Photo courtesy of Barber Shop Marketing

Dallas-Fort Worth has landed near the top in several recent travel rankings, including family friendly vacations and hotels, and now the region can add best airport to that list. The Airports Council International (ACI) has named Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport the winner of the 2022 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) award for Best Airport that serves over 40 million passengers in North America.

The ACI ASQ awards recognize airports that exhibit consistent excellent customer service.

ACI's data is compiled through their worldwide passenger departure and arrival surveys. According to their report, the DFW Airport is “the largest airport in the world” to receive the award.

DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue said in a statement that it was a “tremendous honor” to be declared the best airport in North America, and the award reflects all of the hard work he and his team have done to prioritize their customer service.

“I want to thank and recognize all of our employees, especially our front-line customer experience team, for the passion and commitment they showcase every day in taking such good care of our customers,” he said. “I also want to thank all of our business partners who share our commitment to providing an excellent customer experience."

2023 looks to be one of the busiest years for the DFW Airport since 2019, with 78 million passengers projected to travel at the airport.

More information about the award can be found on the DFW Airport website.

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These are the 15 best things to do around Dallas this weekend

Weekend event planner

The power of women will be on full display in and around Dallas this weekend, with a female pop superstar and top-level female athletes showcased in two huge events. Other choices include a historic music venue being revived with a trio of concerts, several new local theater productions, two big-name comedians, a retrospective screening of a beloved indie movie, and more.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, March 30

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Ladysmith Black Mambazo
For 60 years, South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo has warmed the hearts of audiences worldwide with uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves and charming onstage banter. Paul Simon’s 1987 Graceland album introduced the group to the world and late former South African President Nelson Mandela designated the group "South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world." They'll perform at Meyerson Symphony Center.

Longhorn Ballroom Grand Re-opening Weekend
The historic Longhorn Ballroom, which hasn't hosted regular concerts since 1997, will come back to life with three shows this weekend, with more to come. Texas legends Asleep at the Wheel, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, will kick things off on Thursday, followed by Old Crow Medicine Show on Friday, and Morgan Wade and Lucero on Saturday.

Friday, March 31

2023 Women's Final Four
The high-powered Women's Final Four comes to Dallas this year. Undefeated No. 1 South Carolina is the prohibitive favorite, but they're facing Iowa, which has arguably the best shooter - men or women - in America, guard Caitlin Clark. The other semifinal game at American Airlines Center features LSU vs. Virginia Tech. Related activities include Tourney Town, taking place through Sunday at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Final Four Bounce at Dallas City Hall on Saturday, and the Super Saturday Concert featuring Saweetie at AT&T Discovery Center on Saturday.

The Dallas Opera presents Biennial Lone Star Vocal Competition
The Dallas Opera's Biennial Lone Star Vocal Competition uniquely supports emerging Texas singers for their future success in opera. The statewide competition offers developing singers an opportunity to showcase their talents on the Winspear Opera House stage, a chance to be discovered, and win cash prizes.

Theatre Arlington presents Noises Off
Called “the funniest farce ever written,” Noises Off presents a manic menagerie of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called Nothing’s On. Doors slamming, on- and off-stage intrigue, and an errant herring all figure in the plot of this hilarious and classically comic play. The production runs through April 16 at Theatre Arlington.

Ballet Ensemble of Texas presents Celebration of Dance: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Ballet Ensemble of Texas will present their annual Celebration of Dance, which will highlight A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This will be the troupe's inaugural performance of Shakespeare’s tail of adventure and misadventure about a group of mortals and immortals afflicted by the difficulties of loving and being loved. There will be performances on both Friday and Saturday at Irving Arts Center.

Taylor Swift in concert
Pop superstar Taylor Swift always attracts attention, though not always for the right reasons. Tickets for The Eras Tour were notoriously hard to get thanks to huge snafus by Ticketmaster. If you were able to snag tickets, you'll be witness to a reportedly three-hour, 40+ song extravaganza featuring songs from throughout her career, including her latest album, Midnights. She'll perform three shows through Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Pocket Sandwich Theatre presents Captain Phantasm vs The Nefarious Dr. Noir
Captain Phantasm vs The Nefarious Dr. Noir is another one of Pocket Sandwich Theatre's popcorn-tossing melodramas. From the classic radio serials of the 1940s comes Captain Phantasm, the protector of Metroville City, fighting malefactors with his heightened catlike reflexes, his uncanny intellect, and his mighty fists of justice. Little does he know that villainy is near and hatching a devious plan. Who is this nefarious Dr. Noir and what is his evil scheme? The production will run at PST's new home in Carrollton through May 13.

