Winter in the Lone Star State means mild temperatures and exciting new happenings, making it a prime time to explore Texas and all of its unforgettable #TexasToDos. With the season packed full of one-of-a-kind events, world-class arts and culture, new initiatives and multicultural celebrations that highlight and embrace Texas’ diversity, there is something for every Texas traveler to enjoy this winter. Below are newsworthy updates and hidden gem attractions that will help to inspire ideas for a trip to remember.
Enchanted Rock (Fredericksburg)
Enchanted Rock is a giant pink granite dome that seems to rise out of nowhere, with Texas Hill Country’s quintessential green hills surrounding the massive rock formation. This unique element in the midst of a contrasting landscape has attracted visitors for thousands of years. Because of its position high above the surrounding lands, Enchanted Rock is a picturesque location to watch sunrises and stargaze. With camping allowed, it’s a wonderful place to spend the day hiking across its 11 miles of trails and call it a night. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is designated an IDA International Dark Sky Park for its distinguished stargazing experience.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Salt Flat)
Experience Texas’ expansive night skies and spectacular vistas at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The canopy of some 11,000 stars and the Milky Way, visible from horizon to horizon on clear nights, makes Guadalupe Mountains National Park one of the best spots in the state to camp, stargaze and seek out constellations, planets and galaxies overhead. From mountains and canyons to desert and dunes, this West Texas park is home to the four highest peaks in the state. The park attracts travelers, hikers and nature lovers each year with its breathtaking views, extensive Permian fossil reef, diverse display of flora and fauna and rich history. After experiencing the Chihuahuan desert, its steep canyons and crystal-clear skies, visitors can head 90 miles west to El Paso, where cultures and traditions seamlessly blend. The El Paso food scene offers vibrant flavors that draw on the surrounding area and its roots. Two hours south of the national park is Marfa, boasting a world-class art scene and minimalistic desert aesthetics and accommodations.
Pedernales Falls State Park (Johnson City)
A wonderful getaway for outdoor enthusiasts, Pedernales Falls State Park offers camping, hiking, stargazing and more amid one of the area’s most beautiful landscapes. Enjoy white sandy beaches, giant boulders and rock formations, and overlooks that offer sweeping views over the curvature of the Pedernales River. At night, it is a popular spot to enjoy the wide-open sky full of stars. Without light pollution near the state park, the night sky reveals spectacular displays of the Milky Way and planets.
Kimbell Art Museum (Dallas)
Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum anchors the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex art scene, a premier art hub in the United States and home to the largest urban arts district in the nation. Known for its permanent collection of architectural highlights and Asian and European arts, its survey of old master paintings are a true standout with works by Holbein, Rembrandt, El Greco and others. On view through Feb. 6, 2022, traveling exhibition “Turner’s Modern World,” organized by the Tate Britain, takes visitors through the astonishingly beautiful and innovative paintings of J.M.W. Turner, a founder of modern art.
McNay Art Museum (San Antonio)
San Antonio’s standout contemporary art museum, the McNay Art Museum, spans 25 acres and displays diverse media, from works on paper to paintings and sculptures. This season at the McNay, visitors can enjoy a range of special exhibitions, including “Monet and Whistler in London,” a showcase of one of Claude Monet’s iconic works, Charing Cross Bridge, brouillard; and the drawings of friends Beth Van Hoesen and Wayne Thiebaud in “Beth Van Hoesen and Wayne Thiebaud: Friendship and Community.” San Antonio’s modern and contemporary art scene is thriving with other smaller galleries, such as Artpace, AnArte Gallery and the Blue Star Contemporary, among others.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has an encyclopedic permanent collection of some 70,000 works in addition to its traveling exhibitions. Ranking 12th largest in the world in terms of gallery space and one of the largest museums in the United States, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston boasts exquisite art and an exceptional display of international modern and contemporary works housed in the new Nancy and Rich Kinder Building. On view through Jan. 30, 2022 are masterworks by Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso in “Calder-Picasso.” Lovers of Impressionism will not want to miss some 100 works by artists Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and others in “Incomparable Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.” The fourth largest city in the United States is also home to other world-class installation spaces, like the Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel.
