Hello, friends & happy Monday! So as a lot of y’all know, I have been living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since Elementary School. Growing up in the DFW area has really been such an incredible experience, and I’ve made so many amazing memories over the years here in Texas. My family lives in Westlake, a tiny town nestled between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. I have grown up visiting both Dallas and Fort Worth (and everywhere in-between) on a weekly basis. I get questions all the time from followers that are planning to visit the DFW areas and are unsure of things to do or specific places to eat. I am no expert by any means, but here are some places my family, friends, and I have loved and wanted to share (in no particular order). I hope that you enjoy this list of my favorite places and activities in the DFW area & that you have a fabulous trip to the Lone Star State!
1. Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is probably the most beautiful place in Dallas. It’s definitely worth the visit and makes a gorgeous photo-op place. It’s also perfect for families and couples.
2. Kylde Warren Park
Kylde Warren Park is such a cool and unique place. This park is actually built on top of the freeway weirdly enough. I always take my college friends, who are visiting, there. The brunch is especially awesome! Definitely stop by for lunch to hit the food trucks (which are from 11 am- 3 pm Monday through Sunday). If you want a formal sit down restaurant, you can’t go wrong with Savor, which is Kylde Warren’s main restaurant. Kylde Warren Park also offers Yoga (10-11am Saturday) and Zumba (6-7pm Wednesday) classes in the park, which is absolutely awesome. It’s a must do for those that love Yoga and Zumba.
3. Dallas Museum of Art
As an Art Museum enthusiast, the DMA is by far one of my favorite museums in the DFW area. It’s one of the largest museums in America and is located in the Arts District of Dallas. They always have interesting exhibits and a huge variety of art pieces. They currently have a Jackson Pollock exhibit going on at the moment (until March 20th, 2016). The DMA is definitely one of my favorite rainy-day activities in Dallas.
4. NorthPark Mall
If you are a shopping addict like me, you will fall in love with the NorthPark Mall in Dallas, Texas. NorthPark has all of my favorite stores including Lush Cosmetics, Nordstrom, Sephora, Anthropologie, David Yurman, Kate Spade, and Free People. There is a great variety of mega high-end stores and more affordable stores as well. It’s such a cute, clean, and well-decorated mall, and it’s definitely my happy place. I also love all the cacti that they have around the mall. Random, but it’s definitely athletically pleasing. NorthPark Mall also has a great food court that includes a Chipotle.
5. Bishop Arts District
The Dallas Bishop Arts District is a great place for shopping with over 60 boutiques. There are also tons of coffee shops, restaurants, and art galleries. It’s a must-do.
6. JFK Museum
If you are into history, you will love the JFK museum. I remember taking a field trip there during my senior and really enjoying it. It’s definitely a really interesting topic, and the museum is really well done.
7. Highland Park Village
The Highland Park Village is such a nice area of Dallas, which is not too far from the SMU campus (also a great place to check out). Highland Park Village has some really great places to shop including Anthropologie, Dior, Tory Burch, and Chanel. It’s definitely one of the best places to go for those that want high-end shopping. They also have some great places to eat including Mi Cocina, one of my favorite Tex Mex restaurants.
8. Design District
I am a huge fan of the Design District in Dallas. It’s such a great and eccentric area in the city that I always love visiting. The Design District is a great place to browse art galleries and interior design showrooms. They also have events pretty frequently as well. I also love Dragon Street, which makes for a perfect place to shoot blog pics (especially if you like wall backgrounds).
(Taken on Dragon Street)
Uptown is another awesome part of Dallas, especially if you are looking for a night out!
(At Avenue with friends in Uptown, Dallas)
10. The Plaza at Preston Center
The Plaza at Preston Center is a great place to shop/dine in Dallas. It’s a really cute outdoor area that has two of my favorite places to eat (listed below) – True Food and Sprinkles. There is also a Riff Raff there for those that love ShopRiffRaff.com as much as I do! They also have a Kendra Scott, Benefit counter, and Tootsies (which is a huge store that has a great variety of my favorite brands).
Dallas has SO many concerts all the time. From the House of Blues to the American Airlines Center, there are countless venues for the hottest shows. I love going to concerts in Dallas, and there is always something going on! Gexa Energy Pavilion is definitely one of my favorite venues because I love the outdoor area.
