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11 Retro Places In Texas That Will Take You Back In Time

Are you ready to step into a time machine and explore the fascinating past of the Lone Star State? 

We’re about to take you on a nostalgic journey through some of the most charming and retro spots in Texas.

Imagine walking into a diner that looks like it’s straight out of the 1950s or visiting a retro drive-in theater that will make you feel like a kid again. 

Texas is full of places that will transport you to a simpler, more charming era. 

Get ready to discover some of the coolest retro places that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped into a classic movie. 

1. The Last Drive-In Picture Show

The Last Drive-In Picture Show is a nostalgic gem that takes you back to the golden age of cinema. 

Located in Gatesville near Waco, this drive-in theater has been entertaining people since it first opened as the Circle S Drive-In in 1950. 

For just $10 per carload, you can enjoy a double feature of new releases which makes it an extremely affordable and fun outing for everyone. 

Expect a classic drive-in experience with a large outdoor screen under the Texas stars. 

Fun fact: it’s one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in Texas and preserves a piece of history that many thought was lost. 

2. Retro World Arcade

Retro World Arcade in Abilene is a blast from the past that will transport you straight to the 1980s.

Situated in the heart of the city, this arcade is packed with vintage video game cabinets and pinball machines, offering a nostalgic gaming experience. 

When you step inside, expect to be greeted by the sights and sounds of classic arcade games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders. 

The arcade is owned by Emmanuel and Candy Huerta, who are passionate about preserving the authentic 80s vibe. 

The retro decor and neon lights create a perfect backdrop for reliving your childhood or introducing a new generation to these timeless games. 

3. Yesterday’s 50s Diner

Yesterday’s 50s Diner in Bridgeport is a delightful throwback to the mid-20th century, located less than an hour from Fort Worth. 

Located on US Highway 380, this family-owned diner has been serving up award-winning food for over 30 years. 

When you visit, expect to be greeted by classic 50s and 60s decor, complete with vintage memorabilia and jukebox tunes. 

The menu features a variety of starters, salads, sandwiches and daily specials that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. 

A fun fact about Yesterday’s 50s Diner is that they host an annual Retro Blast Car Show which celebrates classic cars.

4. Jefferson Theatre

Surely Shirly / Flickr

The Jefferson Theatre in Beaumont is a historic gem located in southeastern Texas.

Built in 1927 and designed by architect Emile Weil, this theater is a stunning example of Old Spanish architecture. 

When you visit, expect to be wowed by its grand chandelier, intricate statues and the original Robert Morton organ, which is a rare find. 

Dan Thibodeaux / Flickr

Fun fact: the theater hosted the 1946 premiere of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” which was attended by star James Stewart and director Frank Capra. 

After a $6.5 million renovation completed in 2003, the theater now hosts weekly Classic Movie Nights and various live performances. 

5. Munster Mansion

Munster Mansion in Waxahachie is a spooky and fun replica of the iconic house from the 1960s TV show ‘The Munsters’. 

This mansion was lovingly built by Sandra and Charles McKee, who used footage from the show to recreate every detail. 

When you visit, expect to see the grand staircase, a rotating suit of armor and even Grandpa’s electric chair. 

A fun fact is that the stairs even lift up to reveal the Munsters’ fire-breathing pet, Spot! 

The mansion is open for tours by appointment and they also host an annual Halloween charity event which is often attended by original cast members.

6. Yale Street Grill

Mike Rastiello / Flickr

Yale Street Grill in Houston is a charming old-school diner located on Yale Street. 

This historic restaurant has been serving delicious meals since 1923, making it one of Houston’s oldest restaurants.

When you visit, expect a cozy atmosphere filled with vintage decor and tasty food.

It even has an old fashioned soda fountain that has been there since the 50’s!

Interestingly, the diner is also rumored to be haunted so watch out for ghosts when you visit.

The menu features classic diner fare like burgers, milkshakes and hearty breakfasts that will take you right back to your childhood.

7. Doc’s Drive-In Theatre

Doc’s Drive-In Theatre is a nostalgic escape located in Buda which is just a 20-minute drive from Austin.

This retro drive-in offers a unique experience with two large screens showing both modern and classic movies. 

Expect to enjoy delicious food from Doc’s Patio Diner and unique drinks from the underground speakeasy, Mama Merlot’s. 

Fun fact: you can even stay overnight in one of their movie-themed tiny homes! 

The gravel parking lot and vintage vibe make it feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1950s.

8. Texas Theatre

Scott Beale / Flickr

The Texas Theatre is a historic landmark located on Jefferson Boulevard in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. 

Opened in 1931, it was the first theater in Dallas with air conditioning and was financed by the famous aviator Howard Hughes. 

You can expect to see a beautifully restored venue that hosts a mix of classic and independent films, live performances and special events. 

oaphoto / Flickr

This theater is infamously known as the location where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested after he ended the life of President John F. Kennedy. 

The original design of the theater included a ceiling mimicking a night sky but many of these features were covered up in later renovations.

9. Retropolis

Retropolis in Houston is a vintage clothing store located on 20th Street in the historic Heights neighborhood. 

This co-op store is packed with unique finds from the 1960s to the 1980s, making it a dream destination for retro fashion lovers. 

When you visit, you can browse through racks of vintage concert shirts, funky accessories and timeless outfits that capture the spirit of past decades. 

Retropolis is often voted as one of the best vintage stores in Houston, thanks to its extensive collection. 

The store’s retro decor and nostalgic atmosphere make shopping there feel like a trip back in time. 

10. Retro Fun Store & Museum

The Retro Fun Store & Museum in San Antonio is a super fun and quirky destination located on Hildebrand Avenue. 

This unique spot combines a vintage store with a museum, giving you the chance to browse retro collectibles that you can purchase and view the themed exhibits. 

Expect to find everything from classic toys and memorabilia to vintage clothing and home decor. 

The museum is also known as ‘The Haunted Dollhouse’ and hosts paranormal investigations and spooky events throughout the year. 

They even have special events like a Valentine’s Day haunted house and holiday photos with Krampus Claws. 

11. Retro 56

Retro 56 is one of the best vintage stores around and you’ll find it inside the Finishing Touch Antique Mall in Carrollton, which is located near Dallas.

This charming booth offers a mix of antique, retro and craft items that will transport you back in time. 

When you visit, expect to find everything from mid-century furniture and vintage clothing to unique home decor and nostalgic collectibles. 

If you don’t want to travel then Retro 56 also has an Etsy shop which allows you to browse and purchase their vintage finds online. 

The booth’s carefully curated selection and retro atmosphere make it a delightful spot for anyone who loves the charm of eras gone by.

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Tom Jackson

Tom was born in San Antonio but spent most of his childhood in Dallas, he has lived in several cities across Texas and joined the team in 2024 to create travel guides on Texas.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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