water gardens, and wildflowers. With inspiration at every turn, take time to stroll the beautiful grounds before or after your picnic. 

Washington-on-the-Brazos

Picturesque Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site is located on the Brazos River. Expansive park grounds provide a beautiful setting to picnic, sightsee, and bird-watch. The Star of the Republic Museum, Independence Hall, and Barrington Plantation offer visitors a unique insight into the lives and times of the men who fought and won Texas’ independence from Mexico.

290 Rest Stop

Between Burton and Brenham on HWY 290 is one of Texas’ most scenic rest stops. A shallow seasonal creek with a rock bed runs alongside the rest stop’s picnic tables. This beautiful spot is a local favorite for portraits at any time of year. 

Toubin Park

Nestled between two Downtown Brenham buildings is Toubin Park, which offers a slice of Brenham’s historical infrastructure and architecture. Self-guided tours through this historic Downtown Brenham pocket park can be enjoyed any time of the day. Park benches are available for a light picnic or snack between meals. 

Henderson Park

Henderson Park is located just blocks away from Downtown Brenham across the street from Fireman’s Park. This 22 acre Park features a splash pad and is a part of a 2-mile Hike n’ Bike Trail. The kitchen, as well as the fields at Henderson Park, can be rented for parties, events, and tournaments.

Rose Park (Across from City Hall) 

Just steps from the Visitor Center in Downtown Brenham is a small rose park, complete with inviting animal-shaped topiaries and a table for a picnic. 

Pre-Packaged Lunches

Brenham & Washington County have so many wonderful restaurants where you can get food to go. Check out the full list of restaurants here!

 

Wildflower Etiquette

Wildflower Etiquette

The beauty of the wildflowers in Washington County is worth the trip!  Here are some tips to keep visitors safe and minimize the impact of so many travelers on the colorful fields:

-Respect private property. There are plenty of public places to take pictures.
-Do not cross fences (see above). Take the photo from the road side of the fence.
-Follow the trail left by those before you.
-Sit among the flowers in the places that have already been used as a seat.
-Try to step between the bluebonnets if there is no trail.
-Don’t pick the bluebonnets. We need them to go to seed for future wildflower seasons!
-Be alert—fire ants, snakes, and poison ivy are all likely to thrive in the same places as the bluebonnets.
-Use caution on roadsides. If there is not an adequate shoulder, continue to a safe place.
-Please don’t leave trash behind; if you find any, pay it forward by taking it with you when you leave.

Common sense and common courtesy are key to an enjoyable wildflower season for all. Thank you for visiting Brenham/Washington County! We look forward to sharing our bluebonnets for many generations to come.

Old Baylor Park in Independence is a public place to take bluebonnet photos. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange
Old Baylor Park in Independence is a public place to enjoy the wildflowers. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange

Plan your spring trip!

Spring Happenings Around Brenham

Spring in Washington County is a magical time! It’s not too hot, not too cold, and the colorful show that the Texas wildflowers faithfully display each year is worthy of the hype. But bluebonnets aren’t all that’s happening around Brenham in the spring! Here are NINE annual events in Washington County that you can use to plan your next visit–plus a few of the most popular things you can do every week in the spring.  Make it a long weekend and enjoy all the live music, dining and shopping that the area has to offer.

Texas Independence Day Celebration

Texas Independence Day Celebration will look a different this year due to the extensive renovation projects happening at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Instead of the traditional celebration with vendors, performances and large-scale living history demonstrations, the celebration will begin on Independence Eve, with a concert on Friday night (March 1) and a few activities on Saturday, including a chili cook-off, ceremonies, and a gun salute. It will be a different Texas Independence Day than in the past, but once the renovation is complete in 2025, the traditional celebration will resume.

📍 23400 Park Road 12, Washington, Texas 77880
⏱️ Friday & Saturday, March 1-2

Texas Ranger Day, March 9

The 13th annual Texas Ranger Day at the historic Burton Railroad Depot is a day of family fun! Festivities include: Demonstrations by the Old West Rangers and the Legends of the Texas Rangers, folklife demonstrations including blacksmithing and chuckwagon cooking; kids activities; tours of the historic Railroad Depot; Burton Farmers Cotton Gin Tours (10am & 2pm); and live music.

📍 Burton Railroad Depot, 507 N Railroad Street, Burton Texas
⏱️ Saturday, March 9, 2024, noon to 5pm

Antique Rose Emporium Spring Celebration Weekend

The Antique Rose Emporium is gorgeous year round, but there is no time like spring, of course! The Spring Celebration Weekend includes an Artisan & Vintage Market, food trucks, and more blooms than you can imagine!

📍10000 FM 50, Brenham, Texas 77833-6453
⏱️ Saturday-Sunday, March 9-10, 2024

Antique Festivals

The Round Top Antique shows are just down the road, and some are even in Washington County! The La Bahia Antique Show is March 22-30. Burton is home to other antique events like Antiques at The Pavilions, as well as seasonal venues including Bayberry’s Antiques. Year round vintage & antique shopping includes The Nesting Company and Flown the Coop, both in Burton, and Leftovers Antiques‘ year round location between Brenham and Burton.

