Posts in DALLAS
The Best Dates in Dallas Under $100 and your Date Night Spotify Playlist!
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We’re reformed adventure daters. 

Living in an urban environment, the opportunities for mind-blowing experiences abound. It feels like one of our favorite music artists is always in town or there’s a guest lecture at one of our top local universities. Thanks to this, our date night calendar stayed packed to the brim for years. 

So it was pretty surprising to figure out we’d lost connection and stopped communicating. 

Looking at the date night schedule for clues, it hit me. We were getting sitters and paying money to rush from dinner to events where we sat or stood next to each other, taking in the same experience but not getting the full ability to decompress and talk. 

We still love sharing those experiences, but it’s become a bigger priority to make sure we’re getting time out of the house to hang out as friends and talk about life in a bigger way than what’s on deck for the next few days. 

I wasn’t until we wrote out our favorite ways to step out together these days that we realized they were all well under $100! 

The 10 Best Dates in Dallas Under $100

  1. White Rock Lake

    I’m a little partial to White Rock Lake since we celebrated our wedding there 10 years ago next week. We try to do one thing with the lake around this time of year to bring back those memories, and it feels like each one is better than the last! We’ve canoed and paddle boarded with White Rock Paddle Company, rented a tandem bike through Richardson Bike Mart, brought our own bikes out for a spin countless times and just parked and walked around.

  2. Great American Hero and a Park Bench

    The best cold food experience in Dallas is at Great American Hero (best hot food is Maple and Motor, we’ll get deeper into that on a different day). I tripe dog dare you not to have a great time at the Hero. We love to pick up from there (they have gluten-free bread and will make any sandwich into a salad as well), add two of their massive iced teas and some Zapp’s, find a park bench and shoot the breeze. This is even better when the bench is one of the many along the trail around White Rock Lake!

  3. Concerts at The Granada Theater

    Why are these the best? There’s nothing better to me than rolling up here in a pair of cut off shorts and sneakers and enjoying the jams and beautiful space. We might stay the whole show or take some breaks on the front patio. Tickets are always priced where it can be a fun, flexible night.

  4. Oak Cliff

    We love to grab drinks at the new ultra 7-11 at Sylvan Ave and I-30 (they have organic Slurpees?!) then cruise over to Lula B’s Oak Cliff and browse their treasures. Everything in there is a new childhood memory to share with your partner or conversation starter. For nearby food, we love Tacos Mariachi, Lockhart BBQ or Chicken Scratch!

  5. Royal China Noodle Bar

    Even without drinking much from the bar, I love a counter seat experience at restaurants! The noodle bar at Royal China can’t be beat for me. I love filling up there, maybe swinging by Steel City Pops a few doors down and then going across the street to Interabang Books (which always puts me over the $100 mark for the evening - you’ve been warned!).

  6. Deep Ellum Dancing

    This is the date night spot for weirdo parents, and we are here for it. Shows at the new Dallas Comedy House, burgers and tots from Easy Slider (at the bar of course), dancing at Off the Record or Beauty Bar and one last stop at RocketFizz for some candy on the ride home.

  7. Founder’s Plaza Observation Area

    This is the best place in Dallas to sit and watch planes coming and going from DFW airport. It’s fun with kids during the day, but better just the two of you at night with take out.

  8. Flow and a Show in Mockingbird Station

    One time we went to a CorePower Yoga class together (I love their C2 classes), followed by showers there and walking next door to see a movie at The Angelika Theater in our sweats. I love movies, but find the ones at Angelika to be particularly conversation starting (our most recent fave there was The Biggest Little Farm.) Popcorn counts as dinner y’all! And Pure Milk & Honey downstairs is delicious frozen yogurt sweetened only with honey from the local, incredible Bonton Farms.

  9. Sunday Meditation and Brunch

    One of the most recent and best dates we’ve done is have a sitter come around 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Our daughter got to linger and play in pajamas while we headed out to a meditation class (The Refuge Meditation is a great spot in Dallas!) and stopped to get some breakfast before heading home. Between the early start and meditation, we were rolling in the ideas and vision for our family by brunch time! Our favorite brunch spot that feels like getting out of town is Zaguan.

  10. Dinner Out on a Weeknight!

    Anywhere. Tell me I have a mid-week break with no cooking and no kid’s bedtime routine and my date night standards go down significantly. We love Taco Joint, TJ’s Seafood or Hopdoddy. Anywhere in an area where we can take a leisurely stroll back to our car is a plus!

