What Cities is Texas Known For and Famous For?
The state of Texas is known as the Lone Star state from when the state became independent from Mexico.
Texas’s most well known and famous cities are Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, and Corpus Christi. Each of these cities has something special to offer, making Texas state a great place to live and visit. Read on to learn more about each of the most well known cities in Texas.
Austin is the capital of Texas. Whether you are looking for places to sightsee during the day or live music/entertainment to listen to at night, Austin is the place for you.
Texas State Capitol Building
As little as one hour to all day can be spent touring the Texas State Capitol Building and the surrounding areas. Guided tours last about 30 minutes and are free; self-guided tours are also an option for anyone who wants to take their time walking through the Capitol building. Many of the important rooms in the building have been restored to show how they looked in the past.
Next, you can head over to the Visitor Center and view the different exhibits available. Some of the exhibits include:
- Model of the Capitol Dome
- Blueprints from the Capitol construction
- View a LEGO replica
The Visitor Center is similar to a self-guided tour of the Capitol Building but gives the ability for more hands-on or moving at a slower pace if wanted. The Capitol Grounds is another area to see, with all the different monuments available.
The Bullock Museum, while close to the Capitol Building, does have a separate admission price. However, it is a must-see. The history of Texas can be explored in detail at this museum, with everything about the beginning of Texas and how the state came to be. Also, you can view on-screen concert clips at the Austin City Limits Theatre.
LBJ Presidential Library
Anyone interested in presidential history will enjoy the LBJ Presidential Library. This library is also a museum dedicated to Lyndon Baines Johnson. Some of the galleries at this museum include:
- The Legacy Gallery– This gallery details many of the changes made while Lyndon Johnson was president.
- The Presidential Limousine– This limousine was custom-built for President Johnson while he was in Austin, Texas.
- The Oval Office– A reproduction of what the oval office at the White House looked like while Lyndon Johnson was president.
You can also visit the actual library itself. However, this is not part of the museum; this section is for in-person research. Documents, photographs, and videos can all be viewed here.
The Austin Aquarium is fun for both adults and kids. It offers many interactive animal encounters where guests can hold and pet the available animals. Some of the animals involved in these encounters include:
- Lemurs – one of only two places in the United States where guests can pet lemurs
Children need to be at least six years of age for some of the encounters and at least eight years of age for others. Anyone interested in seeing how the aquarium is set up in the morning can take a Morning Rounds tour. These tours include following a staff member around in the morning and possibly helping with tasks as well.
Sleeping with the Sharks is another fun attraction at this aquarium. While this is considered a private event, you can spend the night at the aquarium with a group of ten people.
Princess Makeovers is a great add-on choice if you have a child that loves to dress up. Princess makeovers have three different packages:
- Princess Makeover
- Princess Makeover with Nail Polish
- Princess Makeover Ultimate Package with Dress
Your child will get the opportunity to get their hair done, have makeup put on, and dress up in a dress of their choice and be Austin Aquarium’s Princess for a day.
Mayfield Park and Mount Bonnell
For those interested in outdoor activities for walking or hiking, Mayfield Park and Mount Bonnell are great places to take in the view. Mayfield Park is 23 acres with free-roaming peacocks. Mayfield Park is a nature preserve and is registered as a historic place for the city of Austin.
A short drive from Mayfield Park is Covert Park, home of Mount Bonnell. Mount Bonnell has a 102-stair climb to the top and is the highest point in Austin. Picnic tables are available at the top to sit down and take in the sights from the top before climbing back down to the bottom. Both nature parks are free and also offer free parking.
The Entertainment Districts
If live music and going out at night is more your thing, Austin’s entertainment districts have you covered. Fourth Street is also part of Austin’s Warehouse District. Antique warehouses have been renovated into restaurants, bars, and shops. Local bands play 20’s style music nightly.
Sixth Street is closed to traffic from Thursday to Saturday nights. Bars with dancing can be found on Sixth street along with Parish. Parish is a music venue with local and national acts.
Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo
The Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo is held in March every year at the Travis County Expo Center. This two-week fair offers cook-offs, the carnival, the rodeo, and concerts throughout for entertainment to all. The Star of Texas Fair is an excellent event for anyone with or without kids that wants to live it up in Texas for two weeks full of entertainment.
For a more in depth guide of what Austin TX is known for read our post here.
San Antonio is another large city in Texas with many destinations and activities available. From the Alamo to nature walks to basketball games, San Antonio has you covered.
A one-hour guided tour will be given as you learn about the 1836 Battle of the Alamo. Battlefield locations are included in the tour, which is now covered by the streets of San Antonio. The Alamo Church can also be toured. This tour is self-guided, and you are allowed 30 minutes to view the inside of the church.
A living history encampment gives visitors a chance to step back in time. Guests can see how people dressed in the 1830s, and there are artillery talks/demonstrations that can be seen daily. If you choose the audio tour as part of the guided tour, you will be able to visit the Alamo Exhibit. The Alamo Exhibit has artifacts ranging from the types of uniforms and jewelry worn to the types of guns used.
The River Walk
Visiting the River Walk is free and is open all day, every day. You can walk the 15 miles if you want and take in the sights along the way. River barges are available as well with tour guides. Restaurants and shopping can help pass the time or give you a nice break from walking if you get tired. There are always events happening on or around the River Walk, so be sure to check ahead of time if you plan on visiting.
San Fernando Cathedral
San Fernando Cathedral is still in operation today. The Cathedral is the oldest church building in Texas that is still standing. Bus tours can get you there if needed.
For a more in depth guide of what San Antonio TX is known for read our post here.
Sports Games at the AT&T Center
The AT&T Center is the home court for the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) and the San Antonio Silver Stars (WNBA). If you prefer hockey, the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) also calls the AT&T Center their home ice. This three-level building has over 70 concession stands offering a wide range of food and snacks.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
If thrill-seeking is something you are after, check out Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This amusement park has over 60 rides available for people of all ages. Whether you want to go fast and high or prefer smaller and slower rides, Fiesta Texas will have a ride for you. If the day starts to get too hot, you can hop on over to White Water Bay and cool off in the pool.
SeaWorld in San Antonio is the nation’s largest marine life park. It is full of giant aquariums and shows, including:
- Beluga Whales and Dolphins
- Sea Lions
Animal experiences are available too. You can swim with the dolphins or interact with the penguins. They even have their own amusement park with rides and rollercoasters. You could very easily make SeaWorld an all-day trip.
For a more in depth guide of what San Antonio TX is known for read our post here.
Located a little closer to the Gulf of Mexico is Houston, Texas. Houston is home to some fascinating museums and a couple of sports teams.
Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston is an educational learning experience and a museum all rolled into one. The space center experience is engaging for both adults and children. It has the most extensive collection of moon rocks, and there is always something new due to traveling exhibits.
- Rocket boosters are on display and can be walked under and around. Seeing the rocket booster up close gives a better feel of how giant the spaceship actually is.
- The Astronaut Gallery has different spacesuits on display. Spacesuits from Apollo 7, Apollo 11, and Apollo 12 can all be viewed.
- There is a Mission to Mars exhibit that explains how we will eventually be able to travel to Mars and what will be needed to get us there.
Also included in general admission is the International Space Station Gallery. This gallery has an interactive live show and artifacts from the space station that can be seen. The gallery is interactive and can make learning about the space station more enjoyable or, perhaps, easier for younger children to understand.
Holocaust Museum Houston
- Virtual tours still have to be booked in advance. One of the virtual programs available is Survivor Stories. This program allows visitors to hear from the families of actual Holocaust survivors.
- Audio guided tours come in three different types:
- Holocaust Gallery Tour is about the history of the Holocaust. The artifacts are highlighted, and introductions are made from Houston survivors.
- Architectural Tour gives a detailed tour of the museum itself and is narrated by the building architect.
- Be the Change Tour are stories about people that have stood up for Human Rights. What Human Rights are will also be explained on this tour.
- Self-Guided tours are provided with visitor guides and audio tour instructions upon arriving at the museum. This allows individuals to go through the museum at their own pace.
