Children & Family

Hidden Gems at the State Fair of Texas

Whether you're new to the fair or wanting to enhance your fair outing, the State Fair of Texas has plenty of classic experiences and even more thrilling surprises.

Devon Yarbrough
Posted on Aug 26, 2022

The State Fair of Texas is one of the longest running fairs in the nation with 24 consecutive days – and for good reason. There is so much to see and do, including all the unique things that make the State Fair of Texas that much more! Here are some off-the-beaten-path State Fair of Texas sights and experiences you won't want to miss.

Head to the Creative Arts Building to check out a colossal and imaginative sculpture made from butter. The sculpture is made by a local Texas artist each year and always pays homage to the State Fair of Texas' theme, which changes annually. 

During your time at the fair, stop by the African American Museum for to see a wide range of African American art – the museum is open daily throughout the fair. The can't-miss collection displays more than 150 shared treasures, including paintings, sculptures, photos, letters, rare books and more that are a celebration of the achievements and contributions of African Americans from the 1500s to today.

Texas has a rich history when it comes to livestock and agriculture, so no trip to the State Fair of Texas is complete without a stop at the barns for a little agricultural education. Livestock exhibitors from across the state showcase various types of barn animals in competition. Make sure to check out the daily schedule for competition times. You can also experience the Livestock Birthing Barn and learn about the incubation process for different breeds.

Got a knack for cooking, or just enjoy competition? Then enter your dish for the Competition Kitchen. There will be various contests to participate in (and win!) throughout the 24 days of the fair. The competitions range from homemade ice cream and baked bread to decorated pumpkins and innovative "fair-like concoctions." Many of the contests are day-of entry only, so come with your prepared dish and register once you arrive. Find the full calendar of events and entry guidelines here. If you're more of an observer, the canned food entries are beautiful works of art all on their own. 

Take a minute to reflect and pay tribute at the Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial, located on First Avenue near the front gates. The historic site features a lush garden as well as five granite tablets inscribed with the names of fallen Texan Vietnam soldiers, including nine Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Visitors can also place American flags next to names in honor of all Vietnam War veterans.

You won't want to miss this fan-favorite display. Watch in awe as precious piglets, dressed in eye-catching racing gear, run the course at the Pan Am Arena daily.

Take a break from all the activity to stroll the Texas Discovery Gardens, located near Gate 6 across from the Bandshell. The 7.5-acre garden features beautiful plants and flowers as well as educational exhibits. Don't miss the Snakes of Texas exhibit or the always-popular daily noon Butterfly Release at the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium.

Home to the Jane Douglas Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the historic Continental D.A.R. House offers various exhibits, artifacts, brochures, patriotic videos and more highlighting women's history and genealogy. It's a must-see at any fair outing.