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31 Best & Fun Things To Do In Tyler (Texas)

The city of Tyler is the Smith County seat and the biggest city in northeastern Texas.

It was named after the tenth United States President, John Tyler, and was the beginning of the Adopt-a-Highway movement in 1985.

For the most part, the city is known as Rose City, or the Rose Capital of America, thanks to its long history in the production and cultivation of roses.

It’s also here that you’ll find the country’s biggest rose garden and the annual Rose Festival.

But that’s not to say that the city is a one-trick pony!

It boasts numerous exciting attractions, ranging from the historic to the outdoorsy.

Many options are available both in and near the city to make for a great vacation for the whole family, no matter what you’re interested in.

To help you narrow down those options, here are our picks for the best and fun things to do in Tyler, Texas.

1. Tyler Rose Garden

Tyler Rose Garden

Donna Chance Hall / Shutterstock

Tyler Rose Garden is a stunning 14-acre manicured attraction featuring over 500 rose varieties across 35,000 rose bushes.

Famous across the globe, this is one of the best things to see in the city.

Not only is it one of the most romantic things to do here, but it’s also one of the free things to do, with seven-day-a-week openings from dawn to dusk and no admission fee.

Tyler Rose Garden is broken up into a number of different areas, including the Meditation Garden, Heritage Rose Garden, Summer Garden, Ida Garden, and the Queen’s Court.

There are also beautiful water features, like the Archway Fountain, and several ponds to view.

Regardless of where you go, you’ll be greeted by vibrant roses in all sorts of different colors.

The ideal time to visit this garden is either in mid-to-late May or in October, which are peak bloom periods.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Tyler Rose Museum and Gift Shop, which sells souvenirs while also teaching you about the garden’s history, the city’s rose-growing market, and more via interactive exhibits.

Address: 420 Rose Park Dr, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

2. Caldwell Zoo

Caldwell Zoo

Becky Sheridan / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for top vacation spots, the 85-acre expanse of the Caldwell Zoo is a fantastic, fun location for the whole family.

It’s a great sanctuary for all sorts of animals and has come a long way since its tentative founding in 1937.

Back then, founder David King Caldwell was merely opening a Child Development Laboratory.

This “lab” was designed so kids could interact with squirrels, parrots, monkeys, and all sorts of other animals.

16 years after this, the establishment grew into an official zoo.

More than 2,000 different animals call Caldwell Zoo their home, from local species to species from across the globe.

At the entrance, you’re greeted by birds, squirrel monkeys, and flamingos and are met with numerous possible paths to choose from, as the zoo is divided into sections by region.

There’s an East African section with cheetahs, warthogs, meerkats, African elephants, African lions, Colobus monkeys, and parrots, among others.

The North American portion houses bobcats, cougars, red foxes, bison, alligators, white-tailed deer, black bears, and many more.

Then there’s the South American section with a huge wealth of vibrant bird species, giant anteaters, ocelots, cotton-topped tamarins, and more.

Finally, a Herpetarium houses the reptile and amphibian showcases, featuring the likes of green anacondas, poison dart frogs, leopard geckos, and numerous others!

But there’s even more to do at Caldwell Zoo, which is why it’s one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

Animal encounters bring you up close and personal to bears and penguins, while giraffe feedings allow you to meet these long-necked mammals face-to-face.

Regular keeper talks provide extra education and a petting zoo is fantastic for kids.

Don’t forget to stroll Wild Bird Walkabout to catch sight of all the coolest birds!

Address: 2203 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

3. Discovery Science Place

Discovery Science Place

Timistoolmanis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most fun places to visit for families, Discovery Science Place is a children’s museum that aims to encourage curiosity and learning through hands-on and interactive activities.

It is uniquely housed inside a building that was once a car dealership.

Kids of all ages will find something exciting to do here, with all that the museum has to offer.

There are loads of exhibits to explore at the Discovery Science Place.

Kids can learn all about physics via kinetic sculptures at Buford Kinetics Gallery or learn about space and space exploration via the Orion and 3D Cinesphere areas.

The Cave, a big artificial cave featuring an earthquake simulator and many sediments and rock exhibits, will also thrill young explorers.

Discovery Science Place also houses scale representations of various local buildings in the city, such as Southside Bank, the Smith County Courthouse, CTMF Neonatal Nursery, Brookshire’s Grocery Store, Hometown Veterinary Clinic, and more that allow children to learn all about public spaces and what they do.