⏱️ March 16-30, 2024

Texas Historic Homes Tours in Independence

Located adjacent to Old Baylor Park in Independence, the Texas Historic Homes are open for tours on select weekends during the spring season. Observe the Texas Pioneer life at these historic homes and schoolhouse. Perfect for anyone who enjoys Texas history!

📍 Independence, Texas
⏱️ Saturdays, March 23 & 30, 2024; 10:00am-4:00pm

Texas Bluebonnet Festival in Chappell Hill

The Chappell Hill Historical Society will once again be hosting the Official State of Texas Bluebonnet Festival, April 13-14, 2024, in downtown historic Chappell Hill, Texas. Initially a small town antique festival has blossomed over the years and celebrates the official state flower, the bluebonnet. The Festival boasts more than 250 juried exhibitors (home décor, gardening, artists, craftsmen, jewelry, clothing, etc.), delicious country-style food, live entertainment and music, and tours of the historic community.

📍 Chappell Hill, Texas
⏱️ Saturday April 13, 2024; 9:00am-6:00pm
⏱️ Sunday April 14, 2024; 10:00am-5:00pm
Free admission, parking $10

Burton Cotton Gin Festival

Head to Burton, home of the 1914 Burton Farmers Gin, and celebrate the 35th Annual Burton Cotton Gin Festival! This is a FREE, family friendly event featuring a day full of fun and history. The day begins with a parade through Burton, and continues at the grounds of the Texas Cotton Gin Museum. Shop and eat in the Arts & Crafts Vendor Area, & Food Court. Watch Folklife skills demonstrations, such as Blacksmithing and butter churning, and spoon carving.

📍 Burton, Texas
⏱️ April 20, 2024, 10:00am – 6:00pm

Brenham Maifest

Children in traditional Bavarian clothing dancing around the Maypole in Fireman's Park at Maifest

A very colorful scene unfolds the first weekend in May with Maifest, a celebration highlighting Brenham’s German heritage. Brenham Maifest includes a parade and Junior & Senior Coronations and features authentic German food, music and drink, and carnival rides at historic Fireman’s Park.

📍 Parade: Downtown Brenham, Texas;
⏱️ Saturday, May 4, 2024, 10:30am
📍 Other Festivities: Fireman’s Park
⏱️ May 3-4, 2024

Chappell Hill Art Walk

📍 Chappell Hill, Texas
⏱️ Saturday May 25, 2024

Weekly Happenings

Some of our favorite spring happenings are so good, we have to share them every week! Antique carousel rides ($1 each), free entry to the Brenham Fire Museum (open Saturdays and the entire week of Spring Break), and the live demonstrations every weekend at Barrington Plantation, which is located within Washington-on-the-Brazos historical site are a few. And you can’t miss Blue Bell, of course! The Parlor and Country Store are open weekdays, serving $1 scoops with a smile.

In addition to these spring happenings around Brenham, we have many daily events that include live music, theatre, and retail specials. See our full calendar of events here. Spring is the busiest season to visit the area, so make reservations with your favorite lodging partner soon!

Sweet Treats Around Brenham

When you’re craving something sweet, Brenham is the perfect place to treat yourself. Everyone knows about Blue Bell, of course, but Brenham/Washington County is also rich with bakeries, cafes, and candy shops that have a variety of confections to satisfy your sweet tooth. So go ahead and start with dessert at one of these decadent destinations.

Handmade Confections

Thomas Craft Confections

Thomas Craft Confections, Brenham

Family owned and operated, Thomas Craft Confections makes everything from scratch –  toffee, chocolate truffles, and CUPCAKES are the shop’s best sellers. Look for specialty pastries every Saturday morning, but get there early before they sell out!

Yumm! Sweets & Eats

Yumm Sweets
Yumm! Sweets & Eats, Downtown Brenham

In Downtown Brenham, the sweet side of Yumm! Sweets & Eats presents Italian gelato, Blue Bell ice cream, hand crafted confections, old fashioned candy store, coffee, Wi-Fi, waffles, crepes and other delicious sweets. Next door, Yumm! Eats features pizza, wraps, salads, sandwiches, and more.

Jet Set Chocolates

Jet Set Chocolates in Brenham, Texas
Jet Set Chocolates Downtown Brenham

Jet Set Chocolates are handcrafted luxury chocolates for any and every occasion. They are now open in Downtown Brenham, so stop by for a rich treat in between shopping and strolling!

Pastries, Pies & Desserts

To Pieces Bake Shop

To Pieces Bakeshop, Downtown Brenham

Located inside the Grand Leader building with sister companies Ballad of the Bird Dog and Mescalito Coffee, To Pieces Bake Shop serves unique pastries in an inviting setting on the courthouse square. With tables to dine inside, on the front porch, or on the back balcony, you can enjoy the Downtown Brenham views or stay cozy inside.

The Tilted Windmill Cafe

The Tilted Windmill Cafe
The Tilted Windmill Cafe, Downtown Brenham

The Tilted Windmill Cafe is an eclectic cafe in Brenham’s historic downtown serving great coffees, teas, and pastries. Dine on the patio or inside at the antique bar. Great service and evolving menu make this an easy favorite.

