The State Fair of Texas has come & gone. Did you partake in the fun this year? As something that was high on our “Texas Bucket List,” our visit to Dallas and trip to the fair was so much fun … that I’m ready to make it a yearly tradition! Today I’m sharing details on our recent trip, plus a few tips on how to navigate the State Fair of Texas like a pro … even if it is your very first time. (There’s no such thing as planning too far in advance, right!?) Head on down below for more!
The State Fair of Texas is held every fall for 24 straight days, from late September to late October. With live music, rides, attractions, games and over 100 different shows, the state fair has something fun for everyone. (Especially foodies!) This non-profit organization promotes agriculture, education and community involvement by providing a family-friendly atmosphere for all Texans to enjoy.
Located in the heart of Dallas, the fair is just a few hours away for most Texans. We headed up to Dallas on a Friday night and grabbed tacos at Taco Diner. (So good btw & the atmosphere was really fun!) After dinner, we nestled into our cozy room at the Westin Dallas Downtown before waking up bright & early to head to the fair.
Tip #1: Arrive Early!!
If you have plans to visit the State Fair of Texas, my number one tip would be to arrive anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half before it opens. You can park, scan your ticket and even explore the fairgrounds all before the day officially begins. This also makes for a great time to grab a picture with the famous “Big Tex” statue that has been a fixture at the fair for over 50 years. (Fun fact, Big Tex was originally a statue of Santa Clause! The statue was altered and then dressed in a Western shirt, a pair of real blue jeans and Lucchese boots. Fitting for a Texas cowboy, right!?)
Tip #2: Try as Much of the Food as You Can (within reason)
Fair food was what I was most excited about. (Naturally.) As soon as the park opened, we headed to the Fletcher’s Corn Dog stall for deep fried hot dogs dripping in tangy yellow mustard. It’s a combination like no other … that we couldn’t resist snacking on throughout the day!
While the fair is dotted with traditional fair food, cotton candy, funnel cake turkey legs & what not, you can also find many other innovative and delectable (fried) treats too. We munched on fried falafel balls, chicken sliders & more. Signs for fried butter, fried oreos and even fried fruit loops passed us by while exploring the park. My only regret is that we didn’t try one of each! If you’re a better foodie than me, each year you can check out the Big Tex Choice Awards for the newest & most noteworthy treats the fair has to offer. PS: How fabulous does that Gulf Coast Fish Bowl Look?! (And I’m really not even sure what it is!)
Tip 3# Master the Midway in the Morning
We all know that fall in Texas feels like what summer does in the majority of the country. With that said, on a bright & sunny day, it is going to get hot hot hot at the fair! Make sure to master the midway in the morning for several reasons. You’ll not only beat the crowds (and the lines that come with them) but the area is also shaded with tents, tarps & large awnings, making for a very pleasant early morning stroll.
Tip #4 Beat the Afternoon Heat at the Indoor Exhibits
Once that Texas sun does start to bear down and you think you can’t take it anymore, head on over to the indoor exhibits. Not only will you be treated to an icy cool blast of AC, but an eclectic range of artistry & homemade goodies also await you. From hand-stitched quilts, lifesize statues sculpted from butter to jars upon jars of award-winning jam, it seems that almost anything & everything from all across the Lone Star State comes to the fair’s exhibit halls to be judged and displayed.
Don’t forget to stop by and see the livestock! You can get up close & personal with as many longhorns as you’d like … that is, if you want to! 😉
Tip #5 Find Yourself an Oasis
One of my favorite things about the State Fair of Texas was Trio on the Green. It was like our own little shady oasis. Nestled underneath several giant oak trees were chairs, tables & even swings! Plus, the craft beer, sliders & twisted tater tot offerings nearby were too good to resist. We would come here, park the stroller, rest our feet and order a round of food to munch on while we entertained Annie.
One thing that we didn’t do much of this year that I most certainly want to take advantage of in the future is the rides! Annie was just a bit too little for us to feel comfortable really going on many. But I did have my eye on those swan boats, that’s for sure!
The Rest of Our Stay in Dallas
While the State Fair was the main reason for our visit, Patrick and I had never been to Dallas together before so we really wanted to get out & explore as a family.
We stayed at The Westin Dallas Downtown and it was honestly PERFECT! The location couldn’t’ have been better. We could walk just a few blocks away for a bite to eat and fair was a quick drive on Saturday morning. Our room was also spacious enough for Annie’s crib and even had a little living area for her to crawl all around in.
On Sunday morning, we ventured out for breakfast tacos. On our way to the taco joint, we strolled through Klyde Warren Park which is such a gorgeous urban green space & a must visit when in Dallas. Food trucks line one side while the other side has a fabulous playground, a ping pong court & even a spot to play chess.
We could have spent all morning here if those tacos weren’t calling our names!
PS: If you ever go to La Ventana in downtown Dallas, make sure you get a churro in addition to your taco. The best way to describe a churro is a baked cinnamon stick filled with warm oohey-goohey deliciousness, almost like caramel but not quite. They really were the perfect treat!
Shop the Look:
Taqueria La Ventana also has some fun Southwestern-inspired “street art” which made the fashion blogger inside of me quite happy! Naturally, I had to snap a picture of my outfit of the day. PS: these slip-on shoes by Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn are still on sale and are SO comfortable for being on your feet for a while. Plus they go with just about everything. (Including this graphic tee & skirt combo I cannot stop wearing!)
But anyway, after tacos we walked across downtown Dallas to Dealy Plaza to visit The Sixth Floor Museum. The Sixth Floor Museum is inside the old Texas Schoolbook Depository building and it chronicles the life, death, and assassination of JFK. It was pretty powerful stuff for a Sunday morning, but a fascinating glimpse into history nonetheless. I definitely recommend a visit to this museum if you find yourself in Dallas anytime soon.
Our short weekend trip was action packed and made for the perfect little escape from our typical weekend routine. Even if the State Fair isn’t in session, there is SO much to do in Dallas. Be sure to check out this post, this post & this post before you visit! If you can’t tell already, I have a thing for our Dallas neighbors. 😉
Big thank you to Visit Dallas for the lovely weekend! As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks to you guys for supporting the brands that make Lone Star Looking Glass possible.