Photo courtesy of Kerrville CVB

Located in a two-hour triangle between Austin and San Antonio is Kerrville, the official capital of the Texas Hill Country. Founded in 1889 with a spirit of innovation, the city still holds fast to its entrepreneurial roots as the home of James Avery Artisan Jewelry and a plethora of galleries, museums, and shops.

It's also an outdoor lover's dream. Kerrville is situated along the banks of the Guadalupe River, which serves as the map for the multi-use Kerrville River Trail and provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Here are more activities to discover during your time in Kerrville:

Art for all
The world-famous brand James Avery Artisan Jewelry calls Kerrville home, and visitors can learn about the history of the company in a museum-like setting while also shopping for their very own piece of jewelry to take home.

The company's presence is felt throughout the city, most notably with the popular Mother's Love James Avery memorial sculpture right outside the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center. This is one of the 28 public art pieces dotted throughout downtown — keep an eye out for “Lupe” the Guadalupe Bass in Louise Hays Park and the “Welcome To Kerrville” mural.

Find peace with the The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden, featuring eight bronze sculptures inspired by Christian scriptures, including a seven-story-tall steel cross, that are surrounded by a prayer rock garden.

Visit the campus of the Hill Country Arts Foundation in nearby Ingram and come face to face with Stonehenge II, a nearly life-size replica of the famous stones in England that also include two 13-foot-tall Easter Island head copies.

Head into the 20,000-square-foot Rivers Edge Gallery to view an expansive variety of contemporary and traditional artwork, or explore life during the frontier days at The Museum of Western Art. The museum also offers workshops on such skills as leather working and candle making.

The Schreiner Mansion Historic Site, built by former Texas Ranger Charles Schreiner, offers a guided tour of the mansion with history on the family that ran a major department store in Kerrville (now Schreiner Goods) and established the Schreiner Institute, now known as Schreiner University.

Catch live music and other events at the iconic Arcadia Live Theater, see a play in the intimate black box VK Garage Theater, or pay tribute to Point Theatre, the oldest-running outdoor theater in Texas. The Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts also hosts Symphony of the Hills, nationally acclaimed musicians, and theater performances by Playhouse 2000.

Events for everyone
There's something for every season here, with the spring bringing the Kerrville Easter Festival (held this year on April 8, 2023) and the Kerrville Easter Bike Ride (April 7-9, 2023).

The Texas Masters of Fine Art Show (May 26-28, 2023) overlaps with the famous Kerrville Folk Festival (May 25-June 11, 2023), and the height of summer brings Kerrville’s Fourth on the River, scheduled for July 4.

Fall sees the Kerrville Triathlon Festival and the Texas State Arts & Crafts Fair on the same weekend — September 23-24, 2023 — with the Kerrville RiverFest and Kerrville Chalk Festival following October 14 and 15, 2023.

The Texas Furniture Makers Show is scheduled for November 2-December 15, 2023, and lots of folks turn out for the Kerrville Renaissance Festival that runs weekends in late January and early February.

Head outside
Kerrville’s mild weather allows for outdoor activities year-round. Hop aboard the Hill Country River Rat, a unique outdoor river activity where visitors can peddle to provide horsepower on a 25-foot-long, custom-made, 12-passenger pontoon boat.

Aside from water fun on the Guadalupe River, biking is also a popular outdoor activity. Pedal leisurely on the 10-foot-wide Kerrville River Trail, the city’s unofficial crown jewel, that parallels the Guadalupe for six miles. You can also walk your dog, go for a run, or relax on a bench and spot birds in the shade of Kerrville’s signature cypress trees.

There are multiple trail segments and trailheads that can be accessed along the Kerrville River Trail, notably Kerrville-Schriener Park and Louise Hays Park.

At 517 acres, Kerrville-Schriener is the largest municipal park in Kerrville, offering plenty of green space with a playground, butterfly garden, sand volleyball, basketball, 10-plus miles of hike and bike trails, river access, and more.

