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How to Spend a Day in Royse City

Thirty miles northeast of Dallas you'll find "A Friendly Touch of Texas”—and a few llamas.
By | |Illustration by Michelle Thompson
Royse City
Michelle Thompson

Founder Garrett Burgess Griffin Royse was onto something when he platted the town site in 1886, shortly after the arrival of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway. It just took a while for his vision to be realized. This little big town has seen a 46 percent increase in population from 2020 to 2022, as nearly 20,000 residents escaped the bustle of Dallas in favor of this family-and llama-friendly destination. 

Main Street Emporium Ice Cream & Coffee

101 E. Main St. | 469-723-5049

This ice cream and coffee shop is the best of both worlds. Pro tip: start the day with a secret menu item (white pumpkin shaken espresso), and end it with a scoop of s’mores ice cream.

Anvil Brewing No. 2

232 E. Main St. | 469-723-3054

An old firehouse is a cute new bar and grill. Dogs are welcome, brunch is on weekends, and the cracklins and house-made spicy pimento dip are not to be missed.

ShangriLlama Castle


The 10-acre, privately owned ShangriLlama Castle is home to King Dalai Llama, Prince Barack O’Llama, and Sir Lance-O-Llama, among others. From a replica Irish castle you’ll go on a two-hour llama walk along the Enchanted Forest Trail. 

Southern Grace

130 E. Main St. | 214-704-1426

This shop is filled with cowgirl-chic outfits, jewelry, home decor, and tons of knickknacks perfect for gift giving and stocking stuffing. Their tiered earring table stopped us in our tracks; one very long FaceTime call later, we left with the perfect pair for Mom. 

SweetFace Sugar Shoppe & Bakery

134 E. Main St. | 469-723-5110

This adorable shop from owners Amy and Cody Hayes has fresh-baked cookies, cupcakes, pies, and, according to a local 7-year-old confectionary and candy enthusiast, “the best candy ever.” At the candy bar, mix and match your picks from old-school jars for a sweet, nostalgic kick.

Smoke Sessions Barbecue

307 W. Hwy. 66 | 469-723-5092

We have extended our barbecue travel radius after discovering the smoked meats by pitmasters Chad and Jessica Sessions. The tender pork ribs have a deliciously caramelized, almost sticky bark. “Moist or lean” are your brisket options, but moist is the only way to go. Sides such as mac and cheese and potato salad are generously served. Follow them on Facebook for Smoke Sessions Barbecue Market Days, when you can browse the many vendors at the outdoor market adjacent to the restaurant. 

This story originally appeared in the December issue of D Magazine with the headline “One Day in…Royse City. Write to [email protected].


Aileen Jimenez

Aileen Jimenez

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Aileen is the research editor for D Magazine and D Home. A proud Dallas native, she is happily getting the…

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