    What are your favorite date night spots in Dallas? Add them below in the comments!

    And here’s an adults-only playlist from us to you to play on your date! These are our favorite songs about love to inspire the feeling and conversations around it during your time together. Follow our Spotify channel if you want to see more of our playlists!

DALLAS, BY LILLYLillyComment
A Dallas Mom Getaway at First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas
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My friend Ruthie and I met when we had the same first day of work nine years ago at The American Red Cross, her in development and me in communications. We started in September and for Halloween just a month later, I asked her if she wanted to dress up as Laverne and Shirley. I was pretty psyched when she said yes, and more so when I found out on Halloween day she had never even seen the show. This girl was fun and impressionable.

We’ve schlemiel/schlimazel-ed our way through her engagement, the arrival of my daughter, the wedding, about four million new jobs between the two of us (mostly mine) and now, Ruthie becoming a Mom herself to a baby boy, also welcomed through adoption.

With all this life, the scales finally tipped for a while before we realized we had gone far too long without some quality time together. We needed to make up for a few dozen phone calls lost to now each having our own child yelling from the backseat on the drive home from work these days. Soon I realized Canton, Texas, First Monday Trade Days, a flea market held on the weekend that holds the first Monday of the month, was calling our name.

I love this trip because it’s just far enough to feel like you road tripped out of town but extremely doable in one day. I’m all for extended time away from the fam, but adding hotel rooms and goodnights on FaceTime always brings a few more layers of logistics. When I tell myself I’m too busy for just one full day with my friend, I feel like I’m really acting a little self-important that the world can’t turn without me, you know?

Canton is the perfect girls’ day formula: very easy country drive filled with wildflowers, no place to officially go or be, folding tables with mountains of visual inspiration for new conversations, and tapping into our intuitive need to hunt and gather. We’ve done a couple of great spa days together, but I thought this was so much more fun and economical. It was one of the best days of our friendship ever.

Before you go:

Bring cash, more than you think you need (but not a dime more than you’re actually allowed to spend, if you’re me). ATMs are scarce and have fees, and not only does cash help negotiating but generally this is an experience still left untouched by digital payment methods.

Don’t knock the value of the little carts the veterans pull behind them. I did, until I got home and had to massage the imprint of roller skate laces out of my shoulder from where they dug into me while being hauled on my back - more on that later. A folding wagon is coming with us next time. I even brought large reusable shopping bags but forgot them in the car when basking in the glory of a day without being responsible for everyone else’s belongings.

The hardest part of feeling like a trip to Canton was successful (re: the huntering and gathering at least) is knowing where to start, as the grounds are actually bigger than they look. The main pavilions have more mass produced items. (Most of which, by the way, includes phrases acting as a very intense reminder that a lot of these fine people don’t…vote like me, which I, surprisingly, seem to be more accepting of based off what they are willing to print on t-shirts and hand paint onto reclaimed wood signs. So, no harm here but - you’ve been warned if reminders of a divided nation kill your vibe.)

To get the “best junk,” bypass the main entrance to the trade days and head to the back of the Canton Civic Center, taking Flea Market Road off of W Dallas Street to the RV park. The blue building by the parking lot has the cleanest restrooms.

This is how Google Maps should take you from Dallas to the Promised Land.

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From then it is really just on like Donkey Kong. Ruthie decorates like her house is on Fixer Upper and I decorate like my house is on Clarissa Explains It All, so in terms of being pleased with the decor offerings laid out for us, we’re fishing in a barrel. All gold as far as the eye can see. Vintage red firetruck ride-in cars for dapper young babies for her. Flintstone’s 30th anniversary commemorative glassware commissioned by Hardee’s for me. Of course I got the glasses. I mean, what better way to remember my love for Hannah-Barbera shows and my Dad taking me to Hardee’s every day when my Mom signed me up for both public school and Catholic school kindergarten. He ordered a double cheeseburger with large curly fries and a strawberry milkshake, then turned to me at age five and said, “What do you want?” like I even knew life outside what my Mom put in front of me. I said, “Uh, the same.” And ate that for lunch every day with my Dad for the year.

Sorry to digress, but these are the types of stories you get when enjoying a day on the scenic route.

