As the Texas Legislature convenes for its 88th session, many patients, physicians, and advocates are pushing for expansions to the Compassionate Use Program, the state’s medical cannabis program.
Since 2015, the program has expanded twice, allowing for more than 150 conditions to qualify for medical cannabis.
For thousands of patients in the state, medical cannabis provides a safe alternative to opioid medications and effective relief for symptoms like pain, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, muscle spasms, and more.
Texas Original, the state’s leading medical cannabis provider, makes the process of getting a prescription easy. Receiving a medical cannabis prescription starts with a few simple steps:
Step 1: Find out if you qualify The first step is to find out if you qualify by scheduling an appointment with a doctor registered in the Compassionate Use Program.
Several registered doctors offer convenient virtual appointments through telemedicine practices so patients can meet with the doctor from anywhere in Texas.
To set your appointment, visit Texas Original’s website and fill out the form. Veterans, first responders, teachers, and medical professionals are eligible to receive a free first appointment for a six-month prescription. If you belong to one of these eligible groups, simply check the box on the form.
Step 2: Talk to a doctor During your appointment, the doctor will review your medical records and confirm if you are eligible for medical cannabis, then discuss your treatment plan.
Once approved, your doctor will add your prescription to the online medical cannabis registry, where it can be accessed by licensed dispensaries.
Step 3: Receive a prescription After your appointment, call 512-614-0343 to place your first order. Texas Original offers the state’s leading medical-grade cannabis products, including Texas’ first fast-acting medical cannabis gummies.
All products undergo rigorous testing and the results are published publicly on Texas Original’s website for patients to access anytime.
The dispensary team will help you select your products, then schedule you for a pickup at a location nearest to you or arrange home delivery.
Medical cannabis provides Texans an all-natural option that may help alleviate symptoms like pain, insomnia, and anxiety that are commonly associated with approved medical conditions.
If you or a loved one are ready to start your journey with medical cannabis, reach out to Texas Original to get started. Plus, enjoy a 20 percent discount on your first order at Texas Original.
Way out west lies Alpine, a small town with big charm that's surrounded by a gorgeous desert mountain landscape. Equally desirable is the weather: The dry air and elevation keep the days fresh and cool year-round, especially in the mornings and evenings.
Though it may seem far from big cities, Alpine is centrally connected to the most scenic routes in the state, with easy day-trip access to Big Bend National Park, Marfa, Fort Davis, Marathon, McDonald Observatory, and more.
Whether you're passing through or parking your suitcase for a while, here's what to see in Alpine:
Play ball Located north of downtown, Kokernot Field has been called the “best little ballpark in Texas” by Sports Illustrated. It's the home of the Alpine Cowboys, a nonprofit team that plays in the Pecos League, a professional baseball club which is not affiliated with the Major or Minor Baseball League.
The field dates back to 1947, when longtime rancher Herbert Kokernot Jr. built a baseball stadium to replicate Chicago's Wrigley Field, using materials from his own ranch to add that personal touch. The Cowboys' season typically starts in late May and continues until the end of July (unless they make the playoffs). The players are recruited from all over the United States, with some having come as far as Japan and Puerto Rico.
Lace up and explore So much beautiful scenery demands to be explored, and Alpine has plenty of parks and trails to satisfy that urge.
Hancock Hill, behind Sul Ross State University, has a small system of hiking trails that feature scenic overlooks of the town and the path to The Desk.
If you haven’t heard the story of The Desk, it goes like this: In 1981, three Sul Ross students carried a desk up Hancock Hill to study. Soon they were spending hours on the hill, enjoying the beautiful surroundings. When one of them left a notebook in a desk drawer and later saw someone had written in it, he replied and soon the tradition of a notebook associated with The Desk was born. There have been dozens of notebooks filled since that are now stored at SRSU's Archives of the Big Bend.
Of course, Big Bend National Park is not to be missed, and neither are Big Bend Ranch State Park and Davis Mountains State Park. Make sure you're appropriately prepared, with proper hiking clothes, plenty of water, and an emergency plan before you head out.
You can also spend a day at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center, where in addition to hiking trails you'll find informative exhibits and programs, a greenhouse, and a botanical center.
Museum time Eager to learn more? Head to Museum of the Big Bend on the Sul Ross State University campus for what director Mary Bones calls "your best introduction to the Big Bend area."
