College Station is a city in Brazos County in Texas and is most famous for being the home of the Texas A&M University.
Due to the fact that the university has an emphasis on agriculture, students who attend are known as Aggies, and this has led to the university and College Station in general often being known as Aggieland.
Many of the sights here revolve around the university, and locals are hugely proud of their college traditions, many of which you can learn all about at one of the many museums situated around the campus.
Aside from museums, you will also find live music events, breweries, restaurants, memorials, and sporting venues all over Aggieland, and even if you are no longer at college yourself, it may be difficult not to get caught up in the student atmosphere of this vibrant city.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in College Station:
1. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Located on the campus of Texas A&M University is the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Dedicated to the 41st President of the United States, this is a museum with a difference as you can expect a whole range of interesting presidential props and memorabilia including a reconstruction of the Oval Office.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are artifacts such as the Presidential Limousine, as well as a whole host of other memorabilia related to the life and work of George H.W Bush.
You can even find gems such as a chunk of the Berlin Wall and a selection of gifts that were given to the President by visiting dignitaries when he was in office.
The trip here is worth it for the photos alone as you are allowed to sit in the presidential chair in the Oval Office and imagine the real thing.
There are also guided or audio tours throughout the library and museum available for those who want to learn all about the historical background of many of the pieces on display.
2. Research Park
Next to the Bush Library lies Research Park, and once you have visited the (replica) Oval Office, this grassy area makes a wonderful place for an afternoon stroll.
The park is surrounded by leafy College Station scenery and has a pond that is inhabited by many local ducks, and students here love nothing more than to come to the park with a blanket for a picnic to take in the sights in the late afternoon.
Certainly if you are already in the area to visit the library then you shouldn’t miss this serene and picturesque park.
3. Sanders Corps of Cadets Center
The Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Center is a museum that is situated on the campus of the Texas A&M University and is dedicated to informing visitors on all things related to the university’s Corps of Cadets.
The museum first opened in 1992 and to date has more than 60 exhibits that feature memorabilia relating to the Corps of Cadets.
There are also over 600 photographs located at the museum so if you want to know all about the history of the corps then this is the ideal place to come.
Aggieland is also a place that is steeped in tradition, and the exhibits at the center will explain all about some of Texas A&M’s most interesting traditions such as the 12th Man, the Silver Taps, and the Muster.
4. Messina Hof
Messina Hof is known for being College Station’s resident winery and is an ideal place to come to sip on a local vintage and enjoy the surrounding area.
The winery was founded in 1977 and is famous for its blends and visitors here can go on tours of the winery and tasting rooms to see how the wines are made from the moment the grapes are plucked from the vines until they make it into a finished bottle.
Aside from browsing in the vineyard itself, you can enjoy a tasting of the wines or you can also go and eat in their on-site restaurant which uses the wine in their signature dishes.
The wine tours on the property are open to everyone and last approximately an hour where guests can learn all about the history of wine making in College Station.
Come to the Northgate area of College Station if you are looking for a good time, as it is here that you will find a strip of bars and nightlife hotspots.
Stretched along Northgate you will find restaurants and bars that keep the party going until the wee small hours, and you can try local Texas favorites here such as their famous barbecue or Tex Mex, a mix of American and Mexican flavors.
Many of the venues here have outside seating and live music so that in the warmer months you can enjoy some al-fresco dining and drinking.
6. Kyle Field
Many Aggies will tell you that a trip to College Station is not complete unless you make the visit to Kyle Field on the campus of Texas A&M University.
Kyle Field is the home field of the Texas A&M Aggie football team and was founded in 1904 and then officially completed in 1927. The stadium has a capacity of over 100,000 spectators which makes it one of the largest stadiums in the United States and it is certainly an impressive sight if you are in town and want to catch an all American football game whilst you are here.
Just outside the field you will also find the Reveille Mascot Cemetery which is the final resting place of the Aggie mascots, all Border collie dogs who were called Reveille.
When the mascot dies, it is buried outside Kyle Field but with a view of the scoreboard so that it can always watch the games, and the cemetery is a highly revered site in Aggieland.
7. Museum of the American GI
The Museum of the American GI was first opened in 2002 and is dedicated to educating guests all about those who have been in service in the United States.
To that end, the museum has a huge amount of military memorabilia including restored tanks, boats, and planes from the Second World War and the Vietnam War.
There are also static exhibitions that contain a wealth of other period artifacts such as letters, photographs, and other historical documents, and you will even find 3,417 dog tags on display to represent military personnel from Texas who were killed or declared missing during the Vietnam War.
