Discovering Hidden Gems in Aggieland

You may live in Bryan-College Station, but classes keep you on campus at Texas A&M University during most of the semester. That’s why summer is a great opportunity to experience everything Aggieland has to offer.

As the area grows, more grad students opt to take a summer job or an internship rather than skip town for the summer. “When I was a kid, Bryan-College Station became a ghost town,” says Natalie Rosser, marketing coordinator for Atlas Development, which developed Bryan’s Lake Walk Town Center. “Now more people stay around. We have more job opportunities, so students can work in their favorite restaurants or take an internship here.”

If you’re staying put for the summer to work, intern, or teach, then you may find yourself with time to explore Aggieland beyond Kyle Field and Northgate. Here are a few Aggieland hidden gems worth a visit.

Research Park

It may not be hidden, but you may not have had time to visit this grassy respite during the busy spring and fall. Located on the edge of the Texas A&M campus, this green hideaway offers plenty of picnic space, ponds, and walking and running paths. You can also wrangle up a few friends and head to the 17-hole disc golf course.

Wednesday Farmer’s Market

The college weekend starts on Thursday, which leaves Wednesday night open on most calendars. Head to the Farmer’s Market at Lake Walk Pavilion and Plaza in Bryan. There you can browse local vendors selling produce, poultry, eggs, jam, and other goodies. Pick up a few things for dinner, and stick around for live music from Keith Kallina.

Summer Night Concert Series

The Lake Walk residential/business community offers a range of free events open to the public. Look for Saturday morning yoga in the park and a new Friday night outdoor concert series. Held outdoors at the Lake Walk Pavilion and Plaza, the series features live music from regional Texas country and jazz bands, as well as food trucks and beverages.

“You’ll see multiple generations in one setting, from students to families to older adults,” says Rosser. “Everyone’s just out there together getting along. I’d take my parents, but I also have fun at these events.”

First Friday

For another outdoor Friday night option, check out First Fridays, a free event held the first Friday of the month in downtown Bryan. Downtown comes alive with street musicians and magicians, booths filled with local art, and, later, live music at the Palace Theater. Shops and restaurants extend their hours, so you can shop and dine well into the evening.

Messina Hof

For an afternoon escape, head to Messina Hof, a well-known Texas winery in the Bryan countryside. Tour the winery and tasting rooms and sample its latest releases. Afterwards, have lunch in the Wine Bar, which offers salads, appetizers, and gourmet cheeses.

If you feel like splurging on a romantic weekend, then have dinner at the Vintage House Restaurant, and spend the night in The Villa Bed and Breakfast. Treat yourself to in-room wine and cheese and breakfast made from scratch.

New Republic Brewing

You’ll find plenty of good beer in Aggieland, but if you want local craft beer, then New Republic is your choice. Launched in 2010 by a team of current and former Aggies — and one non-Aggie — the College Station brewery offers its signature Amber ale, IPA, Belgian Tripel and other varieties in its taproom.

Stop by for a pint and they’ll show you around and explain the brewing process. Almost every weekend, New Republic has live music and food trucks.

If you’re staying in Bryan-College Station for the summer, then you may have to find temporary housing or fill out an emptier-than-usual apartment. If that’s the case, then CORT Furniture Rental can help you outfit your apartment with a few pieces or an entire room.