For a vacation with your spouse, a solo tour, or even a personal voyage, Abilene, Texas, is an amazing city to explore.
If you want to visit downtown Abilene or take a selfie with the six sculptures of Dr. Seuss characters, you’ll find it interesting.
Abilene is a city in Texas, United States, the 27th-most populous city in the state of Texas and the principal city of the Abilene metropolitan statistical area.
It is a popular city for history buffs around Texas since it was once a frontier settlement.
Besides, Abilene is also known as the “Official Storybook Capital of America”.
This is because it has the largest public collection of sculptural storybook characters.
Aside from the bright and sunny pictures of Abilene, this railroad town is tremendously rich in historical significance.
Walk through downtown Abilene’s historic area and look through The SoDA district, just south of downtown.
Below is the list of top things to do in Abilene.
Things To Do In Abilene, Texas
1. 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum
Can be quite a hassle visiting museums if you are not a fan of too much history and relics.
However, this can get a little different if you love war memorials and want to get a sneak peek at one.
From the outside, you’d never guess that the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum had such rich history and exhibits.
For war history buffs and researchers, a visit to the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, Abilene can never go wrong.
The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum is near historic Camp Barkeley, where the division trained before heading to Europe to serve in the European Theater of Operations.
This three-story military museum houses 12th Armored Division relics, significant World War II documents, and numerous souvenirs.
Not just that, there’s a great abundance of oral histories and a wide range of equipment and supplies.
At this veteran-run museum, you’ll find three levels of displays as well as an outdoor area with military vehicles, including a Sherman tank.
A Holocaust chamber in the museum depicts the liberation of the Landsburg concentration camp by the 12th Armored Division.
Another portion has a POW chamber, and there is a floor with displays depicting medical and communications systems.
Finally, you’ll find the last and one of the most popular sections on the bottom level.
There, you’ll find seven dioramas portraying the 12th Armored Division’s most famous battles.
Besides, the museum offers creative educational programs for everyone, so the learning continues.
If you do decide you want to learn a great deal about the war in Abilene, this is your ticket.
Check out the history and see the tale behind the “Hellcat Division,”.
Address: 1289 North 2nd, Abilene, TX 79601, United States
2. Historic Downtown, Abilene
The greatest way to see historic downtown Abilene is on foot.
With the establishment of the T&P Railway in the 1880s, the town grew.
Take a walk through the local walkways to view the downtown area and many of the local attractions.
All the downtown buildings are old and are now home to boutique stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and museums.
Frontier Texas is a great site to start your downtown walking tour!
At the T&P Depot on North 1st Street, you can pick up a downtown walking tour guide to ensure you visit all the highlights.
Keep track of the sculptures around town, notably the Dr. Seuss collection at Everman Park near the Abilene Visitor Center.
Before leaving downtown, pay a visit to Candies by Vletas, a locally acclaimed chocolatier that has been a fixture in Abilene since 1912.
Moreover, exploring downtown Abilene will give you a quick rundown of the city’s main highlights.
Address: Abilene, Texas, United States
3. Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden
Could be that you’ve taken a strong liking to tales and stories and would like that around Abilene.
There’s a scenic storybook garden right in the city that’s great for all ages.
The Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden in Abilene will delight anyone with a great sense of imagination.
It is on the southwest grounds of the Abilene Convention Center and has been open to the public for free since 2017.
This garden houses sculptures of various renowned characters from novels, including Stuart Little, Good Night Dinosaur, and Charlotte’s Web.
Visitors with a strong sense of imagination and novel lovers can finally dive into a world of imagination.
Moreover, you’d prefer to be here if you’d rather read a book or go through a collection of interesting tales.
Also, the garden and its sculptures are brilliantly lit, allowing anyone to visit the area at any time of day or night.
So, even if you prefer to read at night when it is fully tranquil, you can do so peacefully and at ease.
You can also bring your furry friends and pets along, as long as you put them on a leash.
Address: 1008-1098 N 6th Street, Abilene, Texas 79601; United States
4. Pappy Slokum Brewery
There’s no way you would visit Abilene and miss a taste of their wine.