Wired & Inspired

Wired & Inspired Coffee Bar, Downtown Brenham
Wired & Inspired Coffee Bar, Downtown Brenham

Located inside The Pomegranate gift shop in Downtown Brenham, Wired & Inspired Coffee Bar features a changing menu of pastries and treats along with all sorts of delicious drinks, including iced or hot teas, various espresso drinks and smoothies.

Must Be Heaven

Must Be Heaven restaurant in Downtown Brenham
Must Be Heaven, Downtown Brenham

Must Be Heaven serves famous homemade pies along with sandwiches, quiche, and salads to groups of all sizes in a charming historic downtown building. The antique ice cream parlor is a favorite for hand-dipped Blue Bell ice cream.

Bevers

Bevers, Chappell Hill

Enjoy old-fashioned homemade pies, home cooking, and a friendly atmosphere in the heart of historic Chappell Hill.

Weikel’s Bakery

Weikel’s Bakery prides itself in making authentic Czech pastries from scratch. Weikel’s features a full-scale baking operation, indoor seating for 16, and an extensive assortment of kolaches, klobasniky, sweet rolls, pies, bread, muffins, cookies and cakes.

Blue Willow Cafe

Blue Willow Cafe, Burton

Blue Willow Cafe in Burton is known for their delicious breakfast and brunch. Eat something sweet while you’re in Burton, and buy extra pastries to take on the road!

The Charcuterie Shop

The Charcuterie Shop, Downtown Brenham

Brenham Boards now has a Downtown Brenham location on the corner of Park & Alamo called The Charcuterie Shop! Stop in and pick up something sweet to look at and even better to eat!

Wild flour Bakeshop

Wild Flour Bakeshop features beautiful custom cakes and desserts, but they also have plenty of treats to pick up on the go!

CHAPPELL HILL BAKERY & DELI

Chappell Hill Deli & Bakery is a great family stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Their pastries and desserts are just as tempting as their delicious BBQ. They can accommodate groups, and you’ll definitely want to take something sweet for the road!

 

Uptown Swirl in Downtown Brenham

strolling in historic Downtown Brenham

Start the year in Downtown Brenham at the Uptown Swirl! Bring your friends and stroll through the charming historic downtown district to sample delicious wines at the shops and businesses.

The fun happens on Saturday, January 13, 2024, from 3 to 7 pm in Downtown Brenham.
 
Tickets are $35 in stores until December 31st. After January 1st, they are $40 in stores and $45 online.

Uptown Swirl Downtown Brenham

uptown swirl in downtown brenham

shopping at Uptown Swirl in Downtown Brenham

Just sip, stroll, & shop!

Participating Merchants:

* Tickets can be purchased at these participating locations (links open a Google Map location of the business):

Destination Shopping Around Brenham

Visit Brenham during the holidays or any time of year to experience incredible destination shopping experiences! Every one of these unique stores are worth the drive for a day trip, but make it a long weekend to shop them all while enjoying more of Brenham and the surrounding communities.

Leftovers Antiques

Leftovers Antiques is a bucket list destination for fine European antiques, but there is something for everyone in the ever-changing 10,000-sq.-ft. showroom. Antiques, bedding, mercantile, books, clothing, jewelry… Savvy shoppers are in for an awe-inspiring experience.

Antique Rose Emporium

This 8-acre retail garden features antique roses, native plants, perennials, herbs and wildflowers. Beautiful gardens to stroll and a nice little gift shop to accessorize your garden. Groups are welcome for tours. The Antique Rose Emporium is also a prime location to hold a wedding and/or reception.

Hermann Furniture

Operating in since 1876, Hermann Furniture is the oldest family owned Furniture Store in Texas. From the moment you walk through the door, you know that Hermann’s is unique. Offering inspiration and accessories that go way beyond furniture, you’ll want to take your time to explore this expansive two-story shop in Downtown Brenham.

Blue Bell Creamery and Country Store

Blue Bell Creameries classic black delivery truck in front of blue bell's tourism center.

Come visit the “little creamery” in Brenham and learn all about how Texas’ favorite sweet treat is made! Visitors have the opportunity to browse Blue Bell‘s pictures, videos and history of the “best ice cream in the country.” No visit to Blue Bell is complete without a generous scoop of ice cream from the Parlor and a trip to the Country Store for a unique gift or souvenir.

South Texas Tack

Whether you’re a real cowgirl/cowboy or just want to look the part, South Texas Tack has what you need. From feed to fashion, the 65,000-square-foot store includes a coffee and wine bar with lounge area, a hat bar, an expansive selection of boots, jeans & Western apparel, a section for ropers to test ropes, and a home décor section.

Ballad of the Bird Dog

Ballad of the Bird Dog is a modern, design-forward general goods store with high-quality, small batch products in historic Downtown Brenham. Ballad of the Bird Dog has a passion for supporting and reinvigorating American-made, handcrafted products. If you are looking for an independent shop with unique and hard-to-find goods in a historic downtown setting–that happens to share space with sister businesses that include a coffee shop and bakery, it doesn’t get any better.