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One thing out in the fields that kept stopping us where those “tacky in a way you want to participate in” metal yard decorations. We were admiring a vendor’s space when I literally said, “I always look too closely at these groupings thinking the perfect one is going to find me.” And I found her, a weird stand-alone red and white mushroom, just like the ones I painted on my walls in college. Where trust me, I had a ton of friends (sarcasm font may be applied).

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This was love. But I wanted to say I got a deal to enhance the story, so I had to haggle and then do the walk away move. So we went forth.

My best find of the day were these vintage roller skates in exactly my size for $3. We just got a new bike trail behind our house and I will be “that person on rollerskates.”

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Ruthie has a good eye. She spotted this guy, and he had gorgeous handwoven baskets and other items. Ruthie and I keep a pretty big/little sister dynamic despite a slim age difference, just because she is so wildly accepting of my bossiness and unsolicited advice (thank you KRUB you are the best). But then she will pull something super grown-lady-ish, like picking out a nice handwoven basket for buying fresh produce from her special farmer’s market vendor, Omar, and it’s like, who’s raising who here?

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Father’s Day is just around the corner…

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In the end, we walked and talked, got just the right amount of lost and went home filled with finds sure to completely enhance our life. Including my metal yard garbage twin flame.

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But mostly, we just had the best time together.

Here’s the deal, for me at least. Us emotional laborers used to get together regularly and just listen to each other’s real stuff: quilting, bridge club, walking over to each other’s houses. I know it still exists, but sometime the pace of life these days doesn’t make it happen, at least for me. Standing get-togethers and girls’ weekends become lunches, lunches become coffee dates then keeping up on social media, phone calls become texts. By the end of a full day as we sat over our not-to-be-missed bison burgers and fries at the neighboring Dairy Palace, we were way out of the highlight reel that conversations can so easily stick to these days. We both promised to do it again ASAP, knowing our husbands and children could not only handle themselves but also appreciated our friendship and the treasures we so dutifully source for our homes.

On that note, has anyone been to Round Top?

The Only Four Questions I Ask Kids About Art & The Best Children's Art Exhibits in Dallas this Summer
A post-dance recital trip to see Zeke Williams’ TWO FOR ONE, on view at Erin Cluley Gallery through June 8, 2019, concurrently with the child-friendly exhibition THE ART OF CHiLDHOOD.

A post-dance recital trip to see Zeke Williams’ TWO FOR ONE, on view at Erin Cluley Gallery through June 8, 2019, concurrently with the child-friendly exhibition THE ART OF CHiLDHOOD.

Post written by Lilly

I have a confession to make. Five years into the game, this summer is the first that I’ll be home with my daughter full time. We have a half day preschool two days a week, and then I’m on my own. Trying not to burn out with a packed schedule or go too stir crazy confined to our home, I've promised us both one outing a week.

While I plan to switch it up, in the Texas summer, museums are a Mom’s best friend. Spacious room to get those steps in, new ideas to explore and, the best part, they pump A/C like the art has to be preserved at a crisp 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

The only daunting task of taking a child to an art experience for me can be how to engage in exhibits in a way that inspires meaningful conversations and carves those precious brain pathways. The good news for me is, my first summer out of college I was fortunate enough to intern at the education department at Dallas Contemporary. I walked in with a freshly embossed art history degree, note cards and highlighter in hand, ready to study their current exhibition and impart all of its facts and symbolism onto young children. The executive director blew my mind when she explained my dialogue with our student visitors that summer would be limited to three questions.

At first, I was a little shocked. How could the children get the full experience without obtaining the valuable insight of the artist’s intention and biography? What the program knew better than I, a classic museum brat raised by an arts supporter, is to many, the facts around art can only intimidate. I learned how many people who do not get to be in an art exhibition space by high school, when surveyed, respond that they do not like art because they “don’t get it.” The facts and background that I saw as necessary in exploring artwork can certainly add value to the process but just as easily distract from our personal feeling with the work and even intimidate. Art has become so much about displaying what we know that it can limit our ability to just sit with what we feel. It can easily be thought that if one doesn’t know about an artist before visiting an exhibit, he or she won’t be able to have a full experience.

Now, I take my daughter to museums. We often get to a point in our conversations where our curiosity inspires us to explore the audio tour or provided materials, but, thanks to the insight I learned that summer, that’s not where we begin. My agenda is limited to those three questions I learned one summer, plus one more of my own.

