WELCOME TO DALLAS!
You must go on adventures to find where you truly belong. —Sue Fitzmaurice
I was born and raised right here, deep in the heart of Texas. And I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t explored my own stomping grounds much as I should. That said, I decided to create this Dallas city guide. I not only wanted it full of things for you to do when you visit, but a way for us to 1) support small local businesses and 2) hold me accountable for exploring more of what my city has to offer.
Everything on this list is what I want to personally experience. And as I discover new experiences and get a taste of Dallas (pun intended), I’ll add and update this page. I’ll also 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.
And 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).
I’m so excited to share with you a guide to my own city! And get ready because it’s going to be a long one!
THINGS TO DO IN DALLAS
MUSIC / SHOWS:
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 music!— 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 attended a Christmas show by the
— Located in the outskirts of 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 on stage is to sit around the perimeter of the room.
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! There will be standing-room-only so get there a bit early to make sure you get a seat. When my friends and I went, there were people waiting for me to leave to nab my chair, haha!
— Although I haven’t done a staycation with them yet, I will say I sort of have a connection with The Adolphus. Fun fact: I was a part of the Neiman Marcus Adolphus parades when I was in high school!
outfits on their property. Although I’ve yet to stay here, I’m pretty sure their interiors are to die for as well.— Considering their exteriors are EXQUISITE, I had to take photos of one of my
hotel rooms! I’m thinking I need to plan many staycations here!— 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
— The company I work for at my day job has hosted conferences here for a few years. The lobby is such a stunning, in-your-face welcome to guests. I haven’t booked a staycation with them yet.
— 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 beyond beautiful! My company also hosted conferences here in years past so that’s the extent of my knowledge of their property…so far.
Instagram account says it all.— Their
— 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 is 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 someday!
— 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!
Dior: From Paris to the World 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’ll enjoy activities as such.— The classic of classic museums here in the DFW area! Past exhibitions I’ve seen range from
— A modern, very interactive museum that opened in 2012. If you have kids (or nieces, nephews or Godsons/daughters), 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!
— 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 white, spray-painted ‘X’ on Elm Street marking 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 weekday 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.
— Another classic museum in the outskirts of Dallas. It’s about an hour away from downtown Dallas, but if you’re into science, this is still a great place to go and spend part of your day at.
— 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.
— 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.
— This is the place if you’re looking to do some high-end shopping or window shop for your future dream closet. Every luxury designer you can think of is here: Celine, CHANEL, Dior, Hermès, Tom Ford, and Valentino 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!
— 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 service is good and the stores are beautiful! You can also see a part of fashion history by visiting the downtown Dallas store (which is over 100 years old and where their corporate headquarters is located) on Main Street.
— 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.
— 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. It’s located about 30 minutes from downtown Dallas.
iconic art wall you see from influencers who are into bright colors is located here too!— If you’re into walking around on a beautiful day and do some window shopping, check out this area. Shop, eat, drink, exercise, get some pampering, whatever you’re looking for, the West Village has it all. The
HEALTH & FITNESS
— I cannot say enough about this company! I consider Reidland, the owner, one of my good friends. He’s so incredibly encouraging and supportive no matter where you’re at with your health. Both he and Faheem also accommodate you by modifying workouts based on your injuries, fitness level, and health journey. You can take Reidland’s group classes or do one-on-one training with him. You can’t find trainers who are compassionate and encouraging who push you to be better like these guys. I mean, there’s a reason I missed the gym these last two years.
— If you’re into food trucks and people-watching, this is the place to hang out. Yoga, tai chi, and boot camp classes are held here on the weekends. Oh, and lots of puppies are around if you want to go for an afternoon or evening!
— If you’re looking for a professional athlete-type of workout, this is it! I know owners Isaiah (he’s a former Dallas Cowboys) and Jared personally. They are a dynamic duo! Workouts are intense, but they are great to work with if you want to get ripped.
— So far, this is the best nail salon I’ve been to in Dallas. From their Instagram account, every single nail tech is super talented. TBND is my go-to place from now on, you can bet on it!
The Joule…yet. However, I will say that I was given a gift card to their in-house spa that I’ve been meaning to use…— Located inside The Joule Hotel, The Joule Spa is all about self-care and wellness. I haven’t done a staycation with
— I’ve been going to this salon for years. Ask for Adam at the Lover’s Lane location. He’s my stylist!
