20 Cities in Texas

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With a rich cultural history and hugely varied natural landscape, Texas is one of the most interesting states to visit in America. Blending world-renowned southern hospitality and cuisine with impressive modern attractions, historic sights and stunning national parks, every bit of Texas is worth exploring.

Covering 268,596 square miles (695,662 square kilometres), over 7% of the United States’ total land area, Texas has plenty of space to fill with a wide array of incredible locations.
From some of America’s most populous metropoli to a wealth of smaller cities, coastal beach towns, and historic inland settlements, the variety you have to choose from in Texas is uniquely diverse.

Whether you’re planning stops along a road-trip exploration of the whole of Texas, or just looking for a central base to spend some vacation time in the lone star state, you’ll definitely be able to find cities in Texas that are ideal for you. From the hundreds of Texas cities spread across the state, I have whittled it down to the best options to consider checking out. So, if you’re struggling to decide where best to spend your time, read on to discover the top contenders. 

Cities in Texas

20 Best Cities In Texas To Visit 

1- Houston

Houston Texas cityscape view from aerial view airplane.
Some of the best cities to live in Texas are the biggest ones like Houston.

With the largest population of any city in Texas and third most in the nation, Houston has exceptional sights, attractions and entertainment options to keep visitors occupied for their stay.

Houston is arguably best known for its famous Space Centre, located in the south of the city and is open for tours. Skip the line and reserve your ticket here.

Art enthusiasts, in particular, will find plenty to love about Houston, from its vibrant Theatre District and plentiful music venues to its numerous galleries and street art.

2- Galveston

Beautiful panoramic aerial view of down town in Galveston with long exposure at night.
Galveston may not be one of the biggest cities in Texas but it sure is one of the most popular for its beaches.

Immediately south of Houston, Galveston is a small island city overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

With its proximity to a bustling metropolis and its stunning coastal location, Galveston is the perfect compromise for anyone who can’t decide between a city break and a beach vacation.

Galveston is designed to be the perfect holiday spot, more of a resort town than a residential city.

The beaches stretch the island’s length and are lined with bars, restaurants and cafes.

There are plenty of family-friendly attractions too, from waterparks and amusement parks to museums and the famous Moody Gardens Aquarium.

You can even explore the 2000 acres (809 ha) of Galveston Island State Park at the island’s west end.

Top tour: Dolphin Sightseeing Tour in Galveston with a guide.

3- Sugar Land

Sugar Land is a small city tucked away to the southwest of Houston.

Its leafy streets are full of family-friendly attractions, like the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Centre and the Museum of Natural Science.

Less crowded and expensive, and with easy access to the larger city, Sugar Land is perfect for families visiting Houston with children.

4- Austin

Downtown Skyline of Austin at dusk
Austin is one of the cool cities in Texas to visit.

The state capital of Texas, Austin, is a colourful city with a vibrant arts scene that sets it apart.

With a large student population, it’s little wonder that Austin is well known for its innovations and eccentricities.

Alongside refined attractions like the Texas Capitol building, you’ll also find the Cathedral of Junk and the Museum of the Weird.

Austin is well known for its incredible live music scene. With particular emphasis on rock, blues, and country, the various venues around the city ensure you can always find a gig or festival to enjoy.

The west side of Austin is also home to several state parks and nature reserves.

It’s a fantastic city for those who like to escape the urban jungle to explore its surroundings easily.

Top tour: Best of Austin Small-Group Driving Tour with local guide.

5- Dallas

Dallas downtown skyline at sunset
Dallas is one of the best cities in Texas if you’re looking for action.

As Texas’ third-largest city, it’s little wonder Dallas is one of the top tourist destinations in the state.

It has all the perks of a major metropolis, with plentiful museums, cutting-edge galleries, shopping, and hospitality that ranges from high-end glitz to laid-back local and an equally varied nightlife scene.

Dallas is one of the USA’s most diverse cities and is home to one of the most significant LGBTQ populations.