Puppy Dawgs & Cat Tails

Woman holding dog and shopping bag inside of Puppy Dawgs & Cat Tails

What started as a pet supply store grew into one of Downtown Brenham’s premier shops. Housed in an old iron works factory, Puppy Dawgs & Cat Tails offers high-end leather goods, apparel, art, home goods, and pet supplies, of course!

Tres Chic Boutique

Tres Chic is a fun fashion destination for all to enjoy in Downtown Brenham. This Boutique fits the fashion savvy shopper that loves specialty clothing, footwear, Jewelry and accessories. Tres Chic carries Kendra Scott, Consuela, Johnny Was, Tribal, and other fashion favorites. Coffee and espresso lovers can enjoy their full service coffee bar while  shopping the latest in clothing and accessories.

Downtown Brenham

Downtown Brenham has all of the small town historic charm of a Hallmark movie set, complete with an incredible selection of locally owned boutiques. Connected by side streets and manicured alley ways, Downtown Brenham is easy to walk. After shopping, stay for the dining, drinks and live music.

Chappell Hill

Historic Chappell Hill is one of the most charming places to visit in Texas. The shops on Chappell Hill’s Main Street include antiques, clothing, interior decor, general store, and even a garden center. The shops in Chappell Hill are a must stop when you visit Washington County.

(pictured above: Cotton Pickin’s Boutique & Market; below: DLS Interiors)

 

 

Holiday Happenings

The Holidays are officially here! This magical time of year is the perfect time to visit Washington County. Here are a few of the things to do throughout the holiday season in Brenham and Washington County.

Downtown Brenham’s Cocoa Crawl – Nov. 25

Shop small in beautiful Downtown Brenham on Friday, Nov. 25. Taste variations of hot cocoa concoctions while you shop at your favorite boutiques!

The Downtown Brenham Christmas Stroll & Lighted Parade – Dec. 2-3


Downtown Brenham looks like a holiday movie set with the holiday magic of the annual Christmas Stroll. The lighted parade on Saturday, Dec. 3 is the highlight of the festivities, but the weekend also includes the First Friday Farmer & Artisan Market, Breakfast with Santa at Must Be Heaven, Jingle Bell Market at Ant Street Inn, rides on the 1950 Invader Firetruck following the parade, and more. For a complete schedule of the weekend festivities, click here.

A Taste of Christmas

Join the Downtown Brenham businesses on Saturday, December 9, for a tasty stroll! Stores will be offering drinks and treats to enjoy while you shop.

 

Photos with Santa

Several retailers offer portrait sessions with Santa. Appointments with Brenham Portrait Gallery are offered on several days each week at Hermann Furniture throughout November and December. Other businesses including Blue Bell, Puppy Dawgs and Cat Tails, Silverwings Ballroom, and South Texas Tack also offer Santa photo ops on select dates.

 

Christmas Events at The Barnhill Center

The Barnhill Center is hosting two Christmas movie nights this year, each with the option of pre-movie activities for the family. The Polar Express plays Friday, Dec. 1; and Elf will be shown on Friday, Dec. 8.  Catch Dailey & Vincent: All I Want for Christmas is Y’all on Saturday, December 16. Purchase tickets and find details here.

 

Unity Theatre “The Game’s Afoot” a Comedy by Ken Ludwig

It is December, 1936, and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is killed, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. It is then up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Sherlock Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering whodunit set during the Christmas holidays.

 November 30 – December 17. Tickets available online or by phone, 979-830-8358.

Live Nativities

Celebrate the reason for the season with one of the area’s live nativities. The Greatest Gift Live Nativity by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is December 1-2, 6:00-9:00 pm, at 1400 Niebuhr Street, Brenham. The following weekend is Bethlehem in Independence, December 9-10, 6:00-8:00 pm, at the Independence School House, 9325 FM 390 E. There will also be a live nativity scene at The Christmas Experience at Milk & Honey Ranch, Sunday, November 17, 5:30-8:30. See details below.

The Christmas Experience at Milk & Honey Ranch

Join the fun on Sunday, December 17, 5:30-8:30pm at Milk & Honey Ranch with a Christmas market, hay rides, live nativity scene, bounce house, caroling and more fun for the entire family. Admission is free. RSVP here.

Christmas in Chappell Hill

Saturday, December 9, is the perfect day to visit Chappell Hill. Festivities begin with the Christmas Home Tour by the Bluebonnet Garden Club. Check back soon for more from Chappell Hill.

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site

Celebrate Texas history and Christmas at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site for a “Candlelight Christmas,” December 8-9, 6:00-8:30 pm. Walk the candlelit paths at Barrington Plantation and experience a Texas Christmas in the decade before the Civil War. Discover the origins of some favorite Holiday traditions as costumed interpreters bring to life the festivities of the season with musket-fire, music, dancing and more. Tour the historic home of the last President of the Republic, Dr. Anson Jones, as the family enjoys their Christmas gathering. Visit the plantation quarters to hear how those enslaved at Barrington celebrated the season. Sip a hot cup of cider, cozy up to the fire and begin your holiday season with Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site!
On December 16, return to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site for “Dickens-on-the-Brazos” Yuletide Celebrations in the Republic of Texas.

