Before lunchboxes require filling and homework needs checking, book a weekend (or more) at one of these Dallas hotels, and take the whole crew. Welcome bags filled with toys and activities and dive-in movies at the hotel pool are just some of the family-friendly amenities you’ll find — and love. Plus, there’s the added convenience of someone else cooking (and bringing it to your room!) and making the beds. (Note: Prices vary based on availability. The prices listed were current at press time.)
A STARRY NIGHT WITH THE ARTS
For an upscale urban getaway, head to the Arts District for a weekend at the Fairmont Dallas. While there, spend the afternoon at the pool where the kids can use noodles and tire floats for free and order sliders, chicken tenders, pizza and watermelon chillers daily from 11am–10pm. Or plan a visit during one of the nighttime dive-in showings of Angry Birds (Aug. 12) or Monster Trucks (Aug. 26). For off-site fun, the Fairmont is within walking distance of Klyde Warren Park’s spray jets and myriad of kid-centered programming (check the online calendar for dates and times), and the Dallas Museum of Art, whose Summer Story Times take place every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at noon.
Cost: From $165 per night for the Fairmont Room with two double beds
Where: 1717 N. Akard St., Dallas; 214/720-2020
The Highland Dallas sits just across the street from the shops at Mockingbird Station and near kid-friendly eateries such as Society Bakery and Steel City Pops. When checking in, ask for a kids’ welcome kit, which comes with free toys and a list of local family activities, and a childproofing kit (toilet seat latches, outlet covers and night lights) if you have babies or toddlers in tow. Hit the rooftop infinity pool in the morning (kids can borrow foam noodles), then visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum (just a five-minute drive or 15-minute walk north) after lunch and take a selfie in the replica of his Oval Office. Or take infants to a Crybaby Matinee at the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station, offered every Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:30pm.
Cost: From $180 per night for a lower-floor room with two double beds
Where: 5300 E. Mockingbird Ave., Dallas; 214/520-7969
SLEEP AND SWIM
The kid-friendly amenities and full schedule of kids’ activities at the Hilton Anatole easily keep the kids — and adults — entertained for a weekend. For starters, families who book a double queen or king room with a sleeper sofa receive up to four wristbands for daily admission to JadeWaters, a guests-only water park with two 180-foot-long water slides, a toddlersize Panda Play Area and a swim-up bar for parents. Friday through Sunday, free activities for kids include an all-ages boot camp workout class, a poolside puppet show, a treasure hunt and G-rated movies under the stars at Anatole Park. Purchase a FunPass for kids ages 3 and older ($29 for one day or $49 for three days) to gain access to interactive puppet shows at Geppetto’s Marionette Theatre, a craft workshop and family bingo.
Cost: From $167 per night for a standard room with a king bed and sleeper sofa
Where: 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas; 214/748-1200
Visit the Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront on the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard to relax by the lakeside pool, enjoy kid-friendly dive-in movies at dusk every Saturday through Labor Day and feast at Campisi’s — less than a five-minute walk from the hotel. Save room for dessert at the hotel restaurant where Nutella pizza with chocolate sprinkles was just added to the menu. To take full advantage of the lakeside location, book a familyfriendly sailing excursion before you arrive with Big D Cats Catamarans. Hop aboard their double-decker boat for a two-hour tour of the harbor with complimentary juice, soda and water — no alcohol is served, but it’s BYOB. From $31 per person.
Cost: From $143 per night for a room with two queen beds
Where: 2055 Summer Lee Drive, Rockwall; 214/771- 3700
TOUR DE DALLAS
Book a weekday getaway at the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion Tower for discounted kiddie activities for guests, including animal encounters with the Dallas Zoo (Aug. 3) and Mad Science Monday where kids dabble in laboratory fun (Aug. 7). Admission is $8 for kids ages 4–12, free for tots 3 and younger and $13.60 per parent. Or redeem your hotel guest discount to catch a bird’s-eye view of the city from Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck.Then head to the outdoor pool on the third floor or grab a bite at Parrino’s Italian Bistro, whose menu was designed for kids by kids (young chefs, to be exact). At night, unwind in complimentary bathrobes, including mini robes for the kiddos.
Cost: From $160 per night for a room with two queen beds
Where: 300 Reunion Blvd., Dallas; 214/651-1234
AMERICAN GIRLS NIGHT IN
All young guests are greeted with a coloring book and crayons at the Westin Galleria, but if your party includes an American Girl fan, ask about the American Girl package, which includes nightly mini cupcake turndown service and an exclusive doll-size bed, robe and slippers. Be sure to visit the American Girl store in the neighboring Galleria, where you can sign your little one up for a free craft party on Aug. 2 or the WellieWishers tea party on Aug. 6 and 20. The mall also offers indoor fun for those sweltering days — the rainforest-themed Children’s Play Place for children 42 inches and shorter and the yearround ice skating rink — or you can take a refreshing dip in the hotel pool, where toys and floats are provided for kids, and free cabanas and lounge chairs await Mom and Dad.
