State Fair of Texas

The Ultimate Guide to the State Fair of Texas

What's all the fuss about? Find out why we count down to opening day every year.

Ferris Wheel at the State Fair of Texas
Diana Trujillo
Posted on Aug 26, 2022

They say everything's bigger in Texas, and our annual State Fair is no exception! With 24 consecutive days of family-friendly fun, the State Fair of Texas is the longest-running fair in the nation. Whether you're a first-timer or a veteran fairgoer, we've got the best tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time at the "most Texan place on Earth." Consider this your State Fair of Texas bucket list! 


Be prepared: The fair is truly big

The State Fair of Texas covers a lot of ground, taking over the 277 acres of Fair Park for the entirety of the fair, including several buildings on fair grounds. There's also Big Tex, the 55-foot-tall cowboy that greets you at the fair gates (yes, he actually talks!), also known as the tallest cowboy in Texas. Fun fact: Before he found his home at the State Fair, Big Tex was "Santa" in a small Texas town east of Corsicana in the 1950s.


Know how you're getting to Fair Park

Located in South Dallas, Fair Park is an easy drive from Downtown Dallas. Parking is $20 in official State Fair parking lots, and there are also various lots surrounding Fair Park (though prices vary and may be cash only).

For DART riders, the Green Line takes you to two stations – Fair Park Station and MLK Jr. Station – that provide easy access to the fair gates. Learn more about getting to Fair Park here.


It's ALL about the food

Each year, State Fair concessionaires bring their A-game with the latest fried concoctions as part of the Big Tex Choice Awards. 2022's contenders include savories like a deep-fried charcuterie board and fried lasagna balls and sweet confections including deep fried rocky road and the ultimate brookie monster. Winners for both savory and sweet categories are announced the week before opening day.

Of course, you won't want to miss out on fair classics like the famous Fletcher's Corny Dog and funnel cakes as well.


There are endless entertainment options

No matter who's in your group, the fair is full of activities and shows to delight fairgoers of all ages. Family-friendly favorites include the World of Magic show and the Oncor Petting Zoo. If you plan on staying into the evening, don't miss the nightly Starlight Parade featuring a colorful assortment of larger-than-life floats, costumed characters and more.

If cars and college football are more your speed, don't miss the Texas Auto Show or the annual Red River Showdown, pitting bitter rivals University of Texas and University of Oklahoma against each other. Over 100,000 people travel to Texas to watch this game each year, so be prepared for the crowds.

The State Fair of Texas' official schedule makes planning easy, outlining each day's activities.


Learn about livestock and agriculture

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.


Get a bird's-eye view on the Texas Star 

Known as the most popular ride at the State Fair, the Texas Star takes you on a 12-minute ride as you enjoy a panoramic view of the State Fair grounds and Downtown Dallas from 20 stories high in the sky. On a clear day, you can see all the way to neighboring cities and may even be able to spot AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, 21 miles away!


More rides and games on the Midway

If you're a thrill seeker, the State Fair Midway has more than 70 rides to enjoy, including the Thrillway, the Kidway and the 1914 Dentzel Carousel. You'll need to purchase ride coupons before getting in line, which you can stock-up on at booths around the fairgrounds or in advance online.

Games in the Midway can be played by presenting a Big Tex Game Card purchased at booths and kiosks nearby.


Fair Park is a destination all on its own 

Outside of the fair, Fair Park offers plenty of cultural activities year-round that are accessible during the fair season. The grounds are a National Historic Landmark and home to the largest collection of art deco architecture in the U.S. The African American Museum, the only one of its kind in the Southwestern region, is open seven days a week during the run of the fair, and the Children's Aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily all year. Lastly, the Texas Discovery Gardens offer half-price admission during the 24 days of the fair and are an excellent place to see flora and fauna up close.