Things to Do in Texas - page 2
Austin’s 6th Street, sometimes known colloquially as Dirty Sixth, is the epicenter for late nights, free-flowing drinks, and all-around good times in the Live Music Capital of the World. This historical neighborhood is lined with bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops, and car traffic is blocked on weekends so pedestrians can take their party into the street.
This restaurant, museum and store located in downtown San Antonio is stationed at the center of Bexar County and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Travelers can saddle up to the stunning covered outdoor terrace, or relax inside at one of the comfortable tables and enjoy traditional southern and Tex-Mex fare in a unique environment. Visitors should plan to spend some time exploring this historic home and its unique gift shop. And the world-famous baked goods should not be missed!
Texas has a history as long as fascinating as the United States itself, and Sam Houston Park is where history and green space combine in the heart of Houston. Established back in 1900, Sam Houston Park is not only the oldest park in the Houston, but also a time portal to the 1800s when the city was first being founded. Wander past the Kellum Noble house that dates to 1847, and is believed to be the oldest brick house in the entire Houston area. Even older is the Old Place Cabin that dates to 1823, and was relocated to the park to join the collection of preserved, historic buildings. Credit for all of the preservation can be attributed to the Heritage Society—a group that was founded in 1954 to preserve the city’s heritage. If visiting the park in the middle of the day, stop in to the The Heritage Society Museum for a look at artifacts and memorabilia from Houston’s lengthy past. The museum is modeled after a 19th-century, small-town general store, and tells the story of how the largest city in Texas started from small town roots.
Pioneer Plaza, located in downtown Dallas’ Convention Center District, honors the 19th-century cattle drives on the Shawnee Trail with a bronze sculpture of 49 longhorn steer driven by three cowboys on horseback. With a waterfall and artificial cliffs, the park is one of the most popular tourist spots in Dallas.
Located in downtown Austin, Paramount Theatre is an important and historic live and movie theater venue. John Eberson, one of the most renowned theater designers in US history, designed the original classic revival-style building. He built approximately 1,200 theaters, but less than 25 are still in existence today.
The Paramount opened its doors in 1915, originally called the Majestic Theatre. It featured vaudeville shows, a popular style of entertainment during that era. Performers like Harry Houdini even graced the stage at the Majestic Theatre. As vaudeville began to disappear, silent and later talking films began to develop. The theatre was revamped in 1930 to include wall-to-wall carpeting, upholstered seats, and a state of the art sound system. After the art deco renovations were complete, the theater was then renamed the Paramount Theatre. It was during this time that the Paramount Theatre began showcasing live performances like ballet.
After World War II, with the subsequent invention of the home television and the rise of suburban movie houses, the Paramount Theatre went into a period of decline before rising again in 1973 and hosting live shows again.
By the 1980s, the theater was a cultural icon, attracting major events and shows like A Chorus Line and My Fair Lady. Celebrities like Rodney Dangerfield, Lily Tomlin, and George Carlin have performed here. The Paramount was chosen as one of the official theaters to rerun Casablanca on its 50-year anniversary in 1992.
Today, the Paramount Theatre hosts a number of events and theater screenings, and has even produced its own blockbuster comedy shows like Greater Tuna. Look for non-performing art speaking engagements as well, such as Rick Steves, a travel writer and published guidebook author.
Wander the grounds of Austin’s picturesque Mayfield Park and Preserve, a former privately owned estate that includes a historic cottage, gardens, walking trails, and several resident peafowl—a delight for young and old visitors. Mayfield Park is located next to two other popular city sights: the Contemporary Austin Laguna Gloria and Mt. Bonnell.
Whether carrying out science experiments, discovering foreign cultures, or constructing elaborate LEGO inventions—kids will be in their element at the Children's Museum of Houston. Designed as a ‘Playground for the Mind’, the museum focuses on child-centered learning through hands-on workshops, interactive exhibitions, and fun activities.
The Dallas Arts District is a hub for performing arts, museums, and architecture, and at 69 acres and 19 blocks in size, it is one of the largest urban arts districts in the United States. Visitors interested in the arts will want to check out the Winspear Opera House, Meyerson Symphony Center, and the Wyly Theatre, among others.
The 15-acre (6-hectare) Hemisfair Park got its start in 1968 as the site of America’s first official Worlds Fair. Today, the green space attracts visitors and locals alike to its playgrounds, biking and jogging trails, native flower gardens, picnic tables, and one of San Antonio’s most prominent landmarks, the Tower of the Americas.
Tucked away in a Texas city known for its vibrant Mexican-American culture, San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Garden offers a refreshing, peaceful space that gives visitors a glimpse into another cultural treasure. The gardens, large pagoda, koi pond, and 60-foot (18-meter) waterfall make for impressive photo backdrops for locals and visitors alike.
More Things to Do in Texas
Stuffed critters, a shooting gallery and museums of Americana and the Texas Rangers make having a drink at the Buckhorn Saloon a memorable experience.
