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Amanda
Concord

Texas, Austin, Dallas, Houston

How many days should you spend in each city in Texas?

I only have 1 week to explorer the state of Texas. I was thinking about Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Which cities are "the best" and how many days should I spend in each?


20 Answers

top answer by
Gary from Scottsdale

that depends on what you are interested in. Dallas and Houston or more like business cities, although there certainly are cultural amenities in both. Austin, which is my favorite, has much more in the way of cultural fun, including many music venues on Sixth Street, great restaurants downtown, which is also where 6th Street is.a few blocks north is the capital area, and a little north of that is the University of Texas at Austin, which has its own great vibe, and activities,in addition there is great hiking alone Town Lake Park, which is only a few blocks south of 6th Street plus many other Music & tryst venues, plus great barbecue, which you should not miss. Country line out on 290 West is one of the best around. I would figure on spending at least two days in Austin, then I will go to San Antonio and see the Riverwalk and the Alamo, what's your ride together.it's also worth stopping at New Braunfels all the way, how old German settlement.then you could head down to Houston. Good luck, have fun, I wouldn't go before April for the weather. The bluebonnets are also out on the hillsides starting in April.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dallas (city)
  2. Houston (city)
  3. Austin (city)
  4. Sixth Street (attraction)
  5. University of Texas at Austin (attraction)
  6. Town Lake Park (attraction)
  7. San Antonio (city)
  8. Riverwalk (attraction)
  9. Alamo (city)
  10. New Braunfels (city)
12 thanks


answered by
MaryAnn from Albuquerque

Like everyone before has said, depends on what you want out of your trip. I lived in Texas 40 years (was born there and moved to NM on my 40th birthday). Texas is sort of a country in itself. It WAS a country after all. Divide it up as such and you have five? ish? pretty distinct areas.

West Texas: football, open, skies, cows, oil, football, cotton, football, cows. You want cowboys, cattle, friendly, tough and kind - West Texas. I did not name a city here, because there's no need, you can pick any of them. Only area I never lived in but have driven through frequently...

North Texas: Dallas/ Fort Worth. While the 'metroplex' and probably the world would like you to think this is one big happy area, its really 12 counties and over 6 million people. The biggies. Fort Worth is 'cow town'. It's lovely, prim proper, oil money and diamonds with cowboy boots on. The campus at  Texas Christian University, Kimbell Art MuseumFort Worth Stock Yards will give you a taste and cap it off with a margarita and some fine Tex-Mex at Joe T. Garcia's and make sure to sit on the patio before you hit the dance floor and ride the bull at  Billy Bob's Texas. Dallas is FW's dressed up and slightly more pretentious cousin (Im a Dallas girl so I can say it). Stroll through  Highland Park Village and take in the people watching, drive Preston Road bottom to top - especially at Christmas. For the art lover -  Nasher Sculpture CenterDallas Museum of ArtThe Crow Collection of Asian Art are all within walking distance of each other and you can then catch the McKinney trolly and shop and dine on the street that holds the bars the SMU kids adore. Eat  S & D Oyster Company and don't be surprised that you wait in line after parking in a lot covered in oyster shells in the middle of a city. If time allows head out of Dallas and check out  Southfork Ranch in Parker. Let JR's commute sink in once there. Dallas is loaded with great eats and you will easily find them.  White Rock Lake is beautiful and the home of the  Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden

