Known as the South Texas crossroads, Victoria is about a two-hour drive from Houston, Austin, and San Antonio; and a 90-minute drive from Corpus Christi. As one of the oldest cities in the state (incorporated under the Republic of Texas in 1839), Victoria has more than 100 landmarks and buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Victoria event venues abound; the heart of the community is Old Victoria, a popular backdrop for a number of festivals and special events throughout the year. In the middle of it all is the circa-1892 Victoria County courthouse, which was voted one of the 10 favorite historic courthouses in Texas. The city is also home to the University of Houston-Victoria and Victoria College.
Victoria Regional Airport is served by Texas Sky, a charter carrier with daily service to Austin-Bergstrom International and Dallas-Fort Worth International airports. Because of Victoria’s proximity to Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Corpus Christi, the city is also a popular drive-in destination.
Two new hotel venues in Victoria have opened in recent years with enough meeting space that the destination is now marketing itself to small meetings. The 109-room Homewood Suites by Hilton Hotel offers four meeting rooms, including a ballroom that can accommodate up to 140 people, a boardroom for 12, and two boardrooms that each seat six people and are attached to King Suites. And the 118-room Hilton Garden Inn offers 4,000 square feet of function space. Newer still are a 109-room Marriott Courtyard, 68-room Comfort Inn and Suites, and the 57-room Hotel Victoria in that same Navarro/Zac Lentz Parkway area, but these three have minimal space for meetings.
In addition to the new meeting hotels, there are a number of nontraditional meeting venues in Victoria, including a 20-person boardroom at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts; a multi-media room for 40 people at the Museum of the Coastal Bend; and Victoria Country Club, which has a ballroom that can seat 300 people and the Founders Room/Wine Cellar, which can handle 50.
For special events, Victoria offers three distinctive historic venues. The restored Foster Air Field Officers Club can host an event of up to 150 people in an authentic WWII atmosphere, including the original serving bar backed by a vintage airplane mural. Schroeder Dance Hall, the second-oldest dance hall in Texas, has a main hall with a hardwood dance floor that can host a few hundred people, and for smaller parties, there is an authentic old-time saloon. Another venue with thick Texas history is the Spirit Inn, situated on a bluff overlooking the Guadalupe River on the original site of the oldest cattle ranch in Texas and next to the remains of the 1700s Spanish Colonial Mission Espiritu Santo. The 12-room Spirit Inn has a covered patio that can seat 150 people and a dining room that seats 48.
History is also a key component to some of Victoria’s most popular restaurants. At the Pump House Riverside Restaurant & Bar, guests enter the Texas Landmark located on the Guadalupe River through a 250-year-old teak and iron gate; at Fossati’s Deli, the oldest deli in Texas, the menu dates to 1882; and at Rosebud Fountain & Grill, some of the best burgers in town (with a side of fried pickles) are served in a vintage 1950s atmosphere. Other flavorful options include Mumphord’s Place, which has been named one of the best barbecue places in the world by Texas Monthly; Yummy Finds & Eatery, known for its over-the-top cupcakes; and The Sendera, an upscale restaurant specializing in steak, seafood, and wild game that was opened in 2013 by the owners of the Pump House.