The distinction of being the largest inland port along the US/Mexican border has naturally linked the Texan town of Laredo to its Mexican sister city across the Rio Grande River. Although there’s not a great deal of interest to seasoned travelers in this city of 250,000, Laredo does makes a good entry point for excursions into Mexico.

The first of seven different flags was flown over Laredo in 1755, creating the foundation for what was to evolve into a genuine cultural melting pot. Most of the action happens around the historic downtown area, where there are dozens of interesting buildings reflecting the diverse nature of this town. This is where visitors will find most of the sites of interest, as well as many places to eat, drink, sleep and spend money.

The other important part of Laredo is the Rio Grande River, which makes up the border with Mexico. There are four international bridges and one railroad bridge connecting the two countries. This is a seriously busy border crossing, so there’s always plenty going on if you want to experience the buzz of the Mexican border. But even better, just flash your passport and make an incursion into the crazy and fascinating town of Nuevo Laredo.


Historic Downtown: the only cool part of Laredo is its historic downtown, where wonderful old buildings, theaters and hotels mingle together in the weirdness that embodies every Mexican border town.

Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum: the old capitol building, a beautiful piece of architecture in itself, is now the foremost museum on the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande.

The Laredo Center for the Arts: also downtown is this collective of three art galleries showcasing local talent. Although it’s mostly a community center, art fans may want to stop by and see what’s happening in the Laredo art scene.

Nuevo Laredo: you can’t come this far and not cross the bridge into Mexico, but if you’ve already been to the country you can give this dodgy border town a miss.

Lake Casa Blanca International State Park: located on the east side of Laredo, a massive lake anchors this fun and relaxing state park where you can enjoy both water and land sports.

Imaginarium of South Texas: kids will love this hands-on science museum with its interactive and educational exhibits.