The popular Louise Hays Park features an interactive fountain, a playground, pavilions, trail heads, numerous picnic areas, and a stage that hosts music and dance performances. Louise Hays Park is also home to a variety of special events, such as Get Outdoors Day, Kerrville’s Fourth on the River, and the Kerrville Triathlon Festival.

To learn about the different critters and creatures that call Kerrville home, the Riverside Nature Center is the perfect place to explore. Wander through the gardens, educational exhibits, a gift shop, and much more.

Additional outdoor activities include golfing at Kerrvilles’ three golf courses — Scott Schreiner Golf Course, Comanche Trace, and The Riverhill Country Club — playing tennis at the HEB Tennis Center, and hunting at Y.O. Ranch or Shonto Ranch.

Time to eat
Enjoy dining with a view of the Hill Country and the Guadalupe River while exploring the craft food and beverage scene when you dine in Kerrville. From upscale dining experiences and wine tasting opportunities to delicious taco and coffee spots on the go, there's no shortage of choices.

For a meal with a view, check out 1011 Bistro, Cafe at the Ridge, Thai Ocha, Pinnacle Grill, and Billy Gene’s. Texas tacos are obviously a must, so head to El Sol De Mexico, Mary’s Tacos, Taqueria Jalisco, El Jimador Restaurant & Bar, and Rita’s Famous Tacos.

Make sure to sample the local libations during your stay — Kerrville is located in the Hill Country after all. Turtle Creek Olives & Vines, Kerrville Hills Winery, and Wine-O-Bout It satisfy vino connoisseurs, while craft brew enthusiasts will cheers to options like Pint & Plow Brewing Co., Basement Brewers of Texas, and Trailhead Beer Garden.

Other popular eateries include Bumdoodlers Lunch Company, Francisco’s Restaurant, Grape Juice, and Rails: A Cafe at The Depot.

Shop to it
Visitors flock to downtown Kerrville to explore upscale shops as well as unique boutiques and antique stores. Schreiner Goods stocks a curated selection of women’s clothing, accessories, and stylish home goods, while Rustic Elegance is a home furnishing aficionado's dream store.

Stop by Creations, a destination for fabric artists; shop for crystals and other mystical items at The Fairy Moon Emporium; or go antique hunting at Sunrise Antique Mall. Of course, shopping for a piece of James Avery jewelry is a given while in Kerrville!

Rest your head
The River Trail Cottages are a fun way to depart from the normal hotel experience, with a unique variety of retro overnight options like Motor Court Cottages, newly built midcentury-themed Depot Alley or River View cottages, and vintage RVs filled with modern amenities.

At the River House, all guest rooms offer direct access to the river and the Kerrville River Trail that leads straight through downtown. The facilities also come with grills, bicycles, river floats, fishing poles, kayaks, and backyard games.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Guadalupe River Camp Resort is the perfect place for families traveling with little ones. Enjoy putt-putt, jumbo-sized jumping pillows, laser tag, playgrounds, and a water slide park.

For those looking for a resort feel, a stay at Inn of the Hills Hotel & Conference Center is an excellent choice. The hotel features a courtyard, swimming pools, 21,000-square-foot conference center, delicious dining at the full-service restaurant, and the Inn Pub, which features entertainment on the weekends and is the only dance hall in Kerrville.

Learn more about Kerrville and start planning your visit here.

Explore downtown Kerrville.

Photo courtesy of Kerrville CVB

Explore downtown Kerrville.

Photo courtesy of Arlington Parks & Recreation.

Spring break staycation ideas zip into this week's 5 most-read Dallas stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. 10 new ideas for a FOMO-free spring break staycation in Dallas-Fort Worth. It’s spring break time across North Texas. For families who did NOT jet off to ski the slopes or head to the beach, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in Dallas-Fort Worth. We once called this "staying home." Now it's a "staycation!" Here are 10 new ideas for fun things to do, even into the weekend.