Being given the option to take a virtual tour will be helpful in case this is one museum on your list that you were unable to make it to while you visited. Or in the event that you went on the actual tour but would have liked to stay and see more.
The Houston Aquarium
The Houston Aquarium offers an all-day pass that will include almost everything to do at the aquarium except Stingray Reef. All-day passes are determined by your height. 42 inches tall and up is an adult all-day pass, and under 42 inches is an all-day pass for children.
If the all-day pass is not purchased, then the Aquarium Exhibit will cost extra. The Aquarium Exhibit includes:
- The Texas Bayou
- An underwater shipwreck
- Tropical rainforest
- Sunken temple
- An underwater rig
- Discovery Zone – This is a hands-on area where lizards and snakes can be touched.
- Tigers of Maharaja’s Temple
Visiting Stingray Reef is separate from the all-day pass. At Stingray Reef, you can touch and feed live stingrays as they swim in the water below you.
The aquarium also has a smaller amusement park. There are rides available for both younger and older children. The rides for the amusement park are included with the all-day pass.
If the Houston Aquarium is on your list, be sure to catch a ride on the Shark Voyage Train. This train ride takes you through the center of a 200,000-gallon shark tank so you can get a closer look as they swim by.
Basketball and Baseball Games
When in the Houston area, depending on the time of the year, you can catch a Houston Rockets or a Houston Astros game. The Houston Rockets play at the Toyota Center, and the Houston Astros play at Minute Maid Park.
Minute Maid Park does have a little more to offer rather than just being the home field for the Houston Astros. Minute Maid Park offers tours ranging from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on what you want to see. Some of the tours will only run during the offseason, and some will run during baseball season, but the times of the tours may be later in the day.
For a more in depth guide of what Houston TX is known for read our post here.
Dallas and Fort Worth
Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas are close to each other. If you want to fly into the DFW International Airport and not travel too far, there are sights to see and activities to do that are close by.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum has two different visiting options. Both visits can be an all-day event depending on what you would like to see. You can plan a research visit to the library if you choose to. Suppose you have never visited this library before. In that case, you will have to fill out a researcher application form and watch a presentation upon arrival to learn how to handle the research materials.
Visiting the library is free, and no tickets are needed to be purchased unless you plan on visiting the museum afterward. The library is full of archived documents, audio files, and electronic records. Any unclassified documents created by or received by George W. Bush while he was president can be found here.
When choosing to use the library, you might still have to call ahead to make an appointment. But you can visit the library even if you are not looking for anything specific. If you are looking for something specific, calling ahead to see if the files or documents will be available on your planned visit day will help you plan your trip better.
When visiting the museum, you can learn all about President Bush’s time in the White House. The majority of the gallery sections are interactive, so guests can learn as much as they choose. One of the interactive sections is the Critical Decisions section where visitors get to choose from four different scenarios and make decisions like a president would have to.
Foreign and domestic gifts given to President Bush during his time as president are also housed at the museum. Native Texas Park surrounds the museum and is a 15-acre park that is free and open to the public. The plants, grass, and habitats are all native to Texas.
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas
The Sixth Floor Museum is centered around the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The corner window and the sniper’s perch can be seen as well. Part of the investigation into what happened can be seen in another area of this museum. One block east of Dealey Plaza rests a 30-foot-high John F. Kennedy memorial. Each column of the memorial has a light fixture in it so the memorial can be viewed at night as well.
Stockyard Historic District in Fort Worth
If you have ever wanted to see what Fort Worth, Texas looked like in the 1800s, the Stockyard National Historic District is for you! In 1989, the North Fort Worth Historical Society opened the Stockyards Museum to preserve the livestock heritage.
- Livestock auctions are held at the Livestock Exchange Building every other Friday on the first floor.
- The Cowtown Coliseum holds rodeos and other western activities. Whether events are going on or not, the doors are open.
- The Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame occupies the walls inside with their memorabilia.
- The Stockyards Museum showcases photographs and documents from the original Stockyard days. Clothes that both cattle drivers and American Indians wore are showcased as well.
