Texas Hill Country Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Put on your Dancing Shoes in The Texas Hill Country

Your dancin’ boots are waiting for you.

There they sit, forlorn in the closet, dying for you to take ‘em out and dust them off. But be forewarned—boots like these won’t settle for just a stroll ‘round the block. While these boots may have been made for walking, you bought them to enjoy a time-honored tradition— it’s time to get to two-stepping!

Swing by the birthplace of the dance halls

Good news—there’s no better place to go two-stepping than Texas Hill Country’s famed dance halls. These dance halls grew from local folk traditions called the "fandango," a term from the Spanish colonial period to describe a celebration organized by the Hispanic community. These festivities were complete with music, dancing, eating, gambling, and drinking. Sometimes they were held in the streets and other times in temporary dance halls called "fandango" houses. But just like everything else deemed too much fun by the local stick-in-the-muds, the fandango was outlawed by 1870.

Instead, a more formal type of organized dance, courtesy of Anglo-European settlers, gained popularity as an independent Texas increased its population. These dance events included German polka clubs and, of course, the Western square dance. Almost everyone joined in, even if partners weren’t readily available. Texas was known as the Bachelor Republic during its frontier days due to the excess number of single men. But that didn't stop a lot of dance-loving Texans who were often seen scooting the boot on the dance floor, one gentleman in the lead and the other wearing an apron or a bandana tied around his arm to indicate his "lady's role."

Nowadays when you attend a Texan dance hall, you’ll find that the bandana is no longer necessary. There are partners aplenty to go around. What’s more, any freewheeling, fandango-like footwork is now encouraged, not outlawed. So whether you prefer to boogie down in barn digs with bare-strung bulbs in the middle of a cow pasture or with the trappings of big city hoopla complete with flashing lights, it’s up to you! We’ve got styles and options for everyone—where will your dancing boots take you?

Anhalt Hall: Spring Branch

Wish that there was a spot where you could unleash your inner cowboy AND your inner polka pro? Anhalt Hall might be your perfect fit! Built-in 1879 by a predominantly German population, Anhalt Hall has served as a gathering place for Spring Branch / Bulverde, Texas ever since.  Get ready to scoot a boot to polka and country favorites at Anhalt Hall’s monthly dances. The dance hall has undergone some impressive expansions since first opening, including a beer garden, kitchen and a 6,000-square-foot oak dance floor added in 1909. Visitors today can also enjoy an annual Oktoberfest and live band performances. Parents, take note: this all-ages dance hall means your little one can learn to two-step alongside you. 

Gruene Hall: New Braunfels

The world-famous Gruene Hall holds the record for being the oldest, continually operating dance hall in the State of Texas. And you better believe that it has seen a thing or two in its time. Built in 1878, Gruene Hall has been used for everything from weekly dances and high school graduations to badger fights. More recently, it has gained international attention as a music venue for up and coming artists. Gruene Hall has been instrumental in starting the careers of Lyle Lovett, George Strait, Hal Ketchum, Pat Green and others. Visitors can dance to live music seven nights a week while sipping on in-house wine or beer.

John T. Floore Country Store: Helotes

Can you truly say you like to two-step without visiting a verified Texas honky-tonk? Better get on down to John T. Floore Country Store! Opened in 1942, this unique Texas Dance Hall and Café was never an actual store but has hosted Texas and American music legends alike. This beloved venue has hosted greats like Willie Nelson, Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Lyle Lovett, B.B. King, Little Richard and many more. Try one of Floore’s world-famous tamales or homemade bread, or order off the full menu for great "Texas Cafe" style food and ice cold beer. It’s truly a unique "Texccentric" atmosphere.

Kendalia Halle: Kendalia

Build a lifetime of memories for the whole family at Kendalia Halle. Built in 1903, the dance hall served as a meeting place for the entire community at weekend-long events where couples glided across the dance floor while their children slept nearby. These days, you can witness the hall spring back to life at Kendalia’s monthly or biweekly dances. Country bands and enthusiastic fans of all ages gather for good dancing, drink specials and BBQ tacos. Surrounded by a bowling alley and barbershop, Kendalia can serve as your window to the past. While the hall stands on a new concrete pier foundation, the building retains much of its original red fir lumber, shipped by railroad from Oregon, then hauled to Kendalia on horse-drawn wagons.

Luckenbach Dance Hall: Fredericksburg

Everybody is somebody in Luckenbach, and if you head on down to Luckenbach Dance Hall you may just figure out why.  Located near Fredericksburg, Luckenbach is perhaps one of the best known and finest Hill Country dance halls. The town of Luckenbach's musical heritage dates back more than 150 years and its legendary dance hall has been in operation since 1887. Dances and concerts are held nearly every weekend, featuring some of the best-known artists on the Texas music scene. Check the website for a full schedule of events, and put your dancin' boots on!

Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon: Bandera

Want to experience a honky-tonk favored by country legends that still has sawdust on the floor? Established in the 1930s, this no-frills iconic beer joint is in the center of "The Cowboy Capital of Texas," Bandera. Willie Nelson and Caesare Masse have often visited, as do local boys Bruce and Charlie Robison as did the late-great Ernest Tubb who brought his Texas Troubadours to visit. Stop in today to hear owner and singer/songwriter Arkey Blue perform and discover why Texas Highways magazine dubbed Arkey’s one of the top three honky-tonks in the state.

Twin Sisters Dance Hall: Blanco

Swing by Twin Sisters Hall the first Saturday night of each month to enjoy live music, cold beer and BBQ. Opened to the public in January 1870, the Twin Sisters Dance Hall once included a bowling alley until a fire claimed it in 1967. Luckily, the dance hall survived and continues to serve to this day as a community center for weddings, family functions, fundraisers for charity, and whatever other activities can fit on this well-buffed dance floor.

Quihi Dance Hall: Hondo

On a warm May day in 1890, two German men met under an oak tree on Quihi Creek to form the Quihi Schutzen Verein shooting club. Little did they know that the club that began as a way to defend their town would still be going strong as a dance hall over 100 years later! Now simply called the Quihi Gun Club, it is one of the oldest social clubs in the country and holds dances the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. Two-step and step up into this unique building that stands six feet off the ground to accommodate the occasional flooding of the nearby Quihi and Elm Creeks. Family fun and fancy footwork await visitors to Quihi, and they’ll be in good company—many Texas legends have performed in the hall over the years.  

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