2. Dallas police arrest man caught on camera dumping German shepherd. On March 11, the Dallas Police Department Animal Cruelty Unit arrested Ramiro Zuniga, 41, and charged him with Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals – Abandon, an A Misdemeanor charge. An investigation determined that on March 8, Zuniga intentionally abandoned a dog in the 9000 block of Teagarden Road.

3. Big day for music fans with news of a dozen concerts coming to Dallas. For summer concert lovers in Dallas, Monday, March 13 brought a bounty of good news with a big round of tours coming through Texas in 2023. In a single day, details were revealed for tours featuring Drake, TLC, Christopher Cross, Steve Miller Band with Cheap Trick, and Coheed & Cambria.

4. Truck Yard reopens on Dallas' Greenville Ave with famed frogs on the roof. An outdoor hangout on Dallas' Greenville Avenue has reopened with a new nostalgic feature: Truck Yard, which helped usher in the backyard trend that is now de rigeur in the food & beverage world, reopened at 5624 Sears St., AKA across from Trader Joe's, with $2 million in renovations that include an installation of the famed Tango Frogs sculptures.

5. Shop in East Dallas dedicated entirely to pickles closes its doors. A one-of-a-kind shop in East Dallas dedicated to pickles has closed: Pickletopia, a shop at 4812 Bryan St. that sold pickles of all kinds, closed its doors at the end of 2022, and according to its owner, is unlikely to return.

Photo courtesy of Margaritaville Lake Resort

Conroe is a natural escape for lake lovers seeking outdoor adventures

Hit the Road

Nature is at the heart of every visit to Conroe, and not only because of its famous 22,000-acre lake. It also boasts more than 250 miles of forest thanks to W. Goodrich Jones State Forest and Sam Houston National Forest — one of only four national forests in Texas.

And all this natural beauty is just north of Houston, making Conroe an easy escape. Here's a look at what else you can enjoy and explore while in town.

Lake Conroe
Let's start with the big one: Houston's aquatic playground. This massive lake is perfect for every recreational activity, from boating and kayaking to fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, and more.

Opt for a guided fishing trip to help land all kinds of fish, from largemouth bass to black and white crappie. Tours and charters provide everything you need from the boat to the gear — all you have to do is cast your line.

The great outdoors
Off the shores of Lake Conroe, visitors can hike, bike, geocache, and more through miles of forest. In fact, the city's founder, Isaac Conroe, decided in 1881 to settle in the area based on its leafy surroundings — the original towering pines were preserved and still frame the city today.

Get your fresh air with a side of swings by checking out one of the city's many golf courses, including The Golf Club at Margaritaville Lake Resort and Panorama Golf Club.

Be one with nature without an agenda at Lake Conroe Park and 7 Acre Wood, an old-fashioned family fun park with swings, putt-putt, and a petting zoo.

Where to eat
Many restaurants take advantage of their location and offer lakeside dining, with bonus points for sunset views while you dine. Take it a step further with a dinner cruise aboard The Southern Empress, an iconic paddle wheel boat on the lake.

Conroe’s culinary scene brings forward local flavors at more than 40 restaurants, from Tex-Mex favorites at Fajita Jack's on Lake Conroe and authentic Texas barbecue at McKenzie's Barbeque & Burgers to lakeside lounging featuring the freshest catch at Margaritaville's LandShark Bar & Grill.

Visitors can also try locally crafted mead at The Ferm Meadery, or sip on craft beer and wine at spots like Copperhead Brewery, Pacific Yard House, and The Lounge on Main - B E Winery's tasting room.

What to do
View the original Lone Star Flag at The Lone Star Monument & Historical Flag Park, then head 15 miles west to sister city Montgomery to visit the Heritage Museum of Montgomery County.

Historic Downtown Conroe is dotted with decorated art benches, three art galleries, antique shopping at Conroe Central Market and Mimi’s On Main, and additional shopping at local shops and boutiques like Main Street Merchants.

