Things Most People Get Wrong About Texas

Many people think they know Texas, but a lot of what they believe isn’t quite accurate. Misconceptions about the Lone Star State are common, touching on its culture, climate, and even its people.

Understanding Texas means breaking through the stereotypes and seeing the state for what it really is. This article aims to clear up some of the most common myths and offer a fresh perspective on what Texas is actually like.

1) Everything’s Bigger? Yeah, No.

Vast Texas landscape with a lone cowboy hat on a fence post

Many people think that everything in Texas is bigger, but that’s not always true. Sure, Texas is famous for big items like Big Bertha, the world’s largest bass drum, found in Austin. But much of the state has average-sized things just like anywhere else.

The idea that everything is huge might come from the state’s history. Some folks link it to the big steaks served at Texan restaurants and the large ranches. Others think it might come from the size of the oil rigs found in the state.

Texas also has a big personality, which might make everything seem larger than life. The saying “everything is bigger in Texas” captures the ambitious and resilient spirit of the people who live there.

Though some things are genuinely large, like the famous Big Tex statue at the state fair, many things are pretty normal-sized. People might be surprised to learn that not everything fits the larger-than-life stereotype.

To see one perspective on this stereotype, check out the true meaning of ‘everything is bigger in Texas’. It’s a mix of history, culture, and a bit of exaggeration.

2) No, we don’t ride horses to work.

Texan landscape with modern city skyline, highways filled with cars, and people walking on sidewalks. No horses in sight

Many people think Texans ride horses everywhere, including to work. This isn’t true. In Texas, people drive cars, take public transit, ride bikes, or walk, just like in other states.

Cities in Texas, like Houston and Dallas, have busy streets full of cars. You won’t see people commuting on horseback downtown.

That doesn’t mean you won’t see horses. Texas has plenty of ranches and farms where people work with horses every day. Riding for fun or sport is common, but it’s not how most people get around.

Hollywood often shows Texans as cowboys riding horses, which isn’t a real view of daily life. Sure, some Texans own horses, but it’s a hobby, not the main way to travel.

It’s also true that Texas has a strong cowboy culture. Rodeos are popular, and people enjoy horseback riding, but this is part of the state’s rich heritage, not a mode of transport.

Modern Texas is full of highways, large cities, and all the usual means of transport you’d expect. Thinking everyone rides horses to work is just a myth. For more on common misconceptions about Texas, you can check out this list.

3) Cowboy hats aren’t everyday wear.

Many believe that Texans wear cowboy hats all the time, but that’s not quite true. While cowboy hats are iconic, most people in Texas only bring them out for special occasions, like rodeos, country music concerts, or festivals.

In everyday life, you’ll see folks wearing more typical hats like baseball caps or no hat at all. Cowboy hats are often reserved for specific events where they fit the atmosphere.

When they do wear cowboy hats, Texans follow specific etiquette. They tip their hats when meeting someone or entering a home.

People also have different styles of cowboy hats. Some prefer the classic silver belly, while others might choose fun colors like black cherry or midnight blue. These choices depend on the occasion and personal style.

Travel care is also important. When traveling, Texans take care of their hats by holding them properly by the crown to keep the lining clean, as noted by Wide Open Country.

So, while cowboy hats are a significant part of Texas culture, they aren’t part of everyday wear for most Texans. They are more of a special accessory worn with pride on the right occasion.

4) Houston’s not all rodeo, y’all.

A bustling city skyline with a mix of modern and historic architecture, surrounded by wide-open spaces and rolling hills

Houston is famous for its rodeo, but there’s so much more to this vibrant city.

The Houston Museum District boasts 19 museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. People can spend days exploring these cultural treasures.

Foodies love Houston for its diverse culinary scene. From Tex-Mex to Vietnamese, the city is a melting pot of flavors. Check out the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for some tasty new eats in 2024.

Sports fans have plenty to cheer for as well. The Houston Astros, Rockets, and Texans keep the excitement high year-round. Catching a game is a favorite pastime for many locals.

Beyond that, green spaces like Hermann Park and the Buffalo Bayou offer tranquil escapes from the urban jungle. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of trails and picnic spots to enjoy.

Houston’s also a hub for space lovers with the iconic Space Center Houston. Visitors can explore exhibits on space exploration and even see real spacecraft.

In short, Houston’s rich culture, delicious food, and exciting sports make it much more than just a rodeo town.

5) Texas isn’t just desert.

Vast Texas landscape with rolling hills, green pastures, and blue skies, disproving common misconceptions

Many people think Texas is all about deserts. They imagine endless sands and cacti. That’s not true.

Texas has many different landscapes. There are green forests in East Texas. The Piney Woods have tall pine trees and lots of wildlife.

Central Texas is full of rolling hills. The Hill Country is known for its beautiful scenery and wildflowers.

There are also coastal areas. Texas has long stretches of beach along the Gulf of Mexico. Cities like Galveston and Corpus Christi are known for their sandy shores and sea life.