Pegasus Contemporary Ballet presents Synergy: Dallas Music In Motion
Synergy, Dallas Music In Motion is a contemporary dance program from Pegasus Contemporary Ballet that will highlight the vibrancy and variety of the Dallas music scene, combining the creative energy of music and dance artists into one meaningful and exciting show. The collaborative performance will connect audiences and artists spanning different backgrounds and generations, featuring new choreographic works by Diana Crowder, Daniel Ojeda, and Joshua L. Peugh. There will be performances on Friday and Saturday at Moody Performance Hall.

Blue October in concert
Houston rock band Blue October rose from relative obscurity in the late '90s/early 2000s to become one of the bigger groups of their genre in the 2010s, scoring five top 5 albums from 2011-2018. Known best for songs like "Hate Me" and "Into the Ocean," they'll play shows on both Friday and Saturday at Majestic Theater in support of their 2022 album, Spinning the Truth Around.

Richardson Theatre Centre presents Driving Miss Daisy
When Daisy Wertham, a stubborn, elderly Southern widow, crashes her new car into the neighbor’s garage, her son forces her to take on a chauffeur. He employs Hoke Coleburn, much to her chagrin. At first, Daisy refuses to rely on a black man to get her from one place to the next and Hoke spends two weeks sitting in the kitchen doing nothing. Gradually, however, Daisy’s prejudices are broken down and, against all odds, he becomes her best friend. The production will run through April 16 at Richardson Theatre Centre.

David Cross: Worst Daddy in the World Tour
David Cross is an Emmy-winning (and two-time Grammy-nominated) stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and director known for his knockout roles in Arrested Development, the Kung Fu Panda film franchise, The Ben Stiller Show, and more. He'll perform at Texas Theatre with Sean Patton.

Saturday, April 1

Pete Holmes: Where Were We
Pete Holmes is the creator and star of HBO's Crashing and TBS' The Pete Holmes Show. He's also the star of CBS' How We Roll as well as two HBO stand-up comedy specials, as well as the host of the You Made It Weird podcast and the author of Comedy Sex God. He'll bring his Where Were We tour to House of Blues Dallas for one night only.

The Texas Theatre presents Napoleon Dynamite Live!
Napoleon Dynamite was the indie film hit of 2004, with those in the know repeating lines like "Kip, bring me my Chapstick" over and over. This special event at the Texas Theatre includes a full screening of the film followed by a lively moderated discussion with fan-favorite cast members Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, and Jon Gries.

Taylor Swift rocking

Photo by Chinh Phan

Taylor Swift will play at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, March 31-April 2.

Turtle Creek Chorale presents Rhapsody
Turtle Creek Chorale will present Rhapsody, their annual benefit gala. The special guest will be Patti LuPone, the Broadway legend who will explore how her lifelong love affair with Broadway began and the unpredictability of the Great White Way. She'll sing interpretations of classic Broadway show tunes by the likes of Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Jule Styne, Stephen Schwartz, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. The event takes place at Meyerson Symphony Center.

These 10 Dallas restaurants top the list of best neighborhood spots for 2023

Tastemaker News

The annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards returns for 2023, honoring the people who make our local restaurant scene special, with their innovation, energy, and creativity.

Restaurants and food industry pros are nominated in categories such as Best Restaurant, then voted on by a panel of former winners and industry experts. (Except for Best New Restaurant, which is determined by a bracket-style online tournament to be unveiled in April.)

Those nominees are featured in a special editorial series followed by a tasting event and awards ceremony on May 4 at Fashion Industry Gallery (F.I.G.). Tickets are on sale now, including a limited number of Early Bird tickets at discounted rates of $60 for general admission and $99 for VIP (includes early access to the event, valet, and a dedicated bar), available until April 2.

In 2023, the categories include Rising Star Chef, Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Bar of the Year, Pastry Chef, Brewery, Neighborhood Restaurant, Bartender, Wine Program, Best New Restaurant, and our annual wild card, this year being Best Burger.

The event is sponsored by Goodstock by Nolan Ryan, Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Ellum Ranch Patio Water, Topo Chico Sparkling Mineral Water. A portion of proceeds benefits the nonprofit Harvest Project Food Rescue.

