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In case I haven't mentioned it 468 times before, I'm a full blown Dallasite — born here, raised here, and currently reside in Dallas. I love it. There is always something to do, new places to try, and business is booming. Each year D Magazine comes out with a list of the best things to do, eat, and experience in Dallas. While the list is fantastic, it prompted me to come up with a list of my own.  I've also received a few requests asking what Dallas has to offer, so I thought I would lay it all out in a blog post.
 
So here we go:

Helene's Best of Dallas

Best of Dallas

 

 

Dallas' Best Bites

Let's start with food. Dallas has the most restaurants per capita in the whole country! True we have all the chain restaurants, but I'm sticking with my favorite independent eats.
This list isn't comprehensive but gives you some good places to check out.


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! Price Range: $
Lavendou
This is hands down the beat French restaurant in Dallas. With a great patio and casual yet sophisticated atmosphere, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu. $$$
Tony's 
This Italian joint is cheap and delicious. You might be greeted by “Mama” who'll swiftly seat you, offer rolls and open your bottle of wine (it's BYOB!). Classic pasta dishes along with great pizza make this the perfect casual dine-in experience. Price Range $
 
Aw Shucks // Big Shucks
When it's crawfish season you can find me here. I've tried a lot of seafood places in Dallas, but for the price this is one of my go-tos. Try their awesome fried catfish and hush puppies. Price range $
Runner up goes to The Boiling Crab. It's good but a two-hour wait is just too long. Price range $$
Tukta Thai
If you like Thai food you will love Tuka Thai. A real Thai experience with a relaxed environment. It's worth the trip alone to see the extravagant decor on the walls. Price Range: $$Keller's Drive In
This is a Dallas institution that just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Cheap, good food. This place feels like you've just entered a 1950s drive up — cool old-school cars and motorcycles. Price Range: $

Gloria's 
Their bean dip is reason enough to go, but pair that with the cheap house margaritas and no wonder it's almost always busy. Delicious chips and queso- need I say more? Try the pupusa- cheap and delicious. Price Range: $$


Liberty Burger
I don't eat burgers, but I do eat turkey burgers. These are the BEST I've ever had, along with their sweet potato fries. The adult milkshakes are worth your while. Michael raves about these burgers. Price Range: $

Tupinamba
They take tacos to an art form. Folding mean and cheese in a shell and frying it up right. A homey feel, not upscale like many taco joints. This is the best place to go with friends or family. Price Range: $$

Babe's Chicken
Just plain good fried chicken. Food is served family style and the sides are to die for. This southern style kitchen is full of kitschy items and a friendly staff. Price Range: $

Fireside Pies
Can't miss pizza! Fireside Pies not only has delicious pizza, but an unbeatable atmosphere —patio, refreshing sangria, and their cheese salad makes my mouth water. Price Range: $$

Rusty Taco
Housed in a former auto mechanics garage, you'd never expect to find the most delicious tacos ever. But there they are. Try the breakfast tacos with chorizo and egg, and find yourself in heave. Price Range: $

The Rustic
This has become one of the best hangout spots to grab a drink, listen to music, and have a bite to eat. Great for people of all ages and a beautiful lawn to socialize on. Hear the likes of Pat Green and other Texas country artists perform here. Price Range: $$

 

 

Brunch

Nick and Sam's
Dallas is known for its brunch spots and this one sits in the heart of Uptown. People are often spotted here after the walk of shame (in the clothes they wore the night before), but who cares when you're eating gourmet steak and french fries? Price Range: $$$

The Common Table
Good, hearty American cuisine with a great patio. Some eclectic cuisine with awesome Bloody Mary's. You might even run into Andre 3000 of OutKast (He frequents this place.) Price Range: $$

Bread Winners Cafe
A casual and delicious cafe with baked goods they bring immediately to the table – bonus points! It's made many “best of” lists or years, and for good reason. They are consistently delicious.  Price Range: $$$

Hattie's
If you're looking for upscale cuisine with southern flair, Hattie's is
great. It's located in Bishop Arts,  which is fun to just walk around.
A delicious brunch menu. (also check out their signature cocktails alongside a decadent menu.)  Price Range: $$$

Sweets

I have a major sweet tooth, so these are some of my favorite places for a treat.

Sno 
I almost don't want to tell you about Sno, but since it's some of the
best shaved ice I've ever had, I included it. It's kind of a hidden gem.
With homemade and natural flavors (mango and coconut are my favs) and
odd toppings (like condensed milk and chamoyada). This is authentic shaved ice and worth the wait in line. Price Range: $

Steel City Pops
I don't normally like a $3 price tag for one popsicle, but it is refreshing and delicious and it's a twist on a normal treat. The popsicles are all natural with fun flavors. Price Range: $$ (because $3 for a popsicle is a lot)

Pokey O's 
Delicious, freshly made cookies alongside ice cream. You cannot go wrong. It's right by Southern Methodist University (my alma mater) and is the reason for many a freshman 15. Price Range $


La Duni
A great place to take a date for decadent desserts and beautifully crafted treats. They're also known for gorgeous wedding cakes. Price Range: $$$

White Rock Coffee
The best coffee I've ever had. No, seriously. And their Hula Chai Tea Latte (not on the menu), just saying it, now I have to go get one. I live so close, I refuse to get coffee anywhere else. A great place to hang out and do some work. Price Range: $$ (The coffee is a bit pricey but really delicious.)


