One of our favorite things about hosting a scavenger hunt in Downtown Plano is getting to spend time in such a cool neighborhood. Full of locally owned shops and restaurants, the neighborhood offers a small-town vibe and presents plenty of opportunities to support small, local businesses. In particular, that comes into play when people get hungry. We've put together a list of restaurants in the neighborhood so that if you're planning a scavenger hunt in Plano, you'll have some ideas of where to stop when -- or even before -- you're done!
Urban Crust is a tasty spot offering delicious pizzas and Italian food. The restaurant has a sizable private room that you can book for parties, and we've even hosted an episode of our game show Buzzered from this spot. Don't miss 32 Degrees bar upstairs on the patio, offering cocktails and a great view of the street below.
Jörg's Cafe Vienna is a piece of history in the center of Downtown. Offering authentic Austrian cuisine like schnitzel, bratwurst, and plenty of beers, it's a Plano institution that just feels like a party. But like a lot of parties, there's not a lot of space for bigger groups. Prepare to get cozy. And just make sure you're going at the right time, as their hours are a little tricky.
Lockhart Smokehouse offers some of the best BBQ in Texas, and it's been a fixture on Texas Monthly's occasional Top 50 BBQ joints list. There's a big space upstairs with room for groups. The line is rarely too long and the brisket is top notch. It's a great place to eat in Downtown Plano, or anywhere, really.
Urban Rio is known for its great happy hour, tasty Mexican food, and great views of the city from its cool patio. With a private tequila room that you can book for groups of 30, it's a fantastic option for relaxing after time exploring the town. Or head upstairs to visit the rooftop bar, with even better views of the city!
Fillmore Pub sits right on 15th street and can provide a welcome spot to sit, nurse a drink, and finish your puzzles. Friendly service and good prices mean you can focus on figuring out answers instead of how to split the check.
Around the corner from Downtown is Hub Streat, a welcoming spot with a huge patio and lots of tables. Don't underestimate the joy of spending an afternoon outdoors eating yummy apps and drinking a cocktail or two.
Zalat is dedicated to pizza, and we mean dedicated. You can head here for a slice or a whole pie, and reminisce about the many times you passed it while you were scrambling through the town searching for clues.
If you need a coffee break during your hunt, don't miss XO Coffee Company, a charming spot with plenty of warm drinks. It's great for finishing off a puzzle during the cooler months... trust us!
Downtown Plano is a hidden gem, a quiet spot with so much to discover. That's what makes it perfect for a scavenger hunt, and perfect for a meal too! Book a Plano scavenger hunt with us and treat your mind and your belly!
Our scavenger hunts are carefully planned out and structured, so if you’re following the directions, you should have no trouble completing the puzzles. But as much as we plan, it’s just as much fun to discover the surprises. It’s the unexpected moments that turn an activity into an adventure.
Say, for example, the time a team stumbled on the Friends couch, plopped right in the middle of Klyde Warren Park. Was it part of the hunt? No. But should they stop and take a picture with it? I mean, could it be any more obvious?
Sometimes a surprise can be an unexpected benefit. On a hunt in July, one team was delighted to have located a hidden historical marker, but as they headed back down the lawn, the sprinklers turned on, giving them all a soak. And let’s be honest, it felt fantastic.
An occurrence that used to surprise us was the many weddings we’d encounter while hosting hunts. Eventually, we came to realize that a course that passes the gorgeous Cathedral Guadalupe is pretty likely to encounter a wedding party. In fact, one group had to wade through an entire wedding party to find their way to the next clue. Nobody had any rice to throw, so they settled for taking a picture. Since then, we’ve incorporated these happy occurrences into the hunt, and challenge players to take a photo with someone in a tuxedo.
Other times, it’s the players who surprise us. We meet so many fascinating folks, from DFW, from Texas, and around the world, and it’s always fun to discover what people know. Take the woman who immediately knew that the answer to one question was “Charley Pride” — because he was her uncle! Or in some cases, it’s what they don’t know. We pity that poor team from Toronto who had to get a little help sorting out a clue about Tex Mex. Don’t worry, we got them fed before they went back up north.
And then you’ll be surprised at the lengths team members go to just to catch that last picture. We once witnessed a player sprint across Klyde Warren Park just in time to snap a selfie with a passing orange car. And the prompt to take a picture with a live animal has led our players to meet oh so many dogs. Because why settle for a squirrel?
