Dallas Staycation Ideas

Dallas is a pretty quick drive from where I live, and as my closest “big city,” I’ve always got my eye on things going on in town and places that would make for a good quick getaway…a little staycation, if you will. 

4 Dallas Staycation Ideas

Here’s a round up of places I’ve stayed in Dallas and things to do in the area that would make for a good Dallas staycation…

Dallas Staycation #1: Hotel Drover in the Fort Worth Stockyards

Wowzers. I stay in a lot of hotels for my job. Luxury resorts in Maui, big city high rises in New York City, historic mom and pop hotels on Route 66…but who knew that one of my absolute favorite hotels of ALL TIME would be in Fort Worth, Texas?

The Fort Worth Stockyards are located just about 3 miles north of downtown Fort Worth, and it’s a whole world. The Hotel Drover sits in a newly developed (to look old) portion of the historic stockyards called Mule Alley. Valet your car at the hotel and you can walk everywhere in the area. 

You’ll find it all at the Stockyards…luxury western wear stores (have you ever seen a pair of $20K boots?) and tattered souvenir shops, old steakhouses and bbq joints and new bistros, places that have been there a hundred years and places that just opened last year. 

The vibe here is really easy to pick up on. Western luxe. That’s it. That’s the vibe. It’s not subtle in any way, and it’s completely glorious. I often use the word “vibe” to describe the feeling of a place, but the Hotel Drover IS a vibe. If you’re not ready to fully commit to a western lifestyle by the time you leave here, there’s something the matter with you haha. 

I’ll leave the beaucoo number of photos I took to clue you in on the details of what exactly “western luxe” looks like, but a bit about the energy of the hotel…I would say the Hotel Drover is very much a hangout spot. It’s the epicenter of the newer, more upscale side of the stockyards and people are drawn to it even if they’re not staying there. 

The lobby is very much a watering hole and pretty much at all times of the day and night it’s full of people having a drink at the bar and spilling out over the different seating areas to play cards, read, or catch up with friends. And when the weather is nice, The Backyard has got to be one of the best places to be in Fort Worth. Besides the luxe pool, they’ve got plenty of outdoor games, fire pits, and places to just “be”. This property really does have a resort feel. 

The rooms at the Hotel Drover are VERY fun, and they have a ton of different categories featuring different amenities and styles. 

I booked a spa king room because I just had to have that crazy tub, and ended up getting upgraded to a spa king with a kitchenette suite (Marriott Bonvoy platinum status). What a sweet room! There are also room types with bunk beds, terraces, and fireplaces. 

For more ideas on what to do at the Fort Worth Stockyards, read this post

Book your stay at the Hotel Drover here

Staycation #2: Hotel Vin in Grapevine

Famous for its quaint historic downtown, Texas charm and wineries galore, Grapevine is the perfect place for a staycation in Dallas.

Hotel Vin is a new boutique hotel with an old feel and it’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway. It really feels like a destination. 

The hotel takes its cues from the old railroad that passes by right outside and a good part of it really does look like a grand old train station. 

The rooms are pretty spacious and comfortable and our room had a great view out over the back patio. 

The whole hotel is full of hangout spaces and it’s designed to attract a crowd beyond just who’s staying in the hotel. 

Also, Hotel Vin is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection so it’s perfect for cashing in points.

From the hotel, it’s an easy walk down through historic downtown Grapevine. Downtown is full of interesting buildings and small boutiques plus several tasting rooms.

Don’t miss the bookstore!

I think the real draw to the Grapevine area is the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. 

On the weekends, the Cotton Belt Route takes you from downtown Grapevine (right next to the Hotel Vin) all the way to the Stockyards in Fort Worth on a restored vintage train. 

It’s about a six hour excursion (including two hours to explore the Stockyards on your own) so it’s a really great way to pass the day. 

We splurged for a table in one of the first class coaches so we had snacks and drinks, board games, and air conditioning which ended up being super important since we ran into a little delay on the rails. 

Check out the schedule and pricing here

Overall, it’s a fun thing to do and a great way to get a taste of the Fort Worth Stockyards (although it definitely deserves its own weekend – read all about my favorite things to do at the Stockyards here). 

The Harvest Hall is a great European style food hall attached to the Hotel Vin. There’s probably a dozen or so different food stalls plus plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and live music most evenings. 

We had dinner at Monkey King (a Dallas favorite) and I had the beef stir fry and also tried the pork wonton soup.

Staycation #3: The Adolphus in Downtown Dallas 

In today’s edition of I only stay in hotels where the Queen has stayed, I bring you…The Adolphus

Yep, that’s right. Dallas’ first luxury hotel hosted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip on their official state visit in 1991 and their portrait now hangs in the lobby. Imagine how impressed I was to walk in and see that. Okay, sure three US presidents have stayed there (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George HW Bush), BUT THE QUEEN. Well, that’s the kind of place this is. 

Here’s the background: Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch opened the 22-story hotel inspired by a Germanic castle in 1912 as what would be Dallas’ first luxury hotel. 

The vibe of this hotel is very cool, but in a historic “we’re not trying very hard, it’s just who we are” way. You got that? A dark color palette, a design style that’s refined and elegant but inviting and not too stiff, and every onsite amenity you could think of. 

Now, Downtown Dallas isn’t an area that I’ve spent a ton of time in the past, but since it’s now where most of Dallas’ best hotels are located, I think I’ll be spending more time there in the future ; )

The Adolphus is right across the street from the AT&T Discovery District which is a fun outdoor hangout/public art area with a food hall and it’s walkable to the 6th Floor Museum (where Kennedy was shot) and the historic West End. 

Overall, this is such a cool hotel and it’s my new go to for a Dallas staycation. It just has such a cool vibe design wise, but every modern/luxury comfort you could think of. I love the onsite coffee shop, the food hall and hangout space across the street, and that this area of Dallas is pretty walkable (such a rarity in Texas!) And I think the price is a bargain compared to other downtown Dallas luxury properties. 

You can book directly with Marriott here

And while you’re in the area, don’t miss the Sixth Floor Museum. 

On November 23, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald fired shots from a sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository that killed President John F Kennedy as his motorcade passed below.

It was a major event of the 20th century, and the Sixth Floor Museum in downtown Dallas lays out a detailed timeline of the President’s activities the days before, minute by minute plays on the motorcade’s movements through downtown Dallas, and what happened during the days after. 

Translation: If you’re obsessed with the Kennedy assassination and the endless conspiracy theories it’s spurned, you could spend hours here. 

The events that took place in Dallas on November 22, 1963 had worldwide significance and this micro focused museum gives real insight into not just what happened, but how it affected society. 

This isn’t a huge museum and it’s mostly reading and looking at photos (not a ton of objects on display). You’ll obviously want to see the window where Oswald fired the shots from and there’s a replica of the rifle he used on display (the original is in the National Archives). 

The museum covers a bit about the Kennedy family and his Presidency plus what was going on in the world at the time but it’s mostly about the days right before and after his assassination. It follows the President and First Lady’s trip to Texas (they had been in Fort Worth prior to coming to Dallas) including a minute by minute detailed timeline of the motorcade through Dallas and what happened immediately after. 

The museum follows through with the investigation and arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald and his murder by Jack Ruby. One of the most interesting parts of the museum (for me) was seeing the impact that JFK’s assassination had on people around the world. 

Staycation #4: Ritz Carlton in the Dallas Arts District

I love, love, love the location or the Ritz Carlton Dallas. It’s walking distance to everything in the Arts District and you’ll get a bit of that downtown city feel, but it’s squeaky clean. 

And you really can see why the Ritz has been the gold standard for service for so long. In my experience, service at luxury hotels is pretty hit or miss, but they definitely do it right here. Everyone from the valet to the concierge to check in to turn down to the restaurant staff was top notch. It’s the standout from the whole experience for me. 

