From the cultural melting pot of San Antonio to the funky music venues of Austin, Texas is ripe with opportunities to explore. For a taste of Southern charm and hospitality that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, head just east of the towering skyscrapers of Dallas to Mesquite.
This charming city is a must-visit destination for families, couples, groups of friends and explorers looking to experience something new. Whether you’re visiting Dallas or if you’ve lived in the area for decades, Mesquite is worth the trip. While you’re in town, here are a few of the experiences you have to try.
Don Your Boots and Head to the Mesquite Championship Rodeo
When you think Texas, cowboy boots, large belt buckles and bull riding naturally come to mind. You’ll see those — and much more— at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo. Today, thousands of fans gather at the arena on weekends each summer (and at some special events throughout the year) to watch saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, bareback riding, team roping, barrel racing, tie-down roping and — of course – bull riding.
Before the competition starts, fans are invited down to the arena floor to meet the cowboys and cowgirls. Visitors to the rodeo can also take advantage of a unique viewing experience in the shark tank. Buy tickets to watch the bull-riding event at eye level in the middle of the arena while seated in a closed cage. Those inside the shark tank get to see the excitement from the best seats in the house. With plenty of Texas barbeque and a band playing two-stepping, boot-scootin’ music, this is possibly the most authentic Texan entertainment you will find anywhere in the Lone Star State.
Cheer on a Race at Devil’s Bowl Speedway
Unlimited, fast-paced entertainment awaits you at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway. Known as the most famous dirt track in the Southwest, the speedway is an exciting destination for crowds of all ages. The weekly championship series includes four classes: the South Dallas Battery & Electric IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars, USRA Modifieds, SL Nabors Roofing USA Limited Modifieds and Factory Stocks. The 10,000-seat venue brings you close to the action, and you can even get a pit pass to see the cars up-close. Just remember to bring earplugs.
Lounge by the Mesquite River
Mesquite is known for its lush parks and recreation areas. As it sits a little bit outside of the major metropolitan area of Dallas, there is a little bit more room to breathe. Take a moment to get outside while you’re in town, perhaps by taking a stroll along the Mesquite River, which gave the city its name.
Hit up the Shops on Town East Mall and Explore Downtown Mesquite
If you’re looking to get some serious shopping done in Mesquite, there’s only one place to go: the Town East Mall. Featuring more than 160 specialty shops, you’ll find fashion, home decor, lifestyle items, and just about anything else you could need. The mall also features an 850-seat food court with more than 25 restaurants to choose from. If you’re in the mood to wander, spend some time in Downtown Mesquite. This historic part of town offers a warm atmosphere and a variety of quirky, locally owned businesses and restaurants with ample personality. Pick up some flowers at Windsor Florist, learn sewing and quilting at the Pieced Together Studio, or shop for music in the iconic McWhorter-Greenhaw building. It’s the true heart of Mesquite, and shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area.
Visit the Mesquite Arts Center
The centrally located Mesquite Arts Center celebrates everything from visual arts to musical performances. It’s an excellent place to view local artists in the gallery, hear live music or catch a show after dinner.
For a breathtaking musical performance, get tickets to see the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra, which has been a favorite among locals for more than 30 years. Additionally, audiences young and old are sure to enjoy an experience at the beloved Mesquite Community Theater, which puts on comedies, mysteries, musicals and improv performances throughout the year.
Take the Family to Celebration Station
Get behind the driver’s seat for some racing of your own at Celebration Station, which features an impressive go-kart track. You’ll also find arcade games, miniature golf, bumper boats, batting cages, a climbing wall, laser tag and paintball (basically enough to keep you and your kids busy for hours).
Eat Like a Local
If you’re craving Texas-style barbecue, wood-fired pizza, authentic Tex-Mex cuisine or anything in between, you’ll find it in Mesquite. Some local favorites include the Mesquite BBQ, which has been family owned and operated since 1959. The old-school barbecue joint has been serving pulled-pork, burnt ends, smoked chicken, and sausage for generations. Yia Yia House of Gyros is the place to go for its namesake sandwich as well as other Greek and Mediterranean staples. The Bull’s Pen Cafe is known for both its Tex-Mex and country favorites, while Snuffers is the go-to spot for burgers and sandwiches.
Can you check them all off your list?
There’s much more to Mesquite than the activities listed here, but these must-try experiences are a good starting place when exploring the city. Make it a point to check at least a few off of your list if you’re in the area. You never know what you’ll discover along the way.
Written by Sarah Strohl for RootsRated in partnership with Mesquite CVB.