Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Hillsboro, TX

  • Published 2022/08/26

Hillsboro is a Texan City situated on Interstate 35.

This city is about an hour south of Dallas and 35 minutes north of Waco.

Chances are, you’ve passed by Hillsboro numerous times to Dallas and other major cities in Texas.

Well, maybe it’s high time to consider Hillsboro as your next travel destination.

Its location in North Central Texas is home to vast and fascinating history, sensational leisure activities, and excellent outdoor recreation.

Suppose you’re looking for a nostalgic travel adventure or perhaps wholesome fun with your family; Hillsboro is a perfect destination you must consider.

Wander through Hillsboro’s city streets and discover centuries-old buildings where you’ll find unique shops and restaurants.

At the same time, explore Hillboro’s natural areas, such as pristine lakes, nature preserves, and parks.

For your next travel adventure in Texas, why not make this city your next destination?

Check out the best things to do in Hillsboro, Texas!

Stroll through Hillsboro Main Street

Hill County Courthouse at Hillsboro Square

Valerie Johnson /

Hillsboro Main Street, or what locals love to call Hillsboro downtown, is a magnificent place to immerse yourself with the locals.

It’s where you’ll find excellent shopping, museums, food, and events.

Here, you’ll see the gorgeous Hill County Courthouse, which serves as the area’s centerpiece.

Moreover, Hillsboro Main Street has been named one of America’s Top 10 Main Streets in 2018, making it an exciting place to explore.

Welcome sign of Hillsboro downtown Square

No machine-readable author provided. Billy Hathorn assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for a perfect place to spend the day in Hillsboro, the downtown area is the best place to go.

It has over 50 locally-owned businesses ranging from shops, antiques, boutiques, entertainment, banks, fitness centers, government services, and restaurants to retail and salons.

In addition, it’s also where Hillsboro’s most significant events, such as the Farmer’s Market, Music on the Green, Girls Night Out, Bond’s Alley Art Festival, Churrofest, and Christmas Under the Stars, happen.

The road of Hillsboro Square

No machine-readable author provided. Billy Hathorn assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Travel Back in Time at Roadside America Museum

Roadside America Museum is home to what is probably the most extensive collection of classic and vintage memorabilia that you won’t find anywhere else.

This one-of-a-kind museum along East Elm Street features a vast collection of mid-century American pop culture memorabilia.

It has everything from commercial materials, signage, mascots, bottles, and statues to jukeboxes and vintage cars.

This place started as an ode to the owner for his fascination with the “Grapette” soda memorabilia before it became an icon.

His collection then grew to all kinds of vintage collectibles and antiques.

The museum’s main exhibit is its collection of vintage cars, still in pristine condition.

Roadside America Museum is a must-visit place in Hillsboro for guests of all ages because of the fascinating exhibits you’ll come across while wandering inside it.

Cast Your Line at Aquilla Lake

Aquilla Lake is a massive 3,020-acre lake situated 11.4 miles southwest of Hillsboro.

This lake, completed in the 1980s, primarily serves as a flood control project in the Brazos River Basin.

However, local anglers in Hill County love to visit this lake frequently for fishing.

This lake is well-known for its abundance of largemouth bass, channel catfish, and white crappie.

It has numerous boat launches surrounding the lake, making your fishing trip there convenient.

At the same time, it has a bait shop nearby to supply you with some bait and other fishing gear.

Aside from fishing, Aquilla Lake is also excellent for wildlife viewing and hunting.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Hillsboro City Park

Footbridge at Hillsboro City Park

Larry D. Moore, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hillsboro City Park is one of the major parks throughout the city.

Like most top-notch parks, this one is a favorite place for locals to relax and enjoy exciting outdoor activities.

Families and groups usually hang out at this park along North Pleasant Street to have a picnic and other outdoor activities.

It has a splash park, a playground, a pavilion, and a vast green open space for everyone to use.

At the same time, it has a multi-sport facility named “Wallace Park,” which features numerous sports fields for soccer, softball, and baseball.

It’s also where most of Hillsboro’s famous athletes in the National Football League (NFL) and Olympics honed their skills when they were young.