I really just can’t say enough good things about the service. Every single one of the “ladies and gentlemen” of the Ritz Carlton Dallas were exceptional. And overall the whole property was staffed at a level that you would expect (not always the case these days). 

By far my favorite little detail was the guacamologist in the lobby every evening. I mean, really? Every night from 6-6:30 there’s a complimentary guacamole and margarita service set up. I loved that it was a local touch and it gave the lobby a little lively atmosphere. 

I’m not normally inclined to even try hotel restaurants because they’re generally pretty disappointing, but Fearing’s is touted as one of the better “fine dining” restaurants in Dallas so I decided to give it a try. We had Sunday brunch at Fearing’s and it sure didn’t disappoint.

We had no less than three servers, but it’s not a stuffy place at all. The menu is pretty broad but we loved the cobb salad with chicken fried lobster tail (yep, you read that right), and the crab cake eggs benedict. Also the croissants were divine. 

It’s more of a traditional restaurant (including the clientele-it’s not where the 20 somethings of Dallas go for a long boozy brunch with the gang), but I would say it’s very recommendable. 

You can book directly with the Ritz Carlton Dallas here.

The hotel is in the Dallas Art District, just a couple of blocks from the Dallas Museum of Art. 

I’ve been to a lot of art museums around the world (really some of the best), but I’ve been sooooo impressed with the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). I’ve been twice now and will 100% be back again. 

This museum is a maze and I had to track my map pretty carefully to make sure that I was seeing all of the galleries on every floor. I am not exaggerating when I say that the gems of this museum are hidden away in a labyrinth on the upper floors. 

I spent about 2 hours walking through the museum and I didn’t even feel like I really spent much time in any one place really reading about much. And I think there was an upper gallery that I didn’t quite make it all the way through. I was deep in the bowels of the museum when an alarm started going off a la the Thomas Crown Affair so I skedaddled back out to where I could at least see an exit haha. 

Anyways, this is a great museum on par with other large art museums and is definitely the kind of place you could go wander around often. 

I think most people come to see the European art galleries. Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Modigliani, Degas…gang’s all here.

But don’t miss the decorative arts galleries. 

Usually when I think “art museum” I think “paintings” so when I turned a corner and there was an entire villa recreated with all of the original artwork, furniture, and objects I was pretty blown away. 

This was the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection. They bought Coco Chanel’s famous villa in the south of France and filled it with collections. Upon Emery’s death, his wife Wendy donated everything to the DMA and they constructed a series of galleries to recreate a handful of different rooms. 

There was also a gallery with objects and architecture from the California Craftsman style movement. 

The DMA closed on Mondays. It’s open from 11AM-5PM (9PM on Fridays) all other days, and admission to the museum is FREE. 

And check out these other spots in the Dallas Arts District: 

Nasher Sculpture Center: Right across the street from the DMA, the Nasher is a great extension if you appreciate sculpture. I’ll be totally honest…I really don’t. Not that I don’t appreciate/value it, I just know so little about it that I’m never sure exactly what I’m looking at. But I checked it out and it’s a lovely space. There are a few rooms inside, but the outdoor plaza was my favorite. If I lived in the area, I could see having a membership to come sit and enjoy it. Admission is $10 (12 and under are free). It’s the only museum in the area that requires admission. 

Crow Museum of Asian Art: Entry is free and you could look around for maybe 20 minutes or so. Large parts of the museum are installations by current artists, but there is quite a bit of traditional art and objects on display as well. They rotate items from the collection in themes. When I visited there was a small exhibit on Vishnu, the art of lacquer, and jade. The courtyard outside the museum is beautiful. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11AM to 5PM. 

Klyde Warren Park: This local gathering place is such a cool spot in the middle of the city with food trucks, grassy lawns, and play areas. Read about events here.