Need a quick trip away to recharge or just get away from it all – without going too far? Cleburne Texas slows down the clock so you can enjoy the good stuff.
What to Do in 24 Hours is a series of our favorite ways to experience a city when you just have one day.
Thank you to Visit Cleburne and the entire community for making sure our 24 hour trip what we needed.
When you live in Texas you often think, “Oh, I’ve been there!” But when asked if I wanted to check out Cleburne, I realized that wasn’t the case. I didn’t have any recollection of Cleburne except a few signs to turn right if I wanted to go. But after a long hard few weeks, I needed a breather. The kids needed a breather. And anytime I can squeeze in a chance to share Texas, especially with my kids, I’m down.
I just wasn’t sure what all we were going to find to do.
What we would discover is that Cleburne, once the center of railroad hayday in the early part of the 1900s that brought many people to enjoy the city as a stop on their journey, is worth the stop still today as you see how history and fun is featured in this Texas small town.
The railroad is what really put Cleburne on the map and you’ll see testaments it’s what is worth the stop today.
Where to Stay in Cleburne
205 S. Caddo Street
So without a plan in the least, we packed our bags and headed out, which is just a short drive from DFW (like less than hour.) Arriving at our lodging for the evening, we were greeted by the beauty of the Liberty Hotel. A gorgeous historic hotel built in the 1920s, the hotel was originally developed as a luxurious stop along the Santa Fe Railroad. Due to changes in technology the hotel wouldn’t survive the changes and became run down. However, in 2004 the hotel underwent a serious renovation bringing the shine back to the hotel, while integrating many of the modern conveniences guests expect today. While some say it may be haunted, the Liberty Hotel is a must for those who appreciate history when you stay in Cleburne.
Where to Eat in Cleburne
La Cima Mexican Cuisine
736 N. Main St.
Pulling in to Cleburne, there was not shortage of places to eat and definitely many great Tex-Mex places (believe me I asked and had tons of recommendations.) But no matter who I talked to, La Cima was always top of the list. From the apps, to the tacos and definitely the drinks, La Cima was a must! And I’m so glad we did. From the moment we walked into this casual Cleburne mainstay, we were met with smiles and ice cold margaritas. And to add another great not-to-miss dish is the Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Balls. While it doesn’t seem fitting in a Mexican restaurant, after a bite, you won’t care where it’s on the menu – as long as it’s there.
DON’T MISS: Order the Prickly Pear Margarita
Loaf n’ Dog
208 E. Chambers St. Suite E
When you have kids, anytime you can find a place where eating with your hands is considered a must and there are tons of things to look at while you dine is considered a super plus. So it was super fitting after a morning of museums (there are plenty), we found this little gem right off the square. Much like La Cima, everyone was smiling inside Loaf n’ Dog and the menu was full of well-recommended options with common female names. Let’s just say if you like hot dogs, this is your place (veggie included!) And they have thought of it all on this menu – and several things that aren’t hot dog-related, too including beer, wine, and the root beer float. If this place doesn’t make you happy, nothing will.
DON’T MISS: Instagram-worthy mural on the back patio or throughout the building!
Where to Go in Cleburne
Cleburne Railroaders at The Depot
1906 Brazzle Bvd.
Even if you aren’t a sports fan, you must plan to experience a Cleburne Railroaders Game at The Depot at Cleburne Station, May – September! We had been to several baseball games at other stadiums and had a good time, but when you go to a Cleburne Railroaders game, you are part of the fun from start to finish.
There’s something to do throughout the game for everyone – from the moment you get there from taking your photos in front of the railcar. Or head right in the entrance where there is a baseball museum sharing the history of team that begins.
There are fun promos for every game, so no one goes home without something fun to remember the game – but you don’t even need it as you’ll be smiling at the photos you took! From their mascot, Spike, taking the time to meet everyone, rolling on The Berm (the open seating on the grassy knoll at the stadium), or just the serious baseball grub like the funnel cake fries or the Desert Pear Lemonade! And when you catch a foul ball like my daughter did that night, you have a fan for life!
