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It's spring break week for most Dallas-area families, and many are escaping the bustling city for the crisp Colorado air and ski resorts.

Where are they going most? In the latest report from vacation rental specialist Key Data, more Dallas spring breakers have set off for Crested Butte (specifically Mt. Crested Butte, at the base of the ski area) than any other destination. No wonder hop-on jet service JSX has launched new flights there.

Key Data determined their rankings based on the average nightly rate, the number of nights sold, the total accommodation cost, and the length of stay by travelers from Dallas who made bookings in the month of March.

Coming in at the No. 2 spot for the top destinations for Dallas spring breakers is a city in the sunshine state: Watercolor, Florida. Three other ski resorts in Colorado - Breckenridge (No. 3), Steamboat Springs (No. 4) and Mountain Village (No. 5) - round out the top five.

For the curious minds wondering how much the average spring break stay is for the ski resort in Crested Butte, Key Data’s figured it out. The cost of the average 4.8-day accommodation at the resort adds up to $550 per night, or $2,643 total.

For those looking to venture to the warm and humid Florida beach, you’d be surprised to learn you’re not saving much money. Visitors will spend $1,045 per night, or $6,820 total for accommodations in Watercolor for the 6.3-day average stay.

In a press release, Key Data’s executive director of data insights Melanie Brown says the city’s spring breakers are divided into two categories this year: vacationers looking to see the mountains and embrace the snow, and those who want to catch some rays at the beach.

“While snowy Colorado mountain destinations are the most popular, there’s a portion who plan to spend their break on the beach in Watercolor, Florida, perhaps to escape the bustle of the city,” she says.

The top 5 destinations for Dallas spring breakers is:

  • No. 1 – Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado
  • No. 2 – Watercolor, Florida
  • No. 3 – Breckenridge, Colorado
  • No. 4 – Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  • No. 5 – Mountain Village, Colorado

Key Data also determined that 11 million nights for this year’s spring break week have been booked through online vacation rental marketplaces like Airbnb and Vrbo. That’s up 22 percent from last year, which accounted for 9.4 million nights.

Didn't make it out of town for spring break? Don't worry - there's still plenty to do this week in DFW. Here's a list of 10 cool new events and attractions to hit on a DFW spring break staycation.

Photo courtesy of Six Flags Over Texas

Revolutionary new water coaster ready for 150-foot splashdown at Six Flags Over Texas

SCREAM BREAK

Adrenaline junkies, get in line and prepare to get drenched: The long-awaited new Aquaman: Power Wave water coaster is officially opening at Six Flags Over Texas on March 11.

The revolutionary new roller coaster is touted as the first of its kind in North America.

It's a multi-launch "water coaster" that propels riders in two 20-passenger boats back and forth along a 2,000-foot track and up two 150-foot towers. Then, riders are held, face down, at 90 degrees before being thrust 63 miles per hour straight down.

Then, splash! The ride comes to a thrilling end with a plunge into a giant water wave. (Watch a video demo of it here.)

Aquaman: Power Wave is Six Flags Over Texas' 14th coaster.

Aquaman: Power WaveAquaman: Power Wave will be open during Scream Break evening hours.Photo courtesy of Six Flags Over Texas

Its grand opening comes in conjunction with Six Flags’ spring break week, including special "Scream Break" evening events.

Scream Break will take place every night from 9 pm-12 am, March 11-18. Visitors who aren’t afraid of the dark can experience two haunted houses, a designated scare zone, a freakshow, and other spooky activities that are unavailable in the daylight.

Richard Douaihy, the president of Six Flags Over Texas, says in a release that spring break is one of the best times during the year to visit the park.

“We are always filled with joy to see legions of fans and their families creating lasting memories at our park, and the classic Spring Break and new Scream Break events are sure to deliver such moments,” he says.

Besides Aquaman: Power Wave, other thrilling amusement rides such as Mr. Freeze (which is celebrating its 25th anniversary at the park) will also be open at night.

