If you’re looking for a list of the top things to do in Texas, then you’ve come to the right spot. Whether you’re searching for speed, a trip to space, or one of the best state fairs in the country, the Friendly State has it all.
1. Remember the Alamo – In Person
In the early 1800s, Texas was a part of Mexico, and Americans flocked to the area. Many actually became Mexican citizens as a result. But a powerful Mexican general named Santa Anna took over in 1832, and Texans demanded their independence four years later. Everything came to a head in 1836 when General Anna with enormous army in tow, decided to take Texas back. The battle at the Alamo lasted 13 days. At the end, Mexico won. An estimated 400-600 Mexican soldiers died, while every Texan soldier (180-250 estimated) – including folk hero Davy Crockett – were killed. Eventually, the Texans beat General Anna in the battle of San Jacinto to the cry of “Remember the Alamo!”.
Today, over 2.5 million people every year visit the Alamo in San Antonio to remember the historic battle and those who lost their life for the independence of Texas. And you can be one of them.
9. Explore Space Flight at Space Center Houston
If you’re looking for things to do in Houston for the space fan in your group, there’s one place that should be at the very top – Space Center Houston. Located less than a mile from Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control was located from Gemini and Apollo to the Space Shuttle, and the Houston in “Houston, we have a problem.”, Space Center Houston houses an incredible collection of over 400 space artifacts, including three flown spacecraft, moon rocks, and full-scale Skylab Trainer. A tram takes visitors to the Johnson Space Center where they can view a Saturn V rocket close-up, and even see the meticulously-restored Mission Control room from the Gemini/Apollo days. As far as things to do in Texas, this one is definitely “out of this world”.
8. Eat, Drink and Shop on the San Antonio River Walk
If you find yourself looking for something fun to do in San Antonio, then a walk down the San Antonio River Walk is for you. This city park is a network of walkways that follow the banks of the San Antonio river, providing ample shops, restaurants, bars, and the city’s five historic missions along the way. Be sure to check out their events. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch an event that includes a float parade down the river.
7. See the Stars at Big Bend National Park
If you’re looking for things to do away from the city, then explore the wide-open Texas wilderness at Big Bend National Park. This national park is the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert in the United States, and protects over 1,2000 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. Stargazers will also appreciate Big Bend as it’s known to have the darkest skies in the contiguous United States. This means on clear nights, you’ll perfectly see the Milky Way, planets, and thousands of stars.
6. Cowboy Up at the Fort Worth Stockyards
For the cowboys and cowgirls in your group, here’s something to do in Texas that’s right up their ranch – Fort Worth Stockyards. This historical district opened up for business in 1890 and was an important part of the cattle industry until the 1950s. Entertainment and shopping venues now occupy most of the district, but all incorporate a western motif to give visitors a slice of authentic western living. Stop by M.L. Leddy’s for some handcrafted custom boots, or “belly up” to the bar at Billy Bob’s Texas – a famous country & western nightclub that bills itself as the “World’s Largest Honky Tonk” with 100,000 square feet of boozin’ space.
5. See the Animals at the Moody Gardens and Aquarium
If you’re ready to escape the western landscape of Texas and dive under the waves or experience a rainforest, then you’ve got to visit Moody Gardens and Aquarium in Galveston. Moody Gardens features three main attractions housed in pyramids: the Aquarium, the Rainforest, and the Discovery Pyramid. The Aquarium features over 10,000 marine animals, the Rainforest houses more than 1,000 exotic species, and the Discovery Pyramid features travelling exhibits in addition to a RideFilm Theater with motion-based pod seating. Need to cool off? Check out Palm Beach on the premises – a water park with a real white-sand beach! If you’re a family looking for things to do, then this spot should fit the bill.
4. See Priceless Works of Art at the Dallas Museum of Art
If you’re looking for free things to do in Texas, then add the Dallas Museum of Art to your travel plans. The only thing more impressive than the museum’s 24,000 objects that date back to third millennium BC is their free general admission cost. Among the artists on display are Monet, van Gough, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Pollock. Now, if you want to check out their current special exhibit (currently about Dior), then that’ll be a small fee. But the 159,000 square foot museum, one of the largest in the US, should have plenty to keep you occupied during your visit.
3. Get Wild at the Dallas Zoo
If you’re looking for a thing to do in Texas that connects with your wild side, then check out the 106-acre Dallas Zoo. Home to over 2,000 animals and 406 species, there should be something for everyone to enjoy taking a gander at. If you’re visiting during the summer, there’s a couple of events to look out for: Safari Nights and Dollar Day. Safari Nights are a series of concerts that takes place for 8 Saturdays in a row during the summer months. Dollar Day is held one day in July (and November) and, as the name suggests, is when admission is only $1. Now, that’s a deal we can all go wild for!
2. Go Big at the Texas State Fair
If you’re in Dallas from late September to October, then you’ve got to attend one of the most highly attended and best state fairs in the country – the Texas State Fair. We all know everything’s bigger in Texas, so why wouldn’t this fair be anything but massive? Since 1952, a 55-foot tall statue of a cowboy, Big Tex, has welcomed visitors, becoming a cultural icon of Dallas and Texas. It’s also the only fair in the country that includes a full-on auto show – the Dallas Auto Show. The fair also includes staples like livestock and produce exhibitions and has become well-known for its over-the-top food selections that test both appetite and arteries alike.
Photo: K1 Speed
1. Enjoy an Authentic Racing Experience at K1 Speed
When you think of things to do in Texas, we admit, go-karting may not be the first thing you thought of. However, Texas has the second-most locations of K1 Speed of any state in the country, with four locations: San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Arlington. K1 Speed is the world’s premier indoor go karting destination with over 40 locations around the world. There’s several reasons why go-karting at K1 Speed is different from any other karting place you may have visited before.
First, the karts themselves are all-electric, which means instant power and zero emissions – a perfect combo. Not to mention the speed. The adult karts rocket to 45mph, while the junior karts for kids goes a respectable 25mph. Second, each location features a unique indoor track and the facilities are immaculate and state-of-the-art. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by authentic motorsport memorabilia that wouldn’t be out of place in a museum, like former race cars, pieces of old race cars, race suits worn by famous drivers, and more. It can get pretty hot in Texas, beat the heat and enjoy some indoor fun that you’ll never forget.