For us frugal people, finding things to do that aren’t completely boring is a daunting task sometimes. Let’s be honest – usually, any fun activity in a city is going to come with a price tag. Luckily, there are actually quite a few attractions here in Texas that are not only cheap, but totally free! Here are 15 of our top picks:
1. Dallas Farmers Market (Dallas)
Obviously the produce itself isn't free, but coming out to simply admire the vibrant fruits and vegetables and the people from all walks of life who appreciate fresh, locally grown food is a fun experience in itself. And if you do decide to buy something, the prices are much lower than grocery stores. The market is open from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M. seven days a week.
2. The Alamo (San Antonio)
What's better than visiting one of the most important war memorials in the entire country? The fact that it's absolutely free, of course! You can see memorabilia from a battle that changed everything for the future of our state and reminisce on the great sacrifices the brave soldiers made for us. Plus, if you stay after dark, you might just see a ghost since it's rumored to be one of the most haunted places in Texas.
3. Mayfield Park (Austin)
If you want to see one of the most majestic birds on earth without paying the exorbitant price of a zoo, head to Mayfield Park in Austin. Look in awe as the males put on a breathtaking display of their vibrant feathers to attract a mate.
4. Water Gardens (Fort Worth)
This architectural masterpiece will take your mind to a place of peace and tranquility you never thought possible. Stand at the bottom and close your eyes as you revel in the overwhelming sound of water rushing all around you.
5. Miller Outdoor Theatre (Houston)
This theatre is easily one of the best things about Houston. It hosts a wide range of performances from classical music to movies, ballet to Shakespeare, and more. It's located in Hermann Park and operates under a BYOB policy, so get ready for a night full of drinks, food, friends, and good entertainment. It will remain open through the end of November before closing until the spring, so be sure to catch a show before you miss your chance!
6. Strolling the Strand (Galveston)
The Strand is a great place to go to escape the chaos of everyday life. The historic, New Orleans-esque buildings will take you back to a different time - especially La King's Confectionery, where you can watch hand-spun salt water taffy being made. Think of it as a mental vacation as well as a physical one, and the best part is that the experience doesn't cost a penny.
7. Visit a roadside oddity
Texas has its fair share of bizarre roadside attractions all across the state, from this random statue of a pair of legs in Amarillo to a gigantic fire hydrant with Dalmatian spots in Beaumont. Get out, take some pictures, and appreciate the wacky and weird that our state has to offer.
8. Pay your respects to Bonnie Parker in her final resting place (Dallas)
The female counterpart of one of history's most infamous duos, Bonnie & Clyde, was laid to rest in Crown Hill Memorial Park in North Dallas. Your mind will be dancing with images of the Old West as you imagine her and her partner's escapades.
9. Take a stroll down the River Walk (San Antonio)
There are few places in Texas more magical than the San Antonio River Walk (especially if you go at Christmastime!). Although it's full of delicious, historic restaurants and unique shops, simply walking around and absorbing the vibes of the authentic Mexican culture is enough to have a good time.
10. Watch the South Congress bats (Austin)
Every summer night at dusk, millions of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from underneath the Congress Ave bridge and turn the Austin night sky into a blanket of swirling blackness. It's truly an amazing sight.
11. Tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (Fort Worth)
It's one of only two places in the entire country where money is printed - Washington D.C. being the other one. How neat is that? You'll learn about the history of American currency and watch it being printed right before your eyes.
12. Relax at the Williams Tower Water Wall (Houston)
This 64-foot tall fountain is the perfect place to escape to and collect your thoughts. There's no feeling quite like being surrounded by a wall of rushing water. The green lawn you see in front is a park, so you could even pack a picnic to enjoy in front of the breathtaking view.
13. Visit the Japanese Garden at Brackenridge Park (San Antonio)
This park is so authentic between the cherry blossoms, pagodas, and archways, you'll think you've taken a trip to Japan. It's a great place to get away and relax for the day.
14. Watch the sunrise (Galveston)
There are few things more beautiful than a Texas sunrise. Plus, parking is free along the seawall before 10 AM! Or if you'd rather watch the sunset, it's also free after 7 PM.
15. Spend a day at Discovery Green (Houston)
When we think parks, we usually think of places to bring our small children. Discovery Green, however, is a park for everyone. It has huge sculptures to read about and admire, local musicians, and more. And it's about to be decked out with an ice-skating rink and gorgeous, elegant decorations for Christmas, so you can't miss it!
Have you done any of these free attractions? Are there any other fun places to go in Texas that don’t cost a penny?