DON’T MISS: The owner of the Railroaders or the Cleburne mayor cheering their team on amongst the fans!
What to Do in Cleburne
To begin – 24 hours in Cleburne is not enough! There was so much to do and see, we really didn’t have a chance to do everything we wanted as long as we wanted. The Layland Museum alone at activities to take you throughout the community so that you could win prizes for all your fun as you learned about art, history and Cleburne. And considering Gone with the WInd is my favorite movie of all time, I could’ve spent a day reading about each costume, doll or special edition print of the legendary novel. So I’d definitely suggest taking time to enjoy each of these with a little more time, especially considering who is traveling with you!
Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum
101 Chisholm Trail
You literally can’t miss this the Chisholm Trail as it comes to life with the entrance of metal work of cattle as you enter the gates. This duo of museums found outside of Cleburne (actually icalled Wardville) was a wonderful walk (literally) through the hand-on history of the old west. From the schoolhouse, church, jail, stagecoach and even a real-life working blacksmith is available to see and in some cases even experience. The wonderful volunteers can guide you through history and help you appreciate how things really were along the Chisholm Trail.
DON’T MISS: During November, the public is invited to Pioneer Days by dressing up and really being a part of the cattle drive experience with food, fun and more. AND you can also receive real school credit by having class inside the school house the same way they did then with a teacher for a very small fee (like $7 for a full day with a minimum number of students.)
Big Bear Native American Museum
Also on site of the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum, see an excellent collection of Native American artifacts in the Big Bear Native American Museum. Opened in 2015 by Leonard “Big Bear” Beal, the “wigwam” was part of his vision of educating the public, additional artifacts supplement his collection to provide a complete overview of Native Americans in North America from their arrival over 13,000 years ago to the present.
DON’T MISS: The scavenger hunt designed for children to learn as they experience the museum and receive a very special handmade gift.
Gone with the Wind Remembered Museum
305 E. 2nd St.
Contrary to Rhett’s famous words, this is a place that I gave a damn. I was so excited to learn that one one of the most comprehensive and extensive collections of GWTW memorabilia in the world was so close to home (another one I’ve visited is in Georgia ) An avid collector, Vicky Lynn Rogers created the museum through her 30 years of collecting original one-of-a-kind pieces and replicas as well as items that are extremely rare. There’s a little theatre to watch the film as well as tons of history to take in like the many published editions of the book that’s been printed in 43 languages and in 53 countries.
DON’T MISS: One of the most iconic costume pieces from the movie, the mourning bonnet worn by Scarlett O’Hara.
Layland Museum of History
201. N. Caddo Street
This museum is quite gorgeous from the outside in. Gift in 1963 from a local businessman, William J. Layland, the museum “strives to collect, preserve, and interpret objects and archival materials of regional home and local life.” For my kids this meant seeing radio of the 50s, radial phone and several things that even in my lifetime are long gone. While we were there, each space gave the kids a hands-on activity to understand a technique, a historical lesson or art expressed in the museum. But it was on the second floor, where the theatre is found, that the kids were able to take the stage and let their real creative fly!
DON’T MISS: A Scavenger Hunt activity can be found at the front desk that gives kids tons of activities to do throughout Cleburne.
Cleburne Railroad Museum
206 N. Main St.
When my son was a toddler (not so long ago), he loved everything about trains. We sang about trains, we dressed like trains, we built trains, and of course, we rode trains. So it would go without saying that we would definitely visit the railroad museum. The museum is small, but its contents are rich with heirloom pieces of uniforms, history about the people who worked them, samples of what you’d experience on the train, and best of all, a working mini train set complete with a conductor (an incredible volunteer that shares his time bringing history to life by teaching kids about trains and running the track.)
DON’T MISS: Make sure you visit this free museum when Conductor Bob is there to greet you!
So this goes to show you that every place you see a sign that drive by all the time but don’t every turn, one day it’s worth the time to see where it takes you…especially in Texas.
Thank you so much to the Cleburne CVB / Visit Cleburne for sharing Cleburne Texas with us!