(Dancing the night away at Gexa with one of my high school besties)
12. Sports Games
If you are a sports fan, Dallas is the best place to do. From Dallas Cowboy Games to the Dallas Mavericks to the Stars, there are so many sports games in Dallas. They are always so much fun!
13. Texas State Fair
The Texas State Fair is such an iconic Dallas event. I have been going for as long as I can remember, and I always have the best time at this annual fair. It’s great for people of all ages, and there is so much to do there (and eat). They have the best corn dogs in the entire world and an awesome selection of fried foods including fried cookie dough. This past year, the Texas State Fair took place September 25th to October 18th.
1. True Food Kitchen
True Food Kitchen is by far my favorite restaurant in Dallas. True Food has a very fresh and healthy selection on their men. They have such a wide variety of vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian options too. If you go, definitely try the Hangover RX drink. My mom, sister, and I can never resist getting the Hangover RX every single time. It’s incredible and so refreshing. My personal favorite meal there is definitely the Street Tacos. You also can’t go wrong with the salads or the pizza.
2. Sprinkles Cupcakes
I have been to Sprinkles Cupcakes more times than I can count, but it honestly never gets old. They definitely have the best cupcakes ever. Not only is there a Sprinkles Cupcakes, but they also have a Sprinkles Ice-cream next door (which basically combines ice cream & cupcakes. Does it get any better?). I also love the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, which dispenses fresh cupcakes 24 hours a day. There are different flavors of cupcakes for each day of the week, and I usually get the Peanut Butter or Marshmallow cupcake!
3. Blue Mesa
If you know me, you know that Blue Mesa is my guilty pleasure. I have to go to this Tex-mex favorite every time I head to Dallas during break. We use to have one in Southlake, but it closed a few year agos. The Blue Corn Enchiladas are out of this world, and I also love the Adobe Pie. Blue Mesa also has the best chips and salsa too! There is also a Blue Mesa in Fort Worth, and I would highly recommend checking it out if you are a Tex Mex addict like me.
4. Velvet Taco
The Velvet Taco is a very popular place to eat in Dallas, especially if you are a Taco fanatic. One of my best friends from High School, Allie, always recommends this place. The Velvet Taco also has locations in Fort Worth and Houston.
5. Reunion Tower
If you’ve been to Dallas before, you have probably seen the giant ball tower, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Dallas. Not only does the Reunion Tower offer a magnificent view of the city, but they offer dining options as well. The Reunion Tower is a great place for an eventful lunch or a special occasion dinner.
If you are in Fort Worth, you absolutely have to go to the Stockyards. No excuses. The Stockyards exude everything that makes Fort Worth so unique. I love the western feel and historic background of the Stockyards. With a variety of restaurants and shopping, you won’t be bored or disappointed. Also, if you are looking for the perfect pair of cowboy boots, the Stockyards is the best place to go for Western shopping. I got my Old Gringo boots at a store called Maverick Western Wear.
(Love at first site with these Old Gringo boots)
2. Stockshow & Rodeo
Every year since I’ve lived in Texas, my family and I have always gone to the Stockshow. From the livestock exhibits to the rodeo, the Stockshow is so Fort Worth. However, the Stockshow is only a few weeks each year, so if it is going on while you are in Fort Worth, definitely check it out. Don’t forget your cowboy boots!
(Allie & me in Fort Worth after watching the Rodeo)
3. Billy Bob’s
Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth is the ‘World’s Largest Honky Tonk’. I remember describing Billy Bob’s to my college friends at both Ole Miss and at LSE, and they were very confused. Billy Bob’s is such a fun place on the weekend for those 18+. Don’t forget to bring your ID because they can be pretty strict on letting you in. Billy Bob’s always has the hottest country singers and the coolest concerts. I also love going there to dance! They constantly have couples dancing lessons, beginner dance lessons, and free line dancing lessons, which is so, so fun. Definitely wear your cowboy boots to Billy Bob’s! It’s fun to check out whether you go with your girls or your significant other.
4. Kimbell Art Museum
I can’t tell you how many times I have dragged my dad to the Kimbell Art Museum with me. They have such an outstanding collection of art pieces, and I love how gorgeous this museum is. I recently went to the Gustave Caillebotte exhibition over break and really enjoyed it. They have an incredible Monet exhibition coming October 16, 2016- January 29, 2017. I am definitely going to have to check that out later this year!
5. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Another great museum for art lovers. They have an outstanding variety of pieces including a large collection of WWII art. It’s also another beautiful museum with modern architecture.
6. Fort Worth Botanic Garden
The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens are just stunning. With over 100 acres of gardens, it’s definitely a must see, especially in the spring time! I would highly recommend it if you love gorgeous gardens.
7. Fort Worth Zoo
The Fort Worth Zoo is one of my favorite Zoos. There are over 5,000 animals there with a great variety of things to see. This is a great family trip that adults and children will both enjoy. I really enjoyed the Fort Worth Zoo growing up, and it’s something I still love.
8. Coyote Drive-In
Looking for a unique date night? Definitely check out the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth. There’s nothing better than spending a warm, summer night at Coyote. They also have a great selection of the latest movies.
(Coyote Drive-In on a summer evening)
1. Joe T. Garcia’s
If you are in Fort Worth, you have to eat at Joe T’s. Be prepared to wait a long time in line, any day or time of the week. I can assure you that this gem is worth the wait. Not only is the Tex-Mex great, but it’s the atmosphere that really makes this place so special. I especially love to go in the spring and summer because the outdoor patio is seriously the best. When people ask me where they should eat in Fort Worth, this is always my #1 recommendation as it is a favorite for locals and tourists alike.
2. The Capital Grille
The Capital Grille is rated the #1 restaurant in Fort Worth by TripAdvisor. It’s definitely a higher end restaurant, but they have a really nice menu. It’s also in a great location, placed in down town Fort Worth. Not only are they known for their great food, but the service is fantastic as well.
3. El Rancho Grande
El Rancho Grande has been one my Fort Worth Tex Mex faves for years now. If you don’t want to wait hours for Joe T.’s, El Rancho Grande is a next great place. I really enjoy their cheese enchiladas. My high school friends and I always enjoyed dinner there for birthdays!
1. Southlake Town Square
If you grew up in/around the Southlake area, you understand the great appeal of the Southlake Town Square. It’s an awesome outdoor place for shopping and dining. There is such a great variety of stores from Lilly Pulitzer, Sephora, Francesca’s, and Anthropologie. They also have a nice movie theatre located right on the square.
2. Grapevine Mills Mall
I am not going to lie and tell you all that this mall is super fabulous, because frankly, it’s not. It’s not exactly clean and comfortable, but it’s the perfect shopping destination for those wanting to snag some great deals. With a Jcrew outlet, Saks Off Fifth, and Neiman Marcus last call, you can definitely find some winning deals at the Grapevine Mills Mall.
3. Cinemark Movie Theatre (Roanoke)
I love going to the movie theater; it’s one of my all time favorite things to do. I really love the new Cinemark Movie Theatre located right outside of Trophy Club. They have really nice seats in each theatre that recline fully (yay for comfort). I also like that you get to pick your seats out online when buying your ticket, so no more sitting in the front row if you are running late. Plus, they have a Starbucks located in the theatre too.
4. Great Wolf Lodge
Growing up in Southlake, the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas was the place to have your birthday party. It’s a watermark + hotel in one. I really enjoyed coming here as kid, and I think it’s the perfect family place! The Great Wolf Lodge has tons of activities around the resort, so you definitely won’t be bored.
5. Six Flags Over Texas
The Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington was my favorite place for thrills from elementary school all the way up to high school. If you love roller coasters, Six Flags is not one to miss. The New Texas Giant has been a long time favorite of mine. Six Flags is especially fun during halloween time! I also enjoy going in the summer when they have free concerts. I saw Katy Perry at Six Flags back in middle school and had the best time (but I am definitely not including a picture of me in middle school- yikes!).
6. Hawaiian Falls & NRH20
If you’re into water parks and/or looking for something fun to do with the family, these two water parks in DFW make for a great summer activity! Hawaiian Falls is located in Roanoke, and NRH20 is located in North Richland Hills.
9. Grapevine Historic Downtown
Grapevine is such a cute city in the DFW area. There are so many adorable restaurants and stores in this historic area. They also have an annual festival, which is always fun! I love to go around Christmas time when they have gorgeous lights up.
