After 9 months in Maui, we made the long journey back for pre-vacation adventures in Texas with friends and family.
It’s always good to go home. There’s central A/C, Tex Mex, intoxicated dancing, and my mom always leaves ‘welcome home’ presents on my bed, usually in the form of candy, cash and carmex. Woo!
Since I haven’t lived in Dallas full time since 2006, it gets harder and harder for me to figure out new things to do, but if you happen to find yourself in Big D for any length of time, I have some old go-to’s to suggest.
Adventures in Texas
What to Do in Dallas, Texas:
- Attend a Texas Rangers Game – I couldn’t give two craps about sports with balls, but Rangers games are actually pretty fun, albeit extremely sweaty. Grab a Big Kahuna ice cream cookie, wear red and blue and drink a frosty cold beer while you wait your turn to stand up and do the wave.
- The State Fair of Texas – By far my most favorite event in Dallas! Held in September and October, check out the fair for the best worst food in the world (fried butter, fried PB&J and Banana sandwiches, tornado taters, etc.) and an assortment of thrill rides that no one else ever wants to ride with me.
- Eat Baller Tex Mex – My Dallas favorites are Joe T. Garcia’s (for the margaritas) and Tupinamba (for the Tupy Tacos).
- Go to the Horse Races – If you are a general fan of gambling and/or horses, go to Lone Star Park and attempt to win some money. There is a full bar, you can watch the horses parade around before they race to see which one you want to bet on, and it’s typically a very enjoyable time.
- Have Late Night Cocktails at The Belmont Hotel – This charming hotel is in North Oak Cliff and has a pretty decent view of downtown Dallas and, the last time I checked, a pretty decent dirty martini. Call ahead and go when they have tarot readers.
- Go Hear Live Music in Deep Ellum – I haven’t been to Deep Ellum in forever, but my old favorites for live music are Trees, Curtain Club and Club Dada.
After a few days of family visits, glasses of vino with good people and a sweet reunion with the wonder that is queso, I met Peter at the DFW airport during his route from Maui and we hopped on a plane to good ole Austin, Texas.
Peter moved to Austin in the 5th grade and I lived there from 2006 to 2013, so we have a load of collectively awesome memories there. Unfortunately, I have to say, coming back did not make me want to move back. I miss the people, nightlife and the food (and the summertime greenbelt parties, on the rare occasion when it rains in Austin), but I feel like the memory is always more fun than the reality. It’s overly crowded, full of high rise condos that no one can afford, and somewhere along the way, it got too cool to be weird. That being said, I still do believe that if you had to choose one place in Texas to visit, you should definitely pick Austin.
What to Do in Austin, Texas:
- Experience the Alamo Drafthouse – You know those movie theaters that serve adult beverages and food? This one’s better. Check out the Sing-a-Longs, Quote-a-Longs and Master Pancake Theater at The Ritz downtown or the South Lamar location (when it reopens underneath the new condo complex).
- Eat Baller Tex Mex – Do you sense a trend here? My Austin favorites are Curra’s (for the avocado margaritas and carnitas tacos), Matt’s El Rancho (for the top shelf frozen margaritas and pecan smoked brisket chile relleno), Polvo’s (for the fish fajitas and salsa bar), El Tacorrido (for the $2 tacos of the breakfast variety) and Torchy’s (for the more expensive tacos of the delicious variety).
- Go Play Outside – Rent a kayak on Town Lake. Go swimming at the greenbelt (when there’s water, with a cooler, chips and a joint, if you know what you’re doing). Make the drive down to New Braunfels and go tubing with giant packs of sororities.
- Drink Alcohol – BUT DO NOT DRIVE (can I get amen for Uber and Lyft, please?). There’s tons of cool bars and places to drink in Austin. Most of my favorites involve some mixture of a dance floor, juke box and a patio and include Donn’s Depot, Lustre Pearl, The Liberty and Freddie’s.
- Listen to Some Tunes – Whether you’re into country (if you insist), jazz, bluegrass, soul or hip hop, there’s a show for you. My absolute favorite place to watch live music is The Gallery on South Congress. It’s sexy as hell. Other nods go to Elephant Room, Saxon Pub, The Whip In and Flamingo Cantina. If you plan on being here in March, skip the expensive SXSW passes and do everything the best way possible… fo’ free.
- Go See My Friends – They bartend at the newly opened, delicious ass Odd Duck restaurant on South Lamar, serve up caffeinated joy at the lovely Spider House Cafe, teach dance classes at Dance Austin and sell super cool shit.
- Skip the bats on Congress Avenue Bridge. For some reason, watching millions of beady-eyed, disease-ridden, flying spawns of Satan flying in one giant line seems to draw a giant crowd. Pass.
Cheers to all my dear, sweet and lovely friends and family who made our trip super radical. Y’all have a free place to stay in Maui. Just sayin’. Also, big congrats to my former Austin roommate, Lillian, and her baller man, Mike, for tying the knot and showing everyone a grand time in the name of love. Till next time, Texas.