When we think of traveling, we usually imagine a lengthy trip or long weekend to a location out of the ordinary. Don’t overlook the magic of your hometown. Oftentimes, you can find an oasis in the middle of the city to entertain and educate your family.

Many cities offer entertaining weekend events around holidays, celebrations and festivals such as Chinese New Year. While it’s fun to spend a weekend (my girls’ first question is always, “Which hotel are we staying in?”), you can often enjoy a nearby destination without turning a day-long festival into a weekend-long trip.

WHERE TO STAY IN DALLAS
To celebrate the Chinese New Year in Dallas, we left home around 6:30 am for the two-hour trip and made a fun day of the celebration. A single night in a hotel was all we needed. We were thrilled to stay at one of our favorites, Hilton Anatole, which is just a few miles from downtown Dallas and offers its own art collections and Asian flair.

CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION IN DALLAS
The Crow Collection of Asian Art hosted a festival with children’s activities and demonstrations throughout the entire day. The girls made red envelopes to feed to the lion dancers (a performance scheduled for later in the day), time capsules, flying birds, fireworks crafts, Chinese lanterns, and a family-based writing composition. One of the highlights was watching an artist demonstrate Chinese brush stroke.

Activities inside the museum were coordinated with events on a main stage and booths set up throughout the area. Dallas high school and university choirs, dancers, and orchestras performed throughout the day in addition to local bands and community groups.

For dining enjoyment, food trucks were stationed along Harwood St. with a variety of Asian food and other options available. We don’t have food trucks in my hometown yet, so eating at food trucks is a treat for my children (and, I admit, for me too!). On this trip, four of us ate from three different trucks. I found a new favorite and have a new truck to follow on Twitter. As an at-home cooking enthusiast, I bought several ingredients to cook with inspired by new flavors from our Chinese New Year weekend in Dallas.

If you’re attending a local festival, I suggest scoping out the food truck options even before your trip. You can usually find a list of trucks that will be traveling to an event or area and then do some preliminary research online to review menus.

The evening ended with an exciting fireworks show surrounded by the city skyline. This years celebration will be held on Saturday, February 13th. You can find all of the details, including the day’s schedule and a list of food trucks, on this year’s Chinese New Festival in Dallas on the Crow museum’s event page.

MORE FUN IN DALLAS
Nearby Klyde Warren Park is located in downtown Dallas in the heart of the Dallas Arts District within walking distance of the Chinese New Year festival. The area boasts regular events to attract a wide variety of guests including 5K races, bands, pet adoptions, and performances from local school groups. City websites or tourist sites like Visit Dallas can keep you abreast of local venues and events throughout the area.

Like many busy families, we can’t travel a week out of every month because of our jobs and activity obligations. We can, however, make some day trips or overnight trips to areas within a few hours from our home. Traveling with kids to nearby events brings spontaneity and a local flavor to your normal travels.

Remember that trips don’t always have to be exotic or long distance. Enjoy your city or region. See something new without going far!

What are some of your favorite local events? Please share with us in the comments below.

This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.

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