This city offers one of the best collections of beers with delight in each gulp. Here’s one of them.
The Pappy Slokum Brewery is a tiny Abilene production brewery with a simple goal: to manufacture “well-crafted and exceptionally tasty” beers.
Nevertheless, they have undoubtedly succeeded.
As the only craft brewery in Abilene, its taproom is constantly packed, and the main criticism of patrons is that it is only open once a week.
Three highly dedicated and skilled brewers with a combined 37 years of expertise creating their own beers and running the brewery.
According to the beer experts, their beers are of good quality, so there is something for everyone.
Great place to consider if you want to gulp down a mug or two.
Moreover, the taproom is simple and down-to-earth, offering great visuals of the brewery.
Visitors can come for beers and then play a game of dominoes or cards with pals afterward.
Pets are also allowed as long as you put them on a leash.
What better way is there to spend a Friday evening? Head down to this brewery when you have time.
Address: 409 South Treadaway, Abilene, TX 79602, United States.
5. Abilene Zoo
The Abilene Zoo is a must-see attraction for anyone with a great deal of love for animals.
Abilene Zoological Gardens boasts of a vast and lively animal population for a tiny zoo encompassing only 16 acres.
It is home to over 127 different species, ranging from capybaras and giraffes to reptiles.
There are different zoo areas, each having creatures from the Americas, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America.
Visitors can get up close and intimate with creatures from all over the world.
At the giraffe safari, visitors can feed the giraffes and see other species such as lions, a rare white tiger, humpy camels, and a black rhino.
For an extra cost, try giraffe feeding and get up and personal with the towering creatures as they accept food straight out of your palm.
You can also explore the reptile house.
This section houses a king cobra and over 70 different types of reptiles.
After exploring, wander into the Caribbean Cove and see creatures of the warm tropical rainforests of the Caribbean.
Literally, with so much to explore, you could get hungry and tired along the way, then stop by the Watering Hole.
Here, visitors can refuel with food and soft drinks or even pick up a memento.
Take a ride on the Safari Express train around the zoo or even ride the Wildlife Carousel.
For more fun, you can take a Swan Boat ride on Nelson Lake, try fishing on the lake and feed the fish.
Abilene is fun if you get to explore the best parts and you can’t afford to miss this.
Address: 2070 Zoo Lane, Abilene, TX 79602, United States.
6. Visit the Buffalo Gap Historic Village
For something a little different and exploration filled, make a visit to the Buffalo Gap Historic Village.
The Taylor County History Center, formerly known as the Buffalo Gap Historic Village, is a living museum in Abilene.
Like most museums in Abilene, this museum portrays the nostalgic history of the past half-century of the West Texas rough frontier.
It offers several interactive exhibits, historic interpretation, and educational programming that depict the transition of Abilene from the Wild West to civilized towns.
Visitors can take a tour of this historical village, right amidst what was once the thriving city of Abilene.
Its village’s ancient structures, such as the original Taylor County Courthouse, portray a clear picture of life on the rapidly changing frontier.
Aside from the courthouse, the history center has 15 additional historical structures, some of which were moved from Buffalo Gap and others from other parts of the region.
There are also about 10,000 historical objects that illustrate the West Texas culture.
A visit to this museum is an immersion into the past and phases of Abilene.
If you want to learn a great deal about the city, you’ll conveniently do so in this place.
Address: 133 N. William Street, Buffalo Gap, TX 79508, United States
7. Try cakes at The McKay’s Bakery
If you are in Abilene and just looking for confectionery or a nice place to try cakes, there’s an ideal place.
The McKay’s Bakery has been the place to go in Abilene for coffee cakes, birthday cakes, wedding cakes, and cakes for any other special event for the past 15 years.
This family bakery produces delectable cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, breads, and much more by hand, from scratch, using only the finest ingredients.
They also have two popular locations in Abilene.
Their two Abilene locations are popular places visitors can congregate for breakfast or lunch.
Catch up with friends over a slice of cake or even try out the latest delicious treat.
