Five hotspots to visit in downtown Wichita Falls

It’s hard to ignore the chatter around campus about the amenities Wichita Falls has to offer — or rather, what it doesn’t offer.

“This town is boring.”

“There’s nothing here.”

However, Wichita Falls offers a collection of town gems that are quickly generating steam among the community. From the farmer’s market to local (not chain) coffee shops, downtown life has begun to liven up after years of neglect. A little exploration highlighted a of a few hotspots around town.

Victoria Pollack, nursing senior, studies for her nursing classes at 8th Street Coffeehouse, Tuesday Oct. 31, 2017. “I come here pretty often. I like the music and the food is really good. I just feel like it’s a relazing place to study, I feel like with other places there is just more pressure and busy and here it’s just relaxing,” Pollack said. Photo by Rachel Johnson

8th Street Coffee House
Walking into 8th Street Coffee House, the employees greet you with big smiles. Alternative music plays through the speakers and the wonderful aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air. There are limited seating options — most of them being couches — which adds to the cozy and inviting vibe of this small café.

“8th Street has a very friendly atmosphere,” Dan Mitchell, microbiology sophomore, said. “It reminds me of Central Perk from ‘Friends.'”

8th Street has a continuous amount of menu items such as lattes, teas and food, including their most popular item: the bacon avocado grilled cheese. There’s no doubt 8th Street Coffee House is one of downtown Wichita Falls’ most popular eateries.

A major renovation is still underway despite the original estimated completion date of Nov. 1.

According to Heather Smith, 8th Street’s kitchen manager, the addition will add more seating, an extended coffee bar, a small grocery section, a bakery and a full stage for live music. If you’re looking for a small, comfortable place to hang out or do homework, and grab a coffee or lunch, check out 8th Street Coffee House.

 

 

Haley Carnley, event coordinator, takes a customer’s order at Odd Duck Coffee. Within her position, Carnley said Odd Duck focuses on community involvement and loves “the atmosphere when you walk into the shop.” Photo by Cortney Wood

Odd Duck Coffee Roastery and Tasting Room
With a modern and eclectic vibe, Odd Duck is the perfect place to go if you want a bright, fun atmosphere, an endless variety of pastries and coffee from all over the world. If food and drink aren’t your craving, Odd Duck has a pretty extensive list of gelato flavors, too.

According to Odd Duck co-owner Andrea Klopf, the “unique” aspect to the coffee stems from their in-house roasting, unlike most coffee shops. With a 10 percent student discount with a valid student ID, Odd Duck welcomes college students to enjoy a unique brew as well as get any homework done.

“We want everyone to find their own favorite flavor,” Klopf said. “There are different tastes to each, and they will find a favorite if they try them out.”

The discount is the perfect reason to stop by and try out their most popular summer item, the Vanilla Cream Nitro cold brew, or, since it’s almost into the fall, try out the winter best-seller, Odd Duck’s Drip Coffee.

 

Highlander Public House
For a casual, American restaurant and pub to go to for a quick meal, Highlander Public House is the place to go. The restaurant’s wooden furniture and outdoor patio decorated with string lights gives it a cozy Brooklyn vibe.

According to Erik Scott, the restaurant’s owner and executive chef, Highlander Public House is “where you go to hang out with your friends.”

The restaurant has a comfortable and chill, yet family-friendly atmosphere that complements the food. It’s a nice place to spend an hour or two, especially if you have pets — they have a pet-friendly outdoor patio.

Although they’ve only been open for six months, Highlander Public House has proven itself to be a crucial part of downtown life, and it is definitely worth checking out. If you’re not sure what to order, try their most popular item from across the pond: fish and chips.

Wichita Theatre located in Downtown Wichita Falls off Indiana Street. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Wichita Theatre
Established in 1908, the Wichita Theatre is a Wichita Falls staple. For years, the theatre has welcomed people from all ages to experience the arts on stage or as the audience. While the shows vary from season to season, heart is never left out of the equation.

“Seeing a show at the Wichita Theatre is a good opportunity for family fun, since all the shows are family friendly,” Lauren Ogerly, nursing sophomore, said. “Going there is a good time, and it’s something different to do.”

According to Ogerly, the Wichita Theatre is community oriented and the owners are passionate about involving the people of Wichita Falls. The theatre also has a birthday party program, Once Upon a Party, where actresses dress up as Disney princesses and appear at children’s parties.

“It was really rewarding to be able to go and take her mind completely off everything she is going through,” Ogerly said. “Being able to give back to somebody who truly needs it and deserves it makes it a lot more special.”

This fall, the Theatre is debuting the show “North Texas Rising,” a musical focusing on the establishment of Wichita Falls with the many faces that have come and gone. Performances run Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

An exhibition in balcony will feature a gallery by Museum of North Texas History and downstairs by the Wichita Falls Art Association that further demonstrates the connectivity of the downtown area.

Fluffy the Cat, an Alley Cats cat, sits on the front desk while Julie Ressell, Alley Cat Vintage owner, works up front waiting for customers to come by with their purchases at Alley cats Vintage Mercantile, Tuesday Oct. 31, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Alley Cat Vintage Mercantile
Greeted by a distant “hello” from the cashier, something bushy brushes against your leg. Looking down, the bright green eyes of a cute, fluffy cat stare upwards. This is exactly what you should expect when shopping at Alley Cat.

Alley Cat Vintage Mercantile is the perfect place to go if you’re looking to spruce up your boring dorm room with some vintage furniture and decorations. With four floors full of one of a kind items, you’re bound to find something you like, or at least have a great time playing with all of the cats walking around.

“The atmosphere is incredible,” Paige Inman, early childhood education sophomore, said. “They have a lot of different sellers, so the variety is impressive. Each booth might have very different things, but each this has its own unique identity.”

Because Alley Cat’s owners get unique merchandise from multiple sellers, customers almost never come across the same item twice. Some items you may encounter while wandering around the store include shelves, dressers, paintings, mugs and even larger items such as tables and chairs. According to Inman, the experience of walking around and looking through items that once belonged to someone else is interesting.

“It connects me more to the past through antique shopping,” Inman said. “Behind every piece, there is a story. It’s like a treasure hunt, and there is just so much to find. Every time I walk in there, the possibility of walking out with a piece of the past is incredible, and even on the days I walk out with nothing, you feel connected to the past just seeing people’s old trinkets.”