East Texas: Wanna drop off the map, loose cell signal, smell pine, humidity and risk being carried of by the largest mosquitos you've likely encountered? Head East on I20 and hang a right  Canton (Texas). You can buy anything there. It takes flea market to another level. Known as 'First Mondays' over 400,000 people descend on a town that boast about 3000 residents to shop for faux trees, wood ducks, wrapping paper (seriously some fabulous wrapping paper), 'baubles' aka beaded jewels, furnishings, tools, puppies and anything else you can come up with. Come with money and enjoy a turkey leg while you shop. This is also some fine people watching. Dare to venture farther behind the Pine Curtain, take I20 a bit farther and hang a right at 259 to hit  Nacogdoches. After you've driven through ETx oil country you land in the oldest town in Texas. Lovely (my hubs is from there, and I went to high school and college there), huge pine trees, local dinning,  Mike's Barbeque House is to die for and if you can't figure out how to order, ask! There's not much 'to do' here but soak it in and realize that there are still places that stand still and are cool just *being* even with a state university in town. In fact, if it's Friday past 7 and you're wondering why places are closed - head to Dragon Stadium for some East Texas football. That's where the town is. If you find that you've stopped pronouncing your 'g's' and sayin' things like, 'Well I'll sawn', or you catch yourself 'Sittin' a spell', you may have found home. Or my mother in law ;)

South Texas:  Houston is far more international than folks want to make it. My grandparents and cousins lived here. The closer you get to the gulf the more you smell the smog, refineries and salt. An odd smell but very Houstonesque. NASA Space Center, the ship yards,  Galveston Island, are a few non shopping or pro sports things to do. Houston, much like Big D is sports and shopping centric. Hit Montrose for all kinds of dinning options.  South Padre Island - shrimp, shore and fish. 

Central Texas: So much more than  Austin. Austin is a great place. The  Texas State Capitol is a must do. Congress Ave and 'The Drag' as well as University of Texas at Austin are sights to be seen and absorbed.  Zilker Botanical Garden is unbeatable.  Hippie Hollow Park is even better. Once you've gotten your live music fix on Lamar, 6h street (if you're between 18-22) and dined at  Chuy's Restaurant or  The County LineCounty Line on the Hill or really lots of places!! Prepare to head a bit West. Grab a toob (you'll see signs, pass places and figure it out) and follow the throngs and partake in the biggest floating party ever.  Guadalupe River - buy your beer ahead - you don't want to run out. After, hit  Gruene Hall (pronounced Green). have some eats, listen to some live tunes and dance in a barn on the top of a hill and realize *This, is Texas*. Enjoy some Blue Bell ice cream in  Brenham. Hit the San Marcos Outlet Stores in  San Marcos where you will likely run into some new friends you met on the river earlier. 

Texas is huge. After writing this small book I realize maybe the best and FAR shorter way to figure out what you want to do in Texas is for you to listen to this song, then decide. It's dead on and you can go from there! Enjoy, howdy and y'all come back! Josh Abbot Band, You Aint Met My Texas Yet. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dallas (city)
  2. Fort Worth (city)
  3. Texas Christian University (attraction)
  4. Kimbell Art Museum (attraction)
  5. Fort Worth Stock Yards (neighborhood)
  6. Joe T. Garcia's (restaurant)
  7. Billy Bob's Texas (attraction)
  8. Highland Park Village (attraction)
  9. Nasher Sculpture Center (attraction)
  10. Dallas Museum of Art (attraction)
  11. The Crow Collection of Asian Art (attraction)
  12. S & D Oyster Company (restaurant)
  13. White Rock Lake (attraction)
  14. Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden (attraction)
  15. Canton (Texas) (city)
  16. Nacogdoches (city)
  17. Mike's Barbeque House (restaurant)
  18. Houston (city)
  19. NASA Space Center (attraction)
  20. Galveston Island (island)
  21. South Padre Island (city)
  22. Austin (city)
  23. Texas State Capitol (attraction)
  24. University of Texas at Austin (attraction)
  25. Zilker Botanical Garden (attraction)
  26. Hippie Hollow Park (attraction)
  27. Chuy's Restaurant (restaurant)
  28. The County Line (restaurant)
  29. County Line on the Hill (restaurant)
  30. Guadalupe River (attraction)
  31. Gruene Hall (restaurant)
  32. Brenham (city)
  33. San Marcos Outlet Stores (attraction)
  34. San Marcos (city)
  35. Southfork Ranch (attraction)
9 thanks


answered by
Gemma from Plano

It really depends on what kind of stuff you like to do while you travel.

