Welcome to Dallas!
I was born and raised right here, deep in the heart of Texas. And I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t ventured out too much. That said, I decided to create this Dallas city guide page. I not only wanted it full of things for you to do when you visit, but for this page to be a way to hold me accountable on getting out and exploring more of what my city has to offer.
Everything on this is list is what I want to experience. And as I discover and get a taste of Dallas, I’ll add to this list and take some short notes below along the way for you in addition to creating more detailed posts in my new travel series called Discovering Dallas.
I’m so excited to share with you a guide to my own city! Get ready because it’s going to be a long one! And in case you didn’t know, many people mistake Dallas as the capital of Texas sometimes, haha! #NotKidding
If you own a business in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and would like to me experience your brand, I’m currently open to partnerships. Please contact me with further details (subject title: Collab + your business name).
MUSIC / SHOWS:
Avant Chamber Ballet – I’ve attended several shows courtesy of ACB and they’re so good! The director, Katie, has put together some great shows with wonderful adaptations (i.e. a female Scrooge for A Ballet Christmas Carol).
Dallas Symphony Orchestra – If you’re into music, the DSO is an absolute no-brainer! I personally haven’t attended a show here, but I can tell you that it’s an amazing experience should you go. If you’re interested in the outskirts of Dallas, I have attended a Christmas show by the Irving Symphony Orchestra many moons ago. The building is very small, but that doesn’t mean the ISO doesn’t pack the heat when it comes to their talent!
Pete’s Piano Bar – Located in the outskirts in Dallas (Addison), this place is GREAT if you want to just let loose for a night. I will say that half of your experience depends on the other paying guests when you go. The best spot to see everything going on stage is to sit around the perimeter of the room because there will be standing room-only.
The people who put on these shows are wicked talented so don’t be surprised if you leave with a hoarse voice and a temporary hearing problem, ha! Get there early to make sure you get a seat because when my friends and I went, there were people waiting for me to leave to nab my chair, haha!
The Adolphus* – Although I haven’t done a staycation with them yet, I will say I have some sort of a connection with them. I was a part of their Neiman Marcus Adolphus parades when I was in high school dance.
Crescent Court Dallas* – I’ve shot outside and around their property considering their exteriors are EXQUISITE! Although I’ve yet to stay here, I’m pretty sure their interiors match.
HALL Arts Hotel* – Dallas Arts District’s first hotel, the HALL Arts Hotel is all about that art and luxury life. Their aesthetic is right up my alley. I mean, look at their gorgeous hotel rooms! I’m thinking I need to plan many staycations here!
The Joule* – My company I work at for my day job has hosted conferences here over the years. The lobby is such a stunning, in-your-face welcome to guests. I haven’t done a staycation with them yet. However, I will say that I was given a gift card to their in-house spa that I’ve been meaning to use.
The Statler* – Formerly known as the Statler Hilton in 1956, the new Statler Hotel (which also houses apartments for residential living) opened in 2017 after a $255 million dollar renovation. It’s an understatement when I say that the interiors are absolutely GORGEOUS! Marble is everywhere and the bathrooms are beautiful! My company also hosted conferences here the last few years so that’s the extent of my knowledge of their property…so far.
Virgins Hotel Dallas* – The highly-anticipated Virgin Hotel is now open in the Design District!!! At first glance, the aesthetics are incredibly beautiful and modern. The design of the hotel rooms, meeting areas, and rooftop are very well done. From the looks of it, I think it’s worth all the hype. And I’ll let you know all the details when I get to book a staycation!
Crow Museum* – This museum specializes in Asian art so if you feel like learning more about the continent of Asia and her countries specifically, check out this museum!
Dallas Museum of Art – The classic of classic museums here in the DFW area. Past exhibitions I’ve seen range from Dior: From Paris to the World, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk to Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. My friends and I have also done a scavenger hunt inside the museum. I wasn’t a fan because I don’t like large crowds in small spaces, but if it’s your thing, you’d enjoy activities as such.
Perot Museum – A modern, very interactive museum that opened in 2012. If you have kids (or nieces, nephews or God son/daughter), I promise you this will be fun for them! So fun that they’ll be knocked out early after you get home or in the car on the way home, ha!
