Texas is home to five of the country’s 15 largest cities. The beauty of each—much like Texas as a whole—is their uniqueness. From twice-daily cattle drives in Fort Worth to the historic San Antonio missions to one of the most culturally diverse urban areas in the country in Houston, explore Texas’ big cities on a road trip around the Texas Triangle.
The first point on this triangle is, in fact, two. Dallas and Fort Worth are separated by only 30 miles, and both are worthy of stops. Kick off your road trip in the heart of the Dallas Arts District by exploring more than 25,000 works at the renowned Dallas Museum of Art. Next door is the Nasher Sculpture Center with masterpieces spread across its indoor gallery and outdoor grounds.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is just minutes away and full of natural history wonders. And in the nearby West End District, you can visit The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The museum presents a moving look at President Kennedy’s assassination from the very site where it took place.
For family-friendly activities, the popular West End is also home to the fascinating Museum of Illusions. Plus, Dallas is home to every major professional sport, so you can almost always catch a game. You can even tour AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the state-of-the-art home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Before continuing on your trip, make a few stops on the Margarita Mile, which tours 17 of the best margaritas you can find. You can even stop at the birthplace of the original frozen margarita.
Once you’ve slept off your margs, head to Fort Worth where the old west meets new adventures. Visit the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth—both within walking distance of each other and featuring priceless works of classic and modern art.
Fort Worth is also home to a number of local craft distilleries. Take a tour of internationally awarded Acre Distilling in downtown to taste their single malt whisky, bourbon, gin, vodka, rum and more.
A visit to Fort Worth wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Twice a day you can watch Texas cowboys drive cattle through the streets. Along with the stockyards are western shops, saloons and dance halls.
As you head toward Austin’s ever-expanding skyline, you’ll spot the gorgeous dome atop the red granite of the Texas State Capitol building. The building itself is a National Historic Landmark and the lush grounds are a beautiful place to soak up the Texas sun. To cool off, we suggest Barton Springs Pool just south of downtown Austin. This famous natural springs pool maintains a year-round temperature of 68 degrees.
Directly south of the capitol is South Congress Avenue, lined with trendy shops, boutique hotels, local restaurants and live music. You can also watch the world’s largest urban bat colony fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge every summer night.
After exploring the city, recharge with some of Austin’s best cuisine. Whether you want BBQ, food trucks, fine dining or local favorites, Austin has it all. A few of our favorites: Ramen Tatsu-ya, Odd Duck, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ, Loro, Home Slice, Launderette … We could keep going, but the road trip must go on.
Next, make your way about an hour and a half south to San Antonio, the seventh-largest city in the country, which is as welcoming as a small town. Of course you remember The Alamo, but don’t forget it’s just one of five Spanish missions there (which collectively make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
If you’re looking for an authentic San Antonio experience, enjoy the vibrant River Walk. Explore on foot, take a boat tour or drink and dine at one of the many colorful restaurants that line the river.
The revitalized historic Pearl District is only 10 minutes north of downtown. Once the site of the Pearl Brewery, it is now home to hip shops, dining and a weekend farmers market.
Finally, head east to the third point on the Texas Triangle and the biggest city in the state: Houston.
One of the most diverse cities in the country, Houston’s art, culture and entertainment scenes are world class. The Museum District includes the Museum of Fine Arts, which is one of the largest museums in the nation. Houston also features four professional sports teams to entertain you year-round.
Exploring Houston’s neighborhoods is a great way to understand this evolving city. Montrose, just west of Midtown, for example, is an eclectic neighborhood at the heart of the Houston LGBTQ community. It features quaint cafés, vintage shops, hipster boutiques and independent art galleries. Montrose also has an equally diverse and vibrant dining scene. From bistros and barbecue to high-end international cuisine, Montrose is a vital part of Houston’s culinary landscape. Houston Heights is another creative hub to explore. It’s located just 15 minutes northwest of downtown and hosts an arts market you won’t want to miss the first Saturday of each month.
The Texas Triangle features endless pit stop possibilities as you venture from one big city to the next. No matter where you stop along the way—and no matter what you discover in these amazing cities—a Texas Triangle road trip is one you can always come back to for more. So hit the road, and remember to drive friendly, the Texas way.