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World-class art, the breathtaking beauty of the Texas Gulf Coast, and the unmistakable appeal of a bygone era define Orange, Texas. Known as the “Gateway to Texas” due to it being the Lone Star State’s easternmost city, Orange offers small-town charm with the kinds of attractions you’d typically find in the big city.

Stunning architecture, a theater that hosts first-rate musicians and Broadway shows, and a sprawling botanical garden full of vibrant flowers are among the many reasons to visit. So if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life but can’t go without top-notch cultural experiences, look no further than Orange.

What better way to get to know a new place than by exploring its history? Experience Orange’s past from the perspective of one of its most prominent families at the W.H. Stark House, one of the four Stark Cultural Venues. Once the home of W.H. and Miriam Lutcher Stark, the 1895-built house has all the extravagant details of Victorian-era architecture, such as an eye-catching turret, bay windows, and other accoutrements. Every room of the 14,000-square-foot house is like an individual snapshot of Texas history as each appears as it would have at the turn of the 20th century. There’s even more to take in at the Heritage House Museum of Orange County, which like the Stark House, is a restored residence made to look as it did in the early 1900’s.

Along with its history, Orange is a destination for the arts. Admire one of the finest collections of 19th- and 20th-century Western American art at the Stark Museum of Art. Through its paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs, the museum showcases the vibrant beauty, varied people, and diverse wildlife of the West. A range of American Indian art, rare books and manuscripts dating back to the late medieval period, and the only complete The United States in Crystal collection in the country are among the other things you’ll see during your tour.

If the performing arts are more your style, catch a show at the Lutcher Theater. Hosting world-class performers that in the past have included Willie Nelson, BB King, and the Blue Man Group, as well as Broadway shows and other events, you won’t have to go far for a great performance.

Once a hub of transportation and a major center of the lumber industry, Orange today is also a hotspot for nature lovers. Located within the Big Thicket Loop of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, Orange is a great starting point to seeing some of the area’s diverse flora and fauna. Step on to the 600-foot-long boardwalk at the Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area and gaze out at the bald cypress trees as you keep an eye out for bald eagles, ospreys, herons, kingfishers, and even the occasional alligator. Then find your way to the Shangri La Botanical Gardens, a verdant park where more than 300 species of birds have been seen. While you watch out for our feathered friends, stroll the artistic gardens that showcase a stunning array of native and tropical plants.

Offering a rare combination of world-class arts and small-town charm, Orange has something for everyone. Plan your visit to the Gateway to Texas today!

Gulf Coast