7 Best Things to Do in Decatur TX

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Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you played a game of craps and used the phrase “Eighter from Decatur” to try to roll an eight? This popular phrase was actually added to two signs outside Decatur, TX, by Mayor Sly Hardwick in 1949 to welcome tourists.

Maybe you’ve never played craps before or heard of Decatur, TX. But if you’re traveling through northern Texas between the Texas and Oklahoma border, you should make plans to stop in for a visit. 

Let’s look at seven of the best things to do in Decatur, TX, to make your stay enjoyable. 

Where Is Decatur, TX?

Situated along the intersection of Highway 287 and Highway 380 in Wise County, Texas, the city of Decatur is about 40 miles north of Fort Worth. It’s about halfway between Fort Worth and the Oklahoma border.

Originally, Decatur was named Taylorsville in honor of James Taylor, the 12th President of the United States. However, only two short years later in 1858, the town voted to change the name to honor naval hero Stephen Decatur. At age 25, he got promoted to captain, the youngest to reach this rank in the history of the United States Navy.

Decatur has about 8.5 square miles of land. In 2010, about 6,000 people called Decatur, TX, home. By the 2020 census, the population increased to about 6,500.

Traveler’s Tip: It can be tough to know what towns to visit in the massive state of Texas, but we’re here to help with seven reasons to visit Dickinson!

7 Best Things to Do in Decatur, TX

While traveling along Highway 380 or Highway 287, it won’t take a long detour to stop in and visit Decatur, TX.

Plan a weekend to explore the history of the town. Support the strong, local small businesses here. There’s something for everyone in Decatur!

1. Improve Your DIY Skills at DIY Studio Decatur

Address: 205 North Newark Street Decatur, TX 76234

Why You Should Visit: Although the store hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Wednesdays to Saturdays, you can schedule a class at DIY Studio Decatur any day of the week.

They offer stencils for making signs and laser-cut letters. They can also do digital printing, dye sublimation, and screen printing. Maybe you’re interested in candle making, jewelry making, leatherwork, stamping, or wreath making.

If you want something forged over a fire, they have welders, too! The opportunities are endless at DIY Studio Decatur. 

2. Play at Louida “Big Mamma” Willis Park

Address: 400 North Arthur Street Decatur, TX 76234

Why You Should Visit: With a playground, sandbox, swing set, and picnic tables, Louida “Big Mamma” Willis Park will provide entertainment for hours for your little ones.

Mrs. Willis was an advocate for children in her community. When the city rerouted Highway 380 business traffic into her East Decatur community, she became concerned for the children.

In response, she petitioned the city for a neighborhood park to be built so the children could safely play out of the streets. In 2006, the city granted her wish, and the park was named after her.

3. Get a Custom Hat

Address: 103 US-287 Decatur, TX 76234

Why You Should Visit: Jeff Biggars is the hatter at Biggar Hat Store in Decatur, TX. He has been in the business for decades and has shaped thousands of hats.

When you come into Biggar Hat Store to receive a custom hat, you know you’re getting the craftsmanship of a true professional. Or, if you just want a quality hat made in Texas, you can shop from the selection of hats in the store. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

4. Visit the Petrified Wood Gas Station

Address: Off US-287 BUS S/US-81 BUS S Decatur, TX 76234

Why You Should Visit: You might have driven through the Petrified National Forest in Arizona, but in Decatur, TX, you can experience another piece of geological history at the Petrified Wood Gas Station. In 1927, E.F. Boydston built a gas station on Trinity Street. Eight years later, he decided to cover its exterior with chunks of petrified wood. 

The gas station closed in 1989, but the family of Boydston couldn’t bear the thought of tearing down his masterpiece. They spent a decade restoring it.

Now a historical marker stands in front of the gas station, detailing the history and story behind Boydston’s petrified wood gas station. When visiting Decatur, TX, it’s worth a stop to snap a few photos and stand in awe at this landmark.

5. Tour the Historic Wise County Courthouse 

Address: 101 N Trinity Street Decatur, TX 76234

Why You Should Visit: The Wise County Courthouse is only a short two-minute drive from the gas station. There have been four courthouses in Wise County, and this one was completed in 1896 for $110,000, a cost the community thought was too expensive.

The exterior consists of pink granite, and the interior includes Vermont marble. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places. Guided tours are available by calling the County Judge.

6. Take a Walk in Wise County Veteran Memorial Park

Address: 406 N. Trinity Street Decatur, TX 76234

Why You Should Visit: After snapping some photos at the gas station and touring the Wise County courthouse, stroll through Wise County Veteran Memorial Park. Planned and designed by veterans of Wise County, this park is a beautiful place to honor fallen soldiers.

Eighteen brass placards line the Path of Sacrifice and Valor that commemorate American sacrifices in battle. An eternal flame is also in the center of the park.

During your stay in Decatur, TX, you certainly want to make this one of your stops. It’s open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

7. Take a Picture with Metal Dice and the Town Mural

Address: South Church Street Decatur, TX 76234

Why You Should Visit: Remember the “Eighter from Decatur” phrase mentioned earlier? See it beautifully painted on a mural on Church Street welcoming visitors to Decatur, TX.

There are also huge metal dice in front of the mural. They’re lit at night and represent the craps slogan.

Both the mural and dice sculpture offer plenty of photo opportunities for tourists. It won’t take you long to stop and snap a few pictures. It’s something you’ll want to do when you visit Decatur, TX.

Is Decatur TX Worth a Visit?

Decatur is a fun city in northern Texas that offers entertainment and activities for all types of travelers. If you’re in the market for a true felt or straw hat, don’t miss out on scheduling an appointment with Jeff Biggars.

Spend a few hours at the park or schedule a kids’ painting class with the family. Everyone will enjoy walking around downtown Decatur and learning more about the area’s history. 

So the next time you plan a road trip along Highway 380 crossing through northern Texas, take a pit stop for a couple of days in Decatur, TX. You might just plan a return trip. 

When will you visit this Texan town?

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