Nighttime attractions that will be available during Scream Break include:

  • Aquaman: Power Wave
  • Batman: The Ride
  • Catwoman Whip
  • Mr. Freeze
  • The Riddler Revenge
  • Texas SkyScreamer
  • Arania’s Murder Mansion haunted house
  • Labsics classified haunted house
  • Killer Clowns Scare Zone
  • Freakshow – The Ringmaster Presents

Scream Break tickets can be purchased separately or added to any single-day ticket or pass for $39.99 per person. Tickets can be found at sixflags.com.

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3 Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurs rank among Forbes' richest self-made women for 2023

Elite entrepreneurs

Twelve of the country's 100 most successful female entrepreneurs live in Texas this year, and three of them call Dallas-Fort Worth home. So says Forbes in its 2023 list of America's Richest Self-Made Women, released June 1.

"Bolstered in part by a rebound in the stock market, [the richest 100 female entrepreneurs] are cumulatively worth a record $124 billion, up nearly 12% from a year ago," says Forbes.

To make the Forbes list, women had to garner wealth on their own, rather than by inheriting or winning it.

Texas' wealthiest women have made their fortunes in fields ranging from home health care, insurance, and aviation logistics to jewelry design, dating apps, and running the show at SpaceX.

The three female entrepreneurs from North Texas that appear in the elite club of America’s richest self-made women (and their national rankings) are:

  • Robyn Jones, No. 29, of Fort Worth. Her net worth is estimated at $830 million. Jones is founder of Westlake-based Goosehead Insurance Agency LLC. She started the property and casualty insurance agency in 2003 after being frustrated with her truck-driver husband's "road warrior lifestyle," Forbes says. He joined her in 2004 and they took the company public in 2018. It has nearly 1,000 franchised offices.
  • April Anthony, No. 34, of Dallas. Forbes puts her net worth at $740 million. She founded the Dallas-based home health and hospice division of Encompass Health Corp and sold it for $750 million to HealthSouth. In 2022, she was named CEO of VitalCaring, a home health and hospice care firm.
  • Kathleen Hildreth, No. 44, of Aubrey. Her net worth is estimated at $590 million. Hildreth is co-founder of M1 Support Services LP, an aviation logistics company based in Denton. A service-disabled Army veteran, she graduated from West Point in 1983 and was deployed all around the world as a helicopter pilot.
The nine other Texans who appear on the list are from Austin and Central Texas. With an estimated net worth at $4.8 billion,Thai Lee, of Austin, remains at the top of the list in Texas, and ranks No. 5 nationally.
She falls behind only No. 1 Diane Hendricks of Wisconsin (co-founder of ABC Supply, $15 billion net worth); No. 2 Judy Love of Oklahoma (chairman and CEO, Love's Travel Stops And Country Stores, $10.2 billion); No. 3 Judy Faulknerof Wisconsin (founder and CEO, Epic Systems, $7.4 billion); and No. 4 Lynda Resnick of California (co-founder and co-owner of Wonderful Company, $5.3 billion) among America's richest self-made women.
For some additional perspective, Oprah Winfrey lands at No. 13 on the list for 2023. The TV titan (and most famous woman on the planet) has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, Forbes says.
Austin's Lee, a native of Bangkok who holds an MBA from Harvard University, is founder, president, and CEO of SHI International Corp., a provider of IT products and services with a projected revenue of $14 billion in 2023. Fun fact: "Lee majored in both biology and economics," Forbes says, "in part because her English was less than perfect and she wanted to avoid writing and speaking in class."
The remaining eight Texas women on the list are:
  • Gwynne Shotwell, No. 27, of Jonesboro (Coryell-Hamilton counties). Her net worth is estimated at $860 million. Shotwell is president and COO of Elon Musk's SpaceX. She manages the operations of the commercial space exploration company and owns an estimated stake of 1 percent, Forbes says.
  • Lisa Su, No. 34, Austin. Forbes pegs Su’s net worth at $740 million, tying her with April Anthony of Dallas. The native of Taiwan is president and CEO of Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices.
  • Kendra Scott, No. 47, of Austin.Forbes says she has amassed a net worth of $550 million as founder of Kendra Scott LLC, which designs and sells jewelry in more than 100 stores (and is worth $360 million). The celebrity entrepreneur is also a judge on TV's Shark Tank.
  • Whitney Wolfe Herd, No. 52, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $510 million. Herd is co-founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., which operates two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo. She owns a 17% stake in Bumble and became the youngest self-made woman billionaire after it went public in February 2021.
  • Paige Mycoskie, No. 73, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $380 million. Mycoskie created founded her 1970s-inspired California lifestyle brand, Aviator Nation, which took off during the pandemic and now has 16 retail locations across the U.S. If the name sounds familiar, that's because she'sl the sister of TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, with whom she competed on TV's The Amazing Race.
  • Imam Abuzeid, No. 77, of Austin. Her net worth is estimated at $350 million. Abuzeid is the co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, which she started in 2017 to help alleviate America's nursing shortage. Forbes describes it as "a souped-up version of LinkedIn for nurses." Abuzeid is one of only a handful of Black female founders to run a company valued at more than $1 billion, Forbes notes.
  • Julia Cheek, No. 92, of Austin. Her net worth is estimated at $260 million. Cheek founded at-home testing company Everly Health in 2015 "out of frustration at having to pay thousands for lab testing to diagnose issues related to vitamin imbalance," Forbes says. It got a Shark Tank deal with Lori Greiner and is now worth roughly $1.8 billion.
  • Belinda Johnson, No. 96, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $250 million. Johnson was Airbnb's first chief operating officer and led many of its legal disputes. She stepped down from that role in March 2020, Forbes says, and left the company's board in June 2023.