— Another clean self-care brand focusing only on manis/pedis that I can’t wait to experience. They have more locations around the country, but just in case you’re in the Dallas area, their fume-free salon, non-toxic nail polishes, and LED-only gel services are worth trying!
Nail’d It nail bar in London. Ask for Katie.— An absolutely stunning nail bar that was inspired by the
— Such a great place to experience and it’s so pretty in the Spring! Most people take pumpkin patch pictures here in the fall as well.
— The obvious family-friendly choice for a full day of fun!
— If you’re just wanting to spend some quiet time outside, this is a must-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.
— 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
If you’re not into games/rides, see the butter sculptures, go to a concert or see the car shows and dream about your future ride. Be prepared for LOTS of fried food. Speaking of, get a Fletcher’s corny dog and corn on the cob at the VERY least! If you’re planning a trip, here’s my full State Fair of Texas Guide.
— A wonderful outdoor event space where you can eat at a variety of restaurants, have innovative tech experiences, catch performances from local artists, and watch screenings of the latest WarnerMedia films! This space has been under construction for years and it was worth all the traffic I hated, ha!
— This event for wine lovers everywhere happens during the fall season and for a long weekend too! I haven’t been in years, but the time I did go, my friends and I had a lot of fun. If you happen to be in Dallas, this annual event will be about half an hour from downtown Dallas.
plant bar get-together! Yep, choose your planter/terrarium and plants and put one together that speaks to you for your home!— Gather some girlfriends and do a
— Just an hour and a half south of Dallas, Magnolia is where Chip and Joanna Gaines fans can go to get some interior inspiration. I’ll be sharing an article about Magnolia soon and updating this page with a link with all the details.
CHRISTMAS IN DALLAS
Check out my article on where to see the best Christmas lights in Dallas / Ft. Worth!
LUNAR NEW YEAR IN DALLAS
Décor 1 while you’re visiting!— Experience Lunar New Year with lion/dragon dances and plenty of food vendors! Get Lunar New Year decor at
DALLAS RESTAURANT GUIDE – BY CATEGORY
— 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 inside the beautiful hotel lobby and get some reading or work done while you’re at it.
— Formerly known as Royal Blue Grocery, Berkley’s Market 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 will be opening in Oak Cliff.
— One word: Instagrammable. Actually, another word: pastries. I need to try everything. That is all.
— 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!
— One of my favorite places to get coffee, GCP is an intimate and small place to gather, get some java, 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 afterward. I recommend getting the iced mocha.
— Dubbed as a micro coffee shop, stop by if you’re looking for a good, minimal pick-me-up, whether it’s for some coffee or an Instagram shot.
— With three locations in Dallas, make sure you stop by for the amazing aesthetics for your Instagram photos too!
— With only three locations in Texas (Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio), consider supporting this small business. They make good sustainably-sourced coffee so what other reason do you need to visit?
menu!— They’re open from 6:30am to 7pm daily so check out their
— A great place to meet up for a coffee date. My friends and I met here during the spring and just sat outside and catching up and watching puppies stroll by with their owners.
— A small shop tucked away in the city of Richardson, they have a large selection of Boba drinks! My go-to is a strawberry smoothie with strawberry-popping Boba. Their strawberry cheesecake drink with strawberry popping Boba is also great! They also have a location in Frisco. Both are in the outskirts of Dallas.
— A small, but not-so-small tea shop in the city of Carrollton. This shop has a decent-sized selection of tea drinks. I personally like the Fresh Strawberry Tea. I just add some boba and I’m a happy camper! It’s also a great place to meet your friends as they have board games for you to play with and if you’re into pretty pictures, they have corners that are Instagrammable too.
— Located inside The Adolphus Hotel in downtown, take a trip to France in the heart of Dallas!
— Located 30 minutes north of Dallas, Heirloom Haul is a super cute place for brunch, afternoon tea or hosting events if you’re looking to plan bachelorette/bridal events!
— Located inside the Ritz Carlton, enjoy a relaxing afternoon with your closest friends. Call ahead to make sure there’s availability.
— If you’re looking for a quaint, more casual place for some afternoon tea in Dallas, try Potpourri Boulangerie! Ask for their window room!
— This stunning place is currently closed due to the pandemic, but when things open up again, I’d make time to indulge with a few of your girlfriends. Located on the 6th floor, you’ll be enjoying high tea at Neiman Marcus headquarters!
BREAKFAST / BRUNCH
— 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!
