1st time to Texas

Jan 10th, 2013, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 14,466
Hiking Enchanted Rock in August would be like hiking on the sun.

You really need to do some research and decide for yourself what you want to do. I live in central Texas and disagree with the advice to go to Fredricksburg and Centerville, etc. Some people like that, some don't. A lot of the people who recommend it haven't been to Fredricksburg in years.

I don't know how old your son is but yes, he might like Schlitterbahn. There's also a spring fed pool in New Braunfels if you want to cool off but not brave the crowds at Schlitterbahn. I definitely agree with the Barton Springs pool suggestion.

I suggest you take a walking tour of San Antonio to get more background regarding the Alamo and the fight for Texas Independence. Unfortunately the site of the battle of the Alamo hasn't been preserved well but the history is fascinating just the same.

Austin is the worst for driving. It slows down at all times of the day through town. If you are going through and not stopping, take the toll road around Austin to Georgetown.
follow_your_bliss is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,667
I looked up Habitat Suites, are you looking at the one on Highland Mall Blvd.? If so I don't recommend it. Although it might look good on the web it's not a part of town where I would stay. Not only is it not near any place you want to go, it's just a nasty part of Austin. If you can stay closer to downtown, preferably west of I-35 that would be best. The Driskill is a fave among tourists but it's a bit on the pricey end. If you could tell me what you would like to spend I will try to help you find something.
P_M is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 03:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,667
Please check out the Double Tree by Hilton in the University Area. I'm looking at that on expedia.com. It's in a good location near downtown. I drive past it on my way home from work and it looks like a very nice hotel. I don't know your dates so I made up some dates in July and it prices at $109/night. It has a pool but not breakfast, however they have an on-site grocery store so you could probably find something to eat in the room. Even w/o a free breakfast I think this is far better place to stay than anywhere near Highland Mall. I just now told my husband you were considering staying on Highland Mall Blvd and he reminded me he had to go there recently for business. He said he was very nervous being in that neighborhood and he did not feel safe.
P_M is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I forgot the most important part--the Doubletree will give you some wonderful cookies when you check in.
P_M is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I would not recommend the Admiral Hotel. I think a better suggestion would be Hampton Inn & Suites, near Cowboy Stadium and Ranger Stadium.

jill_h is online now  
Jan 11th, 2013, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,690
Hi there. So from a Houstonian's point of view with an English husband - we do this often when family comes to visit...

I would fly in to Houston and stay the first night in Houston. The airport is about a 30-45 min drive to downtown. Stay in downtown area, have some food, check out the sights (or not) and head out early to San Antonio via I-10 in the morning - stay for 3 nights. It's only a 3 hr drive ;-) -I know for you that's a lot but in Texas, that's par for the course. Spend the first day in San Antonio visiting the river walk and the Alamo. The next day check out the missions in the area, maybe a round of golf in the afternoon. The third day, do a day trip to the New Braunfels area. Check out the Natural Bridge Caverns and/or Wildlife Ranch in the morning,
stop by the outlet malls off of I-35 (exit 200)- the largest in the area, and float down the guadalupe river in Gruene, Tx in the afternoon, dinner at a "treehouse" overlooking the river at the Gristmill. The next day, head out of town to a little German town called Fredericksburg by continuing down I-10 to Hwy 87. Stay in Fredericksburg at least a night, maybe 2. While there I would check out Enchanted Rock (climb to the top!), visit some wineries, walk up and down main street, and at night, a short drive will get you to Luckenbach Tx to have a real texas dinner and dance at the local dance hall. It's the tiniest town but a lot of fun (there's a famous song about this place that I am singing in my head right now...'Luckenbach Texas' by Waylon Jennings). Next, Austin. Head east on 290 towards Johnson City (named after a US president), have a quick stop at the Wildseed farm. There may not be much flowers in bloom but it's nice anyway. For those not driving, they can have a cheeky cold pint of german beer! This is a pretty drive, btw. Keep a look out for a buffalo farm by a lake, peach and fruit stands. So far you've exhausted 5-6 nights of your time here, depending on how many nights you decided to spend in Fredericksburg (bet you never thought you could see so much in such a short time!). That leaves you with 8 nights. I would stay 3 nights in Austin, 3 nights in Dallas (day trips to Arlington) and 1 night in Houston - yes, I live in Houston but there's more to see in the other places. You do this by heading north on I-35/I-35W, then heading east on I-30 to Dallas. From Dallas, take I-45 south to Houston. I'll list things to do in each of the cities remaining.

