This article was produced in partnership with Visit Irving, Texas.
There really is something to southern charm, and Irving, Texas, is full of it. From the friendliest, most accommodating people to the wide-open, baby blue skies that put you at ease, Irving is a destination for any weekend getaway.
Just 20 minutes or less from both Dallas Love Field and Dallas Fort Worth International airports, Irving is just enough outside the big city to be quaint, but city enough to be lively all the same.
If you didn’t start your trip off at a Tex-Mex joint, are you really even in Texas? Irving’s El Famoso is the perfect lunching spot – with bright blue and yellow tables outside on the patio and large pops of color inside the open-air restaurant and bar.
Start off with Compuesto Queso — queso dip topped with ground beef and guacamole and pico de gallo — and a cucumber jalapeño margarita or a frozen hibiscus marg. Their street tacos are pretty amazing, too, and they have a wide selection for any palate.
El Famoso is part of Irving's planned urban community of Las Colinas. The little city center offers beautiful apartment and condo buildings overlooking the man-made Lake Carolyn, plenty of lush green space to relax and take in some of that perfect Texas sun and lots of local restaurants and shops. The whole area is reminiscent of a mix between the picture-perfect town from “The Truman Show” and the bigger city of nearby Dallas.
If you’ve got a little time before check-in to your hotel, you and your tripmates can take a stroll around the lake or snap some photos in front of the Mustangs of Las Colinas — life-size sculptures of mustangs running through flowing water.
A little off the beaten path and right smack dab in the middle of residential Irving is the Ruth Paine House Museum. If you didn’t live through the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, then some details probably got lost and forgotten in history textbooks. But not at this museum.
Ruth Paine and her husband were friends with Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, Marina. Between Lee’s job losses, Marina moved into the Paine house with Ruth and they raised the children. Lee would visit during the weekends when he could get a ride from his newest job at the Texas School Book Depository - also a museum. The night before the assassination, Lee came to retrieve his firearm from the garage. The next day, the whole country knows what he did, but Ruth and Marina were none the wiser to Lee’s involvement until the police knocked on their door.
Walking into this home-turned-museum is an eerie and somewhat comforting feeling of walking into your grandmother’s house. It is so perfectly preserved and modeled to look right out of the early ‘60s, right down to the vintage grease-disposal tin perched on the stove. There are newspaper excerpts on the walls from the days and weeks following the assassination, and the museum relies on projections featuring actors to give a sense of what life was like for Ruth and Marina and the events that took place after the police arrived.
The immense care and careful selection to everything placed in the home-museum is evident, and the two men who conduct tours are a wealth of knowledge. A tour is only as good as the guide, and they truly love what they do. Now, be sure to wave to the neighbors as you leave, the same neighbors who lived there back in the ‘60s. Imagine the stories they have to tell.
While there are plenty of hotels to accommodate a girlfriend trip or romantic getaway, the Texican Court is a must. The country-Western chic hotel is a perfect little escape. It’s like stepping into a country western movie, but with bubblegum pink doors, clementine orange retro fridges and sliding barn bathroom doors. Just out your door is a fire pit, plenty of comfy seating for a nightcap or sunning yourself during the day, and a restaurant/bar and tequila bar.
It’s also walking distance to the Toyota Music Factory across the street, another part of the Las Colinas development that is just as tidy and walkable as you could want. Talk about convenience! With dozens of restaurants, plus the Live Nation Pavilion amphitheater that sees big names like Trevor Noah, this whole area is a hot spot for locals and visitors.
Now, vacations are for relaxing, and there is not a better place to do that than at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas! Even driving onto the grounds of the resort is a calming experience, with lush greenery and happy people. You’ll pass golfers just finishing their rounds and smiling couples checking in for a special getaway. You’ll be hard pressed not to sigh with happiness just walking in.
The foyer is beautiful, ornate and blooming with freshly cut flowers. Just being inside is an experience in itself. Head to the spa and bask in the pampering. They offer all the spa goods — facials, massages, body treatments. If you’re there with girlfriends, splurge for the Spa’rty and feel like queens. Or get a couple’s massage for you and your special someone. Either way, you’ll leave feeling like a very happy, pampered, serene you.
You can hang around for live music at the resort’s OUTLAW bar and live music venue, or just walk the grounds with that happy grin on your face.
For a little more romance and relaxation book a gondola ride on Lake Carolyn. Bring your own wine or champagne (we opted for the makings of mimosas)and feel like the only couple that matters while your gondola driver serenades you as you pass by waterfalls and kiss under Venetian-style bridges. If you’ve something special in mind — say a proposal, anniversary or birthday gift — Gondola Adventures will accommodate whatever you have in mind
The hour-long ride is so peaceful and beautiful on Lake Carolyn, and combined with the incredible vocals belting out classic love songs and more modern ones like John Legend's "All of Me," it just might bring happy tears to your eyes.
And just like you started your trip with street tacos, don’t skimp on the breakfast tacos. Irving is not playing when it comes to breakfast tacos, and we recommend Nosh and Bottle’s selection. The little casual eatery and market serves up some of the most delicious breakfast tacos we’ve ever tasted. Get the Texican tacos — eggs, pulled pork, green chiles, deliciousness.
A weekend in Irving is just what your soul needs to relax and reconnect to the people that matter the most. It’s a perfect destination for a few days away, and an affordable trip that still feels like absolute pampering.