15 Best Things to Do in Winnsboro, TX

Winnsboro, TX
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Winnsboro is a small city sandwiched between Wood and Franklin Counties in Upper East Texas.

This small city near Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana is roughly two hours east of Dallas.

Despite its distance from the major cities in Texas, Winnsboro is a thriving city.

It is widely known throughout the region for its vibrant arts and culture scene and its series of festivals.

Its Main Street holds a collection of turn-of-the-century industrial and commercial buildings.

Moreover, this city hosts various cultural festivals, activities, concerts, art exhibits, and literary events throughout the year.

With all that in mind, this Texan city is worth a visit, especially for art lovers.

So, here are the best things to do in Winnsboro, Texas:

Discover Winnsboro's Main Street

Winnsboro's Main Street serves as the downtown area in the city where most of the businesses are concentrated.

The development of Winnsboro's downtown began in 1981 through the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

It primarily aimed to revitalize the downtown area's vibrant commercial, cultural, and historical scene.

Since its revitalization program, the downtown area has become one of Winnsboro's main tourist attractions.

It mainly features its centuries-old buildings, which have undergone restorations.

This place in Winnsboro is fast turning into a "Destination City."

It's because visitors and locals can enjoy an eclectic collection of restaurants, shops, antiques, art galleries, and events.

Overall, Main Street is Winnsboro's most exciting place to visit.

Participate in the Annual Autumn Trails Festival

Every October, Winnsboro's locals celebrate the annual Autumn Trails Festival.

It's been running for over 60 years, making it a special event to attend whenever you're in the city.

The festivities usually last for a month, filled with various activities such as antique car parades, arts and crafts, beauty pageants, and chili cook-offs.

Of course, the highlight would have to be the Autumn Trail Rides, which started when a local group of riders joined the celebration of the Autumn Trails Festival in  1958.

Visitors are invited to tour various locations, such as scenic landscapes featuring autumn foliage.

At the same time, you can check out places featuring visual arts, music, and local agricultural scenes participating in the entire festivities.

Witness Renaissance Under the Stars

Renaissance Under the Stars is an annual gala organized by Winnsboro Center for the Arts.

The event at the Winnsboro Civic Center highlights the city's vibrant performing arts scene.

During the event, guests and spectators can experience various activities, including concerts and theater performances.

At the same time, you can also join youth camps, outdoor markets, and top-notch performances from Grammy award-winning artists.

In addition, various art galleries pop up all over Winnsboro during the Renaissance Under the Stars event.

Rub Elbows with Locals at the Winnsboro Farmers Market

The Winnsboro Farmers Market on East Carnegie Street serves as one of the main areas for locals to grab fresh local produce.

This charming gathering of the community's farmers, artisans, and food vendors is a wholesome experience you mustn't miss.

The farmers' market opens seasonally from April through October.

You can shop at this market for locally-grown produce, organic meat, preserves, artisanal pastries and bread, and handmade soaps.

At the same time, you'll enjoy shaking hands with local farmers and fellow buyers who will greet you warmly while you're shopping.

The Winnsboro Farmers Market has a festive atmosphere filled with the best local products, making it a recommended place to visit.

Indulge in all the Goodness of the Winnsboro Art & Wine Festival

The annual Winnsboro Art & Wine Festival, organized by Winnsboro Center for the Arts and the City of Winnsboro, is one of the city's most highly anticipated events.

Many call this event the nation's "Mecca of arts and wine lovers."

Happening every November, the festival gathers some of the finest artists from around the nation.

They join the event to exhibit their talents and jury various activities.

At the same time, Texas wineries compete with each other by showcasing their award-winning wines and products through tastings and displays.

Also, local breweries join the festival by featuring their signature craft beers and specialty food.

Celebrating the Winnsboro Art & Wine Festival is an excellent opportunity for you to experience the city's vibrant arts and cultural scene.

At the same time, you can shop for top-notch artworks, excellent wines, and food while celebrating with fellow festival-goers.

Step inside Winnsboro Center for the Arts

The famous Winnsboro Center for the Arts along Market Street in downtown Winnsboro is the epicenter of arts in the region.

It is widely known throughout Texas for its unique and vibrant arts and cultural experience.

In addition, this place is also responsible for Winnsboro's famous events.

These events include the Winnsboro Arts & Wine Festival, among others.

At the same time, it regularly hosts art exhibits, workshops, classes, literary events, theater productions, and concerts.

This arts center should be on your itinerary if you want to visit a fantastic location in the city.

Browse through various art exhibits or join one of its art workshops.

Watch concerts and performances at the art center's theaters to complete your experience.

There are dozens of art-related activities for you to enjoy at Winnsboro Center for the Arts.

Get Serenaded at the Bowery Stage

Located along Market Street, the Bowery Stage is a public musical event in downtown Winnsboro that mainly features some of the finest musicians in the region.

It has an intimate 88-seater listening hall that offers music lovers one of the best mini-concerts they can experience.

The concerts usually last an hour or two, depending on the number of performers.

Also, you can bring your bottle of wine or get served with the concert hall's available wine.

The Bowery Stage's concerts are some of the top-notch musical experiences in Texas that you mustn't miss.

So, don't forget to include one of their events in your itinerary.

Spend Your Night at the Historic Oaklea Mansion Bed & Breakfast

The Oaklea Mansion Bed & Breakfast, or the Marcus Dewitt Carlock House, is a historic mansion next to the Winnsboro City Hall.

This structure is one of Winnsboro's National Landmarks, which now serves as lodging for the city's visitors.