San Antonio/New Braunfels area:
http://www.gruenetexas.com/ (eat at the Gristmill)
San Antonio missions (www.nps.gov/saan/)
Restaurant in San Antonio (www.biga.com)

Enchanted Rock (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/enchanted-rock)
A little out of the way but a really cool hole in the wall restaurant with great food (http://hilltopcafe.com/)
Wineries - I like Torre di Pietra and Becker (http://texaswinetrail.com/map)

Fun street to visit, albeit a younger crown (http://www.6street.com/) NOte: There's another area on the corner of 4th and Colorado that has bars and restaurants that feels a bit older than 6th street. If there, check out Gingerman for a HUGE selection of beers on draft if you like beer (what Englishman isn't, right?)
Another fun area to visit and a bit older (
Canoeing at Zilker Park (http://www.zilkerboats.com/)
Barton Springs Pool (http://austintexas.gov/department/barton-springs-pool)
NOT TO MISS - Hamilton Pool!!! (https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/fin.../hamilton-pool)
Congress Bridge Bats (http://www.batcon.org/index.php/get-...ue-bridge.html)
Best BBQ (http://www.saltlickbbq.com/)
I'm sure I'm missing others...will post more if it comes to mind.

Dallas/Arlington - this area is really close together. There's plenty to do. I would suggest to find a good base and do day trips from there. Do a day for Arlington and spend the rest of the time between Dallas and forth Worth. Dallas' downtown area is fantastic. Visit the 6th floor museum at Dealy plaza and take a tour of the JFK shooting site (http://www.jfk.org/). Forth Worth has a nice littel downtown area too and if you are there on a Saturday, Rah Brewery does a great tour where you can also eat BBQ and listen to live music (http://www.rahrbrewing.com/our-brewe...r-tasting.html). Grapevine also has a nice downtown area to visit, maybe do a wine tasting tour (https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/Default.aspx). Last but not least, as most of my friend from the UK love the tv show Dallas, if you like it also, you can visit the Southfork Ranch (http://www.southforkranch.com/tours/)

Space Center (www.spacecenter.org)
Galleria (http://www.simon.com/mall/the-galleria)
Menil area (www.menil.org/ & www.rothkochapel.org/)
So many parks - one of the best to see Aligators (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/brazos-bend)
Hermann Park & Med Center - the largest medical center in the US (www.hermannpark.org/ & http://texasmedicalcenter.org/)
and many, many, restaurants and nightlife area.


OK, I know that's a lot of information. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. Hope you have a great time in Texas. Be prepared for the heat. It's not like Arizona at all. Arizona has dry heat where in Texas it is humid on top of the soaring temperatures so be prepared for the difference.
maria_so is offline  
Jan 11th, 2013, 09:22 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,667
Well done maria_so, you are a Texas tourist's encyclopdia.
P_M is offline  
Jan 11th, 2013, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Oh, and for hotels, Homewood suites are nice and has a separate room (with a door) to the sitting area so some in your party can sleep and others can watch tv without disturbing each other. Embassy suites has the same set up and has an additional cooked to order breakfast for free. I'm all about clean also and I have found these 2 chains to be not only abundant in the area you are looking at but also clean, clean, clean. If you are there during the week, there's also a nightly managers reception which includes free drinks (alcoholic and non) with some snacks.

As for your son and bars - if he's a tall 16 year old and is with you (parents), then I would say it's fine. Most 16 year old kids sneak in bars now anyway. If they card him, just show that you are his parents and they'll let him in (I think). The nightlife area I listed are busy places so they may not make a big deal. If one does, the one next door may not.
maria_so is offline  
Jan 11th, 2013, 09:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 9
Oh wow that's a lot of information to digest, that's going to take up our week-end to do all the research

That's what I like about this forum, people tell you like it is and what and what not to do, where to stay etc. and that's what we need.

As we can't commit to flights just yet due to my work schedule not been finalized for the summer we can take our time to peruse hotels and ask you guys for your input (if you don't mind).

Maria that's some schedule and looks fun. We'll probably add a couple of "chillax" days so that we don't need another holiday when we get home

Thanks you all so much again, you are all very helpful.
Pottermouse is offline  
Jan 11th, 2013, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,690
thanks P_M. We have a lot of experience with relatives & friends from the UK coming to visit...
maria_so is offline  
Jan 11th, 2013, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561

This is a misused comparison - Sixth Street is lively but it's not a madhouse like Bourbon Street and the Austinians can't walk around with their 48 oz Hurricanes. Sixth Street is more live music and hang out, Bourbon Street is more get sloshed and act the fool with some places for live music (Preservation Hall) and some decent restaurants.

