Arts & Culture

A Cultural Scene that Surprises

Hands-on museums and hands down some of the best music, arts and culture top the list of things to do in Temple, Texas.

If you’re not familiar with the local flavor, you may be surprised by Temple’s diverse and rich cultural scene that rivals larger metros. On stage, the Temple Symphony Orchestra and Temple Civic Theatre produce music and theatrical productions of the highest caliber, while live music radiates nearly every night from local pubs, halls and venues.

Children, adults and families take the chance to explore history, science and the arts thanks to Temple’s museums, galleries and gardens. The Salado Sculpture Garden and the Cultural Arts Center are long-time favorites that show off renown exhibits, while the Temple Children’s Museum develops a new downtown location.

Uncover Temple’s vibrant arts and culture, where everyone from art aficionados to film fans will find their groove.

From the classic masters to current artists, Temple is in tune thanks to a variety of musical options.

With 25-plus seasons under its belt, the Temple Symphony Orchestra is one of the area’s premier cultural experiences. The orchestra is comprised of 65 to 90 professional musicians from the Central Texas area who regularly play together at the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center. Programming features local, national and international artists performing classical music, pops and jazz.

The Temple College Jazz Festival attracts hundreds of performers for this annual lively event. Top professional artists, clinicians and college, high school and junior high musicians visit Temple for clinics, competitions and performances.

Rock, bluegrass and more live music is always on tap at places like O’Brien’s Irish Pub, where 60-plus national acts perform each year. Like other businesses in downtown, O’Brien’s is part of Temple’s First Fridays, a night hosted each month with street music, food and drink, and after-hours shopping.

For a true country-western experience, head to Bo’s Barn Dance Hall and Club. Well-known and emerging acts entertain from the stage while locals hit the dance floor. Next, plan some time at the Cultural Arts Center, where Latin, blues and rock are just some of the performances that are part of the Texas Music Series.

The Central Texas Art League housed in the Cultural Arts Center curates exhibits, programs and events centered on various art forms, including mixed media, oils and watercolors, quilting, glass and more.

A 20-minute drive from Temple, the Salado Sculpture Garden displays works from artists of all ages and experiences. Bronze, copper, stainless steel and wrought iron sculptures line the lush walkways, where visitors can take respite in shaded seated areas.

A full-time, professional staff presents multiple productions each year at the Temple Civic Theatre. Musicals, comedies and classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are some the performances that are showcased at this thrust stage theatre created in 1965.

Flicks that stick are in the spotlight at the Central Texas Film Society. Movie classics old and new are screened and afterward, speakers give context and interesting tidbits (and maybe a little gossip).

The museum without walls is one of the area’s most unique attractions. As the Temple Children’s Museum works to renovate its permanent downtown location, it currently travels through the community to educate and inspire youth in areas such as science and arts.

Downtown Temple is already home to the Railroad and Heritage Museum, a 1910 Santa Fe Depot that’s also an Amtrak station. Exhibits, model trains and an interactive outside area with locomotives, cabooses and passenger cars are part of the museum’s draw.

Texas’ history, archaeology and much more invite visitors to the Salado Museum and College Park and the Bell County Museum. At the Czech Heritage Museum & Genealogy Center, locals will discover the Czech impact and contributions on Texas, and the Fort Hood 1st Calvary Museum is a can’t-miss stop.

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