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza – If you appreciate history or are obsessed with the Kennedy family as much as I am, this museum will be a visit you’ll be sure to remember. The ‘X’ on Elm Street marked where President Kennedy was shot is minutes away on foot from the museum so be sure to see it in person as well. And please, don’t run into the street to take a picture. I drive through there every week day and see so many people risking their lives for a photo. Just don’t. Your life isn’t worth it for a social media post.
Ft. Worth Museum – Another classic museum in the outskirts of Dallas. It’s about an hour away, but if you’re into science, this is still a great place to go and spend part of your day at.
Kimbell Art – The last time I visited this museum was when I was in college and it was so great! I think it’s time to stop by again soon! If you’re into classic European style art, this is the museum to visit.
The Modern – It’s been ages since I’ve visited this museum, but the last time I went, I had a lot of fun with my girlfriends. And it’s exactly how it sounds. Very eclectic and modern.
Highland Park Village – This is the place if you’re looking to do some high-end shopping or dream about your future closet. Every luxury designer you can think of is here: Celine, CHANEL, Dior, Hermès, Tom Ford, Valentino, and YSL are just a few household names. And if you’re a blogger, it’s where most Dallas influencers take their photos at least once, ha!
Neiman Marcus – With four locations in Dallas (two actually in Dallas, one in Ft. Worth, and one in Plano), you cannot miss shopping at NM if you’re in town. The customer service is amazing and the stores are beautiful! You can also see a part of fashion history by visiting the downtown Dallas (which is 111 years old and where their corporate headquarters is located) store on Main Street.
Northpark Mall – A mid-tier to high-end shopping mall if you’re looking to get those steps in while shopping. I hate malls, but this one, I like, and prefer to go to…during the weekday…after work…to avoid large crowds. If I had to pick my favorite mall, this one is it.
Southlake Town Square – An outdoor shopping mall that has great restaurants in and around the area with mid-tier shopping. A movie theatre is nearby and there’s ample space for parking. Tesla is also right across the street from Apple if you’re interested in checking them out as well. It’s located about 30 minutes from downtown Dallas.
Dallas Arboretum – Such a great place to experience and it’s so pretty if you go in the Spring! Most people take pictures here in the fall as well.
Fitness Ambassadors – Formerly known as Dallas Fitness Ambassadors, if you’re looking to try some new workouts or meet new people in the wellness world, FA is it. They always have something going on during the week and especially on the weekends. If you’re looking to meet new people while you’re in town getting your sweat on, follow their Instagram page to stay updated!
Dallas Zoo– The obvious family-friendly choice for a full day of fun.
Ft. Worth Botanic Garden – If you’re just wanting to spend some quiet time outside, this is the place to visit. It’s very serene, beautiful, and just a great place to go if you just want to walk and talk and enjoy the outdoors.
Klyde Warren Park – If you’re into food trucks and people watching, this is the place to hang out. Yoga, tai chi, and bootcamp classes are held on the weekends. Oh and lots of puppies are involved if you want to go for an afternoon or evening!
Texas State Fair – The Texas State Fair opens once a year in late September and goes on for almost an entire month. When you go, my advice is to park your car at a DART station and ride the train in so you don’t have to deal with traffic and pay for parking. Wear good shoes for walking and go for at least half of a day to get your money’s worth. And don’t go during Texas v. OU weekend unless you love extremely large crowds. #LessonLearned
Our state fair has ton of games and rides, but if you’re not into that, see the butter statue, go to a concert or see to the car shows and dream about your future ride like I do. Be prepared for LOTS of fried food. Speaking of, get a corny dog and corn on the cob at the VERY least!
DALLAS RESTAURANT GUIDE – BY CATEGORY
Ahh Weekend – Weekend coffee is located inside the Joule Hotel on Commerce Street, which is a few doors down from Neiman Marcus Downtown. Their coffee is great and you can sit in the beautiful hotel lobby and get some reading or work done while you’re at it.
Boulangerie – One word: Instagrammable. Actually, another word: pasteries. I need to try everything. That is all.
Fiction Coffee – A great place to grab a cup of coffee and snap a picture for your Instagram post of the day! They often change the outside of their building and it’s so pretty around the holidays!
