Things to Do in Tyler, TX
Like any community, there are plenty of great things to do in Tyler, TX. Sometimes these events, attractions and restaurants are well known, while other times it takes a well-trained eye or local guide to introduce you to them. If you are looking for more variety, the more populous cities in Texas are certain to accommodate your desires of activities.
Naturally, a city known for its sweeping rose gardens, blue-ribbon barbecue and picturesque landscapes can’t help but draw visitors to bask in its charms while the sun shines. Yet Tyler’s also blooms deep into the night, with revelers taking to concert halls, dance haunts, honky-tonks, and even piano-and-sports bars.
In Tyler, everything's coming up roses, especially during October – officially designated Rose Season – when special events take place all month long. The season reaches its pinnacle with the pomp and ceremony of the Texas Rose Festival.
Built in the late 19th century, McClendon House serves as a perfect example of grand Victorian style in Tyler. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, McClendon House is also a Texas State Historical Landmark and received its designation as a Tyler Historical Landmark in 1984.
Liberty Hall represents the rejuvenation of the arts in downtown Tyler. In 2008, the City of Tyler purchased the old Liberty Theater and partnered with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra Organization to give the beloved icon new life as well as to promote business and tourism downtown.
At Discovery Science Place, children's excitement is ignited through fun, hands-on exploration. In addition to its permanent exhibits, Discovery Science Place frequently brings in unique science exhibits such as Attack of the Bloodsuckers, which explores the insects that bite us and why.
Residents across Tyler support and appreciate local museums and galleries. That support has helped these cultural institutions thrive. Appreciating Art
Community leaders in Tyler, Texas, are dedicated to putting the city on the map as a destination renowned for entertainment, culture and good eats. The recently renovated town square containing performance venues, restaurants and bars has helped that effort. Lago del Pino, a family-owned restaurant and entertainment venue, gets Tyler even closer. Lago del Pino
The City of Tyler, Texas, is so focused on enhancing its reputation as an entertaining and cultured place to live and work, it bought and restored an old theater and turned it into the town’s hottest live music venue.
Plenty of star power can be found at Hudnall Planetarium. The astronomy-based building was built in 1963 on the campus of Tyler Junior College, and is used as an educational exhibit room and domed viewing theater. The dome of the theater is 30 feet in diameter, and the planetarium offers an assortment of telescopes for the public to view the heavens.
The Cotton Belt Depot Museum in Tyler is a favorite stop for train enthusiasts of all ages. Constructed in 1902, this depot served railroad passengers for 50 years. The museum has a large collection of model trains on exhibit, including what is known as the “Bragg Collection,” an assortment of 200 model locomotives and more than 1,600 rail cars.
Steak and authentic Mexican food are staples in Tyler. But the city’s restaurant scene also includes a diverse array of other tasty options, including a brand-new Asian fusion restaurant.
Hungry for Greek and Mediterranean food and other unique specialties? Stop by What About Kabob & His Gyros, located at 713 WSW Loop 323 in the River Oaks Plaza in Tyler, for mouthwatering kabobs, gyros, burgers, fusion delights and much more.
Stop by The Potpourri House for lunch and treat yourself to the fresh homemade soups and salads available on the restaurant’s 28-foot long soup, salad and potato bar. Hot and cold sandwiches and specialties, like chicken almond crepes, are also part of the lunch menu. Try one of The Potpourri’s one-of-a-kind entrees, such as the chicken Cozumel, standing pork roast or shrimp Aztec, for dinner.
Don’t underestimate the Rose Capital of America: There’s much more to Tyler than barbecue and steaks … although those are world-class, too! Stanley's Famous Pit Bar-B-Q
One look at the box, and you know something wonderful is inside. Bright-yellow-and-white-striped with a cornflower blue ribbon, the parcel holds one of Janie Clapp’s specialties – a baked-from-scratch pound cake just like her great-grandmother taught her to make. “When everybody else was asleep in the afternoons, she would get me in the kitchen and we’d start baking,” Clapp recalls about her annual summer trips to “Papu’s” house in Austin. “Everybody woke up from their nap, and we had treats!” Clapp says. Janie's Cakes
Music fans of all ages flock Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to Rick’s On the Square, one of Tyler’s most happening nightspots. Country rock and rhythm-and-blues enthusiasts rave about the popular club on West Erwin, with great local acts such as Professor Porkchop & The Dirty Dishes and Elvis T. Busboy.