The melting pot of cultures and communities has developed into a particularly vibrant town packed with quirky, artsy neighbourhoods and a wonderfully eclectic food scene.

Top tour: JFK Assassination and Museum Tour with Lee Harvey Oswald Rooming House.

6- Denton

Just a couple of miles northwest of Dallas, Denton is a perfect compromise for those who want to explore the bigger city but prefer to stay somewhere more laid-back and closer to nature.

Denton is surrounded by state parks and nature reserves, separated from Dallas by Lewisville Lake.

There is tons to do for anyone who enjoys adventuring in the outdoors.

It also boasts a spooky claim to fame as the home of Old Alton Bridge, a historic iron truss bridge believed to be haunted by a malevolent entity known as the Goatman.

7- Plano

Red Plano with white background, 3D rendering.
If you’re wondering how many small cities are in Texas, just go on a road trip and you’ll see several like Plano.

Plano is a small city immediately north of Dallas.

A popular commuter town, Plano is populated by families who prefer the more suburban vibe and professionals escaping the crowds and rent rates of the bigger city.

Plano is perfect for anyone who wants to explore Dallas but doesn’t like staying in big, overcrowded, overpriced cities.

Public transport lines connect Plano right to the heart of Dallas.

8- Fort Worth

Aerial view of Fort Worth, Texas with view of Trinity River and skyscrapers.
If you’re keen on visiting the main cities in Texas, put Fort Worth on your list.

Fort Worth is a city just west of Dallas that is often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbour.

Fort Worth is a thriving metropolis with all the world-class museums and art galleries, vibrant hospitality, and eclectic entertainment options you would expect from a modern city.

It has a rich Cowboy history and takes pride in this heritage.

If your Texas bucket list includes heading to a rodeo, Fort Worth is the perfect place to check that off.

Alternatively, head to the National Cowgirl Museum for a more sedate introduction to the culture.

Top tour: Stockyards History Tour Fort Worth Pub Crawl.

9- El Paso

city buildings at night
El Paso may not be one of the largest cities in Texas, but it’s popular because it’s a western city in Texas near the Mexico border.

Foodies will want to stop in El Paso.

Located at the border of Texas, New Mexico and Mexico, El Paso has some of the best tex-mex and Mexican food around.

The north of El Paso leads into the Franklin Mountains State Park, so it’s also ideal for anyone who enjoys adventurous activities like hiking or rock climbing.

You can easily escape into the mountains for the day and return in time to take advantage of El Paso’s world-class food scene for dinner.

10- San Antonio

aerial view of San Antonio
San Antonio is one of the top two major cities in Texas and there’s lots to see.

With a rich history and colourful modern culture, San Antonio is an excellent choice for anyone travelling to or through Texas.

It’s a particularly picturesque city, packed with museums and galleries and historic Spanish architecture.

The River Walk winds through the city centre, combining natural beauty and contemporary art installations with copious bars and restaurants.

Its best-known attraction is the Alamo, the site of one of the most famous battles of the Texas Revolution.

The Alamo is right at the heart of San Antonio.

Top tours:

11- Corpus Christi

sunset in Corpus Christi through the buildings
One of the popular coastal cities in Texas is Corpus Christi, which is popular for beaches and parks.

Corpus Christi is another of Texas’ glistening coastal cities and one of the best destinations for a beach vacation.

Corpus Christi Bay is sheltered from the Gulf of Mexico by Mustang Island, which helps to keep the waters of the city’s various beaches and marina wonderfully calm.

The city provides the perfect balance of urban convenience and natural beauty.

You can split your time between browsing museums and galleries, relaxing on the beaches, and exploring the landscapes of Mustang Island State Park and the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve.

12- Lubbock

Home to Texas Tech University, Lubbock is a bustling college town with a vibrant nightlife catering to its student population.

There are tons of bars and music venues to spend your evenings in.

