Photo courtesy of Cinnamon Shore

School might be back in session for the kids, but there's still plenty of fun to be had all across Texas in September. Can't decide where to take a quick vacation, road trip, or staycation? Here are 11 events, exhibits, special celebrations, and hotel happenings around the state to help plan a getaway for Labor Day or any September weekend excursion.

Along the Gulf Coast

A luxurious Port Aransas vacation community is providing a few special discounts in time for Labor Day and beyond. For the long holiday weekend, Cinnamon Shore is offering reduced pricing for a three-night minimum stay, with four homes left for the weekend at various price points. Don’t forget to check their Labor Day Weekend Fun schedule highlighting special family-friendly events like movies under the stars and community cookouts, or live music and yoga classes for the adults. From September 5-October 4, guests can also enjoy 50 percent off their third night at one of the Cinnamon Shore rental properties after booking a minimum two-night stay using their code Fall2023. Rates for a one-bedroom home range from $940 to $1,600, and five to eight-bedroom homes range from $4,050 to $7,550.

For a more comprehensive look at all of the seaside options along the Texas coast for Labor Day weekend, from Galveston to South Padre Island (including Cinnamon Shore), check out these Gulf Coast getaways.

In East Texas

Cavalry Court, a retro-inspired boutique hotel in College Station, has all of the amenities for a perfect weekend mini-vacation to bring in the fall season: a resort-style pool with private cabanas, live music, its signature Canteen Bar and Grill, and an outdoor pavilion. The hotel is also situated less than 10 miles from the famed Messina Hof Estate Winery for any further exploration of the city. Rates begin at $149 per night.

If East Texas’ Piney Woods region is calling your name, this resort community is the place to be: High Hill boasts luxurious experiences with rental properties sprawling over 200 acres of land. Take your pick among a bungalow suite, private bungalow, or a multi-bedroom vacation home. Also available are on-site vineyards, a relaxing spa, and Côte, a high quality farm-to-table restaurant. Starting rates are $295 for a double queen room and $275 for a king room.

In West Texas

One of the best steakhouses in Texas is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new historic art installation. The award-winning Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, a small town about half an hour southwest of Abilene, will celebrate this landmark anniversary with a new outdoor exhibit that showcase the history of the town and the restaurant through photography, while also serving as a "love letter" to the American West. The collection will include several photos of Buffalo Gap from Lisa and Tom Perini's private collection. The exhibit, on display September 28-October 28, will be open to the public, and restaurant reservations can be made on their website.

In Austin

ThePecan Street Festival, a twice-yearly arts festival, is returning to downtown Austin on September 16-17. Over 300 local artisans and vendors will be selling their handmade art, crafts, clothing, and more in booths lined along 6th Street between Brazos Street and I-35 for the weekend. Live performances by local musicians are also scheduled throughout the weekend. The festival is free.

A fascinating new exhibition of beautifully aged books on display at The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin is a bibliophile’s dream. "The Long Lives of Very Old Books" shares the histories of 15th through 17th century books through their physical attributes and treatment within the hands of time. Both prominent titles and esoteric finds are put under the spotlight. The exhibition is on display until December 30. Admission is free.

In the Hill Country

San Antonio’s Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa has a special Labor Day event lineup for families looking for a weekend escape. On Saturday, September 2, the resort will host a Texas-themed barbecue and country music. On Sunday, September 3, guests can enjoy a Fiesta-themed buffet with mariachi music. Besides excellent guest service and luxurious experiences, this newly renovated, award-winning resort has also prioritized its convenient location to several San Antonio attractions, such as SeaWorld and the downtown Riverwalk. Rates begin at $394 per night.

If bringing in the fall months with a glass of wine in hand is your preference, consider visiting Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall, a winery less than half an hour from Fredericksburg. Three special events will help patrons embrace the month of September: a six-winery tasting tour, dubbed The Heroic Hye Wine Hunt, on September 2; and the release of a 2020 GSM Mélange wine on September 8. Plus, visitors can celebrate International Port Wine Day with a tasting of the Texas Ruby port-style dessert wine on September 10. Tickets for the wine hunt are $30, and reservations for tastings can be made via Tock or by emailing tastingroom@pedernalescellars.com.