The museum celebrates natural and human history as well as cultures of the Big Bend region. Rotating exhibits include paintings, photography, and more. If you love maps, you’ll be fascinated by the historical pieces in the Yana and Marty Davis Map Collection.
Saddle up In 1948, the Sul Ross State University rodeo team met with 11 other schools and formed the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, or NIRA. Today, the university still hosts the annual Southwest Region competition and has several national championships under its belt.
Rodeo fans can also get their fill at the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo, held this year August 11-12.
More events Get ready for a summer and fall filled with fun events, starting with the music festivals Viva Big Bend (July 26-30) and Fiesta 1888 (August 5). Art lovers should show up for Trappings of Texas September 14-16 at Museum of the Big Bend and Artwalk on November 17-18, while music fans will want to attend the Big Bend Bluegrass Festival October 6-7.
Round it all out Wondering where to eat while you're here? There are several options for casual fine dining and plenty of spots that specialize in fresh seafood. Expect a lot of small, family-owned and operated restaurants and food trucks for a truly homemade flavor.
That's also the theme when it comes to shopping, with locally owned boutiques found throughout downtown, including a spot for vintage vinyl records and a fine independent bookstore with an attached coffee shop. While you're browsing, pause to snap pics at the more than 40 murals dotted throughout downtown.
Lay your head Stay in the historic Holland Hotel, Alpine’s classic railroad hotel originally constructed in 1928. There were originally two railroad hotels: one for the ranchers and one for the workers.
In addition to trusted hotel chains, other hotels with unique vibes include Quarter Circle 7 at Hotel Parker, the Maverick Inn motor court, Alpine Bed & Breakfast, and more.
If the Live Music Capital of the World isn’t at the top of the list for your next road trip, you’re surely missing out.
With nearly 300 days of sunshine year-round, plenty of live music to keep you movin’ all night, and countless dining options, Austin always has more to discover.
After your first visit, you’ll want to come back for more — especially to avoid the FOMO (fear of missing out) on all these upcoming summertime events.
Live music to my ears
The music scene in Austin is unforgettable, with hundreds of live music venues all over the city.
Legendary icons like Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin, and Gary Clark Jr. all have their roots in the Live Music Capital of the World. Historic experiences are alive and well in one of Austin's oldest and most famed dance halls, the Broken Spoke, and don't forget Victory Grill, a staple on the historic Chitlin' Circuit where W. C. Clark and B. B. King once played.
Gear up for the week-long takeovers of free music across tons of Austin venues during Hot Summer Nights every summer, and Austin City Limits Music Festival in the fall.
For your first summer trip tradition, make sure you pack an extra picnic blanket to catch Austin’s largest free concert series: Blues on the Green at Zilker Park in June and July. The city’s top local bands perform to hundreds of attendees every year.
And if you can’t get enough of the park, make plans to visit the free Zilker Summer Musical by the Zilker Hillside Theatre. This outdoor troupe hosts performances Thursday through Sunday in July and August starting at 8:15 pm.
Festivities for the foodies
You shouldn’t visit Austin without trying what they're most known for: barbecue and Tex-Mex. For those who don't eat meat, don’t worry — many iconic restaurants around town serve up a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Austin is also known for its unique food trucks, which can be found all over town.
Several James Beard award-winning chefs grace Austin with their culinary creations, such as Iliana De La Vega of El Naranjo, Edgar Rico of Nixta Taqueria (who was also named Austin's Chef of the Year at the 2022 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards), and Mashama Bailey of Diner Bar, who made it onto Texas Monthly’s list of best new restaurants of 2023. Bailey is also the executive chef of Grey Market.
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails also recently won CultureMap’s Tastemaker Award for Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year.
And you can’t say you had a true Central Texas experience without trying its signature cuisine. Franklin Barbecue is the most recognized name in town — and was even declared the best Texas barbecue by Southern Living — but others would put LeRoy and Lewis BBQ in the top spot after it was recognized by Texas Monthly in their list of best barbecue in the state.
Veracruz All Natural has been lauded by Food Network as one of the top taco shops in America, featured in the New York Times and winner of People’s Choice Best Food Truck and Best Tacos in the Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin awards
If you're looking for a beautiful fusion of live music and food that hits deep in the soul, the Hot Luck Festival May 25-28, 2023, is your ticket to a picnic-and-party experience that spotlights culinary knowledge and music.
Can’t-miss summer experiences
The capital of Texas is a year-round outdoor enthusiast’s playground, and summer is the peak time to try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking on Lady Bird Lake.