Plano sizzles with hot music and cool pools all summer long

Fun in the Sun

The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and you're all ready for some summer fun. Plano's where it's at, with everything from concerts to happy hours on tap this summer.

Dive in
From Memorial through Labor days, take a refreshing dip in 168,000 gallons of saltwater that's shaped like the great state of Texas. This membership-supported community pool (there are tourist passes available) features a diving board, two water slides, and an island with a shallow "South Texas" wading area for the little ones. Picnic tables, a beach volleyball court, barbecue grills, and a snack bar complete the experience.

C'mon, get happy
Head to Legacy West for its monthly sip-and-shop Happy Hour Hikes, where you can sample beer, wine, cocktails, and food; receive exclusive offers at shops and restaurants; and enjoy entertainment throughout the Legacy West neighborhood. There are also photo opps, featured local artisans and nonprofits, and a chance to win a $300 gift basket to your favorite store.

The hikes happen from 6-9 pm the first Thursday of the month, aka June 1, July 6, and August 3 in the summer. Participants must be 21 and up, and groups of 10 or more get a discount by emails happyhourhike@lot32.com.

Tasty tunes
From Monday night karaoke to a concert lineup that includes all your favorite genres of music, live music at Legacy Hall is a rockin' good time. Check upcoming acts here, and then arrive early to enjoy dinner from nearly 20 eateries and craft cocktails from five-plus bars.

For an even more elevated experience, reserve a Balcony VIP Lounge (21 and up only) and enjoy dedicated cocktail service, soft seating, and the best view of the stage. Fridays and Saturdays also come with free admission to the Late Night After Party on the third floor of Legacy Hall in High Bar.

First-rate Fourth
America's birthday is a big deal in Plano, beginning with a free patriotic concert on July 3 at 7 pm. Plano Community Band will be playing in Haggard Park in the Downtown Plano Historic Arts District.

