On my recent trip back to the United States, I took a few days to explore my old stomping grounds: Grapevine, Texas. Now first things first: when people ask me where I’m from, I typically answer “Boston via Texas.” I spent my childhood growing up in Texas but after high school graduation, I was pretty much living in the Northeast except for holidays. Most of my adult life (if we define “adult” as that phase of life where you make your own money and spend it all on having a good time) was spent in Boston. So, on this trip back to Texas, I was fortunate enough to visit Grapevine as an “adult” (in the sense of making sure I had a good time).
Just like any 20-something who leaves their hometown for college, going back to your hometown is usually a bit of a shock. People change, of course, but so do places. And Grapevine was definitely a different city from what I remember seeing 10 years ago. From hotel resorts to up-scale restaurants, Grapevine, TX is not how I remembered it. And that’s a good thing.
What is Grapevine?
You may not know it, but you’ve probably already visited Grapevine, TX. If you’ve ever connected on a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW), then you passed through Grapevine. Thanks to the DFW airport terminals, the city’s population swells by almost one million “visitors” every business day! The city is surprisingly accessible from the airport should you have a long layover and are interested in catching some of the hipster things to do around town!
Hipster places to visit on Main Street in Grapevine
The British have High Streets and the Americans have Main Streets. Grapevine’s Main Street, as I remember as a kid, had ice cream shops and an old barber with Matchbox cars in the window. Today, (a bit like myself, I suppose), Grapevine’s Main Street has grown up and now is home to several trendy restaurants, a handful of art galleries (and more on their way) as well as some more unusual shopping for Texas tourists. Here’s a selection of some of the more interesting things to see on Grapevine’s Main Street:
Grapevine Olive Oil Company I walked into this shop and was pretty mesmerized at the selection of olive oils available. I went straight for the spicy ones (the Harissa Extra Virgin Olive Oil) was amazing and would probably go great with a big bowl of couscous. The friendly attendant also helped me pick out a Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar from Italy, which I wish I’d bought so I could pour it on my almond and spinach salad. Next time! Get more details on the Grapevine Olive Oil Company (and their sister store in Dallas): www.grapevineoliveoilcompany.com
Great American West Gallery features paintings and bronze sculptures, all with a Western theme. Native Americans, horses, pioneers, cowboys, cattle, landscapes and ranchers. If it starts to feel a bit too country for you, there are other nearby galleries. And the city of Grapevine is also planning to open a new museum on Main Street next year. More on the Great American West Gallery: www.greatamericanwestgallery.com/
Patty Cakes bakery See those cupcakes above? Yummy, yeah? This friendly little bakery will fill any hipster’s tummy with baked goodness. Find them online: www.cheffpattycakes.com
Hipster drinking, wine & bars in Grapevine
WINE! With a name like Grapevine, you can imagine what the drink of choice might be. The city has several wineries and wine “showrooms” that host tastings. If you’re thinking that Texas wines aren’t worth trying, think again. Texas is now the 5th largest wine-producing region in the US. In Grapevine? Try D’Vine Wine for an upscale environment, or Cross Timbers for a beautiful garden and an exceptionally friendly staff.
Trendy bars in Grapevine If wine’s not your thing, Sky Bar at the Vineyard Steak House serves a mean cocktail (I had an old-fashioned and it was delicious!). At the Gaylord Texan, the Glass Cactus nightclub is exceptionally trendy. My friends told me it was a “cougar bar” but I couldn’t confirm. If you want a bit more of a casual place, try several of the bars on Grapevine’s Main Street. I’ve been to a few and they’re pretty decent.
My visit to Grapevine was sponsored in part by the city’s visitors bureau. All opinions are my own. More information about Grapevine can be found on the city’s homepage: http://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/