Go for a stroll along the Butler Hike and Bike Trail, then dip your toes into the eternally chilly waters of the spring-fed Barton Springs Pool, which was recently deemed the “most Instagrammable” pool in America. But before that great honor, the historic pool was once a sacred site for the Tonkawa people and later used as a mission site by Spanish explorers in the 17th century.
If you’re looking for an urban wildlife adventure, you won’t have to travel far. Austin is home to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats, which is the largest urban bat colony in the entirety of North America.
The bats call the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge their home, and you can watch them fly out for their nightly meal while lined up on the bridge or from a bat cruise or kayak on the river below.
Bat Fest in August is the city’s annual family-friendly celebration of the mammals’ nightly flights with live music, children's activities, a costume contest, and more.
Seek out the iconic murals and spectacular street art scene by exploring any of the city's neighborhoods. Look for iconic pieces like the "Greetings from Austin" mural, "I Love You So Much," or "You’re My Butter Half," along with hundreds of new and evolving pieces on nearly every corner.
Besides its endless music presence, Austin is also known as a film buff’s paradise. SXSW Conference & Festivals has a hand in that, but we can’t forget to give thanks to the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. From May through September, watch flicks that date back to the 1930s and go all the way up to the modern-day blockbuster. New films are announced every month, so you’ll be able to catch a classic or find your new underground favorite (to brag to your non-film friends about, of course).
Another can't-miss event, the Austin Pride Parade & Festival is celebrated every August (which is also Austin Pride Month) and is the largest annual LGBTQ+ advocacy and fundraising event in Central Texas. Gather with thousands of folks to show off your pride.
Whether you’re a painter or poet, musician or muse, tech guru or business icon, Austin is a city that will welcome you, engage you, and inspire you. Find more to do, eat, and see in Austin here.
Oenophiles, rejoice! The Forbes Five-Star Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston is bringing together 32 of Sonoma County's most prolific wineries for one incredible evening of tasting, learning, and toasting.
The experts themselves – winery owners, wine makers, and grape growers — will be at The Post Oak Wine Experience on June 9 from 7-10 pm, held in The Post Oak Hotel Grand Ballroom.
But you don't have to be a vino connoisseur to attend this extraordinary affair; all are welcome, regardless of one's familiarity with the world of wine. Whether you seek a romantic rendezvous, a convivial gathering among friends, or an enriching educational encounter, this event promises to be a soiree tailored to the discerning tastes of wine lovers and novices alike.
"Sonoma is one of my favorite wine regions (even as a Napa native) and this exclusive event is a rare opportunity to taste through hundreds of wines that showcase the area’s incredible diversity and overall excellence,” says Keith Goldston, Master Sommelier.
To further elevate the experience, guests can indulge in the culinary creations crafted by executive chef Jean-Luc Royere while being serenaded by live music. An impressive charcuterie board that spans the ballroom is one snack that's on the menu.
The selection of wineries includes such renowned names as Kosta Browne, Kistler Vineyards, Silver Oak, Jordan, and 28 other esteemed participants.
If you want to experience a taste of five-star accommodations following the event, The Post Oak Wine Experience Package includes overnight accommodation, two admission tickets to the event, breakfast for two, and a wine welcome amenity. You can book the package here.
This is the second annual Post Oak Wine Experience event. Last year, The Post Oak Hotel welcomed the wine region of Rioja.
“As a fifth-generation grape grower in Sonoma County, I appreciate getting out into different markets and sharing my family’s story and our wines," says Steve Dutton, co-owner of Dutton Ranch and Dutton-Goldfield Winery. "For this event at The Post Oak Hotel, we are really going big with some special wines that we are excited to pour. I am looking forward to being there with some of the best winemakers and grape growers from our region and showcasing everything we love about Sonoma County."
Tickets for the event can be purchased here, and are priced at $195 per person. This includes admission to the event, unlimited wine tastings, food offerings, and complimentary event parking.
May is a prime road trip month, one in which you'll want to take advantage of the warm spring weather in Texas — before it turns sizzling — with a fun camping adventure.
If you need a snazzy mode of transport to complete your experience — or just don't fancy going without a bed, private bathroom, and kitchen — RVshare has you covered with an endless (over 100,000!) list of luxe RVs in a wide range of styles, amenities, and sizes to take on your trip.
And with their handy delivery service, they’ll drive your perfect RV selection to your destination and set the whole thing up.