Moreover, if you didn’t already know, their cake balls are a sampling of their larger cakes, making them an ideal opportunity to get a bite.
Address: 266 Cypress St., Abilene, TX 79605, United States
8. Fort Phantom Hill
Fort Phantom Hill will appeal to adventurers who appreciate witnessing historic remains.
Located in what is now Jones County, was developed in the early 1850s.
It was set up as one of the forts to safeguard Texas’ frontier towns.
Practically, it is one of Texas’ best-maintained historic sites and is part of the Texas Forts Trail, a 650-mile tour of Texas’ ancient forts.
Originally, this fort was known as the “Post on the Clear Fork of the Brazos,” and it was manned by the United States Army from 1851 to 1854.
Majority of the thatched roofs and wood walls were destroyed in a fire when the soldiers abandoned the fort.
Fortunately, there is still a big part of the old fort left for visitors to explore.
A stone powder magazine, a stone guardhouse, and an almost undamaged commissary are still intact.
There are also a dozen stone chimneys as well as the original fort’s stone foundations still standing.
This 38-acre facility is free and available to the public, and you may take a self-guided tour.
Explore the fort grounds and explore the remnants of the constructions that formerly stood here.
Pick up a pamphlet at the parking lot that captures diagrams of each of the remains on the site to assist you in identifying individual structures.
Address: 10818 FM600, Abilene, TX 79601, United States
9. Explore The Grace Museum, Abilene
The Grace Museum in downtown Abilene is one of the city’s cultural gems.
It was established in 1937 as the Abilene Fine Arts Museum and founded by the Abilene Woman’s Club’s Art League.
This museum features five art galleries with alternating exhibitions and artwork from its permanent collection.
More than 2,500 items are on display in the galleries, ranging from paintings and photography to prints, books, and watercolors.
Its history collection has around 12,000 artifacts, including antique pictures, railway files, textiles, and vintage furniture.
Abilene Fine Arts Museum, Mallouf Boots & Tools Collection, Household Tools & Items, and Garments and Fashion are other major gallery collections here.
Also, there is a history gallery with relics from Taylor County, Abilene, and West Texas.
Walking through the museum might easily take many hours, but that is no stress since it’s full of puzzles all the way.
Check out some major exhibits.
Take pictures of artworks or even visit the library.
Tasty and craving coffee?
On-site, there is a coffee shop, which is a good spot to finish your tour.
Address: 102 Cypress St, Abilene, TX 79601, United States.
10. Morgan Jones Planetarium, Abilene
If you have time while touring Abilene, the Morgan Jones Planetarium is a must-see.
The Morgan Jones Planetarium, roughly a half-hour drive from Abilene State Park, is one of Texas’ few planetariums and an amazing place in the city to visit.
This modest planetarium first debuted in 1968 with a single metal ball and pinholes using projected light to excite and teach people about the cosmos.
While technology is growing greatly, the enthusiasm and drive to teach people about the environment has not changed.
Visitors can go on field trips and enjoy a variety of programs and presentations.
Besides, there is no shame in confessing that you still like staring at the stars, comets, and constellations as a child.
First, the adventure begins in the planetarium’s foyer.
There, you’ll find a modest display of celestial items such as a variety of telescopes, a real space suit, and moon pebbles.
Then, head down to the auditorium, the auditorium is a vast, round space with nice lounge seats.
When the lights are turned out, you’ll feel like you’re in a dark night sky full of stars.
The planetarium also hosts a regular series of presentations and talks that are both informative and entertaining.
Even though the planetarium is primarily for educational purposes, however, there are weekly public showings on the galaxy, geology, and meteorology.
It’s worth looking for an opportunity to explore this hidden treasure in Abilene while you’re in town.
Address: 700 N Mockingbird Ln, Abilene, TX 79605-3057, United States.
11. Play Faire Park
Play Faire Park, only a short walk from downtown Abilene, is a fun location in the city, offering a variety of fun activities and games.
Visitors can play miniature golf on one of its two 18-hole courses, which also happen to be the state’s longest-running miniature golf courses.
