Where do you find the real Texan culture? Shopping malls are ubiquitous, sports centers like Cowboy Center and Ranger Stadium are magnets for tourists. There is no doubt that Six Flags Over Texas amusement park is spectacular. So where do the Texans, who have been to all of the above spend their free time? What we have discovered is that Texans love open markets, traders villages, flea markets and the cavernous street side bazaars housing hundreds of vendors, some with themes..like Harry Hines Bazaar or Latina where the goods and food courts are primarily Mexican , to Sam Moons Wholesale style strip mall where international is the name of the game. Ask around, these are everywhere….and cheap….don’t get me started.

A lot of open markets are calendar and weather dependent…but be at the right place on a good day and you’ll have thousands of vendors show up and a variety of goods to shuttle through that has no comparison anywhere in the world. There are also plenty of indoor markets, so don’t fret if the sunshine isn’t perfect, although Texas weather is usually pretty good…especially if I compare it to Canada….winter in Dallas is better than summer in Vancouver..hands down.

Its in the markets that you’ll meet the real Texan, good hearted , sweet, open and honest. The culture of open markets began 200 years ago when centers were located that people could bring their trade goods to from the far flung farms and ranches and the isolated communities that pepper this huge state. The market vibe is as alive today as it was back then. The history is fantastic, the people willing to take the time to talk about it. Trisha and I spend our weekends traveling from one market to the next….never running out of towns to visit and trails to follow. My favorite open markets so far has been the Canton First Monday Market…McKinney Second Monday Market, Waxahachi and Traders Village in Grand Prairie west of Arlington.

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