The second largest American state, Texas, has about 480 hours of things to see. Unfortunately, we only had a 3 day visit to explore Dallas and Fort Worth with our dear friends Andrew and Graceann, who served as our tour guides. (Note: Hannah had lived in Dallas in the past and served as assistant to the tour guides.)
It really is bigger in Texas, y’all!
THINGS TO DO :
Klyde Warren Park / Uptown
In the downtown corridor, you’ll find Klyde Warren Park. The expansive park offers 360 views of the city. It is the perfect spot for a picnic. You'll find ping pong, food trucks, and other places to procure food, and plenty of green, walking space (which is rare for a city like Dallas.)
Also worth seeing: Uptown neighborhood and Highland Park. Uptown is perhaps the trendiest neighborhood in greater Dallas and has easy access to the wonderful Katy Trail system (Hannah's all time favorite Dallas amenity) and easy access to a bevy of shops, breweries, and restaurants. Highland Park features unfathomable mansions and manicured streets that resemble a movie. It’s a beautiful place to drive by and admire the architectural designs or to take a stroll.
I’ve been to an enormous amount of sports arena, stadiums and fields. College, pro, basketball, football, baseball...I’ve seen many, much to my wife’s chagrin. This stadium is the finest you will ever see. Go catch a game, like we did, watching our Alabama Crimson Tide roll mightily over USC, or go on a tour of the facility. The video board is mindblowing in stature, costing an astounding $90 million to create. This stadium is a MUST SEE while in DFW.
Fort Worth Water Gardens
Truly, my expectations were not particularly high for a “water garden” in the chaos of the downtown Fort Worth, Texas. My tour guides definitely undersold the beauty of this aquatic masterpiece that feels separate from the rest of the city, while very much engrossed by it. The water gardens were built in 1974, where there are 3 different “pools” that serve as a cooling oasis amidst a concrete city. Plus, totally worth splashing a little water on your head when it’s 90 degrees like it is in Texas 8 months a year!
If you have children, they also may enjoy seeing the “cattle call” at the Fort Worth Stockyards where they can see longhorns up close and personal at no cost.
White Rock Lake
For all of you outdoorsy visitors who are itching to fit in that 10 mile run, you'll love the paved path surrounding White Rock Lake.
WHERE TO EAT :
Oaklawn Coffee is in the Uptown neighborhood of Dallas (just a few blocks from Hannah's old apartment). More than terrific coffee, Oaklawn is coffee with a heart. The gentleman who owns Oaklawn, Ben, served my then-girlfriend Hannah and I coffee as we made small talk. He asked if he could pray for us, and we readily agreed. Ben encouraged us to ignore our fears and to trust God in the unknown. To this day, Hannah and I credit that impromptu conversation and cup of coffee leading to our engagement as Ben encouraged us to move across the country to end the long distance misery we had been enduring. God works in mysterious and incredible ways. But truly, story aside, the coffee is absolutely FANTASTIC. The atmosphere is also quaint, charming, and ideal for working or hanging out. Great photo ops too. Thank you so much, Ben.
Dallas Farmer's Market
One of the cooler Farmer’s markets we’ve seen. This particular market features an outdoor space with 30 or so vendors with various seasonal products and crafts. The indoor portion of the market features many small stores with Texas themed collectibles, though they are craftsman and distinct rather than cookie cutter. There are also 12 or so food vendors and the variety is widespread. BBQ, seafood, Cajun, Mexican… you name it. I had alligator. It was TREMENDOUS. If you haven’t tried gator, it’s a must.
The Woodshed SmokeHouse offers unique takes on BBQ in a relaxed, open space environment. I ordered a Chicken Sandwich (what’s new) and it was among the best I’ve ever had. Fried to perfection, with the best coleslaw I’ve ever had on top (and I don’t even typically eat ‘slaw). They also have ping pong tables and a bar area, outside seating and indoor seating with misting fans to serve as reprieve from the Texas heat.
Dallas / Fort Worth is sprawling and boundless with opportunities… and totally worth a weekend of your time. I would argue it to be one of America's most underrated city destinations! Next Texas trip, we’ll be heading to San Antonio and Austin. More to come from the Lonestar State! Be well, friends.