A 2.5-hour drive south on I-35 W from Dallas/Fort Worth, Salado is more than a lunch-stop on the way to Austin, San Antonio, or Houston. Salado is a lovely town with plenty to do. You can spend a night or weekend exploring this quaint little village.
History of Salado
The Village of Salado was established in 1859 at the Old Military Road crossing on Salado Creek alongside Salado College, which operated until 1885. The college ruins stand today in the park on the hill overlooking the town.
Salado was a stagecoach stop along the Chisholm Trail that came right up Main Street. Travelers have stayed overnight at the Stagecoach Inn since 1861. Sam Houston delivered one of his campaign speeches from the Inn’s balcony.
The Bunkhouse Hotel Group recently took over the Stagecoach Inn, remodeled it, and changed its name to the original Shady Villa Hotel. You’ll find a great kid- and dog-friendly atmosphere with a vast swimming pool surrounded by umbrella-shaded lounge chairs, perfect for a weekend stay.
Things to Do in Salado
Besides Texas history, I always enjoy the events, attractions, and festivals in Salado — as well as the unique boutiques, world-class artists, jewelry, and one-of-a-kind finds.
The 4th Friday Sip’-n-Shop is a monthly village event. I met some of the friendliest shop owners while browsing the retail shops.
The Annual Salado Art Fair is held the first Saturday and Sunday in August on the grounds of the Salado Civic Center. You’ll meet more than 60 artists from across Texas presenting their paintings, photography, stained glass, jewelry, and more. Food trucks hawk tasty fare as live music plays from the grand pavilion.
Last year, my sister, cousin, and I shopped at Salado’s Magic Mile along Main Street at the Christmas in October Jingle Walk, held the first Friday and Saturday in October. We visited 26 shops, got our card stamped, and received a token gift from each shop owner. They only sell 250 tickets, so get yours ahead of time.
Salado’s Scottish Gathering and Highland Games is a monumental annual event for the town and all who attend. In November, proud clans wear their tartans as bagpipes and drums play. Watch Highland dancers and Scottish athletics, and enjoy shopping, festivities, and fun. The Calling of the Clans is a solemn torchlight ceremony representing the gathering of the ancient Scottish clans to fight with Robert the Bruce for Scotland’s freedom in 1314. Afterward, join the group for a Welcome Social and Buffet Supper at the Museum. The next day, visit the Clan Village, Texas’s largest group of Scottish clan tents where genealogists are proud to share Scottish family history.
The Annual Pioneer Classic Hickory Golf Tournament happens the first weekend in November. Teams play with historic hickory shaft golf clubs and wear knee-length knickers and period caps.
The Annual Salado Christmas Stroll is held the first two weekends in December and sponsors entertainment and local events along the magic mile.
Where to Eat
We also frequent Alexanders Craft Cocktail Kitchen at Inn on the Creek for dinner, which won Open Table Diners’ Choice for 2023. We sat on the porch and watched the deer graze nearby. I savored the lemony shrimp scampi, and my sister enjoyed the seared Scottish Faroe Island salmon.
For barbecue, you can’t beat Johnny’s Steaks & BBQ. I like to get sliced brisket, fried okra, and potato salad.
Take the short drive to Salado and enjoy small-town Texas charm, kindness, and hospitality.