Food · Lifestyle · Travel

Summer in Southlake, Texas

Southlake is a charming city just outside of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. We spent the long Fourth of July weekend there with the kids to celebrate the holiday at their annual “Stars and Stripes” event.

Stars and Stripes event, Southlake TX

We arrived in Southlake on Sunday, July 2, and checked in at the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square. They gave us a coveted room facing South, which is in direct view of the fireworks show. Pro tip: Book your reservation several months in advance to get a room on the South side of the hotel. Better yet, get a south-facing Balcony Room so you can enjoy the fireworks outdoors away from the crowds. The hotel staff told us they had one hundred reservations checking in on the day of the “Stars and Stripes” event, which was taking place just around the corner from the hotel. We were lucky to have arrived earlier for a quick check-in, beating the holiday crowd.

Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square

After a short rest in the room, we took a stroll around Southlake Town Square to check out the shops and restaurants. The kids had fun exploring the area and seeing the town square fountain.

Southlake Town Square fountain

We stopped by Evo Entertainment before heading to dinner. What a fun spot for the kids (we loved it, too)! We played a few racing games with the kids.

Arcade games at Evo Entertainment

We then made our way to Calabrese Southlake, where we had a delicious Italian dinner of pasta, pizza, and an amazing ossobuco.

Ossobucco from Calabrese Southlake

Monday morning we took the twins to one of Southlake’s largest parks, Bicentennial Park. It’s a gorgeous and beautifully maintained park facility. We visited the playground and splash pad. The boys cooled off in the splash pad and took turns down the big slide, and the family had a blast checking out the many play areas.

Bicentennial Park playground and splash pad

The kids worked up an appetite, so we lunched at Nikkō Southlake Japanese Restaurant in Town Square. If you love sushi, I highly recommend this spot! Their quality and variety of fish is a notable sign that this is a great sushi restaurant. And if you’re a uni fan, I recommend the uni upgrade where available; it’s a generous amount and the up-charge is small. While Paul and I enjoyed the sushi, the kids inhaled their karaage chicken, or “chicken nuggets” according to them. They also tried ikura, or “little juicy fish balls” and the fried shrimp heads from our Amaebi (sweet shrimp sushi) for the first time and loved them.

Sushi from Nikkō Southlake Japanese Restaurant

Walking out of the restaurant into the hot Texas heat, we craved something cool and sweet. Milwaukee Joe’s Ice Cream shop was just a few steps away. The staff was so patient with our little ones, letting them try all the flavors before deciding on a scoop of Strawberry Daiquiri and Pink Lemonade. It was a nice, refreshing treat!

With our bellies happy, we visited the shops at Park Village Southlake. We walked into a few boutiques and passed by one very unassuming storefront. Peeking in, we saw the coolest interior with shoes lined from floor to ceiling that took up an entire side of the store. I’m not a sneakerhead, but I could have spent most of the afternoon in the store marveling at all the merchandise. Check out The Vault at Park Village Southlake!

Park Village Shops

2:30 pm: Rest before the big celebration. The “Stars and Stripes” event runs from 5 to 11 pm, so we had a bit of downtime to prepare for the fun ahead. We left our hotel room at 5 pm and were one of the first ones there. The family-friendly celebration takes place outdoors just steps away from the hotel, and it features live music, lots of activities for people of all ages, and a plethora of food vendors to satisfy every craving. It was one of the best-organized and most impressive Independence Day celebrations I’ve ever attended. The considerable amount of free activities and arts & crafts they provided for the kids was remarkable and much appreciated.

Stars and Stripes Kids Corner

Pro tip: Arrive at the event at 5 pm. The crowds are small, and the lines for food are short. Arrive past 7 pm, and you’ll be waiting a while. This is where staying at the Hilton came in clutch– after an early arrival and getting in our meal and activities, we headed back to the hotel for some air-conditioned R&R before the fireworks extravaganza. Around 9:30 pm, the 20-minute fireworks show began. Paul and the kids were in the room and watched from the window (for a quieter experience) while I went out to get some great shots of the show. It was the first time the kids stayed up late to watch fireworks, and they were full of awe and wonder.

Stars and Stripes fireworks show

Tuesday morning, we had one more round of fun at Evo Entertainment and ate lunch at The Toasted Yolk before the 4-hour drive home to Houston.

Lunch at The Toasted Yolk

Staying at the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square was convenient, and it made the trip so much easier with 4-year-old twins. The location was within walking distance of almost everything we did. We rarely had to use our car, but when we needed it the valet was quick and courteous. The staff at the hotel was helpful and 100% customer oriented. They shared a lot of great information about the city and all the events they provide to the community. We really love the family-friendliness of Southlake, and we want to return during the holiday season. If their holiday events are as incredible as their “Stars and Stripes” event, count us in!

Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square pool area

If you’re looking for a nice getaway, especially if you have kids, consider Southlake as your next destination! It’s an easy 4-hour drive from Downtown Houston and a 10-minute drive from DFW International Airport. We made many core memories with the twins that we will cherish forever; some that I hope they will remember fondly.

Driving to Southlake from Houston, TX

Some photos from our trip

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