8. Bonfire Memorial
The Aggie Bonfire was known for being a ritual that took place every time the football team at College Station played the University of Texas, and the tradition of having a bonfire was first started in 1909. In 1999 however the bonfire was incorrectly constructed and 12 people were killed as a result.
In its place a memorial has now been erected that features twelve stone arches, each one of which points towards the hometown of one of the victims.
Many visitors to College Station find that this is one of the most moving experiences that they have here, and the memorial is located in an area of parkland that makes it a serene spot to visit.
There are also tours of the memorial open to groups if you book advance where volunteers will explain all about the history of the bonfire and the tragic collapse in 1999.
9. Texas World Speedway
Come to Texas World Speedway if you want to practice your driving skills in the College Station area.
The speedway is known for being the only Super Speedway in the Southwest of the United States and was once called the ‘World’s Fastest Speedway’ after a world record was set here for the fastest lap time in 1973. Nowadays, there are open track days when you can get the chance to drive around yourself, or there are also classes that aspiring drivers can take in order to learn the ropes.
If you don’t want to drive then you can also attend the open track days as a spectator and watch the other drivers in action.
10. New Republic Brewing
If you want to have a few beers in College Station then you could do worse than go to New Republic Brewing, a craft beer brewery in the downtown area.
Founded in 2010, you can visit the brewery and have a tour of its famous taproom and you can also sample a range of the craft beers on sale here before choosing your favorite to take home.
Tours here are given by the founders of the brewery so you will get to hear all about the history and mission statement of New Republic Brewing straight from its creators.
At the weekends there are live music events held and a food truck from the local area provides some delicious local fare to go with the beer.
11. Dixie Chicken
If you fancy a bite to eat in College Station then look no further than the Dixie Chicken, something of a local legend in these parts.
The Dixie Chicken first open in the 1930s and has been serving up local favorites like fried chicken, burgers, and cheese fries ever since, and it is also the place to come for a domino game, a pool tournament, or to listen to some country music.
The Dixie Chicken is also famous for apparently being the place where the most beer was drunk in one night in the United States, so many visitors come here to see if the legend is true and have a few cold glasses themselves.
12. Brazos Valley Natural History Museum
Located in neighboring Bryan, the Brazos Valley Natural History Museum is known for being the only museum in the area to focus on natural history and with that in mind many visitors flock here as this is a great place to bring younger visitors.
The museum focuses on all things to do with plants, animals, and minerals in the Brazos Valley area and some of the key attractions that you can expect to find here include an observation bee hive, butterfly exhibits, and fifteen different species of live animals in the discovery room.
There are rotating as well as static exhibits throughout the year and other highlights include fossils, taxidermy specimens, and period agricultural equipment from the region.
13. Children’s Museum at Brazos Valley
Also located in neighboring Bryan, the Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley has everything to keep little visitors entertained.
The museum has a huge range of attractions and is interactive in approach in order to make sure that guests get a ‘hand-on’ experience.
Some of the highlights of the museum include a space ship that little ones can climb as well as a replica H-E-B store, a model of a television station, and a construction site where younger visitors can use some of the play tools to make their own weird and wonderful machines and buildings.
There are also a range of games on display like a giant checkers board and there are other attractions dedicated to the animal kingdom that feature live animals such as Georgie’s Lily Pad where you can learn all about frogs.
14. Santa’s Wonderland
If you happen to be in College Station from November to January then you mustn’t miss the chance to get into the holiday spirit with a trip to Santa’s Wonderland.
Set up with everything you need to get you in the mood for Christmas, there is a holiday fair where you can buy Christmas related food products and snacks, or you can go for a communal hayride around the Santa’s Wonderland village.
Younger visitors can meet Santa himself and there are romantic horse and carriage rides that both young and old visitors are sure to enjoy.
There is also live music on offer and guests can crowd around one of the many cozy campfires that are lit at the wonderland in order to take in the festivities.
Needless to say there are also a huge number of retail booths set up for anyone looking to do some Christmas shopping.
15. Olsen Field
If you go to Kyle Field to take in a football game, then make sure that you also come to Olsen Field to catch a baseball game.
Opened in 1978, the stadium is steeped in history and has a capacity of over 6,000 spectators which led to it being voted the best baseball stadium in the United States in 2004 according to Sports Illustrated.
The field is the home of the Texas A&M baseball program so don’t miss this is you want to see some of the local baseball fans named Raggies (as they ‘rag’ their opponents mercilessly) in action.