For college basketball fans, all roads lead to Arlington, Texas, wedged between Dallas and Fort Worth, where this year’s NCAA Men’s Final Four Championship kicks off April 5 & 7 at AT&T Stadium. We’ve rounded up a few hotels with game spirit, plus a couple of worthy local attractions and mouthwatering dining options, for your ultimate Lone Star State Final Four travel guide.
Need a hand planning your trip? Check out our dedicated March Madness travel page.
Where to stay Nearby Dallas has some of the best March Madness deals around, including the Sheraton Dallas (400 N Olive St, Dallas, 214-922-8000), which offers shuttle service for basketball fans, among other perks. The Crowne Plaza (700 Avenue H East, 817-394-5000) just a few miles from the stadium in Arlington is a great bet, too, offering roundtrip transportation and other fan perks on game day. For more accommodation ideas, check out our March Madness planning page.
What to do International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame (621 Six Flags Dr, 817-385-8215) chronicles 5,000 years of bowling history—from the ancient Egyptians to British Monarchs to its first appearance in American taverns. Check out the “Innovations” exhibit, complete with life-sized replicas, touch-screen kiosks, film montages, and interactive games. The Planetarium at UT Arlington (700 Planetarium Pl, 817-272-1183) is one of the biggest in Texas and includes public and private events like stargazing and field trips. Settle into your seat and enjoy a 60-foot-wide dome with a state-of-the-art Digistar 5 system that projects crystal clear visions of the Milky Way and galaxies far, far away. Surround sound helps send you along on a light-speed journey around black holes and a “safari” through the human body.
Where to eat Family-owned Bodacious BBQ (1206 E Division, 817-860-4248) has been serving “quality smoked meats since 1960,” dishing out top-notch slabs the old fashioned way (mesquite wood only, no gas or electric pits). Succulent cuts get smoked daily, vegetables are made from scratch, and when the meat sells out, you’ll have to wait for the next day’s fresh supply per house rules. Jamaica Gates Caribbean Cuisine (1020 W Arkansas, 817-795-2600) run by Jamaica native and executive chef Barbara Renfro whips up classic Caribbean recipes. This offerings at this down home Arlington favorite are inspired by recipes Renfro mastered growing up, whether it’s the Kingston Trio of island favorites like Rude Boy Jerk Chicken, Boston Jerk Pork, Curry Goat and Oxtails, or a tasty Jamaican rum cake that’s satisfied the taste buds of celebrity chef Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
Where to watch The Tailgate Tavern (1015 Cedarland Blvd, 817-861-1989) is where you’ll find the second largest big screen in Arlington (the biggest happens to be inside AT&T Stadium). Maxing out at 133 inches, you won’t miss a beat. Just a few miles from the stadium, this popular bar keeps the Madness hoppin’ with live music, indoor and outdoor TVs, and a menu suited for the most seasoned super-fan. BoomerJack’s Grill & Bar (522 Lincoln Square, 817-275-5400) boasts 125 high-def TVs, so there’s hardly a bad spot to watch the big game. Be sure to try some of the menu’s homemade specialties: cheddar fries with bacon, chives and jalepenos, plus half-pound burgers and drink specials for primetime events like UFC Fight Nights, Cowboys games and, of course, March Madness.