Maybe you have friends and family in for a long holiday visit and everyone is getting a bit stir-crazy. Maybe there are just days that you want/need to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air. Here are three suggestions for places to go — one an urban destination and two a bit more nature oriented — that feel more like a getaway than your backyard or porch does. Take the kids, take the grandparents, take the dog, breathe deep, enjoy. — Meda Kessler
AT&T DISCOVERY DISTRICT
This multimillion-dollar project was designed as a corporate campus, but all are welcome to enjoy it. Delayed by COVID, it fully opened in June 2021. While downtown Dallas has the perhaps better known Klyde Warren Park and other attractions, this 16-block urban playground is well worth a visit. There’s plenty to eat and drink at the food hall (The Exchange) or Jaxon Texas Kitchen & Beer Garden. (You can walk around the district with an adult beverage, by the way. Double Tap is a grab-and-go bar within the food hall.) But the big attraction is all the stunning visuals: a 104-foot-tall media wall, the AT&T logo that rotates and lights up like a rainbow, and the LED trellis wall. Ongoing programs include yoga, Saturday-morning cartoons and sporting events shown on the giant media wall. Special pop-up markets are held in the district from time to time, too. It’s family-friendly and worth a visit, day or night. Check out the Facebook page for special holiday events.
208 S. Akard St., Dallas, attdiscoverydistrict.com
WIDOWMAKER TRAIL RIDES
When the weather cools, bundle up and saddle up for a scenic ride with Southlake residents David Alexander and Jeff Cook. These expert horsemen with years of experience operate Widowmaker Trail Rides along scenic Lake Grapevine. Their favorite route showcases the shoreline, plus you get to ride up hilly terrain and through meadows, creeks and thick woods. You don’t have to go far for this good time, but you’ll feel completely removed from urban life. You’ll learn about horses and the ecosystem, and maybe even see some wildlife on your two-hour excursion. Contrary to the name of their business, Alexander and Cook make sure you stay safe (no galloping allowed), and the horses are well-mannered. No experience? No worries.
RIVER LEGACY PARK
River Legacy Park
North Texas has its share of decent parks, but if you’ve never been to this Arlington gem, you’ve missed out. There’s not only 1,300 acres of wetlands, prairies and bottomland forest but paved trails for biking and hiking, a mountain bike trail, playgrounds and Trinity River overlooks. And it’s a great way to show visitors that there’s a lot more to the city than what you see from Interstate 30 (sports stadiums and theme parks). A big bonus is the Living Science Center, which is educational and entertaining with interactive exhibits, native animals in aquariums and terrariums, nature trails and more. In November, the traveling exhibit Dinosaur Safari opens (it is a ticketed event); it runs through
703 N.W. Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington, 817-860-6752, riverlegacy.org