Take a tour through the play museum and learn traditional outdoor games like tetherball and hopscotch.
You can also try a game of beanbag toss if you can follow all of its rules.
For visitors looking for relaxation amongst music, the park frequently organizes live musical events.
Undoubtedly, the Play Fair Park is a terrific place to go for a simple and pleasurable afternoon with the family, hang out with friends, or even a date.
In fact, the park is one of the greatest places in town for a date.
Head to downtown Abilene and discover it yourself.
Address: 2300 N 2nd Street, Abilene, TX 79601, United States
12. National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature
Book illustrations have a great impression on young readers and play a vital part in their eventual enjoyment of reading.
Abilene is also known as the “Storybook Capital of America”.
Its title seems to make sense that there would be a National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in town.
The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature is a unique museum displaying illustrations in children’s literature and shows artwork done by prominent children’s book artists.
This is a one-of-a-kind museum devoted to children’s literature and the writers of many American classics.
It first opened in 2000, featuring unique artwork as well as educational activities promoting the enjoyment of the arts, stimulating creativity, and promoting reading.
Inside the center, you’ll see artwork from partnerships with well-known artists, demonstrating the genre’s special appeal to young readers.
There are even weekly art programs for children and anyone with a voracious appetite for reading.
To top it all, the museum collaborates with award-winning artists to develop exhibitions of their work.
Each show then moves throughout the country to different additional museums, galleries, and public libraries.
A fantastic opportunity to visit the center is at one of the public events, such as an exhibition opening.
For classic books and gifts, be sure to visit the center’s gift shop.
Pick some books and bring some souvenirs as well.
Address: 102 Cedar Street, Abilene, TX 79601, United States.
13. Frontier Texas!
You can learn about Texas history without having to go through a dusty museum.
The interactive Frontier Texas! attraction, which brings the Old West to life, is one of the finest experiences in Abilene.
Frontier Texas!, in downtown Abilene, is an entertaining and instructive historical site that uses cutting-edge technology to let visitors envision life in the Old West.
Its displays take you on a journey through the history of the area, which was home to cowboys and outlaws in the 1700s and 1800s.
Clovis spearheads and flint daggers are among the items on display at Frontier, Texas.
Meanwhile, while taking a tour of the museum, visitors can stop by The Frontier Experience Theater, where you have a front-row seat to history.
Not just any front-row seat, but in a spinning chair with a 360-degree experience that takes you through the prosperity and challenges of frontier life.
Blood & Treasure on the Frontier, a 90-minute interactive Old West adventure film, brings the frontier and the Wild West days to life.
It introduces characters who lived in the area during those thrilling times.
On the film, visitors can witness the shooting at the Bee Hive Saloon, buffalo stampedes, and a wolf attack, one of the most popular exhibitions on display.
Frontier Texas also serves as a tourist center for the Texas Forts Trail, which spans 64 counties in the area.
Visit the General Store and pick Texas souvenirs, jewelry, and handcrafted products made by local craftsmen.
If you wish to spend more time learning about local history, you can find maps and information on the path.
Might take a whole day to see all the history in this place, pack some food and water along.
Address: #625 North First Street, Abilene, TX 79601, United States.
14. Watch a show at The Paramount Theatre
When the lights on the exterior of the old Paramount Theatre are turned on, there is a romantic atmosphere that goes along with the performance inside.
That is true of the Paramount Theatre.
The magnificent Paramount Theatre in downtown Abilene is a fantastic setting for an evening concert.
Visitors looking for a place to watch concerts and to take in the aura of a performance center will find this ideal.
Paramount Theatre opened its doors in 1930, with the film Safety in Numbers starring Carole Lombard.
This stunning 1,199-seat theater has an ornate dome ceiling with glitter and moving clouds, as well as fascinating Spanish-Moorish interior décor.
Its interior was meant to look like an evening on a Spanish patio, complete with clouds over a night sky.
For over a century, the lit marquee and elegant sidewalk ticket booth have been a magical fixture in Abilene.
It was meticulously renovated in 1986 to restore it to its former beauty.