If you ask us, life’s more fun when you don’t know what’s coming your way. When you’re on a scavenger hunt in Dallas, that’s pretty much guaranteed.
We love our city, and one of the reasons we started a scavenger hunt business was out of a love for introducing people to the parts of the community they might not know about. For the purposes of the hunts, that often comes in the form of featuring a cool piece of public art, or highlighting a surprising bit of trivia about the area. (Did you know that Barney the Dinosaur was created right here in DFW?) But when the hunt is done, there's still lots of neighborhood to discover, and our guests are often hungry to learn more -- or just hungry! Which is why, in the spirit of community awareness, we're going to highlight some of the best places to eat when you're done with a hunt. In this, Part 1 of an ongoing series, we're looking at some great restaurants near our Scavenger Hunt in the Dallas Arts District.
We'll be honest -- you get your steps in on a hunt. All that exercise is bound to give you an appetite, and you'll probably be a little thirsty, too. Below are several great options for unwinding, comparing stories, or gloating about your big win.
There are so many great Tex Mex options in the Arts District that it's tough to make a choice. El Fenix is legendary, and has big tables with room for large groups. Taco Lingo is a bit farther off the course, but it's got a relaxing cantina-style vibe that's great for conversation. Taqueria La Ventana serves delicious food at a great price, but keep in mind that the tables on its funky patio don't have much room for big parties. And don't forget Tortaco, a bit further south, with several great-tasting dishes. Of course, all of these spots will supply you with a margarita or two to toast to your success.
If you're craving authentic Mexican, and something a little less casual than the above, Miriam is a new chef-driven restaurant just across from Klyde Warren Park with fantastic food and a slightly more formal atmosphere. In the park itself, there's Savor, a tasty gastropub with a gorgeous view. There's also a nice patio that's perfect for post-hunt refreshments. In fact, it's not uncommon for a team on a hunt to arrive at Savor early and sip a cocktail while they finish their puzzles.
Drinks and Bites
While most of the previously mentioned spots offer happy hour options, there are a few additional spots in the neighborhood that offer a casual, relaxed atmosphere, perfect for unwinding and treating yourself. Village Burger Bar is nearby, offering several yummy burgers and a range of sandwiches, apps, and beers on tap. Happiest Hour earns its name, with plenty of space and lots to do, but you'll be bumping up against the cool kids after a while. This place gets hopping in the evening!
Klyde Warren Park is host to a wide variety of rotating food trucks, serving a diverse selection of cuisines. Pizza, BBQ, Mediterranean, even ice cream sandwiches are on offer. While these make a great mid-hunt snack option, be warned that most of the trucks depart in the late afternoon, so don't count on them for a dinner option.
You'll do plenty of searching on your scavenger hunt through the Arts District. The last thing you'll want to do is go looking for the right restaurant when you're done. Our recommendation? Plan ahead, book a spot at one of the spots above, and enjoy! And remember, if you're scheduling a hunt, we can set up your finish line at nearly any point in the area, including any of these fine establishments.
It's beginning to look a lot like holiday party planning time, and if you're sitting in Dallas trying to come up with a great idea for your holiday party, a scavenger hunt is a nice option for your list. As Christmas approaches, you're likely scrolling through DFW Christmas activities in search of something that's fun, affordable, and unique. DFW Scavenger Hunt provides everything you're looking for, all wrapped up in a neat package.
While we have several scavenger hunts in Dallas, Frisco, Plano, and Richardson, our most popular option this time of year is the Dash Away All Hunt through the Dallas Arts District. Dressed in holiday style, you'll explore the city sidewalks (busy sidewalks!) on a quest to find clues, solve puzzles, and answer a festive holiday riddle. You'll be laughing all the way!
Weather outside too frightful for you? No problem. We also offer a few indoor scavenger hunt options, including a challenging puzzle hunt that'll get your antlers in a twist as you try to see just how gifted you really are. It's a great option for teams that want to stay in one space, or an easy addition to a dinner or happy hour.
And if you still haven't found what you really want this year, give us a holler and we'll put our little helpers to work building something great just for you!
All that talk's got us in the mood for a puzzle, so here's one with a fun festive theme.
The answer to each clue below is a word that can be formed by taking the name of one of Santa’s nine best-known reindeer, removing a letter, then scrambling what’s left. For example, “Complainer” can be answered with CARPER, which is formed by re moving the N from PRANCER and rearranging the rest. You will use a few reindeer more than once, and a few not at all. Good luck!