The category of Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year is as it sounds: The place that's nearby, your reliable go-to. Here are our nominees:

Douglas Bar and Grill
Park Cities is represented by this fancy barbecue restaurant in Snider Plaza from chef Doug Pickering, a Park Cities native and SMU grad who was previously at Work Bar in Deep Ellum and Ferris Wheeler's in the Design District. Douglas covers brisket and BBQ staples, but is also half steakhouse, with oysters on the half shell, steak tartare, truffle fries, and Prime steaks from Allen Brothers Ranch, plus cocktails and a wine list.

El Bolero
Upscale authentic Mexican restaurant is a bright light for Apheleia Restaurant Group, who were among the first to settle in Dallas' Design District. El Bolero is just the place after a gallery run or if you're one of the growing population of residents nearby seeking interesting yet affordable fare, whether that's $8 tacos every Tuesday night, a quick breakfast taco to go in the morning, or the restaurant's secretly-popular weekend brunch.

El Rincon del Maiz
Family-run Mexican restaurant in a former Sonic has two menus. One features classics such as cochinita pibil tacos. But it's their seccond menu of vegan dishes that has earned attention, including inclusion on Bon Appétit’s list of Best New Restaurants in America. They're not the only Dallas Mexican restaurant to do tacos with cauliflower or jackfruit, but their homey recipes, drawn from south Mexico, have a complexity that draws not only Garland locals but vegans and foodies across DFW.

Greenville Ave Pizza
"GAP" started out in 2007 as a standard neighborhood pizzeria on Lower Greenville with thin-crust pizzas, wings, salads, and subs, but has blossomed into much more. There's a real sense of personality, from calling their staff "pizza slayers" to amusing limited-edition pies like the five-layer "pizza cake" they once made for the Super Bowl. They've since opened two equally neighborly more locations: East Dallas where owners Sammy and Molly Mandell grew up, and Richardson, which features a full-service bar.

Le Bilboquet
When this Travis Walk restaurant opened in 2013, it became an instant favorite ladies-who-lunch spot — long before the Knox Street district underwent its draconian overhaul, with quaint shops replaced by steely high-rises. But the ladies still love it, and Le Bilboquet prevails with its French-American fusion menu — crab & avocado salad, endive with Roquefort cheese, apple tarte tatin — not to mention its darling casual-yet-elegant atmosphere and proximity to Park Cities.

Meso Maya
Ambitious mini-chain features authentic dishes from Central and Southern Mexico such as mole and posole, but also Tex-Mex touches, a well-appointed atmosphere, and $12 cocktails with muddled fruit. The first location opened in 2012 an iconic spot near downtown Dallas, where it received recognition from Preservation Dallas, but it fits in wherever it resides, from Preston Forest to Lakewood to West Plano to Fort Worth.

Restaurant inspired by the French Riviera is from founder David Lamberti, an Irving local with a real feel for what the neighborhood needs. That means an appetizing and approachable menu, ranging from appealing Bibb lettuce salad to pizzas to risotto to steak frites; an atmosphere that's elegant but not stuffy; and a front seat to the canals for which Las Colinas is known, making Monaco feel like both a destination and a hidden gem.

Casual Mexican spot opened in 2020 in a former tire shop at Ross and Greenville Avenue — a location that could be challenging but for the prowess of chef Fino Rodriguez, who was nominated in 2022's Tastemaker Awards for Best Rising Star Chef. The restaurant draws neighbors and foodies alike with its authentic flavors and upscale ingredients, in ambitious dishes such as tacos with rib eye steak, ceviche, Mexican grits with Cotija cheese, and irresistible frozen mezcalitas.

Casual Italian eatery on Greenville Avenue has been the ultimate neighborhood restaurant before anyone started making lists of such things. It first opened in 1985, was destroyed by a fire in 2010, rebuilt and reopened in 2011, and endures as a favorite hangout, thanks to a reasonably priced menu of pastas, fun martinis, rooftop patio, and free live jazz. And don't forget the Italchos, their signature dish that's a cross between nachos and pizza. Never forget the Italchos.

Tribal All Day Cafe
Charming community-oriented cafe in Exxir Capital's Bishop Arts development is hugely practical, especially if you're a North Oak Cliffer who loves juices, smoothies, coffee, tea, kombucha on tap, trendy flavored lattes such as beet, breakfast all day, toasts, sandwiches, vegan & vegetarian food, wraps, bowls, beer & great wine, and cocktails made with cold-press juice. Locals know that it can get crowded at breakfast and lunch, and also that they can hang out in the quiet hours between.