Presently, this theater hosts live theater, musicals, concerts, dance acts, cinema, and opera.
You can rent its halls for banquets, business meetings, conferences, receptions, marriages, religious events, and parties.
Get a ticket and see what performance is on next week, you’ll catch some delightful moves.
Address: 352 Cypress St, Abilene, TX 79601, United States.
15. Winery at Willow Creek
The Vineyard at Willow Creek is a renowned Abilene winery that opened its doors in 2012.
Unlike most of the wineries, you’ll find in Abilene, its major highlight is its delightful outdoor location adjacent to a burbling creek.
Its view offers visitors not only the serenity and tranquility that comes from being with nature but even views of the creek.
They manufacture around 1,900 cases of wine each year from grapes harvested by local and regional producers.
Visitors can purchase and have a taste of some of their best-selling wines, like Raspberry Dragon Fruit White Shiraz, Peach Chardonnay, and Pomegranate Zinfandel.
You can also purchase some tasty snacks to go with them, such as cream cheese with raspberry chipotle on crackers or a cheese and salami platter.
Also, there are several entertaining activities like live music, a catfish boil, and grape stomping on a regular basis.
However, you’ll have to sit outside if you want to enjoy one of their cigars.
Address: 4353 S Treadaway Blvd, Abilene, TX 79602, United States.
16. Center for Contemporary Arts
The Center for Contemporary Arts, in historic downtown Abilene, is an art center in the city promoting the region’s creative culture via regular exhibits and activities.
Founded in 1989, the Center for Contemporary Arts displays an extraordinary variety of exhibitions with the goal of enriching every visitor that walks through its doors.
Every year, hundreds of tourists come to see the free displays at the center.
Its center features over 20 exhibitions, including regional art, award-winning short films, international photography, and more.
Also, its complex offers a number of free art studios and galleries that showcase a variety of artistic styles.
The five galleries displays regional art, short films, photography, and other modern art forms.
Artists’ studios are right inside the facility, and there are rotating displays throughout the year.
In addition to exhibits, the facility houses 10 art studios that are available for hire.
If you want to learn more about area art and artists, this is a terrific place to go.
Not only is it fun, but it is also one of the best free things to do in the city.
Address: 220 Cypress Street, Abilene, TX 79601, United States.
17. The Mill Wine Bar & Event Center
Wine lovers and enthusiasts will find this event center in Abilene interesting to visit.
The Mill Wine Bar & Event Center surrounded by growing grapevines is a popular Abilene site for wine enthusiasts.
This wine bar and event center have an amazing wine list, rotating craft brews, and a delectable collection of snacks and sweets.
Its cuisine is provided by its own food truck.
Not only is this bar highly scenic, but its beautiful setting has also made it a popular place for parties and gatherings.
Besides, they offer a rolling list of excellent beverage choices which visitors can order from.
If you prefer sitting outside and having a feel of nature, there is something for you.
There is an outside space with a campfire for people who prefer sitting under the stars.
On regular basis, they even host live music performances by local musicians.
Saddle your horses and if you’re ready for this kind of fun, there’s a lot of it.
Address: 239 Locust Street, Abilene, TX 79602, United States.
18. Jacob’s Dream Monument
The Jacob’s Dream monument is a beautiful 40-foot-tall statue on the Abilene Christian University campus.
It is one of the outstanding pieces of art and sculpture you’ll find in Abilene.
Visitors come from all over the globe year-round to take a sneak peek at this wholesome artwork.
You can take a picture or two around the monument or even sit briefly since it brings cool air.
Not just that, its bronze statue and the limestone slabs that surround it create a serene environment for meditation.
On a free day, you can try yoga or other meditation exercises by the monument.
The monument was unveiled as part of the university’s Centennial Year celebrations.
After viewing the monument, wander around campus on the pedestrian pathways to appreciate the stunning flora and architecture.
Address: 1949 ACU Drive, Abilene, TX, United States
19. Monks Coffee Shop, Abilene
It all started with a great cup of coffee and a pleasant, easygoing atmosphere.
Then, word got around that Monks Coffee Shop in downtown Abilene is a wonderful area to grab the best coffee.
