The state fair…where the four food groups are fried, deep-fried, sugared, and on-a-stick.

The biggest annual event of the fall season in my great state is finally here: the State Fair of Texas!

If you’ve never been, you’ll want to go and experience it at least once in your life after reading this article! And if not, at least you’ll get a fun glimpse of it!

After going to the fair for years, I wanted to put together this State Fair of Texas guide to help you if you’re planning to visit Dallas for this annual event. Let’s dive into it!

2023 TEXAS STATE FAIR DATES

So when does the State Fair of Texas 2023 open?

This year’s dates are 10:00AM on Friday, September 29 — Sunday, October 22, 2023.

2023 State Fair of Texas Hours of Operation:

Sundays – Thursdays: 10:00AM – 9:00PM.
Fridays – Saturdays: 10:00AM – 10:00PM.
Latest time to enter is is 9:00PM.

Parking Gates & Ticket Booth Hours
Daily at 9:00AM.

Hours vary for the Midway and Fair Park Museum.

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - Big Tex — What You Need to Know


TEXAS STATE FAIR TICKETS

You can buy tickets online for cheaper than at the gate or get a ticket from someone who doesn’t want to go, but got a free one as a student or teacher. You just have to show your ID as an educator.

If you’re in the military or a First Responder, you can also get a discount for Texas State Fair tickets at the gate or online with your ID.


TEXAS STATE FAIR PARKING

If you drive, parking will be $20 per space at the Fair Grounds.

From personal experience, I highly recommend carpooling with friends/family, parking at the nearest Dart station and taking the Dart Rail.


HOW TO DRESS FOR THE TEXAS STATE FAIR

Dress comfortably. I cannot stress this enough. A t-shirt, shorts, sneakers, and a crossbody bag will do.

If you plan on buying anything, bring a backpack so you can walk around hands-free. If not, wait until the very end of your trip/day to make your purchases. Otherwise, you’ll be carrying around a lot of things.

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - how to dress — What You Need to Know


THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE STATE FAIR OF TEXAS

First and foremost, food, beverages, and rides are paid for using coupons. Coupons (valued at $1.00/each) can be purchased at the numerous coupon booths around the fair. ATM machines are located throughout the fair grounds. However, I highly recommend pulling cash at your local bank before you go to save some transaction fees.

Unless you love crowds, I’d avoid Red River Showdown, which is a BIG college football weekend: Texas-OU. I went once not knowing it was a big weekend and quickly learned I did not like massive crowds, ha!

If you or your family have your own food allergies or restrictions, you can bring your own food and drinks into the Fair!


TEXAS STATE FAIR FOOD

Ah, the food at the State Fair of Texas is THE best part. I highly recommend all the corns and by that I mean: a cup of elote (Mexican corn), corn on the cob, and of course, you can’t leave without trying a Fletcher’s corny dog!

If you’re looking for other fair food to try, you can go wrong with funnel cake and tornado taters.

Oh and even if you don’t drink soda, split a small cup of ice cold root beer with someone! For some reason, it tastes so refreshing and doesn’t leave a film like I find most sodas do.

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - Fletcher's corny dog — What You Need to Know

If you want to try new concoctions, check out this year’s new food list.

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - funnel cake — What You Need to Know | She Sweats Diamonds

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - elote — What You Need to Know


THINGS TO DO AT THE STATE FAIR OF TEXAS

If there’s one activity that is a must for me, it’s going to the Texas Auto Show to see the latest new cars that’s coming on the market. And if you really love cars, test drive cars at Chevrolet Ride & Drive!

With so many free activities, some other fun things to do are: see baby chicks hatch and pet the sting rays at the Dallas Children’s Aquarium (which is SO fun!).

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - farmyard - baby chicks — What You Need to Know

If you’re into concerts/music, check the music schedule to plan your visit or day.

The Creative Arts Building is another one of my favorite activities to do when I want to slow down my day. The infamous butter sculpture is a major highlight in the Creative Arts Building too!

Another thing I love is shopping. I’ve found that many discounts are available at the Texas State Fair if you look. For example, Cutco knives, which are very high-quality, expensive cutlery!

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - Bird Show — What You Need to Know | She Sweats DiamondsIf you love animals, check out the All-Star Dog Show, the pig races, and petting zoo are great free experiences.

World of Birds is also a classic show to attend. At the end of each show, they raise thousands of dollars for conservation efforts. I’m not going to say much more about it and just let you see the picture above so you can be surprised for you when you do attend!

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - parade — What You Need to Know - She Sweats Diamonds - Huong Vo

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - light show — What You Need to Know

And of course, for children and the kid in all of us, each evening, there is a parade and light show.


RIDES & GAMES

The Midway is all about rides and games. And while that is fun, they also cost a lot of coupons.

My advice is not to spend your whole day there when there’s ton of free activities and entertainment to enjoy.

If you do want to go, I recommend going at the very end of the day during your trip and if you plan on going the last weekend of the fair, the end of the day on the last weekend is even better.

For me personally, I don’t ride the rides or play the games, but I do find The Midway to be a great area if you love people watching.

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - Midway — What You Need to Know


ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR THE STATE FAIR OF TEXAS

If this is your first time going, use the Texas State Fair Map to plan out your day.

Save money by going on a weekday. Visit after 5pm any day of the week for kids’ pricing. Sign up for their newsletter for $10 tickets Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also bring a canned food donation on Wednesdays for a $5 entry or buy a ticket at Kroger and save $3.

COUPONS DON’T EXPIRE
As you end your trip to the Texas State Fair, do not throw away your coupons. State Fair of Texas coupons retain their value so you can bring unused coupons the following year or any year you want to attend. Also Big Tex refillable cups can be used from previous years too.

Discovering Dallas- State Fair of Texas - small Big Tex — What You Need to Know | She Sweats Diamonds

I hope you found my guide super helpful if you plan on making a trip to Dallas. Keep checking back because I’ll keep this article updated annually!

What activities would you do if you’ve never been to the State Fair of Texas?

If you’re visiting Dallas and are looking for other things to do, places to eat, check out my Dallas City Guide!

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