23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Harlingen (TX)

Want to know the best and fun things to do in Harlingen, TX?

Harlingen is a beautiful city in Cameron County, Texas. It is nestled in the central area of Rio Grande Valley, about 30 miles from Mexico, occupying over 40 square miles.

It is the second-largest city in Cameron County and the fourth-largest city in Rio Grande Valley. The city recorded a population of 78,892 people during the 2020 census.

The city of Harlingen is filled with wildlife and nature, making it ideal for nature lovers. The city also has a great history as it is close to Mexico, so you will experience diverse cultures that you will love to be part of.

The city has many amazing historical places, fun parks, and delectable restaurants where you can try varieties of delicious meals and others.

Here are the best things to do in Harlingen, TX.

Things to Do in Harlingen, TX

1. Iwo Jima Monument

Iwo Jima Monument
Credits: Fred LaBounty / Shutterstock
iwo jima monument

One of the best things to do in Harlingen, TX, is to visit the Iwo Jima Monument, a popular attraction in this part of the country.

On February 19th, 1946, a team of soldiers were ordered to strike the Iwo Jima Island in Japan at the time of the civil war.

The soldiers were instructed to take Mount Suribachi hostage after many days of fighting. The soldiers climbed to the mountain to install the American flag during the morning hours of February 23rd.

A photojournalist named Joe Rosenthal took the photograph of this event which turned out to become a historic photo of World War II. The photo prompted Dr. Felix W. de Waldon to create this historical event using stone to ensure that people always remember it.

Dr. Felix W. de Waldon worked on this piece for over nine years. He also asked some soldiers involved in the fight to pose for him before finally creating the entire piece.

The Marine Military Academy received the statue in 1981, which was donated to encourage young cadets. The academy still houses the Iwo Jima Monument to this day.

Address: 320 Iwo Jima Blvd, Harlingen, TX 78550,USA

2. Lake Harlingen

Lake Harlingen
Credits: Piotr Wawrzyniuk / Shutterstock

If you are an avid angler, go fishing at Lake Harlingen. It is one of the fun things to do in Harlingen, TX.

Bring along with you your fishing rods to explore Lake Harlingen. Largemouth bass and Channel Catfish are the most prevalent fish species on the lake.

However, it is important to know that regulations for fishing activities are liable to change, so do well to make all the necessary arrangements before embarking on your journey.

Lake Harlingen is a well-known destination in the area, especially among anglers. So, stop by during your tour for a great fishing experience.

Address: Harlingen, TX 78550, USA

3. Colletti’s Italian Restaurant

Colletti’s Italian Restaurant
Credits: Colletti’s / Facebook
Colletti’s Italian Restaurant

Give your stomach a nice treat with the varieties of Italian foods served at Colletti’s Italian Restaurant. It is quite difficult to find someone who is not a fan of Italian cuisine, and if you fall in this category, make sure to drop by during your visit.

Colletti’s Italian Restaurant serves its visitors a wide range of food options, and it is your place to make your selection and enjoy whatever order you make.

They serve their guests unique homespun Italian cuisines, delectable wines, and craft cocktails that are ideal for any celebration. You can also eat their burgers, salads, and others.

You can opt for their pasta or pizza or make a selection of whatever dish you find on their menu, and if you still need more, you can make another order. 

The restaurant has an open pizza oven for customers to have a better dining experience and a full-service bar with table seating that can accommodate 150 people.

Address: 202 S 1st St, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

4. World Birding Center

World Birding Center
Credits: J. S. Fisher / Shutterstock

If you love watching birds or are a bird enthusiast, one of the top things to do in Harlingen, TX, is to check out the World Birding Center,

The World Birding Center is perched at the Rio Grande Valley, a well-known birding destination. The Center houses many birds, so it is an ideal place to visit and see these creatures in their natural habitats.

There are areas where you need to hide and watch the birds as they feed. Visiting the Birding Center is an ideal way to spend a great time outdoors.

You can visit with your friends and family members for a fun time. There are many things to learn about these flying creatures, even as you have an exciting time in this place. 

Address: 706 E Taft Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

5. McKelvey Park

McKelvey Park
Credits: Rossario / Shutterstock

Harlingen has lots of beautiful parks, and one of them is McKelvey Park. Exploring this Park is one of the fun things to do in Harlingen, TX, and it has lots of exciting things that will pique your interest.

McKelvey Park is properly catered for and features two miles of walking trail, eleven acres of parkland, picnic tables, playground areas, a private pavilion, and high-quality lawns. What makes this Park stand out amongst others is as a result of its picturesque views.

