12 Quirky Attractions in Texas
As the second largest state in our country, the Lone Star State has enough square feet for visitors to find any kind of attraction, landscape or site imaginable. From a house covered in aluminum cans to a larger-than-life talking cowboy statue, check out these unexpected Texas finds.
By: Jennifer Frazier
Photo By: Jerod Foster
A Texas-Sized Welcome in Dallas
There’s no better mascot to represent Dallas than the iconic Big Tex. Serving as the cowboy-hat and boots-wearing representative of the annual State Fair of Texas (held every September and October), this 55-foot figure has been a legend since 1952, welcoming fair visitors with the words, "Howdy folks, I’m Big Tex." Photo courtesy of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Moving the Herd in Fort Worth
The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is the section of Fort Worth that gave the city its nickname of "Cowtown." While Fort Worth is known for its modern museums, it’s perhaps best known for the Stockyard’s twice-daily (at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) cattle drive, which is the world’s only one (yes, the entire world). Photo courtesy of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A Toast to Home in Houston
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! estimated that more than 50,000 beer cans cover this home, one of Houston’s quirkiest attractions. Featuring exhibits and a short film inside the house, this collection, which was started in 1968 by retired upholsterer John Milkovisch, is one of the best modern examples of recycling. Photo courtesy of Visit Houston.
Ooh-La-La Lone-Star Style in Paris
It makes sense that the Texas city named Paris decided to pay homage to its European sister by building a 65-foot replica of France’s beloved Eiffel Tower. Many other cities in the United States have done the same, including Paris, Tennessee, and Las Vegas, Nevada, but those towers aren't topped with a giant red cowboy hat like you’ll find in the Lone Star State. Photo courtesy of Sam Craft.
A Musical Celebration in Austin
One of the largest music festivals in the state is held in the state’s capital of Austin, whose official motto is "Live Music Capital of the World." Held annually over two weekends in October, the Austin City Limits Music Festival attracts all genres of musicians and is inspired by the PBS concert series of the same name. Photo courtesy of Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.
An Artistic Treat in Waco
While many travelers think of Waco as the halfway point between Dallas and Austin, there are actually many reasons to stop here, including this relatively unknown artistic gem. Located in the Armstrong Browning Library on the Baylor University campus is a collection of 62 stained glass windows, which illustrate poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and are believed to be the largest array of secular stained glass in the world. Photo courtesy of Waco & the Heart of Texas.
A Very Merry City in Grapevine
Grapevine isn’t called the Christmas Capital of Texas by accident. The city of Grapevine is purely magical, especially during the holiday season when the city hosts more than 1,400 events, including a train ride to the North Pole, visits from Santa, a boat parade on Lake Grapevine and a tree lighting ceremony — all in 40-plus days. Photo courtesy of The Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A Swampy Surprise in Uncertain
Filled with moss-covered trees and gators, Caddo Lake, located on the border between Texas and Louisiana, features the largest cypress forest in the world. As the only natural lake in the state, this 25,400-acre outdoor gem is anchored in the Texas city of Uncertain, but one thing’s for sure: it’s one of the coolest hidden surprises in Texas. Photo courtesy of Marion County Chamber of Commerce and Gary Endsley.
Remembering a Legend in Lubbock
Pay homage to the voice behind "That’ll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue" at the museum named after singer and songwriter Buddy Holly. Located in Lubbock’s Historic Depot Entertainment District, the Buddy Holly Center features a permanent exhibit of photos and memorabilia, and, of course, those horn-rimmed glasses. Photo courtesy of Visit Lubbock.
Roadside Art in Amarillo
When you hear the word "art," do paintings on a wall come to mind? If so, prepare to be surprised by this one-of-a-kind and truly Texan art installation and roadside attraction. Created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, Cadillac Ranch features junk automobiles in the Texas Panhandle. Photo courtesy of Kenny Braun.
High Fashion Way Out West in Valentine
Part fascinating, part eerie, this fake Prada store is considered a museum, but really exists as more of a roadside fascination. Sitting on Interstate-90 between Marfa and Valentine, this is the best, if not only, spot to see luxury fashion mingle with tumbling tumbleweeds. Photo courtesy of Kenny Braun.
Taking the Plunge in San Antonio
Remembering the Alamo might be the first thing that comes to mind when visiting San Antonio, but don't overlook the Toilet Seat Art Museum, an unusual – yet fascinating – attraction that displays toilet seats decorated by retired plumber Barney Smith. Housed in the 93-year-old owner’s garage are more than 1,000 seats that cover the ceiling and walls, with themes ranging from Christmas to cosmetic dentistry. Photo courtesy of San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau.