When the State Fair of Texas rolls into town each year, it's easily the biggest thing happening on opening weekend. Not so this year, as the fried food extravaganza will compete with multiple other events for your attention, including at least six concerts featuring bold-faced names. Also on tap is a live taping of a popular national podcast and the opening of an eye-popping new art exhibit.
Below are the best ways to spend your free time Thursday through Monday. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, September 28
Lauryn Hill and Nas in concert with Chronixx
For a woman who has been part of only three albums — two with the Fugees, one solo, all released in the '90s — Lauryn Hill still ejoys a reputation as a great artist. She's released a handful of songs in the past 20 years, but has also become known for her erratic behavior. Fingers crossed we'll get the the good Hill when she teams up with rap superstar Nas for this co-headlining concert at the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving.
Sir Mix-A-Lot in concert
If there is one musician who epitomizes how one great hit can make a career, it's Sir Mix-A-Lot. The rapper has released six albums, the last being 2003's Daddy's Home, but he will be known eternally for "Baby Got Back," which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. You can hear Sir Mix-A-Lot play that song and some others at Lava Cantina in The Colony.
Arcade Fire in concert with Wolf Parade
Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire is notable not only for its consistently great albums, including 2017's Everything Now, but also for the size of the group, which seems to shift and grow every year. There are only seven official band members, but you're likely to see many more on stage during this concert at American Airlines Center, which will feature opening act Wolf Parade.
Friday, September 29
2017 State Fair of Texas
The 24-day, four-weekend extravaganza that is the State Fair of Texas is back. The best thing about the fair is its predictable greatness, from the butter sculptures to the pig races to the oodles of fried food. You can try all the new concoctions, check out the Midway, enjoy free concerts every day — Maren Morris kicks things off on Friday — or take a trip to the top of the Top 'o Texas Tower. Don't forget to get your discount tickets before you go. The fair will be at Fair Park through October 22.
Smokey Robinson in concert
Counting his time with his breakout group, The Miracles, Smokey Robinson has been entertaining the masses with his distinctive voice for 60 years — quite the feat for a man who's 77 years old. His biggest hits, like "The Tracks of My Tears," "I Second That Emotion," and "The Tears of a Clown," came with The Miracles, and they resonate to this day. He'll play a special concert at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie.
Chris Gethard — Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People: Live Podcast Taping
Podcasting has created more than a few unusual stars, and you can put Chris Gethard at the top of that list. An actor/comedian who's appeared on shows like The Office, Broad City, and Inside Amy Schumer, he takes phone calls from anonymous people and talks with them about whatever they choose. A concept that could be boring is riveting, a rare opportunity for strangers to connect in a disconnected world. Gethard will hold a live taping of the podcast at UNT's University Union Lyceum.
Saturday, September 30
The Flaming Lips in concert with Mac DeMarco
There's no show quite like a Flaming Lips show. The famously flamboyant Oklahoma group goes all out, no matter the venue. They'll bring their unique energy to the relatively new Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving, playing in support of their 2017 album, the oddly-named Oczy Mlody. They'll be joined by opening act Mac DeMarco.
Sunday, October 1
Dallas Museum of Art presents Yayoi Kusama: "All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins"
The Dallas Museum of Art welcomes fall with Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins,” one of the artist’s popular infinity mirror rooms. The mirrored room is filled with acrylic pumpkins, creating a space that continues forever, repeating the image of the yellow gourds covered in black polka dots. The exhibit, which requires an extra fee, will be on display through February 25, 2018.
Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows in concert
Two bands who hit it big in the '90s, Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows, will cap off another busy weekend at the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving. Matchbox Twenty is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band's debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You, while Counting Crows is approaching the 25th anniversary of its debut album, August and Everything After.