Overall, most Texans would agree that Austin offers the most to visitors in terms of having a variety of things to do combined with a strong cultural experience - there's great music, bands and nightlife on  West 6th Street, amazing food trucks and homegrown establishments like Kerbey Lane Cafe - Original or  Casino El Camino (featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on the Food Network Channel). You can also get a strong sense of Texas history here. For example, you can visit and walk around the  Texas State Capitol for free. In addition to all of that, there are a lot of great shopping boutiques as well as outdoorsy-type things to do like watch the  Bats Underneath Congress Bridge or go kayaking on the river. 

Houston's entertainment caters more to the business traveler crowd - the kind of people that prefer art, museums and who identify themselves as foodies. In terms of tourist things to see and do in Houston, there's the  Museum of Fine Arts, HoustonHolocaust Museum Houston, Houston Museum of Natural Science and  Children's Museum of Houston . The Montrose Area around Westheimer offers a lot of unique restaurants (such as the Hobbit Cafe with LOTR-inspired food or Greek food at Niko Niko's) and shopping boutiques/thrift stores. That's also the area of Houston where you'll find most bars and clubs (lots of gay bars here FYI). Other than that, the rest of Houston is mostly shopping malls, movie theaters and restaurants. Check out the Houston Galleria if you want to shop for some luxury items like Louis Vuitton - Beyonce is known to stop by the Galleria when she comes to Houston. Don't kid yourself if you want to see  Space Center Houston - it's quite a drive away from Houston proper, as are most things in Houston. Expect to be driving A LOT. 

Dallas is similar to Houston in that it caters more to business travelers. There are some really nice hotels and restaurants here, but there's not really much here for the outdoorsy-type or for those looking for a place to just walk around and take in the city. It is very commercialized here - you'll see a lot of chain-type stuff that you can see at most major metropolitan cities. There is the  The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza where President Kennedy was shot. Or, you can visit the  Dallas World Aquarium, which is an incredible experience for animal lovers - it's designed like a spiral - you start out at the top and see rain forest creatures like birds and monkeys, then work your way down to the water animals. Like Houston, expect to be driving a lot in Dallas.

Actually, if you visit Texas, expect to be driving a lot regardless! The drive from Dallas to Houston is a long 4-5 hours (nothing to see on the drive but trees, trees, a giant statue of Sam Houston, and the epic mother of all gas stations, Buc-ee's in Madisonville (Texas)); the drive from Dallas to Austin is about 3 hours (not much to see but the Czech Stop gas station, which is a little Czech bakery/gas station); and the drive from Houston to Austin is about 3 hours too.

Happy travels!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. West 6th Street (attraction)
  2. Kerbey Lane Cafe - Original (restaurant)
  3. Casino El Camino (attraction)
  4. Texas State Capitol (attraction)
  5. Bats Underneath Congress Bridge (attraction)
  6. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (attraction)
  7. Holocaust Museum Houston (attraction)
  8. Houston Museum of Natural Science (attraction)
  9. Children's Museum of Houston (attraction)
  10. Houston Galleria (attraction)
  11. Space Center Houston (attraction)
  12. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (attraction)
  13. Dallas World Aquarium (attraction)
  14. Madisonville (Texas) (city)
  15. Buc-ee's (attraction)
8 thanks


answered first by
Amy from Pittsburgh

The cities you named are mostly all-american urban areas. Please visit San Antonio or Corpus Christi too for a more Tex-Mex feel. I am a hardcore traveler so I spend at least 3 days in every city, but 2 days should be ok.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Antonio (city)
  2. Corpus Christi (city)
6 thanks


answered by
Deana

Skip Houston. Not much to see there and if you only have a week, there's plenty better ways to spend it in Texas.

There's many more interesting things to see in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Austin gets all the hype and it's fun and I think it's good to see what all the hype is about. Check out the 1M bats flying out from under the big bridge every night (depending on the season) and stop at Juan In A Million for breakfast tacos (even though it's in a shady area.) The Hill Country area in Austin is a great area to go to for some outstanding BBQ.

