It’s hard to comprehend that just over a month ago I was coming back from my Texan adventure in the US of A.
Started in Nashville, ended in Dallas and in between ate fried chicken, sung country tunes and rode horseback in the Dallas countryside – does it get any more Texan?
For those of you who lived vicariously through my trip on social media, or those who are planning one to the Southern States of ‘Merica, here is my itinerary and must do’s!
Our first stop of our journey, brought with a little adventure accessing our Airbnb but after that Nashville brought instant entertainment and a lot of history.
- Johnny Cash Museum
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- Grand Ole Opry and catch a show
- Visit the ‘cowboy boot’ stores
- Broadway and hit up as many bars blasting country music as you can!
- Draper James – 12th Avenue (get your photo in front of the mural and Reese Witherspoon may even like your photo!)
- Jason Aldeans (best wings!)
- Claim Jumper (Pizza)
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
We drove the crazy freeway from one music city to the next for the main mission of visiting the one, the only – the King!
Tip: stop at the roadhouses! Not only do they offer every single variety of snack, the people there are unlike anyone you have ever encountered before, and make for funny travel stories.
- Graceland – if you are an Elvis fan this I cannot recommend enough – I spent 8 hours there, and had an even further re-found respect for ‘the King’. One for the bucket list for sure!
- Elvis Presley souvenir stores – avoid the expensive ‘official’ stores and head to one of the thousand cheapies to deck out your Elvis shrine
- Sun Studios – nothing felt more surreal than standing where the greats have stood (Elvis/Johnny Cash etc) I could still hear their strumming – also the tour guide was unreal!
- Memphis Tigers game – the most atmospherical game I have ever been too, complete entertainment to keep you busy without a wing or moment to spare
- Beale Street – Blues City baby
- Hardrock Café – you just have to do it!
- EP’s diner (Guest House at Graceland) – The burger with the classic EP sauce (Elvis Presley sauce)
With a quick stop on the way to break up our journey across America. We arrived in to Houston – which has one of the biggest (albeit Dallas) freeway system to make any tourist shake in their cowboy boots.
Tip: road tripping from Memphis to Houston, we stopped at Shreveport and stayed at Boomtown, for a cheap night’s stay – I would recommend this little gem in between freeways, again the people made it! It’s crazy how from one state to another, the culture changes rapidly.
- NASA Space Station – as a Science nerd this was a huge bucket list item for me. I was expecting to be able to go in to the offices and start working (disclosure: that isn’t allowed apparently). Aside from that the enormity of the Space Crafts is one you need to experience to understand the magnitude of not only this world but the universe.
- Houston Museum of Natural Science – again nerd here – they had Dinosaurs!
- Houston cinema- I am that cliché, that when visiting the Nasa Space Station I had to go see the new movie ‘First Man’ which was unbelievable and fitting. For anyone wanting to know the history of what went in to the Apollo mission with the beauty of Ryan Gosling – this is for you.
- Mall – Italian (the Red Wine/Caprese Salad & Pizza!)
We went to Austin for the Formula One, which was an amazing experience (minus the bus journeys to the circuit, in terms of touristy attractions – we didn’t tick a huge amount off but I do have a few recommendations for you.
- Murals – One thing I found with most places we went to was the street art, and not just any art – these were masterpieces! Definitely worth tracking done and getting some snaps in front of.
- Side Street Pubs – Austin was very alive at 5pm and we found every corner had a pub, decked with benches, even fires with the football playing (of course). It’s a great way to get to know a city by sharing a drink with the locals.
- Fried Chicken – You just have to!
- Any café – dogs everywhere!
It was pouring on our drive from Austin – Waco – Dallas. But I had to stop at Magnolia Market at the Silos – unfortunately no Chip & Jo but a damn good cookie!
To let my cowboy dreams be set free – Dallas was the place for me.
- Dallas Farmers Markets – it was October, there was a pumpkin patch, I bout Cowboy boots – is there anything else more to say?
- Deep Ellum – Bar central!
- SouthFork – I never saw the show Dallas but now I want to, I also want to live on a Ranch. Okay I want to live on that Ranch. Not only was it absolutely picturesque, to make it more perfect we rode horseback across the acreage. Yep. I want a Ranch.
- JFK Museum – a self-guided tour to give you the full history of the assassination of John F Kennedy. What a tribute. Definitely recommend for all you history/politics buffs
- Gun Range – When in Texas right? This experience is like no other. Not only are they may more relaxed than in Australia, they have way more weapons (the bigger, the scarier?)
- Fortworth Stockyards – Confession: I’ve always wanted that true western experience. Fortworth gave that to me. Not only is it ‘old’ texas, it has a Cattle Drive down the pebbled main street. A petting zoo and old saloons – it is worth the day trip!
- Iron Cactus – Mexicana heaven!
- Five Sixty – Wolfgang Puck at Reunion Tower – a full 360 view of Dallas with fine dining – perfect way to end our trip!
Overall, it was everything I had expected and more, nothing disappointed.
They say it is all bigger and better in Texas – and that is not a lie.
However, what you may not realise is the niceties that follow the ‘country’ way of life, people aren’t as stressed, more welcomed to help and just want to share their story (even if it is recommended their version of the best fried chicken).
I keep getting asked, what my highlight of the trip was, but I can’t pick one, this was a very different holiday to my previous ones and each place brought fond memories and unique experiences that are incomparable.
If you’re up for it, go big in Texas – you won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading ya’ll!