On behalf of Rae & Kurt, welcome to Dallas! Many of you are visiting from far-off places like Delhi, Tokyo, London and New York. For the frequent globetrotter, Dallas can seem like nothing more than an airport layover. However, there's so much to see and do in this booming metropolitan. To help you make the most of your trip, we've compiled a few recommendations, guides, maps and archived blog posts. Enjoy!
Top 10 + 1
Short on time? Here are our top "can't miss" destinations in Dallas.
1. Pecan Lodge
Located in Deep Ellum and serving the BBQ in town. We recommend grabbing some friends and ordering in bulk at the express line to save yourself serious amounts of time. Link
2. Davis Street Espresso
Great specialty coffee shop in the Bishop Arts District. Beans are locally roasted in-house right next door. Keep an eye on the short store hours. The coffee shop is only open Monday to Saturday until 2 PM each day. Link
Über cool concept shop in downtown Dallas with a tightly curated selection of fashion, art, home design and accessories. Located in the equally hip Joule Hotel. Link
4. Off-Site Kitchen
Rae and Kurt's go-to "hole in the wall" burger joint in the Design District. Although it's no longer officially on the menu, try asking for a Grito's Crispy Chicken Sandwich - a perfectly friend and juicy guilty pleasure. Link
5. Truck Yard
Grab a locally brewed beer and chill out of this funky outdoor bar in Lower Greenville. The yard plays host to a constantly rotating set of local food trucks. Link
6. Emporium Pies
Got a sweet tooth? Head to this cute shop in the Bishop Arts District for a slice of some truly inventive pies. You can get a single slice to eat on the store patio or order an entire pie to take home. Link
7. NorthPark Center
Beat the heat (or rain) and head to this upscale shopping mall and surprising architectural gem in North Dallas. The Liu family has been known to waste away Saturday's strolling this city favorite. Link
8. Klyde Warren Park
A family-friendly urban green space in the heart of Dallas. Great for kids and foodies, who can enjoy one of the many food trucks lining the park every day. Link
9. Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth
Our favorite museum in the Metroplex is a bit far from central Dallas but totally worth the drive. The building is designed by Tadao Ando and home to a great collection of modern art. Link
10. Neiman Marcus Last Call
You can't come to Dallas and not shop at Neiman Marcus. Visit the original store in downtown or head to their outlet store in nearby Grapevine Mills mall. It's conveniently located right next to DFW airport, so you can pick up some last minute items on your way out. Link
Bonus: Set & Co.
This awesome new shop off Davis Street missed the original cut as it only opened last week! Come here for its perfectly curated selection of home objects. Link
Already exhausted the top 10 recommended places? Check out our interactive map of Dallas below. It includes recommendations spanning various categories (cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, attractions, etc.). The list maps will continue to evolve and expand as we discover more places throughout the city.
One City For Everyone
Dallas isn't just for urban cowboys and southern belles (although admittedly there are quite a bit of both here). In reality, this city has something for everyone. Wherever you're coming from, you'll definitely find something to satiate your appetite, speak to your fashion sense and pique your interest.
THE RENAISSANCE MAN
Take a walking tour of the Downtown Arts District. The city of Dallas has put tremendous resources into developing this six block area over the last 15 years, and it is now home to a number of terrific cultural institutions. Start by walking around the Winspear Opera House and Wyly Theater, designed by Rem Koolhaas. Head through Klyde Warren Park, an urban green space constructed over highway I-35 connecting uptown and downtown. The Park is great for kids, and you can enjoy one of the many food trucks there, or take a very short walk to Tei An at One Arts Plaza for our favorite ramen and an outstanding Japanese menu. Spend your afternoon with art (Dallas Museum of Art, now free), science (Perot Museum), critters (Dallas Aquarium), or enjoying people-watching in the sun at Klyde Warren. If you’re looking for more great art, jump in your rental car for the 40 minute drive to the Fort Worth Modern(our favorite museum in the entire metro area).
Head south to the Bishop Arts District for morning coffee at Davis Street Espresso (closed Sun). Enjoy the changing farm to table menu at Bolsa or head to Lockhart Smokehouse for Texas style barbecue (get the brisket + pork ribs + sausage). Walk around the Bishop Arts district checking out boutique shops until you can eat again at Emporium Pies (sweet) or go for tacos and elotes and tacos al pastor at El Si Hay taqueria. Finally, head downtown to the Joule hotel for a pour from Weekend Coffee and avant-garde shopping at Ten Over Six.
A couple of “light” breakfast tacos or huevos rancheros to fortify you for a big lunch. Then head to Elm Fork Shotgun Sports for a round of sporting clays (they’ll rent you a shotgun and coach you on how to use it. It’s fun and easy, we promise). Buy boots at Cavendar’s. Head to Deep Ellum and get in the “Express” line at Pecan Lodge (our favorite BBQ). It’s a 5 pound minimum order in the express line, but saves an hour or more over the regular line and with 4-5 friends you can handle it! Fueled by brisket, get in your rental car and head for the Fort Worth stockyards where you can enjoy a live ridin’-and-ropin’ show or just wander from shop to shop imagining what Fort Worth was like in the heyday of cowboys.
Run or walk the Katy Trail in uptown. Head to brunch at Parigis in Oaklawn. Then savor Northpark Center, the world’s largest mall when it opened in 1965 and now an upscale home to a a sculpture collection, Neiman Marcus, library branch, and everything in between. Enjoy hardcore yoga at Exhale Spa, walk around the campus at SMU, or head straight to a foot massage at Sole Therapy around the corner from our house. Fore more retail therapy, we also recommend Forty-Five Ten in Uptown and Ten Over Six boutique at the Joule Hotel in downtown (Rae's favorite store in Dallas).
THE FAMILY VACATION
Start with food trucks and play sets at Klyde Warren Park, then head to the Dallas Aquarium or the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. If the weather’s nice, take a 20 minute drive to Six Flags over Texas for roller coasters and cotton candy.
THE HISTORY BUFF
Revisit October 1962 and the JFK assassination at the Sixth Floor Museum downtown. Check out more Dallas History a couple blocks away at the Old Red Courthouse. Then for more recent history take short drive to the George W. Bush presidential library for interactive exhibits on 9/11 and how the country reacted.
Dallas has no shortage of tex-mex and bbq restaurants. For a slightly different experience and some true standouts, we recommend:
- Off-site Kitchen: This no-frills eatery in the Design District serves up one of the best fried chicken sandwiches out there. Grab one to go with a side of fries, a XXL Dr. Pepper (the only size available in Texas) and a serving of pecan pie.
- Tei-An: Located in One Arts Plaza, Tei-An is a delightfully authentic yet inventive Japanese restaurant. You can choose from surprisingly fresh sashimi and traditional soba noodles or hit up daily specials like Japanese curry and slow-cooked pork belly
- Pecan Lodge: located in Deep Ellum, with a line regularly down the block. We recommend grabbing some friends and ordering in bulk at the express line to save yourself serious amounts of time.
- Trinity Groves: Just past Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, this recently opened mixed use destination in West Dallas houses a dozen or so concept restaurants. Developed by Phil Romano (think Fuddruckers and Macaroni Grill), Trinity Groves serves as a restaurant incubator where up-and-coming chefs/restauranteurs get funding and open up shop in exchange for a percentage of the business. For diners, this means a bevy of food options, from Texas comfort food to modern Moroccan cuisine.
- Tacos- if you want serious hole in the wall street tacos and know the lengths Rae goes to search for them, we recommend La Banqueta, and we always recommend al pastor.