Travel, United States

Hipmunk Hotels: Big Texas Festivals in Plano, Corpus Christi, Galveston, and More

Whether it’s a food festival, beer or wine festival, or county fair, festivals are a great way to experience local culture and truly learn about a city or region. Some of my best travel moments happened while sharing a table with strangers over beers or tapping my foot along to a local band celebrating the musical heritage of the region.

It’s a true sense of Americana. There isn’t a better place to experience it than in Texas, where festivals are as unique and large as the state itself. Here are five Texas festivals that celebrate the Lonestar State’s bold identity.


5 must attend Texas festivals that celebrate the Lonestar state’s proud heritage and culture. My favorite is the fifth one!

Photo by Brittany Willis via


Plano Balloon Festival in Plano

Experience Texas-sized fun in the sky at the Plano Balloon Festival from September 23-25 in (you guessed it) Plano, Texas. While hot air balloons are the star of the show, the festival is so much with charity races (on foot, not in the sky), fireworks, and live bands. There’s also plenty of education about the history and engineering of hot air balloons and balloon launches. This year, the festival will include tethered rides to allow festivalgoers to experience the thrill of ballooning. Homewood Suites by Hilton Plano-Richardson is a close-by hotel for those traveling in from out of town.


Buc Days in Corpus Christi

From the sky, we move to the water to celebrate the pirate heritage of Corpus Christi at the annual Buc Days celebration. The multi-day festival is going on its 78th year and takes place from April 21 through May 1. The party includes carnival rides, live music, a petting zoo, and two parades. The most popular event is the Night Parade, as crowds turn out in the thousands to watch floats, marching bands, and plenty of pirates entertain under an  illuminated sky. The Omni Corpus Christi is a great hotel option.


Wild Texas Shrimp Festival in Galveston

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to peel some shrimp at the Galveston Island Wild Texas Shrimp Festival, which takes place in historic Galveston, Texas. Over 60 teams compete in the following cook-off categories: shrimp bisque, open shrimp, shrimp burger, and shrimp gumbo. The late September three-day event also includes plenty of live music, an outdoors show, and a 5k fun run. Check out the Tremont House, A Wyndham Grand Hotel for a classic Galveston stay.


Main Street Festival in Grand Prairie

Experience all things Texas at the Main Street Festival in Grand Prairie from April 22-24. The award-winning festival includes a full line-up of well-known Texas bands like Cody Canada and the Departed, Granger Smith Featuring Earl Dibbles Jr, and Los Lobos. There’s also a stunt show, carnival, and an art fair to keep revelers entertained.


Zest Fest in Irving

Not only are things bigger in Texas, they’re also hotter. Zest Fest, which takes place each January in Irving, will set your mouth a-blazing. The highlight of the festival includes the many food samples and celebrity chef demonstrations. Attendees have the opportunity to test their strength in Wingstop’s Atomic Wing eating contest or in the jalapeño eating contest. Normally, I recommend a hotel. However, this time you may prefer finding the nearest hospital …


Which of these Texas festivals sounds the most interesting to you?

This article is part of the Hipmunk Hotels series.