Let RVshare do the hard work to allow you more time to enjoy one of these splendid Central Texas camp spots:
Dios Rios Hill Country RV Park in Mason Fulfill all your water activity dreams at “the finest RV park in Central Texas.” Dios Rios is located at the junction of the James and Llano Rivers, making it the perfect place for kayaking, tubing, paddle-boarding, and fishing.
Traveling with your dog? Not a problem — the park is very pet friendly and has spacious RV sites for you and your four-legged friend to enjoy. With hundreds of four and five-star reviews, Dios Rios RV Park truly is a Texas classic.
Oak Forest RV Resort in Austin This tucked-away resort is just a 10-minute escape east from downtown Austin. Oak Forest boasts 78 premium RV sites out of a total 289 around the resort.
They also offer plenty of amenities to guests, such as free WiFi and cable TV with over 70 channels, a fitness center, playground, resort-style swimming pool and hot tub, dog parks, and a propane station. Find some relaxation at this hidden gem of a resort.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Canyon Lake If putting the kids first is your main goal for a spring vacation, this Canyon Lake park is the place to be. Yogi Bear’s Hill Country Park has several RV site options: You can stay closer to the action or find a more secluded home base among the trees.
One of the best ways to maximize your family fun is with the events calendar, which gives everyone a chance to find their favorite daily activity.
Lazy L&L Campground in New Braunfels This laidback campground, which was recently ranked one of the best Texas campsites for weekend getaways, is a scenic paradise with a beautiful river frontage across 25 acres. Their RV sites are located on a mile of shaded riverfront land, making your temporary backyard an aquatic oasis for fishing, tubing, rafting, or kayaking.
All of L&L’s RV sites include a picnic table, fire ring, and a barbecue grill, so you won’t be cramped while trying to eat a home-cooked meal.
Al’s Hideaway in Pipe Creek Al’s Hideaway is a family-built, owned, and operated 20-acre campground located 15 minutes away from fellow Hill Country towns Bandera and Boerne, outside of San Antonio. A majority of the land has been left in its natural state, making this a haven for all Texas wildlife.
Their RV spaces are “thoughtfully laid out” to allow guests the maximum amount of space and privacy. Word is that the activities in the area are endless, with opportunities for visiting wineries, breweries, distilleries, caves, museums, and more.
By the River Campground in Kerrville 65 acres of peace and quiet are right at your fingertips with this Kerrville campground along the Guadalupe River. Hike one of their trails, birdwatch, or simply bask in the presence of the calming river water while escaping from your busy work life.
By the River offers golf cart, kayak, and stand-up paddle board rentals for all your exploration needs.
Founded in 2013, RVshare is the largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace and can help you secure everything from a travel trailer to a luxury motorhome, all backed with extraordinary customer service from the RVshare team. Renters get payment and fraud protection, plus 24/7 emergency roadside service and even free delivery where available. Pets are welcome in specified vehicles. To rent an RV for your next glamping trip, click here.
Nearly two dozen Dallas-Fort Worth museums are honoring active duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20-September 4, 2023.
Established by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Blue Star Museums program annually provides military families free access to 2,000 museums nationwide throughout the summer. The program begins yearly on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day.
Free admission is extended to personnel currently serving in the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including those in the Reserve), and all National Guardsman. Members of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps are also included in the program.
Those who qualify can use their military ID to bring up to five family members - including relatives of those currently deployed. More information about qualifications can be found here.
There is no limit on the number of participating museums that qualifying families may visit. Admission for non-active military veterans, however, is not included.
According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the initiative was created to help "improve the quality of life for active duty military families" with a specific focus on children. The site states 2 million have had a parent deployed since 2001.
"Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration," the organizers say. "This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together."
In Dallas-Fort Worth, participating institutions include well-known art, science, and history museums, as well as smaller museums outside the city limits. Here's a look at all the museums in North Texas that are participating in the Blue Star Museums initiative this year.
Editor's Note: In prior stories, CultureMap contributor Lila Levy has sussed out the top bagels in Dallas, and tried pretty much every lavender latte in town. Now she's ready to offer her take on that summertime classic: hot dogs.
portillo's hot dogs
Hot dogs are the quintessential summer food and an item that nearly everyone loves. They're simple, flavorful, easy to make at home, and affordable if you dine out.
Some cities like Chicago have a long-standing tradition with hot dogs, and while Dallas is not Windy-City-level quiet yet, we've seen an influx of some exciting new hot dog concepts come to town, joining a few locals who've been dishing out memorable hot dogs all along.
