Oh, oh, the summer nights! Those lyrics might’ve been sung by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John way back in 1978, but we still get excited some 40 years later thinking about those long, sticky-hot evenings of fun, romance, and adventure ahead of us. And as things return to a closer shade of normal, we have so many things to look forward to. As you’d expect in the Land of Triple-Digit Temperatures, many of the best things to do in Dallas-Fort Worth this time of year involve the deep waters and cool shade of the great outdoors, but you’ll discover a nearly equal amount of activities in the great air-conditioned indoors, as well. Gear up for a variety of summer-specific excursions, as well as numerous year-round activities you can tackle whenever you please.
Plano The 60th anniversary season of the Texas Pool (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) kicks off this Memorial Day with 168,000 gallons of saltwater bliss. You’ll find a snack bar onsite, as well as BBQ grills if you prefer to BYO cookout. Just make sure to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before attempting to swim from El Paso to Houston.
Grapevine Oexas vino has become a world-class option for catching a grapey buzz over the past decade or so, and the aptly-named suburb of Grapevine just so happens to be home to one of the state’s most coveted wine trails. Taste through the offerings with a lunch or dinner wine tour that includes samplings at three wineries plus a three-course meal with a professional guide on hand to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about local viticulture (and probably a few things you’d rather skip over in favor of another generous pour).
East Dallas Whether you’re looking to kayak solo, share a boat with a friend, or get vertical on a stand-up paddleboard, the 2021 season has officially begun at White Rock Paddle Company. Book your time on the lake by the hour, then hit up happy hour, lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch on the patio at nearby Smoky Rose for a full day of sun-soaked R&R.
East Dallas Starting May 22, Shakespeare Dallas returns to in-person performances on the lawn at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre. Bring your own blanket or chair (or rent one onsite) for limited-capacity performances of The Wars of the Roses, Hamlet Project, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]. The productions here rarely go for the traditional approach, so you can always expect something unique, and the fact that you can pack your own picnic to enjoy under the stars-including beer and wine, mind you-means this is one date night no-brainer.
Fort Worth Live like a true Texan (or at least the stereotype so many people outside the state envision) by climbing atop a horse for an outdoor adventure. The scenic trails around Lake Benbrook provide a picturesque backdrop for a little time enjoying nature. You’ll be matched with a horse that complements your riding experience. We’re guessing the horse named Turtle goes pretty slow, or it’s one really twisted inside joke.
Glen Rose Giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, bison, and cheetahs await-along with dozens of other species-at this drive-thru wildlife center dedicated to the preservation of species in peril. Wind your way through 7.2 miles of roads where you can stop whenever you like to feed the animals from your car. Or opt for a private guided tour for your immediate household or up to 10 people in your pandemic pod. It’s all in Glen Rose, a short 90-minute-or-less jaunt from most parts of Dallas-Fort Worth.
Designed by architect Philip Johnson, a variety of water features cascade all around you as you explore this spectacular urban oasis in the heart of downtown Fort Worth. There’s a serene quiet pool that’s ideal for contemplating life or simply losing yourself in the moment.
Grapevine Grapevine Mills offers plenty of retail therapy and dining opportunities, but when you’ve had enough H&M and Applebee’s, make sure to check out the Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium located right inside the mall. Journey through Texas’s only 360-degree ocean tunnel filled with thousands of fish, rays, and sharks, or check out the state’s only sea turtle hospital. Schedule your visit around feeding times for the most underwater action or book a behind-the-scenes tour for an in-depth look at what it takes to operate a large-scale aquarium.
Take yourself out to a ballgame
Arlington; Frisco Few things feel more like summer than sitting in the stands cheering on some men in uniform running around bases. In the metroplex, you have your choice between a major league game with the Texas Rangers or head up to Frisco for nine innings with the minor league Frisco Rough Riders. Buying some peanuts, cracker jacks, and root-root-rooting for the home team will help you live the famous song to its fullest.
Arlington Exchange your pandemic-fueled Netflix streaming for some coaster-fueled screaming courtesy of the one and only Six Flags. The park opens on weekends in the off season until May 28 when it resumes daily hours for the regular summer season. And if there’s even a remote possibility you’ll venture out more than once this year, a season pass always packs the best deal for frequent thrill-seekers.
Dealey Plaza For some people, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Dallas is: That’s the city where JFK was shot. Although Dallas shouldn’t be defined by that one moment almost 60 years ago, it is still the most historically significant event to take place in the city. Take a walk around Dealey Plaza and the infamous grassy knoll to spot where the former president was assassinated in 1963. When you’re done dodging the conspiracy theorists hanging around the plaza, check out thecontent available online from the Sixth Floor Museum to learn the full story of that time in American history
Far North Dallas Even though you can ice skate year-round at this indoor rink, there’s something that makes the activity that much more anti-establishment when it’s warm outside. Masks are required of all guests and social distancing is encouraged. And if you really want to step things up with a few salchows and double axels, you can enroll in three-day beginner courses that include guest passes and other freebies.
