Pharr In Texas: Where The Past And The Future Collide

things to do in pharr texas
| 3 min read

Pharr has had a colorful history. Once the home of Coahuiltecans, the area was colonized by Spanish explorers. In fact, it is named after Henry N. Pharr, who, along with John Connely Kelley, bought the 16,000 acres (6,475 hectares) of land that would later comprise the area’s territory. Most of the land was converted into a sugar plantation, but the fall of the industry later led to farmers planting cotton and vegetables instead. It later became ravaged during the US-Mexico War. Over the years, people from all walks of life have made their way to the city, bringing their own unique backgrounds into the cultural hotpot that is Pharr.

While Pharr itself does not boast of many tourist attractions, its key position allows visitors to access many other places in the neighboring towns.

1. Explore the wild outdoors at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

Gallinula galeata and Anas discors Santa Ana NWR
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hillebrand, Steve... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is the oldest public nature site in the Lower Rio Grande Valley area, having been established in 1943. It was originally built as a migratory bird sanctuary. However, it has become the home of various plant and animal species over the years, with about 400 types of birds, and 450 species of plants making this their home. Roughly half of all the butterfly species in the country can also be found here. Visitors can tour the area via a guided nature walk or by taking an open-air tram ride across the sanctuary.

Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge

Address: 3325 Green Jay, Alamo, TX

Website: Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge

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2. Travel back in time by visiting Smitty Juke Box Museum

Juke Box Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Highsmith, Carol M. used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If you’re a fan of the era where the jitterbug was considered the most popular dance, make sure to drop by Smitty Juke Box Museum, which is the home of dozens of these vintage music players. The collection is owned by Leo “Smitty” Schmitt.

Smitty Juke Box Museum

Address: 116 W State Ave, Pharr, TX

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3. Visit Ye Old Clock Museum

The items in the clock museum are the private collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Shawn
Source: Pixabay

Ye Old Clock Museum features the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Shawn, who spent a lifetime collecting different timepieces. Over the years, they have amassed over 2,000 clocks, with the oldest having been made in 1790.

Ye Old Clock Museum

Address: 929 E Preston St, Pharr, TX

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4. Watch the latest flick at Main Event Entertainment or Cinemark

RGV RANGERS will be at Main Event Entertainment Pharr this Saturday Aug. 16th for the Grand Opening celebration. Come join us!! 12pm-3pm #rgvrangers #pharr #rgv #mcallen

Posted by RGV Rangers on Thursday, 14 August 2014

If you want to catch a movie while you’re in Pharr, watch the latest flick at either Main Event Entertainment or Cinemark. Cinemark offers the latest technology for movie viewers. It also has an in-house café. For those who want to drink something stronger, it also has its own bar. Main Event Entertainment, meanwhile, offers other sources of entertainment other than movie viewings, such as but not limited to billiards, bowling, laser tag, and video games. Parties can also be held there, which is a great hit for kids.

Main Event Entertainment

Address: 500 N Jackson Rd, Suite C, Pharr, TX

Website: Main Event Entertainment


Address: 600 N Jackson Road, Pharr, TX

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5. Relax at Massage Masters

Find relief from your aches and pains at Massage Masters
Source: Pixabay

Tired after a long drive to Pharr or from a tough day? Find relief from your aches and pains at Massage Masters. Special promos are offered at times so you can get the best deal for a hour-long massage.

Massage Masters

Address: 119 W Newcombe Avenue, Pharr, TX

Website: Massage Masters

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6. Watch a game at the Plaza Sports Center

No pain no gain! Come try out our Plaza Sports Soccerfit class today and get our special rate of 40 days for only $40!...

Posted by Plaza Sports Center on Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Plaza Sports Center is the hub of athletic activities in Pharr. It hosts the tournaments of various sports leagues of both children and adults. Among the sports being played here are soccer and flag football. During summer, it offers soccer lessons to interested youths. It is also frequently used as the site for team building activities. Plaza Sports Center has its own restaurant.

Plaza Sports Center

Address: 1101 E. Nolana Lp. Pharr, TX

Website: Plaza Sports Center

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7. Enjoy the good weather at Fireman’s Park

Rafting is one of the activities you can try in Fireman's Park
Source: Pixabay

If you want to spend a couple of hours or even an entire day lazing around, head to the neighboring town of McAllen, Texas so you can hang out by the lake at Fireman’s Park, where you can simply people watch or indulge in water activities, such as rafting. If you’re with a group, you can play volleyball at the sand court. Fireman’s Park has its own barbecue pavilion and indoor grills for those who want to cook their food on the spot for a picnic.

Fireman’s Park

Address: 201 N. 1st Street, McAllen, TX

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8. Go bird spotting at Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center

Come and be amazed as raptors fly overhead! Sky Kings Falconry will be celebrating the opening of Ebony Grove with us!...

Posted by Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center on Saturday, 29 April 2017

At first glance, Quinta Mazatlan resembles a country estate inhabited by humans rather than a birdhouse. However, this – as well as its surrounding tropical garden – serves as the home of 230 species of birds. An expert naturalist will accompany tourists to give more information about the animals and the plants that have made the facility their home. Groups of 10 people or more will need to set up a private tour beforehand to be accommodated.

Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center

Address: 600 Sunset Drive, McAllen, TX

Website: Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center

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9. Learn new things at the International Museum of Art & Science

Posted by International Museum of Art & Science on Friday, 5 May 2017

The International Museum of Art & Science is a Smithsonian Affiliate. It has a huge exhibit space, which is occupied by permanent and revolving art and science exhibits, some of which allow visitors to tinker with hands-on activities to learn more about these pieces.

International Museum of Art & Science

Address: 1900 Nolana, McAllen, TX

Website: International Museum of Art & Science

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Experience the best of what nature and technology can offer in Pharr

The attractions in and near Pharr are a combination of natural and technological wonders. Combine that with unique culture, and you have a place worth visiting in Texas.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling. She has gone sightseeing with family,...Read more

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