Stop in at the Crighton Theatre to enjoy everything from musicals and plays to live concerts, or pay a visit to the Owen Theatre, which is home to The Players Theatre Company.

Mark your calendar
Conroe is known for hosting long-standing events such as Kidzfest on April 29, 2023, and the annual Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival, held this year October 13-15.

Dress up for the Texas Renaissance Festival, located just down the road, on Saturdays, Sundays, and Thanksgiving Friday, happening this year from October 7-November 26.

Get pumped for the Conroe 10 Miler in December and feel the holiday vibes at the Toby Powell Conroe Christmas Celebration, held the second weekend of December.

Escape to Margaritaville
Margaritaville Lake Resort is a Jimmy Buffett-inspired island paradise located on Lake Conroe. Expect well-appointed rooms, heated pools, a spa, golf course, lakeside dining options, and more.

Other lodging options
The brand-new Hyatt Regency Conroe and Convention Center is accepting reservations for August 2023 and beyond, while bed-and-breakfast seekers can rest easy in The Caroline House.

Conroe is also home to hotels such as Holiday Inn Express & Suites, La Quinta Inn & Suites, Best Western, and other recognizable names. Unique boutique stays are offered at Historic Hill House and Farm.

Conroe’s stunning naturescapes offer visitors a retreat-like getaway with a charming small-town feel, all without compromising on amenities and experiences. Plan your visit to Conroe here.

Family boating on Lake Conroe

Photo courtesy of Margaritaville Lake Resort

Lake Conroe is the hub for water sports.

Photo courtesy of Epic Waters

10 new ideas for a FOMO-free spring break staycation in Dallas-Fort Worth

Spring break fun

Hooray! It’s spring break time across North Texas. For families who are NOT jetting off to ski the slopes or heading to the beach, there’s still plenty of fun to be had each day in Dallas-Fort Worth. We once called this "staying home." Now it's a "staycation!"

Most of the local museums, zoos, parks, and other kid-friendly attractions are offering special programs and special hours on this special week. You know them, you love them, you want even more to do.

We've rounded up 10 hot, fresh, new ideas to make spring break 2023 the best one yet - so fun and cool and exciting that your family's DFW staycation will make you forget all about your FOMO over your best friend's beachfront VRBO in Destin.

All of the attractions here are new since last year's spring break, or are here now or arriving for a limited time. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Climb and zip through the trees at a new adventure park
The new, high-flying Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park opened March 3 at Arlington's River Legacy Park East. The city’s parks and recreation department teamed up with Go Ape for a second Dallas-Fort Worth location after the first, smash-hit park in Plano. The new Arlington adventure park includes two ropes-adventure courses: the three-hour Treetop Adventure ($59.95-$64.95) and the one-hour Treetop Journey ($39.95). There's an axe-throwing range, too. More information and tickets are here.

Ride an epic new water slide ...
Epic Waters, Grand Prairie's popular indoor waterpark, just introduced a hair-raising new, seven-story slide called Locura. (Spanish for "craziness.") Riders climb to the top of a 70-foot tower, step inside a chamber, then wait for the door to close and the floor to drop, launching them down, down, down into a 40-foot freefall. Then they race through a horizontal figure-eight loop at 35 miles per hour. The whole slide is more than 387 feet long and exerts a force of 3.5 G's. Wheeeee! The park is open, rain or shine, and admission starts at $34. Special spring break hours, more information, and tickets are here.

...Or ride an epic new roller coaster
Adrenaline junkies, get in line and prepare to get drenched: The long-awaited newAquaman: Power Wavewater 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. It's opening in conjunction with Six Flags' "Scream Break" evening events. Tickets for Scream Break can be purchased separately or added to any single-day ticket or pass for $39.99 per person; find them at sixflags.com.

