Texas Travel

City Spotlight: West

By Kristy Alpert 9.4.17

Most Texans know the city of West best for its unique gas stations that serve up a healthy dose of Czech traditions with a side of Texas hospitality. Located about 80 miles south of Dallas and roughly 120 miles north of Austin, West’s Czech Stop off Interstate Highway 35 and other stop-offs have given passersby a taste of the city’s rich heritage.

This month, the city is pulling out all the stops for its most delicious event all year. 

“September is a great time to visit West because Labor Day weekend is when our annual Westfest takes place,” says Courtney Dulock, assistant city secretary for the city of West. The town’s Czech heritage is celebrated with performances by Sokol Gymnastics, West High School’s Junior Historians, who perform traditional Czech dances, and “the many bakeries serving kolaches every day, as well as restaurants like Czech American still serving traditional Czech dishes,” Dulock says. “There is also a kolache-baking contest, a horseshoe tournament, [and] live bands every night.”

A Bit of Western History

Many assume the city of West was named due to its large population of Eastern Europeans who immigrated west in the late 1800s. The city’s name is actually a tribute to the town’s first postmaster and one of the town’s original landowners, Thomas West. West moved to the area in 1859, where he opened the first general store in town. He eventually allowed the Katy Railroad to pass through his property, in 1881. The railroad opened the doors to Czech immigrants looking to purchase land out west, and by 1892 West officially became a city and began making a name for itself as a multicultural community. 

Don’t Miss the Best of West

  • Eat your way through the kolache trail. Local shops and Czech bakeries dot the historic stomping grounds of West. Hit as many as possible so you can compare the goodies from Czech American, Little Czech Bakery, Gerik’s Ole Czech Smokehouse and Bakery, Village Bakery, and West Baking Company.
  • Enjoy Westfest. This annual celebration of the city’s vibrant Czech heritage features dancing, arts and crafts booths, fair rides, a morning parade, and tons of local and unique food vendors. Arrive to the “preview party” a little early on Friday evening to see the crowning of the new Miss Westfest.
  • History of West Museum. This new museum is the perfect place for transportation enthusiasts to discover the town’s railroad history.
  • Stay the night. “West has a lot to offer for anyone visiting our town,” Dulock adds, “from a place to lay your head, like the Best Western Czech Inn, [to] great local restaurants and boutique and antique shopping.”  

Start planning your vacation out west by checking out Texas Farm Bureau member benefits to access exclusive discounts on rental cars and hotels.