The small but mighty city of Mesquite is more than a destination; it’s an experience. To make the most of your trip, check out these must-see spots and activities that deliver authentic Texas flavor (figuratively and literally) from start to finish.
The Mesquite Championship Rodeo
You can’t visit a city coined the “Official Rodeo Capital of Texas” and not snag tickets to the main event. The Mesquite Championship Rodeo launches on June 1, 2019, bringing a ton of rodeo superstars, musical acts, and fun to Mesquite Arena. You can get a front-row seat for everything from saddle bronc riding to team roping to barrel racing. For a more interactive day out, face off against a mechanical bull, or save your energy for tackling a huge mound of tangy, uber-tender Texas BBQ. There’s also face painting and pony rides, contests and rodeo celeb sightings, giving you everything your rodeo-loving heart needs in one air-conditioned building.
Boots, Boots, and More Boots
Mesquite and boots are a marriage made in, well, Texas. Whether you’re looking to fit in with the locals or find a new pair of authentic footwear, there are local shops and popular chain outposts with tons of attractive and comfortable options. Try on brands like Shyanne, Cody James, Corral, and Justin at Boot Barn; this Mesquite location is the top-selling boot store in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Or head to Cavender’s in Mesquite for head-to-toe Western looks for the whole family. And don't miss Willy's Boot & Shoe Repair at 134 East Main Street for custom boots and other leather goods.
All the BBQ You Can Eat
There’s barbecue and then there’s Texas BBQ, and Texas BBQ blows the rest of the competition away (though there may understandably be some bias involved here). From the hickory-smoked, slow-cooked magic of East Texas-style BBQ to the simply seasoned, sauceless but smoked meat in Central Texas, the mesquite-infused options in West Texas, and the sticky and thick sauces in the southern part of the state, this is one culinary adventure you need to cross off your bucket list. For the best examples, try Mesquite BBQ (in operation since 1959), Slabs, Soulman’s, and Baker’s Ribs.
Fascinating Texas History
Mesquite was founded way back in 1874, and a lot has happened in the nearly 150 years since. What started as a blip along the Texas & Pacific Railroad turned into a farming community and then grew into the bustling suburb it is today, but the city hasn’t forgotten its history.
Historic Mesquite, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the structures and stories that help make Mesquite so special. One such project is Opal Lawrence Historical Park. The Lawrence family estate was a simple two-story farmhouse in 1882, but over time the site grew to include expansive porches and 14 additional rooms, a belvedere tower, and outbuildings such chicken coops, a curing shed, and the historic barn, built in 1886, which still stands on site today.
All the structures have been lovingly preserved and opened to the public, earning them a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and exposing a whole new generation to a glimpse of what life was like in days gone by.
Visit Historic Downtown Mesquite
In many ways, Downtown Mesquite is a tale of two cities. Look around downtown, and you will see locally owned businesses that have been favorites for years. They are being joined by a new wave of entrepreneurs who are adding their own spin on retail and services within the walls of downtown’s buildings, many of which still bear the original brick facades that harken back to Mesquite’s beginnings. Make sure to show some love to our local businesses during Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30.
Though redevelopment is on the horizon, downtown in its current state is still a compelling place to visit, particularly if you go on the second and fourth Saturday of the month from April through November when The Marketplace is in full swing. Stock up on artisanal baked goods and fresh produce, buy gifts, visit with local craftspeople, or just enjoy the camaraderie of this tight-knit community.
Photo credit: Mesquite Convention and Visitors Bureau