Next month’s GrapeFest means there’s no better time to visit this quaint, historic town, which is packed with galleries, live-entertainment venues and, of course, wineries.Your cross-country travels have inevitably landed you at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, a handy midway point in the continental United States. And perhaps your layovers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport have afforded you enough roaming time in the past that you’ve already discovered the friendly, inexpensive shuttle that whisks you to historic downtown Grapevine, less than 10 minutes away. But in recent years, a significant growth spurt in this busy burgh means you now need a weekend rather than just a few hours to drink in all the fun the town serves.
STAY: The massive Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center on Lake Grapevine sprawls across a space that feels as big as Texas, with 1,511 guest rooms and a long list of food, beverage and shopping options. Its summertime showcase is Paradise Springs, a 10-acre lazy-river and resort-pool complex. Nearby is Great Wolf Lodge, a wilderness-themed resort that caters to families craving games and adventure diversions for kids; its year-round indoor water park, along with an outdoor one for warmer months, keeps all ages entertained. Great Wolf Lodge also surprises with two full-service spas and 20,000 square feet of space for hosting any kind of event imaginable.
EAT: Claim a barstool or a cozy two-top at the warm, welcoming Into the Glass, tucked among the narrow spaces along vintage Main Street. The brie-and-chicken nachos with cranberry salsa, as well as the beef tenderloin with a side of gorgonzola grits, are good enough to cause a riot. You can wash your bites down with any of 60 wines by the glass or by the bottle, typically boutique-style selections from Europe, South America or the West Coast. New and at the south end of downtown, Winewood provides a sleek, wood-and-stone setting in which to linger over a starter of seared ahi tuna on wonton chips with mango vinaigrette, followed by a plate of hickory-grilled salmon swept in a poblano cream sauce. As a bonus, look for live music in the evenings at both restaurants.
DRINK: As its name suggests, Grapevine’s connection to the wine business is significant, thanks to the presence of eight wineries in town. A delight especially in temperate months, the tasting room at La Buena Vida Vineyards spills out onto an expansive stone patio that features soothing fountains and which is shaded by vine-laced arbors. At Cork It, you can peruse more than 100 wines from around the globe. A pneumatic system dispenses a quarter, half or full glass of wine so you can sample this and that until you find the perfect quaff.
Rub elbows with wine experts at GrapeFest, the largest wine party in the Southwest, happening Sept. 13–16. You’ll taste award-winning wines (and even vote on your favorite in the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic), stomp some grapes, listen to live music and eat very well.
Tickets are $8 per person; admission is free all day Thursday and on Friday until 5 p.m. www.grapevinetexasusa.com/grapefest
DO: If kids are in tow, head to Grapevine Mills to play in the new Legoland Discovery Center, found just opposite Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium, a 45,000-square-foot, walk-through aquarium stocked with plenty of scary sharks and a mesmerizing octopus named Ringo. Your days can also be easily filled with leisurely moseying between art galleries, starting with Morgan Dane Art Gallery & Studios, home to paintings, pottery and sculpture, and ending with a look at the painstakingly curated collection at the Great American West Gallery, a new, impressive space within a 19th-century brick building. Be sure to leave ample time to craft your own handblown glass piece at Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Art Gallery.
If You Go …
909 S. Main St.
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center (from $199)
1501 Gaylord Trail
|Grapevine Visitors Shuttle|
Day-pass is $5 per person or $10 per family
Great American West Gallery
332 S. Main St.
|Great Wolf Lodge (from $199)|
100 Great Wolf Drive
Into the Glass
Dinner for two from $75
322 S. Main St.
|La Buena Vida Vineyards|
416 E. College St.
Legoland Discovery Center
Admission from $16.25 per adult and $11.25 per child
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway
|Morgan Dane Art Gallery & Studios|
701 S. Main St.
Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium
Admission about $12 per child, ages 3 to 12; $15 per adults
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway
|Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Art Gallery|
701 S. Main St.
Dinner for two from $80
1265 S. Main St.