Both locals and visitors say everything’s bigger (and better) in Texas. This is why 70% of the state’s visitors travel there for leisure, rather than business or other reasons.
The Lone Star State is home to many top major cities full of attractions, sites, and excellent cuisine. So, which spots are best for a first-time visitor to experience?
Here’s our list of the top Texas landmarks to add to your travel bucket list.
San Antonio is one of the top places to visit in Texas, due to River Walk. This popular spot sits along the San Antonio River and is frequented by both locals and tourists.
River Walk is 15 miles long and a great place to take a scenic stroll. There are plenty of shops, outdoor restaurants, and bars along the way. It’s also home to a few theatres and a historic arts village.
Many tourists enjoy the guided riverboat cruises to experience all River Walk has to offer. These will take you down to Museum Reach, which leads to the San Antonio Museum of Art. Here you can browse ancient and contemporary artworks.
Pearl Brewery offers everything from dining opportunities to cooking classes. Other great restaurants include Bella on the River, Supper, and Biga on the Banks. The Rivercenter shopping mall is another top attraction.
Esquire Tavern is the oldest bar in River Walk. It opened in 1933 at the end of the Prohibition era. Other popular drinking spots include Naked Iguana, Mad Dogs, and Durty Nelly’s.
When visiting these Texas landmarks, bars, and pubs, be sure to drink responsibly. Texas is no joke when it comes to public intoxication and drug possession laws.
This national park is over 800,000 acres in size. It consists of the Chicos mountains, the Chihuahuan desert, and the Rio Grande River.
The park is home to breathtaking canyons, natural hot springs, and pine forests. You’ll also find historical sites, like old mines and ranches.
The park is ideal for visitors who enjoy a variety of outdoor adventures. This includes camping, birdwatching, and hiking. You can even float down the river for a more relaxing activity.
The park has a diverse plant life and wildlife. Expect to see coyote, deer, bears, and mountain lions. There is also the Chisos Basin Lodge (and restaurant) for overnight stays.
Houston is one of the biggest cities in Texas and home to a space center. Here you can learn about NASA space missions and see where astronauts get trained. Visitors can even tour a space shuttle replica and see a lunar test vehicle.
There are tons of space exploration exhibits as well. You can also get up close to space artifacts, like moon rocks.
The Space Centre offers special opportunities to dine with a real astronaut. They also have a great gift shop to pick up a space-related souvenir.
Looking for the best places to visit in Texas when you feel the need for speed? Check out the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
This raceway and sports center hosts events like Formula 1 US Grand Prix and ESPN’s X Games. You can ride in super-fast go-karts or enjoy an Audi driving experience. The complex even has a large amphitheater for concerts and other events.
The Alamo is a World Heritage Site that is steeped in American history. This popular landmark is open to the public and free to visit.
The famous fort played a key part in the Texas Revolution against the Mexican army. It was here that they fought the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.
The building has since been restored as a memorial. Inside you’ll also find a museum that features old artifacts and weapons.
Kemah Boardwalk is one of the top vacation spots in Texas. It features a waterfront theme park located in the bay area of Houston.
Here you’ll find plenty of shopping, restaurants, and thrill rides. The boardwalk boasts a Ferris wheel, carousel, and train rides. There are also arcades, playgrounds, and water fountains to play in.
Visitors can enjoy super-fast speedboat rides, which reach 40 mph. There is also a stingray reef and rainforest exhibit. Dine at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Landry’s Seafood House, and the Flying Dutchman.
The opening of this building sent social media fashion influencers into a frenzy. Prada Marfa is in Valentine, Texas and is a must-see for anyone interested in the art world. Visitors should note that it is not an actual boutique that you can shop at.
This Prada sculpture-store is located in the middle of the desert. It was created by artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Since it’s installation it has become somewhat of a landmark.
You can also check out Cadillac Ranch which is another interesting art installation. This is located on Route 66 near Amarillo. The attraction features 10 colorfully-painted Cadillac cars sticking halfway out of the ground.
This landmark offers insight into the heritage of the Texan livestock industry. This historic district used to be a place where people bought and sold cattle.
Now you’ll find the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Stockyards Museum. Visitors can take old-time photos, see a rodeo, and watch bull-riding. There is also a twice-daily cattle drive.
Explore western-style shops and an art gallery. You can also see concerts and theatre shows at the Stockyards.
Check out the iconic Basement Bar for live music. Hooker’s Grill and Hunter Brother’s H3 Ranch are popular restaurant options.
San Antonio is one of the best cities in Texas for family-fun attractions. It’s even home to a SeaWorld theme park. You’ll get to see plenty of killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, and penguins.
The park has tons of rollercoasters and entertaining shows. There is a fun water park with slides and tube rides as well. There’s also an underwater ride where you can spy on stingrays.
SeaWorld San Antonio is launching a new rollercoaster in the spring of 2020. The Texas Stingray is set to be the fastest, tallest, and longest wooden coaster in Texas.
These Texas landmarks are a must-see for any first-time visitor of the Lone Star State. They offer entertainment and educational opportunities for couples, families, and solo travelers.
Looking for more tips and inspiration for your next trip? Check out the travel section of our blog for all the latest advice.
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