Culture / Travel

The Most Beautiful Small Town in Texas is a Quick Escape From Austin: Why Georgetown is Much More Than Friday Night Lights — Your Quick Guide

BY // 08.11.18

A few weeks back, I drove a little more than 20 miles from Austin to Georgetown, perhaps best known for having the most beautiful town square in Texas. It’s a small, historic town that not only boasts a welcoming spirit but is also the only town in the South to run on 100 percent renewable energy.

One of Georgtown’s most well-known breweries, Rentsch Brewery, uses wind power to brew its beer, including a bourbon barrel aged prussian, an imperial stout and more.

And the town can boast a “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose” mantra. Yes, this is where cult favorite Friday Night Lights was partially filmed. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Varsity Blues and Dazed and Confused were also all shot in Georgetown.

Georgetown’s Town Square

Georgetown’s adorable town square offers plenty for wine lovers. Grape Creek tasting room offers daily tastings from local wineries. Combine shopping and wine drinking at Mesquite Creek Outfitters, which provides beer, wine and food to enjoy while you partake in some retail therapy.

On a hot summer’s day,  grab a frozen margarita overlooking the river at El Monumento, where they use a Japanese shaved-ice machine to make a velvety smooth snow cone infused with blue agave blanco tequila, all-natural Triple Sec and freshly-squeezed lime juice.

Georgetown’s Best Restaurants

For brunch, hit up Sweet Lemon Kitchen for ham and Swiss croissant sandwiches, croissants made in house every morning and sweet kolaches. Or grab green eggs and ham at Brookwood, an innovative vocational community for adults with special needs.


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Get a plate of Migas and a freshly made cinnamon roll at The Monument Cafe before enjoying its hearty chicken fried chicken or steak. Pro tip: Monument Cafe’s fried pie of the day is not to be missed.

For a nicer dinner, head over to Wildfire for everything from a pickle pear mojito to smoked teal duck quesadillas to a 20-ounce bone-in cowboy ribeye.

For a slice, or a whole pie, check out 600 Degrees Pizzeria for Bakers’ Choice. You tell them any toppings you hate and they’ll whip you up a surprising, but always delicious pizza. It’s only right to mention Black Box Barbecue, the latest from John Mueller, who Texas Monthly calls the “dark prince” of Texas barbecue, known for his JMueller BBQ trailer in South Austin, which was later taken over by his sister and changed into La Barbecue.

A Mecca of History

In addition to being the home of Coach Taylor, Georgetown serves as the home of Southwestern University, the oldest college in Texas, established in 1840.

The town also features a heavy influence of Victorian architecture throughout town. A Victorian house found in Round Rock, known as the Burkland-Frisk house was cut into pieces, moved to Georgetown, and restored in the early 2000s. It’s a twin to the house used in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Southwestern University
Picturesque Southwestern University is the oldest college in Texas.

Lake Life

After a day of walking around Georgetown’s picturesque town square, a jump into Blue Hole is a necessity. The swimming hole is just five blocks north of the downtown square and features limestone bluffs bordering the always 80 degree lagoon.

Adventurous visitors can try out paddle boarding, kayaking, and fishing on Lake Georgetown, or rent a bike for free from the library to see more of Georgetown’s charm.

The newly opened Garey Park, one of the largest parks in Texas, includes a playground, splash pad, three zip lines, a dog park, equestrian arena, pavilions, two fishing ponds, 4.7 miles of hiking trails, and 4.2 miles of equestrian trails.

Concerts in the Square

As for special summer activities, through the month of August, Georgetown has a Music on the Square Summer Concert Series. These are free concerts every Friday night (except first Fridays of the month) on the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas. There is also a  Sunset Movie Series — this Friday, Aug 17th will be A Wrinkle in Time.

Next time you’re sitting in stand-still traffic on 35 or waiting two hours in line for brunch, it might be time to make the quick trip to Georgetown to experience this blossoming, but still small-town friendly gem.

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