11 Jaw-Dropping Bird’s-Eye Views

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It’s not hard to find beauty in Texas – whether you’re looking out over the sprawling lands of West Texas or taking in the luscious woods of the East. But sometimes to truly appreciate all there is to see, you gotta get a bird’s eye view! From hilltop and mountain to bridge and skyscraper, here’s a list of 11 of the most stunning views in Texas!

1. Love’s Lookout – Highway 69 – Jacksonville, TX

Photo by My East Texas

Photo by My East Texas

2. Hancock Hill – Sul Ross University – Alpine, TX

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Watch our Alpine episode here.

3. Mount Bonnell – Austin, TX

See the South Austin episode here.

4. Old Baldy – Garner State Park – Concan, TX

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5. Palo Duro Canyon – Canyon, TX

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Find our episode in nearby Amarillo here.

6. Wyler Aerial Tramway – Franklin Mountains State Park – El Paso, TX

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See our El Paso episode here.

7. Reunion Tower – Dallas, TX

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Watch our Dallas episode here.

8. Masada Ridge – Big Bend Ranch State Park – Presidio, TX

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Photo by Chase Fountain/TPWD.

9. Davis Mountains State Park – Fort Davis, TX

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See our episode in Fort Davis here.

10. Guadalupe Peak - Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Salt Flat, TX

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See our episode in nearby Van Horn here.

11. South Rim – Big Bend National Park

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Watch our Big Bend episodes here.

7 Refreshing Getaways in Texas

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Between the food-coma-induced pains of Thanksgiving, the frantic gift searches of Christmas and immense stress of already failing at your New Year’s resolution, you’re exhausted and you deserve a break. You loved being surrounded by family and friends during the endless parties of the holidays, but now you’re ready for the relaxation and peace of mind only Texas can provide. Luckily for you, the hard parts of trip planning have already been done – all you gotta do is take a deep breath, get your planner handy and choose how you’d like to indulge yourself at one of these 7 Texas getaways.

Get Refreshed in Nature

Picture by Chase Fountain.

Take in the view at Palo Duro Canyon. Picture by Chase Fountain.

If your idea of a getaway is breathing that fresh Texas air, spending hours getting lost in nature, and freedom from the hustle and bustle of life, than these nature getaways are perfect for you.

Palo Duro Cabins: Spend the night in these cabins at Palo Duro Canyon that are basically made of the canyons themselves and you might just have one of the prettiest views in all of Texas. You can hike the canyons if you wish, or just sit out on the porch with a cup of coffee and watch as the sun moves over the canyons. There’s no way to get bored at these cabins.

Canyon of the Eagles Resort: At this resort in Burnet, TX, your days will be filled with hiking through the beautiful Hill Country landscapes of this 940-acre nature park. End your day of hiking and mountain biking with a gourmet dinner and a view of the sunset on the lake at The Overlook restaurant or a “Star party” at the Eagle Eye Observatory.

Dixie Dude Ranch: Mosey on down to Bandera, TX to spend the weekend like a real life cowboy: at a working longhorn and goat ranch that’s been around since 1901! Enjoy a weekend free of stress (and cell phone service), horseback ride or hike through the countryside, sing songs around the campfire and just take in that country air.

Get Pampered at the Spa

Relax by the pool at Travaasa Austin. Picture by Travaasa Experiential Resorts.

Relax by the pool at Travaasa Austin. Picture by Travaasa Experiential Resorts.

Does just the thought of spending the day sitting around, eating desserts and being treated like royalty instantly put you at ease? Than read on, my friend.

Travaasa Austin: This spa in the heart of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve in Austin has everything you need to relax your body and mind, but it specializes in providing you with awesome experiences. Along with the offerings of a full-service spa (including a men’s spa package for those who need a mancationcomplete with Texas craft beer on tap), Travaasa also offers a full range of fun adventures from cooking sessions and Texas Two-Step lessons to archery and hatchet-throwing that’ll have you checking things off your bucket list.

Trellis Spa: If you’re looking for the more traditional spa experience filled with massages, hot tubs and not having to lift a finger (except during your manicure), than this full-service spa in Houston is for you. Sure, it’s pricey, but it’s got all you need to unwind, and there are even packages for men, teens and pregnant women — so everyone can take a breather! And if at the end of the day, you’re just too relaxed to travel home, it’s connected to the luxury Houstonian Hotel!

