Texas Travel

City Spotlight: Georgetown

By Chet Garner 1.16.19

I moved to Georgetown from east Austin six years ago looking for a small-town place to raise my family. So when my show The Daytripper had a viewer’s choice contest to decide where our season four finale should be, Georgetown won. That’s the nature of the people of Georgetown, they’re very accepting. Once you move there, you become part of the family. And there’s nothing that could make me happier than showing y’all around the Texas hometown where my wife and I are raising our four kids.

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The Town Square

The square is the heart of the city. They call it the most beautiful town square in Texas, and I know them’s fighting words — but I think it’s true.

Of course, this is the best time of year: the holiday lights are absolutely over the top. The Friday after Thanksgiving, the mayor flips a huge fake switch and they do a ceremonial lighting. Our city utilities guys are in the back with the real plug, of course. But the effect is unbelievable.

Most important, all four sides of the county square are intact — Georgetown’s the county seat of Williamson County — meaning they’re all historic buildings. That’s really rare, all four sides; it’s like a unicorn in Texas, because most old squares have gotten torn apart over the years.

The square might be ancient history, but it’s gone through a real revival in recent years, so it’s also a really cool place to be right now. A couple of years ago, this was the fastest-growing city in America. Some locals remember when it was 5,000 people — now we’re more than 70,000. With tons of businesses opening and buildings filling up, the square is coming back to life.These are a few of my favorite stops:

Georgetown_Chet Garner

Mesquite Creek Outfitters

No trip to the square would be complete without a stop in here. They call it Georgetown’s living room, because you might sit down next to the town mayor, the sheriff, the school superintendent, the county treasurer, or the school board. It’s big and bright, and families hang out here while shopping. It is really one of a kind.

Brave Vira Yoga

Have you ever tried hot yoga? Forget whatever you think you know about yoga studios, because I guarantee this place is different. It’s run by a couple of veterans who are chasing their yoga dreams, which is so cool. You can stop in for a hot yoga session when you need to sweat it out. Luckily, they have showers.

Mikey V’s Hot Sauce Shop

You may have seen this guy’s hot sauce around in your favorite Texas restaurants — he’s getting pretty big and he’s won just about every hot sauce award out there. But he’s a true Georgetown local and he gives out samples at his shop, which is a great place to pop into if you like burning your taste buds off.

John Mueller Black Box Barbecue

It just got ranked one of the top barbecue joints in the state — which you know is stiff competition. Must be worth a try.

Georgetown_Chet Garner

Monument Cafe

This is a great place to start the morning. You don’t have to take my word for it; Matthew McConaughey also brought Guy Fieri here on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They grow their own produce and serve awesome food.

Sweet Lemon Kitchen

I’m partial to this place. It’s in a little green boutique hotel — and don’t be scared off by the cutesy vibe. Their breakfast sandwiches are massive and loaded up with bacon and probably six eggs. Coffee’s good and I swear they make some of the best cinnamon rolls in the state of Texas.

600 Degrees Pizzeria and Drafthouse

I’m definitely one of the locals you’ll see regularly here for lunch; in fact, I was just there for lunch with my family today. The insider tip is if you’re not picky, you’ve got to go for the “baker’s choice” — a slice of whatever the baker feels like putting on your pizza. We went for it today, and I got a spicy barbecue chicken pizza with bacon, jalapeños, cheddar, and barbecue sauce, and my wife got meatball with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan. It never gets old.

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Off the Square

If you head off the square and off the road, there’s plenty of adventure to be had around Georgetown. These are a few of my favorites:

  • Inner Space CavernSign up for an adventure tour inside these amazing caverns and rock formations.
  • Goodwater TrailSpend a day battling this hard-core 26-mile hiking and biking loop.
  • San Gabriel RiverThis water is always perfectly refreshing with an amazing waterfall.
  • Lake GeorgetownBoat, camp, water-ski, and fish at the 1,200-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir on the San Gabriel.

And that’s just the beginning. Come on down to Georgetown sometime, and catch our episodes on your local PBS station.

Join Chet on more of his adventures around Texas here.

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