Alpine may not attract an international art crowd like nearby Marfa, but fans of West Texas know this scrappy Trans-Pecos railroad and ranching town merits a closer look. The local arts community, fueled in part by students and faculty at Sul Ross State University, supports an entertaining lineup of local galleries, music venues, and the distinctive Museum of the Big Bend. Set at the foot of the Davis Mountains, Alpine also serves as a base for outdoor enthusiasts who relish the high-desert climate and regional opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, and paddling. Accommodations range from the 94-year-old Holland Hotel to chain hotels and upscale vacation rentals.
1 / Antelope Lodge
This 1950s motor hotel sits on the west end of town. The handcrafted stucco, stone, and red-clay cottages surround a garden courtyard. Starting at $85 per night, the rooms are decorated in a minimalist, Southwestern aesthetic, with colorful textiles and abundant light.
2 / Judy’s Bread and Breakfast
A lively cross-section of Alpine locals and tourists congregate at this friendly eatery known for its pastries, such as gooey cinnamon rolls and iced doughnuts, and hefty portions of breakfast classics like biscuits and gravy. Lunch items include salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
3 / Alleyway Murals
Grab a map from your hotel or visitalpinetx.com and hit the streets for a mural tour. For years, local artists have depicted the landscape, industry, and culture of the Big Bend on buildings and a telephone pole or two. A separate “walking and windshield” tour explores historical and cultural sites.
4 / Museum of the Big Bend
Located on the Sul Ross State University campus, this paean to West Texas covers topics from regional history and industry to early cartography and fine art. Art aficionados should bookmark Trappings of Texas, an annual Western art showcase. The 2022 show runs Sept. 15-Nov. 5.
5 / Murphy Street
Several compact blocks paralleling the train tracks comprise this historical hub of Alpine’s Latino population. Originally known as Southside, it was established by the families of rail workers and includes original storefronts, some of them brightly restored. Browse the galleries, boutiques, and Petit Bijou café.
6 / Chihuahuan Desert research institute
Twenty miles northwest of town, this 507-acre nature center interprets the Trans-Pecos ecosystem with botanical gardens, hiking trails, and exhibits on local mining, wildlife, and geology. Don’t miss the cactus museum containing more than 200 varieties.
7 / Spicewood at quarter Circle 7
Inspired by “cattleman’s hospitality,” the restaurant and patio at the rustic-modern Hotel Parker boast panoramic views of the Twin Peaks mountains and surrounding desert. Try the fully loaded Hatch green chile burger with bacon aioli.
8 / Harry’s Tinaja
The best dive bars wear their history on their walls, and Harry’s is no exception. With an Old West saloon vibe, the building’s interior, including the ceiling, is covered with memorabilia, taxidermy, dollar bills, and scribblings. Join the regulars at the bar or on the outdoor patio and sit a spell.
Viva Big Bend
This five-day summer event, scheduled for July 27-31, was established a decade ago to support the Big Bend’s music industry, venues, and performers. Nearly 60 live performances are held at bars, pavilions, hotels, and clubs throughout Alpine, Marathon, Fort Davis, Marfa, and Terlingua. Consider this a musical road trip where you can hear talents like Dale Watson, Django Walker, Summer Dean, the Doodlin’ Hogwallops, and Two Tons of Steel. vivabigbend.com
Lost Alaskan RV Park is 1.5 miles from downtown on a tidy property planted with pine trees. Escape the afternoon heat with a dip in the pool. Other amenities include laundry, barbecue grills, a dog park, a playground, tent sites, and rental cabins. 2401 State Highway 118; 432-837-1136. lostalaskan.com