Where to go: Need to save gas money? A great road trip is less than a hour away. You don’t even have to drive, as the Trinity Railway Express takes you to downtown Dallas for free with your student ID.
Grab a corn dog at the great State Fair of Texas or gaze in awe at the “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs” exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. The rest of the museum is worth a visit as well, with pieces from all over the world, including the famous Icebergs painting by Frederic Edwin Church.
If art isn’t your thing, visit the Dallas World Aquarium at 1801 N. Griffin Street. Admission is rather steep ($18.95, according to the aquarium’s official Web site), but well worth it, including a walk-through rainforest and the popular penguin exhibit.
For history buffs, there’s the Sixth Floor Museum (411 Elm Street). Experience the events of November 22, 1963, through the permanent exhibit, as well as through a special exhibit running through Oct. 19 with home movies from that day by ordinary citizens, including the famous Zapruder film, according to the museum’s official Web site.
If you feel the need to get away from the city, White Rock Lake Park, centrally located at 8300 East Lawther Drive, features a 9.33-mile hiking and biking trail and fishing piers for catfish, sunfish and bass fishing, according to the Dallas Park and Recreation Web site. Located nearby is The Dallas Arboretum (8525 Garland Road.) If The Great Pumpkin Festival, which includes a 15-foot house made of pumpkins, according to the Arboretum’s Web site, can’t get you into the fall spirit, nothing will.
What to eat: The West End offers a variety of dining options for any appetite or price range. Just four blocks down from the aquarium is the original Spaghetti Warehouse (1815 N. Market) located in, you guessed it, a former warehouse. Or if your tastes run spicier, both in food and entertainment, Gator’s Croc & Roc (1714 Market Street) offers Cajun and Tex-Mex selections as well as a rooftop patio and nightly entertainment.
Where to stay: For the whole “Dallas” experience, head about 25 minutes north to the Southfork Hotel in Plano. The full-service hotel, a sister property to the ranch made famous by the TV series, offers 280 oversized rooms including 12 suites, according to the hotel’s Web site. You can even purchase a package for $199 that includes a tour of the ranch for two, according to the site.
– Valerie Hannon, features editor
What to do: Just a four-hour drive down I-35 will bring fall-breakers to one of the most unique and vibrant cities Texas has to offer.
San Antonio has a ton of great attractions, including two of the top tourist destinations in Texas, the Alamo and the River Walk in central downtown.
This year’s Oktoberfest, a street fair held at the Beethoven Halle und Garten in downtown, will be happening this Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m.-12 a.m. with live German music, food, crafts and of course, beer. Tickets are $5 at the gate.
Also home to Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the 240-acre Friedrich Wilderness Park, with more than five miles of difficulty-coded hiking trails and the Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio has something for everyone.
With so much to see and do, it’s easy to overlook an attraction, but visitors may not want to miss the Tower of the Americas – a 750-foot tall tower with a restaurant, observation deck with panoramic views of the city, a 4D theater and a 500 foot elevator shaft with a glass-walled elevator.
Where to stay: The River Walk is lined with hotels that are right in the heart of the city. Most are very nice but can be pricey. Where you stay will depend on your budget.
The Drury Inn and Suites and the Drury Plaza Hotel, both on the River Walk, are three-star hotels, and the average price is $176 per night.
Bargain hunters might try the Hill Country Inn and Suites at 2383 N.E. Loop 410. The rooms are clean and the average nightly rate is significantly less at $73 per night.
Where to eat: For a nice evening on the town try Boudro’s on the River Walk. They serve steak and seafood, Cajun, Creole and International cuisine. It’s the perfect place for a romantic dinner, but expensive. Dinner plates run $20-$40.
For the best hamburger ever, don’t miss Chris Madrid’s Nachos and Burgers at 1900 Blanco Road. They have been named best burger in San Antonio seven times in a row and were featured in Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the best in Texas. Burgers come in regular and macho (but the regular is plenty big) and cost $5-$6.
– Katie Martinez, staff reporter