Texas is big – really big. Bigger than many nations throughout the world. Yet, there’s more to the Lone Star State than Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin. With our Texas City Guides series, we’re going to explore some of the smaller and more far-flung parts of the state. We hope you come to appreciate the variety of local color you can find across Texas.
As we continue tracking our mileage across the Lone Star State, our next stop is Laredo, a vibrant border town where Tex-Mex meets straight up Mex.
Tour Historic Laredo By Foot
Lying on the north bank of the famous Rio Grande, Laredo possesses an aura that feels like you’ve arrived in another time.
Vaqueros wander the dusty streets in their cowboy boots and hats, and the spirit of Mexico just across the river surrounds you in deep blend of south Texan and Mexican cultures.
Laredo offers walking tours in both English and Spanish beginning in the heart of the old city at San Agustin Plaza. Tours meander around the city with stops at the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, the Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum, the San Agustin Cathedral (built in 1872 in a Gothic style of architecture), and the Casa Ortiz, a home built in 1829 showcasing beautiful gardens with views of Mexico and the Rio Grande River.
The Republic of the Rio Grande Museum lives in one of Laredo’s oldest buildings. Once home to Bartolome Garcia, mayor of Laredo and prominent rancher, it served as the capitol of the Republic of the Rio Grande in 1840. The museum maintains a permanent, authentic exhibit of day-to-day life in a mid-nineteenth century Laredo home, including a kitchen and all its period-appropriate utensils, a bedroom with antique, archival linens, furniture, and a ranching office.
No Better Mexican Food Than Here
We’ve brought you to a place where you can literally see Mexico just on the other side of the river. So there’s no question that Mexican cuisine is the go-to in Laredo.
For a meal with true authenticity, head to El Meson de San Agustin in the old part of the city for lunch. Soups, sauces, creams, dressings, and guisados are all prepared in-house, and their house specialty, “pechuga rellena” (stuffed chicken breast) is exceptional. For an enchilada craving, turn to the poblano enchiladas or enchiladas Suizas. Don’t forget to wash it all down with some hibiscus tea.
If your visit to Laredo finds you staying the night at the famous La Posada Hotel, once a hacienda built in the 1700s, then dine at the in-house restaurant Zaragoza Grill. The Original Queso Fresco Tenderloin with Chile Guajillo Butter Sauce or Grilled Texas Boar Chops with Smoked Pecan Cajeta (that’s right, caramel sauce) hail from here, and with an upscale ambiance, you might find yourself sitting next to a former President or some Latin heart throb. This is, after all, where the stars stay when in Laredo.
Lake Casa Blanca International State Park offers a place for lovers of aquatic activities to water-ski, boat, fish, or just relax on the banks of the lake. It’s the perfect place to picnic with the family, though, if hiking and mountain biking is your thing, trails provide plenty of safe terrain through various landscape.
Up Next in our Texas City Guides series: Denton!