— This place is an absolute MUST. It’s always SUPER busy, but the dishes are huge, the food is good and the long lines are worth it. You will leave feeling satisfied and full, but not before you discreetly unbutton your pants first.
— A very chill and laid-back place that’s great for breakfast, brunch or a late-night relaxed dinner with friends.
— 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 only eaten breakfast here once so I’ll report back.
— I recently stopped by for lunch with my best friend and got their chicken Parmesan risotto. To me, the entrée was a bit salty, but I’m pretty sure it’s because I eat very bland. I’ll be back to try other dishes and let you know!
— A great place for brunch! If you’re going with friends, share the peach bellini carafe instead of ordering individual drinks.
— 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!
— I’ve yet to try this place, but considering they have a brunch menu and coffee, I’m IN!
— If you love breakfast bagels, this is the place to try! And if you’re local, you can take a weekly trip here for a weekend treat!
— If you love mimosas, this place is it! Just trust me on this. It gets really busy so plan ahead!
— I heard that you go here for the environment and aesthetics. 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!
— 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!
— Great place for Mexican food that isn’t real Tex-Mex!
— Located in Dallas, Southlake, and Ft. Worth, the decor is very eclectic and it’s a great place to just relax and enjoy real Tex-Mex food with your friends!
— If you’re headed to a sporting event in Arlington, make sure you stop by this family-owned restaurant in Grand Prairie (located about 30 minutes from downtown Dallas). I’ve been going here since high school and try to stop by for their beef tacos or chicken quesadilla whenever I’m in town. They’re the second-oldest restaurant in Grand Prairie!
— If the weather is cool, opt for a table in their beautiful courtyard! This restaurant is located in Ft. Worth, but it’s worth the drive. It feels like you’re in a different world and such a great environment for intimate dinners or a date night! Last time I heard, it’s cash-only so head to an ATM before you head to dinner!
— I haven’t been here yet, but my friend, Elisha, highly recommended this place and says it’s even better than Mesero!
— I recently tried a Las Combinaciones entree that included a cheese enchilada, brisket taco, Mesero slaw, and red rice. It was SO good and the portion sizes are perfect. The slaw was quite a surprise as it was so refreshing. Pretty sure I could eat my weight in it, ha!
— 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!
— Located in Ft. Worth and Mesquite, this is one of my favorite places to get Tex-Mex food.
— Absolutely amazing brisket! My best friends and I prefer to ask for the fatty parts to be included, otherwise, they’ll cut it off as most restaurants do. Don’t forget the mac and cheese either!
— Every time I drive by, there’s a long line out the door. And I’m pretty sure it’s for good reasons.
— The BBQ is good, but the portions are surprisingly small so if you’re looking for a light dinner, Woodshed is your best bet. Just note that it’s in Ft. Worth (about 45 minutes to an hour from downtown Dallas – depending on traffic).
AMERICAN / BURGERS / STEAKHOUSE
— Located in downtown Dallas, Euless, and Ft. Worth. Get their truffle fries. Trust me. And if you really want to go over your calories, try one of their shakes.
— I heard this place is all about southern cuisine from Austin, TX!
— With only 11 locations across the nation, I highly recommend you stop by when you’re in Dallas. I’ve personally been to 4-5 of their restaurants and always get The Classic with fried onion strings. And if it’s cheat meal time, grab their homemade peanut butter and brownie custard shake. It’s also black-owned by co-founder, Jason Boso.
ITALIAN / PIZZA
Inside each location is also a grocery store where you can get all the fresh pasta, meats, cheese, produce, desserts, wine, and/or various olive oils. I never mind the wait time because I love to browse while I’m waiting for a table to open up. If you’re into this kind of thing, stop by and experience it for yourself!
— I had their triple roni pie and as good as it was, I preferred their artichoke and spinach dip that came with their flatbread. The Triple Roni pie was too salty for my taste (I don’t like pepperoni/meat pizza as much compared to veggie), but I will be back to try their Medi pie though!
— If you’re headed to a Rangers or Dallas Cowboys game in Arlington, make sure you stop by this family-owned restaurant in Grand Prairie (located about 30 minutes from downtown Dallas) if you’re looking for some good and cheap Italian food. I am in LOVE with their chicken fettuccine alfredo!
ASIAN / SEAFOOD / 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!
— If you’re in the mood for some seafood and don’t want to book a trip to Maine, check out Dock Local! Their Lobster Grinder is to die for and is the closest you can get to fresh seafood. If you’re looking for some comfort food, get their lobster mac. Trust me, they know what they’re doing. They have four locations within the Dallas area.
