You’ve stepped back in time, in a good way, when you explore the great town of Grapevine. Only four miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, this Dallas suburb seems miles away from the big city attractions 24 minutes southeast but is in a league of its own with great points of interest. From a historic Main Street to world-class hotels and resorts, here are six things I love about Grapevine Texas.
1. Historic Main Street
Historic Downtown Grapevine is an excellent location for a day trip or to wander around for a few hours, soaking up the adorable boutiques, intriguing sculptures, and small-town charms. Main Street, the main thoroughfare, is where you’ll find most of these offerings and some of the famous Texas wine tasting rooms, but more about that later. Market on Main, Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, and Good Things for All Seasons are musts.
Walking tours of historic downtown Grapevine take you to the points of interest, or you can stroll around on your own and just enjoy the views. There is also a Public Art Trail, which I’m really fond of. See the stately and lifelike bronze sculptures around town based on the locals or parts of Grapevine’s intriguing history. Their number keeps growing, but my favorites remain Coming Home and Sunday Skaters.
A super cute thing to see in downtown Grapevine is the 127-ft tall Glockenspiel Clock Tower and whimsical shootout between Nat Barrett and Willy Majors, the Would-Be Train Robbers. The figures emerge from the Clock Tower daily at 10, noon, 2, 4, 6, and 8 PM to attempt the perfect heist. So when you see all eyes on the clock, do not be alarmed, but entertained.
2. Tasty Eats in Grapevine Texas
From the first time I visited Grapevine, I’ve been impressed with the casual and upscale eats, ranging from appealing charcuterie boards long before they were mainstream to lip-smacking good chili, homemade pies, and exquisite French cuisine. Here are the places I like to eat and what I like best at each. Grapevine is one place you won’t leave hungry.
- Big Fish Seafood Grill & Bar for soups and chowders
- Ferrari’s Italian Villa & Chop House for charcuterie and fabulous pasta dishes
- JudyPie for homemade pies
- Main Street Bistro & Bakery (Chez Fabien) for Croque Madame and pastries
- Riverwalk Cantina (at the Gaylord) for chips, queso dip, and guacamole
- Tolbert’s Restaurant for Donkey Tails and “Bowl of Red” chili
- Winewood Grill for the dreamy smoked bacon Mac & cheese
3. Huge Holiday Happenings
Grapevine isn’t known as the Christmas Capitol of Texas for nothing. What they have in store for the holiday visitors is freaking insane. Check out the schedule of over 1400 holiday-themed events, beginning in November, held over 40 days. The festivities really kick into gear on the first Thursday of December with a stellar night Parade of Lights that brings out people in droves.
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express and Ice, featuring the Polar Express at the Gaylord Texan, are two of my favorite festivities, but wait…there is more.
The streets of Grapevine are all dolled up with Christmas displays ranging from larger-than-life angels to garland-decorated store fronts and life-size Christmas card photo-ops to a synchronized light show at City Hall. It is truly a run for any holiday Hallmark movie’s money.
A few of the 1400 Christmas offerings in Grapevine that I tried were Painting with a Twist, where I had a ball painting a stockings picture, Vetro Glassblowing Studio, where I tried blown glass for the first time and made a souvenir holiday ball, and admiring the gorgeously decorated trees at the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau Headquarters.
4. Excellent Wine Tasting Rooms
If you aren’t familiar with Texas wines, you are in for a real treat. Best of all, you can try many of the top wineries in the state at the Grapevine tasting rooms, home to the Texas premier Urban Wine Trail. There are currently seven to choose from, including Bingham Family Vineyards, Cross Timbers Winery, Grape Vine Springs Winery, Landon Winery, Sloan & Willams Winery, Bull Lion Winery, and Messina Hof Grapevine Winery, my absolute fave.
Pro Tip: Sign up for a wine tour with Grapevine Wine Tours to enjoy a few stops at wine tasting rooms, a local restaurant, and a guided tour of Grapevine. On mine, we sampled wines at Messina Hof, Cross Timbers, and Bingham Family Vineyards before feasting on a great meal at Pinewood Grill. Tours run daily and year-round and last around 4 to 4 1/2 hours.
Grapevine also has cool seasonal wine trails and events: Jazz Wine Trains, GrapeFest, Hallo-Wine Trail, and Christmas Wine Trains. I have been on the Christmas Wine Train, which is a good time. It also makes a fabulous Christmas gift for someone special.
Fun Fact: Texas is the 5th largest wine-producing state in the country.
5. Explore the History
There are three historical attractions in Grapevine that I thoroughly enjoyed. Nash Farm would have to be the top attraction for me, complete with costumed interpreters, farm animals, and a look at farm life circa the late 19th century. There are outbuildings, a windmill, and a few others, plus gardens with actual heirloom crops. The barn houses turkeys, sheep, and Speckled Sussex chickens.
Next, the Victorian-style coaches on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad (GVRR) operate on weekends and take short trips to the Historic Stockyards Station in Fort Worth. Special train rides and events are super popular and sell out quickly. The train ride is so much fun; the kids will love it especially.
And lastly, I always enjoy visiting the Settlement to City Museums. There are three buildings where you can discover settings and artifacts of the 19th century, plus many hands-on activities and exhibits. Buildings to tour are the Keeling House, Cotton Dinners Museum, and my fave, the Donald Schoolhouse Museum.
Where to Stay in Grapevine, Texas
I’ve been a Marriott gal since I was a teenager, so staying at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center was a big deal, even a Texas-size deal. It is yet another thing I love about Grapevine. This massive property has atrium-style rooms (1,814 guest rooms and 127 suites) overlooking the bustling central part of the hotel property. There are four award-winning restaurants, an incredible conference center (490,000 sq. ft.), and beautiful exhibits, flowers, and seasonal decorations to admire all year.
Well-appointed rooms are spacious and comfortable, with all the amenities you expect from a higher-end Marriott hotel. I loved the cowboy boot and hat carpets and the atrium view of the Riverwalk area from my private balcony. Room service breakfast was a highlight of my stay, too.
Pro Tip: Parking is $22 for all day or $17 hourly. The Gaylord Texan used to validate your parking for two hours with a $50 restaurant purchase.
Bonus features at the Gaylord Texan include the ten-acre Paradise Springs Water Park, indoor garden atriums, and the world-class Relâche Spa.
Another Grapevine place to consider for your lodging choice is the Great Wolf Grapevine, a family-friendly favorite hotel chain with a gazillion things for kids to fall in love with. From story time in your pajamas to the 80,000-square-foot indoor water park (think lazy river, four-story water fort treehouse, and wave pool, to name a few features), this is one place your family will thank you for staying at.
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