Palestine, Texas is a historic East Texas city featuring Victorian homes, bed & breakfasts, a variety of attractions, a lively downtown, the Texas State Railroad, exciting festivals and a wide selection of hotels and restaurants.
Over 1,800 historical sites are located in Palestine, the county seat of Anderson County.
Settled in 1846, it experienced growth during the coming of the railroad era in the 1870s.
The city is located at the center of Anderson County, at the intersection of U.S. highways 79 and 287, and Texas highways 155 and 19.
Historic Downtown Palestine
Palestine's spectacular courthouse oversees the three areas of the city’s core: Courthouse Square, the Downtown District, and Old Town. This 44-block area is currently the focus of a long-range restoration program led by the Palestine Economic Development Corporation.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the downtown region, offering a variety of dining, specialty products, and cultural fare. Virtually all of the buildings are historic and contribute to the unique charm and distinctive architectural style of Palestine. Surrounding the downtown are businesses of every type – industrial, distribution, retail, medical, hospitality and dining.
Beginning at the Anderson County Courthouse and ending at the Palestine Visitor Center, Main Street District features historical buildings that are home to a variety of retail shops, restaurants and business offices. Such businesses as Eilenberger’s Bakery, The Texas Theatre, and The Redlands Hotel, along with Sacred Heart Catholic Church, exist much as they were in the 1800 and 1900s.
The main thoroughfare through the downtown area, Spring Street, was once known as the “Great White Way”, as the city had the first electric street lights in Texas. Now civic minded organizations such as the Palestine Chamber of Commerce, Main Street District officials and numerous individuals and groups are bringing the area back to its former glory.
Palestine Website Resources
|In 2020, Palestine had a population of over 18,000 residents|
|75801 - 75803|
Hotels and Accommodations in Palestine Texas
Palestine has numerous motels, hotels, B&Bs, and other lodging. Several are clustered on the south end of the city along Loop 256. Included below are highlights of lodging in Palestine, with traveler reviews at TripAdvisor.
The Redlands Hotel
The Redlands Hotel is a carefully restored historic building in downtown Palestine providing hotel suites, corporate housing, extended stay apartments, retail stores, an art gallery, salon, music school and a restaurant/bar.
It was built in 1914 by a group of citizens to provide housing for the visitors to the City arriving by railroad. When it was opened, The Redlands was a fine hotel with an up-to-date restaurant, ice machine, orchestra, ballroom and other amenities. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Palestine Area Attractions and Events
Palestine Visitor Information Center
Located in a restored railroad depot more than 120 years old, the Visitor Center offers travel literature which includes state and regional materials, maps of the city and surrounding area, a self-guided tour of Palestine and information on events and accommodations.
Informational brochures and personal assistance for tourists are available during business hours. Tours and convention group assistants are available upon advanced request.
The Palestine Visitors Center is located at 825 Spring Street. For more information, call 903.723.3014, and on the web ... Palestine Visitor Center
Davey Dogwood Park is home to more than 200 acres of picturesque roads meander throughout the park. It is located in the north park of Palestine, just off Loop 256.
The park is featured during the annual Texas Dogwood Trails Festival in March and April. Admission is free.
This long-time celebration takes place the last two weekends in March and first weekend in April. Enjoy the delicate beauty of the dogwood trees in Davey Dogwood Park and the surrounding area. Activities are scheduled each weekend to compliment the Celebration. Don't miss the Piney Woods Excursion Train at the Texas State Railroad, the Main Street Farm & Flower Market, a play at the historic Texas Theatre & much more.
The 84th Dogwood Festival is scheduled for March 18 - April 3, 2022.
For more information, visit Texas Dogwood Trails Celebration on the VisitPalestine website
Hot Pepper Festival
For over 40 years, Palestine has hosted “The Hottest Little Festival in Texas” in October. Enjoy the Jalapeno Hot Pepper eating contest, Wing Stop Atomic Wing Challenge, Lick-a-Thon, arts & crafts, unique food vendors, kid’s zone, live music all day and much more!
And don't miss the Pepper Palooza Parade and the Community Chili Cook-Off!
Christmas on Main Street in Palestine
A train ride is just the beginning of holiday traditions in Palestine. Christmas in Palestine offers plenty of family-friendly fun during the holiday season. Palestine is the perfect destination to shop, dine and unwind during the most festive time of the year.
The season is filled with family activities, events and decorations that capture the holiday season.
Be sure to check out the lighting of the courthouse, Christmas Parade of Lights, Photos with Santa, Walk Through Bethlehem, Whiskey & Wine Swirl, Old Town Carriage Rides, and much more!
For more information, visit Christmas in Palestine on the VisitPalestine website
The Texas Theatre
The Texas Theatre, home of Palestine Community Theatre, is the crown jewel of downtown Palestine and one of the finest venues for live entertainment in East Texas.
This historic structure, located at 213 W. Crawford Street, is a prime example of Spanish Colonial architecture and was designed as an atmospheric movie palace when it opened in 1930.
After two devastating fires, and a host of closings and re-openings, The Texas Theatre has been reborn to its new purpose: live theatre.
The Palestine Community Theatre strives to provide family friendly entertainment featuring local talent, while delivering quality productions. It has also made the restoration of the Texas Theatre a priority since its re-opening and lighting in 2005.
For more information, visit the website of The Texas Theatre
1836 Chuckwagon Race
The 1836 Chuckwagon Race takes place each Spring at the Diamond B Ranch in nearby Neches during the celebration of Texas’s Independence.
