In the Heart of Texas: Fun Things to Do in Grapevine

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Things to do in Grapevine include the festival on Main Street in Historic Downtown Grapevine.
Festival on Main Street in Historic Downtown Grapevine. Photo credit: Visit Grapevine

Restored Victorian buildings dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries line the streets of historic downtown Grapevine. This charmer in north Texas, just 30 minutes from the heart of Dallas, is a favorite destination for those who appreciate strolling through art galleries, shopping in boutiques and wine tasting.

If trains are your thing, you’ll love this town because the Grapevine Vintage Railroad runs through it, train whistle and all. Outdoor activities add to the line-up of fun things to do in Grapevine, from biking to boating to world-class golf courses, there’s a bit of everything here. This small town delivers a Texas-size getaway. Let’s take a closer look at some of the treats the City of Grapevine has to offer.

Experience Western Folklore on Main Street

Grapevine’s historic main street is the place to be for shopping in locally-owned boutiques, exploring art galleries, enjoying live music and sipping local vino at winery tasting rooms.

Anchored by Main Street, Grapevine’s walkable downtown makes an excellent place to begin your explorations. One not-to-be-missed site is the Grapevine Glockenspiel Clock Tower. In the heart of Grapevine, the clock tower reaches 127 feet above Main Street and features two 9-foot tall Glockenspiel characters, known as Would-Be Train Robbers. Several times each day, the characters emerge from the tower to put on a show filled with Western folklore.

Things to do in Grapevine include experiencing art at Vetro Art Glass.
Experience Art at Vetro Art Glass. Photo credit: Visit Grapevine

Celebrate the Arts at Grapevine’s Art Galleries, Studios and Performing Arts Theatres

Follow the public art trail to experience over 34 art galleries, bronze sculptures, working artists studios and murals. Sample galleries include A Touch of Paris Art Gallery, Holder Dane Art Gallery and Studio and the International Porcelain Artists Museum.

Interested in creating your own style of art? Vetro GlassBlowing Studio offers visitors the opportunity to learn the art of glassblowing. Founded in 1999 by glass artist David Gappa, a team of glass artists now work with Gappa in a state-of-the-art working studio. Classes are available, and the studio also features a fine art glass gallery.

Be sure to visit the art-deco-style Palace Arts Center. Home to the Palace Theatre and Lancaster Theater, this turn-of-the-century gem is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. It features performances, movies and visual arts. Palace Arts Center is available for rentals for business meetings, receptions and other special events.

Things to do in Grapevine include exploring Grapevine heritage at Nash Farm.
Explore Grapevine Heritage at Nash Farm. Photo credit: Visit Grapevine

Learn About Grapevine’s Heritage at Nash Farm

Purchased by Thomas Jefferson Nash in 1859, historic Nash Farm brings history to life through exhibits, interpretive programs and hands-on displays. This 5.2-acre farm showcases historic structures dating back to the 19th century, including the Historic Barn and a historic cemetery. Free self-guided tours are an option during regular business hours. Guided group tours can be scheduled along with opportunities to participate in seasonal hands-on activities during special events.

Biking, Boating and More at Lake Grapevine

Need a little time outdoors? Head to Lake Grapevine for boating, camping, fishing, water-skiing and windsurfing. Spreading over 8,000 acres, Lake Grapevine is one of the Dallas/Fort Worth area’s best hiking and biking destinations.

For boaters, there are two marinas. Silver Lake Marina is home to several of Lake Grapevine’s charters, including Island Bound Adventures and Black Watch Sailing Charters. For another fun thing to do, check out WhoaZone Grapevine’s inflatable obstacle course situated on the water.

Things to do in Grapevine include watching the sun set over Lake Grapevine.
Sunset over Lake Grapevine. Photo credit: Visit Grapevine

More Outdoor Activities Await at Rockledge Park

For outdoor activities that are enjoyable for the whole family, spend some time in Rockledge Park. Here you’ll find biking trails, fishing spots, kayak rentals, picnic pavilions and idyllic sunset views.

Hikers can explore independently or choose to join a Guided Hiking Adventure on Northshore Trail. Tours are coordinated by Lonestar Adventure Sports. Hiking poles and binoculars are included with tour bookings.

Relax and Reflect at Heritage Park and the Grapevine Botanical Gardens

An ideal place to spend a sunny day, Heritage Park features tennis courts, basketball courts and play structures to keep the kiddos busy. The north and south ends of Heritage Park are connected by a large green field perfect for a game of bocce or Frisbee. Plentiful benches invite quiet times of reflection underneath the shady trees. And a lovely rental pavilion makes a great place for special events like family reunions.

Heritage Park is also home to the Grapevine Botanical Gardens. These award-winning gardens change colors and ambiance throughout the seasons. Take a deep breath, visually soak up the garden’s colorful blooms, watch the delicate butterflies and check out the glittering koi in the pond. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Shop, Dine and Soak Up Entertainment at Grapevine Mills Mall

Covering 1,781,628 square feet in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, Grapevine Mills is a shopper’s paradise featuring 180 stores ranging from Neiman Marcus to a Disney Store Outlet. For a combination of entertainment and dining, Grapevine Mills offers dine-in theaters. Lego fans will be happy to hear Grapevine Mills is also home to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. If problem-solving is your thing, Escape Game Dallas will keep you busy strategizing. The SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium is also located within Grapevine Mills.

