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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Bachelorette Party in Austin, Texas

I love Austin, Texas! I headed down south to host a Bachelorette party for one of my best friends this past August.  The weather was hot, but bright and sunny – perfect for our plans the short weekend.  I was there only Friday-Sunday so I have plenty more to see, but I also have plenty to share already about my amazing time.

Hotels in Austin Texas

We stayed at the Hilton Austin and I would definitely stay there if I went back again.  The staff was fantastic – they welcomed the party with open arms, made sure that we had cold water in our refrigerator each day, and did what they could to suit our needs.  In addition to the rooms being comfortable, they have a great spa which includes a rooftop pool and tiki bar overlooking the skyline that we got to relax and enjoy during the day on Friday.

Hilton Austin Skyline Views

Austin’s Rainey Street

My favorite place to go when I was in Austin was Rainey Street. This is a stringlight filled street lined with Bungalow House bars.  Every ‘house bar’ is close together so you can easily walk up and down the street trying out new places.  The bars are usually open to enjoy the weather and lead out to a backyard for continued libations.  There are also plenty of places on this strip that have live bands.  While I failed to take some photos of this awesome and innovative bar design, I wanted to make sure I shared some fun stops.

Container Bar Rainey Street

Austin Bar Scene

Other than Rainey Street, the place to be is around 6th street to experience amazing outdoor and rooftop bars, food, and live music.  I did a quick round of bar hopping here and got to check out a handful of fun places and some amazing music. If you are tired of walking around, make sure to try their Pedi Cabs to get from one street to the next.

Austin Food

Austin is another popular place for Food Trucks! We got to enjoy a fun dinner by Boca, which is located right next to Container Bar. I ordered the Chips & Queso, Ground Beef taco and Berkshire Bacon taco.

Our nice dinner out was at Emmer & Rye which is right off of Rainey Street. We had a pre fixe menu set up for us since we were such a large group and the food was incredible.  I would definitely go back there.

Lake Travis

While I didn’t get to take in as much of downtown and the foodie scene I wanted (next time), I spent almost a full day on Lake Travis while I was there. It was well worth it and absolutely fantastic.  We rented a boat with a slide (and a Captain to drive I might add) and did a Saturday Funday out on the lake.  What I didn’t expect was about 30 boats tying themselves up next to each other and the most fabulous day party of my life.  If you are going to Austin for a Bachelorette party, do not miss taking advantage of a day party out on Lake Travis.

Lake TravisLake Travis Boat Rental

If I went back to Austin

I will definitely be back in Austin, Texas, and there is way too much that I still have to see and do. I’d check out a few of their hot restaurants, including checking out their best pizza. I’d also continue to take advantage of the live music capital of the world and try to hit up Austin City Limits.

Additional Bachelorette Party Travel Ideas

I’ve been to quite a few bachelorette parties that have included travel! Here are some additional posts you may be interested in checking out:

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!

Take Me Back to NOLA

I just went to New Orleans for a bachelorette party this past weekend.  I have no idea why I didn’t visit before.  That place just screams Food, Fun, and Fabulous. I can’t wait to go back and live it all up again.

Food:

  • Muriels in Jackson Square probably served me the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I ordered crawfish and goat cheese crepes – they melted in my mouth and then I died even more with the shrimp and jumbo lump crab salad.  I also had one of the best bloody mary’s of my life with a pickled green bean to get me through Friday.  I went right back for another one on Saturday.
  • Cafe Du Monde is the MUST for anyone’s first visit to the French Quarter.  Order the frozen coffee and beignets.  And, if it’s windy, just let that powdered sugar fly all over your skin.  Who cares?
  • Drago’s is where the most amazing charbroiled oysters originate  – yum!
  • Go to Palace Cafe for a weekend brunch, listen to some live jazz, and eat the best dessert you can imagine (I got cheesecake).