Here's the 7 most interesting hot dogs you can find in Dallas-Fort Worth:
Portillo’s in the Colony, Chicago-style hot dog, $4.50
Chicago-based fast casual brand known for its hot dogs and other favorite Chicago fare, has expanded to Texas, with its first restaurant in The Colony, which opened in January 2023. Chicago-style hot dogs are my favorite kind, and Portillo's does it right. Their basic hot dog comes with "everything": mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, sliced tomato, pickle, and sport peppers on a steamed poppy seed bun. I loved the condiments, especially the peppers and relish. My companion thought the bun was too soft, but it was fine for me. Their hot dogs have a snappy casing with a robust tangy flavor.
Hunky'sHunky Dog, $4.25
Cedar Springs pioneer has been serving hamburgers, fries, and malts, since 1984. They're known for their burgers but they also do a trio of hot dogs including the classic "Hunky Dog," a hefty quarter-pounder with relish, onions, and mustard. I've been here before and know it's best to ask for the hot dog to be grilled extra, to give it that additional "burnt hot dog" cookout flavor. At $4.25, it's a bargain and their presentation is cool: They split the hot dog down the middle and place the onions and relish on top, and they toast the edges of their bun.
Fletcher's Original Corny DogsMake Mine Texan, $10
No story on hot dogs is complete without Fletcher's, famed purveyor of the classic corny dog. You used to have to wait for the State Fair of Texas to get them, but now that they have a food truck, you can find them camped at venues such as the Dallas Arboretum, and they're also at Klyde Warren Park Tuesdays-Sundays. They've expanded their lineup of flavors so I ordered their most recent invention: Called Make Mine Texan, it's a hot dog made of beef and brisket, with smoke seasoning that adds a heartier Texas flavor.
Dog Haus in RichardsonTooo Chi, $8
California hot dog chain takes a gourmet approach with jumbo hot dogs, veggie dogs, vegan sausages, and 40+ toppings including some you might not expect, such as arugula. I ordered the Tooo Chi, their version of the Chicago hot dog, which they brag is a hormone- and antibiotic-free beef hot dog, with tomato, pickle, neon-green pickle relish, mustard, diced onions, sport peppers, and celery salt. Their cooking added a nice char that emphasized the grilled flavor. It made me nostalgic to the days when my parents would grill hot dogs in the summer outside. Their point of distinction is their bread: sweet rich King's Hawaiian rolls, which they butter and grill, for a nice contrast of soft roll and crisp edges.
Angry DogAngry Dog, $8.95
Deep Ellum staple had hot dogs on the menu long before hot dogs became the foodie sensation they are today, and they offer a simple plain hot dog on a bun as a nod to those humble days. But everyone gets the signature Angry Dog: a kosher dog, split in half and grilled, placed on a toasted open-faced bun, then topped with chili, grilled red onions, mustard, and shredded cheddar cheese. It's more of a chili casserole than a hot dog, a knife-and-fork kind of deal where the bun gets soggy underneath the mountain of toppings, and you almost lose track of the hot dog. But unbeatable for a hangover cure or a big cheat meal.
Globe Life Field, Ballpark hot dog, $7
In recent years, the Texas Rangers' food service division has been jazzing up its ballpark menu, introducing new items, some of them crazy like the Boomstick 2-foot-long hot dog. I stick to the basic ballpark hot dog, with the only option being that you can get grilled onions at no additional charge. It's a standard six-inch hot dog, with self-serve mustard, ketchup, and relish, on a soft, nondescript bun, with a nice snap, the prototypical hot dog you eat while cheering on the hometown team.
Frank Seoul, Potato hot dog, $5.49
Korean hot dogs, also known as Korean corn dogs, are a Korean street food that started showing up in Dallas a few years ago, via Korean-born chains such as Two Hands and K-Town. Frank Seoul was one of the first and has locations in Carrollton and Frisco. Their specialty is hot dogs coated in a batter and deep-fried, like a corny dog but with a batter made from flour or rice flour, and additional ingredients such as the coating of diced potatoes in the potato hot dog that I ordered. They have a wild variety like a "cream cheese dog" — literally cream cheese on a stick &mdash and prices are all $6 or less.
This is not the place for a hot dog purist. The hot dog itself was lackluster, but the "shell" of crispy fried potatoes was magnificent, like a wonderful hash brown, and great on its own, didn't need the mustard I added a bit.