Then there are the big cities. Houston, Dallas, and Austin have lots of green spaces. They have parks, gardens, and rivers.

So, Texas is not just desert. It’s a state with rich and varied landscapes.

6) Not everyone loves Whataburger.

Not everyone in Texas is in love with Whataburger. While many Texans swear by it, some people just don’t see the hype.

For example, some folks think the burger is vastly overrated. They have tried it multiple times and still don’t get why it’s such a big deal.

Others might prefer different burger joints. Some might be more into In-N-Out or another local favorite. Tastes vary, and that’s completely fine.

There are also people who are not into fast food at all. They might choose homemade meals or healthier options instead.

So, even though Whataburger has a massive following, it’s not for everyone. And that’s okay. Different people have different tastes, and that’s what makes food culture so interesting.

7) We have actual cities, you know?

Busy Texas cityscape with skyscrapers and traffic. Clear blue sky above

Many people think Texas is just deserts and cowboy towns. That’s not true. Texas has some big, bustling cities.

Houston, for example, is the fourth-largest city in the United States. It’s known for the Space Center and a vibrant arts scene. The city plays a major role in the energy industry, too.

Dallas is another major hub. Folks know it for its major role in the oil industry and some top-notch art museums. There’s also plenty of entertainment, from sports teams to concerts.

Austin, the state capital, has grown into a tech hub. Dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World,” it’s full of music venues. It’s also home to the University of Texas.

San Antonio is famous for its rich history. The Alamo and its River Walk draw millions of visitors each year. The city also hosts many cultural festivals.

People often forget about Fort Worth. It’s known for its cowboy heritage, but it also has a lot of modern attractions. Museums, gardens, and a zoo add to its appeal.

Texas has many more cities, each with their own character and charm. It’s not just about wide-open spaces and ranches.

8) It’s not always scorching hot.

The sun sets over a tranquil Texas landscape, with a gentle breeze rustling through the grass and a coolness in the air

Texas might be famous for its intense heat, but it’s not always scorching there. Sure, summer temperatures soar, especially in places like Houston and Austin. Yet, many people don’t know that Texas has diverse weather across its vast regions.

In winter, parts of Texas see pretty cool temperatures. For instance, Northern Texas can experience snowfall. Cities like Amarillo often have freezing weather, making it necessary for residents to layer up.

Even during other seasons, the state isn’t a constant desert of heat. Spring and fall bring milder, more comfortable temperatures. These seasons are popular for outdoor activities and festivals, attracting many tourists.

Contrary to popular belief, Texas also has a wide range of climates. East Texas is more humid and gets a good amount of rainfall, making the landscape lush and green. Meanwhile, West Texas is drier and can even be chilly at night.

Extreme heat doesn’t dominate every corner of Texas at all times. It’s essential to recognize the state’s diverse and unique climate, which offers a variety of weather experiences.

For more information, check out this article on extreme Texas heat and how different regions cope with it.

9) Barbecue isn’t the only cuisine.

Texan landscape with diverse food: BBQ, Tex-Mex, and more

When people think of Texas, barbecue often comes to mind. Juicy brisket and smoky ribs usually steal the spotlight. Yet, Texas has a lot more to offer food-wise.

Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes are incredibly popular. Tacos, enchiladas, and tamales bring bold flavors to local tables. Cities like San Antonio and El Paso have rich traditions that showcase these cuisines.

Southern cooking also has a strong presence. Fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy are staples found in households and restaurants. Comfort food is a big part of Texas culture.

Seafood dishes are another highlight. Cities along the Gulf Coast, like Houston and Galveston, feature fresh fish, shrimp, and crab. Gumbo and crawfish boils are social events as much as meals.

Don’t forget about the German and Czech influences. Texas is known for sausages, kolaches, and schnitzels, thanks to immigrants who settled here long ago. Towns like Fredericksburg still celebrate these culinary traditions.

There’s also a growing appreciation for vegetarian and vegan options. Places like Austin are known for their innovative plant-based foods that please even the biggest meat lovers.

So, while barbecue is a big deal, Texas definitely has a diverse and tasty food scene worth exploring.

Read more about the culinary diversity of Texas.

10) Tex-Mex is not the same as Mexican

Tex-Mex and Mexican food often get confused, but they are different. Tex-Mex is rooted in Texas and has influences from Spanish and Mexican immigrants.

One big difference is the use of ingredients. Tex-Mex often includes yellow cheese, while Mexican cuisine typically uses white cheese only.

Tex-Mex barbecue is also more common in Texas compared to traditional Mexican dishes.

Another notable difference is in seasoning. Tex-Mex uses more cumin, while Mexican dishes might use more authentic spices like epazote.

Some dishes like burritos and nachos are Tex-Mex inventions. When you see these on the menu, it’s a sign you’re eating Tex-Mex, not traditional Mexican food.

Understanding these differences helps in appreciating each cuisine on its own.

Tex-Mex is a wonderful blend of cultures, but it’s important to know it’s not the same as Mexican cuisine. This clears up any confusion when enjoying these tasty foods.