San Antonio has really neat things to see and is unique. There is The San Antonio River Walk there which is just so cute with lots of restaurants, like a mini Venice. And you can visit The Alamo for some history. You really only need one day in San Antonio to see it all.

I'd also recommend going up to Dallas. Great food, especially tex mex but lots of great restaurants in general. You can visit the The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, which is a very well-done museum about the JFK assassination that happened there. Fort Worth is only like 40min away from Dallas and I'd stay in Dallas but drive over to Fort Worth one day just to see the Stockyards Station. It's a bit touristy of course but it's where you'll see the cowboys that you were expecting to on your trip to Texas and is a bunch of fun for a visit. We'd always take visitors over to Ft. Worth to see the Stockyards when they visited us when we lived in Dallas.

Oh and if you're hanging out with anyone into football, check out Cowboys Stadium. They do tours and it's crazy impressive to see inside, even just the size of the TV is impressive!

Have fun!!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. San Antonio (city)
  3. Dallas (city)
  4. Fort Worth (city)
  5. Juan In A Million (restaurant)
  6. The San Antonio River Walk (attraction)
  7. The Alamo (attraction)
  8. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (attraction)
  9. Stockyards Station (attraction)
  10. Cowboys Stadium (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)


answered by
miranda from Houston

Hi Amanda,

I'm from Houston and a bit bias, but if I had a week, I would spend 3 days in each city and plan very well. I would spend the most time in Austin, its a great place for music and bars, Houston is great for food. I dont know much touristy things to do in Dallas, but San Antonio is great. So I would swap Dallas or Houston for San Antonio

Have fun!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Houston (city)
  2. Dallas (city)
  3. San Antonio (city)
3 thanks


answered by
Joseph from Houston

It, of course, depends on your interests (hiking, biking, shopping, etc.). Austin is nice and has a college vibe. Dallas and Houston have upscale restaurants and their unique opportunities (e.g. NASA Space Center in Houston. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. Dallas (city)
  3. Houston (city)
  4. NASA Space Center (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Brandie from Afghanistan

You picked some very good cities to explore. However, I think that San Antonio would deserve a mention in the list of cities within Texas as well. As Far as time goes 1 day and 1 night in Austin would be enough to wet your appetite for another visit. I think Dallas (and of course I am biased) warrants 2 and 2 nights minimum because you must include the DFW ( Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex) into the mix. So spend 1 day hanging out in Downtown Dallas and Uptown Dallas. There are a great number of museums and opera houses. Just outside Downtown Dallas is a Dallas Zoo if you want to check that out. The largest collection of bronzed steer sculpture is here in downtown. Great photo ops. Check out NorthPark Center and that area for some shopping. Then spend a day and night in Fort Worth. Downtown Fort Worth is beautiful - especially the water gardens and the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District area. As far as Houston goes, everything is so spaced out. I'd alot a day or 2 for there and if you could swing it, spend your last days in San Antonio. Check out the The San Antonio River Walk. See what the hype is about the Alamo. Go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas (an amusement park) or just enjoy the local cuisine.  I hope you enjoy my state and some of it's more interesting cities.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Antonio (city)
  2. Austin (city)
  3. Dallas (city)
  4. Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex (metro area)
  5. Downtown Dallas (attraction)
  6. Uptown Dallas (city)
  7. Dallas Zoo (attraction)
  8. NorthPark Center (attraction)
  9. Fort Worth (city)
  10. Downtown Fort Worth (attraction)
  11. Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District (attraction)
  12. Houston (city)
  13. The San Antonio River Walk (attraction)
  14. Alamo (city)
  15. Six Flags Fiesta Texas (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Taylor from Fort Worth

Definitely make time to stop in Fort Worth and eat at the famous Mexican restaurant, Joe T. Garcia's! There are so many things to do here from walking around the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, to going out on 7th street. The Fort Worth Zoo is also the best zoo in the world. Seriously.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fort Worth (city)
  2. Joe T. Garcia's (restaurant)
  3. Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District (attraction)
  4. Fort Worth Zoo (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Andre from Los Angeles

1) Austin Texas: Live music capital of the world hands down

2) Dallas Texas: Just a great lil city especially the night life downtown

3) Houston Texas: Great dining and night life downtown

4) San Antonio: The San Antonio River Walk is amazing and the skyline is breath taking. 

