Laredo is a city with 262,000 (2019) inhabitants on the South Texas Plains. Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, is just across the Rio Grande.
The twin cities of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, founded in 1775, are situated on the banks of the Rio Grande. Laredo has been governed under seven national flags. Nuevo Laredo has a burgeoning population of 374,000 (2010). The twin cities are collectively referred to as Los Dos Laredos. The weather is moderate in winter months around 68°F (20°C) but sizzling in mid-summer around 100°F (39°C).
This city is the commercial hub of the South Texas Plains, which is primarily an agricultural region. It offers entertainment, education, and cultural resources that fit well with its Hispanic heritage. Laredo is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
Non-U.S. citizens are recommended to carry their immigration documents with them even if they do not plan on crossing the border into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. There are check points on your way back from Laredo where you might be asked to show your immigration documents.
Non-U.S. citizens having a valid U.S. visa who decide to cross the border and enter Mexico should be prepared for a long wait at the CBP detention center/check post to get back into U.S., even with all the necessary documentation. It might not be a pleasant one, but can be minimized by crossing at off hours or by using alternative crossings, such as the Colombia bridge.
Laredo is accessible by car via Interstate 35, and US Highways 59 and 83. I-35 is the U.S. portion of the Pan American Highway that stretches from Central America to Canada.
- 1 Laredo International Airport (LRD IATA). It has scheduled direct flights from Dallas/Fort Worth (80 minutes), Houston (80 minutes), and Las Vegas (165 minutes) via American Eagle, Continental Express, and Allegiant Air.
Bus travel to Laredo is convenient, as it's a major stop on several routes between the US and Mexico. Greyhound has daily services from Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Brownsville and more, direct services are also available from Monterrey. More options for bus travel from Mexican cities can be found by crossing the border into Nuevo Laredo.
El Metro is the city's municipal bus service, offering scheduled routes as well as paratransit services. Laredo is quite spread out, so car rental is an attractive local transportation alternative.
- 1 Plaza San Augustin. Where various dance, music and crafts festivals take place throughout the year.
- 2 Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, 1005 Zaragoza St, ☏ +1 956-727-3480. The Republic of the Rio Grande Museum is dedicated to the year 1840, when Laredo was the capital city of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande. An unrecognized state that declared independence from Mexico in January of that year, the republic was quickly reintegrated into Mexico. The museum is the nation's former capital building and features preserved rooms and historic displays, plus a small gift shop.
- 3 Villa Antigua Border Heritage Museum, 810 Zaragoza Street, ☏ +1 956 718-2727.
- El Mercado. The old city hall.
- Laredo Water Museum, 2702 Anna Ave, ☏ +1 956-795-2620. This touches on the Rio Grande ecosystem and how water is treated. Interactive and well designed. Free.
Wildlife game abound in south Texas, so Laredo is a popular destination for hunters and fishermen. Birders can spot the Great Kiskadee, White-tipped Dove, Green Jay, Scrub Jay, Red-billed Pigeon, Audubon's Oriole and possibly the White-Collared Seedeater in the region.
- Lake Casa Blanca International Park, 5102 Bob Bullock Loop. 7AM-10PM. Activities include picnic areas, fishing, and camping (nightly site fees $15+). $4.
Mexican souvenirs and crafts are plentiful in local marts, especially the myriad importers along San Bernardo.
- Basket & Pottery Alley (Mexico Mercadito), 3519 San Bernardo Ave, ☏ +1 956 724-2415. A wonderful Mexican mercadito where you can find all types of Mexican goods from souvenirs, clothing, candy, pottery, and all types of unique knick knacks.
- Mall del Norte, 5300 San Dario Ave, ☏ +1 956-724-8191. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su Noon-6PM. Very contemporary.
- The Outlet Shoppes at Laredo, 1600 Water St, ☏ +1 956-625-5353. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su Noon-6PM. More goodies; kind of an open-air mall.
Southwestern and Mexican cuisine restaurants abound in Laredo. Also, beef is a popular item on any menu in this area.
- 1 Zaragoza Grill, 1000 Zaragoza St (In La Posada Hotel), ☏ +1 956-753-4444. Famous for its Sunday brunch.
- 2 Mariscos El Pescador, 207 Shiloh Dr, ☏ +1 956-725-8207. Specializes in Mexican seafood. Second location at 3919 San Dario, Tel: +1 956-724-8958.
The drinking age in Texas, as in the rest of the US, is 21, but the drinking age in the state of Tamaulipas, as in the rest of Mexico, is 18. Many Texan high school seniors and college students from San Antonio and Austin make their way to Nuevo Laredo to drink.
- 1 Courtyard Laredo, 2410 Santa Ursula Ave, ☏ +1 956 725-5555, fax: +1 956 724-8848.
- 2 Fairfield Inn & Suites Laredo, 700 W. Hillside Rd, ☏ +1 956 722-4533, toll-free: +1-866-722-4501, fax: +1 956 722-5133.
- 3 Motel 6 Laredo North, 5920 San Bernardo Ave, ☏ +1 956 722-8133, fax: +1 956 725-8212.
- 4 Motel 6 Laredo South, 5310 San Bernardo Ave, ☏ +1 956 725-8187, fax: +1 956 725-0424.
- 5 Residence Inn Laredo Del Mar, 310 Lost Oaks Blvd, ☏ +1 956 753-9700, fax: +1 956 753-9702.
- 6 SpringHill Suites Laredo, 5940 San Bernardo Ave., ☏ +1 956 717-0800, fax: +1 956 717-0822.
- 7 La Posada Hotel, 1000 Zaragoza St. (Near International Bridge #1), ☏ +1 956 722-1701. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Historic downtown hotel built in 1916. Spanish colonial style.
- 8 Staybridge Suites, 7010 Bob Bullock Loop (at the airport), ☏ +1 956-722-0444. All-suite hotel.
- 9 Red Roof Inn, 1006 W. Calton Road (I35 and Calton Road), ☏ +1 956-712-0733, toll-free: +1 800 REDROOF (7337663). Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $59.
As in all other border towns, always be aware of your surroundings.
Day trips by car can take you to Zapata TX (less than 1 hour to the south) for hunting, fishing and nature observation/birding; and to Kingsville (less than two hours to the east) a ranching heritage town, and home of the King Ranch Museum [dead link]. Cross over the bridge to Nuevo Laredo and visit nearby San Ygnacio, Camargo City, Ciudad Mier, Ciudad Miguel Aleman and Ciudad Diaz Ordaz for a taste of Mexican history, environment and lifestyles.
|Routes through Laredo|
|Austin ← San Antonio ←||N S||→ → → becomes → Nuevo Laredo|
|END ←||SW NE||→ Goliad → Houston|
|Abilene ← Carrizo Springs ←||NW SE||→ Mission → McAllen|