There are multiple divisions of wagon races, a cowboy style match race, pasture roping, barrel race, and a mounted shooting competition. This is truly a unique Western event you don’t want to miss!
The Race includes trail rides, dutch oven cook'n classes, cowboy poetry, herd dog demonstrations, hoof care clinics, bull whip demonstrations, horse auction, wagon race calcutta, barn dances, live music, cowboy church and much more!
From Palestine, head North on Texas Highway 155. Go about 7 miles. Take a right on FM 321. Go 2 miles. Diamond B Ranch is on left.
The 10th Annual event will be held the weekend of April 22-24, 2022. Gates open and activities begin on April 15, 2022.
For more information, visit the website of the 1836 Chuckwagon Race
Lake Palestine is located about 30 miles north of Palestine, on Texas Highway 155, the result of a dam on the Neches River. It has a surface area of 25,560 acres, and was completed in 1962.
Lake Palestine offers recreation and outdoor activities for everyone, with boating, water skiing, houseboating, camping, RVing, canoeing, hiking, biking, and fishing all being popular activities.
It also offers waterfront and lakeside living for many Texans and visitors, and lodging including RV parks, campgrounds, resorts, cabins, motels, and B&Bs.
The City of Palestine has a water contract for 25 million gallons of water per day, served by a channel dam, 13 miles of pipeline, and a water treatment plant which the city operates for water coming into the city
For more information, visit www.LakePalestineTexas.com
Texas State Railroad
One of the most popular Palestine attractions is the historic, well known Texas State Railroad, which has a rail station in Palestine as well as one in Rusk. The railroad has a beautiful park at each end of the excursion route.
||Steam & Diesel Power!
Visitors take the relaxing train ride through the piney woods of East Texas, and enjoy unique special events with their family, or relax on a romantic evening train on select dates throughout the season!
This historic railroad offers steam train excursions that travel 25 miles through the scenic piney woods and hardwood creek bottoms of East Texas amidst a backdrop of rolling hills, nature and wildlife.
Vintage steam and diesel locomotives take passengers across the celebrated rails of the Piney Woods Route between the quaint East Texas towns of Palestine and Rusk on a 50-mile roundtrip adventure. This quintessential daytrip, only a few hours from the metropolitan communities of Dallas and Houston, will create a memory that will last a lifetime.
Each season, with the spring blooms of Dogwoods or the autumn red of Sumacs, is more sensational because it’s viewed from a train.
Passengers aboard comfortable early-1900 coaches, hosted by friendly and informative attendants, travel along gently rolling hills passing over 24 bridges … one over 1,000 feet long. Unusual railroad structures, such as the locomotive turntable located midway, dot the historic route. Music and points of interest compliment the scenic excursion.
The 4-hour train ride, including an hour layover, is just part of the journey. Passengers will have time to savor both Rusk and Palestine depots which have upscale gift shops and historical story boards.
Steam engine No. 316 of the Texas State Railroad (photo courtesy of the Texas State Railroad)
Trains depart on a varied year-round schedule from Palestine or Rusk. Passengers can choose between train rides pulled by diesel or steam locomotives, depending on time of year and day of travel. The popular Polar Express operates in the latter part of the year.
Visit the website of the Texas State Railroad for more information on schedules, tickets, groups, special events, camping options onsite, and reservations.
Interior view from observation level on a railcar (Photo by Pierce Ingram - Travel Texas)
More Scenes Around Palestine
Mural: Welcome to Historic Downtown Palestine
|Pionette Garden Club Landscape Garden
|Wells Creek Crossing, 305 E Crawford St. in Palestine (Photo by Pierce Ingram - Travel Texas)
|Palestine Farmers Market
||Discover Main Street in Palestine
|Palestine, Texas: Beautiful - Historic - Fun - Exciting
Braly's Hardware Store, 420 W. Palestine Avenue (Photo by Pierce Ingram - Travel Texas)
Located in Upper East Texas, Anderson County is the 56th largest of the 254 counties in Texas by land area, at 1,062.3 sq. miles of land, with a population of 57,863 residents.
Incorporated cities in Anderson County include the county seat of Palestine, Elkhart, and Frankston. Anderson County falls within the 11th Texas congressional districts and the 3rd Texas senatorial district. Rainfall in the county averages 41.70 inches per year compared to the Texas average of 21.0 inches per year.
|Anderson County Courthouse
Vintage Postcard View (Left) and Present-Day View (Right)
Interactive Map of Palestine Texas (courtesy of Google)
Map of Upper East Texas Showing the Location of Palestine
Other Palestine Area Attractions
- Museum for East Texas Culture - 400 Micheaux Avenue
- Railroad Heritage Center - 808 West Oak Street
- Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Built in 1893, it was built using 675,000 bricks, molded by hand and baked on site as well as stained glass imported from Italy and France and a Pilcher pipe organ.
- Howard House Museum - showcasing elegant Greek Revival architecture built in 1851, Howard House Museum is an official Texas Historical Landmark where visitors can peruse period furnishings, artworks, and other memorabilia evocative of a familial residence in the 1880s.
Vintage Postcards from Palestine
Garrett Motor Company, downtown Palestine, Texas
||YMCA in Palestine
Historic postcard of Tex Ann Motel Palestine, Texas
|I. and G.N. General Office
||I. & G. N. Railway Employees Hospital