This article is a part of the 2023 Summer Travel Guide, a sponsored collection brought to you by our travel advertising partners. You can find more summer travel destinations and events here.

Waylon Jennings wrote about getting back to the basics of life—the idea is that sometimes we all need to escape to a place where genuine experiences, unpretentious people, and time away from the hustle and bustle can restore our appreciation for the things in life that truly matter. Garland, Texas, offers that in droves. Whimsical and always eager and sincere in offering adventures and new experiences, the city and its people pack a ton of originality into the town, distinguishing it from cookie-cutter communities that proliferate the DFW area. It is where the wanderer can escape for the day or the weekend or fall in love so much with its genuineness that you may consider calling it home.

Music and Dancing

Are you looking for soul-soothing sounds, unique festivals, and fun food? Look no further than Band Together On The Square, a concert series at the 506 Art stage in downtown Garland with a diverse musical experience that will go great with your carefree vibe. Join us every other Friday evening from April through June for one of the best summer concert series.

What about artists on the rise? Outdoor concerts? Garland has got that covered, too. The Sounds of Summer series features evenings of live music at Winters Park and Audubon Park across a series of dates in May and June. Free parking and plenty of shade, food trucks, and fun activities for the kids are available.

Local food scene that tells a global story (pictured: Ferah Tex-Med Kitchen).

Food and Drinks

Garland’s local food scene serves delicious, flavorful dishes that tell a global story. Feeling adventurous? Here are some Garland international favorites to check out…

Delectable craft brews & BBQ downtown at Intrinsic.

Feeling less adventurous? Try out the delectable brews and barbecue at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery or some charming other downtown staples like…

  • Dos Banderas Mexican Cuisine and Cantina
  • Latham Bakery
  • Main Street Café
  • Tavern on the Square

For a complete list of city-wide restaurants, check out

Best-kept-secret type shops all over town (pictured: Frocksy).


In Garland, you’ll find all sorts of best-kept-secret type shops. Funky jewelry, Stetson cowboy hats, vintage clothes and goods, unique gifts, and inspiration you won’t find anywhere else. The heart of downtown Garland features nostalgic shops around every corner—the types of shops that you want to spend all day in, carefully exploring every nook and cranny for that one thing that, when you see it, you know you have to have it. Check out:

If you’re a fan of larger shopping areas with more recognizable brands, then be sure to check out Firewheel Town Center and Bass Pro Shops


Appropriately named after its roots in bowling and cinema, the unique party venue Strike + Reel features luxury dine-in movie auditoriums with large-format screens, luxury recliners, and full bar service. In addition to a luxury movie experience, Strike + Reel offers state-of-the-art indoor attractions, including bowling, interactive video games, an LED-lit rock-climbing wall, high ropes course, laser tag, and bumper cars!

Are you looking for an old-fashioned way to take in a movie? Established in the 1940s, the historic Plaza Theater always gives retro vibes. The theater has been completely refurbished in the art deco style, enhanced with luxurious velvet seats and a motorized waterfall curtain to open and close performances. Pay homage to a glorious bygone era by watching Sharknado, Pulp Fiction, or whatever fine cinema they play.

Cultural performances, tasty food trucks, and more at the Asian American Heritage Festival.

Heritage Celebrations

Large turnouts, great guest speakers, and lively performances have traditionally marked our Juneteenth Celebration at Audubon Park as one you don’t want to miss. This year, bring the whole family to celebrate freedom and unification through dance, song, fellowship, and food! June 17 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Asian American Heritage Festival, hosted at Winters Park Amphitheater on May 20 from 3 to 10 p.m. Cultural performances, tasty food trucks, and craft pop-up seller stands permeate the event, so come hungry and come for the entertainment!

Visit for more information.