From Rodeos To Football, Texas Is A Sports Lover’s Mecca

From Rodeos To Football, Texas Is A Sports Lover’s Mecca

Chris Singh
Chris Singh


Picture this. You and the boys are polishing off the last of a top-tier low-and-slow BBQ tasting tray, demolishing all that brisket and pulled pork before you rush to catch a professional rodeo show. 

BBQ and bull riding? You’re in Texas, of course, and you’ve just dialled in an epic week away with your mates in the great Lone Star State, filled with sports, BBQ, road trips and some good ol’ fashioned Texas hospitality.

As you travel across the state, you’ll be making pit stops here and there. Whether that’s a detour to the best bar crawl of your life in Austin, cowboying up at a luxury ranch just outside of Dallas, throwing down at the world’s biggest honky-tonk or floating one of the rivers near San Antonio. 

If it feels like an action movie, that’s because it pretty much is. You’re in your own high-octane adventure when you’ve barrelled into Texas and worked your way through the country’s second-largest state.

Pepper in the thrill and excitement of a professional rodeo show and the community spirit of a football game. Texas is serious about sports, and we daresay there’s no better state for a road trip chock-full of adrenaline. 

You’ve seen all of the TV shows and movies centred on how passionate Texans are about football. That spirit’s been cultivated through years of blood, sweat, tears and triumph and is worth seeing for yourself.

To help, we’ve put together a list of several Texas cities, both big and small, that are essential stops on a wider adventure around the Lone Star State. Strap in because this hit list will take you from rodeos and honky-tonks to luxury ranches and some of the country’s most magnificent football stadiums.

Stop 1: Dallas & Fort Worth

Check-In: The Joule
Eats: Terry Black’s Barbecue, Encina, Fearing’s, Meso Maya
See: Sixth Floor Museum, Reunion Tower, Fort Worth Stockyards
Drinks: Off The Record, HIDE, Billy Bob’s
Sports Venues: AT&T Stadium, San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

We’d recommend using Dallas as your entry point to Texas since Dallas Fort Worth International is one of the most accessible airports in the USA. For those of you based on the East Coast of Australia, Qantas runs daily flights direct to DFW from Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. 

You also have a bit of a trifecta on your hands if you use Dallas as a base for a few days. Fort Worth is just a short drive away, and so is Arlington, both cities you’ll want on your radar if you’re going to squeeze in a mix of sports, food, bars and activities.

Don’t waste a single second once you’re in Dallas. Make sure you’ve got tickets to a Dallas Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It’s about a 30-minute drive between cities, but once you’re there, the atmosphere feels like home.

If you’re a football fan, you already know the deal. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most exciting teams on the NFL roster, having won five Super Bowls and eight NFC Championships over the years. If you’re lucky enough to catch a home game for the boys, then you’ve timed the trip perfectly.

After the game, head on back to Dallas and make a beeline for Deep Ellum. This bustling stretch of hospitality is an eclectic collection of the city’s best bars, restaurants and pubs. Grab some BBQ at Terry Black’s on Main Street before you kick off your first of several Texas bar crawls.

Wake up early the next day and head on out to historic Fort Worth, the cowboy mecca of Texas. 

If you’re hungry, walk on over to the excellent Panther City BBQ and grab a chopped brisket sandwich with a side of banana cake before heading to the main part of town.

The Fort Worth Stockyards feels like it was lifted from the set of a classic western, with swinging-door saloons next to saddle shops and a nearby stadium where you’ll want to watch some professional rodeo as well as the famous Longhorn cattle drive.

Upon sundown, hit up Billy Bob’s. It’s the world’s largest and most exciting honky-tonk, giving you a thick slice of true Texas cowboy culture. There’s even an area for rodeos here so if you missed out during the day, this is your chance. 

On your last day in Dallas, you might want to check out the famous Sixth Floor Museum and see the Grass Knoll for a splash of Texas history.

