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

A vibrant yet humble ecosystem of unique boutiques, locally owned eateries, and one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences is catching the attention of prospective visitors across the area.

Garland, Texas, with a population of nearly 250,000, has enthusiastically embraced a reputation for diversity and creativity, cultivating an inspiring can-do spirit that encourages individuals to pursue their dreams on their terms. At the heart of this vibe is Garland’s downtown, which has undergone a remarkable transformation, breathing new life into its historic Square.

The revitalization includes an expansive recreational and event lawn, inviting families to gather for picnics, friends to enjoy a game of Frisbee or a fitness class, and the community to come together for festivals and live music performances. A shaded pavilion also provides the perfect spot for local talents to showcase their skills under the Texas stars. Picture a spontaneous drum circle, a pop-up acoustic concert, or an open mic night. Additional all-new amenities such as a tree house playscape within a larger imaginative play area for kids, an urban water feature, and a distinctive vertical prism gateway feature that illuminates at night are sure to impress guests of any age.

The distinctive vertical prism gateway feature illuminates at night and provides a grand entrance to an expansive recreational and event lawn.

Up to 14 blocks of streetscapes in Garland’s Downtown have seen enhancements as a part of the City’s $423 million bond package that is focused on helping residents live their best lives through improved parks and recreation centers, redesigned libraries, a new animal shelter, and more. The Downtown area alone has updated building facades, expanded sidewalks (some doubling in width), and installed modern, cohesive street lighting, which creates a sense of space and invites pedestrians to linger in Downtown a bit longer.

The Frocksy is a marvelously quirky vintage clothing and accessories shop.

Garland extends a warm invitation for you to visit and uncover the hidden treasures of Downtown Garland. Surrounding the Square, you’ll discover a variety of unique spots to explore. Inside The Frocksy, you’ll find marvelously eclectic vintage clothing and accessories, locally sourced body products for men and women, custom jewelry, and unique household goods. 

Next door, Jimmy Wallace Guitars is a haven for music enthusiasts worldwide, whether searching for a $100 beginner guitar or a $100,000 collector’s piece. Jimmy Wallace describes his store as “a musician’s shop, a museum of music and guitar memorabilia, and a place for beginners and consumers alike.”

Legendary Jimmy Wallace calls downtown Garland home. Stop by, and he’ll weave tales of playing with many famous musicians and even let you hold one of the rarest guitars in the world.

Located just outside Jimmy’s place is 506 Art, an art oasis featuring community murals, art exhibits, and the occasional music performance.

Finally, The Full Monty Oddities and Antiques sets the bar for a quirky, curious, and Instagram-worthy shopping experience. This collection of weird and unusual items for sale has something for every taste.

The Karin Wiseman Collection is all about interesting and unique lifestyle products.

Unique Eateries

Downtown is also home to more than 12 locally owned eateries, offering diverse culinary delights, from seafood to Thai to American scratch-cooking to Tex-Mex. Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery stands out, serving handcrafted beers and slow-smoked Texas BBQ in an artistic, creative atmosphere. The old-world brick, the classic main-street awning, and the giant bay windows invite you in; the rustic, wood-grained bar tops and tables, the industrial, chic trappings of the environment (and the delicious smell, of course!) beckon you to stay. They’ve just added a walk-up bar, as well, where patrons can grab a craft beer and hang out on the Square.

Intrinsic Smokehouse and Brewery offers house-made beer & soda, plus Texas-style BBQ served in a funky, industrial-chic environment.

Latham Bakery is a sweet lover’s dream, from cakes to sticky buns to tarts, brownies, and cupcakes. But they don’t just do dessert; they also serve tasty sandwiches, soup plates, and a breakfast menu. 

In the welcoming embrace of Rosalind Coffee, you’ll encounter many locals, each immersing themselves in the warm, communal atmosphere and rekindling cherished connections with long-lost friends. Many entrepreneurs can also be spotted at Rosalind’s, utilizing the space to collaborate and brainstorm for their upcoming business ventures.

Latham Bakery is a sweet lover’s dream, from cakes to sticky buns to tarts, brownies, and cupcakes.

And opening this fall is an exciting and innovative pizza establishment making its debut in DFW, introducing the region to its first taste of New Haven-style pizza. Fortunate Son takes its name from the iconic song by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Art and Culture Take Center Stage

When it comes to art and culture, Garland’s Downtown boasts a state-recognized cultural district designation. The Bankhead Cultural Arts District is one of just 54 in the entire state and one of only two designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts in 2023. Several iconic venues comprise the Bankhead Cultural Arts District and have played a pivotal role in Garland’s cultural scene. The legendary Plaza Theatre was meticulously restored to its art deco glory, and there you’ll find velvet seating, state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, and a motorized waterfall curtain that enhances the theatrical experience. The Plaza Theatre presents a carefully curated selection of beloved films, offering an exquisite cinematic journey. Concerts across all genres also happen year-round.

The Plaza Theatre presents a carefully curated selection of beloved films, offering an exquisite cinematic journey. Concerts across all genres also happen year-round.

The Granville Arts Center complex includes two magnificent proscenium theaters and the award-winning Atrium banquet facility. It serves as the performance arts hub of Downtown Garland, hosting symphonies, musicals, ballets, stage plays, and concerts. In fact, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples wowed audiences there earlier this year. The Bankhead Cultural Arts District also includes the Landmark Museum, two culturally significant parks, industrial spaces reborn as artist studios and a captivating historic neighborhood.

So, whether you’re planning a night out with friends, longing for that nostalgic main-street-USA vibe or simply seeking a getaway for a few days, make sure to plan a trip to Downtown Garland.

You’ll soon discover why this vibrant city is a destination waiting to be explored and cherished.

Downtown Happenings

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the unmissable Día de los Muertos celebration on Wednesday, November 1, at the Granville Arts Center, just around the corner from the Square in Downtown.

You can also immerse yourself in A Garland Christmas on The Square event that will enchant visitors on Thursday, December 7. This celebration will transform the area into a captivating winter wonderland.

Check here often for the many events going on all year long. See you soon.

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