1. Bank robbery
2. Wood used in a lot of furniture
3. Eastern European pancake
4. Destroy, as a document
5. Unmanned aircraft
6. Transport for Tarzan
7. Large book
8. Heron relative
10. Blood vessel
1. HOLDUP (RUDOLPH)
2. CEDAR (DANCER)
3. BLINTZ (BLITZEN)
4. SHRED (DASHER)
5. DRONE (DONNER or DONDER)
6. VINE (VIXEN)
7. TOME (COMET)
8. CRANE (DANCER)
9. HARES (DASHER)
10. VEIN (VIXEN)
Just because the weather outside is frightful doesn't mean your team event is all washed out. We can create exciting, entertaining -- and dry -- gatherings for your group. Here's an example.
A Plano business contacted us in August with interest in planning a scavenger hunt, and selected our newest hunt in Frisco. With plans to bring nearly 100 folks from around the country, we were all very excited to show off some of DFW's great art, to solve our new puzzles, and to get them out of their offices after a long day of meetings.
As the summer went on, we remained in constant contact, trading team building ideas and making sure everything would be ready for their event. But as the day grew near, and eventually became visible in the 10 day forecast, we realized that bad weather loomed. Rain and icy temperatures seemed imminent. We remained optimistic, but the 10 day forecast became the 5 day forecast, and at that point we recognized that we were not looking at ideal scavenger hunt weather.
Can you do anything? Asked the client, reluctant to cancel and eager to entertain the scores of conference attendees. Our answer? Yes. We can make it work. We learned that the client had access to a large conference room, as well as plenty of community space just outside the room. In a matter of days, DFW Scavenger Hunt was able to construct a customized indoor hunt just for them.
Based on our existing indoor hunt, the challenge expanded to include a series of challenges that had to be completed before teams could move on. Sometimes the challenges included taking a series of photos. Sometimes they meant composing a haiku, or drawing a picture. Sometimes the teams had to go running through the halls in search of hidden items. And there was dancing, so much dancing.
In the end, the client was delighted, noting that "everyone had a really wonderful time," and calling it a "great experience." And best of all, everyone stayed dry. If you think an indoor scavenger hunt is what your team needs this winter, let us know! Of course, if an outdoor hunt is what you really want, feel free to book, knowing that we've got a great backup in store if Mother Nature decides not to cooperate.
We get it. We're all about think outside, and get up and get moving, and explore this neighborhood, but sometimes it's just not realistic. We understand that there are plenty of valid reasons why it might just not work for your team. Someone has to be near the phones. Someone else sprained their ankle last week. It's really cold outside! We recognize that a lot of people need options for team building that can be done at the office.
Well... (superhero sound effect) we have just the thing. Our newest hunt is called Present: Tense, and it can be done from anywhere, including your office. Including your desk, if you insist! Based entirely on solving puzzles, the game asks you to search for the perfect present for a Dallas bigwig. A fun, funny challenge, it tests your skills for wordplay, creative thinking, and pop culture knowledge. Teams work together to collaborate on solving, and the more clues they answer, the bigger the points they score.
This event takes about an hour, and is a great options for indoor team building, a party activity, or just for fun. There are, of course, prizes for the winners, and it's hosted by a member of our team. This event can also be reserved as a backup in case your outdoor hunt is threatened by dangerous weather.
This is probably a good time to mention Buzzered! as well. Buzzered! is our comedy quiz show, a game show-style event complete with a host, several rounds of trivia and games, and of course, buzzers. We can bring this event right to your door. Perfect for groups of around 20, teams match wits and play games, all in the spirit of fun and learning.
Contact us to see what indoor team building event is right for you!
Since we're talking about being inside, here's a puzzle about being inside. It's called Party Animals. Inside each of these sentences, the name of an animal is hidden. The number of letters in the animal name appears at the end of each. The names can span across spaces and punctuation. Can you join the party and track down all the beasts?
