Category Archives: Outdoor Activities

McKinney Oktoberfest

It’s September, which means it’s time for Oktoberfests across the world celebrating all-things German—most often seen: beer and brats. (Have you ever understood why they aren’t actually in October?)

Here in North Texas, We’re lucky enough to have two world-class festivals—in Addison and McKinney. McKinney’s FREE* Oktoberfest, which happens to be their 10th this year, will be held September 22-24, and this family-friendly three-day event will offer everything from strudel and steins to entertainment like live music, children’s events/activities, and more.

Did we mention beer? Because there will be plenty of it. “McKinney’s Oktoberfest features authentic German bier such as Hofbrau Original and McKinney’s own beers from Franconia and TUPPS breweries. Oktoberfest offers an excellent opportunity to try multiple German flavors and styles all at one event with a bier garden that covers 14 blocks.” If you want to learn more about German beer, they’re offering Meet the Brewmaster sessions (reserve a spot online).  They’ll also be tapping a rare 200-year old keg. 😳 Now, that’s not messing around with the devil’s brew.

However, if you DO want to mess around with beer instead of drink it (at least for a short time), you can enter the Hofbrau Stein Holding Competition. The winner will get a paid trip to compete in Vegas. No kidding. If you’d rather move with it, they’re also having stein holding and beer barrel races along with giant beer pong. (Times when a beer gut doesn’t come in handy.)

If holding a beer isn’t entertaining enough for you, they’ll also have live music on two stages, brat eating contests, weenie dog races, and children’s entertainment. (And you can’t forget the chicken dance.)


mckinneyoktoberfest.com
#McKinneyOktoberfest, #DowntownMcKinney
Facebook: /downtownmckinney
Instagram: @DowntownMcKinney
Twitter: @DtownMcKinney

Friday, Sept. 22, 4 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 24, noon to 5 p.m.

 

*Some activities and food/drink require a nominal fee.

Admission and parking is free. Access a map of the free parking lots. A designated zone for drop-offs and pick-ups is located on the west side of Mitchell Park on Benge Street, between West Louisiana and West Virginia streets. Complimentary shuttle service is offered Friday and Saturday of the event. Festival goers can park off-site at First McKinney Baptist Church, and enjoy round trip transportation. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes. 

 

VINO-Palooza

Vino Palooza is a traveling wine and music festival that recently made a stop in both Fort Worth and Dallas this year. The Dallas event was held at Happiest Hour and featured wines from more than 20 different wineries as well as some beers and ciders.

J-Si Chavez from The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show hosted and several “Top 40” artists performed including Ryan Cabrera, Nash Overstreet of Hot Chelle Rae, and Ryan Key of Yellowcard, all in the name of helping local non-profit organizations. Snacks were provided, but the full Happiest Hour menu was available for those looking for substance.

The day couldn’t have been more pleasant at 75-ish degrees and sunny–everyone clearly enjoyed the wine, the music, and the atmosphere. This event is a must if you can grab a hold of tickets before they sell out!

 

VINO-Palooza
vino-palooza.com
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Some of my Favorites …

Dallas is a great city.  With more restaurants per capita than any other city in the US, it’d be impossible for me to put together a full list of my favorite spots to eat and drink (because I eat and drink a LOT), but I’ve pulled together SOME of my favorite restaurants and a couple other spots I enjoy for visitors to our fair city.  I’ll add to it in the future … but it’s a good place to start!

EAT & DRINK

TRINITY HALL
An Irish pub fashioned after a pub in Dublin, Trinity Hall offers a wide selection of whiskeys, food for any special diet needs, live music, and too many events to begin to list.  Go for a refreshing Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Moscow Mule on a warm evening on their patio … it doesn’t get too much better than that.   (If you want to try Crabbie’s for yourself, check it out at a tasting or event next week during Crabbie’s Week! They’re doing fun activations all over Dallas.)
5321 E Mockingbird Ln #250 (Mockingbird Station), trinityhall.tv

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E BAR TEX MEX
If you were a fan of Primo’s back in the day (like eight years ago), then this is your spot; the owners and chefs from Primo’s moved here when the new owners took over.  It’s by far my favorite Tex-Mex in Dallas–though I’m not sure if it’s the food or the nostalgia.
1901 North Haskell Ave Suite #120, ebartexmex.com

PARLIAMENT
This craft cocktail spot is one of my favorite places in all of Dallas.  The bartenders know what they’re doing, so trust them and don’t be a dick.  Visit on a week night to get the full effect or during happy hour (which is surely one of the best values in Dallas) or while it’s raining.  (They offer their hh prices anytime it rains!)
2418 Allen St (Uptown), parliamentdallas.com

POKEY O’S COOKIES AND ICE CREAM
Guys … you’ve got delicious cookies and Blue Bell Ice Cream and they make them into a sandwich.  It doesn’t get much better than that.
3034 Mockingbird Lane, pokeyos.com
(Full disclosure … my parents own this place.  But try it out and tell me it’s not delicious enough to be on this list.)