View U.S. history up close
The just-opened exhibition "Freedom Matters"at the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU is displaying rare versions of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, Magna Carta, Emancipation Proclamation, and more historically significant American documents. These documents were used to inform citizens in an era before mass media and social media - yes, kids, there was life before screens. Beyond just displaying documents and artifacts, the museum takes guests on "an interactive journey through the experience of freedom itself, including where freedom comes from, what it means, the characteristics of free societies, and the role of the individual in protecting and spreading freedom around the world," they describe. It's open to all ages and included in the price of admission to the museum; pricing structure and tickets are here.

See a movie high in the sky
This isn't grandma and grandpa's drive-in theater, but it's the same fun idea. Rooftop Cinema Club, which opened last fall on the rooftop terrace of a downtown Fort Worth hotel, has just come back from winter break. Spring break-week screenings include new movies and classics of all ratings, for all ages: Top Gun: Maverick (March 10), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (March 12), The Notebook (March 15), Dirty Dancing (March 17), Turning Red (March 18), Selena (March 18), La La Land (March 18), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (March 19), and more. Tickets ($16.50–$26.50) are now on sale at rooftopcinemaclub.com/downtown-ft-worth. For tips and things to know before you go, check out this story.

Step right up to the circus
The Garden Bros. Nuclear Circus is coming to town, featuring special effects, concert-style lighting, the Human Cannonball, Wheel of Death, motorcycles in the Sphere of Fear, Human Slingshot, comedy, girls hanging by their hair, the Olate Performing Dogs, Cossack Riders, and more. Guests can come early and meet the circus stars, get their faces painted, ride the Monster Slide or play on a moon bounce, eat snacks, and more. The circus will be at Fair Park March 9-March 19. Tickets are $15-$60, available here.

Go ghost hunting
Dallas-Fort Worth is (allegedly) full of things that go bump in the night, and no place is creepier when the sun goes down than the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. A new national "ghost adventure" company has launched a Cowtown Ghosts tour in the Stockyards that they tout as kid friendly (parents can decide after reading the description, of course). Stops on the one-hour walking tour include a couple of haunted hotels, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, and more. The tour focuses on the stories behind the hauntings. Tickets are $25 per person and there’s a two-person minimum. There's also an option to add a 30-minute bonus tour of four additional stops for $6 per person. The same company conducts ghost tours of downtown Dallas, too; information here.

Adventure under the sea at a mermaid party
Save the date for this fin-tastic shell-abration. On Saturday, March 18, the Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort and Spa in Frisco will host a Mermaid Party for all ages. Beginning at 4:30 pm, kids (who are encouraged to wear their favorite princess/prince costumes) can interact with a real-life "Little Mermaid." Jewelry maker Greta Weller will be on hand to help them make some treasures of their own. Then, the family can sit down to dinner and a showing of the Disney movie The Little Mermaid on the resort’s 10-foot jumbo screen. (Parents, don't worry, adult bevs will be available for purchase.) The party is open to all ages, and you do not need to stay at the hotel to attend, but there is a discount. Tickets are $50 per person; $30 for guests with room reservations booked directly through the resort website.

Play in a bigger-better park for free
Last spring break, parts of Dallas' Klyde Warren Park were under construction. Patience has been rewarded with a newly expanded Sheila and Jody Grant Children’s Park. There's now an additional 6,000 square feet of play space, featuring a 35-foot climbing tower and slide, a kid-sized climbing wall, interactive water feature, shaded pavilion, renovated restrooms, and more. Klyde Warren Park has a full slate of free activities throughout spring break week, including a concert called “A Celebration of Latin America” presented by Cliburn KidsLive. It'll explore instruments, dances, and rhythms and language of the region. Come back March 15 for the popular "alive animal" experience featuring snakes, a tarantula, a beared dragon, and anopossum. Find out more on the park's website.

Epic Waters Locura slide

Photo courtesy of Epic Waters

The new Locura waterslide at Epic Waters.

