In this high-desert hub just north of Big Bend National Park, you’ll find Western artwork, Mexican handicrafts, and the unexpected snow cone.
Front Street Books, Alpine
Photograph by Adam Voorhes

1. Railroad Blues

A popular whistle-stop for musicians of every genre—country, rock, reggae, blues, R&B—this homey club is the type of place where strangers will buy you a beer (choose from more than 130) and friendly cowboys will spin you around the wooden dance floor. When the velvet portrait of George W. Bush to the right of the stage starts talking to you, it’s time to put down that pitcher of homemade “Shangri-La” sangria, even if the fruity concoction is the best you’ve ever tasted. 504 W. Holland Ave., 432-837-3103,

2. Quetzal Art and Imports

Like the iridescent green plumage of the quetzal (the national bird of Guatemala), the items in this gift shop’s window will catch your eye. Go on in and indulge your magpie impulses by hauling a stash of global loot—a patterned basket woven in Africa, whimsical animal figurines carved in Oaxaca, milky-blue Talavera dinnerware painted in Guanajuato, and vibrant molas appliquéd by the Kuna tribe in Panama—to the cash register. Expect a few last-minute items, like coiled caña flecha bracelets from Colombia, to end up on your receipt as well. 302 W. Holland Ave., 432-837-1051

3. Bronco Betties

West Texas women wanting to add some kick to their wardrobes visit this fashionable boutique next to the historic Holland Hotel. The desired look—“desert bohemian,” as the owner dubs it—can be achieved with a teal puebla blouse by Theme, flap-pocket Big Star jeans, and tan Not Rated T-strap wedges with bronze studs. Save on inexpensive accessories (bedazzled belt buckles, gold necklaces dripping with thin slices of hot-pink agate) so you can splurge on one of the supple Leaders in Leather bags, like the black-and-white hand-tooled overnighter. 207 W. Holland Ave., 432-837-3500


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