With the nickname Six-shooter Junction, Harlingen began life in 1904 as a crossroads. Since then the city has blended border heritage and Texas pride to mature into a destination for travelers (with the region’s largest airport) and the home of over 80,000 individuals who cherish the Valley’s sub-tropical beauty and friendliness.
Drawing on the talents and ingenuity of its residents, Harlingen city has grown into a dynamic and charming city. It is known above all for the shopping experiences found nowhere else, for its medical facilities and medical education programs, and for a quality of life that draws young adults back home to raise their families.
Go Shopping – Harlingen offers the region’s most authentic and congenial downtown, a slice of Americana brimming with simple pleasures and unexpected treasures. Jackson Street is filled with boutiques and antique shops owned by engaging personalities like June and Tony Ramirez of Antiques Emporium, Mike Bodenhamer at Java Café and Mary Resendez at Simply Elegant.
The abundance of year-round outdoor activities in the Rio Grande Valley prompted BassPro Shops to open its Harlingen store in 2011. Along with BassPro’s huge selection of bird feeders and boats, fishing rods and camping gear, visitors encounter aquariums, museum exhibits, wildlife art, educational presentations and entertainment all under one roof.
Healthcare – Harlingen is the headquarters of the VA’s South Texas Coastal Bend Health Care System and the home of the new VA Ambulatory Surgery Center and the comprehensive Outpatient Clinic. Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen, the region’s largest hospital, has evolved since 1925 into a 600-bed facility, which ranks among the nation’s best-practice hospitals for stroke, heart failure and coronary disease treatment. It is a Certified Stroke Center and Level III Trauma Center with both pediatric and neonatal intensive care units. VBMC operates a Family Practice Residency program that trains new doctors in critical medical skills. The nearby Harlingen Medical Center, an acute care hospital, has been recognized for its cardiovascular care and clinical excellence.
Third- and fourth-year medical students and newly graduated MDs in the Internal Medicine Residency Program receive hands-on clinical training in Harlingen at the University of Texas’ Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), a campus of UT Health Science Center-San Antonio. Outstanding local physicians serve as faculty for the medical education division of the RAHC, which will be transitioning to a stand-alone UT medical school in Harlingen over the next 10 years.
Coming Home – Soccer complexes and youth ball fields, a 27-hole city golf course, hike and bike trails along the Arroyo Colorado and the Ramsey Park-World Birding Center are visible aspects of Harlingen’s enviable quality of life. But what keeps families and businesses in Harlingen are the intangibles such as trees and skies filled year-round with wild parrots and hummingbirds. The welcome extended to new and old friends, as well as an abundance of community activities, convince young adults and retirees to make Harlingen their home.