Indoor Activities in Harlingen – When it’s just too hot outside!

The Rio Grande Valley has wonderful sub-tropical weather which makes for enjoyable outdoor activities — most of the time. Some days during the summer, though, it’s just too darn hot to go outside, except in the early morning. If you are still itching to get out and explore, that’s when it’s time to find some entertaining indoor activities. Here are my recommendations for the best indoor activities in Harlingen, Texas.

large aquarium and bowling lanes with text overlay: Best indoor activities to beat the heat in Harlingen, TX

Best Indoor Activities in Harlingen

Whether or not you are looking for a place to beat the heat, there are some fun and interesting indoor activities in Harlingen. #texastravel Click To Tweet

Texas Travel Information Center – Find all the Best Indoor Activities in Texas

I told you about this awesome location in a previous post. It’s the perfect place to visit to learn more about the whole state of Texas and what there is to do anywhere in the state. They offer free wifi and have an area where you can study all those brochures.

2021 W. Harrison Ave.
Harlingen, TX
Daily 8am to 5 pm (6pm Memorial Day through Labor Day)

Related: Museums and Nature Top the List of Things to do in Harlingen

Texas Travel Information Center exterior frontTexas Travel Information Center exterior back

Bass Pro Shops

This may seem like an odd addition to the list of indoor activities in Harlingen but if you’ve ever been to a Bass Pro Shops, you know why it is here. Besides having an incredible selection of hunting, fishing, boating, water sports and camping equipment, they have the following fun amenities:

  • A 24,000 gallon aquarium that contains an array of native fish. It includes a running waterfall and is surrounded by a wildlife scene. People from all over stop to take their photos with the fish or moose.
  • Uncle Bucks Cabin Shooting Gallery is a replica cabin surrounded by wildlife and nature. Have fun shooting at the targets and watch things come to life in the gallery.
  • Step into the wilderness decorated, indoor archery range to get comfortable using your bow.
  • Put on your shoes and get ready to throw a ball. Yes, you can bowl at Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill inside Bass Pro Shops. It’s a fun atmosphere, with sharks and mermaids, that gives you the feeling of being inside a giant aquarium. Enjoy food and drinks while you are bowling, or just watching the bowlers. Sit at the bar and be mesmerized by the fish in the 3,000 gallon tank.
  • If you need a sweet treat, just follow your nose to the general store to try one (or more) of their more than 30 flavors of fudge. They have lots of other snacks as well as souvenir type items.
Sharks and mermaids give you the feeling of being inside a giant aquarium. #usatravel #texastravel Click To Tweet

101 Bass Pro Drive
Harlingen, TX
Mon-Sat 9am to 9pm
Sunday 9am to 7pm

people taking photographs in front of large tanks and moosepeople looking at shooting arcade game - an indoor activity in Harlingenarchery pro shop and entrance to archery rangeaquarium over bar and bowling lanes - one of many indoor activities in Harlingengeneral store counter in Bass Pro Shopsmany pans of fudge in display caseBass Pro Shops exterior front

Creasey’s Bowl

Bowling is a great way to spend some time out of the house but indoors when it is just too hot outside to get any exercise. Creasey’s Bowl has been family owned and operated for nearly 50 years. You can pay per game here or by the hour per lane for up to 6 people. Rates vary based on day of the week and time of day, starting as low as $1.95 per game during early bird Sunday. No matter your age, they have a league you can join. In addition to the 24 bowling lanes, there’s a snack bar; arcade; and lounge (opens at 4pm, 5 pm on Saturdays) with a full bar, big screen TV and billiard tables.

644 N Ed Carey Drive
Harlingen, TX 78550
Monday closed
Tuesday – Sunday 12pm to various closing times

Creasey's Bowl in Harlingen entryseveral lanes in Creasey's Bowl - bowling is one of the fun indoor activities in Harlingen lanes and tables at Creasey's Bowl arcade at Creasey's Bowl

Harlingen Public Library

When I visited the Harlingen Public Library for the first time, my GPS took me down a dead end street behind the library. If that happens, just go back out to Jefferson and you’ll find the entrance.The entry courtyard has cute sculptures and a nice fountain. The views out the large windows on the back side of the building are relaxing and you can work on the second floor with a view of the lake.

Library cards are free for anyone 16 or over with a valid driver license or state ID. You must apply for your card in person as the application is done on their computer. The library offers free wifi to anyone, even if you don’t have a card, but you do need a card to use one of the 40 computers. There are lots of stations where you can plug in and connect to wifi with your own computer.

