They say that "everything is bigger in Texas," and that’s certainly true of the state’s cities. Texas is home to a rising number of large metropolises, many of them famed around the world for being home to iconic landmarks or historic events. But which of these bustling hubs makes the best destination for a traveller to explore?
Let’s discover some of the biggest cities in Texas, the Lone Star State, that every wanderer should be sure to visit at least once in their lifetime.
The sixth-largest city in Texas has plenty for travellers to experience, including an abundance of cultural and natural attractions. For instance, you can take to the hills and explore the ruggedly picturesque heights of the Franklin Mountains, which form a scenic backdrop to the city. Sprawling across 27,000 acres, this state park has plenty to offer the eager adventurer, from geocaching and wildlife spotting, to rock climbing, hiking, and gliding across the rocky hillsides on your mountain bike.
Back in El Paso itself, and there is a wealth of history and culture to take in. A prime example is the Ysleta Mission, which has been standing for well over 300 years, making it the oldest building in Texas. Travellers can also learn more about the area’s rich tribal history by paying a visit to the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Center. Here, Tigua tribal members demonstrate their vibrant cultural heritage through traditional arts and activities such as storytelling, bread baking, and making pottery.
Finally, if you have an interest in botany, you can make your way to the University of Texas at El Paso, home to a number of historic, cultural, and natural exhibits. Here, the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens display hundreds of native plant species, including numerous types of agave, giant hyssops, columbines, milkweed, ‘four o’ clocks’ and many, many more.
Like many other places in Texas, Dallas offers up an appealing blend of modern style and storied history – not least, being the location of JFK’s assassination. As such, any explorers who are interested in this tragic but undeniably iconic moment in history can embark on a so-called ‘assassination tour’ of the city. These tours take in notable landmarks including the Sixth Floor Museum and the Oswald Rooming House, which has been painstakingly preserved to look just as it did on that fateful day in 1963.
For something more soothing and nature-based, travellers should make their way to the verdant Texas Discovery Gardens, with its picturesque grounds and state-of-the-art butterfly house where new residents are released daily at noon. In this lush two-storey construction, visitors can get up close and personal with a colorful variety of tropical butterfly species, as well as moths, and even honeybees.
Explorers who like to savor more active, adrenaline-pumping pursuits can take their pick during their sojourn in Dallas. The city offers visitors the chance to explore the Lone Star State’s only aerial adventure park, go horse riding in the woods, try their hand at axe-throwing, and even defy gravity with some indoor sky diving. Then, of course, they can round off their trip with a visit to the iconic – if fictitious – Southfork Ranch, where they will find original props from the show and get to explore the Ewing Mansion.
Once travellers have finished revisiting one of television’s most iconic shows, they can purchase tickets for a comfortable and well-appointed Dallas to Houston bus with the help of Wanderu. Upon reaching Houston – birthplace of Beyoncé herself, not to mention that famous phrase, ‘Houston, we have a problem’ – they may find themselves stumped as to what to do first.
For one thing, Houston is home to well over 100 museums, including NASA’s Space Center, which includes live demonstrations and a wealth of fascinating permanent exhibits. However, the city also provides easy access to the lush greenery and sparkling waters of Buffalo Bayou, where visitors can take a boat tour, rent kayaks, or go for a run through acres of scenic parkland.
For travellers with a taste for the eclectic, Houston has plenty to offer in this department too. For example, in the Rice Military neighborhood, you can pay just $5 to gain entrance to the Beer Can House, a whimsical feat of recycling that required the drinking of 50,000 beers to create.
There is also the breath-taking Rothko Chapel, featuring 14 canvasses painted by the iconic artist not long before he died - and don’t forget the quirky and colorful neighborhood of Montrose, with its thrift stores, antique shops, art galleries and tattoo parlors.
Blending bustling modernity with tantalizing glimpses into the ‘Old West’, the former cowboy trading post of Fort Worth is packed with cultural attractions, including quite a few museums dedicated to various elements of Fort Worth life.
One of the most popular experiences is surely the Fort Worth Stockyards, which offers a taste of the authentic cowboy lifestyle – including a twice-daily longhorn cattle drive through the historic streets, bull riding, and rodeos. For any traveller with a penchant for the much-romanticized figure of the cowboy, this historic attraction is sure to fuel their fascination.
Elsewhere in the fifth-biggest city in Texas, explorers can head to Sundance Square, known as Fort Worth’s ‘living room’, home to 37 square blocks packed with entertainment venues, art galleries, shops, and restaurants. However, if you’re travelling with kids in tow, they may be eager to head a little further south, to come face to face with the 500+ species housed in Fort Worth’s historic zoo.
Home to giraffes, black bears, gorillas, elephants, rhino, kangaroos, big cats and an abundance of fish, reptiles, and invertebrates – to name a very few of its inhabitants - the zoo is a local attraction that offers hours of enjoyment and education on the many remarkable yet threatened species that share our world.
The Lone Star State is renowned for its ranches and its awe-inspiring landscapes - but, as you can see, its bustling cities have plenty to offer the wayfaring explorer too.From fascinating snapshots of the Old West to immersive museums and cultural hotspots, and some unique experiences you won’t find anywhere else, some of the biggest cities in Texas also contain some of the biggest attractions.