Explore like a Smithsonian scientist
It comes at the tail end of spring break for most kids, but the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will open a new exhibition called “Life in One Cubic Foot" on March 18. The exhibit follows the research of Smithsonian scientists and photographer David Liittschwager as they uncover what a cubic foot of land or water — called a "biocube" — reveals about the diversity of life on the planet, the museum describes. The showcase comes from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. In addition to exploring biocubes from environments around the world, visitors will get to make their own to take home and study. Find out more about the upcoming exhibit, including tickets, here.

Photo by Lauren Monitz

Roll into Beaumont, the Cajun Capital of Texas, for murals, Mardi Gras, and more

Hit the Road

Turns out, you don't have to go all the way to the Big Easy to satisfy your Cajun cravings.

On the border of Louisiana, just 90 minutes from Houston and right around four hours from San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Beaumont boasts a unique Cajun-meets-Lone Star State attitude all year round — not just during Mardi Gras, which of course it does up big.

Outside of confetti and King Cake, there are many more ways that Beaumont keeps the good times keep rolling.

As one of America's original boomtowns, the place is teaming with history. You can strike it rich at Spindletop, a recreated boomtown with a gusher reenactment and an outdoor museum that’s dedicated to the discovery of oil.

The town’s flourishing mural and art scene kicks into high gear on March 2-5 with the annual Mural Festival, featuring artists from across the United States and around the world painting the town red — and every other color imaginable — during live-painting events and more.

Another Instagrammable moment to capture while you’re there is the world's largest working fire hydrant, donated by Disney, at The Fire Museum of Texas, where you’ll also find antique engines, uniforms, and firefighting equipment.

Beaumont is also a nature-lover’s dream, with bayous, birding, and the Big Thicket, America’s first national preserve with nine unique ecosystems and more than 100,000 acres to hike, bike, and paddle.

Cattail Marsh is another way to get outdoorsy, with 900 acres of scenic wetlands and a long boardwalk where you can spot more than 280 species of birds during peak migration.

Disc golf and the botanical gardens are right in the vicinity too, or enjoy Saturday morning yoga with a view at one of the classes offered there. Namaste.

To learn more about all that Beaumont has to offer, head over to visitbeaumonttexas.com.

McFaddin-Ward House postcard in Beaumont

Photo by Lauren Monitz

Soak up the Big Easy vibes in the Cajun Capital of Texas.

Photo courtesy of Visit Baytown

Seize the bay with a whirlwind weekend getaway to Baytown

Hit the Road

Imagine a trip that includes both high-octane excitement and peaceful hours spent in nature, one day sipping wine and another day landing the big catch, and even the chance to travel back in Texas history. It's all found in Baytown, located along several bays north of Galveston Bay and 25 miles east of Houston.

Whether you're in town on business or have brought the whole fam for a weekend away, this Gulf Coast spot is the perfect escape. Here are some ways you'll want to fill your days in Baytown.

In the path of history
These scenic waterways once witnessed the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution, and now border the San Jacinto Monument. Kayak across its reflection or pause and reflect from the Baytown Nature Center, which sports the best view.

Even cooler: Visitors who use the Lynchburg ferry to travel from the San Jacinto Battleground to Baytown are traversing along the same path used by Nathaniel Lynch to assist colonists in their flight during the Runaway Scrape of 1836.

View from above
Baytown is home to the Fred Hartman Bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge in Texas and one of only four in the state. Traveling over the bridge provides fascinating views of the refining industry in the area.

Start your engines
Enjoy a rush of adrenaline at Houston Raceway Park, which hosts legal street racing on "Fast Friday" nights.

You won't want to miss the "Super Bowl of street racing," TX2K, held this year March 15-19, 2023. Tickets are required and go almost faster than the cars.

On the hunt
Ever tried geocaching? Baytown has a terrific free version of this unique scavenger hunt that takes participants on an outdoor tour of 30 different area landmarks.

Download a passport online and collect points with each stop, then unscramble the final message and turn in your passport for prizes.

