Cross the Sabine River on I-10 West from Louisiana into Texas, and in no time you’ll find Orange, a quick 30 minutes east of Lake Charles. Halfway between Lake Charles and Beaumont, it would easy to pass right by on your way to points west, but it’s definitely worth your time to make the detour and explore. Or make it a day’s destination. This charming community boasts a surprising list of exciting things to see and do, from outdoor nature excursions to arts, culture, and history. After a day of exploring, a roster of tempting restaurants will make it hard to decide where to enjoy dinner. But we know you’re up to the challenge!
Things to See & Do in Orange
The W.H. Stark House
610 S Main Street
This gingerbread-adorned Queen Anne Victorian was built in 1894 by philanthropists William Henry Stark and his wife Miriam M. Lutcher Stark. The Starks moved in with their seven-year-old son Lutcher Stark. Over the years the couple filled their home with many collections and were always updating the building. The House and its contents were left largely untouched after their death. Restored in the 1970s, The W.H. Stark House stands today filled with the things Miriam and William left behind, including art, furniture, household accessories, rugs, linens, and more collected from around the world. The Stark Foundation currently offers a variety of events and programs at the house throughout the year.
See their website for details. whstarkhouse.org
Frances Ann Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts
707 Main Ave.
Lutcher Theater recently announced their 2022-2023 Season and it’s chock full of fantastic shows. They feature touring Broadway plays, nationally renowned musical acts, and more. Highlights for the new season include R.E.S.P.E.C.T – The Aretha Franklin Experience, The Simon & Garfunkel Story, Blue Man Group, My Fair Lady, and Tootsie. This 1,460-seat performing arts facility is owned the largest Performing Arts Series from Houston to New Orleans.
See their website for performances and ticket information. lutcher.org
Stark Museum of Art
712 Green Avenue
The Stark Museum of Art began as a vision of H.J. Lutcher Stark. As early as 1927 he had discussed with associates his hope of someday opening a museum. His interest in the arts followed that of his mother, Miriam Lutcher Stark, an enthusiastic collector of art, furniture, and decorative items from around the world. Lutcher Stark developed a similar passion for collecting, with a particular interest in nature and art depicting the American West. Lutcher Stark began building his collection as an undergraduate at the University of Texas.
See their website for events at www.starkmuseum.org
Heritage House of Orange Museum
905 Division Avenue
The Heritage House of Orange depicts a typical upper-middle-class home from the turn of the 20th century through the 1940s. The two-story home is constructed of prime native pine with a finished attic, balustrade porches, five fireplaces, and a slate roof. exhibits and educational programs such as lectures, workshops, and craft demonstrations are offered. They also host annual special events, including the Christmas Open House, the Past Times Celebration, and Trace of Old Lace. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.
Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center
2111 West Park Avenue
These formal Botanical Gardens contain more than 300 plant species in five formal rooms as well as four sculpture rooms. The Nature Center includes Adams Bayou boat excursions to educational outposts, a 15-acre Beaver Pond, a state-of-the-art bird blind, a bat house, thousands of nesting birds in Ruby Lake, and more up-close encounters with nature. Shangri La offers a glimpse of how people can live in harmony with nature, as it strives in its mission to “Mentor Children of All Ages to Be Kind to Their World.”
702 W. Division Ave.
The Farmers Mercantile opened its doors in 1928t and is still located there today. Since their opening, they have employed five generations of family members in its 89 years. Visitors will find a little bit of everything, from garden supplies such as live plants, seeds, and fruit trees to animal feed, flea products, and insect repellant.
First Presbyterian Church
902 Green Avenue
This church is unique with its classic Greek Revival architecture and boasts the only opalescent glass dome in the United States. Miriam Stark donated the funds to have the church built, and promptly destroyed all receipts, as she didn’t want anyone to know how much it cost. The magnificent structure was commissioned by Frances Ann Lutcher as a memorial to the Henry Jacob Lutcher family. Granite for the building was quarried and dressed in Llano, Texas, and the marble was cut from living stone and brought from Italy. Construction began in 1908, and the building was dedicated on January 28, 1912. The First Presbyterian Church is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Tours are available by appointment Monday through Friday during the months of September through May. Call 409-883-2097.
Airboat Swamp Tours
Discover Southeast Texas swampland and watch for alligators, birds, and other wildlife from the excitement of an airboat or a quieter, canopied tour boat.
Dragon Lady Airboat Tours
102 Farragut N.
Swamp & River Tours
813 East Lutcher Drive
Orange is home to at least five Mexican restaurants, two fish camps, a few BBQ joints, and the usual chains, i.e. Denny’s, Dickie’s, and two Waffle Houses. They’re all good. Here are few to get you started.
