Dallas vs Houston: Which City Should You Visit?

The Big D and H-Town have a rivalry going for generations. They’re both proud of their Texan culture and whether you choose to visit Dallas or Houston, you’ll find a city bursting with interesting things to do. Both cities have a great sports culture as well no matter what you want to watch from football to baseball to basketball.

However, there is a unique feel to each area.

Here’s what to know about Houston vs Dallas if you’re still on the fence about where to trek for a trip!

View of Dallas skyline from Reunion Tower with bars visible in the foreground. Reunion Tower is one of the most instagrammable places in Dallas!

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Choose Houston if…

You want to experience rodeo season.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a colossal event every year.

It attracts millions of people from all corners of the world. In fact, it is the largest livestock exhibition in the entire world. If you want to steep yourself in the soul of Western culture this is the spot to be.

This event carries on for more than 3 weeks and you can see all of the heavy hitters in the rodeo world perform here. The economic impact has been likened to the equivalent to hosting the Super Bowl every year.

Lots of great musicians are also invited to perform every year, so if barrel riding isn’t your thing you might also be able to catch some great artists instead!

woman barrel racing at a rode--when choosing dallas vs houston, houston wins the battle for its rodeo

You’re a museum buff.

The Museum District is extremely popular for tourists and locals alike, and the network of museums is incredible in Houston. The main attraction is the NASA Space Center, of course. NASA has left such an imprint on this city that you will find dedications to flight, outer space, and mechanical engineering all over town.

There is a great gallery of exhibits for whatever you’re interested in. A wide array of these museums have free admission or time slots available for free admission which makes it a really great, inexpensive way to see the city.

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You want a more photogenic location.

If your travels aren’t on the ‘gram, were you really even there?! (Just kidding. Sort of.) Houston has so many great Instagram-worthy spots filled with colorful street art, picturesque skylines, and rooftop views. There are so many great spots to get dressed up to take pictures and document your travels.

Whether it’s the WaterWall or a spot off the Houston Mural Map you’re bound to get some great snapshots of the city!

Houston Texas skyline on a sunny day. One of the most interesting facts about Texas is that Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the USA

Choose Dallas if…

You want more parks and greenery.

Dallas has one of the largest municipal park systems in the country and is the clear winner on this front in the Dallas vs Houston debate.

In fact, Dallas has the benefit of having a state park situated near the city center. Additionally, parks and green spaces can be found in abundance.

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One of the best Dallas attractions, Klyde Warren Park, is a small park built quite literally on top of a freeway! It feels that the city is very conscious of having greenery implemented throughout the city.

There are tons of hiking trails that are beginner-friendly, so you’ll have a chance to get outside regardless of skill level.

Hiking trail in Dallas tx lined with oak trees and green grasses

You want to experience fair season at the Texas State Fair.

The Texas State Fair is a massive, month-long party at Fair Park. It is the largest State Fair in the country with over 2 million attendees flocking to get in on all of the fun.

I’d definitely make a trip to Dallas just for the fair. They have all sorts of great events, food, and rides. It feels like being a kid again when you walk in!

sign for corn dogs and a ferris wheel in the background lit up at night on a fairground

You want more of a “small-town” feel.

Because the city is so spread out, and neighboring Ft. Worth has done such a good job of preserving its community feel, most of the city feels very cozy and close-knit. There are neighborhoods like Lower Greenville and Deep Ellum that are so great for walking around and bar hopping.

So many attractions are spread out so it never feels claustrophobic in one area, the city just feels so open and free.

The Ultimate Weekend in Dallas Itinerary

Visit Dallas or Houston if…

You love sports.

Houston and Dallas both have a crazy sports culture. Whether it’s cheering on Cowboy Country or screaming the lyrics to “Deep in the Heart of Texas” at NRG Stadium, the feeling is so exhilarating. There is just something special about watching live sports in a place where everyone is so passionate.

