If you’re looking for a small town get away with locally made wine tastings, festivals for the entire family, the largest indoor water park in Texas and a vintage theater for watching classic movies, you’re going to want to check out Grapevine, Texas. With it’s historical Main Street, Urban Wine Trail and notoriety as World Festival & Events City, this is a can’t miss stop on your tour of Texas or small town southern United States. Located just 6 miles from the DFW airport, Grapevine is a convenient stop for business or family trips.
When To Go:
Located in northeast Texas, Grapevine can get hot in the summer but rarely gets too cold in the winter. It’s a great place to visit year round, just be ready to spend your summer visit in the lake, indoors or at a waterpark.
December to February: This is the coldest time of year in Grapevine with average low temperatures in the mid to upper 30s. (2-3 Celsius) During this time you can expect average highs to be in the mid to upper 50s (13). Compared to the rest of the United States, the winter in Grapevine is short and balmy. During December, Grapevine turns into the Christmas Capital of Texas. The entire city celebrates the holiday, decorating all the shops and the hotels with festive decor and you’re guaranteed to enjoy snow while visiting Grapevine at the holidays. If you’re looking for snow in Grapevine, it’s rare to see it falling from the sky, but you can be sure to find snow at the Gaylord Texan Resort’s ICE. This is a must-see event while visiting during the holidays. The hotel dedicates space to a walk-through winter wonderland. After buying your tickets, you get your winter coat and begin your tour of a land filled with ice sculptures and ice slides. You can also find snow at the North Pole Express when you take a ride on Grapevine’s historic steam engine train. Check out the city of Grapevine’s website to see a list of the 1400 other events going on during the holidays.
March to May: Spring is the perfect time to visit Grapevine. As the temperatures begin to warm up during March and April, the wildflowers begin to bloom. If you have access to a car, be sure to drive the highways to see the grasses decorated with Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes. During spring, you’ll experience lows in the low 50s (11) and highs in the mid 70s (24). During May, you’re getting closer to summer and will experience highs into the low to mid 80s (28). This is also a great time of year to be able to explore the outdoor side of Texas without getting too sweaty. You might enjoy the Jazz Wine Trains that leave from Grapevine Main Street during the spring. For this event, you’ll board Grapevine’s vintage steam engine train for an evening of local wine tastings and live jazz music. During mid-May, you can explore Historic Downtown Grapevine in a new way during the Main Street Fest which is three days of craft brew and wine tastings, live music, carnival rides, food and local vendors.
June to August: This is the hottest time of year and once summer arrives, it stays with a vengeance. Though not the hottest or most humid place in Texas, you will see average high temperatures in the mid 90s (35) during the summer with multiple days getting into the triple digits (38). The average lows, which are only at night during this time of year, is in the mid 70s (24). Summer is the best time to explore the lake, pools and waterparks that Grapevine has to offer. When enjoying the outdoors during summer in Texas, be sure to drink lots of water and wear your sunscreen. If it just sounds too hot, there are also lots of indoor activities such as the waterpark at the Great Wolf Lodge, shopping at Grapevine Mills Mall, LEGOLAND Discovery Center and the SEA Life Aquarium.
September to November: During the fall, temperatures start to cool off in late September and early October. The average high temperatures in early fall are in the mid 80s (29), dropping into the mid 60s (18) by November. The lows can range from mid 40s to 60s (7-18). One of the best parts of visiting Grapevine during the fall is Hall’s Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze. The family-owned farm land offers pumpkins for sale, hay rides, a tractor for taking pictures on, a playground for younger kids and a corn maze. Be sure to stop by and enjoy this local Grapevine tradition starting in late September or early October. Another great event during the fall is Grapefest which takes place in Grapevine’s historic downtown. Grapefest is all about celebrating Grapevine’s local wines and businesses. Grapefest is a fantastic event for the whole family with local vendors, carnival rides, grape stomping competitions and local wines for tasting.
What To Do:
One of the best parts of visiting Grapevine is that it’s a small city and everything is easily accessible. Whether you spend most of your time at your resort, wandering the historic downtown, indulging on delicious meals and wines or shopping, you’ll find something to enjoy in Grapevine.
Historic downtown and Main Street
Grapevine’s historic downtown has a little something for everyone. Lined with over 80 locally owned businesses, there’s lots of shopping and eating to do while wandering the streets. Shops range from clothing boutiques, bead stores, wine tasting rooms and galleries to coffee shops and restaurants. Along the way you can also explore one of the original Grapevine Main Street homes, hand built from wood logs in the 1845. This home has educative plaques with information on the founding and building of Grapevine. You can also visit the historical jail while visiting the main street. A great place for a photo op, just make sure not to get stuck! Although you’re certain to not find a bad meal or glass of wine while visiting the main street, here are a few of the most popular businesses: British Emporium, Tea and Spice Exchange, Grapevine Olive Oil Company, Dino’s Steak and Claw House and Main Street Bakery & Bistro.