For six weekends beginning September 23 until October 29, the family-friendly Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival is returning to its home grounds at the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead for its third and final year before moving to a new location. Each weekend has its own festive theme and special events, and costume-wearing is encouraged. Of course, no pumpkin fest is complete without its signature pumpkin patch. Tickets are $15, and admission is free for children under 3 years old and for seniors aged 65 and up.

In North Texas

Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine is celebrating the return of fall with extra special pumpkin spice themed suites that will make travelers forget all about the summer heat. From September 28-October 31, guests can relish in a scenic autumn scape outfitted with perfectly curated pumpkin pillows, faux-fall florals, wreaths, and much more. The Pumpkin Spice Suite sleeps a maximum of four, and rates start at $399 per night.

Fort Worth is celebrating its long history with aviation with a brand new exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. "Cowtown Takes Flight" features a collection of photographs and artifacts that focus on people from several pivotal eras, like a pilot, record setter, and others. The exhibit is included with the price of admission, which is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors aged 66 and up, $12 for children between aged 3-11, and free for children under 2 years old.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Post Malone collaborates on new line of Dallas Cowboys hoodies and T's

Celebrity Merchandise News

Post Malone gave us Dallas Cowboys-adorned chicken tenders, he gave us Cowboys drink cups, now he gives us Cowboys-themed hoodies.

The rapper, singer, and native Texan - a self-professed die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan - has debuted a limited-edition collection of Post Malone x Dallas Cowboys merchandise featuring T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and shorts.

According to a release, the collection comprises 22 pieces of apparel, priced from $40-168, will go on sale on November 30. There are numerous T-shirts in white and black, with blue as an accent color. Some have slogans such as "Blessed this shirt for another Dallas Cowboys victory," while others feature portraits of Post.

Malone collaborated with Grant Kratzer of streetwear brand Cheatin Snakes, who served as co-designer on the limited-edition collection, described by the release as featuring an eclectic style that embodies Malone’s roots through a fusion of vintage and streetwear.

In regards to the collection, the release quotes Malone thusly: “How ‘bout them Cowboys!” He's a man of few words.

The collection is for sale on NTWRK, a digital marketplace based in Los Angeles, who will host a celeb-studded debut featuring appearances by former players Dez Bryant, Michael Irvin, and Drew Pearson. (All three represent the “88 Club”, the Dallas Cowboys' club of wide receivers who shared 88 as their jersey number.)

Dez and Drew will join NTWRK on November 30 from “Dez’s Big Dallas Tailgate” party in Arlington; Irvin will patch in from Los Angeles.

That evening, the collection will be sold on-site at AT&T Stadium and Dallas Cowboys stores when the club takes on the Seattle Seahawks. (L.A. residents can buy the collection at a pop-up located at NTWRK's HQ at 433 N. Fairfax, open to the public from 11/30 to 12/3.)

Malone's most recent Dallas Cowboys collaboration was the October opening of a Raising Cane's that was given a Post Malone x Dallas Cowboys makeover. One month prior, Malone and Raising Cane's teamed up on a Cowboys-themed plastic cup.

Texas and California battle it out for residents on the move, Census report says

texas transplants

Texans love to joke about how many Californians are moving here, but a rising trend in Texas residents' relocation habits may have Californians saying the same thing about Texans soon.

A new U.S. Census report analyzing state-to-state migration has revealed new estimates regarding Texas' growing population in 2022. According to the report, more than 668,000 new residents relocated to Texas from out-of-state last year.

Not surprisingly, the highest number of new Texans hailed from California. More than 102,000 Californians made the move to the Lone Star State in 2022.

But in a fun population twist, California also received the most Texpats in 2022, the report showed, followed closely behind by Florida, then Oklahoma. Of the 494,077 people who left Texas last year, 42,279 went to California.

Why Californians move to Texas
Californians often seek out a lower cost of living by moving to the most "affordable" cities in the state. Dallas has shown to be at the top of the priority destination list after the city usurped Austin as the No. 1 city for California movers earlier this year. And when a California transplant can save more than $1 million by moving to Texas and buying a home in Dallas, it's not hard to see the appeal.