(Grapevine Downtown during the holidays)
The DFW area doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of ‘unique’ restaurants, and the majority are in fact chains. However, I still wanted to mention a few of my favorite places to eat:
1. Brio (Southlake) – For dinner
2. Mi Cocina (Southlake) – Tex Mex
3. Pure Juice Bar (Southlake) – For juices/healthy eating
4. Corner Bakery (Southlake) – For casual breakfast/lunch
5. Anamia’s Tex Mex (Southlake) – Best guacamole ever
6. Del Frisco’s Grille (Southlake) – Great brunch and dinner. More high-end
7. Nekter Juice Bar (Southlake) – Smoothies, juices
8. Cheesecake Factory (Southlake) – Big meals, big variety, great dessert
9. Twisted Root Burger Co. (Roanoke) – Such a unique burger place. their burgers are out of this world. They also have locations in Waco & SMU.
10. Babe’s Chicken (Roanoke) – I feel like I am gaining ten pounds just thinking about Babe’s, but their family-style meals are just too good not to mention. There are locations all over the DFW area, and it’s definitely a great place to go with the fam.
11. Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe (Southlake) – Awesome greek food
12. Mi Dia From Scratch (Grapevine) – Sante Fe & Tex Mex flaire Mexican food
13. Fireside Pies– My family’s favorite Pizza place in the area
14. Small Cakes – Cupcakes. So many unique flavors- last year they had a breakfast cupcake that had bacon
15. Gloria’s (Southlake, Flowermound, Colleyville) – Latin cuisine with tons of locations in Dallas, Fort Worth & everywhere in between. I love the black bean dip
16. Feedstore BBQ (Southlake, Keller) – The best BBQ in the DFW area. They have the best cobbler, no doubt.
17. Bob’s (Grapevine) – If you’re looking for the perfect, fancy restaurant, Bob’s is definitely the place. They definitely have the best steak around with impeccable service. There are locations all around DFW, and I would highly recommend making a reservation if you have a special event.
18. RA Sushi Bar (Southlake) – Locations all around Texas. My favorite Sushi place in the area.
1. Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park
Have you ever wanted to play with baby leopards and ligers? The Garold Wayne Zoo is probably the most unique place in the DFW area, in my opinion. It is something of a hidden gem. The GW Zoo is located in Wynnewood, OK, which is about 1.5-2 hours from DFW, but I can promise you that it’s worth the drive. They have so many awesome animals, and you can play with baby leopards, ligers (which, yes, are real) and tigers. It makes for the perfect adventure & photo-op. Definitely check out tour times online before making the drive to Wynnewood.
(Playing with & feeding a baby Liger at the GW Zoo)
2. WinStar World Casino
I can’t believe I am actually admitting this here on my blog, but I love the WinStar Casino. Never did I ever think I would be raving about this secret pleasure of mine. If you follow me on snapchat, you know that I go to the casino pretty frequently (which is something my parents cringe over). I go with my Grandparents every time I am home for break, and I actually really love it. It’s something that I enjoy doing with my Grandma & Grandpa, and it’s become something of our little tradition. The WinStar Casino is over a mile long and each section has a different travel theme. They also have a great buffet, so that’s always a plus. There are also pretty great concerts several times a month at the WinStar. My favorite artist, Jackson Browne came last year! The last time I went to Windstar, I ended up winning over $200 – which I of course blew at Sephora the next week. If you have a rainy day in the DFW area and you are over the age of 18, definitely hit the WinStar!
3. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
I remember taking a field trip to Fossil Rim back in the 6th grade and falling in love. It’s SO much fun, even as an adult. My sister still goes all the time with her high school friends. Located in Glen Rose, about an hour and a half away from DFW, this Safari adventure is totally worth the trip. Basically, you get to drive and get up close & personal with tons of exotic animals like Zebras and Giraffes (that will try to stick their head in your vehicle). It’s beyond fun for children and adults alike.
(My sister, Allie, making friends with a Zebra)
I hope that y’all enjoyed this little post! I absolutely love living in DFW, and it’s a place that I will always hold close to my heart. From the amazing food to the even more amazing people, it’s been such a perfect place to grow up. If you have been to Dallas, Fort Worth, or anywhere in-between, let me know what your favorite things to do & places to eat are! I always love getting new recommendations and things to try out!