Grapevine’s Main Street is also a great place to learn a little about the arts and get a deep cultural experience. There are multiple galleries along the main street that feature art from local artists. As well you can visit the Vetro Glassblowing Studio to purchase a beautifully handblown vase or just explore the red hot art of glassblowing by watching the artisans at work. You can also visit Blacksmith’s Shop to learn more about the art of metalwork.
The Grapevine Glockenspiel featuring the Would-Be Train Robbers, Nat Barrett and Willy Majors
This new addition to Grapevine’s Main Street is not to miss. Throughout the day you can see the 9 foot tall robbers emerge from the tower gates 75 feet from the ground to attempt a heist.
You can see the robbers learn that crime doesn’t pay at noon, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm every day.
Palace Arts Center Theater
This historical theater is a great place for a date while visiting Grapevine’s historic Main Street. The theater still retains it vintage seats, including love seats on every other row.
The theater features live music throughout the year and often shows classic movies throughout the summer. Be sure to check their website to find out more about what shows are available during your stay in Grapevine.
Texas Star Dinner Theater
Another great date night spot in Grapevine is this western-comedy themed dinner theater. Put on your dress clothes and get ready to spend the night eating great food and laughing until your belly aches.
The dinner theater actors are all local, professional actors who have made a career of entertaining Grapevine residents and visitors. Let’s see if you can figure out these whodunnit mysteries.
Grapevine Mills Mall
This indoor mall is another great place to spend a day or two while visiting Grapevine. The mall offers way more than just shopping as it includes a dine-in movie theater, an aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, blacklight mini golf, a mirror maze and outlet stores. Grapevine Mills Mall is massive, containing 1.6 million square feet of shopping and fun.
Since the mall is one mile around, you’ll also get all your exercise in for the day, just for making a circuit or two of the shops.
The movie theater at Grapevine Mills Mall has viewing options for anything you could want to see. There are regular theater options, 3D theaters and dine-in options. AMC dine-in theater offers two choices. They’re first option offers comfortable leather seat with call buttons anytime you desire something from the bar or the kitchen.
The premium option of dine-in theaters is limited to only adults with a strict 21 and up age requirement. This theater offers leather mechanical recliners for a luxurious movie watching experience. Be sure to come hungry to try their wide variety of menu options, drinks and decadent desserts. Seats are reserved in the dine-in theaters, try to book ahead of time and then pick up the tickets when you arrive. If you’d like your food before the movie starts, be sure to arrive early to choose what you want from the extensive menu and order. Service continues throughout the movie in case you decide there’s anything else you want.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center
If you’re traveling with young kids, this is a great place to visit. For kids ages 10 and under, this is the perfect indoor area to play, run around and get some energy out. Tickets can be pricey so try to find a deal online before you arrive or get the combined ticket for LEGOLAND and the aquarium.
LEGOLAND offers lots of photo opportunities, rides for kids, a training area where kids can test their ninja skills by dodging and darting through a laser maze and of course a swath of LEGO sets to buy. If there’s any small piece you’re missing for a set, you can probably buy it here as well. Though the park might be most fun for ages 10 and under, there’s only one part of the park with a height limit and there’s a little something for all ages.
SEA Life Aquarium
This is another great rainy day activity with kids. With daily programs centered around kids and educating them on sea life, this is a fantastic place for families. This aquariums focuses entirely on sea life which means there are no reptiles or land animals.
The aquarium may look small from the outside, but it take about two hours to tour. Be sure to not miss the aquarium tunnel where you can view 360 degrees of sea life, above your head, all around you and below your feet.
Grapevine Botanical Gardens
Though not as large as its counterparts in Dallas and Fort Worth, these gardens are immaculately maintained and offer a peaceful space to retreat from the main street crowds and is also a great place for rambunctious children to run around.
Near the botanic gardens you’ll find a playground for the kids and shady paths for adults to wander. The gardens are free and open year round. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle for a little while, consider buying a meal to go from one of the main street restaurants and walking over to the botanic gardens to enjoy a picnic in the shade.
There are lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors at Lake Grapevine. Due to changing weather patterns, be sure to check that the lake is open during your stay; during droughts and floods, some of the lake may be closed. With a wide variety of activities to do around the lake or on the lake, you’ll love being in the outdoors.
Be sure to check out the opportunity to take a segway tour, hike, take a sailboat tour, rent kayaks from Meadowmere park, you can even rent a stand-up paddle board from DFW Surf to take out on the lake. If you’re visiting during the summer, be sure to check the fireworks schedule as they can be seen from on the lake and around the lake.
North Shore Trail
Located near the lake, this trail winds through beautiful nature scenery. The trail is 9.5 miles long, but you don’t have to hike the entire thing. A great place to start is at Rockledge Park.
