Searching the BIG state of Texas to find things to do, other than the Alamo, can be daunting. So, we’ve partnered with adventure, culture, and luxury travel writer Dr. Cacinda Maloney, from PointsandTravel.com as she explores the state big enough to be its own country!
7 Things to Do in Texas Other Than the Alamo!
Tell the truth. When you think of Texas, what do you think of first? Is it cowboy hats, horses, and boots? That Texas twang? Big Texas hair? Or how about the Alamo? I recently returned from a tour of Texas from the top to the bottom. I am here to tell you that there is more to Texas than just the tiny structure of the Alamo! Sure it was the site of a pivotal event between Texas and Mexico. It does represent the end of the Texas Revolution, which brings a lot of history buffs to the state. In fact, the number one tourist attraction in Texas is the Alamo, but there are literally hundreds of other cool things to do in Texas!
I am from the state of Texas and lived there over 20 years. I would love to show you what a diverse state it is by introducing you to my picks of 7 things to do in Texas other than visiting the Alamo! (There are really more things to do than that, as it is a huge state!)
Visit Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, Texas
Go for a visit to one of the USA’s most popular roadside attractions: Cadillac Ranch. It is not really a ranch, but an art installation. There are ten tail-finned Cadillac’s that are half-buried nose first into the ground at a slant of 52 degrees. The Cadillac’s were buried in sequence from the oldest (1949) to the newest (1963). Each car features the latest version of the famous Cadillac tail fin. Cadillac Ranch is an iconic roadside attraction representing the heyday of the Cadillac. I believe Cadillac Ranch is the very essence of the historic Route 66 which runs through Amarillo, although it is now located on Highway I-40. Bring a can of spray paint so you can leave your mark, as this is one place where graffiti is allowed!
Visit Grapevine, Texas
Visit what has got to be one of the best-preserved downtown small cities in Texas. Grapevine is only a 15-minute drive from the massive DFW airport that has the best Dallas-Fort Worth Airport layover options ever. But Grapevine feels like a world away from the airport and Dallas. Grapevine even boasts two amazing resorts right outside of the downtown area where you can bring your family: the Great Wolf Lodge and the Gaylord Hotel. Remember, everything is BIGGER in Texas, and these two resorts are no exception. Downtown Grapevine also has two massive cowboys that come out every day at noon and 3:00pm to put on a gun fight show for the visitors. This happens right across from the Jazz Wine Train. The Jazz Wine Train would be great for a girls trip to Texas with its live band that walks down the aisles playing music till dawn with wine flowing. There are also many amazing restaurants and shops concentrated in this small downtown area. Be sure and stop by Dr. Sue’s Chocolate Shop and tell her Dr. Maloney sent you!
Visit Quinta Mazatlan – McAllen, Texas
Lying at the front door to Old Mexico only 15 miles away, Quinta Mazatlan is a 1930’s adobe styled home that blends two cultures (Texas and Mexico). With its an amazing array of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, bright primary colors, and lush landscaping, it lies in the heart of McAllen. It is a historical mansion and a budding nature and birding center. It happens to be right in the flight path of many birds that fly south for the winter on fifteen acres of a birding habitat.
But the historian in me was more interested in the architecture and the lives of the people who came to the great southwest to seclude their family from the outside world of communism. The building is designed in a U-Shape pattern with a courtyard. There are elaborate ornamental and decorative wrought iron gates on the building and entryway. I can only image the many interesting guests that have passed through these doors. The highlight for me was the Ann Maddox Moore collection, which is only a small part of her huge personal collection of cultural Mexican crafts.
Eat at The Big Texan – Amarillo, Texas
While you are in Amarillo to see Cadillac Ranch, be sure and visit the home of the famous (and free) 72 oz. steak. Did I tell you everything is BIGGER in Texas? This place is the epitome of BIG in Texas! It is a steakhouse, motel with a Texas-shaped swimming pool, casino, ice cream parlor, gift shop conglomerate complete with 10 longhorn Cadillac limousines to bring you here. In one pit stop, you can see Texas memorabilia and enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere of the BIG TEXAN steakhouse! If you want a free steak, the meal consists of the 72 oz. steak, shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, a salad, and a bread roll. You have one hour to finish it on an elevated stage with a timer in the dining room. If you don’t finish in time, it will only put you back $72.00!
Buy a Pair of Custom Made Boots – El Paso, Texas
An average of 125 hands has touched every pair of handmade boots at the famous Lucchese boot company in El Paso, Texas. The company was started by Salvatore Lucchese, who was born in Palermo on the island of Sicily, Italy in 1868. His father, Gaetano Lucchese, was a shoemaker. Salvatore Lucchese emigrated to the USA in 1882 arriving in Galveston, Texas by ship with his brother Joseph. They then moved to San Antonio, Texas and set up a boot making shop at Fort Sam Houston in 1883. And the rest is history as they say, as they became the most well-known boot makers in the state of Texas! Countless famous and wealthy people have owned a pair of Lucchese boots!
Visit Palo Dura Canyon – Canyon, Texas
Palo Dura Canyon is known as the 2nd largest canyon in the United States. It is second only to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It was named “The Grand Canyon of Texas” both for its size and for its dramatic geological features. When it suddenly appears in the Texas Panhandle after miles of nothingness, you will certainly be impressed. It is a massive canyon at over a 1000 feet deep, 20 miles long, and 20 miles wide! I think it is BIG enough for Texas! Visitors come here at a rate of 400,000-500,000 a year.
Visit the Dr. Pepper Museum – Waco, Texas
No soda drink says Texas like the famous concoction of Dr. Pepper. Visit the home of Dr. Pepper in Waco, Texas. This is where Texans celebrate everything related to the soft drink industry. With over 100,000 pieces, the Dr. Pepper museum is located in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building. It is the first building dedicated to the manufacturing of Dr. Pepper. Dr. Pepper is a concoction that was invented by a pharmacist Charles Alderton in 1880. At the time, he was working in a drug store and began serving it to customers. In 1904, Dr. Pepper was nationally marketed. As they say, the rest is history. At least in Texas, it is!
What are some of your favorite things to do in Texas? Leave a comment below!
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