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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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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Looeyville

This weekend I headed down to the good ol’ town of Louisville, Kentucky for a friend’s wedding.  Another place to check off of my world travel list, this quaint little city has some great food, Bourbon, and hidden gems.

Activities

I’ve always considered myself a big city girl, so I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at Churchill Downs to an enormous venue and incredible atmosphere.  Apparently when it’s not the Derby, Derby gear is not required, but we went all out anyway.  Flowing colorful sundresses, hats, and fascinators made the experience even more exciting.  Churchill Downs serves their fair share of Kentucky famous mint juleps, and you shouldn’t head to the racetrack without one.

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Having a large group of people, we decided to check out the Urban Bourbon Trail. By visiting six of the participating restaurants/bars and getting a stamp in your passport every time you order a drink, you can get a free t-shirt that says you participated.  One of my favorite stops was Bristol Bar & Grille which features a short, creative drink menu of house-made cocktails that made it to the Best of Louisville Magazine.  Here I had my favorite mint julep. The second was BLU Bar, in the Marriott downtown, which had the most amazing chocolate julep martini.  Highly Recommended, along with their yummy pretzel bar snacks. If you choose to stay at the Marriott, this is a great centralized meet up location before your night or dinner out.

For those interested in baseball, the Louisville Slugger Museum has the world’s largest bat!

Lastly, I wanted to note a wood-fired pizza place and bar, Garage, that is exactly how it sounds.  I wish I had more time to spend here, but it was mentioned by some of the townies for a great day or night out. 

Eats

Being the foodie I am, I made sure we hit up a few key places in Leweyville.

Harvest was by far the best I ate in Louisville, serving farm to table fair, and very similar to DC’s Founding Farmers.  We went for brunch and were able to try a variety of menu items.  Among the best were the open faced sunny side egg sandwich with bacon & beer cheese fondue, gravy biscuit, french toast and shrimp  & grits.

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We also hit up Jack Frye’s, which is a cute little restaurant that dates back to 1933 filled with historic photographs from the times and a menu of rich, flavorful food.

Bristol, as mentioned above, had incredible jalapeno cheese wontons that we couldn’t get enough of.

Another easy, fun meal was Dish On Market (also on the Urban Bourbon Trail). Most of my party ordered the chicken and waffles.  I tried a curried chicken salad sandwich on a pretzel croissant  – a meal that includes three of my favorite things? Why not!

A Nice Town for a White Wedding

I had a great time the entire weekend with some of my best friends in the world.  I am a very lucky gal!

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The depressed winter season is over and it’s officially spring! Summer is rapidly approaching and so is my jam-packed travel schedule.  Here in DC its cool and rainy, but I’m wearing a tan and smile I brought back from Jamaica.  I needed a quick long weekend getaway to get me through the rain and into the hustle and bustle of my favorite time of year – travel season!  Here’s a quick snapshot into  my summer trip kick0ff:

We only had three days for the trip, so in order to take full advantage, we booked an all-inclusive at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort, right outside of Montego Bay.  A resort with a beach, swim-up pool bar, lazy river, water slide, golf course, and multiple restaurants, we had all we needed and didn’t leave the resort once! We lived off of frozen cocktails to keep us cool in the heat, my favorites being the Dirty Banana (see a version here), and the No Problem (recipe here).  Because in Jamaica, everything is easy and nothing’s a problem! When it comes to food make sure to try Jamaican Jerk Chicken, fresh fruits (mangoes!) and juices, and they have pretty decent coffee. 

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Advice to those that may go: Make sure to bring SPF 50 or higher.  It is right near the equator and two days walking around with a head-to-toe sunburn were not a picnic.  Also, if you have the opportunity to stay a bit longer, there are a bunch of excursion opportunities that we missed, including the Dunns River Falls, which I hear is incredible.

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I’m setting a goal for myself to travel to at least one new country every other year and a new city each year.  Jamaica was my country for 2013 (so far…I may try to squeeze Germany in there at some point). Next stop, Louisville, Kentucky for a friend’s wedding.  Just missed the Derby, but I can’t wait to immerse myself in the culture/food experience!

These Streets Will Make You Feel Brand New

I recently went on a quick trip up to NYC for one of my best friend’s bachelorette parties (I promise this is the last one of the year).

I usually go up and stay in Hoboken, which I absolutely love, but this time we stayed right downtown and it was a completely different experience.  We stayed at Hotel Eventi and no complaints there, it was great, though the rooms were a bit small.  I do wish we got to visit its new beer garden! On our Friday night arrival we went to 230 5th – what an incredible rooftop view of the city!

Looking over the city

Saturday, we did a picnic in the park looking across the Hudson River to Hoboken. We had food delivered from Perfect Picnic .  It was fun being on the other side of the river, knowing I’ve been in the Hoboken parks looking to where I was many times before. I’d never heard of a picnic delivery service either – what a fun business venture!

Across the Hudson to Hoboken

Next stop was The Biergarten at The Standard – nothing but brick walls, serene greenery, and huge soft pretzels.  I could post up there all day!

Saturday night we went to The Stanton Social. We ordered from a fixed menu with flowing martini’s and champagne to celebrate.  The best thing I ate was the French onion soup dumpling – so creative and like nothing I’ve ever had before. The sliders and salmon were also DELISH!