I’m no stranger to the sprawling metropolis of Dallas, Texas. Growing up in Oklahoma, Dallas was our go-to destination for Christmas shopping and the occasional weekend vacation. In college, friends and I would head down south for Red River Rivalry game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns, or just to go party in a “real city” every now and then.
Last month, I finally had the perfect reason to visit again all the way from Washington DC – one of my best friends was getting married!
I’ve mentioned Victoria before. We met in journalism school at OU and have been friends ever since, even though distance has made it difficult to see each other as much as we’d like over the years. I was so touched to be a part of her big day, and had so much fun celebrating with her and getting to know the rest of the bridesmaids.
The wedding was definitely a glamorous affair. I’m pretty sure I looked better after Victoria’s glam squad was finished with me than I did at my own wedding. Although this selfie is one of the vainest things I’ve ever posted on the blog, I feel like this awesome makeup deserves its props.
The bride looked absolutely breathtaking, and the entire wedding was gorgeous from start to finish. I can’t wait to see all of the official wedding photos soon!
There were so many highlights from the wedding: from dancing in our pj’s in the bridal suite until the wee hours of the morning, to the absolutely to-die-for cake, to the surprise second line band that showed up at the end of the reception bringing the New Orleans theme of the wedding full circle. It was an absolutely beautiful experience. Jarett and Victoria – I wish you all the happiness in the world and thank you again so much for letting me be a part of it.
We Came for the Wedding, We Stayed for the Food
Although the wedding was the main event, we did find time to see a little of what Dallas has to offer in between the festivities. The night we arrived, we met up with Vicky and her crew at the brand new Tortaco in downtown Dallas.
Crazy girl that she is, Victoria planned an entire restaurant opening TWO DAYS before her wedding. She is truly a force to be reckoned with, and the event was amazing. It was a great opportunity to meet the other bridesmaids and raise a glass to the bride to be, since I had to miss the bachelorette party back in October.
The mezcal cocktails were flowing and the tacos were delicious. They were also huge. It’s true, everything is bigger in Texas.
Most of the rest of our meals were eaten on the fly while trying to fit in full work days amid the wedding preparation. We became huge fans of Modern Market, with several locations across Dallas. We tried both the lunch and the breakfast and both were delicious. Much to my excitement, they just opened a location in Bethesda. Hopefully DC is next!
One thing we knew we had to do before we left was eat some Texas barbecue. After several debates with both friends and helpful Lyft drivers, we settled on Hard Eight BBQ (the original in Coppell, though there are three other location in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.)
I knew we were in good hands as soon as we pulled in at 6 p.m. to a completely full parking lot. The lines to order were long, but quick. Before we knew it we were standing in front of the smoker ordering in a panic so as not to cause a bottleneck.
There was so much goodness to choose from, but we kept it simple with beef brisket, pork ribs and spicy sausage. And then we may have gone just a wee tad overboard with the sides. There were just so many choices! We actually pared our original selections quite a bit opting for fried okra, sweet corn and mac and cheese. Our vegetable game was obviously very strong.
Everything was so good! Especially the brisket – the best I’ve had in ages. I didn’t try the pork ribs, but Tom took them out in no time so I guess they weren’t bad. We took everything to go and enjoyed the feast in our hotel room because even though we were in Texas, the Sooners were playing football and I couldn’t miss it. I was also starting to come down with a cold, so it was the perfect low-key night to end the trip.
What We Did When We Weren’t Eating
With only one afternoon to devote to exploring the city, we knew exactly what we wanted to see. Kyle Warren Park is a 5.2 acre public park created “out of thin air” above the Woodall Rodgers Freeway with incredible views of the city.
Like Oklahoma City, Dallas is not really known for its walkability. So we were attracted to this walker’s mecca like moths to the flame.
We went on the coldest day of our visit, so the area wasn’t nearly as crowded as I hear it normally is on a Saturday. There were dozens of food trucks lined up around the park’s perimeter, but since we’d already eaten, we settled for tasty lattes from Wildcatter to keep us warm while we explored.
If I lived in Dallas, I would definitely be at this park every weekend. There’s a huge dog park, a putting green, free books for reading and the scenery is amazing.
After a while, the cold started to get to us so we retreated to the nearby Dallas Museum of Art. In all my visits to Dallas, I’d never made it to this beautiful museum and was so happy to have a chance to stop in. Sadly, we didn’t think to do so until a half hour before close, so we had to speed walk through the exhibits as docent after docent reminded us that it was nearly time to vacate the premises. We will definitely return the next time we’re in town for a more thorough visit.
Get a Room
We hopped around to three different hotels, opting to spend the majority of our time in budget hotels to save cash. For the wedding, however, we stayed in the stylish NYLO Plano at Legacy.
If you’re looking for a trendy, yet still affordable stay in Dallas I would definitely recommend looking into this boutique chain with three locations throughout the city.
The rooms were chic, but still comfortable. Unlike many boutique hotels, water , coffee and (extremely fast) wifi were all free.
For a more central Dallas location, I’ve also stayed at The Stoneleigh, Le Meridien in uptown and had a great experience.
Until Next Time, Dallas
Our Dallas getaway was brief and hectic, but I left with a much different impression than I had when I arrived. The city is currently experiencing a huge revitalization with thousands of people moving in each month for its affordable housing and ample job opportunities. The traffic leaves something to be desired, but the food and culture is on par with any other major city in the nation. The people, although often confused about what constitutes good football (I had to throw in one jab!), are as nice can be as well. I know I’ll be back many times in the future to visit friends, stuff my face with Tex Mex and barbecue and continue to explore everything The Big D has to offer.