TEXAS HOLIDAYS

5431 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215, USA

The name Texas comes from the native American Caddo word Tejas, which means friends. Thus, the state’s motto is a simple one; ‘Friendship’, which is quite appropriate as the state welcomes countless visitors every year. ‘The Lone Star’ is a commonly heard nickname for Texas which is derived from the fact that the state was once a republic unto itself, up until its integration into the American Union in 1845. To this day, people still remark at how Texas feels like its own country, rather than a part of a much larger one, such is the uniqueness of its landscapes, culture and people.
Texas is the second largest state in the United States in terms of both overall size and total population. In fact, it is about 10% larger than the country of France and almost twice the size of Germany. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the state itself is a testament to that trail of thought!

Texas is the second largest state by size and population. It has 3,700 streams, 15 major rivers and over 100 artificial reservoirs. It divides into 10 climatic regions, – some very dramatic! Thunderstorms often hit the north and east – check out Tornado Alley. Texas is home to 65 species of mammals, 213 species of reptiles and amphibians, and a huge diversity of bird life. Houston, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso and Dallas are its most notable cities. Dallas of course reminds those of a certain age of the eponymous TV series with JR, ‘The Poison Dwarf’, digging for oil and cattle ranching. The last two are not fiction! Austin prides itself on being The Live Music Capital of the World. Associated with the Cowboy and Cattle, Texas is also nicknamed the ‘Lone Star,’ referencing its former status as an independent republic, and acts as a reminder of the state’s struggle of independence from Mexico. Another popular expression is ‘everything is bigger in Texas’ and mostly it is!

Sharing a name with a long-running iconic TV show, Dallas is the 9th most populous urban centre in the United States of America, and is home to a population upwards of 1.3 million people as well as a thriving economy. Dallas is the third most prominent destination is America as far as business travel is concerned. A centre for Dallas-based business is the massive, one million square foot, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, one of the busiest convention centres in all of America.

In terms of events that are worth travelling over to see, Dallas has a great many. The most famous of these is the State Fair of Texas, which has been held in Fair Park every year since 1886. So big is the State Fair, that it is believed to bring in a whopping $350 million to the city’s economy each and every year.

Other exciting Dallas-based events worth checking out include the Mexican-American Cinco de Mayo, which is held on the 5th of May and celebrates Mexican-style culture in a huge, largely street-based party. Halloween is another fantastic time to visit Dallas, as there are all sorts of spooky goings on taking place, including the Downtown Dallas Arts District Zombie Walk and the Cedar Springs Road Halloween Parade.

Dallas also has a pro team for all of the major American sports. The most famous of these is surely the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, but there are plenty of other teams to take a look at including the Texas Rangers (baseball), FC Dallas (soccer), the Stars (ice hockey) and the Mavericks (basketball). So if you every fancy taking in a game, Dallas is the place to go!

Austin is the capital city of Texas and the fastest growing large city in all of America, with close to one million people calling it their home. It is second only to Phoenix, Arizona in terms of overall size of an American state capital.

While Dallas is seen as Texas’ economic hot spot, Austin is most certainly the beating cultural heart of the state, calling itself “The Live Music Capital of the World”, with more music venues per capita than any other city in the United States. Major annual music festivals include the Austin City Limits Music Festival, the Urban Music Festival and the Fun Fun Fun Music festival, which boasts an eclectic mix of hip-hop, heavy metal and stand-up comedy!

The efforts of the University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio Television-Film have brought many movie studios to the area and, as a result, many famous films have been shot here.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Miss Congeniality, Sin City, the Coen Brothers’ True Grit, Idiocracy and the School of Rock are all among the great movies which have, at least in part, been filmed on location in or around Austin.

With a population of roughly two and a quarter million people, Houston is the largest city in the Southern United States and fourth most populous city in all of America. Nicknamed ‘Space City’, Houston is a renowned bastion of scientific thinking and discovery thanks to learning institutions such as the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre and the thriving museum district which attracts upward of 8 million tourists per year.

The Houston Museum of Natural Sciences contains all manner of wonderful displays, including the much loved Morian Hall of Palaeontology which is curated by legendary palaeontologist Robert T. Bakker, who is often credited as being the main instigator of the Dinosaur Renaissance. Among the upward of 60 awesome prehistoric creatures on display are the multi-horned Triceratops, no less than four Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons and Quetzalcoatlus, which is probably the largest animal ever to have mastered powered flight (its wingspan is nearly 40 feet across)! Visitors can take a guided tour of the dinosaur hall and take part in a fully interactive mock dino dig.

For an altogether more surreal, and somewhat macabre, museum experience, be sure to pay a visit to the National Museum of Funeral History. Located close to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, this truly unique museum contains all sorts of unusual artefacts, including the original Popemobile (it’s a legitimate term – look it up!) as driven by Pope John Paul the 2nd.

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