I am a blogger for the Victoria Advocate who writes about things to do for the 20-something crowd.

1960s group of friends

MaryAnn Zepeda Garcia and her friends hanging out in Victoria. 

There are many challenges to writing a blog about places to visit and things to do in a small city. It is a challenge I am more than happy to endure, because of the perspective I had from living in Victoria the past couple of years. There is a hope inside me that wishes others could potentially see the same for many reasons.

There is a liveliness and a feeling of love when one goes to Austin or Houston or any other bigger city. It is easily seen through the residents and the businesses that reside there. They portray a sense of pride that cannot help but give that city a sort of light that ends up attracting so many more people and things.

Victoria offers a lot of great sights and places that have impressive history behind it. It is neat to look at Old Victoria and imagine the bumbling life of downtown and the many places that were once the hotspots of that generation.

As I was brainstorming ideas for my next blog, I was discussing potential places in Victoria that I would want to write about, with my grandmother. She then went on to tell me all of the places she and her friends visited when they were teenagers, and it astounded me.

I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the places she talked about and wanted to know everything about Victoria in the 1960s. I was unaware of numerous places that existed in Victoria before I was born. They were places I had never heard of or heard anyone mention before. I knew so many of my friends never heard of these places either.

Many people in this generation long for old fast food drive-ins and drive in movie theaters. It has always been a neat concept to some millennials. Despite that I never experienced the 1960s, hearing about the popular hangout spots made me feel like I missed it.

So, I couldn’t help but compile a small list of hotspots for teenagers in Victoria in the 1960s that I did not know about, with the help of my grandmother.

Club Westerner

The Club Westerner, which is still operating today, was a popular dance hall for young adults in the 1960s. Dances would be held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the place would be undeniably packed. A variety of music would be played, but some of the most popular bands that would perform were Sunny and the Sunliners, and Little Joe and the Latinaires. Hearing this made me wish weekly dances were still held at the Westerner. “Talk to Me” by Sunny and the Sunliners has been on repeat ever since.

Plus, I heard that there used to be a pool.

Jet Drive Inn

Jet Drive Inn was a hotspot at night for teenagers in the '60s. The restaurant would be crowded on the weekend with those wanting burgers and milkshakes. It was a restaurant that offered curb service, which is rarely seen today.

I recently learned that this grub spot was actually located in the lot where the new Frances Marie’s restaurant is located. Frances Marie's serves the “Jet Burger” in remembrance of the restaurant.

Ray Wilson’s

This restaurant was located off Rio Grande and was a popular hangout on weekends, as well. It was apparently known to be a classic place to go to after prom. Friends would go to the dining area of the restaurant and hangout in the booths all night, while enjoying the delicious food and great music.

Gemini, and Lone Tree Drive-In Movie Theater

Learning about these drive-in movie theaters was exciting to me. It was the classic way to spend time with friends and hangout, while enjoying a movie. My grandmother stated that she and her friends would fill a car up with as many people as possible and go watch a movie for $2.

Hearing about these various places and especially about the dances at the Westerner left me feeling prideful of the small city I lived in. Victoria has kept so many historical buildings that have been places where different generations have made numerous memories. The city has so much history and life that is waiting to be discovered.

I am a blogger for the Victoria Advocate who writes about things to do for the 20-something crowd.

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