By Alex Edwards
As summer is dwindling down, some of you may find yourselves in a panic upon realizing you haven’t taken those coveted vacation days for holiday yet. If you have any interest in traveling across the pond to the star spangled country, consider making Texas your final destination. I’m a proud native to the Lone Star State, so I’ve wrangled up the must-sees any British visitor can’t miss. Don your best flannel and dust off your boots, because whether it’s the food or the landmarks, everything is bigger in Texas.
Houston: As my hometown, I have an obvious soft spot for Houston. While it isn’t as tourist-y as some of the others on the list, Forbes ranked it as America’s number one fastest growing city to live in. It’s a huge metropolitan, rich from the oil industry and young entrepreneurs. You might be overwhelmed by the maze of highways at first, and be ripping your hair out at the constant traffic. But other than that, H-Town has one of the best museum districts, a sprawling zoo and an impressive aquarium. Since it’s near the ocean, you have easy access to the coast and beach towns. It’s also home to the Space Center and the infamous phrase: “Houston, we have a problem.”
Dallas: Located more in North Texas, Dallas is known to be a commercial hub. Infamous for JFK’s assassination, you can visit the Historic Landmark that celebrates the former president’s life. The art district is expansive, as well as the zoo and aquarium. There’s also a Six Flags, a huge amusement park that has locations scattered around Texas. My personal favorite part about D-Town though, is the thriving shopping scene. You’ll have no problem spending tons of money here.
Austin: As the capital of Texas, Austin is an obvious choice. Quirky and eclectic, this city in the heart of Hill Country and has views to match. Smack dab in the middle of Austin is the University of Texas, so get used to seeing a younger crowd if you choose to visit. If you’re a music junkie, the live-music scene is always thriving, with Sixth Street being the popular late night destination. I’d recommend Austin for the more outdoors-y, adventurous type, because the numerous parks and lakes are the best spots for hiking, swimming and boating.
San Antonio: If you’re into history, San Antonio has the richest colonial heritage on the list. The south-central city is home to the Alamo, the site of the battle that ultimately resulted in Texas independence. What makes the city unique is the miles-long River Walk, a slew of restaurants and shopping that follow the San Antonio River. In terms of amusement, San Antonio is home to SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which will make you feel like a kid again.
As a border state, Texas has its own brand of Mexican food that’s known to be some of the best in America — and Texans don’t let you forget it. We love to brag about how our queso is creamier, guacamole is fresher, margaritas are stronger and tacos are juicier than any other state that claims their Mexican cuisine is ‘authentic.’ While you pretty much can’t go wrong with any Tex-Mex restaurant, if you’re planning on leaving with a satisfied food-baby, try one of my suggestions below.
- Pappasito’s Cantina: All cities
- Chuy’s: All cities
- The Original Ninfa’s: Houston
- Mi Tierra: San Antonio
- Fonda San Miguel: Austin
- Avila’s: Dallas
Basically, don’t go to Texas if you’re on a diet. Between Tex-Mex and barbecue, you’ll be able to feel your waistband expanding by the end of your trip, but you’ll be completely satisfied about it. If you’re a passionate carnivore, grab a bib and have yourself a full Texas BBQ meal, piled high with meat, potato salad, beans, cole slaw, bread, corn and more. Texas Monthly recently named the top 50 BBQ restaurants in TX, so I pulled a few of my personal favorites from the list.
- Franklin Barbecue: Austin
- Catteleack Barbeque: Dallas
- CorkScrew BBQ: Houston
- 2M Smokehouse: San Antonio