As a born and raised Dallasite, it’s only fair that I occasionally play tourist in my own city. Many people think of Dallas as a ritzy, glamours place. One where everyone walks around with fake boobs and heart shaped lattes. While we do have our fair share of that, there is lots of down home goodness, a great night life, tons of outdoor activities, a cool music scene, family friendly, and unexplored pockets.
So with that said, I wanted to give you some insight into what I think you should do if you have a few days in Dallas. I’m going to break this down for a long weekend, with a Thursday night arrival to give you a good idea of what to do, where to stay, eat, drink, and more in Dallas.
There are two airports in Dallas: Love, which is very centrally located. This is also the headquarters of Southwest, so you’ll find pretty cheap flights if you use that carrier. There is also DFW airport. A colossal airport where most flight fly in.
You’ll most likely need a car to best explore the city. Or use Uber or Lyft while you’re here.
Where to stay:
My favorite hotel is the W Dallas. Exquisite views of the Dallas skyline, a rooftop pool and bar, and funky, yet classic Texas decor in each room. This hotel is a 3-minute walk to the American Airlines center- which is perfect if you want to catch a concert or a the Dallas Mavericks or Stars game.
If you’re looking for a super trendy place to stay, check out The Joule. People love to take pictures at the pool and, of course, you have the “eye”. An art piece is the part that people rave about. It makes for a great shot along with the gleaming buildings towering nearby.
If you aren’t too tired after flying or driving in, a great Thursday night spot is Gloria’s. There are multiple Dallas locations and they have inexpensive margarita’s, delicious bean dip, and all you need for Tex Mex.
Start your day off by getting breakfast at Bread Winners Cafe. A casual scene but delicious food, such as “The Deluxe” which comes with a brioche bun, crispy maple pork belly, caramelized onion, arugula, avocado, sriracha mayo, sunny side up egg with fresh fruit. Or, you can’t go wrong with chicken and waffles. As soon as you sit down you’ll be presented with an abundant of fresh baked goods. P.S. Friday is happy hour!
After you dine, it’s time to walk off the calories and get your knowledge on at the Perot museum. This is one of my all time favorite museums… in the world! This is a museum that focuses on natural history and science. They do an extraordinary job of creating educational materials along with interactive exhibits. You an spend a whole day there.
If you need a pep in your step after learning all day, head to Sip Stir Cafe. A hip coffee shop serving artisan coffee and espresso in a quiet setting. A great place to bring your laptop, too!
If you have time, check out Klyde Warren Park. Who though of a park on top of a freeway? Klyde Warren’s dad did (that’s who they named the park after). Featuring a small watering hole, restaurants, food trucks, and a dog park. It’s a small oasis in the heart of downtown.
For dinner, you can head to Mr Mesero (not to be confused with Mesero… yes, for real) for decadent chips and queso. Or, if you need a break from Tex Mex, you can try The Porch for comfort food and fun cocktails. If you are looking for more upscale, La Duni is very posh and has an extensive dessert menu.
If the weather is nice, head to The Rustic. You can grab a few beers and sit on a bench under the twinkling lights while you listen to some Texas country. Cold drinks, good burgers and fries, and an impeccable atmosphere.
Now, it’s time to hit up the night life scene. Head to the Knox-Henderson area (you’re practically there at the Rustic.) Casual bars such as Capitol Pub and The Old Monk are fun watering holes. Or, for a more lively atmosphere, head to The Skellig or Henderson Tap House. You’ll find upbeat music, patios, cocktails, and a dance floor at both.
My favorite bar for late night drinking is dancing is Knox Street Pub. It’s got a sticky floor and jello shots in a plastic syringe (yes) but the music is fun and you will not have a bad time. Tied with this? Beauty Bar. A tiny bar with pink neon lights. It’s super loud and the DJ plays house and trance music. Please go. You can thank me later.
If you’ve slept in from the night before, head to brunch at Nick & Sam’s. A great bloody mary makes or breaks my brunch, and this swanky Dallas joint has you covered. It’s known as a steakhouse so you can also go here for dinner if you’d rather.
Dallas is known for it’s shopping. There are so many boutiques, malls, and upscale locations, you’re sure to find something that suits your fancy.
Check out North Park Mall, located near lots of fun places to check out, such as the beautiful Southern Methodist University Campus or the Highland Park Area. High-end shops like Versace and Gucci to more reasonable like H &M and Nordstrom.
For coffee, take a short drive to Royal Blue Grocery in Highland Park Village. Of course, you can pick up a latte at this pretty blue and marble coffee shop and store. But, there’s also lots of high end shopping, a movie theater, at the first self contained shopping center in America (who knew?!).
For a great view of the skyline and the now iconic white Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, head to Trinity Groves. Located in West Dallas, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops. You’ll find an electric atmosphere and plenty of space to stretch your legs. If you want a sweet, make sure to stop at Cake Bar for a huge slice of made-from-scratch cake.
For a fancy dinner out, head to Plano (north Dallas) for a decadence at Lavendou. Named best French restraint in Dallas every year, forever, the candlelight glow adds to the atmosphere of authentic French cuisine. They also have high tea on Sunday’s!
For a more casual dinner head to Social House. This is a Dallas go-to with a fun menu and great drink selection. There are TV’s in case you need to watch the game. Since you’re in Uptown, there is plenty to see and do for nightlife. Popular bars are Blackfriar, Renfields, The Nodding Donkey, Quarter Bar, and The Ginger Man. These are low-key bars with (relatively inexpensive drinks). Check out So & So’s for a more upscale Dallas scene.
Get up early Sunday and head to breakfast at Hattie’s. Located in Bishop Arts, a great place to explore on it’s own, you’ll find an awesome brunch and signature cocktail menu. It can be pricey, but it’s one of the best restaurants in Dallas.
Then, if the weather is nice, go to the Dallas Arboretum. An oasis of gardens and view of White Rock Lake. There are events year round such as tulips in the Spring, pumpkins in the Fall, 12 Days of Christmas in the Winter, and concerts on the lawn in the Summer.
A great spot for lunch is Mariano’s. When in Texas, you have to eat Mexican. Mariano’s is a standout with its wide selection of drinks and Tex-Mex. As it should, the restaurant invented the frozen Margarita! Had enough Mexican? Head to Tony’s for Italian. Extremely cheap, extremely good.
Walk (or bike) around White Rock Lake and look at the historic homes in the area. My favorite coffee shop is also nearby, White Rock Coffee. While coffee is their specialty, I have yet to find a better chai tea latte, and they make a mean scone.
If you’re in the mood for dessert check out Sno. The BEST gourmet shaved ice in Dallas. Unique combinations and made-in-house flavors with natural ingredients will rock your world.
Can you tell I like pictures of my hand holding things? See more on Instagram (@heleneinbetween).
For a very casual but awesome experience, head to Keller’s Drive-In. This is as old-school as it gets. Pull up your car and a carhop will take your order. You’ll sit on the hood of your car with a burger, french fries, and milkshake.
I can’t leave out my favorite place for dinner, although this is the priciest of the whole list. Reunion Tower. The iconic “ball” of Dallas has stunning views and a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, Five Sixty. I think one of my all time favorite meals of my life was there.
So there you have it! My guide to a weekend in Dallas. There really is so much to see and do, you can come more than once a year!
Anything I should add to the list?
Here’s a handy map of every thing I named:
Want even more? Check out my post on my Best of Dallas list.