Where to see spectacular bluebonnets in Dallas-Fort Worth and around Texas in spring 2023

Signs of sring

In exciting news for wildflower watchers, bluebonnet season not only came earlier across Texas this spring, but the blooms are more abundant, more colorful, and even more fragrant than in recent years.

Thanks to plenty of rain and recent warm, sunny weather, the beloved state flower is painting the landscape blue along highways and in fields all over Texas. At this writing (in the last days of March), bluebonnets are peaking in the Houston area and throughout the Hill Country. Don't wait too much longer to plan your flower expedition; they'll be past their prime by mid-April.

Here in Dallas-Fort Worth, we're a few weeks behind - but not too far off, as anyone who's driven on the local highways in the past week can attest. Our biggest bluebonnet mecca in the region, the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails, are opening Saturday, April 1 - and the blooms are already popping, organizers say.

Following are areas in Dallas-Fort Worth and around Texas where folks have reported bluebonnets already, or where they're looking reliable for pretty photos further into spring. Hopefully, just like the flowers, this list will continue to grow.

And, don't forget: Bluebonnets aren't the only wildflower that bloom in spring. Indian paintbrush, Indian blanket, evening primrose, Mexican hat, anemone, redbud trees, Mexican plum, elbow bush, and coreopsis are also among the thousands of varieties that paint Texas with color throughout the season.


The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails, North Texas’ No. 1 spot for bluebonnet spotting, open April 1 and run through the end of the month. The trails wind visitors through 40 miles of picturesque wildflowers. But not all of them bloom at the same time; be sure to stop at the Welcome Center for a map and expert guidance. The blooms are expected to peak around mid-April, coinciding with the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival, April 14-16. The first week of April, there’ll be pretty patches along Sugar Ridge Road, spotters say. Those interested in making the trek about 40 miles south of Dallas can check out maps and updates on the website and social media channels. Download the Ennis Y’all mobile app to get all the information on your smartphone.

Dallas-Fort Worth roadsides, fields, and parks

Freeway embankments
Stopping beside a highway or posing for photos on the side of the road is never advised. But the blue patches are always thrilling for passengers to spot while traversing local freeways. Some to note: The lush fields of blue along either side of SH 183 are a pleasant diversion while stopped in rush-hour traffic near D/FW Airport. There are some along SH 114 in Grapevine, SH 75 going north out of Dallas, and I-635 in northwest Dallas. Drive I-45 south from Dallas, through Corsicana, toward Houston, and you’ll see them everywhere. Look on either side of I-30 from Dallas to Arlington to Fort Worth, toward Dickies Arena, and west out of the city. There are even some that have popped up at the onerous convergence of I-35W and I-30 west near downtown Fort Worth.

Bluebonnet Trail Greenbeltin Plano is already popping with blooms at the end of March, with many more to come. Bluebonnet Trail runs from Central Expressway to Midway Road, following an Oncor power line easement and along Spring Creek Parkway and Chase Oaks Boulevard; it intersects with the Chisholm Trail in the middle of Plano and connects with the Preston Ridge Trail at Carpenter Park. View maps of the trails here and here.

The Laura W. Bush Native Texas Park, a 15-acre urban park on the grounds of George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU, features a one-mile network of trails that walks visitors through native Texas environments, including spring wildflowers. Bluebonnets are peeking out among a sea of other native wildflowers, and they're just getting started. Peak is still a few weeks off. According to park personnel, visitors will also find Winecup, Pink Evening Primrose, Plains Coreopsis, Engelman Daisy, Foxglove, Prairie Spiderwort, White Prairie Clover, Prairie Verbana, Texas Yellowstar, Gaillardia, and Scrambled Eggs. Download a guide to the flowers here.

Cedar Hill State Park, a favorite place for mountain bikers, has bluebonnets popping along the trails. Visitors are sure to see some on a guided hike, and the ranger-led sunrise hikes are especially rewarding.

Many Dallas parks have "no mow" wildflower areas, where colorful flowers dot pathways and fill fields in spring. According to the Dallas Park & Recreation website, parks with wildflower areas to watch for include: Flagpole Hill, Harry Moss Park, Bachman, Grauwyler, Kessler Parkway, Gateway, and many more.

Freedom Meadow, Frisco
The field at the Warren Sports Complex is a bluebonnet photo hot spot each year. The flowers are getting revved up; look for them to really pop in April, spotters say.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden/BRIThas thousands of tulips and other spring flowers blooming, but you'll see some bluebonnets, too. Head toward the Cactus Garden greenhouse. Other colorful spring blooms that typically dot their landscape in spring: Texas mountain laurel, peach trees, crabapples, Redbuds, and Dogwood, and cherry blossoms. Keep up with what's flourishing in the gardens via their Facebook page.

