From eclectic art precincts to spectacular gardens, Dallas, the third-largest city in Texas, has it all.
It’s a fabulous holiday destination, great for a short break and as a handy springboard to other cities in the US.
Here are just a few attractions and activities you won’t want to miss in what’s often called the big D.
By Sue Wallace
Bishop Arts District
It’s easy to spend hours in this exciting arty neighbourhood with great vibes and an emphasis on the arts. There are more than 60 boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, theatres and fabulous art galleries which showcase local artisan works.
You will find music playing and cafes with live entertainment and a great vibe. Don’t miss the ice cream and gelato shops – it’s a buzzing, hip and happening place.
Located in the heart of North Oak Cliff, it’s only five minutes from downtown Dallas. Popular Wine Walks are held three to four times a year on the first Thursdays of a given month and have a big following.
We loved the Emporium, a specialty handmade pie shop with flavours that change with the season.
Sore feet? Head to Ya Ya Foot spa and then pick up some beautiful handmade vegan soaps and body care at White Rock Soap Gallery. bishopartsdistrict.com
We dine at the pretty Paradiso restaurant among lush greenery and a fun vibe. We start with a Pink Paradiso Pucker cocktail and dine on striped bass with a finale of blueberry polenta cake – it’s as colourful as the vibrant artwork throughout.paradisodallas.com
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
For those who love gardens and flowers, the fabulous Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens on the shores of White Rock Lake, is a kaleidoscope of colour and perfume.
The magnificent series of gardens and manicured lawns are a pleasure for the senses – sight and smell as you wander around.
Just minutes from downtown Dallas, it is such a joy to visit these gardens with highlights including the beautiful Crepe Myrtle Alley with sweeping crepe myrtle trees that create a natural tunnel that leads to the popular “frog fountain” water feature, Polliwogs.
A Tasteful Place, designed to mirror an ornamental kitchen garden or “potager”, is an edible display garden, complete with a lagoon and meandering walkways.
The extensive garden, includes a pavilion with event space, a teaching kitchen, orchard, beds of ornamental display vegetables, herbs and flowers, as well as shaded porches and walkways. It’s easy to spend hours here as you wander among the flowers and shady trees. dallasarboretum.org
Pouring an avocado margarita Visit Dallas
A self-guided tour of the city’s best margaritas is a great way to taste variations on the iconic cocktail.
Dallas is the official home of the frozen margarita.
It all started back in 1971, when clever restaurateur, Mariano Martinez, invented the frozen margarita machine to satisfy his customers and keep his restaurant afloat.
That first machine now sits in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and the way the world drinks has never been the same.
The Margarita Mile is not your average pub crawl or wine tasting.
Users receive their free, curated pass directly to their smartphone via text/email and can start exploring immediately.
To start the trek down the Mile, simply check in to one of over 20 participating locations, enjoy a craft margarita and earn cool swag.
Participants who reach “Rita Rockstar” status will get a chance to win the Dallas Prize Package, which includes a two-night stay in Dallas, attraction passes and more. MargaritaMileDallas.com
Winspear Opera House
Dallas Museum of the Arts
Established in 1903, the museum is a central figure in the vibrant Dallas Arts District in Downtown Dallas.
It is home to more than 22,000 works, spanning 5000 years of history.
The museum is one of the 10 largest art museums in the US and welcomes more than 650,000 visitors annually.
It features a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, lectures, concerts, literary events and presentations.
The Downtown’s cultural hub, located in the northeast corner of downtown Dallas, is spread over 20 city blocks and is the largest in the US.
It also includes the strikingly angular Meyerson Symphony Centre and the lavish Winspear Opera House.
The Nasher Sculpture Centre exhibits modern masterpieces, while the Crow Collection of Asian Art displays religious and secular pieces from diverse eras and cultures. dma.org
Downtown’s Sixth Floor Museum
The Museum, located within the former Texas School Book Depository building, chronicles the life, assassination and legacy of President John F Kennedy.
Nearby Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District commemorates the site of President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22 1963.
It has become an integral part of the city’s urban landscape and cultural heritage in the West End and is often called the birthplace of Dallas.
The Museum’s collections include more than 90,000 items related to the assassination of President Kennedy and its local and global aftermath, the legacy of the Kennedy presidency, and the turbulent culture of the 1960s.
The sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository was the primary crime scene for the JFK assassination.
Historic images, news footage, artifacts and original evidentiary areas can be seen. jfk.org
Dallas Cattle Drive Brass Sculptures
Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures
These fabulous Cattle Drive Sculptures are located on Pioneer Plaza in the Convention Centre district of downtown Dallas.
It’s such a delightful scene with three cowboys and about 50 bronze longhorn steers, crossing a small waterway.
It commemorates Dallas’ beginnings by celebrating the trails that brought settlers to Dallas. Each piece of bronze art was created by artist Robert Summers of Glen Rose, Texas.
It is located adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center at Young and Griffin between the historical Pioneer Cemetery and the Dallas Convention Centre.
Pioneer Plaza represents the largest public open space in the central business district. Developed on what was once a parking lot, Pioneer Plaza is second only to Dealey Plaza as the most-visited landmark in downtown Dallas.
That TV Show and Southfork Ranch
I had a date with the smash hit television series, Dallas for years and if you are a fan and want to relive those days, you can.
Walk in the footsteps of those iconic actors from the hit show with a tour of Southfork Ranch known as the Ewing mansion.
It includes a look at the grounds of the historic home, a guided train ride through the property, and a chance to see real Texas Longhorns and American Quarter Horses.
The Southfork Mansion history began in 1978 when Lorimar Productions chose the North Texas showplace as the site for the CBS TV series.
Viewers included millions across the United States and in 95 countries.
It was originally broadcast in the US from 1978 to 1991. The series continues to be broadcast in syndication and still is in first-run status in many countries around the world.
The initial series included 356 episodes and was the most-watched series in the world.
Reunion Tower’s GEO Observation Deck
For the best views of Dallas – day or night, head to the Reunion Tower’s GEO Observation Deck. It’s an eye-watering view across the city and beyond.
The bird’s eye view of Dallas showcases 360-degree views of the epic urban landscape. Venture out onto the indoor/outdoor observation deck and check out sites from high-definition telescopes – it’s a great experience.
The tower is part of the Hyatt Regency Hotel complex and is the city’s 15th tallest building.
The best time to visit is just before sunset for spectacular vistas of the city and beyond. reuniontower.com
Dallas Cowboys Game
Try to get to a game but if not sign up for a tour of their state-of-the-art stadium.
Go behind the scenes to see the press box, locker rooms, private suites, and interview rooms, and snap a selfie on the field.
It’s the world’s largest domed structure, an art museum and a classroom.
AT&T Stadium offers tours that will appeal to people of all interests and ages daily.
Take an afternoon to throw the ball on the field or admire the works of art displayed throughout the stadium.
VIP Guided Tours will give Cowboys fans a chance to experience the place where the Dallas Cowboys train and work 355 days of the year.
With small group sizes and additional tour stops, the VIP Guided Tours are the ultimate tour experience. dallascowboys.com
The Adolphus Hotel – Autograph Collection
What a history and what a great hotel. It’s located in downtown Dallas just steps from the new AT&T Discovery District.
A Dallas icon, the Adolphus opened in 1912 and was built by of Anheuser-Busch cofounder of Adolphus Busch.
The German immigrant had made his brewing fortune in St. Louis throughout the late 1800s, but saw Dallas as the city of the future.
He began investing in the booming Texas real estate market in the early 1900s.
In 1912, he debuted the city’s first true luxury hotel, modelling the building on a Germanic castle, only taller.
The 22-story tower remained the state’s tallest building for a decade.
Celebrating its centenary this year, the hotel has a great atmosphere whether you take a seat beside twin roaring fireplaces or sip a cocktail in the French Room Bar & Salon or have a drink at the Social Lobby Bar.
Otto’s Coffee and Fine Foods is a Viennese-style cafe and has a library meets pub feel, serving local Full City Rooster Coffee Roasters coffee.
In addition to a variety of coffee and espresso drinks, Otto’s serves teas, sodas, and a full lunch and breakfast menu.
My favourite is the Rodeo Bar for a great atmosphere. The Rodeo Burger and Lone Star beers are popular.
Looking for some pampering? Head to Spa Adolphus that offers relaxing massages and globe-trotting treatments.
Dallas City Pass offers great value for attractions and tours and you can skip the ticket lines.
For more information, go to visitsdallas.com