— GRAPEVINE, TEXAS — One of the oldest settlements in Northeast Texas, Grapevine is rich in history. Peace agreements were made with 10 Indian nations which opened the area to be settled by homesteaders. The town is also known and is named for the wild mustang grapes that are plentiful in the area.
This sophisticated suburb is nestled between the larger cities of Dallas and Fort Worth and offers something for everyone. Better yet, when money is tight but you’re still looking for something to do, Grapevine offers something for every budget. Even when that budget is just $10.
Here are the 10 great things to do in Grapevine Texas.-Kerri Smith
1. Stroll Historic Main Street
As you drive over the railroad tracks, past the imposing yet approachable clock tower, a feed store greets you on your left and AJ’s BBQ on your right. Main Street welcomes you back to a simpler time when neighbors were friends and no one worried about strangers.
As the name of the town may suggest, Main Street is peppered with wineries and tasting rooms serving vintages made to rival their West Coast counterparts. Winsome boutiques sell wares from homegrown artisans, artists, and designers. Museums share Grapevine’s robust history and various collections of art.
And of course, with locals proud of their heritage, tributes to the town’s history can be seen all along Main Street. An original jail cell perches ominously as a warning to ne’er-do-wells. A restored pioneer cabin with interactive audio prompts demonstrates settlers’ early life. And stories of prominent citizens and famous rebels can be heard throughout all establishments.
2. Take a Ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad
At the south end of Main Street, a large steam locomotive stands proudly, ready to transport guests in its 1920s Victorian-era coaches. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad has been treating the local community to practical travel and magical excursions alike for years.
One-hour excursions depart on Sundays from Grapevine and feature an immersive experience called the Great Train Heist! All ages are welcome to join in the fun looking for outlaws and work together to solve a mystery onboard.
The train also participates in seasonal festivities including Texas Wine Month where the locomotive hosts the Jazz Wine Experience. For Halloween, Trick ‘r Treat & Witches Brew trains make for spooky fun. At Christmastime, the Vintage Railroad transforms into the North Pole Express. Nearly every holiday brings an opportunity to take the train on a new adventure! Please note that seasonal wine and brew trains are adults only.
Price: $10 for a seat in economy class on standard, weekend one-hour excursions.
Address: 707 S Main Street
3. Get Fired Up at Vetro Glassblowing Studio
Along Main Street are a variety of art galleries open to the public at no charge. Bronze sculptures, pottery, still-life paintings, impressionist art, and so much more are on display. A personal favorite is Vetro Glassblowing Studio.
Since 1999 glass artist David Gappa has been creating masterpieces in this working studio. You can browse the gallery to admire seasonal items, like colorful glass pumpkins, a kaleidoscope of Christmas ornaments, and delicate flowers for Mother’s Day. Timeless creations such as stemless glassware, modern serving bowls, and accessories, and eclectic jewelry are also available for purchase. And don’t forget to look up to admire the extravagant chandelier.
Perhaps the best attraction, however, is the studio itself where you can see the masters at work. Two doors from the gallery lead visitors into the state-of-the-art studio where spectators can watch live as sand and color transform into glass works of art.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, the Vetro artists are friendly and eager to share their craft. Private demonstrations and interactive events can be booked for an additional charge.
Pro tip: It can get quite warm in the studio making this a great outing for cool weather.
Location: 701 S Main Street#103
4. Check Out Classic Movies at Palace Arts Center
Once the premier theater for North Texas, the Palace Theater is a 1940s Art Deco building owned by the Grapevine Heritage Foundation. This historic theater has been well preserved and serves as a venue for a variety of live events.
Every weekend the theater features classic movies for general admission. Films like Grease, Indiana Jones, Hocus Pocus, and even Cars offer adults and kids alike an opportunity to enjoy their favorite movies in a piece of the town’s history.
Pro tip: If you’ve visited a Grapevine restaurant before heading to the movies, same-day receipts will score you a free small popcorn.
Price: $6, all seating is general admission.
Location: 300 S Main Street
5. Enjoy a Tasting at Cross Timbers Winery
At the far north end of Main Street is Cross Timbers Winery. Occupying one of the earliest houses in Grapevine, the picturesque location is a popular venue for weddings and other private events.
The tasting room is open to all guests eager to experience true Texas wine. The knowledgeable staff are friendly and excited to share more about their grapes and the winemaking process for each.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, you can enjoy a glass of a single vintage or create your own tasting of four. Seating is available inside the renovated farmhouse as well as outdoors under lush oak trees and a rustic pergola.