During the day, you have an impressive array of museums and galleries to browse.

Lubbock’s main claim to fame is it’s the home city of legendary rock and roll musician Buddy Holly.

There are various attractions in his honour dotted about the city, including a park and the dedicated Buddy Holly Centre.

He also has a statue on the Lubbock Walk of Fame, where you can find plaques dedicated to various other notable local musicians.

13- Amarillo

amarillo street at night
Amarillo is another interesting city in Texas to explore.

One of the northernmost cities in Texas, Amarillo is midway between New Mexico and Oklahoma, settled at the junction between several major highways.

As such, it makes for a great stopping point on a road trip and boasts some quirky attractions to keep you entertained whilst you’re there.

The Cadillac Ranch, in particular, is worth stopping by to marvel at the heavily graffitied Cadillacs half-buried in the ground.

14- Fredericksburg

Much of Texas has a Latin influence, but Fredericksburg has retained the hallmarks of the German settlers who founded the city.

You can see this influence in the town’s historic buildings, like the Vereins Kirche church, 19th century County Jail, and the buildings of the Pioneer Museum complex.

The town’s heritage is also apparent through its hospitality and wealth of German bakeries and cafes.

Of course, Fredericksburg also hosts its annual Oktoberfest celebrations, during which the city’s various pubs and beer gardens burst into even more life than usual.

Top tour: Fredericksburg Historic District Narrated Trolley Tour.

15- San Angelo

San Angelo is a compact inland city set along the Concho River and the shores of Lake Nasworthy.

This little city is perfect if you’re looking for a laid-back, local town with an understated artsy vibe.

Its natural landscape, public parks, and painstakingly restored historic buildings lend the city a uniquely charming atmosphere.

The renowned freshwater pearls sourced from the Concho River make ideal souvenirs and you’ll find plenty of stores around the city specialising in crafts and jewellery showcasing the Concho pearls.

16- Laredo

Red clerical needle on a map of USA, Texas and the capital Austin.
Looking for big cities in Texas? Check out Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.

Laredo is another border town, in the south of Texas, just across the Rio Grande from the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo.

Even among other border towns, Laredo has a particularly prominent Hispanic population which has left a distinctive mark on the city’s architecture, culture and cuisine.

With a great mix of culture-rich museums, family-friendly attractions, and stunning natural spaces, Laredo is an excellent choice for families.

This is particularly true since various assessors have ranked Laredo among the safest cities in the U.S.A.

17- Wichita Falls

This unassuming little city in north Texas is home to a surprising number of unique attractions that make it well worth stopping by for a day or two.

Among the city’s sights to look out for are the Newby-McMahon building, which holds the title of World’s Littlest Skyscraper, and the eponymous Wichita Waterfalls themselves.

18- Odessa

Odessa is another small city with lots of hidden treasures.

When exploring the town, keep your eyes peeled for the thirty-seven jackrabbit statues scattered throughout the streets or the replica of Stone Henge, which sits at the University of Texas campus.

If you head about a mile west of the city, you’ll come across the Odessa Meteor Crater.

The second-largest in the United States, the crater also has a museum where you can view fragments of the meteor themselves.

19- McAllen

One of the southernmost cities on this list, McAllen is a fantastic choice if you’re chasing the sun. McAllen has a particularly laid-back, residential atmosphere, popular with retirees and those looking to escape the rat race.

During the day, you will have plenty of shopping streets and malls, historic locations, and cultural museums to keep you busy. By evening, McAllen is a thriving hub of nightlife.

Many bars and entertainment venues keep the city lively until after dark.

20- Alpine

Big Bend National Park is one of Texas’ top natural attractions, but it can be challenging to get to, with no major cities nearby.

Alpine is one of the best places to stay for those planning to explore the park, located on a road leading to the heart of the park.

It has all the amenities you’ll need for a comfortable stay, with plenty of restaurants and hotels to pick from and a museum dedicated to the park. 

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Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.