Christmas in Burton

Burton’s Christmas Market on Saturday, December 9, 12:00-400 pm, at The Texas Cotton Gin Museum, has something for everyone in the family. Enjoy shopping, kids’ crafts, Photos with Santa, and Christmas caroling.
Be sure to check our event calendar for a complete list of everything happening in Washington County!

Texas Arts and Music Festival

The eighth annual Texas Arts & Music Festival in historic Downtown Brenham is just around the corner! Join us October 21-22, 2023, for a family-friendly weekend of art, music, street food, and activities in the streets of Downtown Brenham.

Each year the Texas Arts & Music Festival brings live music and world-renowned mural artists for live art installations for the public to enjoy.

Texas Arts and Music Festival will feature live music throughout the day on Saturday, October 21 with Nite Moves Band opening the main stage at 4:30pm. Headlining Saturday night at 7pm will be Reverend Horton Heat, the undisputed heavyweight champion and godfather of Psychobilly music. This band has reinterpreted the country-blues-rock roots of America to produce a toe-tapping, mind-blowing, psychobilly sound that is unforgettable to any and every one that has been fortunate enough to hear it.  The concert, along with the festival, are family-friendly and FREE to the public. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy live music and delicious food and refreshments from local restaurants and food trucks.

 

The Art Village will be open on Saturday, 10am-8pm and Sunday, 11am-2pm. Artists and Craftsmen from across Texas will be set up offering their unique handmade creations to the public.

Sam Houston Mural

The Texas Arts & Music Festival is the perfect weekend to enjoy all that historic Downtown Brenham has to offer! Check out our lodging partners, and plan your weekend now.

For more information, visit the TAMF website.

Photography by Natalie Lacy Lange

10 Fall Happenings Around Brenham

The days are getting shorter and the promise of lower temperatures means that it’s time for fall! The Fall happenings in Brenham and around all of Washington County make it a favorite time of year to visit.

Mark your calendar and reserve your rooms for these TEN fabulous fall happenings around Brenham!

1 . Oktoberfest at Home Sweet Farm Biergarten

SEPT 29-30  It’s time for Oktoberfest at HSF Biergarten in Downtown Brenham, September 29-30.  The tap wall will be filled with several fine imported German beers. Come raise a glass, chug a boot, and enjoy some live music by Beau Hinze & The Back Porch Shufflers and Sparky Parker. Prost, Ya’ll!

2 . Scarecrow Festival in Chappell Hill

OCT 14-15  Visit one of the most charming communities in Texas for the Scarecrow Festival.  The festival boasts more than 250 exhibitors (home décor, gardening, artists, craftsmen, jewelry, clothing, etc.), delicious country-style food, live music, and tours of the National Register Chappell Hill community. A special Children’s Activity Corner provides pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, barrel train, and more.

3 . Hocus Pocus Party

OCT 19   Join a bewitching blend of nostalgia and fun hosted by Glamfetti at Westwood Cinema 6. Tickets include movie, popcorn, glass of bubbly (non-alcoholic is available), themed photo opps, and more!

4 . Antique Shows

OCT 14-28   Round Top is just down the road, and there are several fabulous fall antique shows and year-round venues in Washington County. The LaBahia Antique Show (Oct. 20-28) between Burton and Round Top is celebrating over 30 years of incredible treasures. Antiques at the Pavilions will offer a variety of dealers at the pavilions of the Texas Cotton Gin Museum, Oct. 19-25. Look for all the antique dealers in Burton, as well as the world renowned Leftovers Antiques, open year-round between Brenham and Burton on HWY 290 W.

5 . Wine & Wander in Burton

OCT 20   Head to Burton for “Wine & Wander” October 20, at the Texas Cotton Gin Museum. Enjoy shopping and heavy appetizers catered by Blue Willow Cafe. Sip local wines from Busted Oak Cellars and meads from Rohan Meadery, and listen to the soulful music of Samuel Paul Brown.

6 . Texas Arts & Music Festival

OCT 21-22    The Texas Arts & Music Festival is the source of Downtown Brenham’s beautiful murals! This free, family-friendly event takes place in Downtown Brenham October 21-22, and includes live music, live mural installation, an art village, pop-up galleries, and much more. Music headliner for Saturday night will be Reverend Horton Heat!

7 . Mask-erade on Main

OCT 28     Join us for a spooktacular free family-friendly event in Historic Downtown Brenham, Saturday, Oct. 28. Grab the kids and costumes and head downtown for Trick-or-Treating at your favorite Main Street Brenham businesses! There will be plenty of family fun to sink your fangs into!
There will be food trucks, face painting, and more!

8 . Christmas Magic at Hermann Furniture & The Giddings Stone Mansion

NOV 3-5   Hosted by Hermann Furniture, the oldest furniture store in Texas, this festive weekend is more than a shopping event. The store will be decked wall to wall with seasonal decor, and they will have design seminars, door prizes, pop-up shops, wine and hors d’oeuvres. The festivities include a luncheon at the Giddings Stone Mansion on Saturday, November 4. Luncheon tickets are $30 per person with reservations required. Entry to store and design seminars is free.