Stop 2: Wildcatter Ranch

Check-In: Wildcatter Ranch
Do: Longhorn feeding, tomahawk throwing, clay shooting, horse riding, lasso lessons, archery

What’s a sports-themed road trip across Texas if you can’t get in on some of the action yourself? Wildcatter Ranch, located in North Texas Hill Country, is about a two-hour drive outside of Dallas and is one of the state’s most recognisable luxury ranches.

While you’ll spend the night in some stately rooms during your stay, the main reason you’ve come is to play. Hook you and the boys up with some cattle feeding sessions, maybe even some clay shooting, some lasso lessons and horse riding. Also, make sure you get some tomahawk-throwing or archery in to round out your day of adrenaline.

Stop 3: Austin

Check-in: The Driskill
Eats: Franklin Barbecue, Seoulju Korean Kitchen & Bar, Bufalina Due, Quality Seafood Market
See: Texas Capitol, The Paramount Theatre
Drinks: Rainey Street Pub Crawl
Sports Venues: Austin Kayak Polo Club, The Formula 1 Race Track at Circuit of the Americas

Austin doesn’t just turn it on every March for SXSW. This city sports its lively atmosphere year-round and boasts one of the most famous hospitality scenes in the country.

This is where the bar crawl to end all bar crawls should take place. You’ll want to park yourself up at South Congress Avenue and Rainey Street as these two bustling streets are where Austin’s iconic nightlife scene is at its peak. 

If you’ve timed your trip for October, then head on over to the Circuit of The Americas racetrack for the Formula 1. Having one of the world’s biggest sporting events and Austin’s famously diverse bar scene all at your fingertips is a recipe for the best night of your life.

If you want something more hands-on, take a trip to the historic Austin Kayak Polo Club. This intense watersport is exactly as it sounds so set off in a kayak on Lady Bird Lake and follow in the footsteps of Austin’s own kayak polo team, the Austin Aquabats. 

Stop 4: San Antonio

Check-In: Hotel Emma
Eats: Clementine, Best Quality Daughter, Curry Boys BBQ, Mixtli
Drinks: Howl At The Moon, Rathskeller Bar, The Esquire Tavern
See: San Antonio River Walk, The Alamo

You’ve just split your time between sports and partying in Austin so think of San Antonio as a time to rest and digest before you finish up in Houston.

This historic city, most famous for Spanish-style missions like The Alamo, is perfect for exploring Texas’ architectural history and rich cultural past.

Gather your mates and have a night out at the River Walk, a 5.6 km urban waterway lined with bars, restaurants and shops. As one of the most active parts of San Antonio for travellers and locals alike, there’s never a dull moment in this thriving hotspot. But don’t forget to also check out the Ice Houses of Southtown and the historic Pearl district.

You’ve also got highly-regarded restaurants like Curry Boys BBQ – a fusion of Texas BBQ and Southeast Asian curries – as well as Clementine, Mixtli and Best Quality Daughter, spread out around the very walkable city, so pick one or two and get your fill. You’ll need it for the last leg.

Stop 5: Houston

Check-in: La Colombe d’Or Hotel
Eats: Bludorn Restaurant, Flossie’s Barbecue, 93’ Til, Georgia James Tavern, Riel
See: Space Center Houston, Buffalo Bayou
Drinks: Clarkwood, Heights Social, Julep, West Alabama Ice House
Sports Venues: Toyota Center

You’ve made it this far, so post yourself up in one of Texas’ most famous cities for a few days and get ready to play ball. This stop is all about paying homage to the legendary Houston Rockets so the first thing on your radar should be catching a home game at the massive Toyota Center if your schedule aligns.

Make the most of Houston’s love of the NBA because it caps a busy week of spectator sports and competition between mates. When that’s done, keep the theme going by heading to Flossie’s Barbecue to refuel on some tender, smoky ribs.

You wouldn’t be making the most of your time in Houston if you didn’t end it at the iconic Space Center Houston. The first word spoken on the moon was “Houston” after all, so you’ll want this slice of galactic history as part of your Texas trip.

Sounds epic, right? The Great American Road Trip all packed into one week. Now all you’ve got to do is fire up the group chat and get to planning. 

This article is sponsored by Travel Texas. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.

Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.



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