On the Border, By the Sea...
Welcome to Brownsville! Located in the very heart of the Rio Grande delta, with Mexico at the doorstep and the Gulf of Mexico beaches so very close by, Brownsville is a dynamic, bustling city that is a perfect travel or business destination.
Brownsville's location and tropical climate combine to establish a perfect venue for nature and cultural activities, including Gulf beaches; the Gladys Porter Zoo, with its more than 1,500 animal species in natural settings; national wildlife preserves; historic sites; and numerous museums.
The charm of Southwestern lifestyles, combined with a bi-cultural mystique, Rand McNally cites the Rio Grande Valley as having the state's best overall climate. And, Brownsville offers a tropical environment of stately palm trees, purple bougainvilleas, exotic birds, and cool, coast breezes. This nature lover and sportsmen's paradise is where the Chisolm Trail began.
Brownsville weather is generally favorable for year 'round outdoor activities, with at least 234 sunny days per year. In August, which is the hottest month, high temperatures hover around 93 degrees. January generally has highs of under 70 degrees.
Brownsville features so many wonderful opportunities for the visitor: a world famous zoo, great beaches, beautiful golf courses, new shopping centers, museums, galleries and more!
Brownsville's tropical climate is perfect for nature and cultural activities, Gulf beaches, golfing, sightseeing, wildlife viewing, fishing, or hunting. The most popular Ecotourism attraction is the Gladys Porter Zoo with more than 1500 animal species in natural settings. National wildlife preserves and historic sites are found in and about town. Numerous museums bring a variety of the City's rich heritage alive. Guided and custom tours of many of the attractions are available through experienced operators. The delights of Mexico are just steps south of downtown. The Mexican and Spanish cultural influences come to life in festivals and artistic performances throughout the year.
A year-round tropical paradise at the southernmost tip of Texas, Brownsville is home to unique natural beauty and a dynamic, progressive business community. Brownsville is the major manufacturing center of the Rio Grande Valley and is known for a loyal world-class workforce with a strong work ethic. An aggressive, pro-business climate and can-do attitude, along with a well-developed infrastructure, modern industrial parks and an unsurpassed quality of life make Brownsville a center for technology, industry and distribution. Brownsville is the front door to free trade.
Brownsville is the sixth fastest growing manufacturing region in the United States, according to a national ranking by Industry Week Magazine. The same survey rates Brownsville 55th out of 310 metropolitan areas nationwide as a good place to do business - the highest rating of any other border city. Economic data reflects a 22% employment increase and a 36% income hike for the manufacturing sector over the last three years. These numbers were calculated prior to Titan Wheel and other manufactures announced they would add a combined 1,000 jobs in the upcoming year. This will continue to place Brownsville at the nation's forefront of economic growth and attractiveness to new companies. Brownsville is the front door to free trade. A quality, award-winning workforce provides cost effectiveness and productivity unmatched along the border.
Brownsville's earliest history begins with the exploration and subsequent colonization of the area by Spain, after the conquest of Mexico. Colonization north of the Rio Grande River began in 1748,when General Jose de Escandon was appointed by Spain to colonize Tamaulipas, wherein Brownsville was later located.
Matamoros, located across the Rio Grande River from what is now Brownsville was founded in 1765 under the name San Juan de los Esteros Hermosos. In 1796, the name was changed to Congregacion del Refugio. In 1821, in honor of the martyred priest, Mariano Matamoros, who lost his life in Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain in that same year, the name was changed to Matamoros.
In 1835, Texas declared her independence from Mexico, resulting in a war which was won by the Texans at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. Texas claimed the Rio Grande River as her western boundary. As a result of this claim, Mexico lost nearly half of what had been the State of Tamaulipas, which caused many disputes that lasted throughout the nine years that Texas was an independent Republic.
Continental Airlines provides daily, direct flights from the Brownsville/SPI International Airport. The airport's proximity plays a vital role in Brownsville's economy. It is the closest Rio Grande Valley airport to South Padre Island and the Republic of Mexico. Agriculture also plays an important role in Brownsville, as well as all of Cameron County. With more than 230 sunshine filled days a year, Brownsville boasts a local multi-million dollar agriculture industry. Approximately 455,000 of the 573,000 acres of land in the county are dedicated to farming and ranching. The major crops include upland cotton, grain sorghum, corn for grain, sugarcane, cabbage, onions, bell peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes, carrots, and citrus.
The citrus industry provides a cash crop, as well as a scenic landscape of orchards of orange, grapefruit, tangerines, lemon and lime trees. Valley grapefruit has the distinction of being redder, sweeter, and juicier than those grown in other parts of the country. Texas oranges are also known for their juiciness and low-acid content.
The Shrimping Industry pumps an average of $60 million dollars a year into Brownsville's economy, and indirectly contributes to the creation of thousands of jobs throughout the community. Home to over 190 shrimp boats the shrimp harvest at the Port of Brownsville places Brownsville fifth highest overall in the United States. As a world-class facility, it boasts all conceivable services vital to the shrimping industry. The Brownsville shrimp fleet, along with that of Port Isabel, makes our area the Shrimp Capital of the United States.
Brownsville & Area Attractions
The final battle of the Civil War, fought at Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, occurred several weeks after the Confederacy's surrender. Brownsville was also caught in the crossfire of the Mexican-American War at the Battle of Palo Alto. Both battlefields have been designated as National Historic Sites.
Historic Brownsville Museum
This museum chronicles Brownsville's history through photo exhibits and other permanent and rotating exhibits. It is housed in the historic Southern Pacific Railroad passenger depot. The Brownsville Heritage Education Center within the museum also presents slide shows, lectures and other special events. Group tours are available with advance notice. Open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 641 E. Madison St., Brownsville. (956) 548-1313.
Gladys Porter Zoo
With more than 1,500 animal specimens, the Gladys Porter Zoo ranks as one of the premier zoos in the world. The zoo specializes in collecting and breeding endangered species. The 31-acre park, opened in 1971, has such zoo favorites as gorillas, giraffes, lions and rhinos as well as many other exotic animals. Virtually all animals live in open exhibits where visitors can view them in their natural surroundings. Open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended weekend and summer hours. Admission is $6.50 for adults ages 14 and up, $3.25 for children ages 2-13 and $5 for senior citizens ages 65 and older (prices subject to change). Ask about discounts for groups of 10 or more. 500 Ringgold, Brownsville. (956) 546-7187.
Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark - South Padre Island
With a variety of water attractions for every member of the family from toddlers to grandparents, this 26-acre park is the first Schlitterbahn venture outside of New Braunsfels, home of the original park. Schlitterbahn now features parks in New Braunsfels, Galveston and South Padre Island. The park is open seasonally. Check schedule for details.