Things to do in Dallas: Weekend Trip!

I went to Dallas in the beginning of March for a long weekend and the weather was absolutely stunning. It was the perfect time of year to escape the Chicago chill for sunshine and jean jacket weather down south.  We were able to check out many of the different neighborhoods in Dallas and I highly recommend bouncing around to discover the different areas.

Best Places To Stay In Dallas

South Side Dallas

Our first night we stayed at the Nylo Dallas South Side. A friend mentioned they had one of the best rooftop views of the city, and we thought, why not take advantage? Oh they did indeed.  The rooftop SODA bar was a great way to introduce ourselves to the city views. The bar includes an indoor/outdoor patio and a pool that closes at sunset.  The other great part of this boutique hotel was the lofty and industrial feel along with bright artsy inspiration. The staff was more than accommodating and seemed to really enjoy their jobs.

nylo soda bar view

Downtown Dallas

The rest of the weekend we stayed in The Adolphus Hotel downtown. Rated among one of the top hotels in Dallas, this is quite the opposite of where we stayed our first night.  The Adolphus was dreamed up by Anheuser Busch founder Adolphus Busch as a luxury hotel back in the early 1900s and while the lobby maintains the historic feel, the rooms were up-to-date and well designed. I had some major envy for the hotel room mirrors! The hotel also has a great rooftop pool to relax in during the day and apparently a bar, but we didn’t’ get a chance to see it while we were there. Good news is there is a bar right in the lobby area that is hopping during happy hour and late evening.

Things to Do in Downtown Dallas

There are some great things to do in Downtown Dallas within walking distance of the Adolphus Hotel.

Food & Drink

  • Frankies Bar: This fun underground sports bar was right around the corner from the hotel and is great late night hang. The bar plays 90s music videos you can watch late at night when your eating their pizza or chicken wings!
  • Crafty Irishman: We stopped here for a quick snack and drinks. They had good appetizer options – we chose the corn beef and cabbage egg rolls.  The drinks were also really good. The restaurant is known for its Crafty Coffee which is an Irish Coffee with Baileys. My favorite was their Gun Powder which is crafted with Hendrick’s Gin, Elderflower, Lime, and Cucumber. I think this is going to be my new summer drink – refreshing!
  • Flying Horse Cafe: This is located in the Magnolia Hotel, directly next door. They make great lattes, power smoothies and breakfast tacos!

Sites

  • Klyde Park: Every time I passed this beautiful park it was loaded with food trucks, and people dancing, playing games, picnicking or just relaxing!
  • Eye: It’s always watching you!
  • JFK Assassination Tour: While I didn’t get the chance to do this, I heard great things about this historical experience.
  • Reunion Tower: Also on my list – another great way to see the skyline!

Things to Do in Dallas South Side

The South Side is a growing area and has some newer top-rated Dallas restaurants.  Here are some of the hot spots we visited while we stayed at the Nylo hotel.

  • Melted: This was our first stop, and home to some great cocktails and an abundance of cheesy sammies! I ordered The Beach, a chicken, bacon, avocado, cheddar and cream cheese sandwich. *Melted* in my mouth! The bar also opens up to an outdoor picnic area, so everyone’s happy.

Melted-Dallas.JPG

  • Mac’s Southside: A late night win on my part.  This neighborhood bar had a friendly bar staff and even better pizza menu.  I took a risk and ordered a margarita pizza with pepperoni and can’t believe I waited 33 years to try this invention! Delish!
  • Opening Bell Coffee Shop: This cute coffee shop and live music venue has been well received by both locals and Dallas visitors.  We went here for breakfast and got the avocado toast, breakfast tacos and a mocha latte. All food was well presented and yummy!

opening bell avocado toast dallas

Places I want to check out next time I’m in South Side: Industry Alley Bar, Checkered Past Winery, Full Circle Tavern, and Midnight Rambler.

Things to Do in Uptown Dallas

When you have a chance, check out a Dallas Stars or Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center. Otherwise, here are some great outdoor bars and Dallas restaurants to hang out:

  • Happiest Hour: A bit closer to Downtown, this bar is top rated for its large rooftop and patio area. It’s within walking distance to the American Airlines Center, so a perfect pre or post game hotspot! 
  • Nickel & Rye: An outdoor Whiskey bar with other creative cocktails
  • Blackfriar Pub: A casual doubledecker pub perfect for people watching
  • Parliament Dallas: A small cocktail bar with a speakeasy feel

Place I want to check out next time I’m in Uptown: Quarter Bar, The GingerMan.