Hillsboro City Park park is the most suitable place to visit in the city to have fun without draining your wallet.

Be Amazed by Texas Through Time

Texas Through Time is a unique museum with a vast collection of prehistoric fossils and specimens.

Find this unique museum along North Waco Street.

It is widely known throughout Hillsboro to house specimens and fossils of prehistoric animals.

Specimens and fossils from reptiles, sharks, amphibians, ammonites, mammals, dinosaurs, and even petrified woods are seen at this museum.

People visiting there are amazed by the wonderfully-preserved fossils in its galleries.

At the same time, people visit this place for research and educational purposes through the museum’s classes and paleontological resources.

Amazingly, most of the specimens and fossils displayed at this museum came from excavations in Texas.

Spending an hour or two at Texas Through Time will give you much knowledge and fascination about the prehistoric occurrences in Texas.

On top of that, you’ll see amazing dinosaur fossils and life-sized replicas.

Drop by the Katy Depot – Texas State Historical Marker

The construction of the Katy Depot – Texas State Historical Marker reminds everyone of the history of the Texas Railroad, which connected Texas, Missouri, and Kansas.

It makes this historic railroad a significant infrastructure back in the late 1800s and 1900s.

The railroad also helped the development of Sedalia back in the day.

The depot is a fascinating place to visit if you’re looking for more historical side trips in Hillsboro.

While visiting this historical attraction, you’ll find various interpretive signs and historical information about the area.

Moreover, the Katy Depot – Texas State Historical Marker features gorgeous Prairie-Victorian style architecture, making it a perfect backdrop for souvenir photos.

Find this attraction on North Covington Street.

Step inside the Texas Heritage Museum

Welcome sign of Texas Heritage Museum

Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Heritage Museum opened in 1963 as a personal collection of Hill College history professor Harold B. Simpson.

This museum along Lamar Drive in Hillsboro grew bigger over the years.

Today, it’s one of Hill College’s most visited places.

This museum features galleries, working exhibits, and a historical research center.

The exhibits worth checking out are “Texas Revolution & Republic,” “The American Civil War,” “World War II,” and the “Vietnam War Exhibit.”

Overall, the Texas Heritage Museum is a fun and fascinating place to explore, especially for history buffs.

Plunge from the Sky with Skydive Dallas 35

Skydive Dallas 35 is a company based at the Hillsboro Municipal Airport known for its adrenaline-pumping skydiving tours.

Adding excitement to this company is they’re the only ones that provide high-altitude jumps.

It means your skydiving experience with them won’t be the same as average skydiving adventures.

This one offers high-altitude distances, which is at par with the altitude of passenger planes.

Suppose you’re up for a heart-pounding but highly-entertaining experience; Skydive Dallas 35 is the best choice to hook up with a skydiving adventure.

Regarding safety, its team of skydivers has the experience and expertise to give you a memorable and fun skydiving experience.

Spend a Night at the 1895 Tarlton House Bed & Breakfast

The 1895 Tarlton House Bed & Breakfast is not your average B&B.

It’s a historically recognized building that was constructed in 1895.

It has a three-story Queen Anne Victorian architecture with a distinct square tower and a gorgeous wraparound porch.

The 1895 Tarlton House Bed & Breakfast has seven guest rooms with private baths and all of the excellent amenities of a B&B.

In the mornings, you’ll enjoy a mouth-watering buffet breakfast and complimentary beverages.

This B&B along N. Pleasant Street is a charming place full of history.

At the same time, it provides guests with comfort and convenience while exploring Hillsboro.

Witness the Middlefaire Renaissance & Medieval Festival

The grounds where Middlefaire Renaissance & Medieval Festival is held

Alden Loveshade, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Middleware Renaissance & Medieval Festival is an exciting and unique attraction in Hillsboro, featuring a Medieval English village-themed fair.

The festival takes place along Texas 171 every October.

It’s an exciting opportunity to witness the crowd of Medieval-themed performers who entertain the visitors with various shows.

At the same time, there are magical fantasy performances, pirate-themed shows, and arts and crafts exhibits throughout the fair.

In addition, one of the fair’s highlights is the two-day flea market and hidden gems you can buy for a low price.