SHOP

SOCIETY BY JACKSON VAUGHN
This little candle and knick-knack shop is impossible to leave empty-handed.  They have clever Dallas-centric cards
403 N Bishop Ave (Bishop Arts District), shopatsociety.com

Courtesy of Society
Courtesy of Society

WEST ELM
This minimalist home goods and furniture store may be a chain, but they always have the coolest haute barware and even some unique goodies like bitters and syrups to try out.  Don’t miss their section featuring goods from local makers or the wine candles.
5307 E Mockingbird Ln #100 (Mockingbird Station), westelm.com

GYPSY WAGON
Ladies can get a little hippy dippy here with a fun selection of clothing, jewelry, and accessories and fun home items.
2928 N Henderson Ave (Henderson Ave), the-gypsy-wagon.com

BULLZERK
The goods and duds from this local shop are fresh and delightfully subversive.  Because, really, “Dallas: it’s what everyone in Dallas is talking about.”
1909 Greenville Ave (Lowest Greenville), bullzerk.com

GET OUT

With all the drinking I do in dark bars, sometimes I need to spend time in the sunlight.

CEDAR RIDGE PRESERVE
This is about as good as “hiking” in Dallas gets without making a day of it.  Enjoy plenty of trails and some decent views, just make sure to take plenty of water.
7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy (Cedar Hill), audubondallas.org/cedar-ridge-preserve

KLYDE WARREN PARK
The park perched on top of a highway offers daily, free activities, and plenty of green space.  Check out the food trucks that are different every day and Savor for a cocktail.
2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Suite 403 (Downtown), klydewarrenpark.org

DALLAS ARBORETUM
I love outdoor activities, and outdoor events that you can take your own goodies to are even better.  That’s why the concerts at the Arboretum are a can’t-miss for me.  Take a picnic (complete with booze) and enjoy the themed music, or simply visit to enjoy the grounds.
8525 Garland Road (Lakewood), dallasarboretum.org

arbor


***I am a paid endorser for Halewood International Limited and received compensation, including free product, for support of Halewood International Limited and its products.***

Dîner En Blanc Dallas

For years I had to listen to my fancy friend in New York talk about his experiences at a too-French-to-be-true tradition, Dîner en Blanc.  As the story goes, everyone who is accepted to attend stands at the ready, traveling picnic in-hand, clad in white until the mystery location is revealed.  Then, everyone descends on the venue and a party breaks out.  I.was.jealous.  Why didn’t Dallas have their own annual trés chic picnic?  N’est pas juste.

The tradition began in France in 1988 when François Pasquier came back from a long trip and invited his friends to meet at a park and have a picnic.  He decided to have the event annually and invite people to bring friends.  It got so big that the cops began to shut them down before they began, so his solution was a last-minute venue revelation; the attendees would know each other thanks to their uniform–all white.  His family and friends expanded the event to other cities over the years, and now more than 10,000 people attend picnics throughout the world every year.

2015 was Dallas’s first Dîner en Blanc, and it was quite a party.  Everything is bigger in Texas, so the first year boasted almost 1,200 participants (a large inaugural dinner for a city), on the Ronald Kirk Bridge (formerly the Continental Avenue Bridge).  We ate, we drank, we danced, we drank more, and we watched fireworks.  Il était parfait.

Image by Rebecca Kirstin of Beckley & Co.
Image by Rebecca Kirstin of Beckley & Co.

Guests are required to wear all white and encouraged to get creative with their dress.  The post-Labor Day white clothing ban be damned!  Last year I donned a Marie Antoinette wig that landed me in the Huffington Post.  (My outfit from last year will be tough to top this year.  Pun completely intended.)  The white-washed palate makes the idea of red wine somewhat terrifying, though.

[KGVID]http://www.susiedrinksdallas.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/IMG_1885.mov[/KGVID]
Video by Rico Deleon

This year, the date has been revealed (Friday, September 30) and the “interest list” has been opened.  Run, don’t walk, to vie for a spot.  This exclusive event will have only 2,200 spaces and they’re released in phases–they begin with friends of the hosts/hostesses, then friends of those friends, and then the public applications are reviewed.