I'd do these 4 in that order. 

Be sure to visit Dirty  Sixth Street, Rainey Street and West 6th Street while in Austin.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. Dallas (city)
  3. Houston (city)
  4. San Antonio (city)
  5. The San Antonio River Walk (attraction)
  6. Sixth Street (attraction)
  7. West 6th Street (attraction)
  8. Rainey Street (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Kathryn from London

I've lived in Dallas and Austin, and spent some time in Houston too. 

The first thing to remember is that they're all 2.5-4 hours apart by car, so you'll need to take that time into account when planning. 

I'd start with Austin, and see if you want to leave. Dallas and Houston both have places that are great to visit, but they're spread further out than they are in Austin, which makes for less time actually enjoying them. 

If you're set on seeing all three, I'd spend three days in Austin and two each in Dallas and Houston. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. Dallas (city)
  3. Houston (city)
2 thanks


answered by
Aaron from Texas

I've lived in all 3 cities. Austin is the coolest and has the best variety, but is the smallest. You could spend your whole week there. You'll be impressed spending a couple days in the art districts of Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, too. Checkout San Antonio for a day if you want some more traditional tourist-y options.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. Dallas (city)
  3. Fort Worth (city)
  4. Houston (city)
  5. San Antonio (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Dylan from Fort Worth

spend the most in Austin. the rest of those you could get a good feel for the city in a day or 2.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Tera from Harrah

It depends on your thing. Austin is for music and bbq lovers. Houston has NASA Johnson Space Center and many other family type attractions. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. Houston (city)
  3. NASA Johnson Space Center (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Mac from Fort Worth

Austin: has more outdoor things to do 4 days

Dallas: 3 days; fine dining, museums, amusement parks


Houston is dirty and not worth your time.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. Dallas (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Nicole from San Antonio

I've lived in Austin, Houston, SA and hate Dallas.  Austin has the best live music, San Antonio is the big home town that NOLA can be and Houston is just like every metropolitan city that you will be stuck in traffic for hours.  Dallas is construction, delays and unless its a band or art exhibit that I will never get to experience otherwise--I say skip Dallas.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Austin (city)
  2. San Antonio (city)
  3. Houston (city)
  4. Dallas (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Jerry from Waxahachie

If you are covering the entire state you realize its a big one....

one day in Dallas and two days in Houston and Austin.  Its a 3 to 4 hour drive between each of these three cities.

If coastal cities are your thing - spend a day in Galveston or Corpus Christi

There is not much to do and see in west Texas.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dallas (city)
  2. Houston (city)
  3. Austin (city)
  4. Galveston (city)
  5. Corpus Christi (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Jackson from Dallas

I agree with Gary that Austin is the most culturally interesting city in Texas. If you are flying in, I would book an arrival in Dallas and departure from Houston. Driving from Dallas to Austin then over to Houston is your best way to tackle these three cities. Also, driving is an essential part of Texas culture.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Texas (state)
  2. Dallas (city)
  3. Houston (city)
  4. Austin (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Shelly from Melvin

That is a lot of driving. Probably day and half in each city.




answered by
Eron from Houston

That's a tough question to answer w/out knowing what you are interested in seeing or doing while visiting the great state of Texas. Art and music scene? Austin  Historical? The Alamo and peaceful, pretty river walk The San Antonio River WalkSan Antonio  Theater? Houston  Heart Of Texas Events Center


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Alamo (attraction)
  2. The San Antonio River Walk (attraction)
  3. Heart Of Texas Events Center (attraction)




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