Things to do in Laredo

Laredo Things to do

Best Tourist Places to Visit in Laredo, Texas

Rich in south-of-the-border flavor, this city is the major international crossing along the U.S.–Mexico border. Established by a Spanish land grant in 1755, it became the county seat when Webb County organized in 1848. The city has served under seven flags and, in 1840, declared itself the Republic of the Rio Grande. Today, Laredo is the largest inland port in the southern United States. Named an All-American City in 2007, it features a diverse economy with growth in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, importing and exporting, petroleum and natural gas industries. Educational institutions include Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University.

Laredo, situated on the north bank of the Rio Grande River, across from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, is the county seat of the Webb County, Texas. The economy of the city is mainly dependent on international trade with Mexico. Laredo is, in fact, considered to be the largest inland port in the United States. The city was founded in the year 1755 and over the years, it has grown from a villa to the Capital of the Republic of the Rio Grande to a large trading center. Today, Laredo has the distinction of having seven flags flown over the city. It is also home to 4 international bridges and 1 Railway Bridge.

Laredo is well known for its scenic beauty. Situated on the west end of the Rio Grande Plains, south of Edwards Plateau, Laredo is a prime location for Javelina and deer hunting for the Cola Blanca Contest, which is held every year in the city. The most spectacular geographical feature in Laredo is Lake Casa Blanca, situated in the Lake Casa Blanca International State Park. The city is also famous for its annual cultural events, recreational activities, and nightlife. The most awaited annual event is the Washington’s Birthday Celebration (WBCA). This month-long held event celebrates the birthday of George Washington and attracts over 400,000 attendees every year. Jalapeno Festival and Jamboozie are popular events held as a part of Washington Birthday Celebrations.

Since 1898, the Washington’s Birthday Celebration has honored George Washington as the first Western Hemisphere leader to free a New World country from the dominion of European rule. It is a 16-day February fiesta.

A number of outdoor recreational activities are offered by the Lake Casa Blanca International State Park. The major activities at the Park include cooking out, boating, mountain biking, skiing, picnicking, camping, fishing, and lake swimming. The major nightlife establishments in the city include Hal’s Landing, Las Cananas, Club Eros, South Beach, Chelseas, Agave Azul, Old No.2, FLounge, and El Sitio. The main places of tourist interest in Laredo include the Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum, the Laredo Center for the Arts, Imaginarium of South Texas, the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center Planetarium, San Agustin Historical District, and the Laredo Public Library.

Laredo is also known for the extraordinary architecture of its buildings. The city’s architecture is a combination of Spanish Colonial, Mexican, and American flavors. The major buildings of Spanish Colonial architecture include the Laredo Medical Center, the Laredo Town Center, and Texas national Bank headquarters. American architecture, on the other hand, can be seen in buildings such as the Hamilton Hotel, Walker plaza, the Laredo City Hall, and the Laredo Federal Courthouse.

Republic of the Rio Grande Museum

Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum, situated in the downtown San Agustin Historical District in Laredo, Texas, was once the Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol building. At present, the Museum exhibits memorabilia from the short-lived, unsuccessful Republic of the Rio Grande. It holds a huge collection of books, pictures, and furniture from the 19th century Laredo. It also displays saddles, guns, and house hold goods of frontier homes. Most of the Museum’s exhibitions place special emphasis on the period of Rio Grande Republic, 1839-1841.

Besides, the Museum also offers guided tours for adults and school age children throughout the year. It also hosts presentations made to schools, civic groups, detention facilities, and travel writers on a regular basis. Located just next to the La Posada Hotel in San Agustin Plaza, the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum can be reached easily. This museum is a great learning experience and is well worth visiting.

  • Address: 1005 Zaragoza Street, Laredo, TX 78040
  • Telephone: (956) 727-3480
  • Hours: Tues – Sat, 9 AM – 4 PM; Sun, 1 – 4 PM; closed Mon
  • Website: www.webheritage.org

Border Heritage Museum – Laredo

Housed in the restored Gonzalez-Montemayor home, a series of changing exhibits and educational seminars showcase the region’s history, culture, industry and populations. Open 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tue.–Sat. Admission charge. 810 Zaragoza St. 956/727-0977.

Fort McIntosh – Laredo

Established by the Army in 1848, the old guardhouse, chapel, warehouse, living quarters, infirmary, commander’s house and commissary are now Laredo Community College facilities and housing. The original earthen fort is an educational institution and home to the Paso del Indio Trail.

Lake Casa Blanca International State Park – Laredo

Park an RV or pitch a tent and then cook something up on one of the park’s many barbecue pits. Four recreation halls and picnic pavilions invite gatherings for family fiestas. Fishing in the lake is great for largemouth bass. 956/725-3826. On Bob Bullock Loop (Loop 20), just north of U.S. 59.

Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center – Laredo

This oasis offers a learning experience about plants and animals found in the Rio Grande Watershed. Includes four outdoor ponds, a planted area, a cactus garden, wildflower hill and two areas of South Texas brush plants. Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. during the college’s class days and 9 a.m.–noon Sat.

Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium – Laredo

The planetarium offers shows for the entire family and operates a Digistar-3 system. Shows range from wild rides through stars and galaxies, to groovy trips through space, proving science can be fun. Show times: 6 and 7 p.m. Fri. and 5, 6 and 7 p.m. Sat. Admission charge.

Laredo Center For The Arts – Laredo

Galleries feature changing exhibits of works by local, national and international artists. Open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tue., Wed. and Fri.; 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu.; and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat. 500 San Agustín. 956/725-1715.

Republic Of The Rio Grande Museum – Laredo

Now a museum, the building once served as the capitol of the unsuccessful Republic of the Rio Grande. Displays guns, saddles and goods of frontier homes with an emphasis on the period of the Rio Grande Republic: 1839–41. Open 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tue.–Sat. Admission charge. 1005 Zaragoza St.

San Agustin Cathedral – Laredo

Originally built in 1767, the present structure—the third on this site—dates from 1872. It was elevated to the rank of cathedral on Aug. 9, 2001. This is part of the Webb County Heritage Tour. On San Agustín Plaza in heart of the old Spanish section.

Texas Travel Information Center – Laredo

This is one of the 12 Texas Travel Information Centers operated by the Texas Department of Transportation for the convenience of the traveling public. Open daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and beginning the Friday before Memorial Day–Labor Day 8 a.m.–6 p.m.