1. Melissa and Erica met weeks before and decided on key elements of the party’s theme. (6)
2. Martin thought his gold amulet would be appropriate party attire. (4)
3. Helen was distraught when she spilled chili on her new party dress. (4)
4. Steve texted to let Melissa know he would be arriving with a date. (4)
5. Erica’s friends were all amazed at how lavish the decorations were. (5)
6. As usual, Derek came late to the party, but no one minded. (5)
7. An abundance of chianti, German beer, and tequila led to a riotous affair. (5)
8. Everyone knew the party was out of control when Tom was naked in the front yard. (5)
9. The well-known author sensed it was time to leave when the cops arrived. (5)
10. Everyone knew it was time to go at the moment the music stopped. (4)
We're so excited to be participating in the Frisco Arts Walk and Run this Saturday, and not just because all we have to do is sit there. We'll have a booth in the vendor area where you can stop by, pick up a mini-scavenger hunt, and explore the gardens. We'll have a few goodies to give away, plus a spot to register for a chance at a free ten-person scavenger hunt.
Just like our new Frisco Scavenger Hunt, the 5k takes place in Hall Park, where runners will be immersed in sculpture, passing by local musicians, artists, actors, and dancers as they race.
One of the great things about operating a scavenger hunt in North Texas is that there are so many neighborhoods that feature public art. It's a thrill to walk among such inspiring pieces, and between you and me, it's a lot easier to write puzzle questions about artwork than it is about concrete and chain restaurants.
Frisco Arts' mission is "to advance the arts through advocacy, outreach, and education, building a stronger community with the arts." We like to think that by creating opportunities to literally explore the art, we're addressing many of the points of that mission.
Come out to Frisco on Saturday, say hi, and try your hand at our latest hunt! Thanks for having us, Frisco!
One of the best things about designing scavenger hunts for a living is that in order to create experiences that will truly surprise people, you have to get out there and discover some stuff. It’s with that mission in mind that we chose the HALL Arts Park in Frisco for our newest scavenger hunt. Ever since we joined with Countdown 2 Escape at the Frisco StrEATS Festival last spring, we knew we had to start offering hunts up in the thriving community of Frisco. Deciding just where in this big little town we’d be setting up was a whole other question.
But when we visited Hall Park, we knew we’d found the perfect spot. It’s everything we look for in a hunt course. Lots of art — lots of it! — easy walking paths, and plenty of new experiences for the participants. It’s important to us that we celebrate a community’s arts and culture, and that’s a mission of HALL Group as well. Their massive collection invites people to spend some time wandering, relaxing, and learning. So it was an easy fit for us to build a scavenger hunt there.
One thing you notice as you explore the sculptures is how many pieces you’ll find that are inspired by wildlife. Reptiles, mammals and birds are represented throughout the park — sometimes realistically, sometimes, well, not so much. Surrounded by all those creatures kind of makes you feel like you’re exploring some strange land where beasts from all around the world can intermingle. Inspired by that notion, we created a hunt called “The Mysterious Menagerie!” Playing out like an adventure serial from the 40s, or some tattered pulp novel from a used bookstore, the hunt sends you on a quest into forbidden realms.
An odd handbook is your only guide — filled with a collection of clues that, once unlocked, will reveal the identities of each creature you’re trying to track down. Find them all, and you’ll solve a much larger puzzle. It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s a great way to add a bit of thrill to your life.
We’re so excited to be in Frisco and invite you to come try out our new hunt for yourself!
Here’s a fun bit of trivia for you. The human brain weighs about three pounds. So next time you step on the scale, keep that fact in mind. You can subtract those extra three pounds the scale is showing, because it’s probably just your brain. But don’t let that convince you that your brain doesn’t need exercise. Obviously, weight loss is not the concern here, but toning it, shaping it, and keeping it fit are essential to your well-being! Mental fitness leads to improved memory, quicker thinking, and prolonged mental health. As the founder of DFW Scavenger Hunt, where we build challenges to help teams exercise both their brains and their bodies, I know a bit about how all this works.
One of the best ways to exercise your brain is through puzzles. Do you like jigsaws? Crosswords? Riddles? It doesn’t really matter which kind of puzzle you’re tackling, it’s the challenge that matters to your grey matter. And just like in any activity, practice makes – well, if not perfect, then certainly better. You’re sharpening your acuity, honing your skills.
Best of all, practicing with fun puzzles develops the skills needed to apply to bigger, less fun puzzles when they come up in business. If you’ve prepared your brain, the bigger challenges will seem smaller. After all, what’s a balance sheet if not a more convoluted version of Sudoku? Isn’t that office seating plan just a bigger kind of jigsaw puzzle? And that project development map? OK, that’s more like twelve puzzles at once, all completed while balancing on a tightrope above a lava pit.
Let’s put it into practice. Here’s a quick puzzle to stimulate your thinking.