Most "bars" have sit-down areas and food options so you can sneak in and sit down for a meal too. Trinity Hall in Dallas is the paradigm - a lively pseudo-Irish bar with celtic music performances on weekends but it has a full set of menu options too.
BigRuss is offline  
Jan 11th, 2013, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 414
Lots of good advice on this thread.

To reiterate some of the things already said, definitely stop at the outlets in San Marcos if you enjoy shopping. And I second the recommendation for the Natural Bridge Caverns in New Braunfels. http://www.naturalbridgecaverns.com/...5))/Index.aspx In Austin, hike the Lady Bird hike and bike trail (also called Town Lake) and kayak on the lake. And yes, the traffic is heavy in many areas. I particularly don't like I-35 because there always seem to be so many trucks. I agree with traveling on 281 if you can on the way to Dallas, plus you'll see more of Texas than you will from the interstate.

In the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, you might consider staying in Grapevine. It's a good location for getting to both Dallas and Ft. Worth. There is an Embassy Suites there that's nice. It's located right next the Bass Pro Shops which y'all would probably enjoy going to. They might even have a boat show going on while you're there. They have them every so often. Bass fishing is a popular sport here in Texas. Bass Pro is interesting even you don't fish. That Embassy Suites is also a few minutes away from the Dallas Cowboys Golf Club that your son might enjoy golfing at (the previously mentioned Hyatt Hill Country Resort in San Antonio is good too). http://cowboysgolfclub.com/view.asp?id=229&page=7252 Grapevine also has a main street to walk around for restaurants, etc.http://www.downtowngrapevinetexas.com/ as well as the Grapevine Mills Outlet mall.

Despite a previous poster's remarks, I think you'd enjoy the Sixth Floor Museum. It does a great job of conveying the emotions of the country at the time.

Hope you enjoy your trip to Texas!
travelerfromtx is offline  
Jan 12th, 2013, 07:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 9
Arlington is more family oriented and reasonable. There are numerous hotels close to the stadium. The Admiral is older but nice. Sheraton is closest to the stadiums. Most bars are in restaurants therefore children are welcome. Several public golf courses to the north. One only a few blocks away. If you want plush and pricier look elsewhere. Texas Land and Cattle, Babe's chicken dinner house and several Mexican food restaurants close.Have a nice trip.
DALEB is offline  
Jan 15th, 2013, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,750
Oh my!!! You MUST go to Babe's. It is SOOOOO good and so not good for you!!! Great comfort food!!! They don't take reservations, it is loud, it is fun!!

jill_h is online now  
Jan 16th, 2013, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 17
I live about an hour north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I hope your family enjoys the time here!

I would also recommend that you spend some time in Fort Worth- go to the Stockyards on a Saturday night and see a rodeo.

I also agree that the JFK Sixth Floor Museum is worth the visit- they have done a nice job.

As others have mentioned, Babe's would be a fun place for your family to eat. If you are spending any time in the Stockyards, grab a bite at Riscky's BBQ while enjoying the touristy Old West scene.
clarktx is offline  
Jan 17th, 2013, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 18
Austin- Magnolia Cafe South, Matt's El Rancho (great outdoor patio) Whole Food Market on N Lamar a must if you go to Austin a food market with a wine tasting station to a dessert station
San Antonio- Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery
Arlington- Mariano's the inventor of the frozen margarita machine and you must have one!
Drury Inns have 5:30 free drinks ,snacks and breakfast
Mesquite- Mesquite Rodeo
Fredericksburg- peaches,wineries,National Museum of the Pacific War Museum, Fredericksburg Inn nice place to stay within walking distance to town where you can shop with one hand and hold your wine/beer in the other
Dallas- Dallas World Aquarium,Perot Museum
gigi11 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2013, 12:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 9
Me again guys!

Flights seem to be coming down a little at the moment so we may fly to DFW but can't decide if we need to see Houston or not.

If we did Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Arlington/Fort Worth/Dallas how many days would you say we needed at each place? If we were to build in a couple of relaxation days where would you do this?

Hampton Inn, Doubletree & Sheraton hotels are up there on our list at the moment.

Thanks all
Pottermouse is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2013, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,690
You don't need to see Houston...and I live here. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice city and I always miss it when I'm away but if you are limited in time and can fly into DFW, then I would do that. I would really consider looking into the no drop off fees for car rental and just fly into one airport and fly out of the other. That will really save you some time.
maria_so is offline  
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