Things to Do in Belton
You’re in for a relaxing time in beautiful Belton. Less eccentric than Austin and less frantic than Dallas, Belton offers a laid-back place where you can enjoy gorgeous Texas scenery, eat some really good food, hear great music, and take in the carefully preserved history of this part of the greatest state in the union. From its historic downtown area outward to its two welcoming lakes, Belton is loaded with opportunities for fun activities; it all depends on you. Here are a few of the best things to do in Belton.
Discover Historic Downtown Belton
Belton’s downtown commercial district is both a great place to experience local history and a hotspot for unique dining and shopping opportunities. For the latter, the highlight is Cochran Blair & Potts, the oldest operating department store in the state.Nearly 100 other buildings that were built between 1870 and 1959 remain, including the majestic Bell County Courthouse, originally constructed in 1884. In addition, visitors can learn first-hand about the history of the area dating back as far as 13,000 years ago at the award-winning Bell County Museum.
Though it may not have been there 13,000 years, Nolan Creek, which runs through the downtown area, makes for a great place for admiring the scenery, or jumping in a kayak for a leisurely paddle.You can learn about the lives of some of the men and women who have served in the armed forces at the Patriot Brick Walk, and dine at Miller’s Smokehouse, one of the most highly praised barbecue joints in Texas, when your stomach starts rumbling. During the summer, Schoepf’s Bar-B-Que is a great place to catch good eats and free live music.
Live It Up at the Lake
Belton is bordered by not one, but two large lakes that are home to some of the area’s best camping, boating, and fishing. North of town you’ll find Belton Lake, whose limestone bluffs and deep, clear water make it quite the scenic spot. But you’ll want to do more than enjoy the scenery when you visit. The lake is perfect for skiing, tubing, boarding, swimming, and fishing, not to mention hiking at Miller Springs. At the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area (BLORA), you can get in some paintball action or go horseback riding.
Stillhouse Hollow Lake, located just west of Belton, is one of the highest-rated lakes in the state for water quality. You can launch your boat from one of the handful of free ramps or stay close to the bank, with public swim beaches available and fishing allowed everywhere except restricted areas. The three parks around the lake offer dozens of covered picnic tables, charcoal grills, and restroom facilities, making it a fantastic place to come for a family picnic. If you’re interested in trying out scuba diving, check out the local dive shop that offers outings on Stillhouse Hollow Lake every weekend.
Get in the Market
On the third Saturday of each month, downtown Belton becomes an outdoor bazaar during the town’s Market Days. Central Avenue is lined with vendors peddling all kinds of unique wares, from handmade jewelry and vintage clothing to sports cards and collectibles.
Food vendors churn out Texas barbecue and other hot goodies, while area farmers sell locally grown, fresh seasonal produce. The event is a modern revival of Belton Merchants First Mondays, a time when the city’s earliest townsfolk would assemble to shop and swap in their Sunday finest.
See a World-Class Performance
It’s easy to see a great concert, show, or other live event in Belton. Throughout the year, the 6,500-seat Bell County Expo Center hosts a wide array of dynamic events that help make Belton a favored destination for folks from all over the state. Some of the most popular annual events include the Bell County PRCA Rodeo, the Central Texas State Fair, and the Western Swing Festival. The expo center has also helped Belton earn the nickname of “live music capital of Bell County.” Big-name country and rock music acts to pass through in recent years include Lady Antebellum, Alan Jackson, Daughtry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top.