Planning a trip to Dallas, or “The Big D”, as we locals like to call our city? Then you need to bookmark my Dallas City Guide for your next visit! There are so many things to do in Dallas! Dallas Restaurants, Dallas Shopping, Family Fun in Dallas. We have it all! Let’s dive in!
Dallas City Guide
First of all, it’s important to note that Dallas is a HUGE metropolitan area. The Dallas Metroplex includes over 30 cities. And, here in Texas, we have a LOT of land! So Dallas is very spread out. Driving is a must. Plan on a rental car, or utilizing a ride-share app constantly.
The Curious Cowgirl Dallas City Guide will be limited to Dallas-proper. I will provide you with a few suggestions that stray outside those bounds. But for the most part, my Dallas City Guide is just that. Dallas. Not Plano, not Garland, not Arlington, not Southlake. All great places, for sure. Just not included in the Dallas City Guide, or it would be a zillion pages long.
Finally, my suggestions are limited to places I have personally experienced. I never include a recommendation that I have never personally experienced or am very familiar. This post is not sponsored in any way, so you can be sure my recommendations are straight-from-my-heart y’all!
Best Dallas Hotels
Best Hotels Near Downtown Dallas:
- Adolphus Hotel (Downtown): Lovely historic hotel.
- The Joule (Downtown): Modern and very hip!
- The Ritz-Carlton (Downtown): Lovely as you would expect.
Best Hotels Near the Park Cities Area:
- The Lumen (Park Cities): If you have a child attending SMU, this hotel is uber convenient, and smack-dab in the middle of the Park Cities.
- Park Cities Hilton (Preston Center)
- The Highland (Mockingbird Station)
Family Activities in Dallas
- Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Downtown): A wonderful museum that every age visitor will enjoy.
- The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (East Dallas): This world-class arboretum could fit into so many categories, as it is a rich in Dallas History as it is in gorgeous flora and fauna. A special Children’s Garden and incredible family activities is why I placed it here.
- Klyde Warren Park (Downtown): Who says you can’t build an amazing park and entertainment venue over a major highway? We can in Dallas. Tons to do!!!!
- The Dallas Zoo (South Dallas): Located slightly south of Downtown, the Dallas Zoo is a popular spot for families. Be advised, parts of the Zoo are pretty hilly, which is rare for Dallas!
- The Dallas Children’s Theater (Central Dallas): Fantastic venue with several productions each year.
- Frisco Discovery Center (Frisco): A tiny bit north of Dallas, this complex houses three great museums and activities under one roof.
- Six Flags over Texas Amusement Park (Arlington): 10 miles west of Dallas.
- The 6th Floor Museum (Downtown): Documents the life and assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
- The George W. Bush Presidential Center (Park Cities): Located adjacent to the campus of SMU.
- Dallas Heritage Village (South of Downtown): Collection of historic and period homes from early Dallas. Living History opportunities as well.
- Old Red Courthouse and Museum (Downtown): Interesting collection of early Dallas artifacts and historic objects.
- Union Station (Downtown): Beautifully preserved early 20th Century train station.
- The Dallas Arts District (Downtown): Concentrated area in Downtown housing the Winspear Opera House, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, and other venues.
- Meadows Museum of Art (Park Cities): A jewel-box museum located on the SMU campus, specializing in Spanish art.
- Dallas Contemporary (Design District): Permanent and Special contemporary art exhibits.
Dallas Sports Teams
- Dallas Cowboys, NFL Football (Arlington)
- Dallas Mavericks, NBA Basketball (Downtown, American Airlines Center)
- Dallas Stars, NHL Hockey (Downtown, American Airlines Center)
- Texas Rangers, MLB Baseball (Arlington)
- Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR (Denton)
Dallas Shopping Areas
- Northpark Center (Central Dallas): First Mall in Dallas, housing four major anchor stores: Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Dillards, Macys. The mall hosts many couture designer shops like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, as well as other national retailers like H&M and Banana Republic. There’s also a world-class collection of Contemporary and Modern Art throughout Northpark.
- Highland Park Village (Highland Park): Located in the heart of Highland Park. Dozens of couture designer shops like Chanel and Balenciaga. Great restaurants!
- Stanley Korshak (Downtown): Located in the Crescent, just north of Downtown. Carries many European labels.
For Bargain Hunters:
- Clothes Circuit (Park Cities): Resale shop. Many designer bargains.
- Clotheshorse Anonymous (North Dallas): Resale shop. Many designer bargains.
- Shops at Park Lane: Off 5th, Nordstrom Rack, and Home Goods.
For Vintage Collectors:
- Vintage Martini (Knox-Henderson): Mix of high-end Vintage from many decades, mixed with a bit of contemporary resale.
- Dolly Python (Near Baylor Hospital): The best place for vintage cowboy boots, as well as lots of quirky vintage from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s
- Benny Jack Antiques: Connected to Dolly Python, a very interesting mix of antique and collectible folk art and oddities.