The Park cuts through the Arroyo Colorado River, featuring a track ideal for jogging and walking, wildlife viewing, hiking, bird watching, and picnicking. Visitors are advised to return before night comes down as the route is not well illuminated. 

Address: 1325 S 77 Sunshine Strip, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

6. Rangerville Park

Rangerville Park
Credits: Creative Cat Studio / Shutterstock

Ranger Park is a large area and a perfect destination for tourists searching for a place to have great fun.

The Park features a 3/4 mile long trail, where you can have a great time strolling, exploring, and enjoying the beautiful scenery of this place.

The Wander Rangerville Park is tranquil and an ideal place to escape the hassles and bustle of the city.

There are barbeque pits and grills in the Park so that you have a great time while showing off your culinary skills to friends and family members.

The Park is ADA accessible, so you need not worry about bringing your family and friends with special abilities, as they should also be part of the fun and adventure.

Address: Harlingen, TX 78552, United States

7. Jackson Street Market Days

Jackson Street Market Days
Credits: Wellnhofer Designs / Shutterstock

Jackson Street Market Days are an ideal time to run elbows with the locals and tourists like yourself.

You can enjoy their varieties of local foods, listen to live music, check out the artworks made by artists from this area, and buy antiques.

There is never a dull moment in the market, especially when you bring your friends and family.

You can browse the numerous shops in the market to find the particular item you desire. A visit to this market is worth it as it is entertaining. Market days are all year round; therefore, you need not be very concerned with missing out on the excitement due to schedules.

Address: E Jackson Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

8. Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park

Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park
Credits: Olya Humeniuk / Shutterstock

Do something more adventurous by visiting the Air Trampoline and Adventure Park. It is an ideal place to be if you want great fun and entertainment. The Park consists of attractions that are ideal for every age.

It features tons of new and fun activities in every area for your enjoyment. You can visit with your friends to play virtual games such as laser tag.

In addition, you can explore wall climbing, Climbing hill, warrior course, and role courses. If you want to engage in something too physical, you can opt to hop on their basic trampolines, which is also fun.

This place is the perfect venue for most of your special occasions, including kiddies’ birthdays.

It is an ideal place for people with lots of enthusiasm for physical activities. Enjoy yourself to the fullest, which is the primary reason everyone goes there.

Address: 2020 S Expressway 83, Harlingen, TX 78552, United States

Want more Texas attractions and activities? Check out our list of things to do in Greenville, and things to do in Granbury for a memorable vacation.

9. Pendelton Park

Pendelton Park
Credits: Sanit Fuangnakhon / Shutterstock

Another significant attraction in Harlingen, TX, is Pendleton Park, situated next to Morgan Boulevard.

The Park’s features include a one-mile trail, also called “the Harlingen Hometown Heroes Trail,” six mini-league baseball fields, playgrounds, a basketball court, eighteen lit tennis courts with a pro shop, picnic tables, barbecue pits, Pendleton Pool, Veterans Memorial, and a beautiful pond.

It is ideal for visitors seeking a laid-back experience in a tranquil and gorgeous place. Pendelton park features a gorgeous fountain, a fine place to check out during your park tour.

It also has a pavilion where you can relax after many hours of exploring the Park. When you are done exploring the park, you can drop by the veterans’ memorial to pay your respects to our fallen heroes.

Address: 1427 Morgan Blvd, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

10. La Playa Mexican Cafe

La Playa Mexican Cafe
Credits: Yulia Davidovich / Shutterstock

It is highly recommended that anyone visiting Harlingen eat some delicious Mexican cuisine due to its closeness to Mexico.

If you are searching for a place to have a unique dining experience, do well to stop by the La Playa Mexican Cafe on the Sunshine Strip.

When you visit, you can try out their family appetizers and enjoy your meal. They use the best ingredients to prepare their delicious Mexican dishes.

 They have a wide selection of delicious dishes for your main course. Their atmosphere is excellent for you to enjoy the unique taste of the Mexican experience. Their staff are super amazing and are always available to take your orders.

Address: 502 S 77 Sunshine Strip, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

11. Downtown Murals

Downtown Murals
Credits: jennifer / Flickr
Downtown Murals

The downtown area of Harlingen is adorned with a vast, impressive display of beautiful and creative murals, creating wonderful scenery for people to take beautiful pictures.

The murals showcase the many sides of Harlingen culture and arts. Some paintings show their popular musicians and artists, whereas others come in abstract designs that you will love upon seeing them.

