Texas

The Lone Star State


Texas is located in the South Central United States and borders Mexico to the south. It is the second largest state in the country. The weather is dry and very hot during the summer, and warm but milder during the rest of the year. Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy. Texan people are known for their generosity, hospitality and unique accent. Major points-of-interest include the Capital City of Austin (known as the live Music capital of the world), Houston (the largest city and home to NASA), Dallas, the historic city of Galveston, the Alamo in San Antonio (an important historical site), the Big Bend National Park and much more. To travel around the state, you will need to rent a car, book a bus or train ticket. For more information visit: traveltex.com.

Jump to: Historical Sites & Tourist Attractions | Arts & Culture | Sports & Recreation | Outdoor Activities | Food | Local Festivals | Housing Resources | Transportation | Health & Safety | Help Your Community

Historical Sites & Tourist Attractions

Add some local history to your cultural exchange experience by visiting a nearby historical site or tourist attraction when living and working in the U.S.

Historical Sites and Tourist Attractions in Texas

Austin and Hill Country

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin tells the “Story of Texas” with interactive exhibits, an IMAX theater, artifacts, events and guided tours about the history and culture of the Lone Star state.

The Frontier Times Museum is an eclectic collection of pioneer, Old West and Native American artifacts in Bandera.

The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg honors those who fought in the Pacific in World War II. Exhibits, aircraft, tanks and other artifacts are on display at the museum, and special history events and programs are often held on weekends.

Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Dallas Zoo, Dallas World Aquarium and Legoland are a few of the popular tourist attractions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas is dedicated to the legacy of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The museum contains artifacts, exhibits, film and photographs about JFK and special programs and events are often held throughout the year.

The Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth holds many military artifacts, objects and personal items from those who fought in the American Civil War.

El Paso and Big Bend Country

The Museum of Big Bend in Alpine displays Native American artifacts and other objects to explain the history of the Big Bend region.

In Odessa, the Presidential Museum and Leadership Library is a collection of exhibits and artifacts dedicated to past and present Presidents of the United States, First Ladies, Vice Presidents and presidential candidates.

The Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site near Comstock contains prehistoric Native American rock paintings and one of the oldest cave dwellings in North America which can be seen on guided hikes of the park.

Houston and Gulf Coast

Battleship Texas State Historic Site in LaPorte is home to the first battleship memorial in the U.S. Visitors can also see the San Jacinto Battleground, Monument and history museum, which are located on the same site as the Battleship Texas.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a popular science museum with exhibits, a planetarium, butterfly garden and large screen theater. Special exhibits and events are often held at the museum, such as lectures, classes and workshops.

Space Center Houston teaches visitors about NASA’s manned space program through exhibits, presentations, special tours and interactive activities.

Panhandle Plains

The Amarillo Zoo is a small zoo with 60 animals on display, including an African lion, North American black bear, bison, coyote and many reptiles. Nearby, Thompson Park has picnic areas, walking trails, playgrounds, lakes and tennis facilities.

The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian in Amarillo is dedicated to the cultures of the Pueblos and Plains Indians. Artifacts at the museum include paintings, crafts and bronze castings. Visitors can also see native dances in the museum’s performance area.

The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon looks back on the past 14,000 years of Texas history, including exhibits on pioneer life, Southwest art, the oil industry in Texas and Plains Indians.

San Antonio and South Texas Plains

The Alamo is one of the most well known historical sites in Texas and the site of a famous battle in the Texas Revolution. The landmark now represents 300 years of Texas history and can be visited for free.

The Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio focuses on the multicultural heritage of Texas and groups like immigrants, Native Americans and various ethnic groups.

Presidio la Bahia is a restored fort and museum with artifacts from major battles that once took place in the region. It is also one of the best-preserved presidios, or Spanish forts, in the United States.

Tour Companies

Austin and Hill Country

El Paso and Big Bend Country

Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Houston and Gulf Coast

Panhandle Plains

San Antonio and South Texas Plains

Texas Tourism Websites

Arts & Culture

The United States offers a wide variety of cultural learning opportunities through the arts. Dance, music, theater, opera, art museums and festivals are just some of the options available to international visitors who wish to experience the U.S. and its culture.

Arts and Culture in Texas

Austin and Hill Country

The Austin Museum of Art has two locations, The Jones Center and Laguna Gloria, displaying contemporary art exhibitions and holding special events like lectures, cultural workshops and films.

