Welcome to Insider Out Travel, a blog about LGBT travel written by LGBT tourism professionals. Travel the globe and gain insight into the tourism industry (with a gay twist), brought to you by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Deep in the Heart of Texas!

For the past few days, IGLTA Board and Staff members descended upon Dallas, Texas for their quarterly meeting. I was on hand as a staff member and was excited as it was only my second time in the city of Dallas. Growing up in the Northeast USA sometimes gives you negative opinions of other parts of the country, and Texas can definitely fall into that category. I have to say, though, that Dallas really is a great, fun city full of amazing people.
We stayed at the Hotel Palomar - a Kimpton Boutique hotel
 - and it was pretty amazing. The theme of the hotel is art, and as an avid lover of art, I thought the theming was spectacular. There are little paints in every room, the art on the walls is top quality and even the stationary had cute little headings such as "Doodle." You cannot help but appreciate art as you stay in the Palomar.

Most of the days were spent in meetings, but the evenings were full of activity. IGLTA had a networking reception for members in the area at another Kimpton property, the Hotel Lumin which is near Southern Methodist University. The hotel's restaurant, Social, was the site of the shindig that was a great opportunity to meet other tourism industry folks and talk. With help from our friends at Visit Sweden and Visit Denmark, the evening was great.

The gay nightlife in Dallas is really very vibrant. Saturday night, after we worked hard in meetings for a few days, we were unleashed on the town. We met up with a friend at Library - the bar in the Melrose Hotel - for some wine. A very classy setting, it was a great place to talk and meet with friends. Dinner was followed afterwards across the street at Cyclone Anaya's Mexican Kitchen. The wait was a rather long one, but we had margaritas to tide us over while we waited to be seated. The energy in the restaurant was very high, lots of people dining, meeting friends, talking. It was a great place to go out to be social on a Saturday night. The food was great, too.

After dinner we went to three very different, but very fun bars. We started at JR's which is a large, very friendly place. Good to meet people and listen to music in a hometown bar kind of setting. After that, we headed across the street to a packed Roundup which is tons of fun. The bar is incredibly Texan with two-stepping and cowboys everywhere. You can't really be in Texas unless you visit such an establishment. We ended the evening at S4 dancing the night away. S4 is a big dance club that was full of a great, eclectic mix of people. There are bars, dancing, great music and a great energy.

The experience with Dallas' gay nightlife was my second, and both times I've had a blast. This city definitely knows how to have fun and I feel like I'm leaving some close friends behind. I'm excited for my next venture here to explore some more of what this city has to offer when I'm not in meetings all day!

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