Cactus Alley Courtyard: Lubbock’s Favorite Hidden Gem
Latin American Tapas, Local Brews & Handcrafted Hats
Known locally as “Lubbock’s best-kept secret,” Cactus Alley Courtyard is an eclectic enclave of small businesses that is tucked away on Salem Avenue, just south of the Marsha Sharp Freeway.
Pass through the property’s ornate, wrought-iron gates, and step into a courtyard resembling something of a secret garden. With lush greenery enveloping a babbling pond located at the property’s center, visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and simply unwind.
Aside from its serene aesthetic, Cactus Alley touts a uniquely Lubbock point-of-view and is all about local creativity, cuisine and craftsmanship. With 12 small businesses housed within the property, visitors can peruse fashion-forward clothing shops, dine on Latin American cuisine and sip local brews.
Check out our guide to a few Cactus Alley Courtyard favorites:
Shop handcrafted and customizable charcuterie boards, hats, drink koozies, growlers, cornhole sets and more at Big Papa’s Bored. Founded by Mike Glenn (AKA “Big Papa”), Big Papa’s Bored was started in the wake of Glenn’s retirement. What was once a hobby project has since grown into one of the creative cornerstones of the Cactus Alley Courtyard.
If you love Lubbock, then you’ll love the Cactus Alley Hat Co. This Cactus Alley Courtyard business encourages its patrons to rep a sense of pride and ownership for the local community. These Texas-style caps deliver trendy and fashionable designs, while simultaneously offering wearers comfort and functionality. Worn by musicians, cowboys and everyday folks alike, Cactus Alley Hat Co. is the go-to destination for iconic Lubbock swag.
Short and Sweets Bakery is a treat above the rest. Here, visitors dine on decadent customizable cakes and cookies — from sugar cookies, macarons, birthday cakes and beyond. Life is what you bake it, and at Short and Sweets Bakery, husband and wife duo Victoria Rivera and Nathan McCay, bake only the finest.
Just down the courtyard, locals dine on pulled quail empanadas, stacked enchiladas and crispy Brussel sprouts at Cocina de La Sirena. As the product of a mother-daughter team, La Sirena pulls inspiration from the family’s Latin roots, and pays homage to daily meals spent dining around the family table. Don’t miss the handcrafted cocktails like the Mermaid Water or the Blood Orange Margarita.
Gold Stripe Coffee Roasters is the sister location to the popular southside headquarters. Serving sustainably sourced coffee, roasted locally in small batches, this local favorite is the brainchild of two “coffee-crazed brothers.” Initially starting off as a mobile espresso bar in 2012, Gold Stripe has since grown into one of Lubbock’s beloved sources for all things coffee. Among the favorites at this caffeine hotspot are the Café de Olla and the Cold Brew Americano.
Next on the drink menu at Cactus Alley is Mano Negra Brewing Co., new to the area beer scene. Founded by Daniel Badillo and his wife, this nano-brewery is the first of its kind in Lubbock. Having relocated from their home in Puerto Rico, the couple initially started off selling homemade sodas at nearby farmer’s markets in 2017. Through hard work and persistence, the couple was eventually able to grow their part-time soda stand into the full-time brick and mortar brewing company it is today. When visiting Mano Negra, patrons are immediately greeted by the cozy space, designed to feel like you’re having a drink in your own living room. Grab a pint of their classic, small-batch, Ma’s Cream Ale, and enjoy the comfortable and serene atmosphere of the Cactus Alley Courtyard.
Part destination, part experience, Cactus Alley Courtyard is one of those Lubbock finds that is sure to delight locals and out-of-towners alike.