Fun:

  • We had the best time at Jax sitting on the deck in the late afternoon in some fake sand, imagining our fake lives, eating alligator bites and looking over the water. This place turns into an awesome huge dance warehouse at night…I think. 🙂
  • Pat O’Briens was probably my favorite venue of the weekend – you can have cocktails out in a garden-style patio and get some sun during the day, and then mingle with people from all over at night.  Order the Hurricane here if you dare!
  • Pirates Alley Cafe — Those of you who know me, need I say more?
  • Bourbon Street.  I can’t even begin to explain but I think ‘college spring break’ may do it.
  • No matter where you are when you visit, make sure you order an Abita at some point – the brewery is 30 miles north of New Orleans.  We got there just in time for their Strawberry Ale.  Yum!

Fabulous:

  • Going to the Moonwalk at night and taking photos on the river front – you see the bridge, casinos, and plenty of interesting people!
  • Jackson Square – here and the surrounding streets swell of boutique shopping, jazz players, fortune tellers, and adorable boutique hotels
  • Cafe Amelie – This is one of the places I did miss out on eating at during my weekend in NOLA, however, we were able to grab a drink there and it has the most adorable courtyard to sit in.  Next time!

Nothing but smiles:


Big Easy Bright and Boho

Check out my new gems that arrived just in time for my trip to New Orleans this weekend! These boho brights I pre-ordered back in March. There’s a wait list now, but it was well worth it.  Love!

Flouro Boho Drops

Flouro Necklace

New Gems!

I’ll be sure to post pics of what I paired these with next week.  Like what you see? Check out my most recent post on Bauble Bar.

A Little Bit O’Eire – Part 2

Read A Little Bit O’Eire – Part 1

Day 3: Galway Girl

I had been wanting to go to Galway ever since we met some friends in Ios, Greece from Ireland that always listened to the song Galway Girl by Mundy w/Sharon Shannon.

Galway Town

So this is basically my 3rd day of no sleep and we are off on the Go Bus to Galway.  We didn’t have any serious plans for this day trip, but I wanted to fit in the Cliffs of Moher somehow.  Problem: Any Cliffs tour takes almost the whole day and our bus was headed back at 6 pm.  We get to Galway and we are immediately approached by a tour group that said we could do a half-day tour to the Cliffs of Moher and be back in time to get our bus.  Problem 2: Its 10 am and we have to be there for the tour by 11:30.  Can we see a bit of Galway and get back in time to do it?  We are absolutely starving so we head to a little coffee shop right as we are heading into town.  My heads still spinning from Fitzsimmons the night before so I get  some carbs – everything bagel with bacon, egg, and cheese, and some caffeine. We head into the town of Galway for a quick look around and immediately my heart drops – its just as adorable, if not more, than Kinsale. Twists and turns of old city shops and boutiques go on for blocks. We head into a store so my mom can get a traditional Irish wool sweater (we never had a winter, so not sure when she is going to wear it, but it was a must-have). 

Then we hit the roadblock: a Claddagh store. I love Claddaghs, their symbol of love, and how the direction you face them says whether or not you’re

My new Claddagh ring and earlier earrings from my Aunt!

taken.  If you’re going to get a Claddagh, get it in Galway, where they originate.  We ended up spending the last 30 minutes there picking out rings (thanks Pops!). Then, we decide we really need to take advantage of the tour  because my brother was a bit stir crazy and was not going to handle a full on shopping day.  Next time: I want to spend a good two days to explore the rest of the city and get to know the people in the town – 45 minutes is not enough time.

