Sunday, July 24, 2005

Going Out in the RGV

Going out in the RGV gives you many options. After a long week of slave work, you need to relax and have a good time. So, where do you go? Luckily, we have many options depending on your tastes.

Want to relax, have a few drinks, and chat?
Try Pepe's on the River in Mission. You have two choices there. You can go to the New Pepe's on the River, which is an outdoor restaurant and bar that overlooks the Rio Grande River, which, if you're new here, is called Rio Bravo on the Mexican side. On occasion you will see Border Patrol boats travelling up and down the river to protect our country. The New Pepe's on the River has people of all ages. You'll see children, teens, adults, and seniors hanging out there. They have live music and on some weekends hold special events.

Right next to the New Pepe's on the River is Pepe's Back Yard. This appeals to younger crowds who like to dance. Pepe's Back Yard also overlooks the Rio Grande. The dance floor is outdoors, the bar is indoors. You won't see kids or grandparents here.

Want to dance, drink, and meet people?
Then you want to visit some of the clubs listed in RGV Clubs. Some of the clubs can be a little ghetto and some are really nice. One thing to keep in mind is that they will all throw in the occasional International dance mix due to our proximity to the border. Be prepared to swap Myspace info with others if you have an account. If you don't, sign up and start making friends.

Interested in having a nice dinner?
Both ends of the RGV, McAllen and Brownsville, offer many good restaurants. There is not a site that I know of that has the best places to go. Of course, you'll find a Bennigan's, Outback, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Tony Roma's, Johnny Carino's, and a myriad of other well known eateries. There are also local gems that you would enjoy.

There is Fresco's in McAllen. Fresco's is a New York style Italian restaurant. The owners moved here from New York City to semi-retire and wound up opening another restaurant.

For Chinese, there are plenty of restaurants; most of them are buffet. If you want full-service Chinese (with waiters and all that), go to China Wok in McAllen. Their top dish is the General Chow chicken. They sell over 1000 pounds per week. They also offer some original creations that you won't get anywhere else. If you like spicy, you have to try the Jalapeno Chicken or Jalapeno beef. They also have the Amazing Chicken dish. These are Chinese adaptations to our local tastes. My mouth waters as I write this.

For Mexican food, your best bet is to go to Miguel Aleman, Reynosa, Las Flores, or Matamoros. The Mexican food on this side is, shall we say, limited. The food tastes good, but is usually only the "well known" dishes. You rarely see Mexican Restaurants try anything new. If you cross the border, you'll see that Mexicans eat much more than enchiladas, mole (pronounced mo-ley, don't stress the y), tacos, carne guisada, and chile relleno. Try tacos de bistek, menudo, cabrito, lonche de aguacate, fish soup, catan (fried gar fish), fruit cocktails, trolebuses, and so many other things.

What about a day at the beach?
Great idea! South Padre Island has so much to offer as far as activities are concerned. Pick up a copy of Coastal Current Weekly at any restaurant or location that offers the free publication. You'll find parasailing, horseback riding, go-karts, scuba diving and snorkeling, bungee jumping, and so many more things to do. One thing you MUST do if you do go to the island is visit Louie's Backyard. Like they say, "It doesn't get any better than Louie's".

What if I want to do nature stuff?
We do have wildlife preserves like the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. We also have the Lower RGV National Wildlife Refuge. There is also the World Birding Center. The island has the legacy of the "turtle lady" at Sea Turtle, Inc. And don't forget to visit the UT-Pan American Coastal Studies Laboratory. There are more nature places to visit if you look around.

There are places for all kinds of weekend activities. You can learn about the RGV history. You can see dog races. You can see drag races. There is bowling, laser tag, paintball, and all other kinds of activities available for you. No single town in the Rio Grande Valley has it all. As one large MSA (metropolitan statistical area) we have much to offer for your entertainment.
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