The town of Liberty Hill, population 8,700, has embraced the Hill Country’s rapid growth without losing its down-home vibe. Located just 30 miles north of downtown Austin, the small community has become a travel destination in its own right. Liberty Hill offers a bevy of attractions to entertain locals and visitors alike, including a wildlife refuge chock-full of rare birds and a decidedly weird art exhibit. There’s plenty of good food, and a local craft brewery to check out, too. As the Austin metro continues to expand, spreading to touch the rural towns that have orbited it for decades, Liberty Hill is welcoming the newcomers with open arms.
Parker’s Corner Market
You’ll find this small, unassuming grocery store at the main intersection of Liberty Hill’s historic downtown. The building hasn’t always been Parker’s, but it has served as the community’s general store for 100 years. You can still stock up on staples and snacks here—make sure to check out the old-school meat counter in the back, where you can get a cut of steak for dinner and eat lunch while you wait. I recommend the fresh-ground smashed burger with a side of chili cheese fries.
Terry Tunes Artwork
Brothers Terry and Scotty Parks transform abandoned toys into some of the strangest sculptures in the state, using them to create such artwork as a 10-foot-long peeled banana and a 30-foot Longhorn skull made out of wire and Barbie dolls. Terry left Austin some years ago when it just didn’t feel “weird” enough anymore, opting instead to live his best life out in the country. Visitors are welcome to view the sculptures, along with the monumental guitars Terry created to honor Willie Nelson and Roky Erickson, his favorite musicians.
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
This 40-square-mile refuge is Hill Country through and through, complete with rare birds, limestone hills, spring-fed creeks, and 10 miles of hiking trails. It’s the perfect place to let the stress of city life slip away as you take in the refuge’s natural beauty. I recommend starting at the Doeskin Ranch Unit, which was once a working ranch and offers some amazing views.
Hell or High Water Brewing
Nothing tastes quite as good as a post-hike beer. If you find yourself craving one, look for Brian Holmes and his son, Harrison, who perfected their craft beer recipe in Liberty Hill after years of home-brewing. In 2019 they opened this community gathering spot that serves signature brews downtown. Order a flight of beers including the Float the River Kölsch and Red on Black IPA.
Main Street Social
Upon opening in 2021, the Social became Liberty Hill’s first food hall—a food court with elevated cuisine. Among the food hall’s counters are Coop to Coast, which serves fried chicken sandwiches and tenders; and Cosmic Pizza, where visitors can find thin-crust pies, pasta, and snacks. The indoor seating seamlessly flows into the outdoor space, with playground equipment for the kids and a stage for live music. Stick around long enough to get hungry again and finish off your trip with Udder Love’s ice cream in a freshly made waffle cone.
So whether you follow my footsteps or forge your own path, I hope to see you on the road.
Chet Garner is the host of The Daytripper® travel show on PBS.
To view the Liberty Hill episode, visit thedaytripper.com.
Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @chettripper.