Where is the most beautiful town square in Texas?
Drive 25 miles north of Austin and you’ll find it.
We’ve become big fans of Texas. And centre stage of the Lone Star state has been the smaller towns. They steal the limelight from their bigger siblings and for that reason when Georgetown asked us to visit their slice of America we were intrigued.
If the sprawling big cities and big highways of Texas seem daunting, you’ll prefer the small-town vibe of Georgetown. Just 30 minutes up the I-35 from Austin and we entered what felt like another world. One that has earned a reputation as one of the most beautiful town squares in the country. For very good reason.
Georgetown For History
Georgetown’s foundation dates back to 1848 and since then it’s become the first city in Texas to be named A Great American Main Street City.
It really does live up to its reputation with a beautiful town square featuring wonderfully preserved Victorian architecture. In fact, you may recognise it from films like “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” or “Friday Night Lights.”
The highlight? The 1911 Williamson Country Courthouse, the crowning centrepiece in the centre of town.
Can’t get enough of historical Georgetown? We took a walking tour of the courthouse and surrounding area. Highlights include the 1881 Grace Episcopal Church, the 1888 Old Williamson County Jail, and the 1840 Southwestern University, the oldest university in Texas.
Georgetown For Present
It may have a pretty unique history, but Georgetown is also making waves today. It’s the number 1 fastest growing city in the USA and the largest city in the US to use 100% renewable energy.
Around the town square you’ll find over 40 retail shops, and along the San Gabriel River you’ll find nearly 9 miles of hike and bike trails.
Where To Stay In Georgetown
Sheraton Georgetown was the perfect location for our stay. Parking was easy with an undercover secure garage attached to the hotel. Our room was a 2 queen bed configuration, with comfortable, soft beds and modern decor.
Tip: If you get a chance, grab one of the complimentary bicycles and take a ride around.
Where To Eat In Georgetown
Brix & Ale
1101 Woodlawn Ave, Georgetown, TX 78628
We started our mornings with breakfast at the Brix & Ale located on the ground floor of the Sheraton overlooking the swimming pool. Our waitress was so friendly and accommodating. She heard my sigh at the prospect of no eggs benedict on the menu and said she could make it happen. And I mean she literally made it happen. As a former cook she hopped right in the kitchen and whipped it up while the chef took care of all the other meals for our family. I was stunned. And it was delicious, cooked to perfection. But the real highpoint? Get the kale salad that comes with the frittata. I know, salad for breakfast might not be your first choice. But trust me. It was fresh, crunchy and perfectly light.
205 2nd St, Georgetown, TX 78626
If Tex Mex gets you salivating, then El Monumento is a must. The modern-meets-homey décor hides a simple yet satisfying menu. All this leads to a rather delicious outcome.
They offer tacos, salads, burritos and more. It’s the best Tex Mex in town. And while the lunchtime plastic cutlery didn’t quite match the fine décor, the food made up for it in spades.
500 S Austin Ave, Georgetown, TX 78626
This classic style diner brings together organic, locally sourced ingredients in hearty traditional American dishes. I recommend the chicken fried chicken. Each day a small farmer’s market is available on-site so you can buy your own fresh produce as well.
600 Degrees Pizzeria and Drafthouse
124 E 8th St, Georgetown, TX 78626
Located within an old 120-year-old bakery, this building has been reborn as a modern pizzeria. They serve gourmet pizzas (whole or by the slice) along with several dozen craft brews amid funky decor and a lively atmosphere. 1 whole 14” pizza feeds 3-4, and my kids loved the La Jolla (Canadian bacon and pineapple). Delicious!
701 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626
If you’re looking for somewhere special for lunch or dinner, this is it. Fine dining atmosphere with heartwarming Cajun and Creole dishes. You have to try the steak with crawfish - heavenly, juicy and succulent. On a funny note, our server was a spitting image of Joaquin Phoenix.
710 S Austin Ave, Georgetown, TX 78626
If you have a sweet tooth, make a salivating bee-line for Sweet Serendipity. Here we found tantalising hand made chocolates, ice cream, gourmet food and ornaments. But be warned, once you enter it is impossible to leave without buying something tasty.
What To Do In Georgetown
Ride A Bike
402 W 8th St, Georgetown, TX 78626
If you missed biking at the Sheraton, then you can always grab a free bicycle rental from the Georgetown Public Library and head out on the San Gabriel River hike and bike trails. Keep in mind they’re all the same size, so they might not suit young kids. Georgetown is very easy to navigate as it’s laid out in a grid fashion and there’s plenty to see and do (as you can tell by our list).
2nd St & Rock Street, Georgetown, TX 78626 (parking)
This scenic lagoon is a popular swimming hole along the south fork of the San Gabriel River. The park features space for picnics and public restrooms. We weren’t prepared with swimming gear, but that didn’t stop my kids from rolling up their shorts and wading in the cool water.
Cedar Breaks Park Road, Georgetown, TX 7826
Love being outdoors? Then you will love Lake Georgetown. Popular activities around the lake include fishing, biking, horse riding, swimming, camping and more. We entered via Cedar Breaks Park (south side of lake) which required a $5 entry fee (per car), but there’s plenty of space for a BBQ or picnic overlooking the lake. If you’ve borrowed a bike from the Library, follow the path along the north fork of the (near Blue Hole) river towards the lake for a scenic, fun afternoon.
Georgetown Art Center
816 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626
The Georgetown Art Center displays works from nationally renowned and local artists. Exhibits change every 4-6 weeks, and the centre offers an educational emphasis on art with regular free talks by artists. It’s operated by friendly volunteers and when we visited they were more than happy to chat about the artworks and other things going on around town.