You will also see these paintings on several cultural celebrations and traditions. Take your time to admire these paintings and have a few photos with them to post on your social media account.

It is a beautiful site to check out during your visit.

Address: Harlingen, Texas, United States

12. Harlingen Performing Arts Center

Harlingen Performing Arts Center
Credits: Elnur / Shutterstock

One of the ideal ways to experience artistic sensation in this beautiful city of Harlingen is through its many cultural events and activities that you can be a part of during your vacation.

During your visit, check out the Harlingen Performing Arts Center to enjoy the many opportunities available to make you appreciate and love this city even more.

This place generally holds different events for locals and tourists alike to be part of, and you can see their schedules when you visit.

The previous events hosted here include the Nutcracker Peter Plan, Legally Blonde, and Heathers. They also hold orchestral performances and concerts.

Address: 3217 Wilson Rd, Harlingen, TX 78552, United States

13. Carlito’s Wine House

Carlito’s Wine House
Credits: SizeSquares / Shutterstock

Wondering what to do in Harlingen, TX, for a laid-back experience? Visit Carlito’s Wine House for a few drinks with family and friends.

Carlito’s Wine House features an ample space adorned with comfortable couches, exposed brick walls, and dim lights. The wine house also provides a great selection of seasonal brews.

You can order from their fine wine selection, served either by bottle or glass. If you are visiting as a group, you can opt for their great cheese platter, which should be great for four to five people to enjoy.

Address: 204 W Jackson Ave, Harlingen, 

14. Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum

Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum
Credits: PINKE / Flickr
Harlingen Art Museum

If you are a history enthusiast, one of the top things to do in Harlingen, TX, is to check out the Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum.

The Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum comprises three historical buildings, including the Paso Real Stagecoach Inn, the historic home of Harlingen’s founder Lon C, and Harlingen’s first hospital.

There is also a historical museum on site which previously served as a home for the Harlingen Air Force Base and Air Police Squadron. The permanent collection of Harlingen and the state’s historical photos and items are housed in this building.

The actual Museum contains cultural displays and rotating arts. The Museum also provides visitors with guided tours, so make reservations to learn more about the region’s culture and history.

Address: 2425 Boxwood St, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

15. The Antique & Artisans Emporium

Antique & Artisans Emporium
Credits: Zaharia Bogdan Rares / Shutterstock

If you love antique items, one of the best places to visit in Harlingen, TX, is the Antique & Artisans Emporium.

The Antique & Artisans Emporium has been operating in the downtown area of Harlingen, TX, for more than 20 years.

It comprises skillful vendors showcasing a broad selection of vintage antiques, customized items, and collectibles. Their inventory is always changing, which is one of the ideal reasons you should visit.

You can also opt-in to purchase their custom-made items from their skilled vendors. There is something for everyone to take back home, either as a souvenir to loved ones or to help you remember your visit to Harlingen, TX.

Address: 123 E Jackson Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

Planning a Texas road trip? Also, check out our list of things to do in Freeport, and things to do in Huntsville for a fun Illinois trip.

16. Rustlers

Credits: somchaij / Shutterstock

If you want the feel of a small-town experience, then make sure to drop by the Rustlers during your tour.

The Rustlers is a fashionable country bar that provides patrons with delicious foods, cold drinks, and a whole space for two-stepping.

Their happy hour, which happens from Wednesdays to Saturdays is available for all. You can enjoy live music, as the bar features country bands and Tejano throughout the month.

It is a perfect venue to hang out with friends and family while you enjoy mouthwatering dishes and tasty drinks.

Address: 3811 U.S. 83 Business, Harlingen, TX, USA

17. The Murals at Centennial Park

Centennial Park
Credits: PINKE / Flickr
Centennial Park

Another significant location you sure do not want to miss is the beautiful Murals at Centennial Park. It should make up your checklist of the best places to visit in Harlingen, TX.

This fascinating painting was created by a Mexican artist named Raul Esparza Sanchez, which is made up of an array of ceramic panels created with murals of different symbols and designs.

These murals showcase Mexico’s history, beginning from the Pre-Hispanic cultures, the Mayan Calendar, and the Spanish arrival to Mexico and the country’s independence.

Address: S West St, Harlingen, TX 78550, USA

18. Comics Unlimited

Comics Unlimited
Credits: onajourney / Shutterstock

If you are a comics fan, check out Comics Unlimited. It is stocked with everything you need about comics.

