A Perfect Weekend in Dallas as Curated by a Local
Food & Wine
Arts & Culture
Dallas is known for its glitz and glamour, but not all that glitters is gold. I've lived in Dallas for over 20 years and these are some of my favorite spots. Here you will find locals and not just tourists.
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Where to stay in Dallas, Texas
A hotel that locals love in downtown Dallas, with a statement swimming pool, award-winning brasserie and fun bar.
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Iconic Dallas hotel with a relaxing poolside and unbeatable downtown panorama — excellent for solo travelers as well as romantic trips and group travel.
Hotel ZaZa Dallas Uptown
This eclectic uptown stay shares artful guest rooms, a hotspot restaurant and an after-dark pool scene with weekly DJ sets.
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Things to do in Dallas, Texas
Klyde Warren Park: This central downtown park goes over a busy highway and is a favorite of locals. Food trucks line the park and there is salsa lessons and dancing most weekends. It's a great place for all ages.
The Arts District: Surrounding Klyde Warren is our arts district. There you will find the fabulous Dallas Museum of Art (free), the Perot Museum (science), the symphony, opera house, AT&T Center, and my personal favorite, the Nasher Sculpture Museum.
Stroll Deep Ellum: Historic Deep Ellum was the home of the Dallas blues scene in the 1930s. Today, it's a great place to shop, eat or take in a concert.
Head to Bishop Arts: This neighborhood in West Dallas has wonderful restaurants and shops. My favorite is Wild Detectives, a bookstore and bar that is in a small house. Don't forget AJ Vagabonds, an outdoor store with a funky vibe as well.
Spend an Afternoon at the Farmer's Market: You can't beat a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at the market. Peruse outdoor stalls filled with local goods and produce and then head inside for a smorgasbord of yummy food at one of the restaurant inside (cuisines include Caribbean, seafood, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, and more).
Walk around White Rock Lake: Walk the 9-mile loop around the lake or see it from the water by taking a free cruise on the Spirit of Dallas or renting a kayak. When you are done, make sure that you...
Leisurely explore the Dallas Arboretum: Spring Blooms or the fall is definitely the best time to visit the gardens of the Arboretum. In the spring, behold the thousands of tulips. In the fall, the Pumpkin Village is not-to-be-missed.
Have a cold beer at Lee Harvey's: In South Dallas, there is a hole-in-the-wall bar that is ah-mazing. The bar is inside a house, but they've built a front porch for live music and the picnic tables out front with large fire bowls are where it's at. They even have a pool across the street. The food is surprisingly good and this is a definite hidden gem that only locals know about
Learn about Dallas architecture: If you are interested in architecture, make sure that you take the Dallas Architecture tour that is offered downtown. One of my absolute favorite places in Dallas is Fair Park, an art deco park full of masterpieces from the 1930s. It's very quiet when it's not the state fair, but it houses some great museums and is eye candy for those that appreciate architecture.
Fort Worth: If you want to see more of the cowboy side of things, don't miss the Stockyards. There is a longhorn drive twice a day and lots of fun, kitschy stores. Sundance Square has lovely shops and restaurants and make sure you don't miss lunch or dinner in the garden at Joe T. Garcia's. Cap off the night at Billy Bob's Dance Hall.
Places to eat & drink in Dallas, Texas
Pecan Lodge: Consistently ranked at the top of Texas BBQ, Pecan Lodge is a local favorite. If you want to skip the long line, go straight to the register and order the "trough." You've committed to 5lbs of BBQ, but you won't regret it (well maybe just a little).
E-Bar Tex-Mex: This restaurant/bar in East Dallas doesn't have too much around it, but it always has a crowd. You can't do that without being good. It's my personal favorite for Tex-Mex.
Boulevardier: For a great cocktail scene and excellent food, this French restaurant in Bishop Arts always satisfies.
Al Biernat's: If you want a really nice steak (and we're known for steakhouses!), this is one of my favorites.
Mot Hai Ba: In East Dallas, this unassuming small restaurant has the best Asian fusion. Make sure to get reservations.
Campisi's Egyptian Restaurant: The name is a misnomer; this is an Italian restaurant. Make sure you visit the original location on Mockingbird Lane. This is where Jack Ruby liked to eat (you'll remember him as the guy that shot Lee Harvey Oswald). Get the lasagna. You can't beat it.
Jimmy's Food Store: This is an Italian grocery store that's been around since the 1940s. Head straight to the back and stand in line for one of their loaded sandwiches. Italian beef, subs, muffalettas, and more. It's ALL good.
Kalachandji's: If you are vegetarian, this is Dallas' oldest vegetarian restaurant. You can't beat the venue: it's housed in a Hare Krishna temple in East Dallas.
Need to Know
For more Texas travel inspiration, check out Fora Advisor Sara Wilcox 's guide, Local's Guide: Dallas Done Right.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Texas.