You’ve heard about its music scene and food and you probably had a friend who went to college there. But, for whatever reason, you have yet to make the trek down 35 to take in everything that the city of Denton has to offer. Until now, that is.
Denton is a must-see for all lovers of good tunes, good food and good people and the city is calling your name. Below, I let you in on some of the finest events and establishments in town, and by the end of our guide, you’ll be clamoring to book your hotel for next weekend.
LIVE IT UP ON FRIDAY
Denton has welcomed Norah Jones, Meat Loaf and members of The Eagles, so it’s no surprise that the town’s music scene rivals anything you’ll find in the Lone Star State. Therefore, music simply has to be a big part of your #Dentoning experience, and I know just the place to start.
The newly opened Backyard on Bell is two local brothers’ answer to the age-old question, “Why hasn’t anyone combined food trucks with great music yet?” The outdoor venue is the perfect place to park your car, order the food you’ve been craving from any one of the diverse food trucks on location, and enjoy music courtesy of local musicians. Who knows – you may even see the next Norah.
Since Backyard on Bell is outside, you may want a back-up plan for when the weather doesn’t cooperate. In case of rain, head over to Game Changers – an arcade and sports grill certain to satisfy the beer and game lovers in your family.
At the end of the night, be sure to check into any one of the city’s fine hotels – Best Western, Courtyard by Marriott and SpringHill Suites are all solid options – and get a good night’s rest before the Saturday festivities.
SATURDAY ON THE SQUARE
One of the great things about Denton is that everything you need is just a short walk away. For example, here’s how much you can do in one block on a fine Saturday morning in the city.
Start the day off with some brunch at The Chestnut Tree, a quaint eatery offering sandwiches, salad, soup, omelets and other delicious dishes. Then, head over to the Discover Denton Welcome Center (where they record Denton Radio) to begin your day of shopping for books, antiques, collectibles and trinkets before stopping at LSA Burger Co. – Lone Star Attitude – for the best burgers and garlic parm herb fries in, well, the world. Oh, and did I mention that those three places are right next door to each other?
Yes, that’s the magic of the downtown Square, perhaps the most recognizable and vibrant section of a city brimming with art and culture. The first time I ventured downtown, I was enraptured by how much there was to do and explore. I spent a whole day navigating the coffee shops and boutiques and I bet you’ll want to do the same. But, just in case you’re eager to escape the Square after wolfing down enough garlic parm fries to keep Dracula away forever, you can literally do just that at Escaping the Square.
Denton’s newest enticing attraction is an escape room and the thrill-seekers and puzzle-lovers in your group will love the excitement of navigating their way out of a locked room using only the clues and resources available inside. That’s not for everyone, though, and while some of your friends or family members race the clock to escape the square, you can visit the downtown Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum or embrace the award-winning espressos of West Oak Coffee. The downtown coffee café gives you big flavors with a small-town feel. Let your taste buds run wild with the yam spice latte!
Nighttime is now approaching, and while you may still be full from that hearty lunchtime burger, you won’t be able to resist the allure of 940’s Kitchen & Cocktails – an American eatery replete with classy cocktails and classy American eats. Don’t be intimidated by the hip, lofty vibe. This place has the wine and beer selection that you’ll need to end your eventful day on a sweet note.
Speaking of sweet notes, it wouldn’t be a night in Denton if you didn’t end it with some music. After dinner, mosey on over to historic Dan’s Silver Leaf to catch some more great, local artists. But don’t stay out dancing too late – you have one more brunch place to dine at on Sunday.
SUNDAY SWEETS AND SOUVENIERS
And that place is Barley & Board, a recent addition to the Square that has an Americana menu filled with great eats and drinks for the whole crew. Its corner location on the Square is the perfect place to start your final #Dentoning day, as it’s just a short hop over from Atomic Candy.
This classic candy shop is the reason you don’t want to eat too much at Barley & Board and it’ll take you back to those childhood days when you waited for Mom and Dad to leave the kitchen before swiping some sweets. It’s okay, you can admit it – and we’ve all been there. So go to Atomic Candy and transport back to those savory times with all the Gobstoppers, Goober and great chocolate you can handle. If you’re more of an ice cream fan, never fear: Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain is here. This old-fashioned ice cream shop has every flavor in stock, so don’t hesitate to splurge – you’re on vacation, after all.
Once you’ve satisfied your sweet tooth and conquered your candy cravings, you’ll want to stop in at Mad World Records, which, you guessed it, is just right next door. Whether you’ve heard a local act you love, or have been saving up for a nice vinyl of your favorite band, the gurus at Mad World have it all and then some. You’ll probably have to hit the highway so you can hit the hay in time for work, which is even more incentive to pick up a CD from Mad World.
Pop it into your car stereo, and let the smooth sounds remind you of your sweet and savory Denton adventures. Don’t be sad, though – it’ll still be there next weekend.
Featured image of Dan’s Silver Leaf by Ed Steele, courtesy of Denton CVB.