Texas

Things to do in Texas

Those wondering what to do in Texas should head out west. Right outside of Big Bend National Park is the small artsy town of Marfa. It is there that you will find the enchanting Marfa Lights. In order to catch a glimpse, head about eight miles east of Marfa on Highway 90/67 where you will find the viewing area. Don’t be fooled into thinking that these are simply a car’s headlights off in the distance—sightings of these strange lights began as early as 1883, well before man’s use of the automobile.

For a close encounter with Texas wildlife, visit the Padre Island National Seashore south of Corpus Christi. The island is one of the best things to do in Texas. The winds that sweep across the shore are perfect for flying kites, and if you’re lucky, you could catch a glimpse of the endangered Kemp Ridley sea turtle. During late summer, visitors can even take part in a turtle release.

If you’re looking for things to do in Texas’ capital city of Austin, look no further than downtown. The eclectic city is known as the live music capital of the state. Venues such as Stubb’s and the Mohawk offer shows almost nightly.

About 30 miles northwest of Houston, Matt Family Orchard has 40 acres planted with blueberries, blackberries, figs, Asian pears, and persimmons, all of which are available for picking.

The Tuscan-influenced tasting room at this Hill Country winery feels more like Italy than Texas with its stone walls, high ceiling, and exposed beams. Stan and Lisa Duchman founded it in 2004 with the intention of wedding their favorite Italian grapes with Texan-grown varieties.

Straddling the Texas/New Mexico border, the remote Guadalupe Mountains National Park is rife with desert fauna. Stop by the park visitor center for an overview of this rugged, 86,416-acre reserve with 80 miles of hiking trails.

This outfitter aims to provide life-changing experiences through environmental conservation and social philanthropy. This community- and conservation-minded outfitter has led tours through Africa, India, and South America for more than 50 years. T+L Trip pick Primates of Africa.

Cookbook author Melissa Guerra stocks hard-to-find housewares from Central and South America and Mexico. Molinillos, hand-carved milk frothers from Mexico, and Chilean clay earthenware pots make useful souvenirs.

Texans’ love of all things big extends to its capitol building, which dominates the Austin skyline and is visible for miles driving up South Congress Avenue.

One of the best of a new crop of wine bars around town that includes Max's Wine Dive and So Vino, this place has the best name of the bunch (13 Celsius being the ideal temperature for wine storage), as well as an attractive urban edge.

The Austin Nature & Science Center, located in Zilker Park, has a range of family friendly activities and hands-on exhibits. While special exhibits sometimes require an entrance fee, the center itself is free (although donations are encouraged).

The Vibe: This is not the place for bikini-clad car models. The genteel annual showcase (it may be in Texas, but it’s still a yacht club) attracts 200 classic and exotic cars as well as 60 vintage wooden boats.

Museums aren't Houston's only art venue. The city's gallery scene is one of the hottest in the country, with Thursday and Friday preview parties, open to all, serving as a weekly pulse-reading of local creative energy.

This cramped honky-tonk isn’t licensed to sell spirits but does provide the setup—the ice and juice—for only a few dollars.

Tadao Ando’s five glass pavilions form a Modernist trilogy with Louis Kahn’s Kimball Art Museum across the street and Philip Johnson’s Amon Carter Museum nearby.

At the LBJ Ranch, outside of Johnson City in the Hill Country, where Johnson was born and died, everything is being restored to the way it was during his presidency. After his retirement, he liked to show visitors around himself, like a docent of his own life.