Get Lost in the City

Stay on the Riverwalk at Hotel Contessa.

Stay on the Riverwalk at Hotel Contessa. Picture by Hotel Contessa.

If your idea of unwinding is being surrounded by skyscrapers and having tons of eclectic restaurants, shops and clubs at your fingertips, than get yourself to one of these urban getaways stat!

Hotel Contessa: Enjoy a romantic getaway at this beautiful luxury hotel on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Saunter along the river, gorge yourself on some of the best Tex-Mex in the state or just enjoy relaxing in a cushy bed with a stunning view of the Riverwalk from your hotel room. The hotel has tons of room discounts and packages, including specials just for being a Texan and packages that include a luxury suite, champagne and chocolate (my three favorite things…)

The Ashton Hotel: This hotel with a history in downtown Fort Worth, is right in the center of all the fun. Walking distance from Sundance Square, the mellow Scat Jazz Club and Bass Hall, you can choose to explore the city and catch a show or stay cozy in the hotel. Make reservations to sip tea and munch on desserts at the Winter’s Tea each Saturday (pinkies up!).

The Crew’s 2017 Travel Bucket List

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As we start out the New Year at The Daytripper Headquarters, we are super excited about traveling across Texas to make new episodes and explore exciting new cities. But we’ve also made a list with a few travel ambitions of our own for 2017. The crew has spoken and from right here in Texas to far across the sea, here are some of the places we each hope to explore this year!

Chet - “I want to visit the Rock Art in the Lower Pecos River Valley. It’s some of the best rock art in the country!” (You’ll find these paintings dating back thousands of years at the junction of the Pecos River and Rio Grande in Southwest Texas.)

Tosha - “My family wants to travel to Yellowstone National Park to see the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21.” (Fun fact: The last total eclipse visible from the United States was in 1979, and you’ll only be able to see the whole eclipse from certain states. Check out this map to find the best spots to watch it!)

Daniel - “I’d love to take my wife to Ireland so we can explore our Irish roots.”

Linsey - “I want to spend a weekend in Comfort, TX. The main street has been upcycled to form this really vibrant little town where you’ll find an old gas station that’s now a pizza parlor and the 130-year-old Hotel Faust is still running. It’s kind of a cool mixture of Gruene and Fredericksburg.” 

Richie - “I’d love to travel to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. I want to see Neil Armstrong’s moon walker suit, I wanna see Apollo capsules and I wanna see an SR-71 Blackbird.”

Karey - “My wife and I want to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico. That seems like a really pretty place!”

Todd – “I want to go to Lufkin. We have filmed an episode there and I’d love to go back and get lost in the East Texas Pines. Find a quiet B&B and enjoy some down time, good food and beautiful wooded scenery.”

We encourage you to create your own 2017 Travel Bucket List to help you keep on trippin’ to new places! And stay tuned for an upcoming podcast with Chet, Todd and Texas Monthly‘s Jordan Breal for more places that are Bucket List worthy in Texas!

Pick The Daytripper’s Season 8 Finale!

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We’re giving YOU the chance to grab the wheel and choose where we film the Season 8 Finale. All you gotta do is vote for a Texas town that you’d like to see an episode on in the Google form below and stay tuned on our website to see which town wins! The episode will air in Summer 2017. Good luck!

CLICK HERE to see if your favorite town is already an episode.

Walking Through a TEXAS Wonderland

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One wintry night, I found myself wandering through a magical land, surrounded by colorful shops glistening with thousands of lights and overflowing with candy canes, toys and all sorts of Christmas marvels. The sweet smell of hot cocoa wafted through the air and in the distance, I heard the joyous sound of children’s laughter as they were filled with wonder and cheer at the sight of Old Saint Nick, himself. Soon, a slow powder of snow drifted through the air, covering the village.

No, I hadn’t trekked to the North Pole, but somewhere much closer and alot more Texan — Santa’s Wonderland in College Station.

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This 69-acre Christmas village has been bringing the magic of the North Pole to Texas since 1998, and it’s enchanting enough to bring out the Christmas cheer in even the Scrooge-iest of us all.

When you first enter, you’re greeted by the first million lights (possibly an exaggeration…) of the over three million total lights adorning every inch of the Old West village.

