It’s been established that Dallas and Fort Worth are pretty amazing cities, filled with sights and attractions and some of the best dining around. But what some visitors may not know is that located just between the Big D and Cowtown is the secret sauce that really makes our metroplex shine—it’s the essence, the something extra. With its historic charm, day-long activities for kids, nighttime fun for adults, lush greenery and great food, Grapevine is the piece that completes North Texas.
For the Tykes
Grapevine Mills is a behemoth of a shopping center, offering a bounty of discount boutiques a person could get lost in, but its kid-friendly attractions are all-day experiences worth their weight in smiles and bright-eyed wonder. Legoland Discovery Center is exactly what it sounds like and much more. Take a guided tour and learn how raw plastic is turned into building bricks; jump on the Kingdom Quest ride and zap beastly enemies with laser guns; or watch an adventure in the 4D cinema that incorporates 3D films and flurries of wind, rain and lightening in the auditorium. Also at Grapevine Mills is the fascinating SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. With a jaw-dropping 360-degree, underwater ocean tunnel full of sea life, this place will knock anyone’s socks off, adults and children alike. There are 30 display tanks and more than 5,000 creatures to gaze at, including jellyfish, sea turtles, clownfish, seahorses, cownose stingrays and a black tip reef shark.
Outside of Grapevine Mills lies a plethora of other kid-centric activities. Take them to Nash Farm, the oldest operating farmstead in Tarrant County, built in 1859. Or head to historic downtown Grapevine, to Main Street and watch the Glockenspiel Tower come to life with two giant, mechanical cowboys appropriately named Nat and Willy. Lake Grapevine is also home to public swimming areas, campgrounds and boat rentals perfect for a day out with the family.
If visitors are traveling sans young ones, memorable trips are inevitable in Grapevine. Why? One word with a lot of potential: wineries. With about seven to choose from just in the Grapevine area alone, including Cross Timbers, La Buena Vida Vineyards, Farina’s Winery, Su Vino Winery and more, an imbiber could use a little guidance by way of Grapevine Wine Tours. A bus will shuttle guests to three different acclaimed wineries (rotating daily) to sample vintages and see the Historic Grapevine Township with options for an all-inclusive lunch or dinner. Other options include seasonal wine trails offered throughout the year featuring live entertainment and food tastings. Try the Sweetheart Wine Trail around Valentine’s Day for a romantic excursion, or the day-long Reds, Whites and You around the beginning of summer.
But wine isn’t the only way to have a good, grown-up time here. Some of the best golf courses in the metroplex reside here, such as Cowboys Golf Club—the first NFL-themed course that pays tribute to the Dallas Cowboys—that is an affordable, resort-style course with stone markers at each hole marking achievements in Cowboys history. The Grapevine Golf Course is a recently renovated, Byron-Nelson-and-Joe-Finger-designed course for all skill levels. Its lush scenery and modern-TifEagle greens make its 27 holes a relaxing experience. Bear Creek Golf Club is a sight for sore eyes as well, championing 335 acres with two distinct layouts that have played host to PGA Tour Qualifiers, the Texas State Open and the PGA National Golf Series.
For a night on the town, the Glass Cactus is a great place to get your groove on. The 39,000-square-foot complex overlooks beautiful Lake Grapevine, with live entertainment almost nightly, a 2,000-square-foot dance floor and free cover before 8 pm. Tolbert’s Restaurant, the Palace Theatre and the Back Porch are also great options for live music.
Dining & Shopping
A shopping experience in Grapevine is a personal one. Browse the antique shops, gourmet food stores, art galleries and fabulous, independently owned boutiques like Ashlins, Ltd. and ScentChips that line Main Street and historic downtown, to find one-of-a-kind items to wear, decorate the casa or give as gifts. And we’ve already mentioned the gargantuan Grapevine Mills shopping center, which offers more than 1.6 million square feet (no kidding) of retail and dining options. They have more than 180 stores from which to choose, including Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, J. Crew Factory, Forever 21, NIKE Factory Store and more. So no matter if it’s a flirty frock at a deep discount from Ann Taylor Loft, a Swarovski necklace from Cupid’s Vault, or an art glass piece from Vetro Glass Blowing Studio, shoppers will be charmed.
There are more than 200 dining choices in this area alone, so the only conundrum a hungry visitor would have is perhaps having too many options. Grapevine Epicentre is always a great place to start, as it’s host to four outstanding eateries for any mood—Bob’s Steak & Chop House for the meat lovers, Winewood for contemporary American flair, Fireside Pies for those craving gourmet pizza, and Mi Dia From Scratch for fusion Mexican. And for a taste of fresh, Texas produce, the Grapevine Farmers Market is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday on 325 S. Main Street.
For all-American cuisine, try Press Box Grill, Rainforest Café, EatZi’s Market and Bakery, and Chill Restaurant & Bar. For Italian, definitely head to Ferrari’s Italian Villa or Café Italia. And steaks and seafood are always a good choice (for a date or flying solo), especially when there are restaurants like Big Fish, Boi Na Braza Brazilian Steakhouse, J.R.’s Steakhouse, Mister G’s, The Vineyard Steakhouse, Salt Grass Steakhouse, Dino’s Steak & Claw House and Old Hickory Steakhouse to choose from. And for some of the best Mexican food around, choose from several fantastic places including Esparza’s Restaurante Mexicano, Cozymels Coastal Mex, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and Cantina Laredo.