James Wong is the Texas correspondent for Time Out.
The best things to do in Dallas, Texas
We're spoilt for choice when it comes to the best things to do in Dallas, also known as the Big D...with good reason. The ballooning metropolis is filled with an abundance of well, everything. When it comes to sports, tickets to a Dallas Cowboys game at the AT&T Stadium is a must, though the Dallas Mavs (basketball) and Dallas Stars (ice hockey) are too worthy of cheer over a cheesy Frito Pie. The arts scene isn't too shabby either. In fact, Dallas has an entire Arts District downtown, packed with fine art museums, performing arts venues and outdoor sculpture pieces. Arriving on an empty stomach? You've come to the right place. Dallas' restaurant scene encompasses everything from uptown glamor (think: afternoon teas, sexy rooftop bars and elevated Southern kitchens) to sauce-all-over-your-face barbecue and Tex-Mex. Disclaimer: the portions are always bigger than you think, so order accordingly. Whatever your tastes, there's really something for everyone. So roll on over to our feast of the best things to do in Dallas right now. RECOMMENDED: the best things to do with kids in Dallas
The best weekend getaways from Austin
Although Austin is packed with many awesome things to do – from checking out its best attractions to dining at its ever-growing list of best restaurants – the surrounding cities are equally abundant and worthy of a weekend jaunt. Austin’s central location makes for the ideal starting point whether the drive takes you north, east, south, or west of it. Even just an hour and a half south will get you into the buzzing city of San Antonio, where you’ll discover a rich and diverse history. The same distance in a western direction will take you to the rolling Hill Country where you’ll be able to sample the finest wines down south. How about some space discovery and a ton of international cuisine? Houston is your best bet two and a half hours away. Or answer the calls for a beach vacay… head to Galveston, the Texan answer to Coney Island, three hours on the road. Whatever floats your boat, here are the best escapes from Austin by car, all the way to neighboring Louisiana. RECOMMENDED: The best hikes in Austin
Where to eat the best BBQ in Austin, Texas
If there’s one kind of cuisine Austin does best, it’s barbecue. Of the many things to do in town, chomping on slabs of meat always ranks pretty highly on the agenda, both for tourists or locals alike. It therefore comes as no surprise that the brisket here is tender, the ribs juicy, and the sides as flavorful as the main event: corn on the cob, coleslaw, mac & cheese and green beans, by the pint with extra butter…that’s how we do it in Texas! Austin’s pitmasters are some of the most talented on the restaurant scene. Most utilize Central Texas BBQ traditions when it comes to smoking, salt and pepper rubs, and heat, while a few update them with modern twists. Nevertheless, all execute with plenty o’ Southern TLC. Ready to get the meat sweats? Here are the best BBQ joints in Austin. When you’re done, you’re gonna want to head to some of Bat City’s best bars for a refreshing beverage or walk off those calories with a hike on one of the many trails.
The best museums in Houston, Texas
There’s no beating Houston for the best museums in all of Texas. Houston is a mega-city, and with a mega-city comes top-notch exhibits, restaurants worth flying in for, endless things to do (both for kids and adults), and culture to the max. Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas may have a lot to offer by way of museums in the Lone Star State, but Houston has virtually everything covered. The quality is world-class, and many of them are free to enter (or offer special free days and discounts), making them extra accessible. Though you’ll find exhibits dotted all over town, the Museum District is where the core of it lies. This leafy, quiet neighborhood between the Texas Medical Center and Rice University contains 18 museums within a 1.5-mile radius. From here to the edges of the city, there’s a museum to suit nearly everyone’s interests – whether you’re fascinated by great art, Texas culture, space, or even funeral history.
The best restaurants in Houston right now
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the best of the south lies in Tex-Mex restaurants, at least not in Houston, which boasts one of the most exciting culinary scenes in America. The fact is that their restaurant scene is as ethnically diverse as the six million-plus residents that inhabit. Translation: 10,000 restaurants representing more than 70 different cuisines. Those with an expectation for Tex-Mex and barbecue need not worry. Those mainstays are widely done and done darn well. But did you know that Houston has the second-largest Indochinese population in America, behind Los Angeles? Chinatown ain’t no novelty lil’ town—it’s a thriving district. Add Gulf Coast seafood, decadent European fare, and authentic South-East Asian delights, and well, you’re in foodie heaven…with Texas-sized portions. We’ve plucked our favorites from the mahoosive range of eateries available, so all y’all gotta do is show up hungry and wear loose-fitting pants.
The best attractions in Houston, Texas
As one of the best cities to visit in America, Houston has enough attractions to keep visitors busy no matter how long they’re in town. It’s hard to grasp just how big it all is. Everything about Houston basically screams major, and that is especially true when it comes to attractions. In Houston, there are hundreds of cultural institutions, historic sites, and entertainment venues, and as one of the most diverse major cities in the country with no racial majority and over 145 languages spoken, you’re going to need to factor in ample time to sample the slew of international flavors available. We’ve whittled down the 20 must-visit spots to check out based on popularity among locals and connection to the city. While some are fairly predictable, others might surprise you—just like the city itself. Things are gonna get busy in H-town, so fuel up and explore till ya drop.