— Sushi place that’s open until 2am? Okay then.
Ben Thanh Plaza and Central Market, this hole-in-the-wall place has some great dishes! You will not go wrong with their Bò Kho (Vietnamese beef stew)! My mom loves their Cá Kho (Vietnamese braised and caramelized fish) with white rice. They do not have a website.— Located in Arlington within
— 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 in Frisco and Lewisville)! My friends and I used to do a Sushi Saturday here for months!
— I heard that they make the best Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings) in Dallas!
— A great place if you want to get out of the Red Lobster rut, ha! Get their lobster roll!
— Currently, Flower Child is only in 11 states so make sure you stop by if you’re in Dallas since we have four locations. If you have dietary restrictions, this is the place for you as they have plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. I loved their Mediterranean salad and added extra protein with their grilled shrimp. SO good!
— 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.
nutritional facts too if you’re monitoring your health.— If you’re looking for a quick healthy bite, check out one of the four locations we have in Dallas. You can pick up a bottle of fresh pressed juice if you’re in a rush or go for a smoothie or bowls. Check out the
— In only three states: Texas, Arizona, and Georgia, Original Chop Shop is like a sister to Flower Child. The menu is inclusive of protein bowls, salads, sandwiches, juices, fruit bowls, and protein smoothies with vegetarian and gluten-free choices options as well.
— TFK has 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.
— If you have a concert or game at American Airlines Center, this place is great for drinks with a view.
— All the Texas vibes here! Great for live outdoor music. It’s pretty packed over the summer and during the evenings.
COVERING ALL THE BASES
— 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?
— With only four locations in the nation, make sure you stop by if you’re here in Dallas. I haven’t been here (yet), but I’m DYING to go and try each of their menus because the vibes look so fun when I drive by their establishment!
— 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! Their four-course Valentine’s dinner was not bad. My favorite was their salad. It was simple (spring mix, cucumbers, and carrots with a sorghum vinaigrette dressing) yet so refreshing! If you’re a fan of Whiskey Cake, you’ll be an Ida Claire fan because Whiskey Cake is the baby sister to Ida Claire when it comes to restaurants!
— A one-stop shop for food, I recommend
Souk Kebab House for Middle Eastern, Saint Rocco’s for Italian, Amberjax for seafood, and Cake Bar for dessert. 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.
— Located in the outskirts of Dallas in Las Colinas, it’s no wonder my friends like to schedule get-togethers here! A casual atmosphere and good food? Yes, please. My favorite? For breakfast, get the Farmer’s Market and for lunch/dinner, get the rotisserie chicken and kale salad or the crispy chicken and spinach salad! I love them because they support local farmers with their farm-to-table philosophy!
FANCY / DATE NIGHT
DRINKS / WINE BARS
— Located above Leela’s Wine Bar.
— Located behind Henry’s Majestic.
— If you’re looking for a swanky place to enjoy some drinks, check out Commons Club located inside Virgin Hotels 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!
— If you’re looking to try new cocktails, Jettison offers Avant Garde cocktails with Japanese influence. This cocktail Bar is located inside Houndstooth Coffee and is now fully reservation-only.
— With four locations in Dallas (one coming to Tennessee!), this place is perfect for drinks with friends or hosting bridal events!
— Eat, drink, and socialize in one of the girliest, most Instagrammable places in Dallas. If you love pink and taking lots of photos on a girls’ night out, this place is it!
— Transport yourself to Mexico without having to leave Dallas! Inspired by the beaches of Tulum and cantinas of San Miguel de Allende, Yellow Rosa is a unique place to enjoy cocktails. Enhance your experience by sitting in their beautiful open-air courtyard while you’re at it!
— Located in Trinity Groves, right outside Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, this small cake shop is hard to miss with its blue walls. I can’t recommend any one cake because we all have different preferences, but I’ll tell you that lines are always out the door. Best to bring a few of your friends to each get a huge slice of cake and share so you can get a little taste of heaven!
— Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, these huge cupcakes are THE best. One cupcake is $6.00 and 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 are 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.
— 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. Both locations are very Instagrammable too!
— 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 about the traffic though because Kendra Scott is next door so you can eat cupcakes and 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 them!
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 (anything place I haven’t experienced yet is noted with an asterisk*) 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: August 15, 2023