The Cell Block Getaway

By: jwilder

Road trips that end up with a night in jail are usually not a good thing, unless your stay is at The Cell Block. One of the most unique places to stay in Texas.

Stay at the Cell Block Clifton Texas

The Getaway Plan

This fun little getaway will take you to Clifton, Texas.

Clifton, Texas is about 30 miles northwest of Waco, about 99 miles southwest of Dallas, and about 120 miles north of Austin.

You'll stay overnight at The Cell Block (an old jail with a mod vibe), enjoy some automotive nostalgia at a local car museum, eat some great food, and do a little shopping.

The Cell Block

Just the Facts Ma'am.

The Cell Block is a boutique inn located on Clifton, Texas. And yes, it was a real jail. It functioned as the city jail for several decades (until the 1970s they say).

The old Clifton jail was purchased by a local entrepreneur and converted to The Cell Block in May 2014. Isn't this story just a little poetic? A place designed for punishment, in order to produce reform, has itself gone through a metamorphosis. Mind-blowing.

You won't ever see The Cell Block if you're driving around Clifton. That's because it's located in an alley (but it's a pretty alley, called Clifton Art Alley).

The owner of The Cell Block did a wonderful job designing the whole vibe. It certainly got my attention when I stumbled across an article.

The Motive (Why)

Why stay at The Cell Block? Here are a few reasons I think The Cell Block is an open-and-shut case for one of the best getaway's in Texas.

  • It's cool. Not as cool as the Bat Cave. But, still cool.
  • It's unique. Nothing like it in Texas.
  • The rooftop, aka "prison yard" is a relaxing hangout, shaded just enough during the day, and wide open for star gazing at night.
  • The gas fire pit big and awesome.
  • Location. It's a short walk to breakfast and shops.
  • Great photo-op with your significant other and/or your cool car.


If you like good coffee, the last tip is the best.

  • You need to be ok with the see through bathroom cell door (I'll let think on this one).
  • If your sentence is on a Saturday night, keep in mind most of the town is closed on Sunday (except the huge antique store).
  • Take plenty of photos. Do a mugshot! Bring some fifties detective clothes. Dress up as the Green Hornet. Have fun with it because you probably won't do this again.
  • Skip the coffee maker (and the crusty sugar packets) and walk around the corner to the Corner Drug Cafe (they open early). Fill up their large to-go cups with delicious coffee and bring it back to The Cell Block. Then, return for more coffee and breakfast. They gave us a free coffee refill when we came back (Thanks Nena). By the way, Nena Rieser, owner of the Corner Drug Cafe, was a lead chef at a popular Houston restaurant before returning to Clifton to start the Corner Drug Cafe.

Visit the Clifton Classic Chassis Car Museum

Since MOTOR Texas is a "Texas attractions for auto enthusiasts" website, I certainly hope you visit Clifton Classic Chassis Car Museum!

Clifton Classic Chassis is a 20,000 sq. ft. classic automobile museum located in Clifton, Texas. Dr. Terry Watson of Clifton owns the museum which houses 35 restored and original classic automobiles.

The museum also features a "Memories" room that has memorabilia from the 1950s through the 1970s. This is actually my favorite part of the museum.

Finally, if you are an art and history lover, there is another room with very old artifacts (coins, pottery, etc) and various works of art.

The Clifton Classic Chassis Car Museum is one of the museums on the North Texas Car Museum Trail.

Things To Do In Clifton

If you have exhausted the Clifton Classic Chassis Car Museum, there is plenty more to do in Clifton. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Corner Drug Cafe
Walk to the Corner Drug Cafe for excellent coffee, breakfast or lunch (chef owned).
102 N Avenue D, Clifton, TX 76634

Clifton Antique Mall Inc
Great antique store. You could easily burn an hour here.
206 W 5th St, Clifton, TX

Market at the Mill
If you, or your significant other loves Magnolia Market in Waco, you will also enjoy similar shopping experience at Market at the Mill.

Paul and Jane Meyer Observatory
Just 12 miles from of Clifton.

Red Caboose Winery
They have a Tasting Room and Deli snacks.
903 S Avenue G, Clifton, TX 76634

Edwin Olsen Railroad Museum
It's not open very often, but if you're a railfan, then call the city and and they will open it for you.
Edwin Olsen Railroad Museum

Bonus Tip
The Clifton "Show of Wheels" car show is the third Saturday in October. This annual car show is part of the Clifton annual FallFest.
Clifton 'Show of Wheels' car show

*On a sad note, as I was putting the final edits to this article, I learned that the Sinclair restaurant in Clifton is closing (1-27-2019). The restaurant is up for sale and I do hope it will continue.


The words boutique and jail are rarely used together, and that's what makes The Cell Block unique.

Hat's off to the owner for dreaming up such a novel concept. Proof that simple creative ideas can make something small really stand out.

The Cell Block
120 Clifton Art Alley
Clifton, Texas 76634

Cell Block Photos

Here are a few photos I took during our stay at The Cell Block (jan 2019).

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
Curb appeal.

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
A view from the front (and only) door. You are invited to take a "cellfie" using the instant camera. Note the framed photo collage of prior inmates.

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
Note the pretty green plant. What do you see?

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
The keys to the door, stair gate and gas valve for the rooftop fire pit. And don't forget the matches on your way to the rooftop.

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
There are games and other useful items in the credenza.

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
Complimentary wine and whisky.

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
The bathroom door.

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
The rooftop, aka "prison yard" is a relaxing hangout.

The Cell Block Clifton Texas
A view of Art Alley from The Cell Block roof. And yes, that does appear to be a security camera aimed at The Cell Block roof.

James Wilder

James Wilder is the owner, writer, photographer, designer, and developer for MOTOR Texas.


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