The best parks in San Antonio
Of all the best things to do in San Antonio, hitting its glorious outdoor spaces, from parks to hiking trails, ranks high on the list. It may be a bold statement, but the park system here is arguably one of the most impressive in the nation. You’ll find one of the oldest parks in the US, sprawling green spaces with archeological sites, extensive water features, and plenty of amenities to boot. South Texas’ delicious weather means that the outdoors can be enjoyed year-round, whether that’s biking or running the trail on cool summer mornings, dragging out the mobile grill for a barbecue on warm spring afternoons, or treating the kids to a winter’s day of breezy fun under the sun. No matter if you’re looking for a secluded spot to destress or a chance for a swim, the best parks in San Antonio are at your service. RECOMMENDED: The best attractions in San Antonio
The best attractions in Austin, Texas right now
It is not just the best sports events, music festivals, and conferences that keep Austin busy year-round; the slew of awesome attractions, restaurants, and live music venues make it a fabulous evergreen destination of fun and frolics. Whether you only have 48 hours to explore or you’re a local looking to be a tourist in your own city, there really is something for everyone and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. And it’s weird and varied. One minute you’ll find yourself sweating it out on the lake, then you’re at a trendy SoCo restaurant. Whatever the occasion, know this: Austin folk are some of the most friendly, open-minded, and welcoming around. You’ll have a swell time (margarita in hand), make some friends, and be hurrying back for more. Let’s go out and get exploring—here’s where to start. RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Austin
The 18 best restaurants in Dallas for 2022
This city is big in a lot of ways, and the culinary scene is no different — the best restaurants in Dallas offer a range well beyond barbeque. Where to begin? The city’s bright young chefs make their mark throughout downtown with international flavors blended with Texan charm and a splash of good design. On the casual front, hip eaters in Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville munch at rustic day-to-night hangouts that serve some of the best brunches in Dallas, along with lethal cocktails. And certainly, the glamorous housewives — dressed to the nines with champagne in hand — lend undeniable status to chic restaurants uptown and in Turtle Creek, too. Whatever your cravings, it’s an exciting time to sample the city’s culinary delights. No, it’s not just brisket and tortillas here — there’s also plenty of room for menus that sparkle with caviar, schnitzel, baba ganoush, and handmade dumplings. Trust us: you’ll need to loosen that belt because you won’t be leaving anything on your plate. Who’s hungry? Here are the very best restaurants in Dallas to eat at right now. RECOMMENDED: the best bars in Dallas
The 20 best hotels in Dallas, Texas
The best thing about Dallas is that everything seems to come in plentiful amounts, not just the portions and pours but also the accommodation options—after all, everything is bigger in Texas! Visitors who appreciate Southern charm and hospitality are in for a treat. The hotel properties in this ever-growing city serve some of the finest sleeps alongside distinct features, phenomenal spas, unbeatable locations (at a fair price), delicious on-site food and drink, and of course, Dallas glamour. This is one of the Texan cities where it is perfectly acceptable to sport that Sunday best in the lobby and go all-out at the lunch table, especially if you choose to be based in uptown. With so much to choose from, selecting the perfect night's snooze may leave you wide awake. We’ve narrowed down the best spots to rest no matter your individual taste. Whether you’re after razor chic interiors, big luxe rooms and pamper corners, or a place to take the afterparty, something in our top 20 should more than do the trick. Recommended: The best restaurants in Dallas
The 20 best things to do in Houston
As the country’s fourth-largest city by population, Houston already has plenty of bodies to keep occupied. That’s especially good news for travelers rolling through town—when it comes to the best things to do in Houston, there’s something for everyone. Take their cultural access alone, with a mind-boggling collection of over 150 museums that range from NASA's Space Center Houston to a museum focused on the history of funerals (yes, you read that right) and massive art exhibitons. There are sprawling outdoor spaces for nature lovers to explore year-round (even in sticky summers) and a brimming restaurant scene that rivals (and some say, thrashes) Dallas and Austin (particularly when it comes to Asian cuisine and brunch). You could call it an embarrassment of riches if it weren’t so darn entertaining here. Whatever your reason for touching down at IAH, the best things to do in Houston will keep you busy—here’s everything to check off your bucket list.
The best Austin experiences to give as gifts
When it comes to a gift for the loved one who has everything, your best bet is going to be an experience. After all, for long-time companions, there are only so many electronics and fragrance sets that can be gifted and enjoyed...before they’re relegated to the back of the closet. It’s no wonder the world’s gone all Marie Kondo and folk are only keeping Facebook for Marketplace. Thankfully, Austin has a ton of stuff to see, do, eat and drink. So why not spark joy with a cherished memory instead of an overpriced trinket? Whether you’re looking for something adrenaline-fueled for your best bud, a relaxing spa day for your newlywed cousin, a cultural treat for your neighbor, or a class to keep your parents busy, we’ve got you covered. Here are all the very best Austin experiences to give as gifts – you can purchase them for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and holidays in Austin, Texas. Recommended: The best things to do in Austin