Visiting the State Fair of Texas is overwhelming no matter how seasoned the visitor. The variety of food and drink selections alone are staggering, and they’re spread out over a sweeping 277 acres. Knowing what to eat, and more importantly where to find it, is hard work, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are eight curated guides for where to eat and drink at the fair.
For the first-timers
Fletcher’s Corny Dogs
The most iconic spot to grab a Fletcher’s Corny Dog is at the main stand in front of Big Tex, the 55-foot tall cowboy that watches over the fair and belts out the occasional greeting. The lines can be long, but they do move fast. If you don’t want to deal with the crowds that accumulate at Big Tex Circle, you can find Fletcher’s Corny Dogs at six other stands throughout the park — MLK Jr. Boulevard, Nimitz Circle, Cotton Bowl Plaza, Thrillway, Midway and Fun Way on the Midway. Here’s a map of the fairgrounds to help you find your way around.
It wouldn’t be an inaugural fair visit without eating something fried. You can find just about anything deep fried here, but Oreos are a good place to start. Fried Oreos are located at Stiffler’s Mom’s Cookie Factory on the Midway.
There’s just something alluring about moseying through the fairgrounds while gnawing on a turkey leg the size of your arm. Where else would you do such a thing if not at the fair? Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que & Home Cooking sells turkey legs that perfume the air with an intoxicating smokiness. Find them at Cotton Bowl Plaza, Tower Building, Nimitz Circle and the Midway.
Go Texan Pavilion Samples
This is a great place to go for small bites. Think Costco samples, but all from Texas-based agricultural vendors selling their retail products. The pavilion is located across Nimitz Circle from the Embarcadero.
Tower Building Food Court
If you’re looking for one centralized and air conditioned place to grab something to eat, head to the Tower Building Food Court. It’s near the Big Tex Circle and it houses dozens of concessionaires that make everything from Greek gyros to fried ribs. You can find several of the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards winners in here, too.
For the adventure seekers
Chamoy Pickle at Candy Pickle Factory
This vendor is a new addition to the fair and they’re coming in hot with the Chamoy Pickle — a whole dill pickle wrapped in a fruit roll-up, stuffed with Fruit Gushers, and then doused with chamoy sauce and sprinkled with Tajin.
Doh-Muff at Vandalay Industries
Vandalay Industries is where you’ll find the wild creations of Abel Gonzales who’s behind fried butter, fried lobster tail with champagne gravy, and deep-fried PB&J. This year he came up with the Doh-Muff, which is a yeast doughnut coated in banana nut muffin batter and fried, then stuffed with Bavarian cream. This is located at the Fun Way and on Nimitz Circle across from the Go Texan Pavilion.
Deep-Fried Country Cookout at Benavides Foods
Head to this vendor to try the new Deep-Fried Country Cookout. It’s pulled pork and goat cheese formed into a patty, which is then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. It’s topped with coleslaw and potato salad, and drizzled with jalapeño barbecue sauce. Benavides Foods is located in the Tower Building Food Court.
Fat Elvis at Holy Biscuit
Holy Biscuit is where you’ll find the Fat Elvis — a biscuit sandwich made with peanut butter, strawberry jelly and toasted marshmallow fluff. But that’s not all! It also has bacon and fried plantains in the middle. It’s located in the Tower Building Food Court.
For the novelty seekers
If you’re looking for the latest and greatest the fair has to offer, use the 2022 Big Tex Choice Awards winners as your roadmap. This year’s winners include a horchata milkshake, a fried charcuterie board, deep-fried lasagna, and a monster dessert of brownie, cookie marshmallows and cheesecake. Here is the list of this year’s winners and the prices of each. And here is a map of where you can find all 10 winners at the fair.
For the wine lovers
Texas Beer and Wine Garden
This is the place to sip Texas-made wines in a patio setting with string lights and live music. Different wineries are featured each day, and you can buy wine by the glass, bottle or as small tastings. The beer and wine garden is located at the Yuengling Stage in between the Go Texan Pavilion and the Poultry Barn.
At this spot inside the Tower Building Food Court, you can find wine, wine cocktails, wine spritzers and even wine margaritas.
The Bluebonnet Roadhouse
Come here for paradise cups — sliced fruit soaked in wine and prepared daily. You can also buy wine and wine-based spirits here. You’ll find The Bluebonnet Roadhouse next to the Go Texan Pavilion.
For the beer lovers
Magnolia Beer Garden
This beer garden offers a large selection of global beers with shaded seating. It’s located next to the McDonald’s Amphitheater and Truck Zone.
Kick back at a table under the Hans Mueller tent with a beer of your choice and watch the performances at the Chevrolet Main Stage next door.
Fernie’s Skyway Porch
If you like to drink beer and sort of eat it too, Fernie’s Skyway Porch sells beer-battered fried shishito peppers. It’s located under the entrance of the Texas Skyway near Big Tex Circle.
For families with small kids
This is a newish restaurant space where kids can run around while parents sit at shaded picnic tables. It serves things like funnel cake, shaved ice and lemonade. It’s conveniently located right next to the Dallas Children’s Aquarium, and it’s also a great spot to camp out and watch the nightly parade go by.
Newport Kiddie Land
When it’s time for a quick break from the games and the rides, this stand is a good stop for hot dogs and pretzels for kids, and adult beverages for parents. Find it at Fun Way on the Midway.
Trio on the Green
Have a napping baby in a stroller? Post up at Trio on the Green, where you can sit under a canopy of trees and order flights of wine, beer and bites like pimento cheese tater tots and sliders. It’s located next to the Coliseum near Chevrolet Park Plaza.
This vendor on Nimitz Circle is a good stop for a kid-friendly meal that can also be exciting for adults. Go with the classic or spice it up with the Buffalo Chicken Bowl or the Big Texas Bowl Mac made with brisket, chives, bacon, fried onions, jalapeños and a pickle.
Oak Farms Dairy
Need milk for the little ones? Head to the Oak Farms Dairy booth inside the Tower Building Food Court.
For the cost-conscious
A State Fair visit can get expensive fast. One way to make it a more affordable experience is to take advantage of Thrifty Thursdays. Every Thursday during the fair, participating food vendors offer one of their signature menu items at a reduced price. In some cases they’re mini versions of the menu item, but in others they’re full size. The map of participating vendors and the more than 85 dishes they’re selling can be found here.
At the Daughters of the American Revolution House, which is located near the front entrance gate, water is only $1, so you don’t have to shell out to stay hydrated.
BYOB (and food)
You can actually bring your own food and drinks into the fair, as long as that doesn’t include any alcohol or silverware. Pack a picnic and save your coupons for rides and games.
For those with specialty diets
Every year the fair compiles extensive lists of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. The 2022 lists can be found here.
And if you’re looking for keto and Whole30 options, here is a list we compiled in 2021. It also includes vegan and gluten-free options throughout the fairgrounds.