Multicultural Festivals & Events
Celebrate the year of the Tiger at Houston’s Texas Lunar Festival, a Chinese New Year celebration, on Jan. 29, 2022. Now in its 25th year, the Texas Lunar Festival has attracted community leaders, volunteers and citizens from near and far for this special event featuring fellowship, mouthwatering cuisine, live entertainment and a family-friendly chance to welcome the Chinese New Year.
Charro Days Fiesta (Brownsville)
Paying homage to charros, or Mexican cowboys, this 75-year-old festival is set to take place in late February 2022. Kicking off with a traditional mariachi dance, the fiesta will continue with parades, delicious food, a carnival, fireworks and more dancing.
Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games (Arlington)
Dust off the clan’s tartan for the 36th annual Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games in May 2022. Visitors can immerse in Scottish culture with a Scotch ale brewing competition, whiskey tastings, Gaelic language seminars and
some of the top bagpipe players in the world.
Recent & Upcoming Openings
Armadillo Den (Austin)
Armadillo Den is a recently opened two-story neighborhood bar and entertainment destination that spans three acres. It boasts two bars, an indoor stage, an outdoor entertainment area and food from beloved Austin food trucks Ranch Hand and Pueblo Viejo. Live music is featured seven nights a week.
Moody Center (Austin)
The $338 million, 15,000-seat Moody Center will not only host University of Texas basketball games, but also a number of the best and biggest acts in live entertainment. Austin and Longhorn cultures are front and center, creating a fan experience unlike any other. Moody Center is scheduled to open in early 2022.
Tyrrell Park Nature Center (Beaumont)
Since opening in 2016, Cattail Marsh Boardwalk has become the shining gem of Southeast Texas. A revolutionary idea and process, the Beaumont Public Utilities Department developed a way to turn reclaimed wastewater into a beautiful wildlife refuge. This innovative recycling system garnered the interest and attention of environmentalists and wildlife professionals across the state. The Wetlands Education Center offers free weekly programming such as yoga, coffee meetups, nature screenings, art-making sessions and van tours. The ecotourism offerings have continued to expand with the 2022 opening of Tyrrell Park Nature Center, offering pollinator and butterfly gardens, new trails, an archery range, disc golf course and more.
Crazy Water Plaza (Mineral Wells)
The historic Crazy Water Hotel has undergone a renovation and re-opened as Crazy Water Plaza in Mineral Wells. The seven-story boutique hotel now offers residential living, vacation rentals, a ballroom, rooftop bar and patio, several retail stores and a natural light photography studio. The hotel will soon feature Rickhouse Brewing, Crazy Coffee & Water Bar (from the original Crazy Well) and a new restaurant. The renovation is a Public Benefit Corporation project, meaning the primary investors are all locals.
Anniversaries & Special Events
SXSW® Conference & Festivals’ 35th Anniversary (Austin)
The popular SXSW® Conference & Festivals will return to the Lone Star State’s capital city in 2022 with a hybrid approach of both in-person and virtual events. The tech, film and music festival is due to take place from March
11-20, 2022 and will mark the event’s 35th anniversary.
Debut Bootleggers Ball (Mineral Wells)
Honoring Mineral Wells’ hayday, the debut Bootleggers Ball is slated to be held on May 7, 2022. The brand new event will feature a casino, horse racing, specialty bourbon drinks (some made with Crazy Water), 1920s costumes, and a special code to get in – a fun throwback to the town’s Speakeasy days.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ 30th Anniversary (San Antonio)
Friends and family can celebrate 30 years of the iconic Texas theme park, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, with the unveiling of a massive new roller coaster and a year of fun-filled events, such as food festivals, historic theme park merch and more.