Comics Unlimited has collectors editions of well-known comic books, back issues, manga, and recent releases for you to buy.

You can even make purchases of tabletop, D&D, Gathering, and Magic and. see their broad collection of board games, statues, and toys.

If you are searching for a place to have fun, they organize card competitions throughout the month and casual play for people in groups. Drop by and have a great time with other comic lovers.

Address: Comics Unlimited, 623 N 77 Sunshine Strip, Harlingen, TX, USA

19. Hugh Ramsey Nature Park

Hugh Ramsey Nature Park
Credits: Ondrej Prosicky / Shutterstock

Hugh Ramsey Nature Park sits on a reclaimed land area of 55 acres, an exceptional place for tourists searching for a place filled with nature. It has a 2.9km loop nature trail which takes about 24 minutes to complete, and you can go biking or hiking on this trail.

The staff of Hugh Ramsey Nature Park have been persistent in trying to bring back the natural beauty of the park’s surroundings.

Hugh Ramsey Nature Park is also the abode for different bird species, making it an important place for people who love bird watching.

You can even spot different butterflies. There are strategic areas for wildlife watching so you and the animals are safe.

After a tour of the area, you can relax at their picnic tables. You can eat a meal and discuss your experiences in the city with other travelers.

Address: Boxwood at Raintree, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

20. Lt. George Gutierrez Jr. Park

There are many beautiful public parks to find in Harlingen, including the Lt. George Gutierrez Jr Park, which has a special feature that will surely interest you.

The Park was named after a Vietnam war veteran; it spans two acres of land and contains several facilities to give you a fun and laid-back experience.

There are picnic tables in every park area, so you can share wonderful moments with friends and family members as you enjoy a meal.

The younger ones are not left out of the picture, as there are playground areas for them to play and have fun.

Address: 500 W Harrison Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

21. The Prelude Songwriters Club

Prelude Songwriters Club
Credits: PopTika / Shutterstock

The Prelude Songwriters Club is an establishment formed by songwriters. They offer learning and resources for songwriters residing in the Rio Grande Valley. The Prelude Songwriters Club is family-friendly, ideal for visiting and listening to great music.

This establishment dwells on songwriting, guitar lessons, workshops, and other classes. It is a listening-style music location that displays authentic music performed by locals and performers on tour.

The place is convenient and features a welcoming environment where everyone can enjoy live acoustic music even as they enjoy a cup of coffee or tea or even their homemade sandwiches and other baked goodies.

If you happen to be around town, check out this Prelude Songwriters Club, and it should also be considered on your list of what to do in Harlingen, TX.

Address: 113 E Jackson St, Harlingen, TX 78550-6845

22. Harlingen Thicket

Harlingen Thicket
Credits: Diego Cervo/ Shutterstock

When you visit Harlingen, you will come across a 40-acre area with a Tamaulipan Thicket and stunning plant species diversity.

It is quite adventurous to go on this trail, giving you a feel of what seems like an old-school adventurer exploring this pristine wilderness.

Visitors will be able to see flying creatures and other wildlife. If you consider yourself a professional, you can easily pinpoint most of the plants surrounding you.

The facilities in the park include biking and hiking trails, a pavilion, a shaded picnic table, grills, barbecue pits, fire rings, a well-maintained parking area, and restrooms.

It is open from dawn to dusk. All the necessary items you need to start your journey are at the Park, and it is from this Park that you can find the start of the trail.

Address: 311 E Taft Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550, United States

23. Books N Things

Books N Things
Credits: Veronika Vim / Shutterstock

Are you a book lover searching for things to do in the city? Then, drop by the Book N Things located north of downtown Harlingen. This place contains plenty of fantastic books that will pique the interest of any reader.

You can make purchases of uncommon, hardly seen, out of print and used books when you visit. There are tons of non-fiction and fiction books shelved properly in your rooms.

They are properly arranged in other genres and authors to make it easier for visitors to browse the many books available and pick out something to read.

Books N Things also has an online store if you cannot visit. You can check out their website for more information.

Address: Books N Things, 523 N 1st St, Harlingen,

Also, check out our list of things to do in Abilenethings to do in Bryan, and things to do in Conroe for a fun time in these cities of Illinois.

Plan Your Trip to Harlingen

Harlingen is a beautiful place, and the many attractions to explore here have stood the effect of time. The city has a lot to offer about culture and history. It also has many natural attractions and lovely sights that everybody will enjoy seeing.

The effect of a good vacation cannot be overemphasized. So, start making those travel plans to Harlingen, TX.