9 . Fall Festival of Roses at Antique Rose Emporium

NOV 3-5   The experts at Antique Rose Emporium host the Fall Festival of Roses during the first weekend of November. Explore the inspiring display gardens and attend seminars to grow your gardening knowledge. In addition to the seminars and endless fall garden inspiration, enjoy food trucks and shopping in the heart of Independence, Texas.

10 . Weekly Fall Happenings

child riding antique carousel ride with other children riding it in the background. Adults standing in back.

WEEKLY EVENTS    Some of our favorite fall happenings are so good, we have to share them every week! Antique carousel rides ($1 each), free entry to the Brenham Fire Museum (Saturdays in October & November), and the live demonstrations every weekend at Barrington Plantation, which is located within Washington-on-the-Brazos historical site are a few.

 

In addition to these fall happenings around Brenham, we have many daily events that include live music, theatre, and retail specials. See our full calendar of events here. Fall is prime time to visit the area, so make reservations with your favorite lodging partner soon!

The Washington County Fair

Washington County is home to the oldest county fair in Texas!

The Washington County Fair offers an entire week of exciting events: a rodeo, carnival, live music & concerts, a variety of livestock shows, arts & crafts, special attractions, contests, commercial exhibits and more.

The festivities kick off on Saturday, September 16, with a trail ride followed by a parade in Downtown Brenham.

Tuesday, September 19, is the opening evening of the carnival. There are rides for toddlers up to the most adventurous riders.

Head to the rodeo arena for mutton bustin’, wild steer saddling, bull riding, and other rodeo events throughout the week. The CPRA Rodeo begins at 7:30 pm, Thursday through Saturday. Click here for a complete list of rodeo events.

Browse the antique tractor exhibit, along with the youth livestock barns to complete the county fair experience! There are also arts & crafts exhibits, as well as a country store to purchase from your favorite exhibitors.

Live music is playing in the pavilion throughout the week .

Saturday, September 16th at 8 PM – Risky Liver Band

Wednesday, September 20th at 8 PM – Los Igualados with Los Cazadores Del Cerro

Thursday, September 21st at 9 PM – Trae Pierce & the T-Stones

Friday, September 22nd at 11 PM –  Shane Smith & the Saints with 9PM  Charlie Robinson

Saturday, September 23rd at 11 PM – Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts with 9PM William Beckmann

Advanced season passes will be available for purchase from a Fair Queen Candidate or online at https://www.washingtoncofair.com/p/tickets-deals

This family-friendly week of events truly offers something for everyone. Visit Brenham and hold on to your hats for the Washington County Fair!

For more information about tickets, schedule and more go to WCF.

Where to Watch on Game Day

The season is always right to watch your favorite team–especially when you have a list of the best places to watch on game day! Here are a few of the best places to cheer on your team with friends in Brenham and Washington County…

Brazos Valley Brewing Company

BVB is a family-friendly, small-town brewery and taproom that has screens inside the taproom to watch a big game. There are also indoor games, an outdoor playground and games and plenty of room to stretch your legs. You won’t go hungry–BVB has bar bites and is home to acclaimed food truck Country Sunshine. You can also catch live music on weekends at the Brewery.

Brown Water Cigar Bar

Enjoy a smoky Old Fashioned and your favorite cigar while you watch the game at Brown Water Cigar Bar. This Downtown Brenham venue is a favorite place for the guys to relax while the girls shop nearby.

BT Longhorn Saloon & Steakhouse

The antique bar at BT Longhorn is a piece of history–and a favorite place to watch on game day. Sit at the bar or one of the high-tops and check out their delicious menu and full bar.

Floyd’s Lounge

It doesn’t get much better than the patio at Floyd’s Lounge. The party lights will be on and the heaters and fire pit are ready for those cooler nights. If it’s a really big game, Floyd’s is great to bring in a big blow-up screen to make viewing easy for bigger crowds.

Home Sweet Farm Biergarten

HSF is the perfect place for a favorite wine or your favorite beer on tap. It’s also one of those places that feels like home when you’re cheering on your team with a room full of people who don’t seem like strangers anymore. Order food from HSF Kitchen food truck, just steps away from HSF.

Pioneer Smokehouse

The cozy indoor space at Pioneer is just right for a smaller crowd. The patio offers games and room to play if part of the family would rather use some of that energy on playing games instead of watching the game. Don’t miss the hobo nachos to share for the perfect start to your game day meal.

30 North Gastropub

From the delicious food to the full bar to the extensive choice of indoor and outdoor seating, 30 North is an easy choice on game day. Enjoy some of the best pizza in town and settle in for cocktails or beer at this Downtown Brenham establishment.

Wine Bar Brenham

Located in a historic corner building of Downtown Brenham, Wine Bar Brenham is the perfect stop to catch the game during a day of Downtown shopping and strolling. They offer light bites, shopping, and games.