George Coffee & Provisions – One of my favorite places to get coffee, GCP is an intimate and small place to gather, get some java (I recommend getting the iced mocha) and snap some good Instagram content. Trust me. They’re located in Coppell (which is way in the outskirts of Dallas) so the ride will be worth it if you plan on shopping in Southlake afterwards.
Hola Café – Dubbed as a micro coffee shop, stop by if you’re looking for a good, minimal pick-me-up, where it’s for some coffee or an Instagram shot.
Royal Blue Grocery – RBG is great if you want to grab a cup of coffee before you shop around, since you know, they’re located in Highland Park Village, the mecca of luxury shopping. A second location opened on the corner right across from Neiman Marcus Downtown (on Main Street) and a third location across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art just opened as well.
Sip Stir Coffee – A great place to meet up for a coffee date. My friends and I have met here in the Spring and just sat outside and catching up and watching puppies stroll by with their owners.
BREAKFAST / BRUNCH
Bird Bakery – This place is SOOO good for breakfast! Their avo toast is amazing and is the best I’ve had so far here in Dallas. Elizabeth Chambers, the owner, has been a judge on Cupcake Wars and is also Armie Hammer’s business-savvy wife (loved him in Man From U.N.C.L.E.)! Here’s a peek of what it looks like inside when I attended an event there hosted by my Lively family a few years ago. She also has a location in her hometown of San Antonio. Here’s to hoping I get to meet her in-person one day and become great friends!
Breadwinners Cafe – This place is an absolute MUST. It’s always SUPER busy, but the dishes are huge, the food is good and worth the long lines. You will leave feeling satisfied and full, but not before you discreetly unbutton your pants first.
Cafe Brazil – A very chill and laid back place that’s great for breakfast, brunch or a late night relaxed dinner with friends.
Commissary Dallas – Just opened in mid-2018, the Commissary is a street or two over from Neiman Marcus downtown. You can’t miss it with its pretty blue tiled wall exterior and everything. Their latte is good, but I’ve yet to find an item on the menu I like because I’ve only eaten breakfast here once.
Overeasy* – Located inside the newly opened Statler Hotel (which is insanely beautiful in itself), Overeasy is a retro style diner if you’re looking to try a new place. I haven’t been, but I’ll report back when I do!
Taverna – If you love mimosas, this place is it! Just trust me on this. It gets really busy so plan ahead!
HG Sply Co. – Dare I say this is my go-to place to get lunch on the weekends? My favorite? The grilled salmon bowl with sweet potatoes and quinoa. It’s SO good! I’ve been here with friends and the rooftop is great for drinks at night too.
Harlowe MXM* – I heard that you go here for aesthetic and environment. Located in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, Harlowe is VERY artsy so if you consider yourself a “flower child”, you’ll feel right at home. And it’s minutes from downtown too!
Trinity Groves – A one-stop shop for food, I recommend Souk Kebab House for Middle Eastern, Saint Rocco’s for Italian, and Amberjax for seafood. I used to live across the street from this area so I can attest to their flavorful dishes! Just be aware of your surroundings when you’re outside. It’s in an up and coming area so if you venture too far off, you’ll know very quickly which areas are the bad side of town.
Honor Bar* – I heard through the grapevine that HB in Highland Park Village is great for a glass of rosé if you’re looking to take a break from shopping. It’s on my to-do list for sure!
True Food Kitchen – TFK is in a ton of locations in the U.S., but if you don’t have one where you live and you happen to be in the area, stop by! My favorite order switches between a salad or one of their bowls. My friend, Kimmy and I tend to meet here for dinner often. It’s a nice environment without the expectation of dressing up nicely.
Taco Diner – Great place for Mexican food that isn’t real Tex-Mex!
Z’s Cafe – If you’re out in Ft Worth and need a quick bite, my friend, Carlo, owns this cafe. The chicken salad is amazing! You can thank me later.
Chuy’s – Located in Dallas, Southlake, and Ft. Worth, the decor is very eclectic and the food is real Tex-Mex style!
Joe T Garcia’s – If the weather is cool, opt for a table in their beautiful courtyard! It feels like you’re in a different world and such a great environment for intimate dinners or a date night! It’s cash-only so head to an ATM before you head to dinner!
