It’s best known as the home of Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, originally known as “Morgan”, and just 25 miles from Houston. What is it? The city of Alvin, Texas! This small town is located in between Friendswood and Clear Lake, just a hop, skip and a jump away from Galveston. Don’t let the small town feel fool you- there are plenty of things to do in Alvin on the cheap. Whether you’re looking to get fit in the great outdoors or take a moment to enjoy some history, you can count on us for the best list of free and cheap things to do in Alvin.
Read more below for our roundup of what’s going down in Alvin:
Surrounded by plenty of farmland, small towns, and open spaces, there’s plenty of outdoor fun in Alvin and the surrounding area to be had. Go birding at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, which has more water than land. It’s only half an hour’s drive from downtown Alvin. To stay closer to town, check out Froberg’s Farm where you can pick your own berries in the Spring and early Summer. The Coplin Bee Farm also allows visitors to view the farm and purchase their homegrown honey right there on site. You can also get your fill of nature at the Bayou Wildlife Zoo, an open- range zoo for exotic and other animals.
Alvin has plenty of parks and gardens in the surrounding area. Get a load of beautiful Shimek’s Garden with their dozens of roses and daylilies. You can have a go on the swing or just take in the sights, just be sure to be respectful of the owners who live on site and leave everything intact. Nearby Resoft Park offers 80 acres of covered pavilions, playgrounds, horseshoes, volleyball and basketball courts, and more. Bob Briscoe Park has covered playgrounds, a dog park, and plenty of room for walking, running, or playing sports. Morgan Park also offers a playground for the kids, swings, picnic tables, walking trails, and volleyball courts all underneath shady oak trees.
ART & HISTORY
If you’re into arts and history, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Alvin to quench your thirst for knowledge.
The Alvin Historical Museum is located inside a renovated former post office and has over twenty permanent exhibits from Prehistoric to the formation of Alvin. Admission is cheap- only $3 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. Nearby, you’ll find the Marguerite Rogers House Museum, a Victorian and gingerbread style home constructed by a Civil War Veteran.
A trip to the Alvin Historical Museum is also worthwhile when you’re in town. Here, you’ll find over 20 permanent exhibits, ranging from the formation of Texas and Alvin to Indian exhibits.
For an unusual historical and cultural afternoon, head over to the Confederate Cemetery. The Cemetery, despite its age, has been very well kept. Find the Confederate Cemetery Historical Marker and look for Union Soldier headstones.
EAT & DRINK
Places to eat and drink in Alvin vary from mom and pop shops to chains and upscale eateries. The Gordon Street Tavern offers seafood, burgers, craft beer, and more. The Caboose is perfect for your barbeque fix and is well known for their brisket but they have a surprisingly good Pear Martini.
Whether you’re looking for a backyard feel or an afternoon at the vineyard, Alvin can offer you both. Visit the Garage Bar & Grill for live music, small bites, and billiards. In nearby Santa Fe, you can visit well known Haak Vineyards & Winery for a tasting and tour. Even kids and those under 21 can take a tour for free. Tours are also available for Spanish and German.
You’ll definitely want to stop at some of Alvin’s best stores. The Alvin Antique Center & Marketplace is a massive mall full of antique dealers. You can find anything from depression- era china and antique furniture to local artisan vendors. Just be sure to wear your walking shoes or you’ll never be able to get through all of their 55,000 square feet!
If thrifting and lowering your environmental impact are more your thing, stop by the Disabled American Veterans. This large charity thrift store is open Tuesday through Saturday and sells everything from clothing and shoes to books, electronics, and home decor. Proceeds from the store benefit Disabled American Veterans projects in Texas so you can feel good about your thrifting splurge.
Once you’ve had your fill of recreation, cuisine, and shopping, head over to Wellborne Cinema to catch a movie in their large and leggy auditorium. The small theatre only has four screens, just like you’d expect in a small town.
If you still have enough energy to be active, head over to Alvin Skate & Party for a good, old fashioned afternoon at the skating rink. You can also knock down some pins at the Alvin Bowling Company where they regularly have ccheap deals on lane and shoe rentals.
You can get in the creative spirit at The Shard Yard where they specialize in reclaimed glass art. They offer workshops as well as parties for amateurs and the experienced alike. You can also visit the shop just to purchase items if you don’t want to try your hand at the art form.
What are your favorite cheap and free things to do in Alvin? Let us know in the comments: