Last summer, I attended an event at Raised Bar in the Renaissance Hotel Chicago with Tour Texas courtesy of Windy City Bloggers. I was able to chat with representatives from several cities around Texas from San Antonio to Houston to Irving. While visiting Texas on my annual trip last fall, I reconnected with the rep from Irving and had the opportunity to join other members of the media on a weekend press trip. It was an incredible experience where I got to meet several wonderful people and we all had a ton of fun. Honestly, it was a blast. I was overfed, over-entertained and I have so many great memories from that trip. Not to mention my to-do list for the DFW area which has since expanded by about five times what it started at.
We visited several restaurants, toured many sites and met quite a few people. I can only hope that they invite me on another trip in the future because let me tell you, no one does it like Texas does. They pulled out all the stops and made sure we all had a great time but more importantly, felt like we were at home. I have a lot of posts coming up on Irving and the DFW area in general over the next few months but today, we’re kicking it off with five things you should do in Irving. It’s short and sweet, a great way to kick start your adventure of a new destination.
Big Beat Dallas (grand opening March 29 - Apr. 2nd)
During our tour of the city, we got a behind the scenes look at Big Beat Dallas while it was still under construction. Almost three months later the location has come a long way with opening weekend set for March 29th through April 2nd. I’m so excited for this entertainment giant to open that I may even take a quick trip back to Irving just to experience the opening events!
The space will include an indoor/outdoor farmers and ranchers market serving everything from seasonal produce to fresh meats, cheeses and retail items. Restaurant concepts include a Latin-style bar, walk-up barbecue joint, wine and scotch bars, outdoor food stations, Texas-style restaurant concept, martini bar, ice cream, and much more. Free music performances will happen every single day of the year and properties throughout the center will also include live blues, American-style jazz, piano bars and more. The Facebook page for Big Beat Dallas is a great source of updates and information and they’re getting a lot of great local media attention at the moment as well. Next time I make it to the DFW area, I’ll definitely be checking out Big Beat which you can expect to see on here as well.
Big State Fountain Grill
Would you believe me if I said I’d never tried any kind of soda float before my most recent visit to Irving? Well, you’re not alone. Several of the people in the group of the press trip I went on couldn’t believe it either. Let’s back it up for a second. The Big State Fountain Grill was one of the stops on our Tour of Irving Day and boy am I glad it was. What has to be one of the few remaining old-school diners, Big State Fountain Grill is run by family and feels like family. The staff are so friendly and the food is SO good. The owner’s daughter, who runs the joint, actually came out from working on the line in the kitchen to chat with us. It was a unique experience in the best kind of way. Big State has an enormous menu with anything you could think of but what you really need to visit for is their Fountain Favorites. Get a Big State Root Beer or Cream Soda. If you prefer ice cream, you’ll never see larger scoops! It was at Big State I had my first ever soda float. I don’t like Root Beer but that was no problem. They came out with a gigantic Dr. Pepper float and I think my mind is still blown.
Irving Heritage District (Downtown)
The Irving Heritage District is the downtown area of the city of Irving. It’s main goal is to preserve the history of the city and display it for locals and visitors to experience. Heritage Park features “The Caster Cabin built in 1887, a replication of the Rock Island Depot built in 1903, and Irving’s first water tower, windmill, and library” (source: Visit Irving). Visit one of Irving’s oldest homes at the Heritage House which has period antiques and items to take you back in time. The Heritage District additionally includes the Texas Musicians Museum, Big State Diner, and more.
Texas Musicians Museum
Music lovers are going to enjoy this one. The Texas Musicians Museum celebrates local talent with memorabilia and artifacts. From Selena to Buddy Holly, the Dixie Chicks to Destiny’s Child, and Tonya Tucker to ZZ Top, this museum has a little bit from every corner of the music industry. Even Barney! Listen to original records, see musical instruments and outfits from the artists. Anyone would find at least one artist they admire or love in this museum. Tours are available for those interested in a more informed experience. They also have live entertainment on weekends! Grab some grub at Smokin’ Joe’s Cafe with a margarita and watch a Texas-born musician perform.
The Mustangs of Las Colinas & Museum
A sculpture created by African wildlife artist Robert Glen, the Mustangs of Las Colinas depict “nine bronze mustangs galloping across a granite prairie stream.” It’s a gorgeous piece with an odd setting. The “stream” and waterfall is peaceful. Since we visited on the weekend, it was quiet but on any other weekday, the square would be bustling with people. It almost seemed like an oxymoron but in a beautiful kind of way. Across the street from the Mustangs of Las Colinas is the museum which showcases the life and story of Robert Glen, especially the eight years of work it took to create this sculpture in particular.