ACFW Conference: Friday Night Tips

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By Mindy Obenhaus

Are you getting as excited about conference as I am? Now I know you think you’re coming to Dallas, but you’re not. You’re coming to Grapevine. So as a resident of this fine town, let me be the first to welcome you.

Grapevine has loads to offer. From our historic downtown to Grapevine Mills Mall and plenty in between.

You’re probably wondering what to do with your free time Friday evening, so let me take you on a little tour.

Our first stop is Grapevine Mills Mall. There is so much to see and do here. Of course, there’s shopping and eating-food court offerings, Chili’s, Corner Bakery, and Rainforest Café – but also some fun attractions.

Legoland Discovery Center and Sea Life Aquarium are relatively new additions to the mall. Young or old, if you like building with Legos, Legoland is the place to be. Admission is $18.51 for adults, $12.51 after 5 PM.
Unfortunately, they don’t allow any admissions after 6 PM.

Sea Life Aquarium is a 45,000 square foot water wonderland that houses more than thirty spectacular displays of diverse marine life. Admission is $19 for adults, $15 for kids. They are open until 9:30 PM. Plenty of time to grab a bite in the food court before taking a stroll through the octopus garden.

For the more outdoorsy types, Bass Pro Shop is right across the road from the Mills. You can wander through fabulous displays, explore the latest in hunting and fishing gear, even enjoy a thick, juicy steak at Uncle Buck’s Brewery and Steakhouse.

There are a plethora of restaurants in the mall area, but one of my faves is Love and War in Texas. This fun restaurant’s menu is as diverse as the Lone Star state itself.

Now we’ll head on over to historic downtown Grapevine. Did you know Grapevine is the Christmas capital of Texas? This place is absolutely gorgeous during the holidays.

Depending on the temperature, the sidewalks downtown may be jam-packed or fairly sparse. But the restaurants are always hopping. Everyone wants to go out on a Friday night, so be prepared to wait a bit.

Are you in the mood for some top-notch TexMex? Then head just off Main on Worth Street to Esparzas. Locals have flocked to this mainstay for years. Los Amigos is another local tradition.

Whether you’re looking for home-style cooking, upscale dining, seafood, steaks, Italian, or deli, you can find it in the downtown area. Because Grapevine is very proud of its name, there are also several wine bars that serve excellent food.

If you’re looking for a fun night out with friends, you might want to head over to the entertainment district for some fun and games. Main Event offers bowling, laser tag, and an over-the-top arcade. They also serve pub-style food.

There are some great restaurants in that area too. Salt Grass Steak House, Joe’s Crab Shack, El Fenix, Flips Patio Grill, Olive Garden, and Spring Creek Barbeque. And what’s a trip to Texas without some great barbeque?

Across the highway, on restaurant row, there’s a Pappadeaux, P.F. Changs, and Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Further down, in the Grapevine Towne Center, there’s Mimi’s Café, Jason’s Deli, and Bottle Cap Alley.

And, finally, the crossroads area boasts TGI Friday’s, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, Red Robin, Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, and more.

Whew! I don’t know about you, but this whirlwind trip around Grapevine is making me hungry. I’m sure you’re completely overwhelmed. Unless you’re looking for something specific, I would suggest the mall area or downtown. Oh, and there’s also the Gaylord Texan Resort. Here you can experience the best of the Lone Star State, under their signature glass atriums. You can dine, shop, socialize, and be entertained among four-and-a-half acres of lush indoor gardens. You can check them out at

For more information on Grapevine, visit

You can also learn more about some of the restaurants I mentioned at Scroll down the page to view all of our dining options and you can generally get to a restaurant’s website from there.

Thanks for allowing me to share my town. See you in September!

Mindy Obenhaus was raised in Michigan, but got to Texas as fast as she could. This mother of five and grandmother of five has been a member of ACFW since 2006, and is the current Carol Award coordinator. Amidst the organized chaos of daily life, she pens tales of happily ever afters and shares her passion for writing with anyone willing to listen. Learn more about Mindy at: or on the F.A.I.T.H blog = 6 unique authors, 6 unique personalities, 1 awesome God:

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