A member sent in a brilliant request:
“I am taking my wife on a road trip around Texas at the end of the month. We are visiting Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Houston. Partly work but also for pleasure. Does any one have any suggestions re: things we must see and do? Special museums, great restaurants, scenic sites—any advice gratefully received as we know very little about the State?”
This question elicited an enthusiastic response among Texas-based members. Everyone from designer Lisa Fine to Rosewood Hotels COO Robert Boulogne added their favorite places and secret tips, creating a fun—and useful—resource for the member. Here are highlights from the many responses.
“Go to Jeffrey’s (1204 W Lynn St.) for the most original high-end Austin food or go to Hudson’s (3509 Ranch Road 620) out on Lake Way. The Four Seasons Austin (fourseasons.com/austin) is one of best I have ever stayed at anywhere, with an unbelievable brunch, beautiful walks on the lake and a convenient downtown location, from where you can get anywhere. Get a Lake View Room. The bar at the hotel is awesome. Find some great country and rock music, and go to Stubbs BBQ (801 Red River St.) for music. Avoid 6th Street at all costs (it’s crowded and dirty).” —W. M., a Houston-based member
“Relax at the historic Driskell Hotel (604 Brazos St.) or on South Congress Avenue at the unique and contemporary San Jose Hotel (1316 S Congress Ave.) with a pre-dinner glass of Spanish wine and tapas. Walk from the San Jose to the Continental Club (1315 S Congress Ave.) for the best music in Austin and a lively crowd. Spend the morning shopping along South Congress Avenue, making sure to start first with a delicious cup of coffee at Jo’s Coffee Shop (1300 S Congress Ave.). Head to the State Capital building and see some of Texas history. Relax poolside until dinner at Uchi Sushi (801 S Lamar Blvd.).” —Arliscia Harris, general manager of the Dallas boutique hotel The Joule.
“The Dallas Museum of Art is okay, but if you have time for only one museum in Dallas, you should go to the Nasher Sculpture Center, designed by Renzo Piano. It is truly spectacular and you can eat lunch there in a beautiful setting. Fort Worth has a truly remarkable museum, the Kimball (kimbellart.org), designed by Louis Kahn. Each piece in the museum is a masterpiece. It is small and a true jewel. Across the street is the Fort Worth Modern (themodern.org), also a beautifully designed museum and fun collection.” —Alexandra May, a Dallas-based member
“In Dallas, my favorite lunch is at Dean Fearings at The Ritz—delicious southwestern food and options to sit in a garden room or in a more casual bar area. I love the tortilla soup and the cornmeal fried oysters; the chef is famous for them. I find dinner a little too much there. For cheap, good and greasy authentic Tex Mex, I love Mia's (4322 Lemmon Ave.).” —Lisa Fine, founder of chic fashion label Irving & Fine
“When you go to the Menil Collection (menil.org), be sure you visit the whole enchilada. It is one of the greatest modern art collections on this planet and one of the best spots in Houston. In addition to the main building, you must visit the Rothko Chapel, the Cy Twombly Gallery, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel and the Dan Flavin Installation, which are all on the Menil Campus. In terms of places to eat, although I do like DaMarco’s (1520 Westheimer Rd.), I have had a couple of situations where they sweetly suggest their specials of the night on a lovely little chalk board without prices. Don’t be afraid to ask just how much, as you might want to be shocked before you eat it.” —M.W., a Houston-based member
“Stay at the St. Regis (www.marriott.com), go to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (mfah.org) and The Menil Collection. Houston Museum of Natural Science (www.hmns.org) is world class as well, with awesome gem and energy exhibits. Take 30 minutes to drive over Loop 610 to 225 South and see the world’s largest Petro Chemical complex where more oil is refined than anywhere else in the U.S. A site to behold—not pretty, just awesome. And eat at DaMarco’s, my favorite Italian restaurant by a huge margin in Houston. It serves northern Italian (no tomato sauce), meat, vegetable and fish.” —W. Mathis, a Houston-based member
“In San Antonio, where I grew up, it really depends on what you want. I’m one of those who think the river walk is still great and not the end of civilization as we know it—if you know where to stay. My wife and I have two favorite spots: Havana (havanasanantonio.com), a reclaimed old apartment building of Hemingway theme; and La Valencia (hotelvalencia-riverwalk.com), a kind of post-modern, hip joint right on river. To eat, La Fonda (2415 North Main Ave.) has the best Mexican food. The grounds of the once and former HemisFair are worth a walk-through. Witte Museum (wittemuseum.org) is fine. Brackenridge Park (brackenridgepark.org) is underrated, as is San Antonio Zoo (sazoo.org).”—Jim Atkinson, travel writer
“San Antonio has some surprisingly good museums for a smaller city: the McNay (mcnayart.org) is in a beautiful old mansion and recently expanded. SAMA (San Antonio Museum of Art) (samuseum.org) has one of the largest collections of Latin American art in the country. In terms of restaurants, you cannot go wrong with Mexican food in San Antonio: Paloma Blanca (5800 Broadway St. #300) is great, and it is Christmas year-round at Mi Tierra downtown (218 Produce Row). Taco Taco (145 E. Hildebrand Ave.) has amazing breakfast tacos. Biga on the Banks (203 S St Mary's St.) has good regional food, and a downtown location. La Frite (728 S. Alamo St.) or Rosario’s (910 S. Alamo St.) are good choices if you check out First Friday at the Blue Star Art Complex (bluestarartscomplex.co), when the local gallery opens its doors to the public every month and vendors set up booths along South Alamo selling jewelry, etc. For a big, greasy burger in a San Antonio establishment, try Chris Madrid’s (1900 Blanco Rd.). Also, the Pearl Brewery (303 Pearl Pkwy) complex has some interesting offerings. Dough (doughpizzeria.com) has amazing pizza, once you get over the strip-mall location.” —C.A.
“For a unique art trip in Texas, you should go to Marfa in West Texas. You can find more about it and how to get there by going to the Chinati Foundation website (www.chinati.org).”—Alexandra May, a Dallas-based member
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