Things to Do in Wharton

WHARTON is located one hour’s drive southwest of Houston on U.S. 59. Discover our fine dining, the lively arts, shopping, antiques, and museums, and our historic courthouse district.

It is the Home of the Texas Story Teller, Horton Foote, a Wharton  native whose stories are based on growing up in Wharton.

A gracious welcome awaits visitors to historic Wharton, nestled on the banks of the Colorado River. Wharton is the perfect stop for an hour, a day, or a lifetime. It is a paradise for birdwatchers and sportsmen. From antiques to fashion, our shops will delight you.

Historic courthouse, downtown

You can visit our newly restored Wharton County Courthouse, built in 1889, an Victorian/Italianate-style building designed by Eugene T. Heiner. The courthouse is the heart of our historic district, a mecca for the antique hunter. You can walk from shop to shop and when you are done you can enjoy a great lunch or dinner from one of the fine downtown restaurants. Also gracing our downtown is the Historic Plaza Theatre with a live entertainment experience.

Life-size dinosaur

Wharton even has a life-size dinosaur sculpture at what the locals call Dinosaur Park, on the west end of Riverfront Park, which runs alongside downtown and the Colorado River. Wharton is truly a 'green' city.

Wharton boasts eleven parks through the city. Riverfront Park, located under the 1930 Hwy. 59 bridge, is a relaxing atmosphere for picnic and day use with barbecue pits, tables, and restrooms. Come stroll along the banks of the Colorado River. You can fish from a pier, bicycle on nature trails, or picnic.

Horton Foote

Wharton also is the hometown of Horton Foote, the dramatist who won Oscars for his screenplays for To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies and a Pulitzer Prize for his stage play The Young Man from Atlanta. The home in which he grew up and lived in during his adult years is still owned and maintained by his family in Wharton.

Wharton County Historical Museum

Newsman Dan Rather is also a Wharton native, and the home in which he was born is now located at the Wharton County Historical Museum. The museum also many exhibits that depict the settling of Wharton and its rich history. There also is a wild game trophy room and an historic doll collection. The The museum is located at 3615 N. Richmond Road. You can contact them by phone at 979-532-2600. whartoncountyhistoricalmuseum.com/

20th Century Technology Museum

The 20th Century Technology Museum has received wide publicity for documenting the innovations of the last century. The Museum collects, preserves, and displays everyday objects of historical technology and serves as a unique educational and cultural center for better understanding the progressive timeline of the products that we enjoy using today. Many items on display are in working condition and may be demonstrated or operated by visitors. While objects from the 20th Century may seem too recent for a historical museum, with the rapid pace of technological change, items from the early part of the century are truly worthy of museum preservation, and items from the latter part of the century help to show how the earlier items relate to current technology. The museum has proven to be a major site of interest to all ages — for the adults it is a "trip down memory lane," and for children it is a chance to observe obsolete items they have never seen before. The museum houses an experimental aircraft designed by Burt Rutan, once-trend-setting computers and radios, and once-popular household items from wash machines to phonographs. The museum is located at 3615 N. Richmond Rd., in Wharton. You can contact them at 979-282-8810. 20thcenturytech.com.


Lively Arts

The historic Plaza Theatre graces our downtown square with a live entertainment experience. The Plaza Hotel began circa 1904 as a two story brick structure. The hotel was gutted and a movie theater built within the brick shell in 1941, and a gala grand opening was held in March 1942. The Plaza puts on both serious and not-so-serious productions, as well as musicals, throughout the year. The intimate auditorium’s excellent 
acoustics and sightlines make it the perfect place to enjoy music, 
stand-up comedy or drama in smoke-free comfort. Before or after 
the show, enjoy fine dining, antiquing and other shopping around 
Wharton’s beautiful downtown square. The restored theatre is located at 120 S. Houston St., in downtown Wharton. You can contact the theatre at 979-282-2970. whartonplazatheatre.org. Wharton County Junior College also produces stage plays and concerts throughout the year at the Horton Foote Theatre. You can contact the college by phone at 532-4560. The main campus is located at 911 E. Boling Highway (FM 1301), Wharton. wcjc.cc.tx.us.


Cattle Country

The Wharton area is known for the unique Brahman breed of cattle, originally imported from India and known for their humps on their backs. Our Brahman ranches do business worldwide and are top award winners at the Houston Livestock Show and other prestigious shows across the nation. You can see them on Texas 60, north of Hungerford, and on FM 1161, east of Hungerford. Hungerford is located six miles north of Wharton on Business 59. If you are coming from Wharton, turn right on FM 1161, or follow the sign to Texas 60 to the left. Local ranches include: J.D. Hudgins, V8 Ranch, and Heritage Cattle Co.


Friendly People

You’ll find our residents friendly and helpful. But you won’t find smog or traffic jams along our tree-lined streets. If you need help with directions, don’t hesitate to call the chamber office at 532-1862. Or stop by our office, 225 N. Richmond Road, for maps, brochures, hotels, restaurants or other information to make your stay enjoyable.

The Outdoors

The town of Wharton, with a population of about 10,000, also is literally at the doorstep of some of the best hunting and birdwatching found anywhere, truly an outdoorsman’s paradise. We also are just an hour away from the beaches and excellent fishing along the Gulf of Mexico.


Major Festivals, Events

Citywide Garage Sale: Friday and Saturday, June 20 and 21, 2014.

Farmers Market: Spring Farmers Market - Saturdays, Late Spring - Early Summer; Fall Farmers Market - Saturdays, Late Fall 

Juneteenth Festival: June 14, 2014, Monterey Square, starting at 10 a.m.

Freedom Festival: May 17, 2014

Wine and Arts Fair on Monterey Square - October 11, 2014

Wharton Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade: November 25, 2014

Friday Night Lights on Monterrey Square: December 5, 12 & 19, 2014



Restored Southern Pacific Railroad Depot
100 S. Sunset St.
Now open to the general public!
9 am to 1 pm each  Saturday
Free Coffee, too!