When you think about typical Texas fare, the things that usually come to mind are steaks and barbecue and Tex-Mex. Such traditional Lone Star State food is readily available in Tyler but the city also ventures well beyond the state line with restaurants that specialize in French, Italian, Mediterranean and Latin cuisine. Rick's On The Square
Dressed up or dressed down, you have plenty of options for dining out in Tyler. And we’re not talking about your average chain restaurants – these eateries are bona fide Tyler favorites with made-from-scratch cuisine you won’t find anywhere else. Fine Dining
You don’t have to look very hard in Tyler to find a little bit of a wild side. From its luscious gardens and parks to its 85-acre zoo, this growing city lives and breathes the great outdoors. World Class Animal Experiences Linda Kunze exudes the love of the outdoors that you’ll find in many Tyler residents. She’s been in the zoo business for 40 years but still loves talking about it, which makes her the perfect education curator for Tyler’s Caldwell Zoo.
A variety of outdoor activities keep Tyler residents on the go. Take a look at some of the outdoor recreational opportunities available here. Baseball Tyler is becoming a destination for baseball tournaments, recently hosting such prestigious events as the Texas Elite Baseball Tournament and the Texas Little League Tournament. Since May 2012, Tyler Junior College has hosted the NJCAA Junior College World Series, with the eight top Division III teams in the nation participating – including Tyler.
It's hard to deny Tyler's rugged appeal. This Texas town offers many outdoor recreation options that men, and women, find hard to pass up. Even President George W. Bush spent time in Tyler in 2011 specifically to enjoy outdoor activities. The 43rd U.S. President visited Tyler State Park to access the 13-mile mountain bike trail, considered among the best in the country.
The city of Tyler offers 26 parks, special events, dozens of playing fields, water recreation options and summer camps to keep residents in touch with the area's natural beauty. Tyler State Park
Home to art, history, performances and outdoor activities, Tyler offers a variety of opportunities sure to entertain residents and visitors alike. Set aside a little time to take advantage of these fun attractions the city has to offer: 1. Tour the McClendon House, which was constructed in 1878 and is now a Texas State Historical Landmark as well as a Tyler Historical Landmark.
Golf courses in Tyler, Texas, keep golfers on their tees, with more than a dozen public and private venues in the area. Hollytree Country Club This private 18-hole championship layout also doubles as a residential development. Hollytree opened in 1983 and features plenty of water hazards as well as five par-3s that are quite demanding. The course has four sets of tees that measure from 5,102 yards to 6,805 yards. The Cascades
Tyler is shaping up, thanks to the Fit City Challenge – an ongoing citywide health initiative helping residents shed pounds and save lives. "Our goal is our mission statement, which is to make Tyler a fit city one bite, one step, and one health-conscious decision at a time," says George Roberts, chief executive officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District. "We feel obesity is one of the greatest threats to Tyler, and to the United States as a whole."
Whoever coined the phrase “the great outdoors” was surely standing on one of Tyler State Park’s 985.5 acres, taking in the sweeping scenery of East Texas and thinking of the best possible way to describe the view. Located just north of Tyler in Smith County, the park is host to approximately 250,000 visitors a year for everything from boating to bird watching, making it the area’s No. 1 tourist attraction.
Lake Tyler's recreation areas are a family favorite for fun in east Texas. With a mild climate year round, this spot is a popular stop for both residents and visitors. The Lake Tyler Department controls six park areas around the lake, where camping, hiking and swimming are encouraged. Several boat ramps are available, many of which are free of charge and open all year. Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy the variety of largemouth and spotted bass, catfish and sunfish that can be found swimming the waters of Lake Tyler.
Tyler’s Rose Rudman Trail provides visitors with a scenic recreation area that every member of the family can enjoy. The 2.5 mile long, 8 foot wide paths are great for running, biking and rollerblading. Hiking and biking enthusiasts can also enjoy the trails constructed especially for them throughout the recreation area.
The Tyler area’s shopping opportunities start with traditional, locally owned boutiques and progress into new retail centers. “We’re very excited about The Village at Cumberland Park, coming in December 2014,” says Shari Rickman of the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau, explaining it will contain many nice chain retailers, including World Market, Kohl’s, and Gordman’s. Old World Style
Looking for a stuffed buffalo head for that special spot over the fireplace? Or maybe your heart’s set on an antique Chinese porcelain bowl? Or perhaps a vintage Port-o-Potty? Don’t worry – you’re bound to find it in one of Tyler’s many antique stores. As the world gets more high-tech and complicated, say antiques dealers, many people are finding that relics of the past -- ours or others’ – are comforting reminders of a less hurried lifestyle. And they’re finding plenty of those relics in Tyler. Tyler Collectibles
Beyond the mall and big box stores there's a vast collection of locally owned shops in Tyler that retail connoisseurs couldn't pass by. Among the sweetest shopping spots in Tyler is the Sweet Gourmet, a charming gourmet food shop that draws customers in with a free sample of chocolate and keeps them coming back with exceptional customer service.
Tyler, Texas is known for its roses, however it also serves as the shopping hub for the East Texas area. Whether you are looking for a mall or that one-of-a-kind piece for someone special, you will find what you need in one of the Tyler districts. Here are a few of the must sees: Broadway Square Mall