Dine around the world
Baytown is known for its diverse local restaurants. In the Downtown Arts District, visitors can sample real Mexican ice cream at Sabor of Mexico, dine on Asian fusion appetizers and sushi at Wazabi, and tuck in to Mexican-Asian meals at Bocanegra's Kitchen.

In Baytown, you can grab real Cuban cuisine at Cuban Cafe, tasty Tex-Mex at El Toro, delicious bubble teas at Tea City, and have a little fun with drinks on the outdoor patio of Dirty Daiquiri.

Where to stay
Baytown's I-10 and Garth Road corridor is rich in hotel accommodations for every sort of traveler, and many also include free breakfasts, WiFi, and parking.

The new Hyatt Regency Baytown – Houston, at 100 Convention Center Way, is opening July 2023. This elegant waterfront hotel offers a stunning view of the Fred Hartman Bridge and Houston Ship Channel, and features an on-site restaurant with an exposed kitchen, a chic open-concept lobby bar, and 18,000 square feet of versatile meeting space.

Learn more about Baytown here.

Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown

Photo courtesy of Visit Baytown

The Fred Hartman Bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Texas.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

John Mayer goes acoustic for latest tour with stop in Dallas

Concert news

Singer/guitarist John Mayer will show off both skills during the fall leg of his 2023 solo acoustic tour, which will come to Dallas' American Airlines Center on Saturday, October 28.

Mayer's tour is currently in the middle of a spring leg, with dates continuing through April 14. The fall leg will include 17 more stops, starting on October 3 in New York City. Along with the Dallas date, Mayer will also play in Houston on October 30 and Austin on November 1.

The tour features solo performances by Mayer, leaning heavily on his acoustic guitar work with special performances on piano and electric guitar.

Mayer is now in his third decade of performing, releasing seven solo albums since his debut in 2001, most recently 2021's Sob Rock. The seven-time Grammy winner is known for hits like "Your Body is a Wonderland," "Daughters," "Gravity," and more.

He's also a member of the Grateful Dead continuation band, Dead & Company, which will play at Dos Equis Pavilion on May 26 as part of its final tour.

Tickets for the fall leg of the tour go on sale starting on Friday, March 31 at 9 am at Johnmayer.com. Presales start on Wednesday, March 29 at 9 am and run through Thursday, March 30 at 10 pm. Fans can sign up to receive a unique code to access presale tickets via seated at Johnmayer.com. A limited number of VIP packages will be available including premium tickets, exclusive merchandise, and more.

Two pairs of front-row tickets will be auctioned off for each show on the tour through charityauctionstoday.com. All proceeds from the ticket auctions will go to the Back To You Fund, which has supported many charities, including John’s Heart & Armor Foundation, as well as programs supporting at-risk youth and the homeless.


  • Oct 3, 2023 - New York, NY, Madison Square Garden
  • Oct 6, 2023 - Boston, MA, TD Garden
  • Oct 7, 2023 - Philadelphia, PA, Wells Fargo Center
  • Oct 11, 2023 - Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
  • Oct 13, 2023 - Tampa, FL, Amalie Arena
  • Oct 17, 2023 - Indianapolis, IN, Gainbridge Fieldhouse
  • Oct 18, 2023 - Chicago, IL, United Center
  • Oct 20, 2023 - Baltimore, MD, CFG Bank Arena
  • Oct 21, 2023 - Belmont Park, NY, UBS Arena
  • Oct 23, 2023 - Charlotte, NC, Spectrum Center
  • Oct 25, 2023 - Atlanta, GA, State Farm Arena
  • Oct 28, 2023 - Dallas, TX, American Airlines Center
  • Oct 30, 2023 - Houston, TX, Toyota Center
  • Nov 1, 2023 - Austin, TX, Moody Center
  • Nov 5, 2023 - Salt Lake City, UT Vivint Arena
  • Nov 7, 2023 - San Francisco, CA, Chase Center
  • Nov 10, 2023 - Los Angeles, CA, Kia Forum

Leggy crane flies land atop this week's 5 most popular Dallas stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Crane flies have landed ever so lightly in Dallas, which means one thing. The crane flies have arrived in Dallas, and this year, they're here in droves. Fragile, leggy, and whisper-light, crane flies are most often found around streams and lakes. But at certain times of year, they show up in urban areas, hovering and bobbing around houses and doorways.

