HARLINGEN — Who said there’s nothing to do in Harlingen?
This little metropolis has plenty of fun things for residents and visitors to do alone, with family or in a group. And these attractions keep drawing them back for more.
Here’s the rundown on what to do in Harlingen for fun during the day or night.
The family friendly parks are a city attraction. People come from around the Valley to let their children enjoy the playscapes and run. Many people enjoy the relaxing pavilions, skate park and walking trails. Three parks have swimming pools, and there is all-year-round swimming at Pendleton Park located at 1427 Morgan Blvd. for those who swim laps. It also has a basketball court, walking trail, tennis courts and playground.
Victor Park is a 40-acre park with aquatic center, lit baseball fields and tennis courts plus a play ground. It’s located at 1601 S. M Street.
Movies & Theater
Popcorn, pizza and now a margarita or schooner of beer can be enjoyed at the local movie theater while enjoying a blockbuster movie.
Cinemark 16 and XD have reclining and Dbox seating. It’s located at 401 S. Expressway 83.
Also, Movies 10 has recent movies for tickets less than $2 for moviegoers who miss a good movie when it first opens in theaters. It’s located at 629 N. 13th Street.
And the Harlingen Performing Arts Theater does not fail to entertain with its long list of live theater performances.
McKelvey Park has a popular bike trail with winding lanes along the Arroyo Colorado.
It’s a daily attraction for many riders to take a long and peaceful ride for fun or exercise.
For those who don’t have a bike there are rentals at the park entrance. The 25th Street Hike and Bike Trail is a multi-purpose four-mile round trip trail that connects many key destinations in the city beginning at Hugh Ramsey Park. Soon the city will have a 6.2 mile off road bike trail within 23 acres of Arroyo Park thicket that is sure to draw riders from around the Valley.
Iwo Jima Memorial
The Iwo Jima Monument was dedicated April 16, 1982, on the Marine Military Academy parade grounds. And it has been an attraction ever since.
It is the plaster molding of the original bronze monument in Washington, D.C.
The 32-foot high figures are shown raising a 78-foot steel flagpole from which a cloth flag flies 24 hours a day.
The memorial is an iconic national symbol of the Battle of Iwo Jima, when U.S. Marines fighting in World War II captured the Japanese-held island, which had airstrips U.S. fighter planes needed to help win the war. Cpl. Harlon Block of Weslaco is the Marine at the bottom of the flagstaff. He is buried on the memorial grounds.
Jackson Street and Van Buren Avenues have a steady stream of entertainment for everyone.
Platform 402 has many art exhibitions and art classes for the young and old wanting to test their brush strokes.
The shopping is one of a kind. From the comic book shop, book stores and the antique stores, there is something for everyone. Many visitors enjoy the historic sites and murals. There are even downtown walking tours Saturday during the fall and winter.
The night life does not disappoint. Many people start their evenings at local restaurants and then bar hop to the Point, Hop-Shop and many others for live music. For a relaxing night Carlito’s Wine House is a favorite. And Creasey’s Bowl is also a family favorite for midnight bowling.
When it comes down to gobbling up some good grub, there is no better place to be than here. The town has become known for supersize pizza and burgers and it has a long list of authentic Mexican food to choose from.
Not to mention family favorites like Cracker-Barrel, Longhorn, Texas Roadhouse, Logan’s Roadhouse and Olive Garden. People also enjoy the late nights at Rancho Grande and early morning breakfast at Los Nortenos. And it’s a go to place for wings starting with Hooters, Wing Barn and Wingstop.
It’s a bird watchers paradise. Once you start birding, it can become an addiction. In the city alone there are many bird species to catch a glimpse of and take pictures. The best place to bird watch are the Harlingen Thicket World Birding Center located at 706 E. Taft and Hugh Ramsey Park located at 1000 499 Loop.
And every year for more than two decades people from around the world arrive in town to catch rare views of birds at Harlingen’s Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. There are more than 500 recorded species in the Valley from the Green Jay, Great Kiskadee to Kingfisher that can be spotted.
The Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum is a one of a kind museum in the Rio Grande Valley. The museum located at 2425 Boxwood Street houses the permanent collection of Harlingen and Texas historical objects and photos and features rotating arts and cultural exhibits.
There is no town like Harlingen when it comes to a city-wide scavenger hunt ready at all times for any resident or visitor to enjoy with family or friends. Scurry through the town with a map linked to a mobile phone looking for the more than 20 geocache sites. It’s an adventure like no other. Only a handful of people have finished the Geo-Quest. Visit www.geocaching.com to register. Download the geocaching app to start the hunt.