There’s even CBS19 Kids TV Station, a mock news station with working control boards and cameras!

There are also simple attractions, like a fish tank filled with various goldfish, the DSP Train Set, and Imagination Playground, for more relaxed but engaging excitement.

Kids can also dig for fossils at the Dino Dig Pit or flex their athleticism at the Meso-American Rock-Climbing Wall.

Address: 308 N Broadway Ave, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

4. Tyler State Park

Tyler State Park

JiroTX / Shutterstock

If you’re looking to visit scenic places in the USA, the Tyler State Park is a beautiful park that spans an impressive 985 acres.

Situated at the northern reach of the city, it’s one of the top things to do in Tyler, TX for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a little recreation.

The gorgeous park features a stunning 64-acre lake, several historic structures, and lots of trees that scale 100 feet or taller!

There are tons of activities to avail of in Tyler State Park.

You can rent a boat or go for a swim in the lake, which is fed by a refreshing spring.

Fishers will also enjoy trying to catch catfish, perch, and bass in the lake from one of the three fishing piers.

Birders, wildlife watchers, campers, picnickers, hikers, geocachers, bikers, and explorers will also find plenty to do, following one of the many trails available.

The Whispering Pines Nature Trail is especially popular, but there are a total of 13 miles of trails to choose from!

Want to extend your stay at the park this weekend?

You can camp overnight or rent a cabin!

Address: 789 Park Rd 16, Tyler, TX 75706, United States

5. Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum

Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum is one of the key historic Tyler attractions, a landmark estate dating back to the Civil War era.

Built in 1859, it was originally named Bonnie Castle and was, architecturally speaking, a Greek Revival cottage.

At the time, it was built on 9 acres of land by a man who would go on to join the Confederate States Army, upon which he sold the estate to a local teacher.

The teacher used the house as a safe haven for refugee families fleeing the Union Army after the Capture of New Orleans in 1862.

In 1866, the house was sold to the person who gave it its current name: Samuel A. Goodman, a retired physician.

The home would remain in the Goodman family for the next generation, kept by Sallie Goodman and her husband James Hutcheson LeGrand, the other eponymous figure of the museum we know today.

The home was used for numerous charitable events and was eventually remodeled to the style it is in now: Classic revival, with iconic semi-circular porticos.

Sallie would bequeath the home and everything in it to the city upon her 1939 death.

It has since gone on to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places Listings and is a Daughters of the American Revolution National Historic Site.

The house has no admission fee, making it one of the coolest free things to do in the city, and you can tour the home and gain lots of insight into local life in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Address: Goodman Park, 624 N Broadway Ave, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

6. Tyler Museum of Art

Tyler Museum of Art

Tyler Museum of Art

The Tyler Museum of Art is an award-winning private institution dedicated to showcasing both international and local art, including works from Texas artists.

It promotes community art education and is one of the best places to go for art aficionados visiting the city.

The history of the museum is a humble one.

In 1952, no art museum existed within 100 miles of the city, so the Tyler Service League moved to form the first Community Arts Committee.

For 8 years, the league sent Picture Ladies to bring works of art in the form of prints to local fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms to give children the chance to experience art up close.

This eventually led to a proper art center being established in 1960 in the old Jamie T. Smith home, soon leading to the 1971 opening of the official museum.

Today, the museum spans 17,000 square feet, boasting three galleries that contain more than 1,500 permanent collection works, alongside many temporary and rotating exhibits.

This includes the Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican and Latin American Folk Art and numerous works of contemporary local art from the state.

All sorts of different mediums are featured, including prints, paintings, photos, sculptures, and more.

Address: 1300 S Mahon Ave, Tyler, TX 75701, United States

7. Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary

Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary

Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary

The Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary is a 173-acre designated preserve that boasts natural habitats as homes for over 40 rescued tigers, lions, leopards, and other wild felines.

The sanctuary promoted conservancy while also rescuing and rehabilitating the animals within, specializing in saving displaced, neglected, and abused big cats.

The Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary was founded in 1995 as the Tiger Missing Link Foundation.

At the time, its sole purpose was documenting tigers kept in captivity that weren’t a part of accredited zoos.

Over time, the founder became more ambitious, moving onto an off-the-grid property and clearing land for enclosures for rescued tigers.

In 1998, Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge opened on just 25 acres, and it has only grown since.

