No trip to Texas is complete without visiting two of the American south’s most iconic cities, Houston and San Antonio. Located just a three-hour drive from each other, they are the perfect choice for travellers looking to explore the ‘roots and boots’ of the original cowboy state.

Houston is perhaps most famous for being the home of NASA’s Space Center Houston, a museum boasting a multitude of cool displays and interactive attractions. Beyond that, though, the city boasts a thriving food scene, which makes it the culinary capital of the south. Among the vibrant city’s backstreets you’ll find 11,000 restaurants featuring cuisine from more than 70 countries.

For Texan-inspired dishes, try Underbelly, with its menu focusing on the ingredients and culture of lesser-known parts of Houston. If you fancy fresh Tex-Mex cuisine, you can’t beat arty Caracol, with its fun cocktail list and oyster bar. For breakfast, grab a table at Barnaby’s Kitchen – a Houston original with several handy locations around town serving buckets of coffee and wholesome cuisine. Legend has it that the fajita was created in Houston – find the best at Original Ninfas (and don’t forget the margaritas).

Elsewhere in Houston there’s a thriving art scene. The city’s museum district is home to 19 museums, 11 of which are free. Start with the Museum of Natural Science, home to 16 permanent exhibitions ranging from vintage wildlife images to a rare gem vaults. The Museum of Fine Arts is also a must; here you’ll find everything from Renaissance art to rare African sculptures – visit on a Thursday between 6pm and 8pm and you can enjoy the happy hour, too. For something edgier, take a stroll around Graffiti Park – an incredible outdoor collection of vivid street art.

The 51st Super Bowl will take place in Houston in 2017

Meanwhile, the city offers a rich sporting culture – be sure to catch the Houston Texans play in the NFL league or the Houston Rockets, the city’s basketball team. For avid American Football fans the 51st Super Bowl will take place in the city on 5 February 2017.

After a few days exploring the vibrant streets of Houston, there’s no better place to head to than the colourful and culturally rich city of San Antonio. Here, sports fans will continue to be impressed – especially when watching the San Antonio Spurs basketball team in action.

History buffs will love the Alamo, a 4.2 acre complex that marks the crossroads of the state of Texas’ s history. Founded in the 18th century as a Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound, it was the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Today, the Alamo is a an admission-free museum in the Alamo Plaza Historic District, and houses fascinating exhibits on Texas History and the Texas Revolution. Last year, the city had five of its colonial missions, including the Alamo, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the first in Texas.

Afternoons here should be spent taking in the River Walk, where you can soak up the city’s amazing culture and natural beauty. The park, which is open 365 days a year, is home to a selection of buzzy restaurants, bars (try the hip Esquire Tavern for whisky) and boutiques. Along the walk, and opposite the San Antonio Museum of Art, you’ll find the Luxury – a sunny, chilled-out street food space.

Whether you're young, or young at heart, a selection of the state’s best theme parks are located in the city. Six Flags Fiesta Texas is home to dozens of rides perfect for thrill-seekers – visitors can try out Fireball, a seven-story looping ride, or perhaps Spinsanity, a whirling adventure for daredevils.

Visit the local diners and cantinas and you can feast on delicious, fresh Mexican cuisine

Back in the city you’ll experience a place with deep culinary roots. Visit the local diners and cantinas and you can feast on delicious, fresh Mexican cuisine (Rosario’s is great for a sophisticated atmosphere). In the emerging Pearl District you’ll discover trendy warehouse-style eateries and cocktail-packed bars – for a Texan staple of slow-cooked beef brisket, the Granary ’Cue and Brew serves the best in town.

With funky art, cool bars and restaurants and fun activities at your fingertips, make sure Houston and San Antonio are at the top of your Texas holiday itinerary.

Travel guide

Hayes & Jarvis

Book your San Antonio and Houston adventure with Hayes and Jarvis. The trip includes eight nights with return flights from £1,199* per person departing from London Heathrow. This includes four nights at the Hyatt Place San Antonio Riverwalk, four nights at The Westin Oaks Houston At The Galleria and car hire is also included. To book, visit their website or call 01293 762404. *Offer is based on departure 15 November 2016. *01293 - Calls are charged at your providers’ local or national rate. Mobile and other providers’ charges may vary.

United Airlines to Texas

With unrivalled access to the U.S. from seven U.K. airports, United is the perfect choice for your Texan adventure. Enjoy a choice of three daily flights from London Heathrow to Houston, with connections to 17 cities across Texas, including San Antonio. You can also connect to cities across The Lone Star State from hubs in New York/Newark, Washington D.C. and also Chicago.

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