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Top Texas City for 1st timer?

I am considering at 4 day trip to Texas and have never been before. Money is no object, but wondering if you had to choose the best city for food and restaurant scene in Texas out of Houston, Dallas or Austin, which would you stay in and why?
Thanks in advance.

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  1. I have lived in or near all 3, and I give the nod to Austin. You can be well fed in all 3, but you can't eat all day, and Austin would be the most fun for 4 days. Also, as far as a newcomer navigating around, Austin is a nice manageable size city. Metro Dallas and Houston are each about the size of Rhode Island. Any must-have food items?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      OP said food and restaurant scene, if that's it then it's Houston. A day trip to Galveston is wonderful this time of you. Say Veggo, I know you from getting beat up on that other board. I tried to chip in but...........

      1. re: James Cristinian

        Good point, James, and I agree. While all three are interesting, Houston has a big edge.

        A couple of notes for the OP, you say money is no object - are you going to have a car or depend on taxis? Houston's (and DFW's) sprawl may be a factor and I don't have any idea what kind of taxi service is available in Austin, but public transit is not going to be much help in any of these cities. If you have a car then a day trip (or day/night trip) to SA would be an option. There isn't much reason culinarily to go to Galveston.

        Also, since the Texas board was split several of us from Houston still visit this board but few people from Dallas or Austin do. You might try posting on those boards for more viewpoints and certainly when you make your selection, post on the local board for more recommendations of venues.

        And it's off topic and I'm not trying to pick a fight but, yes, SA is the # 1 tourist destination in Texas (the Alamo and Seaworld) but not everybody thinks Austin is the place they'd want to live, certainly not me, absolutely no way.

    2. You didn't mention San Antonio but for decades the mantra has been that San Antonio is the best Texas city to visit but Austin is the best Texas city in which to live.

      We all love Austin though. And while it's very clearly not the best food town in the state (Houston wins that hands down) Austin's music/nightlife scene more than makes up for it, especially if you're young.

      1. Yes, what are some of your other interests, after food & dining, and what kinds of food do you love? I live in Austin but my first thought was Houston, especially if you like art museums/galleries. If you like twangy music, definitely come to Austin. If you like history & architecture, it's San Antonio. And Dallas ain't bad, either. Each has such a different feel. I'll look forward to following this thread and hearing about your trip.

        1 Reply
        1. re: storefronteats

          Houston also has resident companies in all four performing arts, which only a handful of cities have, plus more downtown theater seats than anywhere except NYC. Dinner and a show?

        2. Austin ..of course..it is just the best
          best food
          best music
          best people
          beautiful Hill Country
          it is the best

          4 Replies
          1. re: girloftheworld

            I wish Houston had some hills, but the food scene is more diverse and has better depth. How do you quantify better people? Remember you must factor in all the State Legislators that live there for the better part of a year, with out regard to political affiliations. This really ups the sleaze factor. Music, I've got an OLD Neil Young Austin City Limits DVD that alone gives the edge to Austin. Neil Young and the International Harvesters to be exact. Biased nod goes to Houston. Edit, this just in, we have East and West Mount Houston roads. A mountain tops (pun) a hill any day, if we can just find it.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              well,in interest of full discloser I am unabashedly biased...but I must admit with our latest influx of newbies who have not assmliated to the Austin ways "better people" might be a tie with uptight frantic less friendly atittude of some of our neighbouring cities. ACL fest, SXSW, fest, Austin Opera, austin Ballet, several semi- preof theater companies as well as independent films.. the Blanto art muesum... and the french forigne conslante( ok that last one is a joke)

              1. re: girloftheworld

                I know you're biased and some and I. I wouldn't live in a place if I wasn't proud of it.

              2. re: James Cristinian

                True, but your "this really ups the sleaze factor' comment gave me good laugh,

            2. If food is your top priority, definitely Houston. Unbeatable for diversity and breadth of options. Just about every ethnic cuisine you can think of, and everything from basic burgers and tacos to the fanciest trendy stuff. And much of it located near cultural activities. However, as others have mentioned, you'll need a car to take full advantage. Check out the Houston board for lots of discussions on specific types of food and restaurants. Enjoy your visit, and please report back to us!