7 Places in Brenham to Get a Scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream

 

 

Midsummer in this crazy Texas heat means one thing–it’s time for Blue Bell Ice Cream! And what better place to get a scoop of the best ice cream in the country than right in the hometown of the little creamery?

Here are SEVEN places in Brenham/Washington County to get a scoop of refreshing Blue Bell Ice Cream!

1. Blue Bell Ice Cream Parlor

Is it really a trip to Brenham if you don’t visit the creamery? A visit to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Parlor will take you back in time to your first scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream! Enjoy free samples, and scoops are only one dollar! The Blue Bell Country Store adjoins the Ice Cream Parlor, so you can shop for souvenirs while you’re there. Be sure to grab a free paper Blue Bell hat to complete the experience.

 

2. Must Be Heaven

Located in the heart of Downtown Brenham, Must Be Heaven is home to an old-fashioned soda parlor. Get a scoop of your favorite Blue Bell flavor, or indulge in a sundae with a cherry on top! Must Be Heaven is also known as a favorite stop for sandwiches, quiche, and homemade pie. Dine inside or sit on the patio, and don’t forget to snap a picture in front of one of their murals before you leave!

3. SCOOPS

Scoops may look like a regular convenience store, but the locals know that this inconspicuous place is the home of the biggest selection of Blue Bell flavors in Brenham! With 32 flavors to choose from, go for a double or triple-scoop!

4. R Place

You won’t find as many flavor options at R Place in Washington, but you will find BBQ and loads of character to go with your scoop of Blue Bell! Located right next to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, this is a must-stop when you visit where Texas became Texas. R Place is only open on weekends, so make it part of your weekend getaway.

5. Yumm! Sweets & Eats

Another Downtown Brenham favorite, Yumm! Sweets & Eats offers Blue Bell along with a plethora of other sweets to fuel your Downtown stroll. Don’t miss their homemade pizzas on the restaurant side!

6. Kippers Kountry Store

Kippers Kountry Store in the heart of historic Chappell Hill is the perfect place to get a scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream! Take it with you as you stroll and shop in one of Texas’ prettiest little towns.

7. Mescalito Coffee

Locating on the square in Downtown Brenham, Mescalito Coffee is a favorite to refuel and refresh. Get a scoop of your favorite flavor, or enjoy a scoop featured in one of Mescalito’s delicious specialty drinks. Indoor seating is available, as well as a front porch and a balcony overlooking several of the Downtown Brenham Murals. Bonus: stay and shop at sister company Ballad of the Bird Dog.

 

 

Hot Nights, Cool Tunes

Hot Nights, Cool Tunes is one of the highlights of the summer in Washington County! And lucky for us, it is not just a one-time event. Bring your lawn chair and your friends, and join us each Saturday evening in July for live music on our historic downtown square. Admission and parking are free. Food and drinks are available for purchase to support the community and help keep the concerts free. The west end of Alamo Street features a car show by Stray Katz Car Club, which is always a family favorite.

The music starts at 7:00 pm and ends around 9:00 pm. Come early for shopping, food and the car show!

July 8th, 2023 – Ashmore

The Dallas-based classic rock ‘n roll band, Ashmore, will rock downtown Brenham with guitar solos and 100% rock ‘n roll.

Sponsored by Citizens State BankBluebonnet Electric CooperativeWoodson Lumber, and Budweiser – Mike Hopkins Distributing.

July 15th, 2023 – Skyrocket

Skyrocket band members

Skyrocket has one of the largest repertoires of any cover band around, playing songs from the 70s and 80s along with more recent hits.

Sponsored by Brenham National BankSeidel SchroederDahmann and Associates, and Must Be Heaven.

July 22nd, 2023 – Shekere

Shekere band members

The Latin beat of Shekere (shay-keer-ae), a talented seven-piece band of musicians and singers from Houston, will have the crowd dancing the salsa. Shekere is bringing their horn section to really liven up their mix of English and Latin pop hits.

Sponsored by Briannas Fine Salad DressingsLas Americas Latin CuisineDeep in the Heart Farms, and RCR Rail.

July 29th, 2023 – The Spicolis

The classic MTV tribute band out of Houston, The Spicolis who feature hits from the 80s. This is the third year the Spicoli’s have performed in Brenham.

Sponsored by Brazos Valley Schools Credit UnionBrannon Industrial GroupStrand Associates, and Upchurch Yates Law Firm.

 

 

Hot Nights, Cool Tunes concert series is brought to you by

 The City of Brenham and KTEX 106.1

Make a weekend out of it, and stay in Brenham and Washington County! Click here for lodging.

Brenham Maifest: The Oldest Festival in Texas

A very colorful scene unfolds the first weekend in May with Maifest, a celebration highlighting Brenham’s German heritage. Brenham Maifest includes a parade and Junior & Senior Coronations and features authentic German food, music and drink, and carnival rides at historic Fireman’s Park. This year's festivities are May 3-4, 2024.

 

Maifest is the oldest festival in Texas. Except for several years during World Wars I and II, this event has been held annually since 1881.

Check back soon for the full schedule of events, including all of the festivities at Fireman's Park.