Immediately after the bus tour starts we are relieved we made the decision.  It was a great change from our previous hustle and bustle  days and showed us exactly what you’d imagine Ireland to be like.  Green rocky hills, castles, SHEEP! (so adorbs), and small country roads. We even got to see a Donkey hiding behind a Bull! After about two hours on the scenic tour, we pulled up to what looked like ‘Teletubby Land’ – all the shops for the Cliffs were built into the hill.  A five minute stair climb and we are at the Cliffs, a few miles long and overlooking the sea – absolutely breathtaking – LOVED. No more words. From the Cliffs we stopped for lunch at an Inn in Dungaire.  Finally, we had some traditional Irish food: Shepard’s Pie. Delish. Yum Yum. On the way back to Galway, we unfortunately did not get stopped by sheep crossing the road as you see in the movies, but got to see the coastline.  Apparently the water there is always freezing, you can’t  stay in for more than 30 min to an hour without starting to get hypothermia (says the tour guide).

Bull & Donkey

Back on the Go Bus to Dublin, I’m trying to get a nap in so I can fulfill my promise to my brother for a full night out (it was a Saturday) in Dublin and party rock until 4 am, but to my luck – the bus was full, so I didn’t get a double seat to myself, AND we had a group of Galway ladies drinking behind us on the bus preparing for their night out in Dublin! Sheesh! Note: They were extremely polite and tried to keep it down, but five girls with a case of beer does not = a nap for Sweet D.

When we got back to Dublin, we hit up Arlington Hotel bar.  This was my whole family’s favorite bar of the weekend. Early on in the night there is Irish dancing on stage, then an Irish band.  The bartenders are hilarious and very accommodating, and it is a great environment for

Cliffs of Moher

a range of ages (my 21 year-old sister to my mother). From there, we hit up Porterhouse brewery, which had fabulous live cover bands that were HOT! However, the weather and lack of sleep got to me and I had to head home. Luckily, my sister took one for the team and had a great night out with the bro. The only thing they could tell me from the rest of that night is that they went to Abrakebabra, Ireland’s kebab fast food chain (it took me until the third day we were there to realize it was an excellent play on words!) which I had been dying to try.  Next time I say.

Day 4: Dublin

Sleep!!! We slept in until 12:30 pm on Sunday in Dublin.  Much needed and it was so nice not to rush to anything (or so I felt at that moment). We headed straight to the Guinness Storehouse for a self-guided tour and lunch.  The Storehouse was beautifully structured, but there wasn’t too much to the tour.  We were starving, so we didn’t really care about the tour, and we headed to a little cafe on one of the upper floors.  Irish food part 2! I got a ham & chicken pie (much like Shepard’s Pie) and the bro got beef stew.  Once our tummy’s were fed, we headed up to the Gravity Bar for our free pint of Guinness.  The best part of the Storehouse – you get a 360 degree view of Dublin.  AMAZING.

Guinness

We get out of Guinness and its almost 5 pm.  UGH. How are we supposed to get in all our shopping in 1 hour? Stores close at 6 pm on Sundays. We did NOT think this through. We made it in time to Carroll’s, the Irish souvenir shop to get all our must-haves for friends. Sadly, I did not get to do my intended personal shopping spree on O’Connell and Graft Streets.  Next time.

We head to dinner at a tapas restaurant, Market Bar, which is built within an old factory.  The food was fantastic, the wine was flowing, and it was a great last meal to our whirlwind trip. Two thumbs up.

We had to make one last stop at Arlington Hotel Bar, and let my mom get a bit ‘Irish,’ which she hadn’t done all weekend.  We then headed to the Czech Inn with our bartender friends for a night cap and called it a night.

Up again at 6 am to head back. All I can say about the Dublin airport is make sure you are there at least 2.5 hours ahead of time.  We almost missed our plane. :*(

To Go Back, or Not To Go Back?

I would definitely go back.  There is so much more to see that I haven’t and I’d like the trip to be more leisurely.  This was definitely a tourist vacation.  In an ideal world, I’d go back and do: 2 days Dublin – Shopping and Casual Dining/Drinking, 2 Days Galway, 2 Days Kinsale , and 2 Days up to Belfast to see the Giants Causeway and see what the North is like.  Everyone I met the whole time was so incredible, you learn something new in every conversation. How can I not go back?

Sláinte!