Tours of the Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary are highly educational, giving you the chance to learn in a fun and interesting way.

You can see the reduced wildcats and tour the compound, granting insight into the behind-the-scenes magic of the sanctuary.

This tour includes the very small red cabin that the founder once lived in when the sanctuary was first founded, a reminder of the organization’s roots.

Address: 17552 FM14, Tyler, TX 75706, United States

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8. Kiepersol Vineyards, Winery & Distillery

Kiepersol Vineyards, Winery & Distillery

Kiepersol Vineyards, Winery & Distillery

The estate of the Kiepersol Vineyards, Winery & Distillery is award-winning, spanning 63 acres across vineyards and gorgeous landscapes where artisan wines are produced, from grape to bottle.

The delightful tasting room at Kiepersol Vineyards, Winery & Distillery is incredible and one of the most enjoyable things to do in Tyler, TX for adults.

Classic white and red wines, as well as several unique spirits, are served here, with the most popular vintages up for sampling.

You can also head to the onsite restaurant to eat great meals for all three daily meals, accompanied, of course, by the perfect wine pairings.

Address: 21556-B Merlot Ln, Tyler, TX 75703, United States

9. Tyler Berry Farm

Tyler Berry Farm

Tyler Berry Farm

Located right near Caldwell Zoo, Tyler Berry Farm is one of the fun points of interest for fruit-lovers and anyone who enjoys a fresh bite of produce!

Upon arrival, you’re given a basket that you can use to pick berries to your heart’s content, and they’re bagged for you on your way out.

The farm offers seasonal blueberry picking in June and July and sunflower picking in August.

So if you’re in town at the right time this weekend, this is definitely a place to add to your to-do list, especially with family!

With a relatively low price per pound of picked berries, this is one of the cheap things to do in the city without breaking the bank.

Address: 9628 County Rd 429, Tyler, TX 75704, United States

10. Historic Aviation Memorial Museum

The Historic Aviation Memorial Museum is situated in the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, housed in what was once a passenger terminal building.

It’s dedicated to displaying various facts about aviation history throughout times of war, peace, and more.

Military aircraft, various memorabilia, and exhibits dedicated to important figures of aviation history are on display here.

A theater offers flight-simulating daily shows, and a library provides plenty of interesting books and manuscripts.

The hangar facility of the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum is used for old aircraft restoration.

If you’re here at the right time, you may be able to watch high-profile airshows and air exhibits, which are commonly held here year round.

Enthusiasts of this subject will find this one of the top local attractions, so add it to your list of what to do in Tyler!

Address: 150 Airport Dr # 2-7, Tyler, TX 75704, United States

11. The Whitaker-McClendon House

The Whitaker-McClendon House

Renelibrary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Whitaker–McClendon House is a Tyler Historic Landmark and a part of the National Register of Historic Places.

It is a living museum and one of the best Tyler attractions for history buffs.

The Victorian home was built in 1878 and boasts touches and influences of Eastlake and Italianate architectural styles.

The two-story building, set on two acres of land, is built upon a brick foundation and constructed primarily with pine and cypress wood.

On the first floor, there is the main foyer, a dining room, a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom and bathroom.

On the second floor, there are four additional bedrooms and two more bathrooms.

Eventually, the house was rented out as the Whitakers separated and moved, and it was lived in by the McClendon family – hence the name.

Today, the Whitaker-McClendon House is open for viewing, primarily focusing on exhibiting documents and artifacts from the Antebellum period of both World Wars.

You can learn a lot from the guides and staff.

Large groups can even avail of an awesome murder mystery game!

Address: 625 S Vine Ave, Tyler, TX 75701, United States

12. Earth And Space Science Center

Earth And Space Science Center

Earth And Space Science Center

The Earth And Space Science Center is a part of Tyler Junior College and claims to be among the biggest planetariums in Texas.

It originally opened in 1963 as the Hudnall Planetarium before its 2011 reopening and expansion.

The Earth And Space Science Center is home to East Texas’ very first 40-inch Spitz nano-seam domed theater, which creates an incredible full-dome experience for immersive video viewing.

Absolutely everything about the center is state-of-the-art, with modern digital projection technology in the form of the Digitarium Aethos and tons of interactive exhibits.

There are countless things to see in the Earth And Space Science Center, which make it fun for everyone.

Big plasma screens project real-time videos from the Space Telescope Science Institute and NASA.