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Inside the village is everything you’d need for a true Texified Christmas. Dueling guitarists and jammin’ fiddlers play twangy Christmas carols as cowboys and cowgirls sing along. The Town Market and Trading Post provide visitors with the gift shopping of their dreams – offering Texas goodies and Christmas-themed items galore. Radiantly shinning at the far end of the village is the iconic Texas Flag lights display perfect for festive photo-taking.

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It’s truly overwhelming in the best way — but that’s not even the best part! If you walk past the Food Village (yes, you read that right — an entire village with every kind of glorious food imaginable) you’ll find the main attraction: a wondrous hayride through a mile of dazzling lights and Christmas scenes.

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Along the trail, you’ll be immersed into a spectacular world, lit up with Christmas favorites like glimmering snow scenes, reindeer and Santa’s Workshop!

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You’ll see all kinds of animals from dolphins leaping out of the lake to alligators swimming in a stream and squirrels climbing a tree. Since everything’s bigger in Texas (especially Christmas), along the lights trail you’ll find Holiday fun with a Texas twist. See the cannons roar in front of the Alamo, giant Texas flag-decorated cowboy boots and more!

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To remind us all of the reason for our Christmas cheer, the lights trail features a glowing portrayal of Jesus’s life and death. You’ll see the Savior born in the manger in the Nativity Scene, as well as the cross where Christ was crucified, an empty tomb and the risen Christ surrounded by a host of angels. It’s a chilling moment as the hayride slows down for you to take it in.

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Tip: Be prepared for long lines to this popular hayride and get in line as early as possible to avoid a super long wait. And if you really hate lines, you can buy a carriage ride in the park for a smaller wait time and more private experience. Check Santa’s Wonderland’s Facebook for crowd forecasts.

If you’re feeling cold after the hayride, cozy up to one of the campfires all around the park or roast marshmallows and hot dogs over the fires at the roasting pits (which just happen to be next to a giant screen playing Christmas movies on loop).

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Nothing gets you toasty faster than roasting marshmallows by the fire while watching Christmas Vacation. 

movieAdd to the fun: towering slides, a petting zoo and a life-sized snow globe that you can climb in to, and you’ve got yourself one Texas-sized Christmas celebration! Yet, as if over 3 million dazzling lights and hours of seasonal fun weren’t magical enough, each night it SNOWS in the main village as Santa rides in on a horse wearing his finest cowboy hat!

Head to College Station to find yourself walking through a TEXAS Wonderland for the Christmas experience of a lifetime! In the words of Santa’s Wonderland: “Merry Christmas to y’all and to y’all a Goodnight!”

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Santa’s Wonderland is open daily (including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve) until January 1. Purchase tickets online or at the gate.

Behind the Scenes in San Antonio, TX!

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We recently tripped to Central San Antonio to film an episode for Season 8 and had a blast! We paid our respects at the Alamo, stuffed ourselves with classic Tex-Mex, cruised down the River Walk and more!  Here’s a peek behind the scenes at our wild time!

Find more behind the scenes videos here.

Chevy Brings SNOW to Dallas Children

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Here at The Daytripper we have the privilege of partnering with some of the most amazing folks in the Lone Star State – like the good folks at Chevrolet.  These guys understand not just what it means to be a Texan, but what it means to give back.  With that being said – check this out…

Wednesday, Chevrolet surprised about 200 children at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas by transforming their Mesquite, TX Club into a magical “Pop-Up North Pole,” complete with real snow, sledding, cookie decorating, winter-themed games, and even special presents to give the kids a once-in-a-lifetime Holiday experience!

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Pictures contributed by Chevrolet

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The Jolliest Christmas Road Trip

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At this point, you’re probably running around trying to find the perfect gift for Aunt Sue, decking the halls with ALL the boughs of holly and prepping for the five-course meals you’ll be making for all those Christmas parties. Yet, before the spirit of Christmas gets lost, here’s one last road trip full of giant trees, the brightest lights, and even an ice rink to bring you and your family together in the midst of the Holiday season craziness. This road trip is as magical during the day as it is at night, and you might even get some Christmas shopping done along the way. MERRY TRIPPIN’!

HERE’S THE MAP

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Destination 1: Grapevine Main Street

Of course your first stop on this merry road trip is the “Christmas Capital of Texas.” Shop along Main Street, with stores as full of Christmas gifts as they are decorated with wreaths, garland and lights. Sip hot chocolate and people-watch at Main Street Bistro’s sidewalk cafe or customize your cocoa with peppermint, cinnamon and more at Dr. Sue’s Hot Chocolate Happy Hour from 3 – 6 p.m. At night, see Main Street aglow with hundreds of lights, and stop by the gazebo where a light show plays continuously from 6-11 p.m.

