One of my favorite things about the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas is how colorful it is, literally and figuratively. From the deep blue skies to the green and purple cabbage fields, the food, the smiling faces, and the many intersecting cultures that collide down here along the border of Mexico.
I first visited the town of Harlingen about a year and a half ago to see the original Iwo Jima Monument. Check out my post Exploring the Rio Grande Valley to see the photos and learn more about other nearby towns in the area!
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I decided to go back and explore the historic downtown area. I was expecting the typical old brick buildings you usually encounter in small towns, but instead was greeted by a colorful array of unique buildings and murals. Downtown Harlingen really displays the color of the region, while still embracing the history and cultures. Scroll down to see what I mean ??
I mainly stuck on and around the main drag of historic Jackson Street, which is dotted with tall palm trees and an eclectic selection of shops and buildings. The old downtown squares of small towns often tend to be slow and deserted, but I found the one in Harlingen to be full of life.
Cross Commerce Street and you’ll hit Centennial Park, home to a colorful ceramic mosaic created by Mexican artist Raul Esparza Sanchez in 1975. Consisting of 905 handcrafted ceramic tiles put together into nine panels, each panel depicts a different theme in Mexican/Lantino history and society.
From this glorious display, just turn around and you will see beautiful murals painted on the backs of buildings along the railroad tracks.
I made my way back towards Jackson Street, and here’s some cool things I saw along the way…
I even found Juiceology, a juice shop where I got a delicious beet juice! ? I like the slogan on the mural pictured above that says “Downtown Harlingen: Where the past is present.” You can definitely see a nice balance of old and new, traditional and unique, past and present.
Next time you find yourself in south Texas, stop by this hidden gem of a town and do some exploring. You’ll be glad you did!