A constantly changing schedule of shows and exhibits keeps things fresh and new each time you visit!

Address: 1411 E Lake St, Tyler, TX 75701, United States

13. Camp Ford Historic Park

Camp Ford Historic Park

Camp Ford Historic Park

Camp Ford Historic Park, as its name suggests, is dedicated to telling the tales of the history of Camp Ford.

The camp was the biggest Confederate Prisoner of War Camp in the American Civil War to the west of the Mississippi River.

It was in operation from 1863 to 1865, holding more than 5,300 prisoners in total.

It was originally built as a training camp a year prior before being repurposed.

Now, the infamous location is a free-to-access public park and one of the top recreational locations in the city – a far cry from its original purpose.

There’s no shortage of stuff to do here, with a walking trail fixed with useful signage, a diorama showcasing the camp’s history, and a restoration of the cabin of Lt. Col J. B. Leake.

There are also picnic areas to relax in.

Address: 6500 US-271, Tyler, TX 75708, United States

14. The Children’s Park of Tyler

The Children's Park of Tyler

The Children’s Park of Tyler

The Children’s Park of Tyler is a unique entry on this list.

It’s one of the fun things to do in Tyler, TX for families with kids of any age, but it’s also a sobering, meditative, healing space.

The beautiful park is dedicated to bringing nature to children and remembering those who have passed.

Founders Jennifer and Billy Dan Carson were inspired to push for the creation of this park after learning of Elena’s Children’s Park in Dallas, a park to commemorate a child lost to a traffic accident.

The Carsons had lost their own son and sought to honor his life and the lives of all children and, with the assistance of the community and the City Council, brought this dream to fruition.

The lovely Children’s Park boasts many walkways, equipment pieces, and statues, as well as two waterfalls, a butterfly garden, a fishpond, a story circle, and a small event center.

The walkways, made from cobblestone, are engraved with the names of the many children that the park honors.

Address: 110 E Dobbs St, Tyler, TX 75701, United States

15. Azalea Residential Historic District

Azalea Residential Historic District

Becky Sheridan / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for more free things to do in Tyler, then take a drive or walk through one of the most beautiful local places to visit: the Azalea Residential Historic District.

This district is filled with a huge number of stunning homes from the mid-20th century, with styles such as Ranch, Queen Anne, Craftsman, International, and Classical Revival to peruse.

Architecture aficionados and sightseers alike will find joy in soaking up the heritage of the city.

Azaleas bloom on every corner, with different subdivisions showcasing the changes that the city underwent during the state’s Oil Boom and the subsequent growth of its population.

There are 36 sections of homes you can view from the street as you stroll or drive by.

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16. Chamblee’s Rose Nursery

Chamblee's Rose Nursery

Chamblee’s Rose Nursery

Chamblee’s Rose Nursery is a family-operated business that first opened its doors in 1953.

It was led by the titular Mark Chamblee, a passionate and certified professional in nursery care and flowers.

As Tyler is said to be America’s rose capital, it’s only fitting that one of the fun places to go in this city is related to those great flowers!

More than 200 rose species are grown and sold at Chamblee’s Rose Nursery.

Staff are knowledgeable and can provide lots of information about each variety.

There are Kordes Roses, Antique Roses, China Roses, Climbing Roses, Shrub Roses, David Austin Roses, Weeks Roses, and many, many more!

But it’s not just roses that you can find here!

The nursery also grows and sells a variety of other beautiful flora, such as the Hollywood hibiscus, hydrangeas, and more.

Flowers come in all sorts of vibrant colors, from white to yellow and from purple to orange, as well as the classic pinks and reds.

Address: 16807 County Rd 363, Winona, TX 75792, United States

17. Texas Rose Festival

The Texas Rose Festival is one of the most famous events held in Tyler.

It’s a fun annual festival held for three days each fall, usually on the third weekend of every October.

If you’re in town this weekend, this isn’t an event to miss!

The events of the festival are centered on the court of the Rose Queen.

The court includes the likes of the Rose Queen, the Duchess of the Rose Growers, out-of-town duchesses, ladies-in-waiting, scepter bearers, trainbearers, and more.

Members of the court – and the queen herself – dress up in luxurious, elaborate costumes and gowns that match each year’s theme.

Most members of the court have long histories with the festival, often playing various court roles throughout the years and playing a big part in the events’ planning and execution.

There are numerous events for the Texas Rose Festival.