College sports are also huge in Texas, the tailgates are always amazing. If you’re looking for an action-packed sports weekend, either Houston or Dallas will have you covered.

group of peope cheering on a sports game at a bar, what is texas known for includes famous sports teams

You want a family-friendly vacation spot.

Both cities have so many accommodations for families, whether it be free admission in museums for kids, or the youth ranger programs in the state parks.

There are several activities dedicated just to children in both cities, so it really can please even the pickiest of kids. There are great odes to western culture through rodeos, stables, and farms that are unique to Texas.

You can visit and even stay at working ranches, or go to a local stable and ride horses on the trails, it is a great way to experience a slower-paced vacation with the family!

Aerial view of Kemah Boardwalk near Houston Texas

You want a budget-friendly option.

Traveling to major cities can often rack up quite the bill. Whether you choose Dallas or Houston to visit, you’ll find many free or low-cost attractions.

Everything from museums to free festivals and events in the parks makes it a great option if you are on a budget. Both cities also have options like CityPass which bundle multiple attractions in one at a discounted price.

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Houston vs Dallas: Should You Visit Both?

Both cities are definitely worth the visit for their unique traits. They have so much to offer in terms of art, history, and most importantly: food! I think for the food alone you should visit both spots. 

Houston has the NASA Space Center whereas Dallas has The Museum of Art.

Both are great options so why choose? If you have the time and capacity, definitely visit both.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas Texas as seen from above at sunset. This bridge is one of the most instagrammable places in Dallas Texas!

Dallas vs Houston: The Final Decision

Most people in Texas rep their city hard. I am no exception. Despite the beauties of both cities I definitely prefer Dallas more as a vacation spot and as a place to set down roots!

Dallas has so many cool events happening and because several of them aren’t as mainstream yet you don’t get swallowed by a crowd. The smaller festivals and attractions are more digestible because there aren’t huge lines and photo ops everywhere. You can simply enjoy it and feel like you’re a part of the larger community.

You’ll definitely find Houston fans everywhere (it is the land of Beyoncé after all!).

Whichever city you choose to visit, or even if you choose both, you’ll have a great time! Have a good time…deep in the heart of Texas!….. (clap, clap, clap).

photo of dallas skyline on top of photo of houston skyline, black text on a white background reads "houston vs dallas"


3 thoughts on “Dallas vs Houston: Which City Should You Visit?”

  1. Dallas Museum of Art? I guess in Houston Museum District you missed the giant mult-block Houston Art Museum. As for greener Houston has many giant oak trees and tall pine trees. I was born in Dallas and moved to Houston. Oh, also, Houston’s Theatre District is second behind Broadway in size. Houston is also far more culturally diverse and is the most diverse city in the USA. Nothing like real Chinese food in China-town or Korean food in Little Korea or real Indian food in Little India or any real European foods in any of of the little areas. I prefer Houston as a destination. But, I’d also add in a trip to San Antonio while here.

  2. Being from Boston I wanted a Texas Adventure! Spent a week in Dallas & a week in Houston! Should have spent the whole time in Dallas! Dallas was alive & vibrant! Houston was boring & depressing! Dallas has so many venues to see & go to plus so many wonderful suburbs, {Arlington, {hosting a Six Flags}, Irving, Ft Worth, Grapevine, Frisco & Plano just to name a few}, whereas Houston is quite limited! Dallas has the Dallas Arboretum & The Galleria Dallas every day & the world’s largest state fair for a month in the fall! Dallas is a very clean & beautiful city, whereas Houston dark & dirty!

  3. Being from Houston, I might be a bit biased…but still, I’ve spent a bunch of time in both cities, and I gotta give it to Houston for sure. Yea, Dallas is more organized and a bit cleaner…but Houston is just a much better experience. The main difference is that Houston never tries to be anything that it isn’t, whereas Dallas tries far too hard to please everyone, mostly the well-to-do’s.

    You’ll have a decent time in both cities, but Dallas’ pretentiousness is sure to turn a lot of folks off.


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