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State Spotlight: Texas

Days spent exploring the cultural riches of the Lone Star State can lead to nights full of Texas-size music and entertainment.

From big-city panache in Dallas, Grapevine and Austin to San Antonio’s River Walk and Luckenbach in the Hill Country, there’s no shortage of live entertainment in Texas. Performances span every musical genre and cater to every taste.

Groups can get their fill of dancing, concerts, theater productions and films at various venues, some contemporary and others steeped in Texas history.



Dallas has a number of high-profile performing arts venues, such as the AT&T Performing Arts Center, which opened in 2009, and the historic Granada and Majestic Theaters. The AT&T Performing Arts Center sits on 10 acres within the downtown Dallas Arts District. It houses several performance venues. Year-round programming features indoor and outdoor performances, the Lexus Broadway Series, contemporary dance and music, comedy, chamber music and community shows. Groups can also enjoy the best of Dallas’ local talent, including the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Texas Ballet Theater.

Located near the campus of Southern Methodist University, the Granada Theater opened during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Built in 1946 as a first-run movie house, it has seen many famous movie premieres, as well as big-name performances when it became a concert hall. The theater’s Art Deco interior showcases murals that were designed by the artists who created Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Dallas Observer readers have voted it the best live music venue in town each year since 2007.

“Sundown at Granada, a farm-to-table restaurant next door, can be rented out prior to a concert,” said Kylee O’Neill Kimosh, vice president of sales and sponsorship at the Granada Theater. “The Granada can be rented out for large groups, and we can set up meet-and-greets prior to a concert.”

During the Vaudeville era, Dallas’ Majestic Theater opened in 1921. Acts such as Houdini, Mae West and Bob Hope have performed on its stage. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Majestic reopened in 1983 after a major restoration. The elegant center for the performing arts, located in downtown, hosts a wide variety of shows, from national touring concerts and comedy acts to locally produced cultural events.



Centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth, and five minutes from DFW International Airport, Grapevine knows how to entertain groups. The Gaylord Texan Resort’s Glass Cactus Nightclub features four bars, live bands and dancing. An elevated outdoor patio over 8,000-acre Lake Grapevine makes a perfect spot to unwind at sunset.

The all-new Grapevine Opry Show debuted last month in downtown’s 1940s Palace Theatre. On Saturday nights, the high-energy production showcases songs from the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Gospel, country and patriotic favorites entertain audiences. The lovely theater also offers classic movies and numerous performances throughout the year, among them the Texas Tenors, who headline the annual Christmas extravaganza.

Groups won’t want to miss the Texas Star Dinner Theater, across the street from the Cotton Belt Depot and the still-operating Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Murder mystery productions, created by the theater owners, change several times annually.

Audience members are often part of the action, as the show takes place among the tables. Costumed cowboys, gunfighters and saloon girls mingle with guests as they eat dinner. Each table has the opportunity to figure out “whodunit.” The cast comes out for pictures after the show. The current production, “Derailed and Departed,” runs through early November. Special Christmas shows deliver the same Western entertainment with a holiday twist.

“It’s always fun, and our 80-seat venue sells out frequently,” said Leigh Lyons,
communications manager for the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The food is exceptionally good, with a menu that changes seasonally.”

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.