PUT YOUR NAME ON THE INTEREST LIST FOR 2016

Tickets to attend are $37 and include transportation to and from the location and a designated space at the event.  Only members can attend, and membership is $8 per year and members are given the chance to attend consequential years.  You are expected to bring your table, chairs, table decor, food, and drink … and take it with you when you leave.  Tables and chairs can be rented on-site and food and drink can be pre-ordered and picked up at the start of the event.

Rendez-vous au dîner!

——-

Dîner en Blanc – Dallas
Friday, September 30, 2016 – 6:30pm
Location TBA
dallas.dinerenblanc.info

***Header image courtesy of Dîner en Blanc Dallas.

Camp Our Way

I sit on my couch  covered in aloe vera on my sunburnt bits and hydrocortisone cream on my mosquito bitten bits, the faint whir of my dryer working on the second of three loads of bonfire-scented laundry waiting for Uber Eats to arrive with a juicy bacon cheeseburger reflecting on the incredible weekend I just experienced with Camp Our Way.  The idea of returning to summer camp as an adult made me equally excited and trepidatious–outdoor activities, s’mores, new friends, bonfires, and other fun, but with booze and a touch of freedom.  Yes, it’d be a blast … but would 15 years of aging since my last camp experience prove to be a damper on the camp highs that I previously experienced?  I was a great camper back in the day–I had the towels with my name embroidered, wrote the ‘rents postcards, played the part of “Susie Camper”, and always seemed to find a camp romance.  Well … it turns out that not much has changed.

Camp Our Way held its first public adult summer camp this past weekend just outside of Austin.  Tiffany, one of my contributors, and I headed down south (in a tricked out, lifted Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro … a beauty of a tank if I’ve ever seen one), taking our time and making an experiencing of the 35 road trip–Czech Stop, Pokey O’s Waco, Coffee Bean, the whole nine.

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Campers are invited to drive on their own (and surrender their keys upon arrival) or hop on the camp bus from their originating city.  Since we were traveling from Dallas and not San Antonio or Austin, we got to camp a bit late; and let’s just say that the party bus must have been an actual party.  We arrived and were already behind, but we did our best to catch up.

COW is working finding just the right camp to host–enough freedom to let the adults do their thing, but enough structure to make the camp experience fully immersive.  You could say that they’re doing a damn good impression of Goldilocks right now.

The venue for this past session was Camp Young Judea, a Jewish (children’s) camp complete with a kosher cafeteria and brightly colored Semitic murals adorning the cabins and set on a quiet river.  (Oh, and the cafeteria is kosher so we had to observe certain rules; only kosher items were allowed in the cafeteria, so we quickly learned that Lone Star Beer is kosher.  Boom.  And hence the bacon cheeseburger upon my return to Dallas.)  We found the lodging itself to be perfect–the cabins were clean, bug-free, and allowed for enough privacy for everyone to be comfortable.  We unpacked, made our beds, and then headed to the party.  The awkward “hey, where are you from, why are you here?” conversation started slowly and was egged on with drinks poured by the badass head counselor, Justin.

Each day campers were invited to take advantage of various activities–a high ropes course, zip lines, a giant swing, archery, etc.  The beauty of this concept, though, is the freedom to do them only if you want to.  Don’t want to break a sweat playing dodgeball?  Sweat it out at the pool while working on your tan.  Too lazy to do yoga?  Do corpse pose in a hammock for a couple hours.  Just don’t feel like being an adult?  Head to the river and slide down the giant water chute.  Just want to hang out?  Stop by the treehouse with a beer or three. (Each camp will offer different activities, and the Dallas camp promises a lake, complete with a blob!)

So yeah … activities are fun, but doing them with a beer in-hand kind of makes them more fun.  The entire weekend we had access to adult beverages.  One of the “activities” was the chance to do a wine tasting with Flat Creek Estate, learn how to make Justin’s killer margaritas, and enjoy some hand-dipped root beer floats with Not Your Father’s (boozy) Root Beer.

Like I said … I’m knackered from all the fun (my memory foam bed was truly worth every penny I paid for it when I starfished on it last night), but it was a pretty fantastic weekend and I’m already missing the fun, people, and activities … and having a bit of trouble adulting.

That said … COW will be hosting other camps throughout the summer, including one for Dallas residents on Lake Trinity.  I’ll be there–either as a counselor (if they’ll have me) or a camper–so come party with me at camp!