  • Dreaming of a White Christmas?  To make all your snowy dreams come true, stop into the Great Wolf Lodge nearby where it snows in the lobby during story time and every inch of the rustic “lodge” is decked out for the Holidays. For true Christmas magic, stay at the hotel to splash around the indoor water park and dine in a giant Gingerbread house!

 

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Picture by Texas Christkindl Market.

Destination 2: Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, TX

Next you’re on to fill your sleigh with gifts from overseas at this open-air market modeled after the traditional Christmas markets in Germany. Peruse tons of authentic German goods straight from the famous Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village in Rothenburg, Germany. Visit Saint Nicholas to whisper your Christmas wishes in his ear and eat free candy at his Haus. Most importantly, don’t miss the glorious food — get a State Fair weenie from Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, munch potato pancakes at Oma’s German Treats and so much more.

 

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Picture by Sundance Square.

Destination 3: Sundance Square in Fort Worth

In the heart of downtown at Sundance Square is a live 57-foot tree so decked out in Holiday Cheer, you’d expect the Who Village Choir to be holding hands around it, singing gibberish Christmas songs. Down in front, Santa sits on a candy throne in the Plaza waiting for you to come share your Christmas desires, but he’s got a tight schedule (preparing for that big Christmas Eve flight and all) so check here before arriving. Surrounding the tree and plaza is the beautiful downtown skyline outlined in twinkling lights — quite a sight to see!

  • Christmas Cheer Around The Square: Wander around downtown to see incredible Christmas window displays at Haltom’s Jewelers, Flowers To Go and LOFT. Bring out your inner child at Houston Street Toy Company or just gawk at the giant moving Ferris Wheel in the window. Nearby, wish a season’s greeting to the iconic angels adorning Bass Performance Hall.

 

Picture by Trinity River Vision Authority.

Picture by Trinity River Vision Authority.

Destination 4: Panther Island ICE

Your final stop is to slip…err, um skate around the ice rink at Panther Island. Fort Worth’s favorite summer hot spot has been transformed into the only outdoor rink in Fort Worth (and one of very few outdoor rinks in Texas) so grab a pair of skates, the arm of your favorite family member or friend and hit the ice for a cool time. If you’d rather watch folks slide around the ice than partake in it, sit back and sip hot cocoa from the Coyote Drive-In Canteen.

 

Christmas in Georgetown!

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It’s that time of year when “The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas” gets a big dose of Christmas cheer. Walking down the busy Georgetown sidewalks surrounded by wonder and lights feels like stepping into a classic Christmas carol, and at the top of every hour, if you listen closely, you’ll even hear silver bells ringing in the distance.

Every building of the Square is dazzling with hundreds of lights, wreaths and bows, transforming it into a magical Christmas wonderland. In the center of it all, the Courthouse glows with red and green lights, as well as 5 Christmas trees. It’s the ideal family photo-op. While exploring the lawn, you’ll find that even Mr. Dan Moody’s statue has a scarf to help him feel festive!

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The canopies of trees over each walkway are wrapped with twinkling lights, and the sidewalks gleam in the light of old-fashioned street lamps donning Holiday wreaths. It’s like jumping straight into a Currier and Ives postcard — the only thing missing is a blanket of snow! (And as you know, we don’t get that much in Texas…)

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The window displays in each store are like something out of a storybook. You’ll find the wildly decorated Gumbo’s with cheetah-print wrapped columns and giant Nutcracker soldiers. Look in the windows of the restaurant to find extravagant Christmas trees with little gifts underneath!

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The window art at All Things Kids celebrates Georgetown’s new green energy initiative with the downtown Georgetown skyline painted in green. Each building even has it’s own little sign!

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The extravagant Christmas display in Diva’s windows are just a taste of what awaits inside. Every inch of the showroom has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland with ornaments and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and every color of Christmas tree decorating the store. Yule love their Christmas decor!

diva_1Pop by Pink Poppy, which is decked out in funky snowflakes and fabulous sparkly trees, to see the Christmas Pig riding his bike — he’s gotta get to the North Pole to help Santa with all those gifts!

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On your Christmas journey, you can grab some chocolate treats at Sweet Serendipity and see the Christmas Eve scene in their windows.  While you’re there, say “hello” to Three-Legged Willie who’s hanging out in front of the Williamson Museum.