Enjoy the city’s coolest urban green spaces
Downtown Dallas Dallas has made huge strides in recent years in increasing the amount of green space in its urban core. See for yourself by touring all the parks that make downtown a vibrant place to live starting with Klyde Warren Park, a 5.2-acre public expanse built over a major freeway. From there, walk south to Harwood Street for a glimpse of Pacific Plaza and Main Street Garden Park. You can also catch performances while lounging on the lawn at Annette Strauss Square if you plan in advance.
White Rock Lake There may be no better place to celebrate the gorgeous spring weather than the Dallas Arboretum. Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum offers even more to look at than the usual flora and fauna with this year’s “America the Beautiful” theme. Visits right now require a pre-purchased ticket, scheduled arrival window and face covering when social distancing is not possible.
Trinity Groves Can’t decide what you’re in the mood to eat? Check out the multitude of options available at Trinity Groves. Asian, Italian, Mexican, barbecue, vegan, pizza, poké, wings, even a restaurant focused solely on avocados-it can all be found just across the river from downtown. Still can’t decide? Patio hop from restaurant to restaurant or order bites to-go as you munch your way across the globe. Start by sharing a bowl from Hula Girl Poké then check out some vegan delights at V-Eats before sitting down to stacked enchiladas from Beto & Son for a reconfigured New Mexico-style version of a classic. For dessert, don’t sleep on the hummingbird cake at Cake Bar.
Parker Who shot J.R.? If you don’t know the answer, you can find out in-person at Southfork Ranch. As cheesy as it may be, a visit to the Ewing Mansion made famous on two different Dallas TV series should be part of everyone’s bucket list. The tour includes several rooms inside the home, including J.R.’s bedroom, the family living room, and the famous pool where J.R.’s would-be assassin met her fate. The whole thing ends with not a cliffhanger, but a memorabilia exhibit featuring items from the actual TV show. All guests are also welcome to tour the ranch grounds where you can do your own shooting-of the camera variety
South Dallas Dallas has a forest, y’all! Even some longtime residents don’t know that there’s a hardwood forest right in our backyard, but experiencing the lush green spaces can easily remedy the oversight. Paved trails make it easy to explore with routes where it’s perfectly common to see everything from birds and waterfowl to river otters and maybe even a snake or two. Plus, this time of year you can visit almost any time of day because you’ll be protected from the sweltering heat come summer when hiking the trails should only be done during the early morning hours unless you really love to sweat.
Fair Park Dallasites shouldn’t have to miss their annual pilgrimage out to Fair Park just because the 2020 State Fair was canceled. Before this year’s fair returns, Dallas Pride will be back in-person this June. Even during the quiet days between major events, Fair Park is a great place to walk around and appreciate one of the nation’s largest collections of 1930s Art Deco architecture and murals, with some museums currently open for visitors, too. Even if you aren’t an architecture buff, the fountains, Texas Star Ferris wheel, and Cotton Bowl stadium make it an interesting place to explore, especially as a reward if you’ve already gone to Fair Park for the COVID vaccine.
Sample some fine Texas barbecue
Various locations If you visited Texas and didn’t try some barbecue, did you really come here at all? Dallas hosts the full scope of Texas barbecue from Central Texas-style brisket to east Texas pork ribs. Call ahead to pick up and sample your way through the city’s barbeque scene starting withPecan Lodge in Deep Ellum or Lockhart Smokehouse in Bishop Arts for some of that aforementioned brisket. Next, head toOff the Bone in the Cedars for a few pecan smoked baby back ribs or Blu’s Barbeque for some smoked brisket tamales and prime rib on Sundays (and other daily specials throughout the week). Finish the tour at18th & Vine for some burnt ends that are so caramelized and tender that they’re practically dessert.
Retrace the steps of Bonnie & Clyde
West Dallas The two infamous outlaw lovers called Dallas home when they weren’t on the run from the law. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are said to have met at a house on Herbert Street, behind Trinity Groves today. Just a few blocks away at 1221 Singleton Boulevard stands Clyde’s childhood home where the Barrow family ran a gas station (long since abandoned and very creepy). Bonnie and Clyde are both buried in Dallas as well, though in separate gravesites per Bonnie’s mother’s wishes. All of these historic sites are open to the public and easy to enjoy without interacting with anyone.
Ronald Kirk Bridge If you’re dying to get the perfect picture of the Dallas skyline, make your way to the Ronald Kirk Bridge. This cool retrofitted pedestrian park sits right next to the gorgeous Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and makes for some great photos. Once you’ve done your Instragam duties, follow the path down between the Trinity levees to spot some native wildlife like white egrets and blue herons.
Waxahachie One of the most unlikely (yet thoroughly enjoyable) tourist attractions in the area is this lovingly recreated replica of the mansion from the 1960s TV series, The Munsters. Private tours make it one of the safest ways to witness a part of pop culture history with a room-by-room tour filled with actual artifacts from the series, recreated elements, and fascinating stories from the owners’ interactions with the stars over the years.
Fort Worth Stockyards Each Friday and Saturday in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards, you can watch cowboys and cowgirls riding atop bucking broncos and feisty bulls in addition to other traditional events. Hot tip: Capacity has returned to 100% and masks are not required, so if you’re still rocking a socially-distanced lifestyle, this may not be the activity for you.