What do you see?

What do you see that tells you that?

What more can you find?

How does that make you feel?

(Something I’ve learned: If a child has a hard time visually exploring an artwork, drawing it is a great start! Most museums have pencils and paper available for this reason, but I always grab a notebook and pencil on our way out the door to help facilitate this and make the most of our time. Markus taught me through his example that kids enjoy this even more if you sit and draw with them yourself.)

I love these questions for making the priority of experiencing art personal. We go deep in exploration to see what we can find, we back our claims with visual evidence, we go back in for more and we get curious and share openly about how it makes us feel. This often inspires us to learn more about the artist’s intention for comparison, but we’ve begun the experience simply recognizing that art is about our reactions, not what others believe we should understand or think about it. A bonus to this process is that there’s no need for us parents to study up before packing the car and heading on an art adventure.

Speaking of adventures, there’s a wealth of summer art programming available in the Dallas area that I am super excited about! Here’s everything on our initial summer art punch list - so far!

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Dallas Museum of Art: Jonas Wood and Dior: From Paris to the World

This is just the ultimate summer art exhibit line up for me. I’m so excited to see a contemporary art show take focus at the DMA. I’ve been following the Dior exhibit since it’s beginning, so tempted to travel to see it each time I saw photos, and couldn’t be more proud or delighted it will be in Dallas. Last time Heidi and I went to a fashion-focused exhibit (Jeremy Scott at Dallas Contemporary) we had weeks of ideas around making, exploring processes and design. I think Jonas Wood and Dior are a wonderful complement to each other for taking a group of mixed genders and interests to one fun day at the museum!

Arlington Museum of Art: Keith Haring, Against All Odds

I’ve never been to the Arlington Museum of Art (and it’s slightly questionable that they do not currently have any information about this exhibit on their website), but I cannot wait to attend this when it opens at the end of June. I love Keith Haring and am excited to see works that specifically highlight his passion for creating dialogues around social justice. There’s a lot of great conversations to be had in his work around inclusion and practicing respect and empathy for others, and a perfect way to explore the AIDS epidemic and its social reactions if your children are of an appropriate age. All while getting to see such an iconic style up close. A great way to meet up with Fort Worth friends!

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The Perot Museum of Nature and Science: The Art of the Brick

I’ll admit that when I first saw the press release for this exhibit I thought, “Ok, LEGOs are cool. We get it.” I was absolutely WOWed with this exhibit exploring how contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya uses LEGO bricks to recreate famous and new artworks. It’s a great way to expose small children to famous works of art in a context they’ll enjoy. I also loved the way the exhibit is presented, showcasing the amount of LEGO bricks in each work and the ratio of size between the artistic recreations and original artworks. Seeing LEGO in this new way, not just for building towers and bridges but for creative expression, has inspired us to play at home in new ways. Another great exhibit for children of different genders, interests or ways of thinking.

Children and parents enjoying storytime with Dallas contemporary artist Zeke Williams at Erin Cluley Gallery. photo credit: Kevin Todora c/o Erin Cluley Gallery

Children and parents enjoying storytime with Dallas contemporary artist Zeke Williams at Erin Cluley Gallery. photo credit: Kevin Todora c/o Erin Cluley Gallery

Photo credit: Kevin Todora c/o Erin Cluley Gallery

Photo credit: Kevin Todora c/o Erin Cluley Gallery

Erin Cluley Gallery: The Art of Childhood

I may have to check my bias here as I was fortunate enough to be able to assist with this exhibit before wrapping up my time working at the gallery, but this gallery exhibition for children is phenomenal. Twelve children were selected to curate the show, resulting in a beautiful salon wall of contemporary artworks in the gallery space. There are also floor mats and cheater quilts by contemporary artist Zeke Williams for more rough and tumble exploration, areas for puzzles and drawing and wall installations where children can color and create in a collaborative way with others. This space has all of the trappings of an institution-level children’s area with front door parking, a low key environment and contemporary art (Zeke Williams’ TWO FOR ONE in May and Denton textile artist Taylor Barnes’ SACRED SPACES in June). Sign up for Erin’s emails and be in the know about the story times she has planned, where artists in her program will share their favorite children’s art books.

Where are you headed on art adventures this summer?