Mi Cocina – A favorite stop for out-of-town bloggers! I’ve heard that they have the strongest margaritas in the city. I haven’t been in ages, but when I go back, I’ll give you an update!
Posado’s – Located in Ft. Worth, this is one of my favorite places to get good Tex-Mex food.
AMERICAN / BURGERS / STEAKHOUSE
Al Biernat’s (steak)*
Chop House Burger – Located in downtown Dallas, Euless, and Ft. Worth. Get their truffle fries. Trust me. And if you really want to blow your calories, try one of their shakes.
Fixe* – I heard this place is all about the southern cuisine from Austin, TX!
Nick & Sam’s (steak)*
ITALIAN / PIZZA
Eataly – My favorite Italian place in the whole world!!! Whenever I’m in New York, I always, always, ALWAYS stop by Eataly. My favorite dish is the wild mushroom pasta. Here’s a snapshot of what the NY locations look like.
Inside each location is also a grocery store where you can get all the fresh pasta, meats, cheese, various olive oils. I love to browse while I’m waiting for a table to open up. So if you’re into this kind of thing, stop by and experience it for yourself! Can you tell I’m SO happy they’re coming to Dallas in 2020 (at Northpark Mall)?!
ASIAN / SEAFOOD / SUSHI
Deep Sushi – Located just minutes from downtown Dallas (in Deep Ellum), this is a modern sushi place great for drinks with the girls after a long work day! Get the New York roll!
Gung Ho* – Sushi place that’s open until 2am? Okay then.
Jinbeh – Get the whole Japanese-take-your-shoes-off-before-you-sit experience! Just ask for a room when making reservations. Although I haven’t sat at their hibachi grill, Jinbeh is one of my favorite places to get sushi in the outskirts of Dallas (located Irving)! My friends and I used to do a Sushi Saturday here for months!
Royal China Restaurant* – I heard that they make the best Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings) in Dallas! Let’s see!
TJ’s Seafood – A great place if you want to get out of the Red Lobster rut, ha! Get their lobster roll!
Happiest Hour* – If you have a concert or game at American Airlines Center, this place is great for drinks with a view.
The Rustic* – All the Texas vibes here! Great for live outdoor music. It’s pretty packed over the summer during the evenings.
COVERING ALL THE BASES
Americano Dallas – Located inside the Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas, Americano’s environment is very modern. Should you go for breakfast/brunch, try their delicious donuts! It’s nutella-filled. Need I say more?
Ida Claire – This place is about as southern as it gets! Chicken and waffles? Check. Grits? Check. All I can say is, when you go, make sure you’re super hungry!
FANCY / DATE NIGHT
DRINKS / WINE BARS
ABV* – Located above Leela’s Wine Bar.
Atwater Alley* – Located behind Henry’s Majestic.
Fat Rabbit Dallas* – I heard this is a great place for VERY late night drinks if you can’t sleep or if one of your friends calls you to drag you out when you’re already in bed, ha!
Fluellen Cupcakes – Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, these huge cupcakes are THE best. One cupcake is $4, but trust me when I say they’re worth it. My friends and I tend to buy a few and split them in half or quarters and share them. Oh and there’s only three flavors I haven’t tried so if that doesn’t say how good it is, I don’t know how else to help you.
JOY Macarons – With two locations in Dallas and one in Ft. Worth, be sure to stop by and get The Frozen, a huge macaron ice cream sandwich. All three locations are very Instagrammable too!
Sprinkles Cupcakes, Ice Cream and Cookies – If you ever want to experience ordering a cupcake from an ATM machine, this would be it, haha! ATM locations are growing around the nation, just note that the location here in Dallas is in the outskirts of the city. Don’t fret the traffic though because Kendra Scott is next door so you can eat cupcakes then shop for jewelry!
And that’s my Dallas city guide!
I hope this covers everything (or almost everything) you’re looking to experience when you’re visiting Dallas! Let me know if there are other categories you want me to add and I’d be happy to work on it!
I’ll be updating this list often as the Dallas scene changes (which it does quite a bit) or if I discover a new-to-me place I want you to know about, so be sure to check back. Enjoy your stay and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
Last updated: January 15, 2020