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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Opinion: Bryan is better than College Station

Photo by Cade Gossett

A couple walks on the streets of Downtown Bryan during First Friday on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.

I recently went to Bryan’s First Friday, and I loved it. 

For those of you who need a lesson on culture, First Friday is a festival on the first Friday — who would’ve thought? — of the month. It’s set in Downtown Bryan and celebrates local music, businesses, performances, art demonstrations and food. It’s an opportunity for people in the town to share their talents and appreciate them. 

Attending the event led me to an important realization. 

As I walked Downtown Bryan’s cobbled streets, nibbled on sweet pecans, bobbed my head to violin music and carried a paper bag full of handmade trinkets and rare books, I realized how warm and unique the town truly is. 

Bryan is better than College Station — It’s real. 

There is a legitimate culture and sense of local life in Bryan that revolves around its citizens. It’s not a location that exists just for a specific group of people or economic purpose. Rather, it’s a community of people living in a city revolving around their identities. 

After First Friday, I started visiting Bryan as much as possible, and I began to quickly understand how underrated this town is. Before I began my visits, I frequently heard and continue to hear how boring Bryan is, and how it’s basically a “Walmart” version of College Station. 

So, to anyone who thinks that, I want to say you are incredibly wrong. 

Bryan is a tight-knit collective. First Friday is a great example of this. Ultimately, it’s a chance for members of the town to show off what they bring to the table and appreciate those who do the same. 

First Friday especially makes you feel like a main character. If you want to experience that cozy small-town feel, similar to Stars Hollow in “Gilmore Girls” or Hawkins from “Stranger Things,” head to Downtown Bryan.

It’s got a fantastic set of antique stores, restaurants and theaters. With everything being within walking distance and being dimly lit — not in a creepy way — it’s a great place to take your partner or go with a group of friends for a sweet, feel-good evening. 

Beyond downtown, Bryan hosts other events that bring the community together; namely its farmers market. 

I plan on visiting all of them one day, but for right now I love visiting the Farm Patch Produce Market on College Avenue simply because of the wholesome memories I have there with my friends. 

Visiting the market on Saturdays are some of my favorite experiences in College Station. Laughing with my friends, finally using my tote bag and tasting jams make it all a berry pleasant experience.  

I know it’s not the Mediterranean, but Lake Bryan is a special place. It’s surrounded by beautiful trees and it’s a great place to go fishing and barbecue with friends. 

There’s also numerous parks and farms, like Succ’s n Such, that are completely surrounded in forest, making you feel like a visitor to an oasis of splendor. They all have very cute plants, which again are more excuses to use tote bags!

Even just the more “boring” stuff in Bryan is full of personality. There are so many restaurants belonging to local families sharing their culture. One I’d highly recommend is Coco Loco on Texas Avenue. As a Hispanic, this restaurant serves as a connection to my family and is a source of pride for me as I take my friends to enjoy my culture. 

The chips are so good there, please do yourself a favor and get some now. 

What makes these events and locations even better, is that they are all incredibly affordable and support local businesses. The traffic there isn’t also absolutely repulsive like it is in College Station. You can go anywhere you want without calculating the minutes and hours you have on the clock. 

Oh, and if you aren’t convinced yet, I should let you know that Bryan has cheaper gas and a Wienerschnitzel! I don’t know if that interests anyone other than me, but I think everyone should love Wienerschnitzel. 

There is so much more to Bryan than what I know, but at the very least these events demonstrate how much heart the town has. It’s not an urban utopia or historical monument of a city, but it’s a town that feels familiar and keeps everyone close. 

And if you’re still thinking about kissing up to College Station and sleeping on Bryan, let me tell you what College Station really is — it’s Patrick Bateman.

“There is an idea of [College Station]. Some kind of abstraction. But there is no real [College Station]: only an entity, something illusory,” Bateman said in “American Psycho.” 

Other than A&M, College Station is basically a conglomeration of traffic, overpriced chain restaurants and Northgate — no heart or soul. 

The name says it all. College Station is built around the college and is “stationed” to only suit the needs of the students rather than to be a city itself. So, it’s kind of just … there. All of the culture we can think of really only belongs to the university. 

On the other hand, Bryan exists to behave as a city, serving its diverse locals. It’s full of life, culture and natural beauty. At the end of the day, it ensures that its citizens have a space to be appreciated and does so by displaying them proudly. 

In addition to its own citizens, Bryan serves us too. It’s space for us to share with our loved ones and make memories that don’t revolve around just school. It’s a place where we can just relax from our overstimulating life as college students and explore the smaller things in life, whether it be good food, music, plants or tote bags. 

It’s a home away from home. 

Lilia Elizondo is an English senior and opinion writer for The Battalion

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