Other reasons for the California-to-Texas exodus include the lack of income tax and the flexibility of remote work opportunities, they say.

While California took the lead with the most new movers flocking to Texas, Floridians are also choosing to pack up and leave their Sunshine State for the Lone Star State, the report says.

The top 5 states with the most residents moving to Texas in 2022 were:

  • California – 102,442 new residents
  • Florida – 41,747 new residents
  • New York – 30,890 new residents
  • Illinois – 25,272 new residents
  • Louisiana – 25,192 new residents

Where Texans are moving
The Census report showed that less than half a million Texas residents relocated out-of-state last year, totaling 494,077 people.

"Texas had the country's lowest (11.7 percent) outmigration rate, with most of those who did move relocating to California (42,479) or Florida (38,207)," the report said.

The top 5 states where Texans moved in 2022 were:

  • California – 42,279 Texans
  • Florida – 38,207 Texans
  • Oklahoma – 26,440 Texans
  • Colorado – 25,466 Texans
  • Georgia – 23,754 Texans

New Texans from abroad
In addition to state-by-state migration data, the report also provided estimates for how many new Texans came from abroad. Out of 237,051 new residents, the majority – 233,751 people – relocated from outside the mainland last year.

About 2,441 people moved from Puerto Rico, and 859 arrived from unspecified U.S. island areas.

Texas has been a magnet for international homebuyers for several years. The state has held its position as the third hottest U.S. housing market for international homebuyers for the fourth consecutive year in 2023. A total of 9,900 Texas homes were purchased by buyers from outside the U.S last year, spending a gigantic sum of $4.3 billion.

DFW family's Christmas light spectacle celebrates Rangers' World Series win

Holiday home run

A Haltom City family didn't just light up with joy when their beloved Texas Rangers won the World Series — they lit up their whole house for the holidays. The Gonzalez family's annual Christmas light spectacle, known as "Wisdom Way Lights," this year pays tribute to the Rangers' 2023 World Series victory.

Highlights of the 10,000+ light interactive display include clips of the final out of the game projected on an LED screen on the garage; skeletons donning jerseys of famous Rangers players; a dancing Rangers captain; and of course, the words "Texas Rangers" and "World Series" illuminated in red, white, and blue.

Jesse and Angela Gonzalez and their kids put the display up quietly in mid-November, but the response has been anything but quiet. Videos posted to their TikTok and Instagram accounts quickly spread across social media and attracted the attention of a few local TV news crews.

Jesse Gonzalez says they're averaging about 100 cars of spectators each night. Unfortunately, none of their visitors has included anyone from the Texas Rangers organization, as far as he knows.

"That would be amazing," he says.

Rangers fans have only a few more days to get in the game, as December 1 will be the last night for the Wisdom Way World Series display.

Then the family will switch to a "Super Mario Bros." themed show, based in the most recent movie, along with two more traditional Christmas lights shows. All three will run concurrently until January 1, they say.

Visitors can view the shows from from their cars and listen to the audio on radio channel 89.7 FM.

The Gonzalezes have put up a larger-than-life, interactive lights displays since 2012, annually making CultureMap's list of The Best Christmas Lights in Dallas-Fort WorthBest Christmas Lights in Dallas-Fort Worth.

This is not the first time the Wisdom Way Lights (named for the street the family lives on) has brought them a bit of fame and a lot of traffic on their street. In 2020, their Selena-themed display attracted crowds from near and far.

They chose a Selena theme that year because Angela was a big fan of the Tejano superstar, they said then. Choosing the Texas Rangers as this year's theme was a win for the whole family.

Angela and Jesse's first date was to a Rangers Game, and they got engaged at a Rangers game a year later.

"We normally do Christmas lights each year kind of based on the trends," Jesse recently told NBC 5.

"But this was not just a regular trend, this was extraordinary for us because we've been waiting for this for a decade," Angela added, referring to the Rangers' World Series title.

The Wisdom Way Lights are at 4521 Wisdom Way, Haltom City, 76117. The lights are on nightly from 6-11:30 pm, until January 1, 2024. (Rangers display ends December 1.) They're free to visit. Follow Wisdom Way Lights on Facebook for updates.