- Lula B’s: Two locations, one in the Dallas Design District, and the other in Oak Cliff. Super fun and funky collections, with many MCM treasures.
For Antique Hunters:
- Forestwood Antique Mall (North Dallas): A mall with over 200 dealers selling antique books, furniture, linens, jewelry, and collectibles.
- Lots-of-Furniture (Design District): Warehouse setting with antique furniture.
- Lovers Lane Antique Row (Park Cities): Beautifully curated antique mall featuring mainly English and French antiques.
- City View Mall (Lake Highlands) Dozens of booths of antique books, furniture, linens, jewelry, and collectibles.
- Griffin Trading (Dallas Design District) specializes in European Mid-Century as well as folk art.
- On Consignment (Near Downtown) specializes in consignment antiques and furniture.
For Your Home:
- Dallas Design District: Many dozens of showrooms, open to The Trade and some also to the Public. A few antique stores are scattered throughout as well.
For Your Garden:
- Nicholson-Hardie (Park Cities): Two locations a few blocks apart with all kinds of plants, planting and gardening supplies, and decorative decor.
- Northaven Gardens (North Dallas): Plants, planting and gardening supplies, and decorative decor. Also a fantastic cafe!
- Jackson’s Pottery (Love Field Area): Plants, planting and gardening supplies, and decorative decor.
For All Things Texas:
- Dallas Farmer’s Market: The Shed houses several shops with unique Texas-themed merchandise. My favorites are Whiski Designs, Bullzerk, and Lone Star Mercantile.
My Favorite Dallas Restaurants
Let me offer a little disclaimer for my Dallas City Guide Restaurants. Dallas has a zillion restaurants. We eat out a lot in the Big D. My recommendations are almost exclusively local spots, not chains, that are unique to this city. But, I always say in any city, if you eat where the locals eat, you will have a great meal!
- Mesero (Several locations, but I am partial to the Park Cities location). Chic decor, always busy!
- Mia’s (Lemmon Avenue) Old School Tex-Mex. Try the brisket tacos!
- Blue Goose Cantina (Greenville Ave.) Old School Tex-Mex. Large sidewalk seating.
- bartaco (Park Cities): OK. This is a chain. But, it’s excellent.
- Jalisco Norte (Oak Lawn): One of my very favorite spots in Dallas!
- Javier’s (Park Cities): A Dallas institution. Always packed.
- Rex’s (Park Cities): Always good!
- S&D Oyster Company (Near Downtown): Dallas institution. Cornmeal batter, as it should be.
- Hudson House (Park Cities): Excellent!
Asian and Sushi:
- Little Katana (Knox-Henderson): One of my favorites in Dallas!
- Asian Mint : Two locations, my favorite is on Oak Lawn.
- Bistro 31 (Highland Park): Excellent food, excellent service!
- Fearings (Downtown): Dean Fearing is a legend in the food world, and his restaurant at the Ritz Carlton is always excellent, with a Southwestern flair!
Ladies Who Lunch:
- The Zodiac Room (Downtown Neiman Marcus): This is the original Neiman Marcus, and dining at The Zodiac Room is always a special treat!
- Grange Hall (Knox Henderson): Very chic dining in a very chic store!
- Le Bilboquet (Knox Henderson): Always good, always busy. Bruch is particularly nice!
- Rise No. 1 (Inwood Shopping Center): It’s all about the souffle here!
- Lucia (Bishop Arts District): Tiny place. Excellent food! Fun neighborhood!
- Nonna (Highland Park): Amazing food.
For Your Sweet Tooth:
Emporium Pies: Two locations, My favorite is in Bishop Arts.
Steel City Pops (Lower Greenville Ave.): It’s hot in Dallas much of the year. Popsicles are always a good idea!
Dallas Temperature by Month: What to Wear
Winter (December-February): It can get very cold in Dallas, and icy conditions will totally shut the city down. Occasional snow. Layers, y’all!
Spring (March-May): Temps can get into the 80’s, but it’s generally not crazy hot in the Spring. But, we do have tornadoes, so there’s that…..raincoat, a sturdy umbrella, and a good safe interior room are all a good idea!
Summer (June-September): Hot. Really really hot. Many days of 100+ temps are very normal, and it does not cool off much at night. But, inside the A/C will be blasting, so be ready to go from furnace-level heat to Ice Station Zebra in an instant.
Fall (October-November): Can get into the 80’s. Can be in the 60’s. It’s exciting when we don’t have to wear shorts at the Thanksgiving Table.
Dallas Airports and Other Travel Information
Largest Airport: DFW International Airport. It’s actually located between Dallas and Ft. Worth.
Dallas Love Field: Smaller airport closer to the heart of Dallas. Southwest Airlines hub.
Whew! In the immortal words of Matthew McConaughey, “Alright, Alright, Alright!!!” I think that does it! Your complete Curious Cowgirl Dallas City Guide! I will update this post regularly, as I want to make sure you have the most current information I can offer!
As always, y’all….comment below with input, questions, comments….whatever is on your mind.
And have a GREAT time in Dallas!!!