5 Unexpected Texan Experiences


Texas, meetings
Having funn board the Grapevine Jazz WIne Train

The differences in Texas’ cities are as vast as the country’s second-largest state—as are the experiences for groups meeting there.

El Paso

A day trip to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, less than 25 miles away, is a popular activity for groups visiting El Paso. Aside from shopping and dining, groups can tour the archaeological sites and historical monuments, or visit the birthplace of the margarita, the world-famous Kentucky Bar. The bar dates back to 1920 and has seen visits from politicians, Hollywood icons and sports superstars.


For a fun foodie experience, Susie’s South Forty Candy Factory in Midland is the Guinness World Record-Holder for the largest piece of toffee. Groups can arrange for a tour where they can learn about this factory, which began in Susie’s kitchen, and watch the candy being made. A unique treat is the Texas Trash, a custom blend of cereals and pretzels mixed with fancy pecans and drenched in a sweet and creamy vanilla coating, then dusted with powdered sugar.


Just 60 miles west of San Antonio in Hill Country is Kerrville, home to many artists and craftspeople. The area’s many galleries feature everything from handcrafted jewelry to furniture to paintings. At the heart of it all is the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, which holds a variety of special events, including the Southwest Gourd Fine Art Show and the Texas Furniture Makers Show. The outdoor Smith-Ritch Point Theatre features music and theater productions, and the city’s most well-known celebration is the 18-day Kerrville Folk Festival each spring, featuring more than 100 performers.

San Antonio

San Antonio’s Pearl Brewery is home to a campus of the Culinary Institute of America. Here, groups can participate in hands-on cooking demonstrations and tastings with a Latin flair. In the Paella Challenge, teams compete to create the most impressive paella, while sampling sangria and wines from Spain. The Pearl’s stable, which was once home to the brewery’s draft horses in the late 1800s, has been meticulously renovated and can be used for special events for up to 400 guests.


A bustling suburb of Dallas/Forth Worth, Grapevine is home to an urban wine trail featuring daily wine tastings and special events throughout the year. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s wine train serves fine wines from the region and the annual GrapeFest, the largest wine festival in the Southwest United States, showcases the best of Texas wines.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.