South Texas State Fair
Why is it called the "South Texas State Fair" and not the "Southeast Texas State Fair"? No one in Beaumont thinks of themselves as from South Texas. Alas, I digress. If you're going to be in Beaumont in March, head over to the fair. The main attraction is food. It's essential that you get a pork kabob from Rudy's (they have two locations) and grab a funnel cake (from whatever booth because they all taste the same). Also, if you want a fried anything they've got you covered.
Other attractions include carnival rides & games, a petting zoo, an exhibit hall, a live stock show, and an art, quilting, and photography competition.
Best of all, the professional rodeo is on Friday and Saturday nights of the opening weekend of the fair. Admission is free with admission into the fair (usually $10 an adult and $5 for kids and seniors).
Founded in 1941, Rao's is a staple of Beaumont. The main location is on Dowlen but an older more quaint location is on Calder with more limited hours. Enjoy a cup of coffee along with some gelato or their famous sugar cookies.
The Original Jason's Deli
Talk to a Beaumonter long enough, and they'll probably let you know that Jason's Deli was started in Beaumont. The primary location in Beaumont is on Dowlen (are you noticing a trend?) but the original location is in the Gateway Shopping Center off of the interstate. So go grab you a Papa Joe and enjoy some swirl soft serve.
After grabbing lunch at Jason's, you're in perfect shape to head downtown to see the Third Largest Fire Hydrant in the world and the largest working one (though that might be a stretch). The polka-dotted monstrosity was a gift from Disney to the Fire Museum to help promote the 101 Dalmations movie. Yes, I'm serious. Snapping a pic in front of it is must when visiting Beaumont. Check the hours, but the Fire Museum right behind it is a great visit as well.
Tyrell Historical Library
This beautiful building was once a church and is now a research and genealogical library. It's a quick visit but pretty cool to take a peek around.
If you like historic homes, Beaumont has you covered. The ones to see are:
John Jay French Trading Post: French was an early settler of the region once known as French Town. The home was the first two-story home in the area and the wonderfully preserved home offers a glimpse into life in the mid-1800's
McFaddin Ward House: This turn-of-the-century mansion is a beautiful home tour.
Chambers House: A great peek into life in the 1920's.
Super Antojo Bakery
This is located on Calder and offers a huge variety of Mexican baked goods. If you're unfamiliar, these are usually less sweet than American baked goods. Everything is incredibly cheap.s
They don't call it Texas Tea for nothing. The year was 1901 when liquid gold came out of the ground and put Beaumont on the map. Chevron and a portion of what is now ExxonMobil started here. The museum is spread amongst multiple buildings to form a reconstructed town of the time period.
Built in 1927, the theatre was one of the premiere locations for "It's a Wonderful Life". Both Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra attended. If you're around on a Friday check out a $5 Classic Movie Night at the theater.
This is a very small museum but offers a lot of original Edison artifacts and is housed in an old substation.
Babe Zaharias Didrikson Museum
Widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time, this Olympian hailed from Beaumont. The museum is packed with memorabilia and commemorates her life and career.
Other Food Options
J. Wilsons & J.W.'s Patio: for Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner. Offers a higher-end selection of meals and beverages.
Crown Pizza: Housed in two old shipping containers, their thin crust pizza is delicious
Willy Burger: A yummy eclectic selection of burgers from the normal to the Huck Finn (with green apples and spinach). Their fries are fantastic. Sit in the airstream trailer converted to seating. Also, bring a jacket. This place is freezing!
Tia Juanita's: This place is truly unique in the selection as it's a combination of Tex Mex and cajun food. Their boudain quesadillas, queso, and guacamole all make incredible appetizers. Crawfish is a must if there in the spring.
Carmela's: Great Tex Mex. It gets packed!
Tacos La Bamba: Located on Calder, this a local favorite for street tacos.
Not must-do's but might be worth checking out:
Gator Country (Go see Big Al!)
The Art Museum
The Entergy Museum
Clifton Steamboat Museum
Catch a basketball, football, softball, or baseball game at Lamar University