Lots of countries have a can-do spirit, but if there's one that combines serious fun and frolic with theirs, it's Ireland. After a potato famine as well as civil, political and religious unrest for years, the island of Éire and its people still know how to party (that's probably why they know how to party, now that we think about it). Thus, the North Texas Irish Festival makes for one helluva weekend. You get the full-on guts, the humor, the dances, the music (the festival books an impressive roster of Irish and Celtic performers, both modern and traditional) , yes, the potent potables of the fair green land, perfectly imported for Dallas. We're not sure Ireland is really known for its face painting, but the NTIF often has that too, should the kiddos demand it. More than 60,000 people attended this last year—which is impressive for a festival celebrating but one culture—so really, who are we to doubt the shamrockian shenanigans?

Dallas Museum of Art

You may think downtown Dallas is the last place on earth you'd go to relax, but you're missing out. Located in the heart of downtown is a free sculpture garden shaded by mature oaks and filled with pools of water and forceful waterfalls. The large area is surrounded by 12-foot concrete walls draped in twisted ivy, so the traffic noise is muffled. The sculptures placed throughout the garden are made of bronze, stone or wood, like the French Henri Laurens abstract bronze from 1937. The large artworks and surprising large surface area of the garden have an expansive effect on your psyche. Take a book and sit at one of the cafe tables by one of the four falls inside. It's open during regular museum hours, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekdays and weekends and on Thursdays until 9 p.m.

Round-Up Saloon

Be prepared to enter a whole new world: photos displayed on flat screens of muscular, all-American men in cowboy hats with hairless chests; a front "parlor" for karaoke where "they sing all the time," said a bouncer; and an authentic, good-sized dance floor for country dancing. Above the sunken dance floor, a giant neon red outline of the great state of Texas surrounds a spinning disco ball, which shoots off flashes of color around the room. Three times a week—Monday, Tuesday and Thursday—show up for free country dance lessons from 8:30 to 10 p.m. While you're there, try the most popular shots, a Jagerbomb or a Cowboy Cock Sucker. That's butterscotch schnapps and a bit of Irish cream, y'all.

The Bavarian Grill

The drink specials aren't all that special during Stein Hour at Bavarian Grill: $2.75 domestic longnecks, $3.25 Loewenbraus, or a dollar off selected drafts. They're better than nothing, but going to a bar with so many great German brews only to drink domestic longnecks (or Loewenbrau, for that matter) is like going to Six Flags and never getting off the parking tram. It's the food specials that really make Stein Hour so happy. For each half-liter draft, you can add an authentic Bavarian biergarten dish for just 95 cents: weisswurst or Bratwürstel sausages with mustard, crispy meatloaf frikadelles, tangy and meaty goulash, chicken-and-grape salad and more. They're substantial snacks, too, plenty to tide you over till a late dinner. Better yet, have a few as a light meal. Prost!

Cedar Ridge Preserve

The trails at Southwest Dallas' Audubon-managed Cedar Ridge Preserve make for some of the best hiking in North Texas. Whether you pick the leisurely Possumhaw Trail or the heavy woods and elevation changes of the Cedar Break Trail, you're sure to enjoy the experience, which puts the hiking at nearby Cedar Hill State Park to shame. (If you're with your honey the observation towers are prime make-out spots too.) After all that hiking, you'll find it easy to justify a post-exercise treat at Sheridan's, where the frozen custard will satisfy any sweet tooth. We'd suggest the Grant's Grasshopper (vanilla custard with mint, chocolate chips and Oreos), but we're sure you'll have your own ideas—a Brownie Bling Pothole, perhaps?

Adair's Saloon

The King Bucks may have left their Monday night residency that carried this honky-tonk for the past two years, but the fact remains: If you wanna throw on some cowboy boots, throw back some Lone Star and throw your dance partner around the floor without much regard for anyone judging you from the sidelines, Adair's still remains the tops in town. And there are still some fairly choice residencies to keep things going: Acoustic country crooner Ben Smith holds down the fort for laid-back Sunday nights, Oklahoma-based country rocker Rachel Stacy makes the trip to keep things interesting every Monday night, and local honky-tonk covers outfit RED keeps the boot-scootin' going every Wednesday—to the tune of $1.50 drafts, no less. And, better yet, you won't be forced into any line-dancing. Not here, thank God.

Oak Lawn Coffee

Since Starbucks became the new McDonald's, finding a good independent, local coffee shop can be tough. But after Brady Cottle took over and renovated this Oak Lawn establishment, it offers delicious home-brewed coffee and espresso drinks, pastries by local baker extraordinaire Samantha Rush (needless to say, her work blows Starbucks' tired baked goods out of the water), as well as creative art and photographs by Dallas-area artists and live music each week. And, in addition to donating at least 7 percent of daily revenue to nonprofit organizations, Cottle often sells products made by artisans in developing countries and holds frequent fund-raisers for causes such as cancer research and groups that help people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Amsterdam Bar

This Exposition Park staple isn't really a jazz club, but step into this European-styled bar on a Monday night and, traditional jazz room settings be damned, you're gonna see yourself as good a night of jazz performance as offered by any other venue in town. Bad Ass Jazz, as the night is called, is pretty much just what the title implies—a night of the region's finest jazz talents rotating in and out of the playing area in the back of the room, sharing smiles, drinks and enough improvised jazz solos and group jams to keep the always-crowded room delighted. Even to the uneducated jazz listener, it's an impressive sight, not to mention an easy way to pretend you're more cultured than you probably are. Plus, it's free.

Family Karaoke

Even experienced karaoke singers can be intimidated by a bar full of strangers. But at Family Karaoke's private rooms, you can be jeered by just your closest friends. Three sizes of rooms accommodate groups of two to 25, and bar and food service directly to your room keeps the party going. Choose your favorites from a good selection of American pop hits (and tons more in Korean, Thai and Chinese) backed by bizarre, music video-style graphics. The story about the penguin researchers was our favorite. Even if you already have evening plans, you can rock karaoke into the wee hours of the morning: Reservations are available till 4 a.m. on weekends.

Buli

The blue glow of laptops lights up the faces of Buli Café's regular late-night customers. Sitting along the wall against faux-fur cushions are budding screenwriters, playwrights, Facebook freaks and others with reasons to be online after dark. The nighttime crowd here comes in for strong coffee roasted on the premises (and served in sizes from Twink to Butch), plus tasty paninis and sinful desserts made by Massimo bakery. Open into the wee hours, Buli is one of the few coffee shops in the Oak Lawn area to stay up late and keep the free Wi-Fi going. Buli (pronounced BYOO-lee) is a sort-of acronym for "Because You Love It." And as long as they let us tippy-type and tipple those Twinks past 12, we do.

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