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If you find yourself getting chilly on your stroll through the Square, stop at Cianfrani Coffee Company, a favorite local hangout, for a cup of hot cocoa or a toasty chai latte. At Mikey V’s Hot Sauce Shop, you can thaw out with taste bud-kickin’ hot sauces that’ll keep you nice and warm!

Georgetown is an amazing place to have holiday fun with your family this season. Catch a Christmas performance at the Palace Theater, admire the entries in the town’s Annual Gingerbread House Competition at the Georgetown Public Library, and have an Instagram-worthy photoshoot at the Visitor’s Center photo booth complete with Santa beards, Christmas hats and more!

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The magic of Christmas is waiting for you in Georgetown! Click here for the Upcoming Events in Georgetown like Breakfast with Santa, Historic Homes tours and more!

 

Texas Has 39 Grammy Nominations

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Y’all, here’s another reason why TEXAS IS THE BEST!  The 59th Annual Grammy nominations are out and we’ve got a ton of Texans reppin’ the Lone Star State out there in the music world. That’s right, 25 Texas born-or-based musicians have received a total of 39 Grammy nominations! Below is a list of your fellow Texans making us all proud.

Beyoncé (Houston)
Record Of The Year for Formation
Album Of The Year for Lemonade
Song Of The Year for Formation
Best Pop Solo Performance for Hold Up
Best Rock Performance for Don’t Hurt Yourself (featuring Jack White)
Best Urban Contemporary Album for Lemonade
Best Rap/Sung Performance for Freedom
Best Music Video for Formation
Best Music Film for Lemonade

Tchad Blake (Baytown)
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Andrew Bird – Are You Serious

Edie Brickell (Dallas)
Best Musical Theater Album for Bright Star (with Steve Martin)

Leon Bridges (Fort Worth)
Best Music Video for River

Carol Burnett (San Antonio)
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) for In Such Good Company: Eleven Years Of Laughter, Mayhem, And Fun In The Sandbox

Kelly Clarkson (Burleson)
Best Pop Solo Performance for Piece By Piece (Idol Version)

Crowder (Texarkana)
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for American Prodigal

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein (Austin)
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for Stranger Things Volume 1
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for Stranger Things Volume 2

Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds (Austin)
Best Recording Package for Sunset Motel by Reckless Kelly

Kirk Franklin (Fort Worth)
Best Gospel Performance/Song for God Provides (with Tamela Mann)
Best Gospel Album for Losing My Religion

Best Rap/Sung Performance for Ultralight Beam (with Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, & The-Dream)
Best Rap Song for Ultralight Beam (with Chancelor Bennett, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Kirk Franklin, Noah Goldstein, Samuel Griesemer, Terius Nash, Jerome Potter, Kelly Price, Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Derek Watkins, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, & The-Dream)

Sarah Jarosz (Wimberley)
Best American Roots Performance for House Of Mercy
Best Folk Album for Undercurrent

Kris Kristofferson (Brownsville)
Best Americana Album for The Cedar Creek Sessions

La Maquinaria Norteña (Dallas)
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) for Generación Maquinaria Est. 2006

Miranda Lambert (Lindale)
Best Country Solo Performance for Vice
Best Country Song for Vice (with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne)

Demi Lovato (Dallas)
Best Pop Vocal Album for Confident

Tamela Mann (Mansfield)
Best Gospel Performance/Song for God Provides (with Kirk Franklin)

Steve Martin (Waco)
Best Musical Theater Album for Bright Star (with Edie Brickell)

Shane McAnally
 (Mineral Wells)
Best Country Song for Vice (with Miranda Lambert and Josh Osborne)

Maren Morris (Arlington)
Best New Artist 
Best Country Solo Performance for My Church
Best Country Song for My Church
Best Country Album for Hero

Willie Nelson (Austin)
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

Pentatonix (Arlington)
Best Country Duo Group Performance for Jolene ( with Dolly Parton)

Andrew Savage (Dallas)
Best Recording Package for Parquet Courts – Human Performance 

Snarky Puppy (Denton)
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Culcha Vulcha

Solange (Houston)
Best R&B Performance for Cranes In The Sky

Christopher Theofanidis 
(Dallas)
Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Theofanidis: Bassoon Concerto

Catch the 59th Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2017 to watch as Texas TAKES IT ALL at the Grammy Awards!