On the Road
From bluebonnets to polka, celebrate big in festival-friendly Ennis
Deemed the “Official Bluebonnet City,” Ennis is blanketed in the blue blooms every spring — it’s one of the first things you’ll notice when you drive into town.
But if you miss prime wildflower season, there’s still plenty to love about this destination that’s only about 30 minutes south of Dallas.
Ennis’ historic downtown boasts beautiful, tree-lined streets and wonderful shopping and dining outposts. And on Saturdays from April through October you can browse the Bluebonnet Market, a farmers market with local vendors selling pottery, baked goods, jewelry, fresh produce, and more.
For more activities to inspire a jaunt through Ennis, read on.
Head to the lake
With more than 3,500 surface acres, Lake Bardwell is a sparkling body of water with skiing, fishing, swimming, boating, and more.
Head to Highview Marina, where they can also hook you up with paddle board rentals. With the lake's 1,800 acres of surrounding land, there’s plenty of space for camping and picnicking, too.
Schedule in some screen time
Put down the smartphone and switch to the big screen at the famous, retro-fabulous Galaxy Drive-in Theatre, where you can catch a movie under the stars.
Hit the track
Considered one of the finest quarter-mile drag racing facilities in the nation, the Texas Motorplex hosts the annual NHRA Fall National auto racing event (save the date for October 13-16, 2022!), along with more than 90 other racing events.
For a slightly different speed, the Big O Speedway is a dirt track that hosts events from March through October.
Just northeast of Ennis is Sugar Ridge Winery, which is situated in the scenic countryside and pours a wide assortment of lovely reds, whites, and specialty wines — think sangria, Party Pear, and Little Green Apple.
The family-friendly destination also hosts live music most weekends, along with karaoke nights and girls-night-out events with food and shopping.
For a glass right in historic downtown Ennis, The Vine at 119 is a cozy place with a variety of hand-selected wines and whiskeys from across the world, along with bistro-style cuisine that enhances the pairing experience.
Be a theater kid
Ennis has year-round live theater via two organizations. Theatre Rocks stages world premieres and incredible renditions of the classics, all in an intimate 75-seat venue.
Ennis Public Theatre holds seven stage productions a year: The Book Club Play, Clue on Stage, and Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town are on the docket for the rest of 2022.
Get some park time
The 19-acre Veterans Memorial Park is not only a compelling, unique tribute to local war vets, it also holds community events like the summer Freedom Fest.
The park is also the official home of the Ennis Soccer Association, with three soccer fields along with a paved walking path through a designated bluebonnet prairie, picnic tables, a playground, and more.
Coordinate with an event
With events nearly every month, there’s always something on the calendar, from February’s Ennis Czech Music Festival to April’s Ennis Bluebonnet Trails and Festival, a three-day extravaganza of live music, food, kids’ activities, shopping, wine, and more.
In May, the National Polka Festival over Memorial Day Weekend celebrates Czech culture with a number of festivities. And in June, there’s a Blues on Main music event and an Ennis Freedom Fest that’s known for having the “most beautiful fireworks display in all of Texas.”
Come fall, downtown Ennis sets up a larger-than-life hay maze and hosts the Autumn Daze Festival on the last weekend of October. Lights of Ennis in December ushers in all that magical holiday spirit.
No matter when you arrive in town, swing by the Ennis Welcome Center to get the lay of the land and see the wonderful new art display called Full Bloom by Michele R. Gutlove.
Download the free mobile app, Ennis Y’all, for access to all the city has to offer and more details on upcoming events — or head over to Visit Ennis for more info.