A recent addition to this already popular venue, the Butterfly Sanctuary boasts a 100-square-foot butterfly and pollinator garden. Featuring milkweed to attract monarch butterflies and pollinators such as bees, the garden’s purpose is to encourage the community to minimize the decrease of pollinators by planting more gardens.

Another exciting new attraction at Grapevine Mills, Meow Wolf Grapevine showcases the power of creative energy at The Real Unreal, the story of an ordinary family encountering the extraordinary, which unfolds within a mesmerizing interactive art space.

Located just two miles north of DFW International Airport on the Grapevine Mills Pkwy, Grapevine Mills even works for short visits during long layovers.

Explore an Underwater World at SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium

Lovers of underwater sea creatures will enjoy a visit to SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. Home to sharks, seahorses, clownfish, sea turtles, stingrays, jellyfish and more, this interactive experience features 16 themed zones. Highlights include a 360-degree view from the sea bed in the Ocean Tunnel. Another fun adventure has you traveling through mangrove roots to come face-to-face with the world’s largest species of snake in Rainforest Adventure.

For an insider’s look at SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium, book the “Behind the Scenes Tour,” where you’ll get a closer look at the sea life from the top of the ocean tank. The tour also includes a visit with the SEA LIFE  Aquarists Team to see how they prepare the daily food for over 5,000 animals.

Things to do in Grapevine include wine tasting. Group of women gather together with wine in wineglasses.
Wine Tasting Time in Grapevine. Photo credit: Visit Grapevine

Sip to Your Heart’s Content at Grapevine’s Winery Tasting Rooms

Texas wine takes center stage at Grapevine’s many wineries. Home to the premier Urban Wine Trail in Texas, wine tastings are abundant, and you can expect a diverse range of flavors. Some to consider include Bingham Family Vineyards, known for bold reds and crisp whites. Bull Lion Winery prides itself on producing Old World wines from 100% Texas grapes. Not to be missed is the family-owned Messina Hof Winery, home to the decadent Private Reserve Papa Paulo Port and many more delicious varietals.

Beyond the year-round tastings, Grapevine has the guilty pleasure of hosting the annual Grapefest. The largest wine festival in the southwest, Grapefest, happens each year during the third week of September. The event features special wine tastings along with family-friendly activities. At Grapefest, Texas wines share the limelight with international wines. Special events include the always fun Champagne Cork Shoot-Off sponsored by Texas Gun Experience and the classic Grape Stomp!

Things to do in Grapevine include checking out the Grapevine Vintage Railroad.
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Photo credit: Visit Grapevine

All Aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad

A Grapevine classic, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad is a delightful ride through history year-round. But as the holidays arrive, Grapevine transforms into the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” and the Grapevine Vintage Railroad becomes the North Pole Express. During this magical season, Santa and the lovely Mrs. Claus climb aboard the train to the delight of children of all ages. Everyone receives a memory mug of Santa’s Frosty Chocolate Snow Milk and Santa’s favorite cookie.

The Polar Express takes you through the heart of Grapevine’s holiday cheer. When you step off the train, be sure to check out skating on the Peace Plaza Ice Rink or catch a classic Christmas movie at the Palace Theatre. And make sure you stroll along Grapevine’s historic Main Street, where millions of twinkling lights transport you straight into a Hallmark movie.

Gaylord Texan Resort

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the Gaylord Texas Resort does the Lone Star State proud. Gaylord Texas Resort houses the 10-acre Paradise Springs water park, a Glass Cactus nightclub, 4.5 acres of indoor gardens and well-appointed accommodations with elevated amenities.

The Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center also features 490,000 sq ft of flexible meeting space, a state-of-the-art fitness center and the indulgent Relache Spa.

Things to do in Grapevine include staying at the Gaylord Texan Resort (as seen from Lake Grapevine).
Gaylord Texan Resort as seen from Lake Grapevine. Photo credit: Visit Grapevine

Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine

Located just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, the Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine delivers the ultimate family-friendly getaway. This resort has a bit of everything, which means the whole family will be happy. First, there’s the 80,000-square-foot indoor water park which is open year-round. If waterslides aren’t your thing, float down the lazy river in Crooked Creek.

For dry-land entertainment, there are arcade games, bowling, mini golf, and an immersive MagiQuest adventure game. Scheduled entertainment, a dance party and story time peppered with Great Wolf Kids characters keep the fun going.

Accommodations include standard, themed and premium suites and dining options are plentiful.

Things to do in Grapevine include watching the Christmas Parade.
Grapevine’s Christmas Parade. Photo credit: Visit Grapevine

Conclusion

Don’t you think it’s time for you to visit Grapevine, Texas?

Based in New York City, Terri Marshall is an award-winning writer covering cultural travel, multi-generational travel, road trips, soft-adventure, camping, cars and characters. From hanging out with penguins in Antarctica to fishing for piranhas in Peru to road-tripping through the jungles of Belize, Terri’s always up for an adventure. Drop her into a landscape filled with mountains, towering evergreens, waterfalls and a glacier or two and she’ll be in heaven. But what thrills her most of all is traveling with her teenage grandkids. Terri serves on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee for the North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA). She also serves as the First Vice-Chair of the Eastern Chapter for the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). In addition to writing for SheBuysTravel, Terri’s publication credits include AARP, Island Soul, Girl Camper Magazine, A Girls Guide to Cars, CHILLED, World Footprints, North Hills Monthly, Alaska Business Monthly, Alaska Contractor and more. Follow her on Instagram at TrippingWithTerri.
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