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Five Things to Love About Irving, TX: Discover the Gems

Five Things to Love About Irving, TX: Discover the Gems

Traveling can be a delightful adventure, especially when you stumble upon hidden gems that make the trip unforgettable. Irving is one such destination, offering a mix of serene beauty, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. Nestled just minutes from Dallas and a short drive from Fort Worth, Irving has much to offer without the hustle and bustle of bigger cities. Here are five things to love about Irving, TX, that will surely captivate any travel enthusiast.


1. Take a Gondola Canal Cruise

Imagine gliding through picturesque canals, serenaded by the gentle water lapping against your gondola. It sounds like Venice, right? But you can skip flying to Italy for this experience. In Irving, you can take a private gondola cruise through the Mandalay Canal (a waterfront trail featuring restaurants and natural waterfalls) and Lake Carolyn in Las Colinas.


Climb aboard an Instagram-worthy private gondola with friends and family or for a romantic interlude. Cruise through the serene waterways, courtesy of Gondola Adventures, enjoying the beautiful scenery and waterfalls. The almost empty waterway offers a peaceful escape, making this an unforgettable attraction.

Pro Tip: Pick up a gourmet charcuterie platter from Nosh and Bottle, the area experts, to enjoy on your gondola ride.


Variety of Cruise Options

Gondola Adventures caters to a variety of preferences with its diverse trip options. Whether you fancy a leisurely lunch cruise, a laid-back pizza outing, or a lavish dinner cruise with a singing gondolier, there is something to captivate everyone. The gondolas are in operation all year round and can even accommodate groups of up to 12 people.

Rest assured, comfort is a priority; blankets are readily available to keep you cozy. If you prefer to forgo the gondola ride but still want to savor the area, you can rent kayaks from SUP NTX for a leisurely paddle across Lake Carolyn.


2. Indulge in the Irving TX Food and Drink Scene

Irving’s food scene is a pleasant surprise. It offers a diverse range of delicious options without the fuss or high prices of nearby Dallas. From Southwest and Mexican cuisine to seafood and vegetarian delights, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Southwest and Mexican Flavors

Via Real Restaurant is a must-visit for Southwest and Mexican food lovers. The Pecan Encrusted Sea Bass with cilantro mash and pineapple cream sauce is a standout dish. Take advantage of their delightful Sunday brunch buffet, complete with unlimited mimosas.


Eclectic Dining Experiences

Hugo’s Invitados offers craft cocktails and appetizers in a unique setting, featuring eclectically dressed mannequins. Try the Prickly Pear Texas Red Snapper Ceviche for a memorable culinary experience. 

Sanjh, a creative Indian eatery, offers a gorgeous setting and a chance to expand your palate. Their food and restaurant are both works of art.


Check out our extensive guide to Irving’s restaurant scene for more detailed reviews.

Diverse and Delicious

Knife Italian, located in the Ritz Carlton, Dallas Las Colinas, offers a stunning ambiance and standout dishes created by Michelin-starred chef and renowned restaurateur John Tesar. This is your go-to for date nights or special occasions.


Pacific Table at Las Colinas excels in seafood and Pacific Rim dishes. The pecan-veggie burger is one of the best vegetarian options.  

For a taste of New Orleans, head to Po Melvin’s for fried catfish, Louisiana Gulf shrimp, and Yo Mamas (frozen margaritas with frozen hurricane). This hotspot is fun, festive, and freaking tasty.


Breakfast and More

Kitchen 101 at the Toyota Music Factory property serves terrific breakfast tacos with Fresno salsa and irresistible Pimento Cheese Fritters—a bite of deliciousness. Jam + Toast serves up excellent Benedicts and crepes, while Pax & Beneficia Coffee Shop is where you go for all your caffeine needs. The matcha drinks are off the hook, too.

Thanks to Visit Irving for hosting our visit, which included a familiarization trip to the area, lodging, and some meals.

3. Explore the Toyota Music Factory

The Toyota Music Factory in Las Colinas stands out as one of the country’s most unique entertainment properties, offering a blend of live music, dining, and shopping in a vibrant and ever-changing setting.


