Over the Labor Day weekend, my parents and I flew to Dallas, Texas. We left from Bakersfield’s Meadows Field Airport around 6 a.m., and arrived in Dallas close to 11 a.m. For the next day and a half, our itinerary was nonstop, packing as much as we could in our time there.

Fortunately, we were able to see a few different areas of Texas we’d never visited, and had a great time.

Dallas

We stayed in Dallas, but didn’t spend as much time there as on our previous trip.

There’s plenty to see. For any history buff, the Sixth Floor Museum is a must. It’s the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy. The museum gives a brief overview of that time period, as well as Kennedy's presidency. Then, visitors are led through the timeline of events on that November day leading up to the assassination. Visitors can go at their own pace, reading the historical information and observing artifacts and details.

The Southern Methodist University campus is home to George W. Bush’s Presidential Library. While we weren’t able to walk through the library exhibits, we did visit the gift shop and walk the grounds.

However, there’s much more to do in the downtown area if you have more time to explore.

Waco

I couldn’t make another trip to Texas without visiting Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Market and Silos. It was everything I’d hoped it would be. Whether you only have a couple hours, or a full day, you can arrange your time at the Magnolia Market accordingly.

Stop by the Magnolia Market with all of the home decor for the season, then peruse the grounds. There are food trucks galore with shaded areas and picnic tables to eat and rest. Grab a treat from the Silos Baking Co. or a sweet tea in a mason jar from the Alabama Sweet Tea truck.

Next, visit the six boutique shops, including Chapter One for all stationery and planning supplies, Tried and True for leather bags and jewelry, or Reverie for women’s clothing.

Enjoy the sunshine and Wiffle ball field, take photos in the photo booth, take a respite in the church or visit the Magnolia Seed and Supply garden area.

For more information about planning a visit to Magnolia Market, visit their website: https://magnolia.com/visit/.

The Gaines family has invested a lot into Waco — stop by their restaurant, Magnolia Table, or stay at one of their flipped houses, which the couple has turned into a bed and breakfast. Visit Joanna’s original shop, where it all started at the Little Shop on Bosque.

Fort Worth Stockyards

Thanks to George Strait, Fort Worth does cross my mind now, and is the quintessential scene that many would picture when thinking of Texas. It’s an Old West setting with horses and cowboys wandering the streets. There are shops, general stores, bars and restaurants lining the path as you walk. In true Texas fashion, visitors can even sit on a steer for a few bucks if they choose.

We explored the streets for a couple hours, then waited until 4 p.m. for the daily cattle drive as they walked the streets and guests gathered around.

Afterwards, we had a late lunch or early dinner at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, which was everything you’d want in a real Texan steakhouse, complete with rolls, salad, steak and more. The banana bread pudding was tempting, but we were far too full to order after the meal.

It was a different side to Texas that we hadn’t seen before.

Texas has a lot to offer, whether you’re craving open spaces, a night on the town or a day of shopping. While I don’t have any immediate plans to go back, I look forward to my next trip there.

Other attractions in Texas worth checking out:

  • AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play
  • JFK assassination tour
  • Bishop Arts District
  • Deep Ellum