The most popular is the Rose Festival Parade, but others like luncheons, the Queen’s Tea, a Vespers service, the Queen’s Coronation, arts and crafts shows, car shows, concerts, toy shows, and much more are also held.

This colorful event is truly one-of-a-kind and definitely worth participating in!

Address: 420 Rose Park Dr, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

18. American Freedom Museum

The American Freedom Museum is a part of the Brook Hill School.

It has the goal of honoring active military and veterans while educating and inspiring its visitors to appreciate and emulate American freedom and the courage required to achieve it.

It’s one of the most interesting things to do in Tyler, TX.

Technically, the museum is situated near the city, in Bullard.

Spanning 15,000 square feet, the American Freedom Museum showcases more than 650 artifacts across two galleries, namely the Hall of American Freedom and the Hall of Presidents.

You’ll learn about wartime in America, the American Revolution, the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, and the stories and histories of various war heroes.

Address: 1051 N Houston St, Bullard, TX 75757, United States

19. Cotton Belt Depot Museum

Cotton Belt Depot Museum

Cotton Belt Depot Museum

The Cotton Belt Depot Museum is an institution dedicated to exhibiting the history of the Saint Louis Southwestern Railroad, also simply called the Cotton Belt.

This railroad line, a narrow gauge variety, began as the Tyler Tap.

As its nickname suggests, it was meant to transport cotton, among other produce, out to Texas’ Big Sandy.

As its name suggests, the museum calls the old 1900s building of the Cotton Belt Depot its home.

It’s run by volunteers from the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society.

Its most prized exhibit is a delightful interactive collection of model trains, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Bragg.

This is undoubtedly one of the city’s best points of interest for locomotive enthusiasts!

Address: 210 E Oakwood St, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

20. Ye Olde City Antique Mall

Ye Olde City Antique Mall

Ye Olde City Antique Mall

Shoppers in Tyler who are wondering what to do will probably know all about the city’s many antique stores, but there’s none better than Ye Olde City Antique Mall.

Part of the city’s historic downtown area, it’s an incredibly popular decades-old structure that sells all sorts of goodies, from fun toys to furniture and from glassware to jewelry.

Even radios and telephones are up for grabs if you’re lucky enough to snatch some up!

Address: 324 E Locust St, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

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21. Faulkner Park

Faulkner Park is the best place to head to among Tyler attractions for some recreation and relaxation – or for some leisurely exercise!

Since its opening in 2001, Faulkner Park and its many activities have been a great addition to the city.

A fishing pond gives you the chance to fish while the Nature Trail beckons you for a calming stroll around the verdancy.

Faulkner Park boasts an impressive 9 miles of hiking trails that loop for convenience, as well as an adventure bike trail that contains 5 downhill jumps.

There’s also the Faulkner Park Sprayground, which is a splash zone for children, and the Faulkner Tennis Center, alongside some baseball and softball fields.

And, of course, a fair few picnic tables are scattered about so you can stop to rest at any time you like!

Address: 410 W Cumberland Rd, Tyler, TX 75703, United States

22. Lake Tyler

Lake Tyler

Carly Forever / Shutterstock

The gorgeous Lake Tyler is one of the city’s most beautiful things to see, and indeed is a stunning sight worthy of any visitor to Texas.

Not only is it a source of fresh drinking water for the city, but it’s also a great recreational highlight offering many different water-based activities, like waterskiing, boating, fishing, and more.

It’s also a cool place for camping, with many campsites, RV sites, and four cabins to rent or reserve.

Lake Tyler is man made and is technically made up of its West and East portions, totaling about 4,714 acres in size.

Bird watchers particularly enjoy traversing the forests surrounding the lake to try to spot one of the more than 220 different bird species often seen on the lake.

These include the wood duck, Eastern bluebird, blue grosbeak, summer tanager, and many types of woodpeckers.

Anglers, meanwhile, enjoy attempting to catch the many fish stocked on the lake, like white and spotted bass, channel and blue catfish, white and black crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill, gizzard shad, and more.

Address: Tyler, TX, United States

23. Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The downtown theater of Liberty Hall is one of the prime entertainment-related tourist attractions in the city.

It presents various classic film revivals, comedy shows, and live music for East Texas.

It first opened as Liberty Theater in the 1930s and fell abandoned for decades before it was refurbished in 2008 in a gorgeous art déco style.

