Located right off of US Highway 290, Johnson City is among the most popular towns in the Hill Country–and considering both how easily accessible it is and how many fun things to do in Johnson City, Texas that there are, it’s no surprise!
Though the town was not named for the family of the 36th president, Johnson City is indeed Lyndon B. Johnson’s hometown, and that history is the driving force behind some of the best things to do in (and near) this small Texas town.
From castles to Christmas lights, here’s what to do in Johnson City, TX!
Best Things to Do in Johnson City, TX
Stroll the town square.
As the seat of Blanco County, Johnson City–like so many Texas towns–features a beautiful town square, dominated by its 19th-century courthouse and lined with shops, restaurants, and even the town’s historic jail.
Sip wine in a castle.
Given the town’s location along Wine Road 290, there are plenty of delightful wineries in and near Johnson City to enjoy–but perhaps no other winery has as memorable of a setting as the 290 Wine Castle!
Decorated in a medieval-inspired style inside and out, the 290 Wine Castle serves up excellent wine (both local and imported) in an idyllic setting, featuring beautiful Hill Country views off of its back deck.
Browse art and antiques.
Johnson City is positively covered in antique and vintage stores, along with a few art galleries to boot!
Centered around the walkable downtown, you can easily make a day of searching for treasures in the town’s many antique stores and galleries.
Check out the Science Mill.
You wouldn’t necessarily expect a town as small as Johnson City, Texas, to be home to a fantastic children’s science museum–but it is!
Housed in a historic mill right downtown, the Science Mill offers interactive exhibits dedicated to helping kids explore STEM subjects, and is a must-see when looking for things to do in Johnson City with kids!
Visit the Johnson Settlement.
Located just outside of the downtown center of Johnson City, the Johnson Settlement is the pioneer ranch built by President Johnson’s grandparents in the 1860s-1870s.
It’s part of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, though it’s not physically connected to the better-known LBJ Ranch that is located in nearby Stonewall–more on that below.
A relaxed, easy trail will loop you through historic buildings and past pastures holding horses and longhorns.
It’s free to visit, easy to access, and belongs on any list of what to do in Johnson City.
Grab a drink at Pecan Street Brewing.
Johnson City’s own Pecan Street Brewing serves up delicious drinks and food right on the town square!
Out back, you can also find the (dog-friendly) Biergarten, perfect for enjoying a relaxed afternoon.
Keep in mind that the Biergarten does sometimes close, so if you’re traveling with your dog like we usually do, you may want to call ahead to see if it’s open!
The historic jail we mentioned is also right next door–if you need to wait for a table, consider wandering over to see if you can peer inside.
See the Christmas Lights!
Johnson City is famous for its Lights Spectacular festival put on by the local Pedernales Energy Co-Op each year.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good photos of the absolutely blinding forest of lights last year, but the lights around the square are also darling, and a great way to enjoy celebrating Christmas in Texas!
What to Do Near Johnson City
Explore Pedernales Falls State Park.
A TX Hill Country favorite, Pedernales Falls State Park is home to a particularly scenic stretch of the Pedernales River, where visitors can enjoy the (typically) relaxed falls as they make their way over the enormous limestone riverbed.
Restrictions prohibit swimming in the falls themselves, but there is a beautiful swimming area in the park, as well as campgrounds, hiking trails, and plenty of beautiful views!
This area is very prone to flash flooding, so be sure to keep an eye on the weather when setting out.
Tour the LBJ Ranch (and Texas White House).
Together with the Johnson Settlement, the LBJ Ranch and associated areas make up the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, and touring the ranch is one of the absolute best things to do near Johnson City!
Home to President Johnson before, during, and after his presidency, visiting the ranch today can include a driving tour through the property (including plenty of Hereford cattle, the president’s favorite breed), and a tour of the Texas White House (where Johnson often worked while in office).
You can even see “Air Force One and a Half”, the small plane that would transport the 36th president to his Texas ranch.
Other, older sites are also located on the property, including the small home Johnson was born in, the family cemetery, and–just outside the National Historical Park gates–the one-room schoolhouse Johnson briefly attended as a boy.
Visit LBJ State Park & Historic Site.
Located right next door to the LBJ Ranch, the LBJ State Park & Historic Site is home to walking trails, a beautiful swimming pool, wildflowers, longhorns, and more–but most notably, this is where you can find the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm.
Here, you’ll find re-enactors working a small 19th-century farm, including growing crops, caring for animals, and creating period-appropriate meals.
It’s an especially fun destination if you’re visiting Johnson City with kids, but adults will also love a trip to the farm!
Where is Johnson City, Texas?
Johnson City is located along US Highway 290 in the heart of the Hill Country, 55 minutes (48 miles) west of Austin, 1 hour and 10 minutes (64 miles) north of San Antonio, and 35 minutes (30 miles) east of Fredericksburg.
Johnson City’s excellent location makes it incredibly easy to combine with a weekend getaway in Fredericksburg, Stonewall, Blanco, and more!