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin has a collection of 17,000 paintings, prints and drawings from European painters and contemporary American and Latin American artists.

The Museum of Western Art in Kerrville is dedicated to contemporary Western artists and often includes exhibits on topics like Native Americans, ranches, women of the West and cowboys.

Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Dallas Museum of Art contains over 22,000 works of art, including art from the ancient Americas, Africa, South Asia; European and American art, paintings and sculpture; and contemporary art. Special exhibits, events and educational programs are also available to international visitors throughout the year.

Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth has a small collection of international art dating from the third millennium B.C. to 20th century contemporary art.

The National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame in Fort Worth honors the women of the Old West, such as Annie Oakley, Patsy Cline and Laura Ingalls Wilder, with exhibits, artifacts, photography and a hall of fame.

El Paso and Big Bend Country

Marfa is a well-known arts community in Big Bend Country known for its art galleries, architecture and mysterious Marfa lights. Visitors may also enjoy the contemporary and modern art collection at the Chinati Foundation art museum.

The El Paso Museum of Art is home to artworks from 12th-18th century Europe, contemporary Southwest, North America and pre-Columbian periods. Special exhibits, programs, concerts and films are also held at the museum.

Browse a list of artists and art galleries in the Big Bend region.

Houston and Gulf Coast

The Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont hosts 8 to 10 exhibits during the year and displays a permanent collection of about 1,000 works of art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including paintings, sculptures, photographs and decorative arts.

The Galveston Arts Center displays contemporary art with a focus on artists living and working in Texas. Admission is free.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is a cultural complex with two museums, a library, visitor center, café, sculpture garden, movie theater and two arts schools. It is one of the largest museums in the U.S. and contains diverse works of art from around the world.

Panhandle Plains

Amarillo Museum of Art at Amarillo College is a free museum with visual art, an outdoor sculpture garden and a collection of Asian art. Special events like live concerts and night exhibits are also available to visitors.

The Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Symphony and Lone Star Ballet are based at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Amarillo.

Cadillac Ranch is an iconic outdoor sculpture and public art installation. Ten Cadillac cars are buried in a wheat field outside Amarillo, and visitors are welcome to paint and decorate the cars.

San Antonio and South Texas Plains

International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) in McAllen features interactive science exhibits and works of art, including fine art, folk art and decorative art. Visitors may also enjoy cultural events and educational programs at IMAS.

McNay Art Museum in San Antonio maintains a collection of contemporary and early art, including medieval and Renaissance art, prints and drawings, Southwest art, glass art and 19th and 20th century art.

The San Antonio Museum of Art displays works of art from many San Antonio and Texas-based artists along with collections from Latin America, Asia, Europe, Greek and Roman eras, and North America.

International visitors can see further information on San Antonio's arts and culture in San Antonio page.

Sports & Recreation

Football is one of the most popular sports in Texas and many residents are passionate supporters of professional, college or even high school teams. Many other sports are also watched at a professional and college level.

Professional Sports

College Sports

Some of the top college sports teams in Texas include:

For tickets to professional sports games in Texas, check the team websites above. Tickets may also be available on the following websites:

Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world. Held in late February to early March, the rodeo attracts millions of visitors and includes live music, livestock competitions, rodeo events, a carnival, shopping and much more.

International visitors can see real cowboys in action at the Stockyards Championship Rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth. This weekly event has activities like bull-riding, barrel racing, calf roping and a Wild West Show.

Outdoor Activities

The United States is home to a variety of landscapes and climates to suit all types of outdoor activities. The courageous traveler can find extreme sports and outdoor adventure tours, while others may want to keep both feet on the ground in a national park or forest. Whatever your interests, take advantage of the many outdoor activities available during your time in the United States.

Austin and Hill Country

The Barton Springs Pool is a popular Austin spot for year-round swimming in Zilker Park.

Cave Without a Name in Boerne is a limestone cave that has been marked as a National Natural Landmark. Visitors can tour the cave and, during certain times of year, see music concerts.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a public botanical garden devoted to native plants. Exhibits, educational programs, events and tours are available at the gardens.

Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Seven miles of hiking trails are available at Cedar Ridge Preserve in Dallas. Visitors can also enjoy picnic tables, wildlife viewing and a butterfly garden.

The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens houses 21 specialty gardens and over 2,500 species of plants. It is a popular spot for guided tours and outdoor picnics.

Try horseback riding and trail rides at Stockyard Stables in Fort Worth. Rides are available for all ages and include rides along the Trinity River trail.