Seating just around 300 people, Liberty Hall provides an intimate and fun experience, with symphony orchestras, theater shows, and much more performed on a regular and bustling schedule.

Check it out to see what’s showing tonight.

Who knows – maybe something will catch your fancy!

Address: 103 E Erwin St, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

24. Mita Artisan Shoppe

Mita Artisan Shoppe

Mita Artisan Shoppe

If you’re looking for more shopping-related things to do in Tyler, TX, why not support a quaint local business that celebrates Mexican heritage and partners with numerous Mexican artisans?

Mita Artisan Shoppe does exactly that, selling all manner of vibrant items that make for amazing gifts, souvenirs, and decorative pieces.

There are accessories, decorative works, clothing, and more, all unique and hand-crafted.

Mita Artisan Shoppe is situated in Bergfeld Center and had very humble beginnings.

The eponymous Mita was living in Canton, Texas when she decided to begin selling handcrafted items in 2018 as a side business.

When she was laid off in May 2020, she took the leap and turned this into her full-time job, slowly expanding and bringing in more merchandise.

Her business took off thanks to her sale of hand-embroidered face masks and has only grown in popularity since.

Address: 119 E 8th St, Tyler, TX 75701, United States

25. Texas Rose Horse Park

Texas Rose Horse Park

Texas Rose Horse Park

The Texas Rose Horse Park is a family-operated premier facility designed as an event space.

With 17,000 acres to its name, it boasts a full-sized, well-lit indoor arena, six all-weather show arenas outdoors which include a Grand Prix Jumper Ring, and three show barns that can house more than 350 horses.

There is also an additional tent pad that doubles that accommodation number, an RV park with 61 lots, a Tadpole to Intermediate level Cross Country Course, and, of course, a concession court.

In other words, this is one of the best places to visit if you’re an equestrian enthusiast, welcoming both English and Western communities and a slew of various businesses and organizations.

The Texas Rose Horse Park hosts a wide variety of fun shows, such as Horse Trail Events, Dressage Shows, Jumper Shows, and Hunter Shows.

There are also non-horse-related events, like USEDC Drill competitions and USDAA Dog Agility Trials.

The Texas Rose Horse Park also encompasses the Brunson Equestrian Center, providing a full horse training, lesson, and boarding program.

There is also a Summer Camp for people of all levels of experience.

In addition to all of that, the park is beautifully found among Tyler’s stunning hills, and there are guided trail rides that bring you through the gorgeous property.

Address: 14078 Hwy 110 S, Tyler, TX 75704, United States

26. Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

Stanley's Famous Pit Barbecue

LMPark Photos / Shutterstock

Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue is probably the most renowned barbecue joint in Tyler, and it’s also the oldest in this Texas city.

For over six decades, the joint has served the locale’s very best pit-smoked delicacies, even offering options for vegetarians.

What really sells it is its delightful atmosphere – it’s a mom-and-pop joint with a welcoming, friendly, and vibrant feel, with an outdoor patio to boot.

The menu at Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue goes beyond just common barbecue creations, though those are certainly a specialty.

For example, there’s the Mother Clucker, a delicious sandwich with smoked and spiked chicken thigh fillet with cheddar cheese, spicy BBQ mayonnaise, and over-easy eggs served on a sourdough bun flavored with jalapeno cheese.

There are even breakfast options, like the J. D.’s breakfast bowl, and great vegetarian tacos for those who aren’t much for meat!

Better yet, Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue hosts many live music events for free at night and on weekends, mainly featuring local musicians.

And, of course, you’ll get to be serenaded while drinking one of over 100 available drinks, featuring great American ryes, bourbons, and whiskeys.

Address: 525 S Beckham Ave, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

27. Apache Drive-In Theater

Apache Drive-In Theater

Apache Drive-In Theater

The Apache Drive-In Theater is a strictly adults-only classic drive-in theater, a reflection of the secret-keeping ability of East Texas.

Nestled mysteriously inside of a Tyler forest, this is a fun joint that only screens explicit movies, so it can be an enticing option for couples looking to spice up their night.

The secluded nature of the Apache Drive-In Theater feels a little threatening at first, but after a while, you begin to realize that the simplicity of the dirt parking lots and the wear-and-tear of the dim screen are part of its charm.

Here, you can partake in skin flicks in the comfort and privacy of your vehicles.

It may be surprising to note, but business at the Apache Drive-In Theater is clearly quite good, as it has had some good renovations recently.