Easily, it became one of the trendy places in the city offering very tasty coffee and, as such, bringing a lot of visitors.
This coffee shop is a great location in the city to relax with friends, check your email, or simply unwind after a long day at work.
It is now one of the most popular coffee shops in town, with big and inviting sofas, modest dispersed tables, mismatched chairs, and a wonderful assortment of cold and hot drinks.
Maybe you’re touring the city and looking for a serene spot to relax. Add this to your list.
Check their weekly schedule for live music concerts, poetry evenings, and other events.
You can feed your eyes on so much in downtown Abilene while catching a coffee in this place.
Address: 233 Cypress Street, Abilene, TX 79601, United States
20. Prime Time Family Entertainment Center
Games can be fun and as such endless fun awaits you at Prime Time Family Entertainment Center, Abilene.
There are just so many things to choose from, everyone is sure to find something they’ll like.
One of this entertainment center’s attractions is a series of escape rooms where players must solve riddles in order to escape in under 60 minutes.
You can select your team and who you want to play with before the game and work together to escape.
Visitors can even play a game of miniature golf or bowl on one of the 24 bowling alleys.
Additionally, anyone looking for something a bit more thrilling can hitch a ride in a go-kart or bumper car.
You’ll also find options to play adrenaline-pumping virtual reality games, or even try their hand at axe throwing.
A 4D cinema, batting cages, modern and classic arcade games, and a creative playground are additional highlights.
Game lovers and afficados can’t afford to miss this moment around Abilene.
Address: 4541 Loop 322, Abilene, Texas 79602, United States
21. Sockdolager Brewing Company
The Sockdolager Brewing Company is another brewery in Abilene with a strong love and enthusiasm for brewing.
Located in Abilene’s soda area, this cozy and laid-back tap room brings visitors a vast sample of their beer choices.
Their beers are crafted with just the best ingredients, giving distinct tastes that elicit lively debate.
Most local beers and foreign beers are up for sale and taste and if you take the time to explore, you’ll find one just for you.
Address: 833 S. 1st Street, Abilene, TX 79602, United States
22. Abilene Splash Pads
These splash pads in Abilene will be a hit with the kids.
The Grover Nelson Park Splash Pad is a tiny, colorful water park with several inventive water sprays and fountains.
If you want to splash in more waters and check out other splash pads in Scarborough Park and Stevenson Park, all in Abilene.
There are over a dozen water elements, including water slides and enormous dumping buckets for double the enjoyment.
All splash sites also have drinking fountains and restrooms, and the majority have shaded sitting and picnic spaces.
Take a picnic around its site.
Bring a camera to capture the moment.
Address: E.S. 11th & Loop 322, Abilene, Texas 79602, United States
23. Abilene State Park
The Abilene State Park is a natural recreational environment that not only provides a nice recreational day in the area but also has a lot of history.
Abilene State Park, located about 16 miles from Abilene on the banks of Elm Creek, is a popular local green space that offers a lot of enjoyment for people of all ages.
Because the park is near Buffalo Gap, once home to the early inhabitants of West Central Texas, this natural environment was critical to their survival and shelter.
Visitors can explore several fun options while rummaging in this park.
For sports and exercises, there is a lake, a fishing pond, a well-known swimming pool, and several paths of excellent camping facilities.
Additionally, there’s a horseshoe pit, sand volleyball and basketball courts, and a huge open space for picnics.
If you prefer a stroll, there is a one-mile route, ideal for a walk and birding.
Go bird watching and see hawks, wrens, and mockingbirds, as well as terrestrial species such as armadillos scampering all over.
Take pictures too if you get the chance to find them sitting still.
Try hiking on some of the park’s paths or enjoy swimming in the historic pool, bicycling, and fishing.
Literally, if you want to take an outdoor weekend out of your vacation, you should see this place.
Address: 150 Park Road 32, Tuscola, TX 79562, United States
For a while, you’ll be lost in so much splendor that you wouldn’t want to leave.
Take your time to tour the City and do keep in mind to take pictures.