Many across the state of Texas and beyond are revved up to attend the State Fair of Texas, which runs from September 29 to October 22.
But not everyone is a veteran fairgoer. Do not fret because these tips on making a trip to the State Fair of Texas as stress-free as possible are just what you need.
1. Plan Your Route
Do some research ahead of time on how to best arrive at Fair Park. Where you’re coming from, how many are in your party, and whether you need any special accommodations should all factor into what works best for you.
Parking is first come, first serve for all, including the spots designated for people with disabilities, so be aware. Also, expect to pay $20 per parking space at designated State Fair lots.
Also, check out rideshares and taxis. Remember that they each have fixed drop-off and pick-up zones at Gate 5 and Gate 1, respectively.
Public transportation might also be an option. You can take DART’s Green Line to Fair Park Station or MLK Jr. Station, but be sure to check your rail route ahead of time and on the day of travel to save yourself from a less-than-ideal journey.
2. Choose Your Day Wisely
Big crowds are likely in store this fair season, with last year logging a record number of attendees — over 2.5 million.
With this in mind, there are definitely some advantages to going early. As previously covered by The Dallas Express, the final days of the State Fair saw the biggest crowds and longest lines.
Check out the weather forecast and hope for a rainy day, which can thin the crowds. Corn dogs taste just as delicious while you’re wearing rain gear, and you’ll likely spend considerably less time standing in line to order.
Fairgoers can come to the fair after 5 p.m. and pay the price of a kid’s ticket. Otherwise, it is possible to register as a Big Tex insider for discounted $10 tickets on Tuesdays and Thursdays using a promo code sent out each Monday.
Tuesdays also see discounted rides — four coupons for adult rides and three for kiddie rides — except the Thrillway and the Texas Star Ferris Wheel. Certain vendors offer discounts on their signature dishes on Thursdays as well.
If you bring five cans of food to donate to the North Texas Food Bank on Wednesdays, you can gain entry for just $5.
3. Have a Budget in Mind and Plan Accordingly
Speaking of money, tickets to the State Fair of Texas vary depending on age, day, and time, but you should count on spending between $15 and $25 per person for entry. However, plenty of discounts are available through different businesses, such as McDonalds.
If you want to play games on the Midway, know you’ll have to buy a Big Tex Game Card onsite. Otherwise, when it comes to coupons used to purchase food and go on rides, it is highly advised to avoid buying them on the fairgrounds.
Instead, avoid the lines and buy coupons online ahead of your visit for $1 a piece. Try to be realistic about how much you’ll probably spend. Although unused coupons cannot be redeemed for cash, buying too many isn’t a huge problem since they never expire.
4. Download the Food Map
The State Fair of Texas is a food lover’s paradise but can be overwhelming for first-timers.
If you already have a specific concessionaire in mind, check out the food map.
Otherwise, food vendors have been divided into four zones: Classics, Big Tex Choice Awards, Hidden Gems, and New Arrivals. These categories help you prioritize, saving you time and indecision while faced with an ocean of options.
For instance, if you’re the type who can’t wait to bite into a turkey leg, head to the Classics zone. If you’re a foodie who has kept a close eye on the 2023 Big Tex Choice Awards and can’t wait to try that deep-fried pho, you know where to go.