Things to Do In Dallas – Deep Ellum

One of our favorite places in the city was Deep Ellum and artsy area chock-full of fun bars, restaurants, murals and sculptures!

deep ellum texas sculpture

  • The Backyard: An extremely large bar full of games and dog art!
  • Pecan Lodge: This Dallas restaurant is known for its lines that wrap around the corner. We got in around 4:30 with no wait on a weekend for this Texas BBQ joint. The brisket was fantastic!

pecan lodge texas bbq

  • Stirr: Another great rooftop bar with amazing sunset views of the city. Their drink specials were on point – $5 for your choice of a handful of their craft cocktails.

Stirr-Sunset-Dallas

  • Anvil Pub: We hit this place up for a few drinks and had the best time talking to the bartender. Apparently it’s a must for bloody’s and brunch on the weekend! Next time!
  • IdleRye: A hip restaurant with Polish and Louisiana roots.

We heard great things about Idle Rye, Brick & Bones, Frank, Hide Cocktails, and Truck Yard, which we will be sure to visit during our summer trip.

If you are going to try to drive around the outskirts of Dallas, my number one recommendation is to go into Highland Park.  The most beautiful mansions are built here and fun to cruise through! Who knows, you may run across a celebrity!

Would I go back to Dallas?

Of course I would. The weather was perfect, people were friendly, and bars and restaurants were all a great experience. I’m just getting started!

Looking for more things to do in Texas? Check out my post on Austin!

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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays and I’m so lucky that Chicago is one of the most popular places to celebrate the Irish.  I visited for the holiday before I moved to Chicago, and the city’s energy during this time was definitely an influencer in my decision to make Chicago my home.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

The main attraction for St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago is the River Dyeing.  This always happens the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day at 9 am. Boats cruise up and down the river dropping an orange vegetable dye in the water turning it a beautiful shade of green similar to the Emerald Ilse in Ireland.  You need to grab your spot early, as the crowds populate the river starting around 8:15 am.  The best point to watch the river is at the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Wacker Drive. On the same day, at around 12 noon, Chicago hosts its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on Michigan Ave.

Dyeing the Chicago River

Chicago River Dyeing

Chicago Green River Boats

The day after the river dyeing is the South Side Irish Parade.  This long-standing tradition is also rumored to have been quite the party in the past and one of the favorites among the locals.  Overtime, this has been a great day for families to gather, celebrate the holiday and eat and drink any Irish fare.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Bars

If you are going to watch the river dyeing but want a place to enjoy some libations after, anywhere along the Riverwalk will be fun during this time.  Two that are known for the shenanigans are:

A place I’ve gone to in the past which is a bit of a walk from the river in the Loop is called Plymouth, which has a fun enclosed rooftop to keep you warm but enjoy some sunshine.

One place I’ll always recommend is Butch McGuire’s which is a fantastic Irish Pub completely decorated with green stringlights for the holiday. I love to celebrate holiday’s here.

More Chicago Irish Pubs

Regardless of the holiday, Chicago has many fun Irish bars throughout the city.  Here are a few to consider checking out if the crowds are too much close to the river:

More Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Events

There is no lack of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Chicago, and many last throughout the month of March.  Here are some other things to do within the Chicago area during the great St. Patrick’s Day season.

  • Oak Forest Fleadh – The first weekend of March is a great way to kickoff events in Oak Forest. This includes a 5K, Family Parade, and Open Bars.
  • Tinley Park Irish Parade – This event happens the Sunday after St. Patrick’s Day

If celebrating in Chicago is so fun you’re ready to go celebrate with the Irish, check out my post on my visit to the wonderful country.

Maude’s Liquor Bar, West Loop, Chicago

Happy New Year!

I brought in the 2017 Chicago restaurant game right.  While it’s been open and well-reviewed for a handful of years now, I headed to Maude’s Liquor Bar in West Loop for dinner for the first time the other night.  The restaurant is dimly lit, small and quaint, fitting about 20 tables in its first floor walk-in space and includes an exclusive-like bar.  Known for its cocktails and French-inspired dishes, we decided to sit back, relax and enjoy our first 2017 dinner out at a restaurant in Chicago. 

I started and stayed with their Vodka Smash the whole night.  Smashes are a fresh, mule-like drink customized with your favorite type of liquor. If you like sparkling wine, my friend loved the French 75, which is one of the three sparkling inspired drinks on the list. There’s plenty of shaken and stirred drinks on the menu plus a respected wine list to keep patrons satisfied.

Maudes Liquor Bar Cocktails

The food options at Maude’s are incredible and I wish I could have tried everything.  We shared the French Onion Fondue, which is a French onion soup like dip with bread.  We also had the Braised Short-rib, Scottish Salmon, and Cassoulet.  The Scottish Salmon was perfection and my favorite, but the others were quite delish, too.  We ordered the highly recommended Lentils for sides along with Brussel Sprouts and they were well received from the party.  We ended the night with a Crème Brulee.  One of the largest I’ve seen of the dish at a restaurant, I had no complaints.