El Paso and Big Bend Country

Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande is one of the largest and most remote national parks in the state and home to almost 2,000 types of plants and animals. The park covers the entire southwestern tip of Texas and is a popular site for camping, walking tours, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking and rafting.

The Big Bend Ranch State Park is the largest state park in Texas, including two mountain ranges and 300,000 acres of the Chihuahuan Desert. Biking, hiking, trail rides, tours and cattle drives are some of the available activities at the park.

Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso offers hiking trails, camping, tours and rock climbing.

Houston and Gulf Coast

Galveston Island, located about 50 miles southeast of Houston, is a barrier island with many outdoor activities, including swimming, surfing, volleyball, biking, boating, fishing, golf and walking/jogging on over 10 miles of trails.

International participants should visit Padre Island National Seashore for water sports like jetskiing, fishing, windsurfing and fun beach activities.

Try out wake boarding in Houston at Wake Nation, a wakeboarding park that allows riders to try wakeboarding, water skiing or knee boarding along a 12-acre lake.

Panhandle Plains

The Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is a popular area for swimming, fishing, boating (with a permit), camping and horseback riding.

Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon system in the U.S. (the Grand Canyon in Arizona is the largest). Horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, camping and guided tours are common outdoor activities in the Palo Duro State Park.

Caprock Canyon State Park is home to the Official Bison Herd of Texas, which can be viewed from afar in their natural habitat. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming, fishing and boating are also available at the park.

San Antonio and South Texas Plains

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is a popular destination for bird watching due to the 340 species located within the park. Guided tours, walks, biking and trams are also available in the park.

Brackenridge Park is a 343-acre park in San Antonio with popular outdoor activities like fishing, running, hiking, golfing and baseball. Attractions include the San Antonio Zoo, Japanese Tea Gardens, the Witte Museum and a miniature train.

San Antonio Missions National Historic Park is home to four Spanish colonial missions along the San Antonio River. Walking, biking and hiking trails along the river and free guided tours. Films and demonstrations are also available in the park.

Food

One of the best ways to experience cultural exchange is through food and cooking. Visitors will enjoy exploring the regional specialties and local cuisine during their time in the United States.

As the second-largest state in the U.S., there are many different aspects to Texas cuisine. “Tex-Mex” food is a mixture of Mexican influences and American flavors and cooking techniques, like nachos, burritos, tacos and quesadillas. Texas barbecue also has its own flavors and techniques that separate it from other types of barbecue cooking in the U.S. Other well-known Texas foods include Frito pie, chili con carne and steaks fit for a cowboy.

Farmers’ Markets

Find fresh produce and local products at a local farmers’ market in Texas. Farmers’ markets are also popular in major cities like Houston, Austin and Dallas.

Food Festivals

Austin and Hill Country

Dallas-Fort Worth Area

El Paso and Big Bend Country

Houston & the Gulf Coast

Panhandle Plains

San Antonio and South Texas Plains

Local Festivals

For a unique and local perspective on American culture, be sure to check out festivals and events near your cultural exchange program location. These events are a fun and interesting way to interact with locals and to learn more about American culture by experiencing it firsthand.

Austin and Hill Country

Austin City Limits is an October music festival that celebrates the Austin live music scene with live concerts, food, art and more. Over 100 artists perform live at Zilker Park and more than 70,000 fans visit the festival each day.

South by Southwest is a well-known festival that combines film, technology and music for a huge 10-day event each March.

Dallas-Fort Worth Area

The State Fair of Texas is an annual Dallas festival that lasts for several weeks each September/October. Carnival rides, food, live music, livestock shows, arts and crafts vendors and an auto show are some of the events and activities held at the State Fair.

The Plano International Festival is an October multicultural festival featuring cultural events, music and dance performances, food, art and children’s activities.

El Paso and Big Bend Country

The Alpine Big Bend Balloon Bash is a hot air balloon festival in September with food, arts and crafts vendors, music and lots of hot air balloon flights.

Celebration of Our Mountains is an annual fall festival in El Paso from October to November that hosts many outdoor activities like hiking, biking, climbing, photography and an art show.

Houston and Gulf Coast

The Houston International Festival in April celebrates international music, food and art. Each year, one country is featured at the festival.

The Corpus Christi Festival of the Arts is a free three-day event in March with music, dance, theater, film, art vendors and exhibits, and Italian street painting.

Panhandle Plains

The Tri-State Fair & Rodeo in September has live music, livestock competitions, arts and crafts, parades and more each year in Amarillo.