- The Stockyard District is also filled with bars and restaurants made to look like how it was back then.
- The roads are paved with bricks, and twice a day, you can hear cattle hoofs hit the ground as Texas cowhands are pulled through the streets by a herd of Texas Longhorns.
- Reenactments of gunfights can be seen as well, with everyone dressed in their western cowboy gear.
Activities can be found for people traveling on their own or with their families. You can test your skills at the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze. The maze even comes with an observation deck that looks down at the maze. So, if you do not want to participate, you can still watch.
Sundance Square in Fort Worth
Sundance Square spans about three to four blocks and is full of entertainment, shopping, and dining of all kinds. Entertainment comes in the forms of:
- Comedy clubs
Shopping for clothes, jewelry, or gifts can be done at plenty of the shops sprinkled around Sundance Square. Casual restaurants and specialty restaurants can also be found.
For a more in-depth guide of what Dallas and Fort Worth, TX are known for, read our post here.
Located near the western border of Texas sits El Paso. El Paso has many national parks that are great for walking, hiking, and rock climbing, depending on the area you visit.
Franklin Mountains State Park and McKelligon Canyon
From spring to fall is the busiest time of the year for the Franklin Mountains State Park. Being out in nature is always a great way to take a break from the quickness that can sometimes be life. Day trips can be taken at the Franklin Mountains, or camping can be done if one day is not enough.
Tent sites can be walked to, and RV sites are available. Due to availability, making reservations is ideal so you can visit on the day or days you want. The Franklin Mountains State Park has over 100 miles of trails that can be hiked or used for mountain biking.
If rock climbing is up your alley, you will need to bring your own gear. McKelligon Canyon is a part of the Franklin Mountains State Park. Various rock climbing routes are available, and all hiking trails end at the canyon.
El Paso Mission Trail
The El Paso Mission Trail is a little over 10 miles from the El Paso airport. You can walk on the El Paso Mission Trail and see the Ysleta Mission and the Socorro Mission. These two missions are still operating today and are the oldest in the United States. Throughout the trail, there are areas to stop at along the way.
The Rio Bosque Wetlands can be trail-walked from the Mission Trail. Easily readable signs have been placed throughout to make determining the walking length easier for you. Los Portales Museum is full of exhibits sharing all the historical times that have come and gone. The Tigua Indian Culture Center educates and entertains visitors with artifacts and Pueblo dances. Performances are done two times a day, every Saturday and Sunday.
If you are looking for a beach getaway, Corpus Christi is the place to be. This Texas city is on the Gulf of Mexico and, while there are beaches aplenty, there are also places to see.
The Texas State Aquarium
The Texas State Aquarium has exhibits full of animals and sea life. Some of the animals and sea life at the aquarium are there because they cannot be returned to the wild, so the aquarium has become their home. The sea turtles of Tortuga Cay are unreleasable and two eagles (Bonnie and Grace) both have left-wing injuries that prevent them from returning to the wild.
There are hands-on encounters available at the aquarium as well. Encounters include a behind-the-scenes tour to interact with and help feed some of the animals and aquatic life at the aquarium.
The USS Lexington
The USS Lexington is a giant aircraft carrier ship that is now a museum and has its attractions. The USS Lexington can be made into a full day and/or overnight trip. There are both guided tours and self-guided tours available. Guided tours last from three to four hours long and can include a lot of walking and climbing. There is even an overnight paranormal investigation tour that can be taken.
The flight deck of the USS Lexington can be toured where 20 aircraft are parked. Landing gear and anti-aircraft guns can be seen as well.
Padre Island is 70 miles of protected coastline. Day trips and camping are available along or close to this secluded area. Sometime from mid-June to August, a must-see is when the sea turtles hatch from eggs on the beach and make their way to the ocean.
All in all, Texas is a giant state. Whether you live in Texas and plan on taking a day or weekend trip or, you plan on visiting Texas from out of state, there will always be plenty of places to visit that it is famous for, or animals to see that Texas is known for.
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