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Port Arthur Culture
Just 91 miles east of Houston lies Port Arthur, Texas, home to the largest oil refinery in America (the Motiva refinery, constructed in 1902). However, Port Arthur is much more than an oil town. With natural scenery that will satisfy your itch for adventure, delicious Cajun food flavors, and a rich history and enticing culture, many residents find that Port Arthur is unique, fun and full of life. Whether you are here for a short stay or plan to call this city your home, we believe you’ll find something that will catch your attention in Southeast Texas.
As the sun sets, this city comes alive with a wide array of activities. Whether you want to check out some of Port Arthur’s dance venues, see a movie at the local theater, unwind at a local bar or pub, or enjoy some live music, there is something for you here. Be sure to check out local favorites like the Capri Club, which has live music every Saturday night, MaxBowl, a place for the whole family to enjoy bowling, games and great food, and Luke’s Icehouse, which offers a relaxed restaurant atmosphere and bar.
As a coastal town, Port Arthur has an exciting seafood scene and Cajun buzz that rings throughout the city. Seasoned crawfish, shrimp and delicious fried fish, paired with some tried-and-true Cajun spices, make for a vibrant food scene you won’t find anywhere else.
Want to sit on the water? There are benefits to living right on the coast. The Neches River Wheelhouse provides a delightful view right from the deck as you satisfy your hunger with delicious fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits.
The area’s shopping venues offer an array for all tastes. The Port Arthur Central Mall features large anchor stores, as well as many smaller options. There are many local shops in town, including boutiques where you can find perfect gifts and decor. Snooper’s Paradise is also a special place in this city, as it is one of the South’s largest antique showrooms.
Port Arthur is known for being one of the most humid areas in the United States. It can get quite warm in the summer with an average temperature around 92 ºF. Winters are mild with temperatures cooling down to around 43 ºF. The potential for tropical storms and hurricanes is also high, so residents should always be prepared for storms.
Port Arthur Economy
The economy in Port Arthur is largely impacted by the International Public Port, located just 19 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. This large port is known to be one of Texas’s main seaports, allowing for quick delivery and transit to locations around the world. This large seaport provides easy access and shipping to places in Europe, South America, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. There are also many oil refineries in the area that continue to grow and attract workers for a range of job opportunities. Because of this steady influx, new homes are always under construction, and the city is expanding with many restaurants, attractions and exciting venues.
Museum of the Gulf Coast
If you are a lover of art, music, history or sports, you will love the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
This wonderful place shares the exciting history of the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast region, including year round exhibits on economic and cultural growth, the Civil War, the petroleum industry and the maritime history of the region. Many people enjoy visiting this particular museum because of the music and sports exhibits highlighting various nationally known athletes and musicians who have called the Gulf Coast their home. With exhibits for the famous Janis Joplin, many local heroes, and even alligators and wildlife, you will get much more than you may expect from this museum.
Port Arthur Education
Education for Children
Port Arthur places a high value on quality education for students of all ages and encourages excellence in its school districts. There are countless daycares, pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools available to students, as well as a variety of options for private school education.
The three largest districts in Port Arthur include the Port Arthur Independent School District, the Tekoa Academy of Accelerated Studies, and Bob Hope School district.
Located in downtown Port Arthur, Lamar State College offers many core curriculum classes with transferrable credits. Lamar State College is known for many programs, including process technology, nursing, commercial music, accounting and others. Sports fans will appreciate that this school hosts competitive teams in both men’s basketball and women’s softball. Be sure to check the schedule and take the family out for a game.
Port Arthur Travel & Highlights
Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Park
Looking for a great spot to go and spend a few hours? Check out Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Park. Here you can walk around and learn about how Confederate Lt. Richard “Dick” Dowling and the other 46 men in his ranks prevented Union forces from penetrating the state of Texas during the Civil War. This historic sight is a safe and fun outing for the entire family. It is also a wonderful spot to take photos. If you enjoy fishing, be sure to bring your rod and some bait, because this is a great spot to catch some dinner.
The Faith Trail
If you want to be enlightened, intrigued and spiritually connected, visit the Faith Trail. Consisting of three very different faith-inspired sites, you will be moved by the diversity and beauty of the cultures presented. Beginning with the Shrine of Our Lady Guadalupe, a recreation of Juan Diego’s vision of the Virgin Mary, this 17-foot statue is set upon rocks that were brought into Texas from Mexico City. Continuing on with the trail, you will reach the Vietnamese Martyr’s Catholic Church & Queen of Peace Shrine and Gardens, which reveals yet another large statue of the Virgin Mary. Finish your journey on the Faith Trail by having some green tea with the monks under the billowing bamboo trees at Buu Mon Buddhist Temple & Lotus Gardens. The grounds also boast several restaurants on-site.
With laser tag, a game arcade, good food and drinks, as well as some epic bowling lanes, this ally is every kid’s dream. With great fun to be had for the whole family, guests will enjoy teaming up for a few strikes and spares.
Fun Island Depot
Another popular destination is Fun Island Depot. Built to be an exact replica of the old KCS depot originally located in downtown Port Arthur, this site features a large public playground available to children of all ages. There are swings, towers to climb on, countless bars, slides, and even a great waking track for parents to use while watching the kids play. There is enjoyment and adventure to be had for all in this little park.
Port Arthur Public Library
The Port Arthur Public Library prides itself in providing a wide array of educational materials to help fulfill, educate and inform the local community. There are many services, programs, activities and learning experiences to be had within the walls of this library. With summer reading events, after-school movies and book clubs, craft sessions and more, kids will grow exponentially though the library’s exciting, fun and creative opportunities.
Sea Rim State Park
Sea Rim State Park offers visitors more than five miles of beautiful gulf shoreline and 4,000 acres of lovely marshlands for exploration. If you love walking along the beach or on a boardwalk through breathtaking marshes, camping in the great outdoors, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, hunting or birding, you will love this unique and costal park. Campers should take advantage of the park’s 15 remote campsites, as well as luxury camp sights right along the beach. This is the perfect location for a family getaway, and a wonderful outdoor playground for children young and old.
Gator Country Alligator Theme Park
Located just a few minutes from Port Arthur, Gator County is a wonderful outdoor adventure for the whole family. Come meet “Big Al,” the largest captive alligator in the State of Texas, and view beautiful, scenic wildlife and natural scenery. With a restaurant on the property, this theme park is perfect for parties, day trips, birthdays and more.
Hiking & Biking
There are many hiking and biking opportunities in Port Arthur, Texas. With many natural, paved and boardwalk trails around the city, you won’t run out of scenic routes to enjoy.
There are two main golf courses in the city, and even more in the surrounding areas outside of Port Arthur. Babe Didrikson Zaharias Memorial Golf Course is a nice little course and easy on the wallet while Pleasure Island Golf Course is 18.5 miles long and surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Sabine Lake and the Sabine Neches Intracoastal Waterway.
Building for the Future
There has been a great leap in economic growth of Port Arthur in the past two years due to the recent boom of the mining, constructing and logging markets. The good news is, things do not appear to be slowing down. The many oil refineries in the area continue to grow and attract workers. Due to this influx, more housing is needed, and the city is building more attractions, restaurants and exciting venues for locals to enjoy.