A Fort Worth native, Jordan Breal is a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and joined Texas Monthly in February 2005. As the magazines resident travel writer, she spends most of her time on the road in search of Texass most interesting sights, best hotels, and notable eats.
Jordan chronicles her adventures in her monthly column, The Wanderer, as well as a blog of the same name. She has also written about her home state for Fast Company, National Geographic Traveler, and Whole Living, among other publications.

Articles by Jordan Breal

That’s the Spirit

Jan 20, 2013 By Jordan Breal

Not that you’re looking for an excuse, but these five original cocktails concocted by Texas bartenders using local liquors are a thoroughly acceptable reason to pour yourself a drink. Or three.

Wyatt’s World

Jan 20, 2013 By Jordan Breal

Thirty years after he took his first photograph for us—of charming kook Stanley Marsh 3—contributing photographer Wyatt McSpadden looks back on his extraordinary career and tells the stories behind some of our favorite images.

Coming to America

Jan 20, 2013 By Jordan Breal

Television journalist Jorge Ramos, the author of the book Dying to Cross, on immigration reform and being called the “voice of the voiceless.”

Sneak Peek: The Wanderer Goes To…

Dec 13, 2012 By Jordan Breal

While the first issue of 2013 is en route to newsstands and your mailbox (because you are a Texas Monthly subscriber, right?), here's a little preview of some of the sights, sounds, and tastes I discovered while on assignment in...can you guess which Texas town? (Click through to find out.)

The State Fair of Texas: Football + Fried Food

Oct 13, 2012 By Jordan Breal

This time last year, I was leaving the Cotton Bowl along with thousands of football fans who'd made the annual pilgrimage to watch the 106th Red River Rivalry, one of the highlights of the State Fair of Texas. While throngs of UT fans were making a beeline for the parking lot, dejected after their loss (a scene that was played out again today), I noticed many of the OU faithful heading straight for the fried food stands, eager to celebrate their victory by eating something—anything, everything—dipped in batter and dunked in hot oil. Naturally, I joined them. (Full disclosure: Although I am a native Texan and, thus, feel obligated to root for the home team even though I did not attend UT, my brother is a faithful OU alumnus, and I feel obligated to extend my unconditional sibling support even though he decided to go to school in Oklahoma. Plus, I went to school in Illinois, so I have no room to talk.) In between yells of "Boomer!," the celebratory Sooners popped doughy balls of fried beer into their mouths and hoisted paper boats filled with golden Oreos into the air like they were brandishing the Golden Hat itself.

Where To Stay Now 2012: The Ten Best New (Or Improved!) Texas Hotels

Oct 12, 2012 By Jordan Breal

As a recent study of hotel booking trends pointed out, us Texans prefer to vacation in Texas. Since our last roundup of the state's most notable lodgings was in 2004, I thought it was high time to revisit the subject. So I drafted a list of 44 hotels that have opened or undergone significant renovations in the last 8 years. I then winnowed that list down and booked rooms (anonymously) at 24 properties across the state to determine my favorites. Although my full reviews will be available next week (the November issue goes live on TexasMonthly.com on Wednesday and hits newsstands on Thursday), I wanted to go ahead and share my ten favorites (plus the five that nearly made the cut) . . . .  

Coming Soon: Where To Stay Now 2012

Oct 11, 2012 By Jordan Breal

So I’ve been MIA from the blog lately, but I think I have a pretty good excuse, as I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on a Texas travel feature for our November issue. For the latest installment of “Where To Stay…

Sneak Peek: The Wanderer Goes To . . .

Sep 17, 2012 By Jordan Breal

For the October installment of the Wanderer, I spent three days exploring a Houston hood with a colorful history (a 1973 Texas Monthly article called it “the strangest neighborhood in Texas”) and a colorful array of shops, restaurants, and watering holes. Can…

Spotted in Bandera

Sep 17, 2012 By Jordan Breal

  For my first official outing as the Wanderer, I got to play cowgirl for a few days in Bandera, the (self-proclaimed) Cowboy Capital of the World. As I was busy riding horses, two-stepping, and eating fried delicacies, I managed to take nearly a thousand photographs. Here are ten of the most head-turning things I spied as I was channeling my inner Dale Evans . . .

Choose Your Own Texas Adventure

Sep 6, 2012 By Jordan Breal

  When it comes to traveling around the state, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of destinations to choose from. One of the things I love most about Texas is that you can drive a few hours (or more than a few hours) in one direction and be at, say, the beach and then head another direction and find yourself in the mountains or in the rolling Hill Country or in the Piney Woods. For the last several years, a few of my colleagues and I have been visiting small towns and exploring interesting areas of big cities in search of noteworthy things to do, see, and eat. Here's a cheat sheet guide to what you can expect to find in a few of the places we've singled out across the state recently . . . 