2. Site of former Valley View Mall in Dallas meets sad unfortunate end. A once-beloved North Dallas mall is meeting its timely ending: The former Valley View Mall at LBJ Freeway and Preston Road saw demolition begin on March 16, putting an end to nearly a decade of inept waffling. The mall closed in 2015, with big plans for redevelopment that never happened.

3. Grab this '60s East Dallas home with only one owner before flippers get it. A '60s house in East Dallas with only one owner that's basically untouched is on the market at a great deal of a price. Located at 2323 Homeway Cir., it's a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home built in 1969, with 1,802 square feet and an attached two-car garage.

4. Country music bad boy Morgan Wallen headlines ACM Awards benefit show in Dallas-Fort Worth. Dallas-Fort Worth will be the center of the country music universe on May 11, when the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards are broadcast from The Star in Frisco. As with any worldwide, Super Bowl-level event, there'll be many happenings leading up to it. First up: a benefit concert headlined by Morgan Wallen.

5. Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 bars with cool cocktail specials. It's always good to support your local watering hole but sometimes the heart wants something else, and even better when it's something cheap. For our March edition of Where to Drink, we spotlight five drinking opportunities around Dallas that include a seasonally-focused happy hour, a one-day drink special, a new happy hour for the summer, and a new happy hour at an Arts District hotel bar.

Texas rises through the ranks of most innovative states, says new report


The Lone Star State has again taken a step up on an annual report that ranks the most and least innovative states in the country — this time cracking the top 15.

Texas ranked No. 15 in personal finance site WalletHub's 2023’s Most and Least Innovative States ranking. It's a steady improvement for the state, which ranked No. 16 in 2022 and No. 17 in 2021.

The report analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia and how each performed across 22 key metrics, including population of STEM professionals, venture capital investment activity, number of technology companies, patents per capita, and more. The data was pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Science Foundation, National Center for Education Statistics, United States Patent and Trademark Office, and other records.

Here's how Texas performed at a glance:

  • No. 18 – for share of STEM professionals
  • No. 16 – for projected STEM job demand by 2030
  • No. 25 – for eighth grade math and science performance
  • No. 21 – for share of science and engineering graduates aged 25 or older
  • No. 13 – for share of technology companies
  • No. 31 – for R&D spending per capita
  • No. 18 – venture capital funding per capita

For the 11th year, Texas won Site Selection Magazine's Governor's Cup, the governor's office announced earlier this year. The award, which Texas has won 19 times since its inception in 1978, recognizes the nation’s top-performing state for job-creating business relocations and expansions.

"Texas truly is America’s economic engine, and we stand apart as a model for the nation. When choosing where to relocate or expand their businesses, more and more innovative industry leaders find themselves at home in our state," Governor Greg Abbott says in a news release about the award.

"I congratulate the exceptional economic development teams at the local, regional, and state level who have worked so diligently to attract and retain these growing businesses and the jobs they create in diverse communities across this great state," he continues.

The most innovative states included the District of Columbia, which ranked at No. 1, followed by Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, and California, respectively. The least innovative state was identified as Mississippi, followed by Louisiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Arkansas, respectively.

Source: WalletHub

Access to quality education is a significant contributor to each state's innovation economy, the experts say in the report.

"Investing in education, particularly K-12 but also at the University level, it is no accident that innovative ecosystems develop in states with strong education systems and research universities," says David L. Deeds, professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. "These institutions build strong capable modern workforces that attract capital, and jobs and create innovations. The benefits do not happen overnight, in fact, they take years if not decades, but consider what The UC’s or the University of Texas at Austin have meant for the development of premier innovative ecosystems."