When you think of exploring a vibrant downtown area in Texas, cities like Austin and San Antonio might come to mind. That list should also include Dallas. Over the past decade, the city’s downtown has undergone a remarkable transformation. Many of its once empty buildings and desolate sidewalks have been revamped into a major hub of culture and entertainment.
So whether you’re on the lookout for outstanding local food, sprawling green spaces or world class art, you’ll find lots to enjoy in the Dallas heartland.
Considered one of Dallas’ most celebrated restaurants, Fearing’s is where to go when you want to inject a bit of Texas-style glamour into your evening soiree. Located in the swanky Ritz Carlton, this eatery has everything from mesquite-grilled ribeyes and Buffalo tenderloins to chicken-fried Maine lobster.
Yes, it used to be that iconic store. Now you can sit in this former five-and-dime space to sip a delightfully crafted cocktail before dinner. Start with the nitrogen jalapeno margarita before digging into caprese lollipops and truffle fries.
With an atmosphere inspired by 1960s Italian cinema, this vibrant, casual Italian restaurant is located at The Joule Hotel. The menu is comprised of contemporary takes on nostalgic comfort classics such as Neapolitan pizzas, inventive and savory pastas, and a bountiful wine list.
Feast on Mediterranean favorites like pita bread and hummus as well as classics including sandwiches and beef, shrimp or chicken bowls. If you’re looking for a happy hour deal, Café Izmir offers discounted tapas and sangria weekdays 4-7 p.m.
Looking for Mexican, Asian, Italian, barbecue, vegan, seafood, Mediterranean or tapas? Whatever food you fancy, you can probably find it at Trinity Groves. It’s all there in the downtown business district’s restaurant hub.
This underground steakhouse (located literally below street level) has been serving the Downtown Dallas community from the premises on North Akard Street for more than 30 years. Ride down from street level in the glass elevator and enter the stunningly decorated dining room complete with blazing fire pit and tiered water wall. It’s the perfect environment to enjoy a 45-day aged cowboy ribeye or Kansas City strip.
Dallas Farmers Market
Operating since the early 1940s, the Dallas Farmers Market on Harwood Street is a downtown Dallas institution. Open seven days a week, The Market covers 26,000 square feet of space with vendors selling everything from spices and seafood to household goods. There are four main restaurants and lots of popups too.
Dallas’ Reunion Tower Observation Deck
Perched 470 feet above ground, the Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck observation deck lets you take in 360-degree views of Dallas, day or night. The indoor/outdoor observation deck features high-powered telescopes and multimedia displays to provide clear views and descriptions of this prime Texas hub.
Dallas Arts District
Spanning 68 acres and 19 contiguous blocks, the Dallas Arts District is considered the largest urban entertainment district in the nation. Along with superb performance venues such as the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center and three world-class museums (the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Crow Collection of Asian Art), the easily walkable district houses more buildings designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects than any other location in the world.
Klyde Warren Park
Located atop a major freeway within the Dallas Arts District, this 5.2-acre public park boasts several food trucks lined up along the street. You can also grab a book from the library, take a yoga class or just soak up the sun. Plan ahead and check for any special activities when you’re in town.
Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
Bringing the kids? Don’t miss Dallas’ gorgeous Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. The 66-acre gardens offer lots of interest, especially for the younger family members, including the Children’s Garden Cafe and the amazing 80-acre Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden with its fun play and exploration area.
2-Hour Historic Dallas Segway Tour
You’ve always wanted to ride one of these, so here’s your chance to view more than you ever could on a walking or coach tour. Explore Dallas in style on a 2-hour Segway tour that takes in historic landmarks and other important sites throughout the downtown. You’ll visit landmarks such as Pioneer Plaza, the John F. Kennedy Memorial and Dealey Plaza, and pass through the Dallas Arts District.
The Giant Eyeball
Dallas’s weirdest piece of artwork, the giant eye sits on the grounds of The Joule Hotel on Main Street. At 30-feet high and more bloodshot than any DT partygoer after a night on the town, the blue-irised sculpture is sure to be an eye-catcher.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
At Medieval Times you’ll feast on an 11th century-style meal (which you can eat with your hands) and watch knights joust to earn the right to be the queen’s champion. One of eight Medieval Times U.S. locations, the Dallas dinner show features amazing horsemanship and swordplay.
Wild Bill’s Western Store
If you’re planning on coming home with authentic western wear, you have to stop at Wild Bill’s. Downtown Dallas’s history goes back to the pioneering days when cowboys roamed the ranges rounding up cattle and cooking pork ‘n beans on an open fire. From boots and jeans to shirts and 10-gallon hats, you’ll find it all at Wild Bill’s Western Store.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center
You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy Legoland. This ultimate indoor Lego playground features three rides, 10 build-and-play areas and a 4D cinema. You can also go on a factory tour to see the behind-the-scenes action of how Legos get their colors and shapes.
Six Flags Over Texas
About 20 minutes by car from downtown, Six Flags Dallas is a destination all its own. Ride the classic roller coasters like the Texas Giant and the Titan. Then work your way over to the new Harley Quinn Spinsanity and The Joker, if you dare.
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza Admission – The Infamous Book Depository
Discover the intriguing history of John F. Kennedy on a guided audio tour of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Explore the exhibits at your own pace with a pre-recorded audio guide and delve into the life, times, legacy and political achievements of one of America’s most popular presidents. See personal photographs of the Kennedy family; watch fascinating documentary footage to gain further insight into the political figure’s assassination; and learn about the influential actions of a man that helped shape a nation’s history.
Dallas Museum of Art
If art is your thing, this gallery is a don’t miss with original artwork by Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Cézanne and sculptures by Rodin all under one roof. Established in 1903, this prestigious art venue features a wide selection of art exhibits, from Ancient Mediterranean to Contemporary Art and Design. The museum features a collection of more than 24,000 pieces in all genres, from around the globe.
Designed to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans to the arts, this rich heritage of black art and history resides within four vaulted galleries, augmented by a research library. Living African-American culture is experienced through entertaining and educational programs presented in the theater, studio arts area and classrooms. The museum’s permanent collections include African art; African-American fine art; and magazine, historical, political and community archives.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
The world-class, adrenaline-rushing, mind-blowing, cooler-than-cool Perot Museum is a scientific wonderland in downtown Dallas. Designed for the curious of all ages, you’re sure to discover something new and fascinating. The museum reminds us that the universe is grander than ourselves, older than we can fathom, and that the world actually revolves around the sun.
Frontiers of Flight Museum
This museum memorializes the pioneers of flight, from the 1920s and 30s, through World War II and up to the jet and rocket age of today. The museum also showcases the Dallas/Fort Worth area, known today as the Aviation Capital of the World.
With so much to explore, it’s easy to see how Dallas will steal your heart while exploring the Texas heartland. Know any other favorite Dallas hotspots? Please share below!