HOUSTON – One tank of gas can take you from Houston to some pretty amazing places. Our ongoing series “One Tank Trips,” helps you discover what to do, where to eat and stay in these places.
Distance from downtown Houston: 75 miles
Only around an hour and 15 minutes from downtown Houston is the quaint town of Brenham. Located between Houston and Austin, the town is most famously known as the home of Blue Bell ice cream and a great spot to see bluebonnets. Brenham has a myriad of other historic spots and restaurants that make it worth visiting for a day trip or pit stop on the way to Austin.
Things to do
- Blue Bell Creameries: Every Monday-Saturday, Blue Bell lovers can visit the creamery. The local ice cream has been a Brenham staple since its opening in 1907. Creamery visitors can learn about the ice cream making process at the observation deck, stop in the visitors center, shop in the country store and of course get some of the famous ice cream at the ice cream parlor.
- Washington County: Although spring is the best time to visit Washington County due to bluebonnet season, the county has an abundance of other wildflowers. The Bluebonnet Trail has 80 miles of wildflowers and picturesque roads.
- Pleasant Hill Winery: Pleasant Hill Winery offers Brenham’s premiere winery experience. On July 20, 21, 27 and 28 along with Aug. 3, 4, 10 and 11, its Pleasant Hill’s 18th Annual Crush for Fun is held. The event allows families to crush the wine grapes with their own feet, helping create some of their own wine.
- The Antique Rose Emporium: This shop is renowned for its 8 acres of award-winning display gardens. It is a gardener's dream with its beautiful grounds and large variety of roses.
- Brazos Valley Brewery: This independent craft brewery offers premier beers along with a family friendly environment and music. Relax outside with a beer on the patio any time between Thursday through Sunday. Brewery tours are available by request, as well
- Peeka Ranch Alpacas: Located 15 miles outside Brenham, this alpaca farm boasts 100 alpacas and 60 acres of land. Go out to the ranch to visit the alpacas and shop at the gift shop complete with alpaca wool products.
- Antiquing: There are a variety of antique shops in Brenham. Some of the best: Leftovers Antiques Destination, Chappell Hill Antiques Mall, Today & Yesterday, Hermann’s Furniture, JR’s Antiques, Bluebird Off the Square, Country Store Antiques and Lone Star Gallery among others.
Where to eat
For such a small town, Brenham has a large number of restaurants. We complied a few favorites here.
- Truth BBQ: Founded in Brenham in 2015, Truth BBQ has an authentic menu full of meats, sides and desserts. They came in at No.10 on Texas Monthly’s top 50 barbecue list and also expanded into Houston.
- 96 West: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 96 West is known for its farm-to-table fresh tapas fusion cuisine. The menu has an eclectic mix of tapas, flatbreads, salads and soup for everyone.
- Kay’s Cuisine for the Soul: Kay started her business in 2010 and opened her restaurant in 2013. The restaurant is open for both lunch Tuesday through Saturday and dinner Tuesday through Friday. The restaurant boasts home cooked meals and comfort food ranging from sandwiches to chicken and fish entrees.
- Funky Art Cafe: Funky Art Cafe is inside the historic Schurenberg Blacksmith Building that has been in Brenham since 1916. The Brenham lunch spot hosts a year-round decorated Christmas tree and the restaurant decor is surrounded by funky art pieces.
- LJ’s BBQ: Open Wednesday through Saturday, this barbecue joint promises to serve from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. or until it sells out. It was named one of Texas Monthly’s top 25 new barbecue joints in Texas. The menu includes a variety of meats and sides.
- Las Americas Latin Cuisine: This family run business brings Latin flavors from Mendoza, Colchagua, San Juan, Casa Blanca and more. The menu is a mix of Latin flare and entrees to salads and sandwiches. They are open every day and serve lunch and dinner.
Where to stay
Brenham is a very easy day trip and can easily be done for just an afternoon or a pit stop on the way to another Texas city. However, they have a mix of hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, motels and recreational vehicle parks if you are looking for an overnight or weekend getaway. Here are a few favorites.
- Historic Holle House
- The Inn at Dos Brisas
- Ant Street Inn
- Brenham House Bed and Breakfast
- Far View Bed and Breakfast Inn
- BlissWood Bed and Breakfast Ranch
- Main Street House
Art & Society
- Downtown Art Gallery: The Downtown Art Gallery is inside a restored downtown historic building. It hosts over 50 artists who display paintings, sculptures, photographs, jewelry, wood-turned pens and turquoise inlayed bowls.
- Brenham Art Walk: There are over 18 murals, sculptures and other artistic expressions throughout downtown Brenham due to the Texas Arts & Music Festival.
- Back Lot Gallery: The family-owned gallery has been in Brenham since 2015. The couple also owns the boutique hotel; Ant Street Inn along with a bed-and-breakfast, Main Street House, where the decor is inspired by the gallery. The gallery showcases the work of emerging artists with two-month solo shows.