Just 40 minutes outside of Austin lies the charming small town of Taylor, Texas. While the small town is known for its world-class barbecue, it offers much more than a perfect three meat combo. (Although it has that too.) The town's main street offers a brand spanking new craft brewery, a farm to market deli and unique local shops to explore.
If you're a Friday Night Lights fan (and who isn't?) a trip to Taylor feels a lot like visiting the fictional town of Dillon, Texas. With its hometown pride and friendly folks, you'd expect to see the Coach and Tami Taylor eating at one of the local rib joints. But this is no fabricated (albeit wonderful) NBC drama. This is the real deal. And if you're looking to get away from city life or just want to explore a new slice of the Lone Star State, Taylor offers the quintessential small town Texas experience.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Small Texas Town Road Trip
'Taylor Made' Shopping
Who says you have to go to the big city to shop? Taylor is chock full of independent businesses selling locally curated "Taylor made" goods.
Cherry Tree Creative, located in downtown Taylor, stocks crafts, clothes, jewelry and home goods with a Texas flair.
If you're in the market for some new southwestern decor, you can't go wrong with Frills on Fourth. We're a little obsessed with their cute cactus lights and salt and pepper shakers.
What would a small Texas town be without a great antique store or two? Chuck and Hoppy's Marketplace specializes in the weird and wonderful. You could spend an entire afternoon here perusing gorgeous furniture and quirky knick-knacks.
Sweet and Southern Finds, located in a 1923 building in downtown Taylor, sells antiques, home decor and southern-fried vintage finds.
Every third Thursday of every month, downtown Taylor is bustling with shoppers for Taylor Third Thursdays. Retailers and restaurants are open later (until 8 p.m.) and often offer special deals.
READ MORE: Why You Should Explore Georgetown, Texas
Clear Eyes, Full Stomachs
Chances are, if you're a Texan in Taylor, you're going to scarf down some serious barbecue while you're in town. And why wouldn't you? Taylor is central location on the Texas barbecue trail, which stretches through Bastrop, Elgin, Lockhart and Luling. The town is home to not one but four incredible barbecue joints.
Louie Mueller Barbecue, the grandaddy of Texas grub, has been in business since 1949. Since then, Louie Mueller has been slinging supreme smoked meats to Texans from Dallas to Dimebox.
Just a short walk away from Louie Mueller, there's Taylor Cafe, where owner and Word War II veteran Vencil Mares will greet you and check to make sure your meal was top notch.
When we visited, the jukebox was cranking out old Dwight Yoakam and Ray Price, the perfect companion to a plate of brisket and an ice cold Lone Star. Taylor Cafe is a true Texas original.
Even after sampling two of Texas' finest BBQ establishments, you'll still need to save room for two more of Taylor's finest restaurants, Davis BBQ and West End Cafe.
Want a chance to sample even more 'cue in one convenient place? On June 3, Taylor will host the inaugural Stomp n' Holler BBQ Festival, featuring 10 of the most revered pitmasters from around the state and a live performance by The Mavericks.
If you believe that man and woman cannot live on barbecue alone, well, you're probably wrong. But you'd be missing out if you traveled to Taylor and didn't try Circleville General Store's decadent fried chicken plate.
In the mood for some lighter fare? Try the 2nd Street Farm 2 Market Deli stocked with farm fresh veggies to balance out you eating your weight in barbecue. Don't worry, we won't tell anyone.
Wind (and Wine) Down
When you're winding down from a day of shopping and savoring delicious eats, take in Taylor's nightlife at the Texas Beer Co. Established in 2016, the Texas Beer Co. is a craft brewery located in a historic building in downtown Taylor.
If pinot grigio is more your speed, Pilot Knob Winery, located in Bertram, Texas, has a beautiful tasting room right in the heart of downtown Taylor.
End your evening taking in some locally made traditional and contemporary art at Taylor's 120 Art.
Shopping, barbecue, live music, a thriving art scene and local brews--what more could you ask for? After a day spent in Taylor, Texas you may just want to move there. Don't say we didn't warn you.