Longhorn Locals: Where the Real Texans Roam
One thing you might find once you relocate to Texas is that the old adage is no exaggeration: everything really is bigger here! You could drive all day long and still not get from one side to the other. Even the Dallas/Fort Worth airport could feel like a day trip just going from terminal to terminal. With such a huge state to traverse, it can seem daunting to find the real, authentic local activities off the beaten tourist paths. It’s not that the more well-traveled attractions aren’t worth seeing – they certainly are! But visiting Texas is a very different thing than living here. You’re a local now. It’s time to start mingling with your new constituency and sink your teeth into where real Lone Star folks like to wander.
What’s most astounding about living in Texas is the surprising diversity of things to do. Natural wonders beckon and can range from the very wet to the very dry. Culinary cravings will just as easily evoke range-fresh Barbeque feasts on a ranch as they well-seasoned Japanese sushi artists in downtown urban centers. Cultural attractions like fairs and rodeos may be more expected than amazing music houses and fine art museums, but it’s all here, all awaiting discovery. And now that you live in this incredible place, it’s time to seek out the more esoteric offerings which Texas has in store for you.
The Great Outdoors
It’s easy to think of Texas as one big dusty place which stretches into forever. But there’s plenty of incredible spots which simply do not match this picture. Take the Texas Hill Country outside of Austin, for example. Just taking a drive through this incredibly scenic area is a surefire people pleaser as the rolling geography yields views of green pastures and wildflowers. Planning a picnic on one of the ranches here is a perfect way to while away a day. Meanwhile, outside of San Antonio, the mesmerizing Lost Maples State Natural Area beckons every fall when the leaves turn colors, creating an eye-popping kaleidoscope of autumn tones which would challenge even New England’s famed season.
But if it’s watersports which are more your thing, seek out some of the many aquatic activities dotted all across Texas. Kayaking the Medina River is one option, following its meandering winding path all the way to Medina Lake and the lovely campgrounds there. There’s also any number of springs feeding what would seem to be unlikely swimming holes throughout the state. In Austin, for example, Barton Springs Pool is a favorite where locals come to cool down right in the heart of the city. Traveling south, you can even enjoy the ocean in places like Corpus Christi.
Texas transplants will be delighted to soak in some of the local culture. Fun destinations can be found in every city. Even though it’s a tourist draw, the River Walk in San Antonio is absolutely a hang out for the folks who live there. Strolling along, it’s easy to avoid the noisy restaurants which draw attention to visitors and find the cool pubs away from the crowds where the local scene is happening. Similarly, the South Congress district in Austin is a lively place where one can browse clothing stores and sample artisan ice creams.
When it comes to entertainment, Austin’s reputation as a major music hub cannot be overstated. Bouncing from one venue to another is a perfect way to treat your ears with more stages than we can count. Meanwhile, San Antonio is home to professional basketball and soccer franchises – and what can get more authentically local than rooting on the home team? These cities and others in Texas are also home to important art museums as well as oddball attractions. Imagine institutions dedicated to everything from Western history to celebrating “the weird.” These are the places that escape the attention of those merely passing through.
That’s Good Eatin’!
If you’re a foodie, you will love living in Texas! Obviously, barbeque is king. Friends will bicker over who makes the best sauce and whose pork falls apart the easiest in the mouth. But being invited to a private cookout is key. That’s when you know you’ve really arrived! Foodies in San Antonio and Austin will also encounter every cuisine imaginable. Discovering favorite eateries from Indian tandoori to Mexican tamales will become a perineal labor of love as long as you reside here.