Rearrange the letters of each of the following clues to create a list of related items. The answers are at the end of this piece (And probably right in front of you).
How’d it go? That’s a puzzle that tests your brain’s ability to manipulate symbols (the letters) and form new combinations. Trying to determine the relation between the items builds categorization skills. There’s a memory test in there as well. You’re putting several skills to work at the same time. Feel the burn!
Healthy brains do better work. You offer ergonomic seating in the office, but are you fostering mental wellness among your employees as well? Challenge your teams with puzzles and games and watch as they thrive and their work improves.
Meanwhile, it goes without saying that teams that overcome challenges together become stronger. That’s why team building is a thing. Finding opportunities to bring your staff together in a surprising way will build their bonds, strengthen their relationships, and make them cheerleaders for each other.
Here’s another puzzle. This one is has trivia elements, but also tests memory, spatial relationships, and organizational skills. The answers are found at the end of this piece. Ready?
There are just two pairs of US states that A) Share a land border and B) Appear consecutively in an alphabetical list. Can you name the four states?
It’s ok if you need to look at a list, or a map, or both. Better to look something up than sulk away frustrated.
Another way to get people’s minds going is to put them in an unfamiliar situation. I always shower with my eyes closed – not because I’m still waking up, but because it adds a small challenge every morning, forcing the brain to work just a little harder. I’m working on spatial relationships, memory, and planning, all while I’m doing something I would be doing anyway. Is it going to turn me into a super genius? Trick question, I already am one. But it’s the element of the unfamiliar that’s important here.
Taking people outside the workplace is a great way to introduce the unfamiliar in a fun way. (The flip side of the fear of the unfamiliar is that old cliché, variety is the spice of life.) Mix it up, get outside, do something different. Sure, they’re getting their minds off work, but the work they’re doing – cleverly disguised as play – is getting their minds ready to do so much more. Is this a dirty trick? No. Your employees know what you’re up to, and they don’t care. In fact, they love it.
There’s something about being out of the office that feels liberating. Besides, studies have shown that being outdoors in nature relaxes us, increases our attention span, and strengthens feelings of unity with our neighbors.
It’s something we’ve seen proven over and over in our work at DFW Scavenger Hunt. We create events that challenge the mind through play, we celebrate the philosophy of making people better. Time after time, teams have come away feeling better about one themselves and one another. We believe that thinking outside the box starts with thinking outside.
A scavenger hunt combines a wide variety of puzzles, forcing the brain to try different ways of thinking simultaneously. A good scavenger hunt will involve wordplay, trivia, and tests of observation, not to mention challenges that work the creative muscles. Working as a team strengthens those social bonds and brings people closer. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s some exercise for the body involved too, as teams get on their feet and out of doors.
Ready for another puzzle? Maybe this time, try it with your colleagues. This one challenges your verbal skills, sharpens your memory, and builds your focus. The answers can be found at the bottom of this piece.
Each trio of clues leads to three words. The second word can be formed by adding a letter to the first, and the third by adding one letter to the second. For example, if you saw “Automobile; Attention; Frighten,” you’d answer CAR; CARE; SCARE. This is another great one to try as a group. (Remember, solving puzzles together strengthens social bonds.)
1. Carton; Social class; Fortress
2. Footwear; Push; Garden tool
3. Knot; Layer; Jungle cat
4. Sacred; Festive plant; Entirely
Finding ways for your team to get up and get thinking is good for you and good for them. The mental skills you develop are crucial to your health as well as your career, and the shared challenges inevitably bring people closer together. Collaboration in an unexpected environment presents opportunities to showcase skills previously unused – or unrealized! By fostering opportunities for your team to think in new, fun ways, you build goodwill, good health, and good times.
Here’s one more tough question for you: what are you waiting for?
Answers to the puzzles
Puzzle #1 Florida and Georgia, Illinois and Indiana
Puzzle #2 Chrome, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Photoshop (Common computer programs)
Puzzle #3 CASE, CASTE, CASTLE; SHOE, SHOVE; SHOVEL; TIE, TIER, TIGER; HOLY, HOLLY, WHOLLY
It's been a while since I gave you a good old-fashioned puzzle to solve, so I'm remedying that today.
In each clue below, remove one letter. Then, scramble (or unscramble?) the remaining letters to form a new word or phrase. If you've done it right, the items in the resulting list will share something in common, and the removed letters will spell, in order, a word that's related to the list.