From cattle to fish, birds and game, the Buckhorn Museum is a taxidermist’s dream, stuffed with more than 520 species from around the globe. Look out for the huge black marlin, ’78 Point Buck’ and prehistoric Irish elk complete with antlers.
The collection housed in the adjoining Ranger Museum includes weapons, badges, photos, a Bonnie & Clyde exhibit and ‘Ranger Town’, re-creating early-20th-century San Antonio.
Drop in for lunch at the cafe, or choose a locally brewed ale at 130-year-old saloon bar.
The Texas State Cemetery, in addition to being a somber place for reflection, provides a historical overview of the notable men and women whose legacy continues to shape the Lone Star State. Among the famous interred here are writer James Michener, Civil Rights leader Barbara Jordan, and Stephen F. Austin, known as the Father of Texas.
The Republic of Texas, as it was known from 1836 to 1845, was host to a diplomatic outpost representing the government of France. The French Legation (now the French Legation Museum) was built in 1841 for Alphonse Dubois de Saligny, who was sent to the Republic of Texas by King Louis Philippe. Today it’s the oldest structure in Austin and an interesting museum.
If "everything is bigger in Texas," JPMorganChase Tower in central Houston is no exception. This skyscraper stands 75 stories tall and tops out at just over 1,000 feet (305 meters), making it the tallest building in Texas. It boasts a unique five-sided design, built with expansive 85-foot-wide (26-meter) glass, and serves as a Houston icon.
The famous roadhouse-style barbecue steak, brisket, and ribs are only part of the story at Billy Bob’s Texas, dubbed the world’s largest honky tonk. More than 6,000 people can squeeze into the Fort Worth venue to watch country music concerts, hit the dance floor, dine at the restaurant, play arcade games, or watch a bull riding contest.
The Texas Governor’s Mansion in downtown Austin has been the official home of the presiding governor of Texas and family since 1856, and it’s the fourth-oldest continuously operating governor’s house in the United States. The Greek Revival-style mansion, a national historic landmark, is open for free tours on select days.
Grapevine’s LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is a must for families with little and big builders. This vibrant space has an impressive number of rides and attractions, more than four million LEGO® pieces forming such amazing creations as a replica of the DFW area in striking detail, and 4D films included with your admission.
Stretching more than six city blocks and housing almost 250,000 square feet of exhibit space, the sprawling Austin Convention Center hosts a variety of events and conferences. It’s an ideal location for meetings and conventions, with more than 54 meeting rooms and seven ballrooms, and it’s within close proximity to the hotels, restaurants, and bars of downtown Austin.
Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, Reunion Tower has been a city landmark since 1978. Referred to affectionately as “The Ball” by locals, the tower offers sweeping panoramic views from the only indoor/outdoor observation deck in the city, plus high-definition telescopes and cameras, interactive exhibits, and two rotating restaurants.
The town of Kemah sits on the shore of Galveston Bay on the Gulf Coast of Texas, and its boardwalk is one of its main attractions.
Built in 1999, the Kemah Boardwalk is an entertainment and amusement park right on Galveston Bay. The boardwalk transformed what was once a small fishing community into a popular tourist destination. The town is considered part of the “greater Houston area,” as it's just 20 miles east of the big city, but it's a popular draw for visitors from elsewhere in Texas, too.
The Kemah Boardwalk features 15 different amusement park rides – including a 96-foot-tall roller coaster, a 140-foot free fall ride, a zip-line over the boardwalk, a double-decker carousel, and a 65-foot Ferris wheel. You can also take speedboat trips into the bay, and visit the Stingray Reef to touch and feed live stingrays.
Greeting visitors with a 34-foot (10-meter) bronze star, the Bullock Texas State History Museum invites you to learn about the story of Texas. Its three floors of historical exhibits are as entertaining and engaging as they are informative. Also here are Austin’s only IMAX theater and a separate 4-D theater.
Beyond anything you’d expect inside a mall, atSEA LIFE® Aquarium Dallas you can immerse yourself in the oceanic environment filled with sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, clownfish, jellyfish, touch tanks, and more. Visitors of all ages will love walking through the 360-degree ocean tunnel, watching fish swim overhead.
Whether you want to delve into World War II history, admire contemporary art masterpieces, or spot lions and elephants at Houston Zoo—the Houston Museum District has something to suit all ages and interests. The district is home to 19 museums, galleries, and cultural centers, linked by tree-lined boulevards and leafy parks.
The 2nd Street District is a new area of Austin that includes a range of trendy retail stores, cool coffee shops, restaurants, wine bars, and urban living spaces. The motto for the area is “Where Texas Warmth Meets Austin Cool.”
There are approximately 50 specialty shops, services, and dining establishments within the district, which is spread out over about six city blocks. Most shops are locally owned and operated, so it's best to walk the area and look at all the unique offerings available, which helps support the local Austin economy. The 2nd Street District also has a few recognizable brands like Swatch and Ann Taylor.
If you’re visiting Austin in August, consider checking out the now annual White Linen Night, which features a separate-admission block party with fare from local restaurants and wineries, as well as an after-party.
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