Falls Fest in Wichita Falls is a September outdoor festival with country and classic rock performances, games, family events and Highland Games activities.

San Antonio and South Texas Plains

Borderfest in Hidalgo is an award-winning cultural and music festival that takes place in February/March with live entertainment from over 100 artists, food vendors, arts and crafts, parades and more.

El Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is an ancient tradition that celebrates Central American culture on November 2nd. Venues throughout San Antonio participate in the event.

Housing Resources

Employers may be able to assist with housing during your time in the United States, but this is not always possible for all participants. When looking for housing during your cultural exchange program, consider the cost of the accommodation, the distance to your work place and the amount of time you will be in the United States.

It's also important to avoid fraudulent housing. It is highly recommended that you secure short-term housing upon arrival (e.g. in a hostel) and conduct your housing search once you are in the U.S. Never give your financial information to a stranger over the Internet. Browse the Housing Information guides for InterExchange participants below for more tips and advice.

General Housing Information

Texas Housing Resources

Some examples of housing and accommodation resources for Texas participants include:

Transportation

Public transportation options can be hit or miss, depending on your location in the United States. Buses are a common transportation option for short and long-term travel in the U.S., while some areas will also have trains, subways and other options.

Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for a complete list of public transportation options in your local community.

For information about driving in Texas, see the Texas Department of Transportation website.

Train

Amtrak operates three train services in Texas: the Texas Eagle, the Sunset Limited and the Heartland Flyer.

Bus

Several bus companies operate in Texas, including:

Public Transit Systems

Austin and Hill Country

Capital Area Metro is the public transportation system for Austin and the surrounding region and it includes bus, train and bike travel.

Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) provides bus services to rural areas in and outside Austin.

Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is Dallas’s public transportation system and includes trains, buses and trolleys.

Trinity Railway Express provides commuter rail service between Dallas and Fort Worth.

El Paso and Big Bend

Sun Metro provides public bus services to the city of El Paso.

Houston and Gulf Coast

METRO provides bus and light rail services to Houston and surrounding areas.

Island Transit operates buses and trolleys in Galveston, TX.

Panhandle Plains

Amarillo City Transit provides bus services along 8 routes in Amarillo.

San Antonio and South Texas Plains

Alamo Regional Transit (ART) bus routes serve 11 rural counties in the Alamo area.

Via Metropolitan Transit operates bus services in the San Antonio area.

Health & Safety

Participants in Texas can use the following resources in case of an emergency or extreme weather event in their area:

Emergency Management Agencies

FEMA

Weather Information

Help Your Community

Interact with others and expand your skill set by volunteering in your local community. Volunteer organizations are often looking for short-term volunteers or for individuals to help with a single event, making it a great option for InterExchange participants who wish to add to their cultural exchange experience during their time in the United States.

Volunteermatch.org, Idealist.org and Serve.gov are three general volunteer websites that match local organizations with volunteers in their communities.

Austin and Hill Country

Sign up with United Way for Greater Austin and receive updates on volunteer days held throughout the year.

Volunteer with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas to help with activities like sorting food donations, administrative help and helping out at food centers.

Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Help build houses for families in need with Habitat for Humanity Dallas. There are multiple volunteer opportunities available, and there is no experience required to help build homes.

North Texas Food Bank offers volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups in the Dallas area and at distribution centers throughout North Texas.

El Paso and Big Bend

International participants can volunteer with the West Texas Food Bank in Odessa or Alpine or with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger in El Paso to help provide hunger relief in West Texas.

Volunteer with the El Paso Marathon in February and help support a fun event.

Houston and Gulf Coast

Volunteer Houston has an online database of volunteer opportunities to help individuals find ways to help in their local community.

The Houston Food Bank welcomes volunteers in the evening for a 3-hour volunteering session in the main warehouse. Other volunteer opportunities are available on the food bank website.

Panhandle Plains

Many volunteer opportunities are available with Amarillo Habitat for Humanity, including in the organization’s office, store, on construction sites and at special events.

Volunteers can help out at the High Plains Food Bank by sorting donating food, working in the food bank’s garden or helping in the Kids Café.

San Antonio and South Texas Plains

There are many ways to volunteer with the San Antonio Food Bank, including in the warehouse, community garden, office, community kitchen and mobile pantry.

Volunteer with the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County and sign up for alerts about volunteer opportunities that match a particular skill or interest.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation