Rich in south-of-the-border flavor, city is the major international crossing along U.S.- Mexican border. Established by Spanish land grant 1755, today this bustling border city, known as the Gateway to Mexico, has a diversified economy stemming from such sources as retail and wholesale consumer products, importing and exporting (Laredo is nation's largest inland port), petroleum and natural gas, feeds and fertilizers, brick and tile, and visitors from both sides of Rio Grande.
LaredoCommunity College and Texas A&M International Univ.now call Laredo home. Since 1898 Laredo has hosted a Washington's Birthday Celebration; sixteen-day February fiesta celebrated on both sides of the border includes parades, fireworks, dances, and impressive Abrazo coronation ceremony on International Bridge II.
What to do in Laredo?
Whether you are visiting Laredo for family recreation, shopping of for business, you are sure to find some excitement taking place in Laredo. Here are few idea of what to do during your visit:
Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental ScienceCenter
Away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area on the campus of LaredoCommunity College, this oasis offers a learning experience about plants and animals found in the Rio Grande Watershed. Four outdoor ponds feature a breeding pair of American alligators in one area, large gar, catfish and bass in another, one with five species of turtles, and another featuring a wetland area where young alligators are placed. The planted area includes more than 50 types of native vegetation numbered for easy identification. A cactus garden, wildflower hill, and two areas of South Texas brush plants can also be examined. Indoors, species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and rodents are displayed in aquaria and terraria. Open during the college's class days on Laredo Community College Campus at West End Washington St. Call for information and Admission.
371-acre park near eastern city limits on the Bob Bullock Loop (Loop 20), just north of U.S. 59. Picnic facilities, RV facilities, camping, rest rooms, dump station, boat ramp, and fishing pier. The 1,656-acre lake is among the state's best for largemouth bass fishing and is also an excellent spot for birding and wildlife watching.
Through hands-on experimentation and exploration, museum encourages the explorer and inventor in children. West End Washington St. on campus of LaredoCommunity College. Admission. Branch museum located just off I-35.
Established by Army in 1848 immediately following Mexican War, fort was in continuous use until May, 1946. It was originally among series of border forts guarding against attacks and was base for border patrol. LaredoCommunity College is now located on the grounds. The old guardhouse, chapel, warehouse, living quarters, infirmary, commander's house, and commissary remain in use as college department facilities and housing for faculty and students. The original earthen fort is now part of the Paso Del Indio Nature Trail. West End of Washington St. on banks of Rio Grande.
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
Founded 1848, "New Laredo" across border is bustling city. Fine hotels, motels, and restaurants cater to large flow of visitors throughout year. Tourist and market areas located within comfortable walking distance from downtown Laredo. Shoppers find profusion of gift shops specializing in jewelry, crystal, onyx, and metallic arts. El Mercado, traditional marketplace two blocks from international bridge, features handicrafts, baskets, hand-dyed cloth, serapés, clothing, leatherwork, silver goods-all with Mexican flair.
The Nuevo Laredo Turf Club, within walking distance from InternationalBridge, offers wagering via live transmission from major U.S. and Mexican horse and greyhound tracks; restaurant and bar, opens daily.
On seasonal basis, bullfights are held at the Luis Longoria Plaza de Toros bullring, six miles from the bridge.