11 Things Tourists Should Never Do in Texas
Welcome to Texas. Photo: Texas Tribune

Perhaps even more than their state pride, Texans are known for their incredible hospitality and friendly nature. But if you’re planning a visit to the Lone Star State, we has rounded up a few things to consider if you still want to avoid awkward interactions as a tourist.

1.“Don’t Mess with Texas”

Now an identity statement that embodies the Lone Star State (and Texans generally), most visitors don’t know that the slogan was first used in an ad campaign to reduce littering on Texas highways in 1985, according to The Culture Trip. Created by Austin-based firm GSD&M, the campaign began as a series of bumper stickers, making its first television premiere in a performance by Stevie Ray Vaughan at the 50th Annual Cotton Bowl Classic on January 1, 1986. If someone says “Don’t Mess With Texas” they could mean don’t pick a fight you can’t finish—or they could just be warning you not to litter.

2.Don’t forget the Alamo

If you know nothing else about Texans, you know them for their state pride, which primarily stems from the territory’s unique history as an independent republic from 1836 to 1845, when the U.S. annexed it as the 28th state. “Remember the Alamo” is the battle cry that eventually secured independence from Mexico, commemorating the heroic sacrifice of a small group of outnumbered Texans at the Battle of the Alamo. Texans still celebrate Texas Independence Day on March 2nd every year and the Battle of the Alamo on March 6th.

3.Don’t text during a film at the Alamo Drafthouse

Founded in downtown Austin in 1997, the Alamo Drafthouse operates 16 locations around Texas, including 10 more across the country. In addition to seat-side service, Alamo Drafthouse is famous for enforcing a strict no-talking, no-texting, and no-late arrivals policy while in the theater. The company made national headlines in 2011 when its pre-feature PSA included the rants of an angry customer who the theater ejected for texting. More recently, Alamo made headlines for offering a gift card to a man suing his date for texting during a movie at another cinema.

4.Don’t try to argue that tacos aren’t for breakfast

Tex-Mex cuisine is a fusion of American and Mexican cuisine, featuring fajitas, nachos, burritos, and breakfast tacos. Try a basic egg, bacon, and cheese on a tortilla, or be adventurous at places such as Taco Deli, where favorites include the “Otto” (refried black beans, bacon, avocado, and cheese) and the “Vaquero” (scrambled egg, grilled corn, roasted peppers, and cheese). Be sure to top your taco with one or more of their mouthwatering, house-made salsas—now available at Whole Foods!

5.Don’t turn down a dance at Gruene Hall

11 Things Tourists Should Never Do in Texas
Gruene Hall. Photo: Kens 5

Gruene Hall, built in 1878 by Henry (Heinrich) D. Gruene in the Gruene Historic District of what is now New Braunfels, is the oldest dance hall in Texas. The hall’s original layout remains the same—about 6,000 square feet (557.4 square meters) with a tin roof and side flaps for open-air dancing, a bar in front, a small stage, and a huge outdoor garden. Today, the hall still attracts country music legends, such as Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson, as well as up-and-coming acts. Tourists can two-step like locals with live music every day of the week, and if someone asks you to dance, don’t refuse!

6.Don’t fight the grammar, adopt it

Regional names aren’t the only words Texans say differently. The two most common colloquialisms are “y’all” (you plural) and, perhaps less known, “fixin’ to”—which denotes that someone is getting ready to do something or go somewhere. For example, “Are y’all fixin’ to go to Texas?” No one knows for sure where this simple future tense first developed, and though it is less widely adopted than “y’all,” tourists will certainly hear it on more than one occasion. And loved ones beware: visitors have been known to bring the convenient contraction “y’all” back to their home state or country.

7.Don’t Confuse Texas with the Deep South

Texas is it’s own culture, so it’s not the Deep South, although it often gets lumped in with the Deep South. Texas was even it’s own country at one point, so it’s very different from other Southern states, as said from Woltersworld.

Don’t Miss Out on Buc-ee’s or Other Truck Stops

The big truck stops in Texas, like Buc-ee’s, can be tourist stops on their own. Buc-ee’s is like Field & Stream + Wal-Mart + an upscale gas station, all in one! You will inevitably need to stop somewhere along the road, and these are great options for getting gas and snacks and finding clean restrooms. (Also: don’t skip the beaver nuggets at Buc-ee’s!)

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