15 Biggest and Best Cities in Texas

Updated December 6, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
Texas flag in front of a city
Source: iStock

They say that everything is bigger in Texas. But the Lone Star State is more than its size. It’s a dynamic place filled with natural beauty, friendly people, and lots of things to do.

1. Houston

Houston Texas
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Population: 2,345,606     Established: 1837

Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous in the United States. It’s home to the Johnson Space Center (NASA’s Mission Control), the Houston Astros baseball team, and the Houston Texans football team.

Texas Southern University is located in Houston, and the city is one of the country’s major centers for both the oil and gas industry and the healthcare industry.

2. San Antonio

San Antonio. Texas
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Population: 1,456,069     Established: 1837

Every year, thousands of people come to San Antonio to visit the Alamo, where Mexican troops under President General Santa Ana reclaimed the Alamo Mission during the Texas Revolution.

3. Dallas

Dallas, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 1,325,691     Established: 1856

Dallas is the largest city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, extending into Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties. It’s a very diverse city, with a large number of ethnic, racial, and religious groups, as well as one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the United States.

Dallas is home to 41 colleges and universities. Its main industries include defense, information technology, telecommunications, transportation, and financial services. Dallas is one of the safest cities of its size, with lower violent crime rates than large cities like Boston and Philadelphia.

4. Austin

Austin, Texas
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Population: 996,147     Established: 1839

Austin is the capital of Texas and the second most populous capital city in the United States. Since 2010, it’s consistently ranked among the fastest-growing cities in the country.

Austin is home to the University of Texas and Texas State University. Education is one of its major industries, along with business and technology. The Austin metro area (including Round Rock, Cedar Park, and San Marcos) has a thriving cultural life, which includes film, music, and theatre.

The unofficial motto of Austin is “Keep Austin Weird.” It’s part of Texas Hill Country, which marks the border between the American southeast and southwest.

5. Fort Worth

Forth Worth, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 954,457     Established: 1874

Fort Worth began as a seat of the longhorn cattle trade. Today it’s a hub for a variety of industries, including finance, manufacturing, and airlines.

For decades, Fort Worth has been among the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Over the past twenty years, its population has doubled. Fort Worth considers itself “the city of cowboys and culture,” and is home to a host of world-class museums, rodeos, festivals, and arts events.

6. El Paso

El Paso, Texas
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Population: 684,753     Established: 1873

El Paso, located along the Rio Grande river, consistently ranks high on lists of great places to live.

It’s one of the safest cities in Texas, ranking number one in "Congressional Quarterly’s" 2013 survey, and in the top three multiple times. El Paso has a high quality of life and is a five-time winner of the All-America City Award given by the National Civic League.

7. Arlington

Arlington, Texas
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Population: 400,032     Established: 1876

Located in northwestern Texas, Arlington is the second largest city in Tarrant county, after Fort Worth.

Arlington hosts a variety of companies and organizations, including Mensa International, the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Wings basketball team, and the Six Flags theme park.

8. Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 320,393     Established: 1839

Corpus Christi is located in the southeastern part of the state, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The largest industries in the city are retail and wholesale, though the city hosts numerous tourist attractions, including the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum.

9. Plano

Plano, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 290,624     Established: 1873

Plano has a very high standard of living, with one of the highest median incomes among cities with over 250,000 residents. It also has a very low rate of homicide and violent crime in a big city.

Plano is home to the headquarters of many well-known corporations, including Pizza Hut, At Home, Cinemark Theatres, and Tyler Technologies.

10. Irving

Irving, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 264,762     Established: 1914

Irving is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse cities not just in Texas, but in the entire United States. It’s also the location of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, as well as the national headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America.

11. Lubbock

Lubbock, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 262,655     Established: 1909

Lubbock is located in the northern part of Texas, northeast of the panhandle. The city is home to Texas Tech University, as well as numerous other institutions of higher learning. Lubbock was also the site of one of the first credible UFO sightings, the Lubbock Lights.

12. Laredo

Laredo, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 259,027     Established: 1755

Laredo is located on the north bank of the Rio Grande river, in southwest Texas. Laredo’s economy is largely built on international trade with Mexico, and the city has the highest proportion of Hispanic Americans in the country.

Laredo is home to Texas A&M International University, Laredo College, and Laredo International Airport.

13. Garland

Garland, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 249,846     Established: 1891

Garland is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The area is home to a number of industries, including dairy, steel, electronics, and hat-making.

14. Frisco

Frisco, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 217,213     Established: 1904

“Frisco” is a nickname for San Francisco, California, but it’s also the name of the 14th largest city in Texas. Located in northeast Texas, it’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, one of the most diverse, and has a very high per-capita income.

Frisco City is home to the Dallas Cowboys football team.

15. McKinney

McKinney, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Population: 208,146     Established: 1859

Located 32 miles north of Dallas, McKinney is another of the country’s fastest-growing cities, ranking number three in 2017.

The city’s top industries are aerospace and defense, higher education, and healthcare. Numerous sports stars hail from McKinney, including professional football players, several professional golfers, and an Olympic bobsledding champion.

Other Texan Cities of Interest

These cities might not be the biggest, but they do have plenty to offer!

  1. Abilene

    Located in the very middle of the state, Abilene is the beating heart of the “Texas Midwest.”

  2. Brownsville

    Brownsville played a role in numerous significant historical events, including the American Civil War, the Battle of Brownsville, the Battle of Palmito Ranch, the Texas Revolution, and the Mexican American War.

  3. College Station

    As you might have guessed from the name, College Station is a research and education hub. The home of Texas A&M University, College Station has partnered with a variety of institutions, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

  4. Galveston

    Galveston isn’t on the mainland. It’s an island resort city. If you’re looking for rest and relaxation, this is one of the best places in the state.

  5. Pasadena

    This suburb of Houston is home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. When astronauts talk to “Houston,” they’re really talking to Pasadena!

  6. Texas City

    Texas City is a center for outdoor activities and conservation. Facilities include the Texas City Prairie Preserve and part of the Great Coastal Birding Trail.

  7. Wichita Falls

    Wichita Falls is the site of the Air Force’s largest technical training wing, as well as the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program.

  8. Waco

    Many people remember Waco as the site of the 1993 shootout between Federal officers and the Branch Davidian cult. But today, Waco is home to a variety of museums, historical attractions, and a seven-mile scenic river walk.

Texas: Just the FAQs

El Paso Desert
Source: iStock

Still have questions about Texas? We have answers, so read on for more!

What’s the Capital of Texas?

Austin is the capital of Texas.

How Many Cities Does Texas Have?

Texas has more than 1,200 incorporated cities.

What Are the Safest Cities in Texas?

  • El Paso
  • Dallas
  • Freeport
  • McKinney
  • Frisco

What Are the Most Dangerous Cities in Texas?

  • Lubbock
  • San Antonio
  • Beaumont
  • Amarillo
  • Corpus Christi
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Killeen

What Is the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex?

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is a huge metropolitan area that encompasses 11 counties, more than seven million residents, and a very long list of cities and towns. These include:

  • Arlington
  • Grand Prairie
  • Denton
  • Carrollton
  • Lewisville
  • Plano
  • Garland
  • Irving
  • Rockwall
  • Mesquite
  • Mansfield

And dozens more.

Texas: It’s Not Just Big!

Texas has the largest land area in the continental U.S. It has some of the largest and fastest-growing cities, too.

But it’s not just big. Texas is dynamic, diverse, and full of history and natural beauty. Believe it or not, it’s also home to some of the spookiest locations in the United States! Want to learn more? Read all about the 22 Most Haunted Places in Texas!

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