Old Orange Café
914 Division Avenue
Since April of 1990, the Old Orange Cafe has provided patrons with a variety of menu items, from hamburgers to seafood and salads. The Old Orange Cafe offers a vintage atmosphere with black and white photos of historic Orange on display and the original tiles from its past life as the Orange Dairy Company covering the floors and walls.
1703 N 17th Street
Patrons rave about the food at this popular establishment. They’re especially known for their burgers and fresh-baked rolls with cinnamon butter.
Luigi’s Italian Grill
3108 Edgar Brown Drive
This family restaurant offers a warm atmosphere and authentic Italian cuisine.
Breweries & a Winery
Orange, Texas and the surrounding area offers a barrel full of fun breweries and wineries. You might need a few day trips to experience them all!
Free State Cellars
4702 Tejas Parkway
Free State Cellars promises an unforgettable vineyard experience set against a serene Sabine backdrop paired with live music and handcrafted wines.
1108 Port Neches Ave., Port Neches
Neches Brewing offers 20 taps, over 70 beers, including their own brews.
1211 Boston Ave. Nederland
Buckstin Brewing is a locally owned brewpub focused on quality beer & pizza masterpieces.
Hop Ave. Brewing Coming Soon!
75 Ferry Dr., Bridge City, TX
Hammered Honey Farms and Mead
Hammered Honey Farms and Mead is a small, veteran owned, family run, honey farm & meadery specializing in honeywine meads. They are currently a work-in-progress and hope to officially open late November. Located in Orangefield, Texas, not far from the town of Orange.
Lutcher Theater Presents its 43rd Season
With just a short jaunt along Interstate 10, you can experience world-class entertainment close to home.
The Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts is raising the curtain on its 43rd season which includes 10 show-stopping performances to kick-off the 2022-2023 series. The audience can expect entertainment ranging from national Broadway tours, award-winning musical artists, an a capella sensation, along with tributes to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and holiday performances the entire family can enjoy!
“We are excited to kick off this upcoming season and currently have individual show tickets on sale,” said Lutcher Theater Managing Director Lynae Sanford. “We have a variety of outstanding shows with something for everyone and are looking forward to bringing the Broadway series and other amazing shows to our community!”
Shows include “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.,” the ultimate tribute to the legendary Aretha Franklin; Blue Man Group; “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer The Musical;” “Million Dollar Quartet Christmas;” “My Fair Lady;” “The Simon & Garfunkel Story;” “Voctave;” “Anastasia;” Jimmy Fortune with Special Guests, The Malpass Brothers; and “Tootsie.”
“The shows you see here are the same shows you see in much larger cities like Houston or New Orleans. This is a great opportunity to experience a Broadway show within a short driving distance as the Lutcher Theater is about a 35-minute drive from the Lake Charles area,” said Sanford. “Gather the girls, grab your family or plan your date night with us.”
The Lutcher Theater, located in historic downtown Orange, TX, is a 1500 seat, state-of-the-art, world class performing arts facility and the prominent presenter of Broadway, national and international tours, award-winning artists, renowned dance and acclaimed children’s performances for Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Each season, the Lutcher offers a world class experience and unforgettable memories to each and every audience member.
For more information on the Lutcher Theater or to purchase tickets, please visit lutcher.org. or call the box office at 409-886-5535.
Celebrate Fall at the Orangetober Festival,
The second annual Orangetober Festival will be held October 7-9 at the Riverside Pavilion at 708 Simmons Drive, Orange, Texas.
The festival provides fun for the entire family with a great variety of events and activities. The Pumpkin Village features more than 10,000 pumpkins and gourds along with photo opportunities for the entire family.
The first day of the festival kicks off at 4:00 p.m. Friday, October 7th, and includes tours of the Pumpkin Village, kids activities, food vendors, craft beer, and the featured film Hocus Pocus beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Day two opens with a 5K and kids 1K hosted by 3 Bros Running Company at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 8th. Festival gates open at 10:00 a.m. Visitors can enjoy tours of the Pumpkin Village, a vendor market, Gumbo Cook-Off, kids’ activities, food vendors, craft beer, live entertainment on the Riverside Pavilion stage, Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest, Cornhole Tournament, and more. Live entertainment includes Flava Band, JT Reserve, Joey Greer, and headliner Kevin Fowler.
Day three of the Orangetober Festival begins at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 9th, and includes tours of the Pumpkin Village, kids’ activities, food vendors, and craft beer. Beginning at 3:00 p.m., families, businesses, and individuals are encouraged to take pumpkins home for decorating, carving, or eating purposes. Please note, pumpkins WILL NOT be moved, claimed, or taken off site prior to 3:00 p.m.
No dogs, no pets, and no coolers are allowed at the City of Orange Boat Ramp or Riverside Pavilion.
For additional information, contact the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau at 409-883-1011 or online at www.orangetexas.gov.