In addition to their many online resources, available through the Libby app, they have over 112,000 physical books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and audiobooks. They have special programming for children and teens as well as classes and events for adults. Get out of the house and expand your mind!

410 76 Dr
Harlingen, TX
Mon-Thurs 10am to 8pm
Fri-Sat 10am to 5pm
Sunday 1pm to 5pm

rows of books at Harlingen Library - a mind expanding indoor activity in Harlingenworkstations in librarycharging station and view at Harlingen Public Library

Movie Theaters

Sure, you could binge watch your favorite TV series or some great movies at home, but let’s face it, at home you’ll likely get distracted. And the whole point here is to get you out of your house. There’s plenty to be said for seeing a film on the big screen with surround sound, tuning out everything else and being transported to another reality. Oh, and the popcorn at the theater is better than microwave popcorn! Going to the theater solo is one of my favorite indoor activities in Harlingen.

There's plenty to be said for seeing a film on the big screen with surround sound, tuning out everything else and being transported to another reality. Click To Tweet

Related: Which Type of Baby Boomer Are You?

Cinemark 16

The Cinemark 16 XD opened in December of 1999. It has 16 screens showing first-run movies. Prices range from $5.50 (all day discount Tuesday) to $10 with discounts for matinees, seniors ($6.50 all day Monday, regular $7.75) and military. You can purchase your tickets online with assigned seating!

401 S. Expressway 83
Harlingen, TX

Cinemark 16 movie theater exterior - indoor activity in Harlingen

Cinemark 10

This theater was opened as a first run movie house in 1992 but when Cinemark opened the Cinemark 16 in 1999, it became a second run, discount theater. You can see a film here for as little as $1.20. You can’t beat that! Purchase tickets online to avoid waiting in any lines.

629 N. 13th St.
Harlingen, TX

Cinemark 10 movie theater exterior

Pendleton Pool

Many people in the Valley live in RV or mobile home parks that have a swimming pool. If you don’t have a pool or want to check out one indoors, try Pendleton Pool. Although not technically indoors in the sense that it is completely enclosed and air conditioned, it is covered and you can definitely keep cool here.

I had the hardest time finding good information for the pool. The only website link I could find goes to Harlingen Parks and Recreation which only provides information about their classes but nothing about the pool hours or rules, etc. A visit to the pool didn’t reveal much more. I learned that they have nothing in writing, pool rules are listed on a sign on the wall outside, and hours on the website are very misleading. Hours on the website and on Google make it seem like the pool is closed from 1-4, but actually, that is open, public swimming. In the morning and evening, the pool is roped off into lanes for lap swimming. Entry to the pool is just $1 per person. For an additional fee, you can sign up for water aerobics classes through Parks and Recreation.

Once again, my GPS failed me a bit. It got me close but not quite there. The address on Morgan Blvd is at the front of the park which is a distance from the pool. I think there is a way to drive around but I went back out and accessed the pool off of Grimes, which is more direct. See the map below.

1427 Morgan Blvd
Harlingen, TX
Mon-Fri 6am-9pm
Saturday 7am-1pm
Sunday 9am-6pm

Pendleton Pool exteriorPendleton Pool with lanes roped off for lap swimming Pendleton Poolview of tennis courts from Pendleton Pool

Hit the Gym

You may not think of this as a great way to stay cool but the idea here is to get up, get out and go — somewhere out of the house even though it is hot. Not only will it get you out of the house but you’ll feel great afterwards. There are several gyms in Harlingen including Gold’s Gym in Valle Vista Mall and Planet Fitness in Sun Valley Mall near Cinemark 10.

Gold's Gym in Valle Vista MallPlanet Fitness exterior

The Bingo Ranch

The Bingo Ranch in Harlingen opened in March of 2018. They claim to pay out over $40,000 in cash prizes weekly. They have a bar and grill which opens two hours before the first session each day and folks say the burgers are awesome. Weekday sessions are in the evening but the first Saturday and Sunday sessions are at 2pm. Bingo fees range from $6 for 12 cards to $20 for electronics. Each session is five games. Everyone there must be playing — no gawkers.

1514 S. 77 Sunshine Strip 11 A & B
Harlingen, Texas
Mon-Thurs Sessions: 7:00 and 8:30
Fri 7:00, 8:30, and 10:00
Sat 2:00 and 3:30
Sun 2:00, 3:30, and 5:00
Bar & Grill opens 2 hours before the first session

Valley Race Park

Valley Race Park opened in 1990 as Valley Greyhound Park. The park was renamed in 2000 when it was purchased by Sam Houston Race Park, a thoroughbred racetrack in Houston. The last time greyhounds raced here on a regular basis was in 2009. They were here for a couple of months 3 years ago and may be here for a couple of months late this year. The 91,000 square foot building now does year round simulcasting of horse and dog racing. It has a bar, snack bar and a restaurant, which is only open during certain events. The venue is available for all sizes of private events. If you enjoy watching and wagering on the races, visit Valley Race Park. I couldn’t find any signs on the building so look for the marquee near Ed Carey Drive that still says Valley Greyhound Park.