On the Fourth itself, cheer on — or walk in! — the Rotary Clubs of Plano 4th of July parade at 7:30 pm. The route travels along Spring Creek Parkway in between Collin College and the Red Tail Pavilion, and you can sign up to participate here.

The parade is smack in the middle of Plano's All-American 4th, a free festival that starts at 6 pm and features a kids’ zone sponsored by Champion Energy Services and a fireworks show beginning at 9:30 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and coolers are welcome, with food and beverages available for purchase from onsite vendors — sorry, no pups allowed.

Staycation vibes
With all this fun on the agenda, you'll want to stay more than a day. Immerse yourself in Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel's "West of Zen" culture, with gorgeous artifacts hidden away in every public corner, and the menus for both beverage and food offer a bold take on Asian fusion.

Dine in the main restaurant, ŌMA, grab a quick bite at the quaint Texas Teahouse & Marketplace, or dip into The Whiskey Moon Bar + Lounge to sample its impressive selection of American, European, and Asian whiskeys.

Enjoy DJs on the pool deck every Saturday afternoon during the summer or live music at Whiskey Moon every Saturday evening — see a lineup here.

Speaking of the rooftop pool, you can now book private cabanas through Resort Pass and stay shady all summer long.

See all your Plano accommodation options here.

Happy Hour Hike at Legacy West

Photo courtesy of Happy Hour Hike

Join the Happy Hour Hike the first Thursday of each month.

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For a complete guide to Plano, head to www.visitplano.com.

Japanese-style 'sandos' pop-up finds permanent home in downtown Dallas

Sando News

A popular sandwich pop-up has found permanent quarters in downtown Dallas: Sandoitchi, which serves Japanese "sandos" with creative fillings, will move into the space near the Joule at 1604 Main St., next to/under the Joule Hotel. It's the space that was previously occupied by La Tarte Tropezienne, the French bakery that closed in 2021.

Sandoitchi has already started to use the space for pop-up events, with a remodel in the works for later this year, says spokesman Keith Tran.

"We've had a great partnership with Headington Companies, who own the space, for more than a year, doing pop-ups at Midnight Rambler and at the Eye Ball," Tran says. "Their marketing team has been working to bring energy to their spaces and this gives us the benefit of having a permanent location."

Sandoitchi was founded in 2020, part of a wave of pandemic foodie pop-ups, but has persevered long past the pandemic both with its consistency and its ever-evolving menu of trademark sandos and other Japanese eats.

Their sandwiches are served on soft, rich milk bread, with fillings that include egg salad, Nashville-style hot chicken, pork katsu, and even Japanese wagyu topped with caviar, as well as dessert sandos filled with fruit and cream.

Their branding and packaging are sharp: The sandwiches are trimmed neatly, like finger sandwiches, and come in cute little boxes that display the ingredients winningly.

They also come with serious culinary firepower: Chef Stevie Nguyen worked at Uchi in both Dallas and Houston before heading to New York where he worked at Momofuku Ko, the two-Michelin-starred crown jewel in superstar chef David Chang's culinary empire. Nguyen shows off his techniques in a number of ways, including by using three different egg preparations to make his egg salad and coating the chicken with an umami-packed "wet shio koji solution."

They use social media skillfully and have won legions of fans, not just in Dallas but also at road-trip pop-ups to the West Coast and cities such as Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City.

They plan to continue doing pop-ups — for example, they have one this weekend in Orange County, California. But there's something to be said for having a home.

"Our model was built during and post-COVID, but with the return to normal, it's tougher to find spaces to host pop-ups," Tran says. "Our team includes high-end chefs with strong pedigrees who continue to evolve and remain creative, and we want to have a home base."

The location will definitely require some retrofitting; they'll start serious renovations at the end of the summer. In the interim, they're hosting pop-ups at the space, usually on weekends, over the next month or two.

"We've been experimenting, we recently tried doing breakfast — it's been a valuable opportunity to gather data on what does well," Tran says.

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Eric Sandler contributed to this story.