To do in Dallas: State Fair

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To do in Dallas: State FairSeasonal Guide

One of the biggest events in the Dallas Region requires a little navigation. Here’s your ultimate guide to everything you need to know before, during, and after (plus some recap videos from previous years).

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  • Get the best discount possible.

You can use code 19STATEFAIR to save $5 on a set of 2 tickets or $10 on a set of 4 tickets.

Our friends at CultureMap Dallas made a great and very detailed list for getting every discount possible for this year’s State Fair!

  • Interested in seeing a specific performance? Plan your days accordingly.

The State Fair wouldn’t be the same without live music, with a wide range of artists performing on the multiple stages in the park. All the performances are FREE to watch and included in your admission ticket for that day.

You can find the lineups for all stages on the State Fair of Texas website.

  • Map your route. Trust us, the place is huge.

Fair Park is HUGE and it is easy getting lost in the crowd if you have no idea where you’re going. Lucky for you, you can see an interactive fairgrounds map on the State Fair website and find the best possible route to try all of this year’s food winners.

  • The State Fair is known for its food and huge crowds.

Don’t limit your meal to the 2019 food winners – take a look at the list of finalists (and semi-finalists) for each category (sweet and savory) to expand your options. Don’t forget about the State Fair classics too – like the turkey legs and anything other food that could possibly be fried.

  • Know when, where, and how you’re getting there.

We’ll make this part easy. They’re open 9/27-10/20 from 10 AM-9 PM (for Fridays and Saturdays, 10 AM – 10 PM). The State Fair of Texas is located at Fair Park. If you’re driving there, parking is $20 in the surrounding official parking lots (don’t worry about parking near or far the entrance because there are tram stops throughout the parking lots that’ll pick you up and drop you off). If you live close, consider a rideshare that may end up being cheaper.

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  • Remember that there are some things you cannot bring, but also some helpful things that you can bring.

Be sure to check the official list of allowed/not allowed items.

Did you know you can bring your own wagon to wheel the little ones around the fairgrounds? You’re also allowed to bring in personal food and non-alcoholic beverages, but your coolers and ice chests will be searched.

  • For newbies: all food at the State Fair must be purchased with coupons.

And that’s what they call their tickets. Each coupon is $0.50 and you can buy them at booths throughout the Fair with credit cards or cash. However, we recommend bringing some cash because the paring-with-cash lines are usually shorter. It’s okay to buy too many – you can use them at future Fairs if you don’t finish them this year.

  • An important question: are you or are you not a football fan?

Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into! The Cotton Bowl Stadium is located in the middle of Fair Park and is the home of 3 big football games – the biggest one being the AT&T Red River Showdown. If there are teams you’re wanting to support, buy your football tickets FIRST because Fair admission is included on game day.

Wanting to avoid the football crowd and visit on a less packed weekend? Make sure your visiting weekend isn’t the same weekend as the State Fair Classic (Sept. 28), the Red River Showdown (Oct. 12), or the State Fair Football Showdown (Oct. 19). If you’re determined to brave the crowd on those weekends, consider wearing relevant school colors.

  • There are some things you never even realized existed at the State Fair that you should definitely take advantage of.
    • You can listen, watch, and learn from the Dallas Region’s best and most popular chefs at the Cutco Celebrity Chef Kitchen (pro tip: stay until the end to try samples of what they prepare during the show!).
    • If you’re a wine person, you can visit winery tasting stations, featuring 3 different wineries per day (see schedule here). You can also try wines from all over Texas that won the GO TEXAN Blue Ribbon winners.
  • Whether you love it or not, you HAVE to see the Texas Auto Show.

Their display of cars will make you realize you want every single one in that building. Featuring 400 different models from the world’s leading manufacturers, you will be glad you walked into their room to escape the heat. There’s also interactive games and entertainment there to see once you realize you can’t drive any of those cars home.


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  • Share your visit with your friends!

We’re sure you had a blast. Don’t forget to use the Fair’s hashtags #StateFairofTX and #BigTex for a chance to be noticed – or even featured!

You can even use our hashtag #SayYesToDallas for a chance to have your picture featured on our social media!

  • Make plans for next year.

It’s never too early to start planning. The dates for the 2020 State Fair of Texas are September 25 – October 18, 2020.

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Check out our recap videos from last year!

📹 Videos by Jane Martens