Cost: From $234 per night for a deluxe room with two queen beds
Where: 13340 Dallas Parkway, Dallas; 972/934-9494
A FEW FAVORITE PASTIMES
You don’t need to book the Family Fun Package for a kid-friendly stay at Embassy Suites Dallas Frisco Hotel Convention Center & Spa, although doing so will get you unlimited Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel — a perk for downtime with the kids. All guests enjoy free board games and books to rent from the reception desk and a complimentary breakfast every day, including made-to-order omelets and pancakes. Then before bedtime, unwind at the free evening reception with cheese and wine for the grown-ups and juice, soda, gummy bears and pretzels for the kids. The hotel is undergoing renovations, but the indoor pool is open, and two-room accommodations mean the blow dryer won’t disrupt nap time. When you want to venture out of the hotel, hop over to Stonebriar Centre for fun and games at Dave & Buster’s or walk across the street to the Dr Pepper Ballpark to watch a Frisco RoughRiders minor league game throughout August; seats on the lawn behind center field (where kiddos can roam and romp freely) are $7.57 per person.
Cost: From $164 for a two-room suite with two queen beds
Where: 7600 John Q Hammons Drive, Frisco; 972/712-7200
SWIM, EAT, REPEAT
When you book a Complete Weekend Package at Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center, enjoy complimentary breakfast every day and a free toy from the toy basket at check-in. While at the front desk, be sure to snag a newsletter with movie times for local theaters, including the nearby Angelika, which hosts Crybaby Matinees every Thursday at 1:30pm (for parents on baby duty) and English-dubbed, PG-rated Japanese cartoons Thursdays at 11am. The Shops at Legacy is full of shopping and dining options too — stop at Mexican Sugar for three-cheese queso and crab enchiladas or treat the fam to Main Street Bakery’s famous Croi-Dough-Nut Brule (a fried croissant filled with crème brulee and topped with caramel and chocolate drizzle). Spend afternoons at the hotel in the rooftop pool outfitted with floaties and pool toys for water games.
Cost: From $174 per night for the Complete Weekend Package
Where: 7121 Bishop Road, Plano; 972/473-6444
SPORTS FAN’S DREAM
The brand-new Omni Frisco Hotel keeps football fans of all ages entertained. As part of the Omni Kids Club program, the littlest guests receive a backpack with a matching memory game, a pop-up football game and coloring book at check-in. Spend an afternoon at the pool on the fourth floor then picnic at the football field-shaped green space next to the hotel, and be sure to take a selfie in front of the Dallas Cowboys headquarters. Or get an up-close look during a 75-minute guided tour of The Star — see the locker rooms, the Nike Star Walk with past uniforms on display, and trophies and rings from all five Super Bowl championships. Tour tickets start at $27.50 for adults; free for children 4 and younger.
Cost: From $224 per night for a deluxe room with two queen beds
Where: 11 Cowboys Way, Frisco; 469/287-0000
MAKING MAGIC IN MCKINNEY
The Sheraton McKinney is a short 10-minute drive from Chestnut Historic Village where children ages 6 and older can join the Prairie Adventure Camp to weave, churn butter, make soap and play marbles. Camps run from 9am–noon August 1–3 or August 8–10. $100; pre-registration required. Explore the rest of Chestnut Historic Village or take it slow in Historic Downtown McKinney at Spoons Café over a slice of homemade pecan pie and a macchiato — order a Fuel Injection latte mixed with orange juice and cinnamon if you’re feeling extra adventurous. Spend another morning wandering the trails and visiting native animals at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. Kids ages 10 and older (and at least 95 pounds) fly through the preserve on Zip Line Day, Saturday, Aug. 12, ($12 per flight) and preschoolers join the weekly Nature Story Time on Fridays from 10:30–11am (free with admission: $9 adults; $6 ages 3–12; free for ages 2 and younger). Back at the hotel, relax with the kids at the outdoor pool.
Cost: From $143 per night for the Club Room with two double beds
Where: 1900 Gateway Blvd., McKinney; 972/549-4000
GET UP AND GO
Book the Westin Stonebriar for an active getaway to enjoy swimming, golf, bocce ball and more. Spend the afternoons and evenings at the hotel pool — a 200-foot-long lagoon with a basketball hoop, waterfall and divein movies every Friday night at 7:45pm; this month’s flicks include Trolls on Aug. 11 and Finding Dory on Aug. 18. Dry off at the poolside putting green or the two bocce ball courts. And bring your jogging stroller to hit the 3- and 5-mile paved trails around the property, but you don’t have to pack your own workout gear — the New Balance lending program delivers shoes and apparel to your room (and takes it away post-workout) for just $5 a day. For off-premises fun, drive less than 5 miles south to find Topgolf and Hawaiian Falls Waterpark, where lots of slides, geysers and rope ladders beckon. Drop kids ages 6–11 off at Island Explorer Camp August 7–11 from 9am–4pm to learn about Hawaiian folklore, play games and do science projects ($75 per day or $325 for the week; walk-ins welcome) while you hit the spa or order an in-room couples massage.
Cost: From $197 per night for the traditional room with two queen beds
Where: 1549 Legacy Drive, Frisco; 972/668-8000