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10 Reasons to Visit Garland

Seeking something beyond the usual North Texas date night, Saturday jaunt or “staycation” spot? Look no further than Garland, with its charming downtown, big city access and amenities, local flavor, green expanses and lakeside location. Conveniently situated adjacent to northern and eastern Dallas, Garland is a destination with a distinctive and eclectic list of must-do’s.
  • Downtown diversions. Head to historic downtown (served by the DART Blue line) for a generous helping of food and fun in a setting where vintage charm and a modern industrial esthetic merge. Sustenance options range from classic Tex-Mex to diner fare to new twists on pub grub and craft coffee.
  • The sound of music – and musicals –also graces downtown Garland. On some Saturday nights, there’s a live bluegrass jam in the square. Many restaurants and cafes around the square also offer live music. Or catch a play, concert, ballet or film at the Granville Arts Center, a performing arts complex anchored by the restored Art Deco-style Plaza Theatre with its iconic neon marquee. On some nights, there are performances happening on three different stages.
  • Of Stetsons…“Texas made here” is Garland’s slogan, so it’s not surprising that the city brims with locally crafted products like Hatco’s legendary Stetson and Resistol cowboy hats, made there since 1938. You can get a great deal on one at the company’s outlet store. Garland may as well be called “The Hat City” since it is also home to Milano Hats, maker of the Larry Mahan brand. Its fedoras have graced the heads of Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake, and Milano’s Biltmore brand is the official men’s hat of the Kentucky Derby. Milano plans to offer factory tours in the near future.
  • ....and single malts. More recently, Garland also became home to Herman Marshall's award winning bourbon, rye and single malt whiskeys. You can sip them right at the source in the company’s Garland distillery and tasting room, and on some Saturdays, there are even free public tours offering insight into how the spirits are crafted.
  • More local flavor. The five-year old award-winning Lakewood Brewery makes its home in Garland. Take a tour to find out how local favorites like Temptress Imperial Milk Stout or Rock Ryder are made, or enjoy a flight of six different small-batch handcrafted beers in the brewery’s taproom and beer garden. (The obliging staff delivers them using old cupcake tins as trays.)
  • Right on ‘cue. Ready for even more epic barbecue, this time without “frills” like chairs and tables? Venture to Meshack’s, a takeout-only BBQ stand for mouthwatering, pecan-smoked ribs or “Da Jasper” – a massive brisket sandwich. Line up at the window early as some items sell out well before noon. Or chow down at another Garland classic, Rick’s Smokehouse, in business since 1972. You can also taste local craft brews alongside authentic Texas barbecue (try the brisket tacos) at Intrinsic Brewing in downtown Garland. Everything there is a labor of local love…even the wooden furniture is built by the owner.
  • On the waterfront. Garland has a stunning natural backdrop in beautiful Lake Ray Hubbard. But it’s not just the gorgeous views that captivate visitors and locals. The lake offers great windsurfing, water skiing, kayaking, boating, and of course, a bounty of bass and catfish for avid anglers. Every gear need is met by the massive Bass Pro Shops on site. After a day on the lake, enjoy a spectacular sunset over cocktails or dinner on the patio of one of the lakeside eateries.
  • Wildflower power. Bluebonnets aren’t the only Texas blooms that put on a dazzling show. Garland is famous for its signature “firewheel” – a wildflower that flourishes across the area in spring and summer. Grab your camera or smartphone and head to Rowlett Creek Nature Preserve or Spring Creek Nature Preserve to capture the distinctive red, yellow and black beauties in profusion. Even if it isn’t firewheel season, both parks boast miles of picturesque hiking and biking trails for year-round enjoyment.
  • Green(s) as far as the eye can see. Those famous wildflowers also lend their name to Firewheel Golf Park. This conglomeration of three championship caliber courses and 63 holes offers a Texas-sized golf experience among meandering creeks and oak and pecan trees. Best of all, the courses, which offer fun and challenges for every skill level, are public.
  • Catfish crawl. In Garland, every month could be called National Catfish Month, not just August. That’s because the city’s eateries serve some of the finest examples anywhere. Try the crispy cornmeal goodness that are the catfish fillets at Fish City Grill at Firewheel Town Center, or Islamorada’s po’ boys, or the crunchy, gilded filets at Fish ‘N Tails in downtown Garland.
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