Maudes Liquor Bar Salmon

Overall, the service was really great and this is a fantastic date for a romantic date night out with your significant other or with a group of four.

If I went back to Maude’s Liquor Bar (which I plan to), the other items I’m looking forward to trying are the Croque Madame and the Ricotta Gnocchi.

Time for a Change

For those of you who have been followers of my blog, you’ll notice that after quite an extensive writing hiatus, I’ve changed both the name and layout of my blog. I’ve been writing on and off for about four years now, and I realized that as I grow, I need a blog that will grow with me. I also recognized that I’m much more passionate (and consistent) when I write about my travels and restaurant experiences.

I’ve had quite a few U.S. travel experiences in 2015 I’m looking forward to sharing.  I’m also preparing to hibernate for Chicago’s winter. What do people in Chicago do when they hibernate? Eat.

Now that my sites been refocused and refreshed, I welcome you to Waves of a Wayfarer.

 

What’s after 30?

I just hit my 30th birthday in November and so far, so good.  Everything they write about really is true – 30 isn’t that bad.  When you are in your late twenties, the looming big 30 seems scary, and then once it hits, you really don’t have anything scary to look towards for another decade.  You can just be who you want, be friends with who you want, and live how you want.  I made a *serious* list of things I wanted to do before 30 which I thought was a really great exercise and helped give me some things to work towards. There were also some personal goals that aren’t realistic.  You can’t plan your whole life. You can read about in detail here, but I did want to touch on some of my big milestones these past two years.

1.) Move to a new city.  I did it – Chicago here I am! I have a great job, great friends, and am enjoying the food culture more than I should be!

2.) Travel.  Although I didn’t make it to all the international locations I had wanted before 30, I was able to see Ireland with my family and I’m so happy I was able to do that, especially with the people closest to me.   However, I did make some traction within the US.  Moving to Chicago gave me a mid-west tour, including St. Louis and Columbus.  I saw San Diego, San Francisco, Napa, Charleston SC, Louisville, and New Orleans.

3.) Run a half marathon.  I’m so glad I had this on my list, because if I didn’t write it down, I probably wouldn’t have done it.  I did the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon in Chicago and I definitely am making sure I keep this goal on my future to-do lists.

So what’s next? Well a 35 before 35 list of course.  If you haven’t made these types of lists before, now’s the time to start.  You only live once.  No regrets!

Stay tuned.

Happy 30 To Me

A football win in Columbus, Ohio

I graduated from Virginia Tech, so when one of my fellow Hokies asked me if I wanted to make the trip down to Columbus, Ohio for the Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State football game I was all for it.  It was a great excuse to watch my Hokies play in the third largest college football stadium in the US, against a big team, in a city I’ve never visited.

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to head to the game, so once we got to Columbus (almost a six hour drive from Chicago), we went to tailgate for a few hours before the game.  The Ohio State campus was huge, beautiful, and  innovative.  The stadium from the outside was really unique as it looked like they as they expanded the stadium they built on some great parts of the architecture that had been around a long time.  Then, we lucked out with some amazing seats right behind the field goal.  It was great to be able to watch the game right on the field, around a bunch of fellow Hokies, with the largest crowd to ever attend a game.  I was  impressed with the Virginia Tech showing and how loud we could cheer and compete with the home team. The Hokies upset the Buckeyes 35 to 21 and we of course went off to celebrate with some not so happy Ohio State fans.

Ohio State Outside The Ohio StadiumOhio State Stadium Field

Virginia Tech beats Ohio State

The next morning we wanted to explore downtown Columbus, and were particularly interested in the Short North District.  An adorable street that has arcs of lights that cross the street for a mile or more and a range of little boutiques and restaurants, we enjoyed the large street signs, how clean and quiet it was, along with the small town feel.  Although I didn’t get to take on my foodie experience downtown, I did want to share that I finally got a chance to check out Tim Horton’s for the first time.  I had the iced cappuccino and some TimBits and I’ll give the experience a thumbs up.

First Tim Horton's Experience

 

Quote Of The Summer

Summer is winding down and my last set of visitors are set to come to town this weekend. Although I’m looking forward to a quieter next couple of months (and fall football season!), looking back I’m so thankful for the amazing friends that have stuck with me after I made the move to Chicago and care enough to come visit. But, I’m also so thankful for my truly great friends that have taken me in here in Chicago.  I am so lucky to have the best friends a gal could ask for and to be surrounded by positive, caring, brilliant people.  This one’s for you!

photo

 

Photo #regramed from @jfisherjewelry on instagram