Rise
I'm putting this under desserts but you can easily go here for dinner too. This place only serves soufflés  Their dessert soufflés are the most delicious I've ever had. Try the marshmallow soup. Price Range: $$$$

Bar/ Music Scene

Corner Bar
Sure it smells a little funky but you'll get used to it. This bar features one of the best DJs in Dallas. He mixes today's hits with electronic and hip hop. Literally everyone is dancing. There's an outdoor patio if you want to chill and there's a back area with a few arcade games. Fits just about everyone. Did I mention the music? Yeah it's the best.Lizard Lounge
My all time favorite place in Dallas to see live music. An intimate setting and ample room for dancing. It's usually about $15 to get in. Just don't wear a tank top.

The Bomb Factory 
This is a new music venue that can hold 4,000 people. The VIP section is on the second level and is equipped with multiple bars. The restrooms are really nice (at least, for now) and there must be at least 15 stalls. This is important when you're trying to get back to the music.

Beauty Bar
A tiny bar on Knox/Henderson with pink neon lights. Inside feels intimate and loud. A DJ in the corner plays house and trance music and you can sit on the fake beauty shop stools with the bubble hairdryers attached above. Always an eclectic crowd and cool vibe.

Knox Street Pub
A mix of college students, after-wedding party guests, and drunk people intermingle on the dance floor, taking red jello shots from a plastic syringe. It's always a good time.

Library Bar at Warwick Melrose
Housed inside a beautiful, old hotel, the Library Bar is among its best assets. My all time favorite lounge singer: Aubree-Anna. Known for their specialty cocktails, this is the perfect place to go on a cold day to sip a warm alcoholic drink.

SISU
Think of this as a Vegas style pool/club tucked into the heart of Dallas. This is where I saw Dada Life last year, and the perfect summer hangout.

Places to Go

White Rock Lake
A gorgeous view of downtown plus a nine-mile loop around the lake. Take a bike ride or just get out and stretch your legs. It also offers a newly re-done dog park and plenty of benches to watch the sunset with the Dallas skyline as a backdrop.


Perot National History Museum
The building along is eye-catching from the outside, with a distinct construction that compels you to wander throughout. And it's well worth it. One of the coolest and most interesting museums I've ever visited. $$

Addison Circle
This is a great family place, with tons of activities in the summer. Outdoor movies in May, salsa dancing in July, jazz in August, and some of the best Fourth of July fireworks in the country at Kaboom Town. You'll always find something to do with great restaurants and bars nearby.

 Fair Park
Howdy! It's the home of the State Fair of Texas, but the fun doesn't stop when the fair leaves. Stroll the beautiful gardens, catch a football game at the Cotton Bowl, or check out a play the fabulous Dallas Summer Musicals.

Klyde Warren Park
A park built on top of a freeway is an interesting concept, but I admit this isn't my all-time favorite Dallas park. For one thing the dog park is basically a joke. But it's great on sunny days or when you're craving food truck food and want to have lunch outside in the big city.


Dallas Arboretum
I've been a member of the Arboretum for the past two years and it's worth every penny. An oasis in the hot Texas heat with concerts, activities, and of course, botanical gardens. The prettiest flowers and activities for every season. They featured over 50,000 pumpkins this past October and what seemed like millions of tulips this Spring. Overlooking White Rock Lake, this is the perfect place to walk around and enjoy the blooms.

 
For more Arboretum pictures, check out this post.
 

Southern Methodist University
Again, as this is my alma mater, I might be biased, but it's one of the prettiest campuses in the country. If you go during football season, you'll see we don't tailgate, we boulevard. Hospitality tents set up across campus and women students decked out in all white. It's a site to see.

Shops

NorthPark Mall
If Dallas is a shopping Mecca, then NorthPark is its cathedral. It's also a one stop shop if you're short on time. From high-end stores like Valentino, to stores like H&M and Forever 21, you can find something for every budget.

Lula B's Antiques
One of the funkiest antique places in Dallas is located in artsy Deep Ellum. Walking around, you'll find knick knacks of every shape and size.

Galleria Dallas
Along the same lines as NorthPark Mall, but smaller and a little less crowded. Anchored by Macys, Belks and Nordstrom, it features a range of small shops and an ice skating rink.

Highland Park Village
One of the most beautiful and most expensive shopping areas is Highland Park. Designer and high-end shops and a quaint movie theater round out what is said to be the first shopping center in the country. Go around Christmas when all the trees are lit up and you can grab a bite at Mi Cocina.

NOTE ABOUT PRICE RANGE: I'm notoriously frugal, so my pricing may be a little bit off. So if something is $, it's dirt cheap, where as $$$ is probably reasonable-ish.

Hope this is helpful. I've been adding to this post for months, but let me know of anything I missed.

*** All images are mine, please ask for permission to use!***

Read more:

Where to Take Pictures in Dallas

The Best Things to DO in Dallas

The Ultimate Guide to a Weekend in Dallas