The Middleware Renaissance & Medieval Festival is a memorable event you and your loved ones must experience when visiting Hillsboro.

Shop until You Drop at Outlets at Hillsboro

Visit Outlets at Hillsboro along Texas 104 Interstate Highway for an enjoyable shopping experience.

Like most outlet shopping centers, it features over 26 fantastic stores.

Most of the outlet stores are from mainstream brands with affordable prices.

As one of Hill county’s best shopping centers, it provides customers with a combination of traditional mall stores and an eclectic collection of outlet shops.

Some mainstream brands you’ll see at Outlets at Hillsboro are Bath & Body Works, Dressbarn, Hanes, Kitchen Collection, Nike Factory, Levis, Maurices, Polo Ralph Lauren, Skechers, and Under Armour.

So, you know where to score some great gear in Hillsboro without burning a hole in your pocket.

Get Entertained by the Phillip H. Lowe Performing Arts Series

The Phillip H. Lowe Performing Arts Series is a series of concerts by Phillip Lowe and Dr. William Auvenshine.

This concert series has been happening for the past 25 years already.

Lowe, a retired coordinator of Hill College’s Visual and Performing Arts, organized the series with the help of Dr. Auvenshine.

It features mainly orchestral concerts and theater performances from the students and faculty of the Hill College Performing Arts.

It has an incredible line-up of shows throughout the year at the Vara Martin Daniel Performing Arts Center and various venues around Hill County.

If you’re looking for some top-notch entertainment while visiting Hillsboro, the Phillip H. Lowe Performing Arts Series offers the chance to witness excellent performances.

Browse through the Hillsboro Antique Mall

The Hillsboro Antique Mall is a remarkable place to explore, featuring a massive antique collection.

This charming shop is situated on South Waco Street in Hillsboro’s downtown area.

It is well-known throughout the city as the best place to look for rare antique collectibles such as furniture, glassware, jewelry, artworks, and other vintage items.

At the same time, it has a consignment and a booth rental for rare and used books.

If you’re looking for a place to buy some unique souvenirs to bring home, the Hillsboro Antique Mall has a wide array of unique items you won’t find anywhere else.

Appreciate the Architectural Beauty of the Hill County Courthouse

Exterior of Hill County Courthouse

xradiophotog /

The Hill County Courthouse is one of the most important government and historical buildings in Hill County.

This building is located on North Waco Street and serves as the centerpiece of Downtown Hillsboro.

It holds great historical significance to the entire Hill county.

This courthouse became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 to preserve its historical value.

Boasting a second-empire architecture completed in 1890, it utilized limestone for its structure, which is visible today through its gorgeous Corinthian columns.

Remarkably, the courthouse survived a fire in 1993.

It has undergone massive restorations to bring back its old glory and beauty.

Today, the Hill County Courthouse is one of Hillsboro’s top tourist destinations.

People visit this place to take photos and tour its various sections, which hold historical information.

When visiting the courthouse, don’t miss checking out the iron staircase, Confederate Monument on the courthouse lawn, and the Original Hill County Courthouse bell.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Experience the Outdoors at Lake Whitney

The waters of Lake Whitney

Brina candi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Whitney encompasses over 23,500 acres of surface area and 225 miles of shoreline.

This lake is situated roughly 30 minutes west of Hillsboro.

It primarily serves as Hill County’s flood control and water reservoir.

Aside from its primary purpose, this lake is a popular outdoor recreation destination in Hill County and all over Texas.

It draws over two million visitors annually for boating, camping, fishing, water skiing, and nature viewing.

Named the “Official Getaway Capital” of Texas in 2005, this lake offers visitors a wonderful experience.

At the same time, it has gorgeous natural scenery highlighting towering cliffs, magical coves, sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters.

If you’re looking for Hillsboro’s best outdoor destination, this lake is your go-to place.

Final Thoughts

After reading this list of the best things to do in Hillsboro, Texas, you’ll surely look at the city differently.

It won’t be just another sleepy area that you pass by the interstate highway.

Hillsboro is home to attractions you wouldn’t expect to find in a city in the middle of an interstate.

With its rich history, heritage, and vibrant community, the city is an ideal travel destination in Texas.

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