These Photos of Abandoned Buildings Will Transport You to a Bygone Texas

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In the Texas Monthly Recommends series, Texas Monthly writers, editors, photographers, and producers offer up their favorite recent culture discoveries from the great state of Texas.

Like most Texans my age, I dream of becoming a homeowner. But unlike my peers, I don’t fantasize about a contemporary house with new marble finishings and stainless-steel appliances. That’s because my dream home is not a looker: I want a small, old yellow house. (Complete with floral wallpaper and uneven wooden flooring.) This type of house isn’t too easy to find on Zillow. But I’ve been able to indulge in my vintage home fantasies with a Facebook group called Abandoned Texas

With more than 60,000 members, the group is a showcase of dilapidated homes, barns, and churches. People around the state, from the back roads of Brachfield to the main streets in Galveston, post pictures of abandoned properties for other antiques lovers to pore over. The photos have allowed me to time-travel to the late 1800s and early 1900s by way of three-story Victorian homes with bay windows and expansive wraparound porches. The posts have also allowed me to “travel” to far-flung parts of Texas, which was especially enjoyable during the height of the pandemic when real traveling wasn’t an option.

Even if architecture isn’t your predilection, the restoration stories are sure to hit the spot—members often document old properties they’re bringing back to life. As boxy condos multiply in cities and mass subdivisions crop up in rural areas, these old homes serve as a reminder of classic beauty.

Sierra Juarez, assistant editor 

Marvel at Contemporary Art in Ruby City

The night before I was set to visit a friend for the day in San Antonio, a TikTok appeared on my “for you” page, praising a contemporary art museum in the heart of the city. (Sort of creepy how well the algorithm knows us, but helpful in this scenario.) So the next day, after a stroll down the River Walk, we ventured over to Ruby City

With its red exterior glittering in the Texas sun, the museum truly is a priceless gem. The impressive structure, designed by sought-after architect David Adjaye, houses the collection of the late Linda Pace, heiress to the Pace salsa fortune and patron of San Antonio’s arts scene.

It took us about thirty minutes to work our way through the installations, sculptures, paintings, and video works on display. The staff in each room were eager to answer our questions about the collection and gave us insight into the artists. There’s a coffee cart parked outside; couples sat in the museum’s sculpture garden sipping on iced lattes. At 14,427 square feet, Ruby City is small compared with most museums, and admission is free. It’s not an all-day excursion, but it’s certainly a fun addition to any day trip.

Harper Carlton, recording studio intern

Listen to Jenna Palek’s Fun on Weekdays podcast 

 “If you wait for the weekend to have fun, you are wasting two hundred and sixty-one days of your life every single year.”  This is quite the thing to hear while sitting on your bed on a Tuesday evening. Jenna Palek, a 23-year-old Austinite, spotlights this eye-opening truth on her new podcast, Fun on Weekdays

This lighthearted show is a refreshing reminder that life shouldn’t be put on pause Monday through Friday, but rather lived to the fullest every day. And I’m not talking about partying all night on a Tuesday when you have that 8 a.m. Wednesday meeting—life can be lived in subtle ways too. Whether it’s grabbing a cocktail, watching the sunset at your local park, or squeezing in a pickleball match, moments like these can sprinkle some much-needed excitement onto the average weekday evening. Palek reassures listeners that the perfect time to start simply doesn’t exist, so you might as well go for it now.  

Listening to the podcast has pushed me to stop questioning the what-ifs, step out of my comfort zone, and live the life I deserve as a twentysomething city girl figuring out the whole work-life balance thing. Take a listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.  

Gianni Zorrilla, assistant editor 

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