Hill Country
Just a few hours out of the Metroplex, wildflowers are at peak already. Here are some places to check out in the Central Texas/Hill Country region.

Marble Falls
The bluebonnets are flourishing in this popular Hill Country town (and home to the famous Blue Bonnet Cafe). Look for bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, yuccas, and many other wildflowers to paint landscapes all over the area. Turkey Bend Recreation Area is always a specific hot spot. A old house off SH 281 called, simply, "The Bluebonnet House," is showing up in many picturesque photo shoots already; read about it here. Check out the guide to this year’s fresh patches here. They even have scenic drive recommendations, here.

Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area, Spicewood
The bluebonnet fields at this public park northwest of Austin are more abundant than they have been in years, say spotters. There usually are large patches of flowers on the riverbank, and it's easy to drive around and park a car to set up and take time for photo shoots (rather than pulling over on the side of the road). Find it at 2820 County Road 414, Spicewood.

For many Texans, Fredericksburg is synonymous with bluebonnets. If you're going there, don't delay. "The 2023 wildflower season is in full bloom. Bluebonnets are at their peak and should be abundant through the first 10 days of April," a report on the Visit Fredericksburg website says. While you'll see the blooms all over the region, a good first stop is always Wildseed Farms, the largest working wildflower farm in the country. Then ask the locals for their favorite flower-viewing spots. They offer a list of places to see them here. The Fredericksburg Bluebonnet Festival will happen April 22. Pro tip: Plan a mid-week F'burg getaway since weekends get mobbed during the spring. While you're in the area, don't miss the ...

Willow City Loop
One of the best drives in Texas is the 13-mile, two-lane Willow City Loop. A lot of people start in Fredericksburg, take State Highway 16 north approximately 13 miles and turn east on Ranch Road 1323 to Willow City. It's reportedly more of a wildflower wonderland this season than it has been the past few. It's a pretty drive, traversing hills and creeks, offering gorgeous views of meadows and valleys. Warning: Roadside property along this route is private, so no wandering into the fields.

Southeast Texas
Down toward Houston, fields have been bursting with color in March, reports say. Don't wait to much longer to visit or they'll be past their prime. "Bluebonnets are HERE at peak and looking gorgeous! We anticipate they will look vibrant for the next 1-2 weeks," Visit Brenham posted on March 29.

Brenham/Chappell Hill/Industry, Washington County
Halfway between Austin and Houston, Brenham is a town that prides itself on its wildflowers (and on being the home of Blue Bell Ice Cream). Using "Flower Watch," visitors can check in almost daily on the Visit Brenham website to see what is blooming. Spotters rave about a field of bluebonnets behind a Walmart store.

Washington County as a whole thrives with bluebonnets. Prime viewing spots typically are along Highway 290 east and west as you drive into Brenham; FM 1155 to 2679 in Chappell Hill; and FM 2447 and Highway 290 at First Baptist Church of Chappell Hill (the church typically welcomes visitors, but requests that the parking lot remain open to members of its congregation).

Also between Houston and Austin, Lake Somerville State Park typically has fields of photo-worthy bluebonnets. The nearby towns of LaGrange and Ellinger do, as well; a scenic drive on Highway 71 in the area will bring some colorful stops, spotters say. FM 1291 from Frelsburg through Fayetteville to LaGrange has photo-worthy fields.

2023 bluebonnet festivals

Resources to keep up with wildflower season

Rules of the road

  • Remember that while it isn’t illegal to pick the blooms, it is bad form. Leave them for others to enjoy and so the flowers can go to seed and make more for next year.
  • By the same token, minimize trampling of the plants, as crushing them repeatedly (by, say, sitting on them) can destroy the flowers. Try to walk in other people's footprints in a field.
  • Be aware that fields can also contain fire ants and the occasional snake. Be careful if walking through grass where it’s not possible to see where you’re stepping.
  • Pulling over on the side of a highway for photos is never recommended. Find a nearby parking lot.
  • Also, remember the "groups" rule. If you approach a pretty patch and another family is taking photos, ride on by.
  • Finally, be respectful of private property — no climbing fences, going through gates, or driving up driveways to get that photo. You might get a less-than-warm welcome.


Got a great bluebonnet spot? Email stephanie@culturemap.com.