It sells concessions and relatively affordable tickets, and it even has an adult bookstore and video shop.

Address: 13180 TX-31, Tyler, TX 75705, United States

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28. Smith County Historical Society Museum

Smith County Historical Society Museum

Smith County Historical Society Museum

If you’re a history buff seeking even more things to do in Tyler, TX, head over to the Smith County Historical Society Museum.

It is situated in the Carnegie History Center, a 1904 building that was once the Carnegie Public Library.

It’s a part of the National Register of Historic Places and showcases a significant number of exhibits related to Texas’ Smith County and its culture.

You’ll learn about the county’s economic, political, and social background.

As Tyler is the county seat, it makes sense that the museum calls this city its home!

The Smith County Historical Society Museum chronicles unique dioramas and exhibits in chronological order, dating all the way back to the habitation of the Caddo peoples and all the way up to the 20th century.

Its permanent exhibit is known as the 20th Century of Progress and showcases the growth of the county, discussing the growth of roses and crops, the discovery of local oil, and more.

There are also tons of temporary exhibits to peruse.

Address: 125 S College Ave, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

29. Relax Lab

Relax Lab

Relax Lab

Relax Lab promises exactly what its name suggests: relaxation and rest, a great way to top off a tiring day exploring Tyler, Texas.

There are multiple branches around the country, and this one is just as good as the others!

The biggest draw of Relax Lab is its unique float therapy experience, which makes you feel completely weightless.

You’ll lie in a giant tub that is filled with Epsom salt – 1,200 pounds of it! – so that you float with ease and without thought.

This is a part of the establishment’s Sensory Deprivation Therapy offering, the first of its kind in the city.

There are also some more traditional relaxation options too, of course.

Messages and stretch treatments, for example, can help you unwind after a full day of activities.

Address: 2469 Earl Campbell Pkwy A, Tyler, TX 75701, United States

30. Tyler Civic Theater

The Tyler Civic Theater began its life as the Tyler Little Theater.

It was created in 1927 in a humble way, performing only at Tyler High School and on a speaker’s platform, as well as on South Broadway’s Women’s Building.

It wasn’t until 1939 that the theater would gain its own building.

The building, unfortunately, was sold in World War II, with all proceeds going toward the city.

But once the war was over, the community’s desire for theater and art was able to revive the fun entertainment venue, elevating it into a great offering in this part of Texas.

This revival started with Tyler Junior College at the Circle Theater, where it grew popular enough to rebuild the theater fully by 1951.

At this point, the structure was the country’s very first building that was constructed only for in-the-round presentations.

Even fires couldn’t stop the theater’s run, with an improvised stage set up in the lobby of the People’s Bank after it was destroyed in a fire.

It wasn’t long before the building reopened, and by the 1990s, it was rapidly expanding, becoming more modern and welcoming new facilities.

There’s always something to watch and enjoy at the Civic Theater.

If you’re looking for what to do, check the schedule!

With different stages and a number of workshops, performances, and more, you’ll be entertained and delighted.

Address: 400 Rose Park Dr, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

31. Texas African American Museum

The Texas African American Museum is one of the newer Tyler attractions, established only in 2016.

As with many cities in the state, this one has a dark past behind it of lynchings and slavery.

The goal of this museum’s creation is to preserve these dark realities of the past, serving as a record of events and a form of community redress.

Texas African American Museum began primarily as a virtual space, showcasing news events and historical informational posts on a website and Facebook page.

Then, it was able to take up a one-room display in Unique Shopping Mall, showcasing hundreds of photographs donated by African Americans as well as art displays and artifacts from local history, such as a Smith County poll tax receipt.

It wasn’t long before the Texas African American Museum gained popularity and traction and was able to relocate to progressively larger spaces, flourishing and serving as an educational hotspot in the community.

It has gone on to impact the city in bigger ways, setting up historical markers and displays in the downtown area to further commemorate and honor black history.

Address: 309 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tyler, TX 75702, United States

Visiting other parts of Texas? Why not check out some of the things to do in San Marcos & some of the things to do in Port Aransas?

Start Planning Your Trip To Tyler

There are many things to do in Tyler, TX, with many attractions focused on the great outdoors, history, animals, shopping, food, and culture.

Your stay in the Rose Capital is sure to be an exciting one, and you’ll be greeted by the Western charm and a delightful balance between bustling cities and a relaxing country.

Happy travels.