This is a great place to start your hike or to bring a picnic and just enjoy the sunset. Take a moment to relax, take in the nature views and let the kids run around.
One of the best campgrounds in Grapevine, this is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors and be near the lake.
You can camp here, with your RV or a tent, you can rent a small cabin to stay in, go fishing in the lake and see the summer fireworks from your campground.
This farm offers a great adventure for a family of all ages. You can visit the farm anytime to wander the grounds and take a self-guided tour of the property. If you’re interested in learning more about how a farm ran over 100 years ago, be sure take one of Nash Farm’s guided tours of the farm buildings, with exhibits on historical farm equipment and practices.
There are often special events going on at the farm to learn about raising and caring for farm animals. The farm offers varying activities and animals, depending upon the time of year and what’s seasonally available. This is a great place for kids to run around, explore and get out some energy. Admission to Nash Farm is free.
Casey’s Clubhouse Park
This is one of the most fun parks for kids in Grapevine.
The park offers nice shady places for adults and great, innovative play equipment for kids, including swings, a giant seesaw, lots of places to spin and a zip line.
Located next door to Casey’s Clubhouse Park, this is a great location to bring the kids during the summer. The waterpark is small, but includes areas for kids of all ages, including a diving board, climbing wall and three water slides.
Admission to the waterpark is just $5. The park has snacks for sale and lots of places for adults to watch kids, catch some sun or stay cool in the shade.
No matter what time of year you visit, be sure to take a ride upon Grapevine’s vintage steam engine train known as the Tarantula. During most of the year you can hop on the train and take a trip to Fort Worth’s historic stockyards and head back to Grapevine later in the day.
At other times of the year, you can enjoy the Jazz Wine Train or the North Pole Express.
Where to Stay:
One of the best parts of visiting Grapevine is the interesting places you can stay. Though there are many options of hotels in the this small city located just 6 miles from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, these two will offer you the most original experience.
Great Wolf Lodge
If you’re traveling with children, this is the place to go. Home to Texas’ largest indoor waterpark, this hotel is a great destination year round. During the summer you can enjoy the indoor and outdoor waterpark with water slides, lazy river and play areas for kids of all ages. The Great Wolf Lodge also offers a complete experience for kids and adults.
Not only is there a great waterpark, there’s a ropes course and scavenger hunt called MagiQuest that requires hunting throughout the entire hotel. Be sure to look online for discounts before booking your room at the Great Wolf Lodge as it can be pricey. Many online reviewers also recommend bringing some of your own food to cut down on costs at the hotel.
Gaylord Texan Resort
This is another great resort for bringing the kids, but it’s also great for business trips. With a massive conference center, there’s always a meeting or event happening at the Gaylord Texan. This resort offers a great (but smaller) waterpark for kids and a beautiful Texas-themed atrium and gardens for adults.
Exploring the hotel is like touring Texas without ever leaving Grapevine. You’ll see the Riverwalk of San Antonio and lush green areas reminiscent of the Texas hill country. The Gaylord Texan also includes many shops and fantastic restaurants. The Glass Cactus Nightclub is great if you’re looking for some fun. Be sure to ask for one of the rooms overlooking the atrium to get a bird’s eye view of the other guests as they explore the ever-changing gardens and art displayed at the Gaylord Texan Resort.
Where to eat and drink:
With over 200 restaurants to choose from, you will find great places to eat, drink and enjoy the night life of Grapevine. Texas is also known as the fifth largest wine-producing state in the US and Grapevine is a big contributor. You’ll find at least 7 winery tasting room on or near to Grapevine’s historic Main Street. Known as Grapevine’s Urban Wine Trail, you’ll definitely enjoy tasting all the different, locally produced wines from Umbra Winery, D’vine Winery, SuVino Winery, Homestead Winery and Messina Hof Winery. If you’re looking for a quirky place to enjoy some live music, stop by Buon Giorno Coffee for a cup. If there’s no live music, you can always play one of the many board games they have on hand.
While visiting historic downtown Grapevine, one of the best places to stop for breakfast in Main Street Bakery and Bistro. If you’re looking for authentic French pastries, this is as close as it gets. With a pastry chef directly from France, the chocolate au pain will transport you right to Paris. All of the local restaurants are fantastic and you can’t go wrong wherever you stop to eat. Though it may not look like much, be sure to stop at Jake’s Hamburgers to get one of the best burgers you’ll ever eat. This local place has been around a long time and they know how to cook a great burger.
For nightlife in Grapevine, be sure to visit Tap-In Grill and Pub on the historic main street for live music and drinks or the Glass Cactus nightclub at the Gaylord Texan resort.
No matter what time of year you visit, you are guaranteed to enjoy your stay in Grapevine and to have lots of options of things to do. Whether you want to celebrate the outdoors, commune with nature, be out on the lake, shop, explore historic downtown and meet local vendors, you’ll find something that’s right for you in Grapevine, Texas.