Get wet and wild at a waterpark
Multiple locations Chilling out by the pool may be fine and good for some people looking to beat the hellish Texas heat, but if you want to add an adrenaline rush to your chlorine-scented days, nearby waterpark possibilities are abundant. Bask in the air-conditioning at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark in Grand Prairie (they do have an outdoor wave pool open during summer only), or head a few miles down the road to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, with its more than 20 rides and attractions. If you prefer a resort-style experience, book a room at the beautiful Hilton Anatole and get free access for two to their JadeWaters pools, including the adults-only leisure cove. And for even more splashy local fun, head to one of the four Hawaiian Falls metroplex locations.
White Rock Lake From runners to bikers to casual park-goers, more than 1 million people visit this urban lake every year. It’s a little more than nine miles all the way around the lake, most of which can be done on a paved path separated from car traffic.Rent a bike and hit the road! If biking isn’t your thing, go for a walk near theFilter Building and check out the 1930s Art Deco boathouse nearby. Watching sunset from the shores near Winfrey Point means views of the downtown skyline in the distance and gorgeous colors as the sun dips behind the treeline each evening.
Uptown Dallas The Katy Trail is the perfect spot for a run, bike ride, or just a nice walk. The trail extends 3.5 miles across Highland Park and Uptown before ending at American Airlines Center. If you’re not sure where to park or how to access it, there’s usually plenty of parking at Reverchon Park adjacent to the trail. If you walk far enough, reward yourself with a margarita to go fromKaty Trail Ice House.
Bishop Arts District The Brooklyn to Dallas’ Manhattan, Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff is going through a rapid transformation with new developments popping up all over the neighborhood. It’s a quaint and walkable area not to be missed, especially if you like Instagrammable murals and cool shops likeSpinster Records orWild Detectives bookstore bar. Check outEno’s Pizza Tavern for everyone’s favorite to-go food (pizza, duh) and hit up the “pie thru” atEmporium Pies for the ultimate dessert convenience.
Cedar Hill Hills are pretty scarce in Dallas, but you can get a hint of the Texas hill country at Cedar Hill State Park. The park road winds through the modest hills with views of Joe Pool Lake that are quite scenic (for North Texas at least). Make sure to call ahead for a reservation and to ensure the trails are open, which close after heavy rains. There are multiple trails that range from a short two-mile loop to a 12-mile route shared with mountain bikers.
Lowest Greenville The buzzy bar scene in this popular section of town has slowly started to come back, but you can also plan your Lowest Greenville adventure around some of the city’s best eats ( drinks, too, don’t worry). For starters, Wabi House boasts some of the best ramen in the city, Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen puts out some fantastic, lesser-known dishes such as duck curry, and HG Supply Co. has been a neighborhood staple for years with an emphasis on healthy and sustainable meals available to-go or via their awesome rooftop. Make sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop or sundae from Botolino Gelato Artigianale, offering some of the best in the city. For more outdoor calorie consumption, hit up Truck Yard across the street with plenty of seating options, a tree house bar, and regular live music.
South Dallas With 106 acres of all things zoological, you could spend a whole day here without experiencing the slightest tinge of boredom. The zoo was founded in 1888, making it the first in the entire Southwest, and currently features about 430 species from across the globe (and that’s not including fish). Be sure to check out the Wilds of Africa, which was named Best African Exhibit in the US by The Zoo Book: A Guide to America’s Best. At this time, you still need to purchase tickets in advance and some indoor viewing areas and other attractions remain closed along with other continuing safety measures
Dallas Arts District The iconic Dallas skyline stands as the perfect backdrop for the city’s most impressive collection of sculpture. After all, skyscrapers are just sculptures built to an enormous scale right? The Nasher might be the most impressive museum in Dallas and most comfortable to enjoy while keeping social distance since its outdoor collection is the main attraction here. Right now, tickets can be pre-purchased before arrival with timed entry for crowd control.
Arlington The Cowboys had a rougher season than usual, sure, but there’s always the next season to look forward to. Even so, rather than spend extreme amounts of money to see them at one of their games, consider a tour of their home stadium instead. Options include the chance to hang out on the field the day before a game, self-guided walkabouts, a VIP behind-the-scenes look, and an art tour featuring one of the area’s top contemporary art collections. All tour guides and guests are required to maske-up and groups are limited to 35 folks at a time
Downtown Dallas See where Dallas urbanites come to shop and dine. Formerly the wholesale fruit and vegetable hub for all of North Texas, the Dallas Farmers Market has evolved into a community oriented space. Each weekend, local farmers and vendors set up under The Shed to sell their fresh goods. The indoor shed is a food hall with more than 20 restaurants and shops open regular hours throughout the week.
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Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.
What is special about the year of the Rabbit?
As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.
What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?
There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.
New South Wales
Darling Harbour Fireworks When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.
Dragon Boat Races When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.
Lion Dances When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.
Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.
Auntie Philter When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.
Lunar New Year Festival When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.
BriAsia Festival When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.
Chinatown Adelaide Street Party When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.
Crown Perth When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.