Live Music and Entertainment

The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory is a versatile venue, housing three distinct spaces in one. It includes a 2,500-person small-scale theater, a 4,000-seater indoor theater, and an 8,000-capacity amphitheater. With events promoted by Live Nation Entertainment, the venue ensures a diverse range of top-tier performances.

We had the pleasure of experiencing The Black Crowes there during the eclipse and were delighted by the balance of intimacy and the energetic concert atmosphere. 

Upcoming concerts include The Pixies with Modest Mouse, Sarah McLachlan, and Blues Travelers, to mention a few. 


Special Events and More

The Texas Lottery Plaza hosts special events like the Total Eclipse in the Park in April that drew visitors worldwide to witness a party in totality. With shopping options and an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Toyota Music Factory has something to delight all visitors and travelers.

Pro Tip: There is free restaurant and movie parking with ticket validation in the Toyota Music Factory Garage.


Dining Options

You’ll find a variety of eateries, from Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill and Bar Louis to Grimaldi’s Coal Brick Pizzeria. Mama Tried is a local favorite, offering live music, trivia, pool tables, and bar bites in a honky-tonk sports bar atmosphere.


4. Learn about Las Colinas

Las Colinas is a 12,000-acre master-planned community that seamlessly blends high-rise buildings, family homes, lakes, canals, and green spaces.

Mustangs of Las Colinas

Don’t miss the nine galloping bronze Mustangs of Las Colinas sculptures in Williams Square. Created by Robert Glen, this artwork captures the free-spirited nature of Texas and is a testament to the state’s heritage. It is a genuinely breathing work of art. 


A High-End Urban Center

Las Colinas, a place where work and leisure harmoniously coexist, is home to seven Fortune 500 companies in 2019. It offers 27.4 million sq-ft. of office space, 7.6 million sq-ft. for industry, and 2.9 million sq-ft. for retail space. Its mix of commercial and residential areas makes it a prime location for business and leisure, not to mention golf courses, canals, and green spaces.


5. Stay at the Texican Court or the Westin

When it comes to accommodations, Las Colinas doesn’t disappoint. It offers several luxurious options, each promising a comfortable and memorable stay. Among our top recommendations are the Texican Court and Westin Irving Convention Center, both of which are sure to exceed your expectations.

Texican Court

The  Texican Court, a part of the locally-owned Valencia Hotel Group, is a luxury boutique hotel in Las Colinas. From its picturesque check-in area (truly one of the most lavish I’ve ever seen!) to its stylish grounds and onsite bars and restaurants, it offers an urban oasis in the heart of Irving.

What’s more, it’s pet-friendly, making it the perfect choice for those traveling with their furry friends. 


Texican Court’s deluxe rooms feature fully-stocked Smeg refrigerators, colorful robes, custom-made furniture, and Western-themed accents. The linens and accent pieces couldn’t have been cuter if they tried. 

The beautifully landscaped courtyard’s swimming pool is a nod to nostalgic road trips, and the brick fireplace focal point is great for gathering, smoking a cigar, or unwinding.


The Westin Irving Convention Center

The Westin Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas stands out with its spacious and luxurious rooms, offering floor-to-ceiling views of the stunning cityscape. A unique feature is their commitment to wellness, demonstrated by the delivery of Peloton bikes to your room. This pet-friendly property is a haven for both humans and their furry friends. 


What we loved about this contemporary property was its excellent lighting (bedroom and bathroom), rainfall shower, and stellar toiletries, making it a standout choice. The heated outdoor pool and whirlpool spa amped up their game. The lobby is also welcoming, and there are onsite places to grab a drink and meal.


Both hotels, the Westin Irving Convention Center and Las Colinas, are strategically located within walking distance of the Toyota Music Factory and the Mandalay Canal Walk. This prime location ensures that you can easily explore the vibrant surroundings without any hassle, making your stay even more enjoyable. 


Irving, TX, is a hidden gem that offers a perfect blend of modern amenities and charming experiences. From gondola rides and diverse dining options to live music and luxurious accommodations, there’s something for all travel enthusiasts to enjoy and fall in love with.

Discover more about Irving through this link, Visit Irving CVB, and plan your visit today.


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