Price: $8 for 4, 1-ounce tastings
Location: 805 N Main Street
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6. Lose Time in the Fragrant Botanical Gardens
Azaleas, rhododendrons, and hibiscus, oh my! Grapevine’s lush botanical gardens are awash with color and a scent that could intoxicate. Bubbling streams and rocky waterfalls create a peaceful ambiance and large oak trees provide cover for loungers and picnickers below.
Take a stroll around the trails, study the flower varieties, or relax on the greens. However you choose to spend your time there, it’s worth a visit and makes for a relaxing afternoon.
Location: 411 Ball Street
7. Get Active at Grapevine Lake
You don’t have to have a boat to enjoy Grapevine Lake. There are three major parks positioned around the lake: Rockledge Park, Oak Grove, and Meadowmere. Rockledge Park and Meadowmere charge a modest car fee ($10 and $5, respectively) to the Grapevine Parks & Rec services who maintain them, but Oak Grove is open to all at no cost.
All parks offer picnic pavilions, bike trails, hiking trails for public use, and panoramic views of the lake. Rockledge Park is ideal for sunsets as it’s on the east bank.
If you have fishing gear, Rockledge & Oak Grove sell live bait. And for additional costs, kayaks, paddleboards, and hiking tours can be rented or purchased.
Price: $0-$10 for entry
8. Let Your Dreams Take Flight at Founder’s Plaza
Grapevine, Texas is home to the 10th busiest airport in the world, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (IATA: DFW). With nearly 2,000 flights per day, they put on quite a show for aviation enthusiasts or anyone dreaming of faraway places.
On the north end of the airport sits Founder’s Plaza, an observational area where friends and families can gather to watch the planes take off. Picnic tables, telescopes, and a commemorative monument make observing an interactive event enjoyed by all ages. A radio tower in the center of the plaza is also tuned to live air traffic control communications.
Location: 1700 N Airfield Drive
9. Harvest History at Nash Farm
Have you ever visited a historical site only to be disappointed because you’re not allowed in any of the buildings? That’s not a problem at Tarrant County’s oldest intact homestead, Nash Farm. Explore the restored farmhouse, barn, and pastures at your leisure.
Keep an eye out for the 25 chickens who are eager to have their photo-op and the noisy turkey who is decidedly not. In addition to poultry, the farm is also home to sheep and actively grows a variety of crops featured at local restaurants and farmer’s markets.
The farm is open for self-guided tours daily and hosts events throughout the year including First Fridays on the Farm, Farm Suppers, and seasonal special events.
Price: Free admission to the farm, though some events cost extra
Location: 626 Ball Street
10. Dance the Night Away at Tolbert’s
Frank X. Tolbert founded the Terlingua Championship Chili Cook-Off in 1967 after writing a book on the subject, A Bowl of Red. You could say he’s a bit of an expert on one of Texas’s food staples, chili. In 2006, Frank and his son relocated their Dallas-born restaurant to Grapevine’s Main Street.
In addition to their famous chili, the restaurant also offers a mix of Texas comfort foods. donkey tails (beef franks wrapped in cheese and a tortilla, then fried), torpedoes (spicy chicken and cheese stuffed in jalapeños, breaded and fried), and fried pickles reassure you you’re in the South. The full menu is quite extensive, and they do offer entrees for those more health-conscious.
The food isn’t the only thing that makes Tolbert’s great. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday bands play live to a spirited dance floor.
Price: $5.99/$8.49 for a cup/bowl of chili. Weekday Happy Hour features drinks starting at $3 and select appetizers for $5.99.
Location: 423 South Main Street
Located just five minutes from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Grapevine is a bustling suburb with much to be proud of. The town’s history is well preserved, though new businesses flourish here too. Iconic Main Street boasts a variety of establishments sure to keep visitors of all ages active and inspired.
Main Street Days in May and Grapefest in September are popular festivals hosted by the town to celebrate local wineries, breweries, and artists. Perhaps the best time to visit, however, is Christmas. Grapevine is known as the Christmas Capital of Texas and lives up to that name. Stunning seasonal displays serve as a festive backdrop for 1,400 events in 40 days–even Hallmark would be proud.
While colorful festivals make Grapevine a wonderful seasonal destination, the town’s myriad of economical attractions means any time is a good time to visit.
For more about Grapevine Texas
- 5 Hotels in Grapevine, Texas
- 10 Restaurants in Grapevine, Texas
- The Grapevine Texas Visitor Information Center