Arts and Culture

Culture and creativity, arts and performances, natural parks and plenty of sporting events are the hallmarks of life in Huntsville-Walker County. A bounty of attractions and events brings visitors year-round, and newcomers to the community will find plentiful options for housing, from affordable apartments to luxury homes.

And when it comes to rankings for amenities overall, Huntsville-Walker County is tops: It earns an A+ according to, the website that ranks livability factors in cities around the nation.

Shaping the charm and robust lifestyle of the region, Sam Houston State University plays an enormous role facilitating the good life. Serving more than 18,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, the university’s Carnegie classification places it in the top seven percent of U.S. higher education institutions in the region. It’s a magnet for businesses and amenities. A natural hub for creatives and intellectuals, university events beckon visitors to a host of experiences on campus.

The renowned music department at Sam Houston State University offers annual concerts and choirs, as well as performances for students and the community. Top talent — composers, singers and musicians — shape the spirit of the community, well beyond the campus.

“The training young people get at SHSU goes beyond skills and gets into the community through acts of service and leadership,” said Dr. Dale Underwood, choir leader and member of the Chamber’s executive board. “Our community Christmas events include the participation of extremely talented students in both the choir and orchestra. SHSU faculty and students alike can be found year-round in our communities tutoring kids and leading through acts of service.”

By design, universities generate great conversations. Led by distinguished faculty and speakers from around the world, there are plenty of opportunities to attend lectures and leadership events about cutting-edge happenings shaping world politics, from health care to global warming.

Attracted by a youthful vibe and cutting edge research generated by SHSU, young entrepreneurs and business owners are finding success. Some find the ultimate sweet spot. Opening in 2016, the Best Box Ever Bakery Ever serves up delectable confections from cookies to cupcakes. There’s even a special monthly subscription service.

Filling the niche for Bearkat clothing, regalia and décor, the Barefoot Campus Outfitter supplies caps, T-shirts, baby items and gifts to take home. Pets get in on the action, too. Find collars and sweaters in orange and white to adorn any pup’s Bearkat spirit.

Sports aficionados enjoy hours of entertainment at the 14,000-seat Elliot T. Bowers Stadium when the university’s Bearkats football team rushes the field in anticipation of another exciting victory, which included participation in the NCAA Division 1 FCS football play-offs the last seven years in a row. The Bearkats made an appearance at the college baseball super-regional tournament in 2017. Can’t make the game? Just tune in to the Bearkat Sports Network broadcast locally on 101.7 FM or visit for full coverage.

Out and about, visit the Sam Houston National Forest, art galleries and trendy eateries. Explore the history of Huntsville in a host of venues and museums. Don’t miss the annual General Sam Houston Folk Festival, held each May on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Two lively days celebrate Texas culture, including performances of the Ballet Folklorico de Huntsville. Characters in period costumes participate in delightful displays of craft making, arts and music.

By Cathy Cuthbertson