I’m going to be honest. I love summertime in Texas. I don’t hate it when it is so hot that you can get a third-degree sunburn just from being outside 10 minutes, or get your butt branded by leather car seats in the sun… I love it even when I forget what it feels like to not sweat, or when I have to wait until it is literally dark outside to go for a run.
I love the fireflies and the smell of backyard cookouts that permeate the suburbs at dusk, and that feeling when you breathe in like maybe you’re in a sauna and there is less air to breathe than there is steam. I love it, warts and all.
But now August has come around, and that feeling is beginning to close in on students across the nation – that one where you realize you have to mentally prepare yourself for another semester of 15-page papers and remember how to wake up before noon while managing your flagrant abuse of caffeine. Anyway, I thought I would share some highlights and a few of my favorite things to do in Dallas during the dog days of summer.
1. Drinking on Patios
Any millennial who has been living in Dallas the past few years knows about The Rustic and its massive back patio, complete with corn-holes, a stage and a beer canoe (yes, a beer canoe.) The Rustic is also home to perhaps my favorite beverage invented to date: the margarita topped off with a sangria popsicle. Said margarita comes frozen to perfection in a two-hand-grip chalice – something that is almost essential in a patio drink during the Texas summer heat. They also have a pretty sweet house burger, peanut butter pie, and their frozen popsicle monstrosity also comes in mimosa and strawberry daiquiri flavors (all pictured above), so you and your friends can feel free to park yourselves on the patio all damn day if you please. But get here early or you might have to scavenge for chairs and huddle around another chair for a table.
The Truck Yard
These Kimchi fries from the Korean food truck that frequents The Truck Yard are just the beginning of what this backyard bar has to offer. I feel like whenever I go to the Truck Yard I always discover some new feature… like the treehouse bar or the philly cheesesteak assembly line (for real), and it took me about a year to realize they sold ice cream out of the tiny window out front. Also, any place that is dog friendly is alright by me.
2. Baseball @ Rangers Stadium [go to a night game, unless you want to die of heat stroke]
Baseball season is in full swing (hah. get it) and what better sport than America’s favorite pastime to fill the balmy twilight hours? Go sports!
3. Any kind of water-related activity
In the water. On the water. Within relative proximity to water. It’s all good. Some favorable options include the FOE pool (pictured below), White Rock Lake for some paddle boarding or canoeing, and Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth on Sundays. Or like if your friend has a yacht, that’s cool too I guess.
On summer Sundays at Panther Island Pavilion, you can rent a tube for $5 and float all day on a nice serene roped-off part of the Trinity River in Fort Worth. Panther Island Brewery also serves their local beers here, and there is almost always something to eat. BYO sunglasses and sunscreen (seriously, though. I am sitting here in my sunburned shame as I write this.) If you like music, they also have a concert series every Thursday where you get to watch live music right from your tube on the water. Honestly, the best thing about this venue is it is never too crowded on Sundays so it is super relaxing, and you don’t feel like you have to fight your way through a crowd. If you want to learn more, you can follow their Instagram account here: @pantherislandpavillion
4. More Patio drinking…
Because who doesn’t love a good school-themed restaurant and bar? Their menus are made to look like those old black and white composition notebooks that I definitely still use as a 20-something grad student. Pictured above are the appetizer ahi tuna tacos and the Crushed Velvet cocktail.
This drink is called the Guavalajara. So punny. But also guava and basil. Basil on EVERYTHING.
This is one of the many great little places in the thriving Bishop Arts District. They do an oyster cocktail hour for 50c per oyster (seriously, look it up!) and they have great craft cocktails.
So, in summation, a Dallas summer goes a little like this: eat, swim, eat, swim, drink, trendy restaurant, water sports, actual sports, eat, drink, popsicles, another trendy restaurant, swim, swim, swim. Repeat as necessary.