Discover Dallas provides fun, informative bus tours led by local guides who highlight the city's main attractions. City explorers have the option of starting their experience at 2:30 p.m. with a helping of hot apple cider at Patrizio Restaurant in historical Highland Park Village. During the excursion, which runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., guests can busy their eyes with the spectacular Christmas lights and seasonal décor of Highland Park, Uptown, the West End, and downtown, where a 30-minute stop lets riders disembark to explore the Arts District. As the trip progresses, the onboard holiday tunes sing good tidings to your ears as cookies enchant your stomach with visions of even more cookies.
Voted one of Guidespot's Best Dallas Wine Bars, Chateau Wine Market & Bodega Bar employs discerning palates to collect a multitudinous variety of quality libations from around the world. At each monthly tasting, Chateau opens up to 20 different wines from their vast selection, selecting bottles that retail from $20 to more than $150. Each fair takes place during a late-month Saturday afternoon from 2 p.m.–6 p.m., and the wine-curious are free to come and go as they please, fitting a tasting in between errands or saving the world from spandexed supervillians.
Food Tours of America pairs local cuisine with hefty servings of history. Spinning anecdotes and engaging tales, guides lead walking tours that let groups sample Dallas's eclectic culture firsthand. The trips wind through Uptown locales such as West Village and State Thomas Historic District, home to structures dating to the 1880s Victorian period. Along the way, groups pause to sample cuisine from restaurants such as Primo’s Tex-Mex Grille, Bread Winners Cafe, Bailey’s Uptown Inn, Baboush, I Fratelli, Red Mango, and Ketchup Burger Bar. Food Tours of America's staffers also incorporate tours into private events, such as birthday parties and birthday-party reenactments.
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Wayne Standefer, the head pilot at Balloon Adventures, is well versed in Dallas-area scenery and topography, knowledge that helps him regale passengers with information during flights. The adventure begins as the aircraft is brought to life before your eyes. Once his balloon reaches its full height—more than 10 stories—Standefer invites you inside the tightly woven wicker basket to soar above rooftops and trees and dip low over fields and rivers. Total flight time is usually around an hour, though the whole experience can take three times as long from start to finish.
Balloon Adventures also charters its services for weddings, arranges surprise flights for special occasions, and offers instruction in specific tasks such as rigging the balloon, navigating in-flight, and shooing away flocks of paper airplanes. In addition, the company participates in hot-air-balloon festivals, where clouds of bright purple, orange, and yellow balloons fill the daytime sky or illuminate the festival grounds at night.
Before John Lintner began leading jogging tours past the sculpture garden at the Dallas Museum of Art and the gothic splendor of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, he was bustling with tour groups along the Mississippi River bluffs in Memphis. Aside from being an invigorating workout, running is his favorite way to charge into a new city’s atmosphere and history. So when he moved to Dallas, it was only natural that he’d keep his stride and offer tours of his new home.
As John sees it, his style of “sight-jogging” offers several advantages over bus, walking, or swimming tours. The expeditions get people off "the boring treadmill" and help them keep up their exercise routine on vacation so that later they can "enjoy [a] steak or tex-mex without the guilt." During the tour, John's interesting facts and offbeat anecdotes about the Deep Ellum neighborhood and Dealey Plaza keep the mind energized during 4- or 6-mile runs. The storytelling is crucial: "Without his narration, I couldn't make it past mile three," a Washington Post reporter confessed after attending a pair of John’s Memphis runs.
John describes the pace of his sight-jogs as "laid-back, not push, push, push”; they accommodate most skill and fitness levels. That’s partly because he himself hasn't always been a runner. Though he's now a seven-time marathon finisher, it was only a few years ago that he began running as part of a battle against a substance addiction he picked up in a stressful nursing job. It allowed me to channel my anger into something awesome,” he told Runner's World, who profiled his turnaround. If anything, he says, running has become even more essential to his life today: it’s "a way of life, a philosophy . . . It's very real. I sweat, and I feel it, and I love it."
CitySolve lets citizens explore their metropolis through a one-day odyssey that tests speed, stamina, and smarts. Teams scamper through their burb as they solve clues ranging from anagrams and pop-culture trivia to deciphering graffiti written in pig Latin. Interspersed throughout the race are mettle-testing physical challenges, molding iron wills to such tasks as dodgeball, improv comedy games, or identifying ice-cream flavors. Each day's race also awards winners for best costumes and best tweet. Each urban iditarod takes between two to three hours, and jet packs are strictly prohibited.