Present-day visitors to Texas can travel back in time to experience the state’s history through these six event-capable, historic spots.
In the early 1700s, Spanish colonizers built five missions in South to establish Spain’s sovereignty in the region. Today, these UNESCO World Heritage-designated sites, the oldest examples of Spanish colonial architecture in North America, form San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Groups can walk through the park to learn more about the culture that shaped San Antonio. Connected via the River Walk’s Mission Reach extension—a great option for excursions by foot or by bike—Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada remain active Catholic parishes.
As was my fortune once, visitors may happen upon a baptism or a wedding. Groups can experience the Mariachi Mass on Sundays at Mission San Jose. The fifth mission, San Antonio de Valero, is better known as The Alamo, offering an iconic setting for events in spaces that include Alamo Hall and the lush outdoor patio.
Serving as the official visitor center for Abilene and the Texas Forts Trail Region, Frontier Texas! features spellbinding holographs of real people telling firsthand stories of life on the Texas frontier between 1780 and 1880.
Located in Abilene’s historic downtown, the facility offers tours and functions. Rentals include the Experience Theater, 75,000 square feet of outdoor space and full buyouts. Attractions along The Texas Forts Trail include the re-created Buffalo Gap Historic Village.
The signs of seeping oil were there for centuries. Then, on January 10, 1901, the Spindletop gusher blew and the Texas oil industry was born. Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum celebrates this Texas milestone with 15 re-created boomtown buildings, period furnishings and a replica gusher shooting water high into the air.
(Photo: Spindletop gusher at Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum, Credit: Beaumont CVB)
Located on the Lamar University campus near Beaumont, rentals at the easy-to-access museum include the 28-capacity Log Cabin Saloon to full museum buyouts for 500. Tours are available, along with scheduled reenactments such as shoot-outs and Prohibition-era tea parties.
[Related: The 7 Best Texas Museums for Events]
It’s time travel by rail with private and custom excursions aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Groups can retrace the Historic Cotton Belt Route while traveling in 1920s-era couches, pulled by 1896 steam engine “Puffy” or 1953 diesel “Vinny.” Tailored catering packages include wine from Grapevine’s winery tasting rooms.
Bred for quarter-mile racing in the mid-17th century, the Quarter Horse is a true American original. Westward-bound pioneers harnessed this powerful, intelligent animal for herding cattle and rodeo, with Texas becoming an especially active breeding ground. Hollywood also favored the Quarter Horse for many Western movies.
At the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum in Amarillo, tours and educational programs showcase the enduring legacy of this historic breed. Event rentals for up to 300 guests include the magnificent Grand Hall, featuring stone pillars and a giant horse medallion.
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