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Wichita Falls Texas? Everyone asked when I announced my weekend getaway. I admit that I chose this location because my youngest son attended his military technical school here. Looking on the map, it is in the middle of nowhere. But this little town has so much to offer!
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Located equidistant from Dallas, Texas, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, this town’s visitors consist of a few major groups. The largest group is that related to the military. Sheppard Air Force base is one of the major training campuses for the Air Force. The base hosts approximately 20,000 military members on any given day. Hosting additional students, the base houses approximately 60,000 troops each year. The influence of the military is seen throughout the town and this is a positive symbiotic relationship. Home to Midwestern State University, this town’s population is young. Wichita Falls is revitalizing the downtown area to cater to those driving through and attending special events.
So what to do in Wichita Falls Texas?
PRO TIP: Whenever visiting a small town, always check attraction hours in advance as it isn’t unusual for them to be closed on Sundays or if business is slow.
This little center in Wichita Falls Texas is more of a to-do with children but a nice place to spend some time. A lot of visitors come because of weddings and rehearsal dinners or family gatherings and it is perfect for that purpose. We visited on a day with snow flurries, so we only explored the indoor spaces. During our visit, a fifth grade class on a field trip learned about geology. A docent accompanied visitors which turned out to be great as we learned all about each animal and tree. This furry little prairie dog loved being held and scratched. I even got to try a Texas mallow flower!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit this little museum. I was right by it on Saturday but was so tired that I planned on returning Sunday. To my disappointment, the museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
I enjoyed their “Jenny to Jet” exhibit at the airport and based on this, recommend a visit. The beauty of this small museum is the FREE admission. You can’t beat that!
WORLD’S LITTLEST SKYSCRAPER
The tourist signs piqued my curiosity about this place. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not titled it the “World’s Littlest Skyscraper” in 1920. The result of a swindle by a con man, a judge upheld the contract signed by investors who believed that a four-story building would provide extra office space in town. They didn’t realize that they wouldn’t be full stories. A consignment store now fills the space.
Visitors come to Wichita Falls specifically to visit the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Typical of museums created by people who love the subject, management will try to stay open or open on closed days if told in advance through an email. One of the most unique collections I’ve seen which led me down memory lane. Though not a huge wrestling fan, I recognized memorabilia from The Rock, Sting, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, amongst many. The small admission price ($3/adults, $2/military) is worth it for the memories alone!
Curious where this town got its name! There used to be a small falls here but they washed away during a flood in the 1800s. This man-made version built in 1987 in Lucy Park commemorates the town’s origin. The park itself is beautiful and encircled by a 1.7 mile concrete trail. The park is the western start of the City Wide Trail System (currently 18 miles of concrete trails and scheduled to become 24 miles). The falls are an easy one mile walk from the entrance of the park or park near the highway for a shorter hike.
Wee Chi Tah translates to “waist deep” in Comanche. This sculpture replicates a family testing the depth of the waters for the family to cross. The Mountain Bike Trail is popular among mountain bikers and hikers alike. This is likely the most Instagrammable spot in town!
Opening in 1918, this former Carnegie public library is listed as a Texas historical landmark. Transformed into a center for the arts in 2002, it now houses a small collection of art from local artists. The best part? The beautiful sculptured garden provides a serene escape from the rest of the town.
Opened in 2017, this brewery offers not only its own beers but other local brews as well as ciders too. The friendly bartenders helpfully suggested different beers to try. The majority of customers were either local or from the nearby area – adding to the neighborhood feel of this brewery. For those not drinking, soda and juice alternatives were plentiful. Want to take some beer home? Take a crowler of your favorite beer with you – mine was the Lifetime Dreamer Belgian Wit!
Wichita Falls Railroad Museum
Hard to find just using the tourist signs, this museum is located at 500 9th Street – on the train tracks. Open only on Saturdays from 11am to 3pm, time your visit right! The good news is that you can climb inside several types of trains and cabooses.
Where to eat in Wichita Falls Texas:
After visiting a few places, are you looking for somewhere to eat?
If you’re in Texas, the land of cattle, you’ve got to eat steak, right? If so, McBride Land & Cattle Co. Steaks is the local restaurant to try. This family-owned business has a strong local following. The restaurant’s decor is a little tired but I don’t care about that as long as my food is good. We enjoyed dinner here on a Sunday night and they had some fabulous specials. We ate as soon as the doors opened at 5pm but there was already a line waiting for the doors to open. My sirloin steak was really tender and included a baked potato and side salad for $14.75 – not bad at all! The TripAdvisor reviews were all over the place – but we were nicely surprised with our affordable and well-prepared steaks.
Gidget’s was one of the places my Uber driver recommended. Their soups and sandwiches really hit the spot on our cold, dreary day. The fresh baked cookies served as a nice dessert. While we were the only ones eating there, we saw several customers come and pick up takeout orders. This is one of the most kitschy restaurants I’ve ever been to – the tables are random kitchen sets with random chairs. It was the perfect setting using the older buildings downtown.
This area of Texas is gorgeous and there are lots of areas for hiking. Unfortunately, I visited just a month after having foot surgery so I couldn’t enjoy those but I highly recommend looking into that if you’re seeking more active adventures. Visiting San Antonio? Start planning your weekend itinerary here.
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Annick, The Common Traveler