The Dallas Cowboys football team is five games into its season so far, and there is still plenty of time to check out a Cowboys home game.
So when a large group of my friends decided to attend October 1st's New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, I created the perfect weekend in Dallas for my out-of-town guests.
This was our legendary itinerary, which I absolutely suggest you plagiarize.
I drove up I-35, leaving Austin in the morning, arriving in time to pick up my buddies at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport.
Our first destination was the Meow Wolf Grapevine immersive art installation.
The fourth installation of the Meow Wolf universe is named "The Real: Unreal." Here is more about the theme according to the Meow Wolf website:
When an ordinary family encounters the extraordinary, an inspiring tale of creativity, community, and the power of imagination unfolds within a mesmerizing, interactive artscape. Featuring a massive collaboration between Texas and Santa Fe-based artists, Meow Wolf Grapevine takes inspiration from our humble beginnings and expands into a new era of art and storytelling.
Without spoiling your visit, all I can say is that what starts in a very ordinary looking house ends in a labyrinth of mysterious passageways and blacklight forests.
After checking in and getting ready at our AirBnb located in Grand Prairie, we headed to uptown Dallas for an evening at the swanky hotspot Nick & Sam's.
At the restaurant, we overheard New England accents (obviously Patriots fans in town for the game) as we hovered around the complimentary caviar bar and helped ourselves to copious amounts of the free "black gold" and all of its condiments (egg, chive, cream, toast points, etc).
The highlight of the evening for me was an exclusive private tour of Nick & Sam's meat locker.
The fridge's inside temperature was 43.2 degree Fahrenheit, and to get to the fridge you walked through the bustling kitchen area - which was madness on a busy Friday night before a Cowboys game.
All of Nick & Sam's delectable meats, including their vacuum-sealed Japanese Kobe and Wagyu beef, are tagged and organized to be ready for sale at prices ranging from $30 - $200 an ounce.
To view Nick & Sam's special Wagyu menu, click here.
For point of reference, the Snow Beef Japanese steak from Hokkaido at the far right costs north of $800.
From the Nick & Sam's special Wagyu menu, here is the description of the Snow Beef steak.
SNOW BEEF, HOKKAIDO PREFECTURE 北海道和牛 tenderloin, rib eye snowflake-like marbling, raised in below freezing temperature, rich flavor, delicate texture
Another can't miss item at Nick & Sam's is their extravagant dessert.
Replete with sparklers and cotton candy, dessert at Nick & Sam's is brought to the table like bottle service at an Ibiza nightclub.
I watched one group of guests spend 45 minutes taking pictures and video with their birthday dessert. SERIOUSLY.
Feeling full and our ears ringing from the late-night, high-decibel atmosphere at Nick & Sam's, we tucked in to get some sleep for a busy Saturday.
October in Dallas means The State Fair of Texas.
If you are a fan of college football, corn dogs or midway games (or all of the above) and within driving distance of Dallas, you must check out "The Fair."
A Texas institution since 1886, The Fair provides endless entertainment for all ages.
According to a Google Search, The State Fair of Texas counts more than 2.5 million visitors a year:
The State Fair of Texas had the highest attendance of all fairs in 2022, industry news source Carnival Warehouse announced last week. The State Fair of Texas saw 2.5 million people at Dallas' Fair Park in 2022, edging it just above the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's 2.4 million attendees.
I quickly noticed that there were PLENTY of Cowboys jerseys on display in the crowd.
For a Texas native like myself, Big Tex's recorded welcome, Fletcher's corn dogs, The Midway and The Texas Star all evoke viscerally fond memories.
After wandering through the massive livestock area replete with pigs, horses, cattle, sheep and chickens, I stopped to listen to some live music at one of the many performance areas and then found another stage with a circus-style act.
Here is a map to help you plan your visit.
When you get too hot walking around outside, tour the heavily air-conditioned automotive exhibition halls near Big Tex and purchase your water and soft drinks for only $1 at the Daughters of the American Revolution house nearby.
Please note that The State Fair of Texas only runs through October 22. When the Fair closes, visits to The Dallas Museum of Art, Klyde Warren Park and/or The Sixth Floor Museum are also great choices for a Saturday afternoon.
After the Fair, we headed to Mia's Tex-Mex on Lemmon Avenue.
We filled an entire two tables full of chicken fajitas, brisket quesadillas and chicken nachos along with never-ending bowls of chips and salsa.
Some of the crew even got frozen margaritas with a premium floater to go (Mia's sells drinks for takeaway as well).
In a Tex-Mex food coma, we fell asleep and dreamt of the ultimate Sunday Funday in Arlington.
None of us had ever tailgated at AT&T Stadium, so that was our plan.
Our pre-game food would come from Hurtado Barbecue Restaurant, available for pick-up that morning at 11:15am.
We arrived exactly at Hurtado's 11am opening time, and there was already a huge line out the door.
Thankfully, we had ordered seven pounds of barbecue via an online advance order, and our food was quickly ready.
Within 15 minutes after getting our barbecue, we arrived at our tailgate lot, Silver 4, right next to the stadium.
We were lucky to be able to find one of the last spots in the shaded perimeter to set up our table and lawn chairs and break out the barbecue.
There were tons of Patriots fans tailgating, and all of our interactions were friendly.
Before we entered AT&T Stadium, we had to make a pilgrimage to the new Miller LiteHouse, encompassing more than 87,000 square-feet outside of the stadium's west end and featuring a 70-yard Cowboys turf field with tailgate games, four video boards, 60 television screens and two fantasy football screen walls.
After a great afternoon of tailgating, we were ready for the game, which Dallas won 38-3 in a laugher over New England.
To read more about the Cowboys gameday experience inside AT&T Stadium, check out my article from last month here.