Howdy y’all! Finally a destination where we are allowed to leave the hotel room, and I could not have been more excited to be in Dallas, Texas. I have wanted to visit Dallas for a long time now and really soak in the cowboy/western atmosphere! The flight over from Dubai was 16 hours and we arrived into Dallas Fort Worth International Airport just before 4pm.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t that tired, so I decided to go to the nearby Galleria Mall. I thought I would have a look around and get some food as I always prefer to eat outside rather than hotel room service. The mall was lovely and had a huge ice skating rink in the middle! I also have found my new favourite American fast food outlet – Raising Cane’s! It beats In-N-Out Burger, Chick-fil-A, and all the others hands down! I then picked up a Dallas Starbucks mug as I am now collecting the ‘You Are here’ mugs from all different cities.
After the mall, I went to my two favourite stores in the US – CVS and Ulta Beauty. I absolutely love buying all of my skincare and toiletries from CVS and I love looking at all the beauty and makeup products in Ulta beauty. I then walked back to my hotel (in the 36 degrees celsius heat!) and had an early night as we had lots planned the following day.
The following day, I woke up and had breakfast from the cafe downstairs. A group of us had arranged to go to Fort Worth Stockyards later on in the afternoon so we all met downstairs at 2:30pm. I wanted to go a bit earlier but the receptionist in the hotel said the atmosphere is much better in the evening. I was really looking forward to seeing the Cattle drive which is on every day at 4pm, but unfortunately we missed it by a couple of minutes as the traffic was really bad. However, I was blown away with the place and how authentic it felt – rodeos, saloons, cattle shows, it felt like i’d stepped into an old western cowboy movie!
Before fully exploring, we decided to stop off for a bite to eat as none of us had eaten since the morning. Our Uber driver recommended we go to a place called Joe T. Garcia’s – a very popular Mexican restaurant. The restaurant opens at 5pm and luckily we got there just 5 minutes after as pretty much all the tables were full. We couldn’t believe how busy it was, and how long the queue was after we left! There were only two choices on the menu – fajitas or enchiladas. I personally don’t think it lived up to the hype, but I’m not the biggest fan of Mexican food anyway!
After our meal, we then decided to have a walk around and explore the area. Unfortunately, the rodeo is only on Friday and Saturday nights and we were there mid-week so that was a little bit disappointing but I didn’t mind too much as there were still lots of other things to see and do. We went to the iconic Billy Bob’s which is the “largest honky tonk in the world” and is also like a museum, bar, rodeo, gift shop all in one! As it was a Wednesday afternoon, it wasn’t very lively but it was still nice to walk around and have a look. The entrance ticket cost $3.
We then walked around nearby to the rodeo and took lots of pictures in the surrounding areas. We were blessed with glorious weather and it was starting to get busier as the evening went on. I wish so much we could have seen the rodeo, but hopefully I will get a chance to come back and visit on the weekend!
We then searched everywhere for a nice place/bar/honkey tonk to sit down in, cool off and get a drink. We went to a couple of places but they were mostly empty, until we stumbled across Lil’ Red’s Longhorn Saloon. We paid a $3 entrance ticket to this bar & dance hall and it was honestly the best money I have ever spent. We had such a blast. It was packed full of local Texan cowboys and their wives, having a mid-week dance at their local honky tonk! There was a live band playing country music and everyone was up on their feet dancing, it was amazing. We seemed to be the only tourists in there so they all made a fuss of us and invited us for a dance. Everyone was so friendly, asking us where we were from and what we thought about Fort Worth. We all had so much fun, it was definitely the highlight of the entire layover.
It really was the perfect end to the night and made our whole trip to Fort Worth so worth it! We stayed until around 10pm and then took another Uber back to our hotel. From Dallas, it took us around 1 hour to drive to the stockyards and the taxi fare was pretty expensive ($70 each way for an Uber XL) but it was 100% worth it.
The next day, I decided to explore Downtown Dallas by myself. We had pretty much the whole day before our flight back to Dubai in the evening, so I wanted to make the most of it. I took another Uber into the city and headed straight to the Dealey Plaza which is the exact spot where John F. Kennedy was shot and killed back in 1963.
Next up I walked to Pioneer Plaza which has a collection of longhorn steer sculptures commemorating a nineteenth century cattle drive. I may have missed the cattle drive yesterday at the Fort Worth Stockyards, but I managed to see a glimpse of it today in sculpture-form!!
I then stumbled across the AT&T Discovery District which was an ultra modern square full of more sculptures as well as pretty restaurants and cafes. I was really impressed with Downtown Dallas, it has a very modern/futuristic vibe which was so different to yesterday at the Stockyards. I then came across the ‘Giant Eyeball’ sculpture which was pretty creepy but also a beautiful piece of art.
Last but not least, I decided to go to the Reunion Tower which is one of the cities most recognisable landmarks. At the top, there is an observation deck where you can see stunning views across Dallas. The ticket costs $18 which I didn’t think was too expensive. There were no queues, and it wasn’t busy at the top either which made it comfortable for viewing. The views were impressive, but it was a shame they are obstructed by the outside structure wire. Still, I am glad I visited and the some of the pictures came out really nice.
I finished off my day with a quick look in Wild Bill’s Western Store. I was hoping to get myself a some cowboy boots or a hat but I didn’t realise just how expensive they were! Although I was probably looking in the wrong place as this store only sold the very highest quality hand made boots and hats. Instead, I got a couple of fridge magnets and Christmas tree decorations for family.
As you can probably tell, I had the most wonderful layover and tried to squeeze in as much as possible. The highlight was absolutely Fort Worth Stockyards and dancing with a real cowboy at Lil’ Red’s Longhorn Saloon. I will definitely never forget this layover! I’m also so glad I took the time to visit Downtown Dallas and see the more modern side of the city. It is so nice to be able to go out on layovers again, and I will always make the most of them from now on.
A couple of days ago, I received my July roster and I have another exciting layover coming up. Stay tuned for my next post to find out where I am heading…
Thanks for reading.