Keep the Rodeo Fun Going in Houston

Keep the Rodeo Fun Going in Houston

Put some polish on those boots and keep that shiny silver belt buckle and vintage bolo tie. It’s still rodeo time. Following the Feb. 9-26 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo opens Feb. 28 with a concert by Texas country singer-songwriter Parker McCollum.

Founded in 1931, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo emerged after seven men met for lunch at the Texas State Hotel with the goal of building and preserving the dying cattle industry along the southeast Texas coast. Since then, the expo, fair, and expo has not only gotten bigger, but it’s also continued to bring a 10-gallon hat and lasso-twisting vibe to Houston’s otherwise urban personality. Still the best in driving competition, the cattle show and rodeo at the massive NRG Stadium is also much more. It attracts about 3 million visitors to its contests, rodeos, exhibitions, parades, concerts and elite wine auctions, among other activities.

Along with McCollum’s show, opening day this year will feature other local bands, special giveaways (think: 10,000 personalized Howdy heads for early-comers) and a brilliant parade on the NRG Park grounds. It runs until March 19 with family-friendly activities that range from bull riding and horse shows to jaw-dropping barbecues and a surprise wine garden filled with top-notch international wines. Don’t miss the livestock competitions, where countless breeds (including alpaca and sheep dogs) compete for big cash prizes.

Go to: Travel 195 miles east on I-10.

Stay: Indulge in The Post Oak, a luxury downtown Houston hotel with a stellar spa (an ideal retreat after watching those chariot races). Bring your pooch as the hotel pampers them with loving amenities, such as a dedicated doggie menu.

Eat: You’ll have plenty of barbecue at the rodeo, so in your time away, make it to Hugo’s for its award-winning in-house Mexican cuisine and margaritas.

Do: Balance your rodeo trip with an afternoon in the Museum District, which features 19 sites, from the Houston Holocaust Museum and the Houston Museum of African American Culture to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Houston Museum of Natural Science .

+5 more Texas destinations to visit

Canyons and Trailway State Park

Caprock Canyon is often overshadowed by its better-known neighbor Palo Duro Canyon, but the park’s under-the-radar status is all the more reason to put it on your list. Inside, find hiking and horseback riding trails to explore, ranger-led programs, swimming, fishing, and wake-free boating on Lake Theo.

The “European” cities of Texas

Dismiss any expectation that visiting one of these communities will resemble a trip to their European counterparts, but stop by the next time you’re near Dallas to snap an Instagram photo and support local businesses. Paris is located near the Texas-Oklahoma border. Stop at the little Eiffel Tower with a cowboy hat perched on top. Athens is 73 miles southeast of Dallas. While it bears little resemblance to Greece, you can visit a scuba park or the Texas Freshwater Fishing Center, which is managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife. In Dublin, 120 miles southwest of Dallas, you’ll find the Veldhuizen cheese shop plus a Celtic gift shop and giant shamrock and “Welcome to Dublin” murals.


Established during the oil boom of 1901, Beaumont is a great hub for exploring the Big Thicket National Preserve. There’s also Cattail Marsh, a 900-acre wetland with a boardwalk, hiking trails and special events. Learn about the oil boom in an interactive way at the Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum.

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