With all the fun things to do, you won't have any trouble filling your days when you visit Longview. If you love high-flying action, take a hot air balloon ride over the pine forests of East Texas or soar through the woodland canopy on a zip lining tour. Are you more comfortable with your feet on the ground? Head to Longview's parks and golf courses, where you can savor fresh air and great views. For something even more relaxing, visit the city's elegant museums and remarkable theaters. These are, of course, just a few of the things to do in Longview that make this East Texas city a must-visit destination.
For one of the most unique Longview activities, schedule a visit to Balloon Adventures, USA. There you can shake off the surly bonds of earth as you enjoy a sunrise or sunset cruise with operator and multiple-world-record holder Dr. Bill Bussey as your pilot. Flights average between an hour and 90 minutes, and can take you on a path over Longview’s Lake Cherokee, skimming over the tops of East Texas pines, or over the city’s neighborhoods and commercial districts. Wherever you end up going, you and up to three friends will enjoy a view of Longview that few visitors ever get to experience.
Longview also happens to be the official “The Balloon Capital of Texas,” by decree of the Texas State Legislature. It’s here that you’ll find the Great Texas Balloon Race, one of the world's premier competitive hot air balloon races. One of the top family events of the year, kids can get up close to the balloons to learn how they operate, and marvel at the colors during the "balloon glows" at night. The weekend also includes live music, vendor tables, and more.
There's no better way to spend an afternoon in Longview than out on the links playing some golf. There are four public courses in the area, with different lengths and features, so no matter your skill level you can always find a course that works best for your game.
Beginners should check out the Alpine Target Golf Center in Longview. It's a lighted nine-hole, par-three course with a driving range, pro-level instructors, and club fitting services. There’s also the Alpine Golf Club, where you’ll find a fun 6,100-yard-long 18-hole course with tree-lined fairways and a layout that is friendly for all skill levels. Another option in Longview is Wood Hollow Golf Club, featuring wide fairways, long greens, and a few long par-five holes mixed in. Finally, with a 15-minute drive west to Gladewater, you'll find Southern Hills Golf Club, a lovely but challenging course measuring just over 7,000 yards. So dust off those clubs and enjoy some of the best golfing in all of East Texas.
The people of Longview are proud of their East Texas heritage, and they've gone to great lengths to preserve it for later generations and out-of-towners to experience. With upwards of 50,000 guests each year, the East Texas Oil Museum is one of the preeminent archives of the boomtown era in the country. The highlight is a full-scale “town” complete with authentic shops, clothing, and tools from the time period that visitors are free to explore.
A trip to the Longview Museum of Fine Arts means a pleasant stroll among the museum's unique exhibits like the Pepsi-Cola Collection and the sculpture garden. With a specially designed hands-on exhibit area, the Gregg County Historical Museum in the historic Everett Building is also a crowd favorite. Its exhibits include military and architecture collections, as well as the Bill Dalton Bank Robbery exhibit, a display of the weapons and the “holdup note” from the infamous crime and ensuing deadly shootout. No tour of the area’s rich history would be complete without stopping here.
Those unfamiliar with Longview might be surprised to find that this East Texas town has a vibrant arts community that offers a myriad of media to suit all kinds of cultural tastes. At the S.E. Belcher Chapel & Performance Center, catch some of your favorite touring comedians, marvel at the delicate movement of the Longview Ballet Theater dancers, or unwind to the tranquil sounds of the Longview Symphony. If you enjoy watching a play, head to Grace Crossing United Methodist Church and watch local residents take star turns as actors and actresses in fun productions by Theatre Longview. Younger performers can get in on the act at the ArtsView Children's Theatre, which conducts several productions throughout the year. Of course, the ever-popular T-Bone Walker Blues Fest goes down every summer in Longview, a can't-miss event for lovers of the genre.
There are more than 35 public parks in Longview that feature an assortment of free facilities for picnicking, playing sports, or cooling off. For the latter, you'll find swimming pools and/or splash pads at Broughton Park, Ingram Park, Lear Park, the Longview Swim Center, Neal McCoy Park, and Stamper Park. Those traveling with dogs can let them stretch their legs at the Stragent Dog Park. Disc golf players will find Longview’s two courses, at Guthrie Park and Hinsley Park, of interest. And you'll find grills and pavilions at virtually every park, so swing by the grocery store for burgers and hot dogs and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch under the blue Texas sky.
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