It was built in 1903 by a prominent Winnsboro local, Marcus Dewitt Carlock Sr., a politician and lawyer back in the day.

Because of its historical relevance and gorgeous architecture, the Marcus Dewitt Carlock House was named a Texas Historic Landmark in 1966.

Today, it's one of the buildings that stands out along Main Street.

It boasts gorgeous Neoclassical Greek architecture while maintaining most of its original furnishings.

By booking a holiday at the Oaklea Mansion Bed & Breakfast, you'll be treated to a cozy stay and the opportunity to step back in time and explore the mansion's fascinating history.

Channel Your Inner Bookworm During the Annual Festival of Books

The annual Festival of Books is a unique celebration in Winnsboro.

It mainly gathers the region's bookworms for worthwhile activities at Winnsboro Center for the Arts.

Happening every May, this festival provides a wholesome and fun-filled experience for all bookworms.

It mainly caters to children through various activities.

The activities usually lined up during this festival in Winnsboro are story time, story walks, art activities, free books for children, and a bookmark design competition.

The Festival of Books is even more remarkable because it caters to people with special needs.

The primary purpose of this book festival is to bring all writers, readers, and authors to a myriad of exciting activities.

Modern Country Art & Design Gallery, located along North Franklin Street, is a contemporary art gallery.

The gallery's owner, Chris Brown, aims to create a place to display his works to the public.

This artist, also a local in Winnsboro, is renowned for his contemporary artworks.

Visit Modern Country Art & Design Gallery in Winnsboro's vibrant art district to see his masterpieces.

At the same time, Brown is committed to educating the public, especially aspiring artists, about contemporary arts.

The artist also wants to let the public know how Winnsboro's vibrant arts scene has evolved through the years.

You can also join various art-related activities, including private paint party events.

Soothe Your Senses at Elm Street Apothecary

Elm Street Apothecary is one of the unique shops you must visit in Winnsboro's downtown area.

This shop carries medicinal herbs, spices, loose-leaf teas, culinary herbs, Texas teas, essential oils, and other products.

Owned by a known herbalist, Kelley Swan, this shop has been in business for quite a while already in Winnsboro.

Her herbal products provide locals and visitors in Winnsboro with a soothing experience.

If you're looking for a place to shop for souvenirs in Winnsboro, Elm Street Apothecary is an excellent place to find some.

Complete Your Cowboy Outfit at Winnsboro Boot Company

Winnsboro Boot Company, located on East Coke Road, provides Texans with top-quality leather boots and apparel.

This hidden gem in Winnsboro is a fantastic place to visit for those who want to achieve an authentic old-west cowboy outfit.

If you're planning to style yourself like a local Texan, this store is an excellent place to shop.

Aside from the classic cowboy boots, you'll also enjoy browsing through a vast collection of traditional cowboy hats, jeans, and patterned shirts.

At the same time, Winnsboro Boot Company lets you customize and get your jeans creased to achieve that complete cowboy look.

Women can also enjoy choosing various leather handbags, totes, dresses, and accessories.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Birds of Prey during the Rains County Eagle Fest

The Rains County Eagle Fest is a unique event that takes place in Emory, a 30-minute drive west of Winnsboro.

This unique festival pays tribute to Rains County, the "Eagle Capital of Texas."

In 1995, the state legislature of Texas declared Rains County its famous moniker for its efforts in preserving and protecting the American Bald Eagles in the area.

To highlight the county's noble deed, they celebrate this annual festival highlighting various birds of prey, especially the bald eagles.

During the Rains County Eagle Fest, you'll witness live bird shows, wildlife presentations, educational exhibits, nature tours, dance performances, and craft and food vendors.

Wander through the Mineola Nature Preserve

The waters of Mineola Nature Preserve
Wayne-Chai / Shutterstock.com

The Mineola Nature Preserve is situated in Mineola, 30 minutes south of Winnsboro.

It encompasses 2,911 acres of natural area meandering the Sabine River.

This natural area is home to vibrant Texan flora and fauna.

Nature trail at Mineola Nature Preserve
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It's also a famous outdoor destination for nature lovers in the region.

This place is home to over 193 bird species and other wildlife, such as longhorn cattle, buffalos, and other animals.

It mainly features a pristine wooded and wetlands environment, perfect for nature and wildlife viewing.

Longhorns grazing at Mineola Nature Preserve
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This nature preserve is your go-to place if you're looking for Winnsboro's natural beauty.

Bring your camera, binoculars, and hiking boots because you'll wander through its scenic places.

The Mineola Nature Preserve also has numerous campgrounds you can choose from if you plan to stay there longer.

Resting buffalos at Mineola Nature Preserve
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Cast Your Bait at Lake Fork

Sunrise reflecting on Lake Fork
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Lake Fork is a massive 27,690-acre freshwater lake situated 23 miles southwest of Winnsboro.

This water reservoir is a significant tributary of the Sabine River in Texas.

It also happens to be a famous fishing lake in the region.

Before wrapping up your Winnsboro travel adventure, it would be excellent to have a relaxing fishing session at this lake.

Winter fishing at Lake Fork
Elias Ariza / Shutterstock.com

Lake Fork is famous for bass fishing, where you can catch as many as you want.

If you're into fishing, this lake is an excellent place to spend your day.

Final Thoughts

Winnsboro offers a unique and vibrant arts scene you won't find in any other city across the state.

It is a Texan gem that shines through its art and unique attractions.

Despite its distance to Dallas and other major cities in Texas, Winnsboro is worth the long drive.

Bookmark this list of the best things to do in Winnsboro, Texas, and use it as your reference when visiting the city.

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