The Lone Star State's iconic desert beauty weaves its way through the lobbys modern decor, as taupe walls and luminous wall sconces form a southwestern color palette. A fireplace roars beneath the cathedral ceiling, flanked by soft couches that invite travelers to move on southern time during their stay at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Denton University Area.
In the guest rooms, all-white linens cover two queen-size beds or one king-size bed accented by a dark wooden headboard and apricot-colored walls that display framed artwork and still-life paintings of cacti wearing fake mustaches. A flat-screen TV hums to life to showcase in-room movies plus a variety of cable channels, proffering restful entertainment for weary wayfarers.
The on-site Lone Oak Bar & Grill cooks up southwestern-inspired fare, accepting dining credit with dishes such as barbeque salmon ($18) and the Cowboy, a 12-ounce grilled rib eye slathered with roasted-garlic butter ($22). A spacious heated indoor swimming pool encourages year-round dips, and the hotel's fitness center stocks the necessary cardio equipment to keep visitors in tip-top shape.
Founded in 1846, the frontier town of Denton exhibits a youthful sheen thanks to the students of nearby University of North Texas and the Texas Womans University. After a 1989 revitalization project that poured $36.5 million into restoring its historical district, Denton's Main Street district is now lined with shops, cafes, pubs, and galleries.
Built in 1896, the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square houses an eponymous museum that brims with local history exhibits, including displays on weaponry, early Denton farm life, and the county's African-American and Hispanic families. Every Saturday morning from 10 a.m. until noon, an Acoustic Lawn Jam takes place on the courthouse lawn, where guitarists, drummers, fiddlers, and singers perform songs dedicated to their favorite Supreme Court justice.
Denton's impressive live music scene includes several venues hosting weekly live bands such as Haileys Club, which recently landed John Oates for an upcoming performance on November 4. For a different brand of loud, the nearby North Star Dragway pits one souped-up car against another in regular drag-racing competitions.
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