SAVE 10% ON THE DALLAS CAMP WITH CODE SUSIEDRINKS


CAMP OUR WAY

campourway.com
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Topgolf Couple’s Night

Last week I had the chance to host a date night with McKinney Moms Blog at Topgolf Allen!  Guests were invited to enjoy live music, drinks, TG’s surprisingly delicious food, and some serious competition at the tee box.  We started with tastes of their sangria, nachos, Mushi*, and Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls.  (If you’re in charge of ordering, don’t miss Topgolf’s signature item, Mushi, which is cilantro sticky rice, beans, spiced chicken, and cheddar cheese rolled in a jalapeño tortilla.)

As mentioned, we were treated to some of Topgolf’s surprisingly good menu items.  (I have to say that their prime rib was an unexpected delight.)  They sweetened-up our game place by bringing by an order of Injectable Donut Holes (cinnamon-sugar dusted donut holes served with chocolate, raspberry jelly or Bavarian cream).

As mention … it was a couple’s night.  Since I’m single, I thought I’d play cupid a little and invite some single friends to see if some magic could happen.  (Oh … and Susie’s solution to awkward first dates?  Golf bags.  These babies will cut all discomfort with a knife … just make sure that you have your Uber app ready.)


TOPGOLF – ALLEN
www.topgolf.com/us/ALLEN
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
1500 Andrews Parkway, Allen, TX 75002
(469) 675-9730

HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday – Thursday: 9:00am – 12:00am
Friday: 9:00am – 1:00am
Saturday: 8:00am – 1:00am
Sunday: 9:00am – 12:00am


*This post is in partnership with Topgolf.

Topgolf Allen Summer Events

Last week I made the trek up to the great white north Allen to attend a Ladies Happy Hour at Topgolf Allen.  I mean … it was a drive, but it was so worth it.  If you’re not familiar with the Topgolf concept (where the hell have you been?), it’s a tech-forward driving range dreamt up by the Jolliffe brothers in Watfotd, England.  Topgolf (Target Oriented Practice Golf) takes a traditional driving range and  adds microchips to the golf balls and targets to the pins.  The closer your ball gets to the pin, the more points you’ll get.  You can find some extra background on Topgolf Allen in Brian’s recap of his visit.

Top Golf has really upped its game … not just its literal game (which it has), but its food, drink, and hospitality game, too.   To start off our happy hour (hosted by me, Staci from 7onashoestring, McKinney Moms Blog, and the Dallas Blogger Collective). After introductions and a few words from some of the Topgolf peeps, we were treated to a “speed” wine tasting lead by a very knowledgable teacher.  We tasted fives wines–(some seriously grapefruit forward) whites, roses, and a Layer Cake red (one of my favorite budget-friendly wines).

After the wine tasting, they opened up the floor to ceiling glass doors and let us take over the range.  (Ok, not the whole thing … but we had room to spread out.)  Our group all had some natural ability (some more than others), so we grabbed the drivers and started the game.  (I’d like to note that Brittany (pictured below) and I were neck-and-neck … though she did win.)

The gracious Topgolf team plied us with more of their delicious offerings–chicken & waffle sliders, s’more sandwiches, Green chili mac & cheese, and more.  I like to think I’m more qualified than most Texans to identify good green chili menu items from bad (my sister and her husband live in Albuquerque and EVERYTHING is green chili-flavored), Topgolf’s Green Chili Mac & Cheese is damn good–just enough flavor to make it distinct, but not enough to smoke your taste buds.  Everything was fresh and delicious with some seriously fun flavors and unique offerings. (I mean … who doesn’t want a chicken and waffle slider?)

Beyond delicious food, great service, a fun atmosphere, and a great game, what more could you want?  Well … beyond live music and fun contests from time to time, they have Golf Bags.  (And what driving range isn’t more fun after 30oz. of booze in a light-up novelty cup with crazy straws for just $15?  I went with the Pineapple Express (Malibu Coconut Rum, 99 Bananas, DeKuyper Peachtree, orange juice & pineapple juice) and it wasn’t a mistake.

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They’ll be hosting two similar events later this summer, one for moms and another catered to couples.  My advice?  Go to one (or both) of them.  Stay tuned to their channels to find out about these FREE events!
TOPGOLF – ALLEN
www.topgolf.com/us/ALLEN
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
1500 Andrews Parkway, Allen, TX 75002
(469) 675-9730

HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday – Thursday: 9:00am – 12:00am
Friday: 9:00am – 1:00am
Saturday: 8:00am – 1:00am
Sunday: 9:00am – 12:00am