Can’t get enough art? Then take a walk downtown along Main Street (between 7th and 8th Streets and at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 West 8th Street) to see multiple sculptures that form part of the Central Texas Sculpture Tour. See if you can spot the blue dogs that my kids loved the most. Print a handy free map here.
810 S Austin Ave, Georgetown, TX 78626
This beautiful old movie house was renovated in 2001 and re-opened as a live theatre venue. We took a behind the scenes look at the ever-growing backstage area, including the plethora of costumes, wigs, backdrops and more. If you call ahead and ask nicely, I’m sure one of the team members will be happy to show you around.
During our visit in November they were setting up for their newest musical The Little Mermaid. Caius reported he wanted to wait right in the theatre until show time. And while it would have been a long wait for him you can check the calendar online for current shows and book a ticket. It’s a beautiful theatre and I’d be delighted to see one of their live theatre productions next time we’re in town.
Williamson County Courthouse
710 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626
As discussed above you really need to see inside this beautiful courthouse. The building hides history that changed lives across the entire country, including the very first successful prosecution of Ku Klux Klan members for hate crimes in the 1920s.
Also, take a drink from the 110-year-old water fountain in the rotunda. The kids assured me the water did not taste that old!
Nathaniel’s Custom Hats
111 W 7th St, Georgetown, TX 78626
Why am I writing about a hat store? Well, this one is pretty special. Inside you will find Nathaniel, cowboy hat extraordinaire to the stars. He crafted Will Smith’s hat used in “Wild Wild West”.
We got to meet Nathaniel and he happened to know which hat would fit and match us perfectly. Did you know it takes 12 hours to make a hat? And out of all the hats in that store, I fell for the Australian crocodile design.
All Things Kids
703 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626
This is not just any toy store. These guys have a play room at the back for your little ones to enjoy… if you can get them away from all the amazing toys. Staff were super friendly as well. We could have stayed chatting all day and our kids didn’t want to leave.
Inner Space Caverns
4200 I-35, Georgetown, TX 78626
Imagine this… It’s 1963 and the Texas Highway Department decide to build a highway overpass, so start drilling to make sure the ground is sturdy and stable. As they are drilling the drill bit suddenly drops 26 feet. The ground is not stable enough, in fact there’s a whole other world down there that Texas had no idea about… 7,000 square feet of it.
We love cave tours and this one has elements of adventure that you may not find in other caves. Of course, you can go with the standard “adventure tour”(which is suitable for kids as young as 4), along a well-lit pathway to see the intricate stalactites and stalagmites. Or you can go off-road with the “hidden passages” tour (suitable for kids 7 and over). Guided by Tony, we loved the chance to explore and got a little muddy along the slightly more Indiana Jones-style trail.
Georgetown is a great add-on to any Austin itinerary. A weekend there is the perfect opportunity to get out of the city and discover history, nature and that delightful small town feel. Make sure you say hi to Nathaniel for me while in town and get him to size you up for a true Texas souvenir.
Reader Comments..."I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" - Josh Bender
There is so much to do in Georgetown! I'd love to visit the hat shop and see how the hats are made - and maybe even buy one to take home. Monument cafe looks like my kinda place!
Sounds like a great place to stop by. Perfect mix of history, nature and eateries. And the fact that it has 100% renewable energy is fantastic! Really love the cave photos btw.
I would LOVE to visit Texas - it's high up on my list. I've never heard of Georgetown, but it looks fabulous. So much to do! Thanks for sharing - your pics are fab, btw!
What I love about the US is the number of towns like this that are well worth visiting if only you know about them, Georgetown looks like the perfect place for a weekend on foot! That Sheraton looks pretty good too - especially the pool and terrace, the pool always tells me whether I will book a hotel!
Thank you for sharing your pictures in Georgetown. I love to visit there sometimes. - gustavo woltmann
I don't know a great deal about Texas – other than they have great food, which definitely seems to be true from this! – so it's interesting to see how much there is to see in Georgetown and how diverse it all is.
Wow, it must be so much fun there! I would love to go there wth my family. Thanks for sharing! x
WOW, there is so much to do in Texas, i wish i can go there with my friends someday, thanku for the post.
I am a foodie so my eyes are only in those foods, i want to eat them all lol...wish to visit there soon. Thanks for sharing.
Would like the Georgetown Square much more without the Confederate Soldier Statue at the county courthouse.
I've lived in Georgetown going on 8 years now and lived in Round Rock prior to that. Yes, there are a lot of things to do here but it is crowded. The food selection is great (especially the non-chain restaurants) but some of the places hyped here are not that great especially for the price you pay. Go to places like George's on the Town and Dos Salsas. There are farmer's markets at least once a month and you really want to come during the Red Poppy Festival (free). They even host historic tours with a guide that takes you around the square and educate you with very interesting little known facts about what has happened here. There is even good history about that Confederate Soldier statue, so take the tour before passing judgment. And get used to people calling you sweetie, hun, and sweetheart, we are a friendly bunch as long as you don't bad mouth our state (yes, we're that proud...lol). Downsides to living here: 1) as stated above, too crowded. There is a constant influx of people moving to Texas yearly, most from California. This is driving our cost of living skyward but the average pay isn't catching up as quickly. It's a problem that isn't talked about much. 2) This is not a city you want to walk around in. Not that it's dangerous because of people or animals, it's very hot and humid most the year and it's not that small of a city (not a town). If you do decide to walk, know this, EVERY restaurant will give you free (small) cups of water with free refills (of water only) and most gas stations will only charge you for the cup (usually less than $0.50). The lake is nice and Blue Hole is ok, we do need more water and recently there has been a company dumping sewage into the Guadalupe River (what feeds Blue Hole) and flesh-eating bacteria has been found in the river. So swim at your own risk.
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