2601 S. Ed Carey Dr.
Harlingen, TX
Tuesday closed
All other days open 11am-1am
Admission Mon-Thurs (closed Tuesday) free, Fri-Sun $2

entry at Valley Race ParkValley Race Park interiora section of simulcast screens at Valley Race Park - a unique indoor activity in Harlingensnack bar at Valley Race Parkold Valley Greyhound Park marquee

Valle Vista Mall

It’s always a little sad visiting the mall and seeing so many storefronts vacant. But that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of stores to tantalize any shopper. A couple of the big anchor stores, like Sears, have closed but JCPenney, Dillard’s and Big Lots are still holding down the fort. You’ll find lots of the familiar chains like Zale’s, Kaye Jewelers, Lens Crafters, Victoria’s Secret and others. There’s also smaller local and specialty stores. Stop in the food court area for refreshments. Lots of the stores have wifi and there’s even a charging station or two.

2020 S. Expressway 83
Harlingen, TX 78552
(956) 425-8392
Mon-Sat 10am to 9pm
Sun 12pm to 6pm

Valle Vista Mall signValle Vista Mall food court

Urban Air

I hope you are still reading because I saved the newest and most exciting for last. When I read that Urban Air would include a ropes course and climbing wall, I imagined myself doing those things in a comfortable, indoor space. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I learned this attraction is for kids. If you have kids or grand kids, this is a great place to let them burn off some energy indoors when it is too hot outside and is sure to be one of your favorite indoor activities in Harlingen. You can pay by the visit or purchase a membership. Their are some perks for the adults, too. The massage chairs will sooth you wile you wait and the snack bar has a fairly extensive menu including beer and wine! Urban Air is located in the Valle Vista Mall and, hopefully, it will bring more life to the shopping center.


Entrance to Urban Air from inside mall - a fun indoor activity in Harlingen for kidsparty room with balloons at Urba Air Laser tag at Urban Air - an indoor activity in Harlingen Trampolines at Urban Air Warrior course at Urban Air

Final Thoughts on Best Indoor Activities in Harlingen

There are two museums in Harlingen but the majority of the exhibits are outdoors so I haven’t included them with these indoor activities. If you want to learn more about them, read the post below.

Related: Museums of Harlingen: Early Rio Grande Valley to WWII

Whether or not you are looking for a place to beat the heat, there are some fun and interesting indoor activities in Harlingen. Heat, or other inclement weather, is no excuse to hibernate at home. Get up, get out — just go!

Heat, or other inclement weather, is no excuse to hibernate at home. Get up, get out -- just go! #getoutjustgo Click To Tweet

What are your favorite indoor activities in your area? Let me know in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends on social media.

statue of a little girl reading a book with text overlay: Beat the Heat! Best Indoor Activities in Harlingen
mermaid statue, long bar and fish tank with text overlay: Best Indoor Activities to beat the heat in Harlingen, TX

Until next time…

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  1. I love that in Texas you have to have indoor activities because it’s too hot, in London we have to because it’s raining outside…all the time

  2. These are great ideas to beat the Texas heat! My first choice would be the library. I could live there (especially when it’s hot outside)!

  3. Indoor activities are enjoyable to beat the heat in the summertime. Sometimes I enjoyed watching the big-screen movies in a theatre, also work out is not a bad idea in a gym.

  4. Thanks for sharing more on the fun things to do in Harlingen, which will be helpful to those who are looking to visit here this summer. I would love to visit the aquarium, which is one of my top activities wherever I travel to.

  5. Pingback: Museums and Nature Top the List of Things to do in Harlingen | Gold Country Cowgirl

  6. I love the variety of things you offer. Sometimes when you travel it is too hot or it rains. I especially like the Bass Pro Shop options with all the active options. I have been to one and they are like an indoor sports arena! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Living in Phoenix, I can appreciate the need for this! My hubby and I are going crazy inside with the heat and are coming up with our own list of things to do as well!

  8. Great idea to write a post about indoor activities in a place where the summer temperatures soar! So many great ways to spend the hot hours of the day in Harlingen! I personally love bowling and shopping can can spend several hours doing either. But I enjoyed your tips on visiting Bass Pro shops and the library, too!

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