Senior Coronation: Friday, May 3, 7:00pm Fireman's Park
Parade: Saturday, May 4, 10:30am, Downtown Brenham
Festivities including live music, German heritage activities, antique carousel rides: Saturday, May 4, during the day at Fireman's Park
Junior Coronation: Saturday, May 4, 7:00pm Fireman's Park

 

Look for displays of coronation attire at Downtown Brenham businesses in the weeks leading up to Maifest. The Brenham Heritage Museum also features a "Celebrate 134 Years of Maifest" exhibit with more details about this colorful event.

 

To purchase coronation tickets in advance go to Maifest's website.

 

Brenham BBQ Trail

In recent years, Brenham has become quite the destination for barbecue aficionados and Texas foodies. With TWO local smokehouses listed on Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints, and several more with their own following, Brenham is a must-stop on the quest for the best Texas BBQ. To make it easier for your dining tour, we’ve mapped the Brenham Barbecue Trail.

May is National BBQ Month, so it’s the perfect time to make a long weekend of the Brenham BBQ Trail and enjoy all that Washington County has to offer!

A. LJ’s BBQ

Along with being a local favorite, LJ’s has received many accolades and recognition since opening in 2015. LJ’s was recently tapped again by Texas Monthly for its most recent list of Top 50 BBQ Joints. Pitmasters Matt Lowery and Corey Cook were also featured in 2021 on the Today Show with Jenna Bush Hager & Hoda Kotb. Their perfectly smoked meats speak for themselves but don’t forget the sides! LJ’s famous Mac & Cheese, collard greens, German-style potato salad, and beans all deserve a place on the tray.

Local Tip: Top that famous mac & cheese with the brisket! And be sure to grab a complimentary beer from the cooler, featuring local brewer, Brazos Valley Brewing Co.

1407 W. Main St. Brenham, TX 77833 |  979-421-8292;

Open Wed–Sun: 11am–3pm or sell out

 

B. Nathan’s BBQ

Long known for their ribs, Nathan’s BBQ has been serving up old-school Texas barbecue for decades. Open daily for lunch and dinner, Nathan’s has an extensive menu of meats, sides, and desserts.

Local Tip: Look for live music on Friday nights.

1307 Prairie Lea St., Brenham, TX 77833  | (979) 251-9900 | 

Open M-T: 11am-8pm; Fri: 11am-9pm; Sat: 11am-8pm; 

Sun: 11am-6pm

 

C. Pioneer Smokehouse

Pioneer Smokehouse is family-friendly and fun year-round in the heart of Downtown Brenham. In addition to delicious BBQ, they have a wide selection of beer, games on the patio, and seating inside & outside. A recent addition to Pioneer’s offerings includes a seven-seater party bike to rent and ride downtown!

Local Tip: The Hobo Nachos are a crowd-pleaser!

309 S. Park St., Brenham, TX 77833  |  (713) 876-8416  | 

Open Thurs: 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm;  Fri: 11am-2pm, 5pm-10:30pm; 

Sat: 11am-10:30pm

 

D. Truth BBQ

After opening his doors in 2015, Pitmaster Leonard Botello IV’s Truth BBQ has become a fixture on Best BBQ lists around the globe for good reason. Recently named again on Texas Monthly‘s list of Top 50 BBQ Joints, this time Truth rises to No. 3 in the ranks of Texas BBQ royalty. Every meat on the menu is a must-try. But don’t stop with the meat–if you can’t save room for dessert, then order the cake to-go, because you don’t want to miss it!

Local Tip: Call ahead to check for closures. Bring a hat or sunscreen and a friend to visit with while you wait in line.

2990 US – 290, Brenham, TX 77833  |  (979) 830-0392  

Open Thurs-Sun: 11am to sellout

E. Chappell Hill Bakery · Deli · BBQ

Chappell Hill Bakery, Deli & BBQ is the perfect stop for a weary road tripper. The meats and meal plates are amazing, and the bakery will make your sweet tooth sing. They are famous for their kolaches, and their BBQ & pie have previously received an honorable mention in Texas Monthly’s coveted list. The dining room is big and can accommodate sizable groups.

Local Tip: Stock up at their market with meats and treats for the rest of your trip!

8900 Hwy 290 E, Chappell Hill, TX 77426  |  (979) 836-0910  | 

Open Sun – Thurs: 6am-8pm; Fri – Sat: 6am-9pm

F. Chappell Hill Sausage

Chappell Hill Sausage is sold in grocery stores across the state, and they happen to be based right here in Washington County. The meat market also houses a shop and restaurant, featuring their renowned sausage, barbecue, bacon, and other meats. From a burger to the brisket to the fresh smoked bacon, you can’t go wrong at Chappell Hill Sausage.

Local Tip: Order one of their honey-glazed hams for the holidays!

4255 Sausage Ln., Chappell Hill, TX 77426  |  (979) 836-5830  | 

Store Hours: Open Mon-Fri: 8am-5pm; Sat: 8am-4pm

Restaurant Hours: Open Mon-Fri: 8am-4pm; Sat: 8am-3pm