Houston: James Turrell’s Skyspace

Aug 29, 2012 By Jordan Breal

During a recent trip to Houston, I decided to make an early-bird dinner reservation so I could get over to the Rice University campus in time for the evening viewing of James Turrell's Light Epiphany. Open since June, the site-specific "skyspace" was commissioned to mark the university's centennial. The pyramidal structure has been outfitted with LED lights that Turrell has programmed to change in particular sequences—one just before sunrise, one just after sunset—in accordance with the solar calendar. Seeing as how the sun always sets on time, I didn't want to be late. As I hurried toward the structure (located next to the Shepherd School of Music), my first thought was that it looked like some sort of futuristic hover craft. I handed over the email confirmation I'd printed out (though free, reservations are required for the sunset show) and fell in line with the other visitors. Heading up the white staircase embedded in the structure's grassy slope, I felt like Roy at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind as he walked, willingly, up the ramp and into the mother ship.

Marathon: Get Outta Town

Aug 27, 2012 By Jordan Breal

For many travelers, this far West Texas town is a last-chance pit stop before heading south to brave the wilds of Big Bend National Park. But, this past spring, after driving 407 miles (that’s roughly 7 hours and 143 country songs) from Austin to…

Marfa: Trans-Pecos Gathering of Music + Love

Aug 27, 2012 By Jordan Breal

In one of my favorite descriptions of Marfa, writer David McDannald points out that sometimes it’s “a shadow of a town” and sometimes it’s “a desert Mardi Gras.” At the end of this month, West Texas’s buzziest destination will be lit up like Bourbon Street…

Roadside Attraction: Wild Boar Farms

Aug 22, 2012 By Jordan Breal

WHAT: Wild Boar Farms, a roadside farm stand worth pulling over for. WHERE: Stonewall, at the northeast corner of Hwy 290 and Luckenbach Road. WHY: For starters, the head farmer’s name is Daniel Bacon. That’s as good a reason as any to patronize this long, wood-paneled structure,…

Wandering Around the Great State of Texas

Aug 22, 2012 By Jordan Breal

If you’ve already picked up your copy of Texas Monthly‘s September issue, you’ve noticed that the magazine has undergone a top-to-bottom redesign. In the new Touts section, you’ll find the debut of my Texas travel column, the Wanderer (or, as my colleagues like to…

Grapevine

Apr 30, 2012 By Jordan Breal

1. 
Grapevine Vintage Railroad Nestled among the shops and restaurants along Main Street are several landmarks, including an eight-by-ten-foot 1909 calaboose and the 1888 Cotton Belt Depot, which houses the Grapevine Historical Museum. From there you can board Victorian-style passenger cars pulled by a 1953 diesel named Vinny for a…

Kerrville

Mar 31, 2012 By Jordan Breal

The annual folk festival celebrates its fortieth anniversary next month, but there's more to this Hill Country town than banjos and fiddles.

Old Town Spring

Oct 31, 2011 By Jordan Breal

Dozens of charming, century-old homes just north of Houston have been transformed into a historic shopping district, complete with wooden clogs and fried Oreos.

Comfort

May 31, 2011 By Jordan Breal

This Hill Country town founded by Freethinkers and abolitionists offers unique artisanal wares, first-rate antiquing, and a tasty $8 hamburger.

Tyler

Apr 30, 2011 By Jordan Breal

Flower lovers drawn to the Rose Capital of the Nation will find snazzy frocks and spicy guisado de puerco amid the petals and thorns.

Granbury

Feb 1, 2011 By Jordan Breal

1. Merry Heart TeaRoom In this quaint lunch spot, men are about as scarce as empty seats. Women, on the other hand, flock here for the exact reasons the guys steer clear: to share gossip while snacking on the signature “toasties” (essentially croutons with a kick), to eat dainty portions…

Alpine

Aug 31, 2010 By Jordan Breal

In this high-desert hub just north of Big Bend National Park, you’ll find Western artwork, Mexican handicrafts, and the unexpected snow cone.

Houston is Chow Town

Jul 31, 2010 By Jordan Breal

You know that Houston is the most diverse city in Texas, yet what do you do every time you visit? You stay in the same hotel downtown, plan your typical pilgrimage to the Galleria, and make reservations at the usual restaurants. This time, stay at a hip Montrose B&B…

Port Aransas Waves Hello

Jul 31, 2010 By Jordan Breal

In Port Aransas, idleness is next to godliness for those on vacation. In this unpretentious village on the northern tip of Mustang Island your most exacting task—picking out the perfect spot on the beach—will also be the most rewarding. Who cares if the sand isn’t pristine (this is Texas,…

Hill Country Map Quest

Jul 31, 2010 By Jordan Breal

When it comes to choosing a getaway, the Hill Country doesn’t have to campaign hard for our affections. Its lush expanses of bounding green hills and serpentine rivers stretch over some 25 of the most idyllic counties in the state. And those picturesque towns that cling proudly to their…

Rough Creek Lodge

Jul 31, 2010 By Jordan Breal

“You have arrived at your destination,” your GPS will chirp as you approach the entrance to the Rough Creek Lodge and Resort, just outside Glen Rose, though your kids will probably point out that you’re still in the middle of nowhere. So pass through the gates and soldier on…