You have heard the expression—Everything is bigger in Texas. While those who say it aren’t wrong, only a few Texas cities exemplify this more than the thriving Dallas. After all, it is part of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the U.S. and a hub for commerce, art, and education.
The city of Dallas has a rich history rooted in farming, ranching, and oil production. It is also growing rapidly as a business and financial center—ideal fodder for the famous soap operas about money, power, and intrigue. Furthermore, the city displays a wide array of architecture, that’s primarily modern and postmodern structures like the Gothic revival Kirby Building, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and the Victorian and Neoclassical homes on Swiss Avenue.
With over 20,000 hotel rooms under construction or coming online, there has never been a better time to visit Dallas. If you are planning your visit, here are the best things to do in Dallas when you arrive in town.
1. Dallas Museum of Art
Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art is one of the largest institutions of its kind in the country. Spreading across 159,000 square feet, it is home to around 25,000 objects from the third century to the present day. Alongside the traditional exhibition halls, the museum also highlights Paintings Conservation Studio, where visitors can witness conservationists in the act.
The museum’s collection is specifically strong in African sculpture, contemporary works, and decorative arts, including paintings by Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and more.
Back in 2013, the museum made a strong community move when it introduced free admission for everyone, every day, earning itself a spot as a Dallas must-do.
2. Klyde Warren Park
Dallas highlights a good lot of green space. However, only a few parks are as new and well-maintained as Klyde Warren. A public park, it stretches over five acres and across the busy Woodall Rogers Freeway. It also acts as a bridge connection uptown and downtown.
Klyde Warren Park has plentiful grassy areas, fountains, a paved trail for joggers and walkers, a dog park, and free daily programming that ranges from yoga to movie screenings. With the numerous other attractions in the area, you will surely end up at this park at some point— and you won’t regret it.
3. Khao Noodle Shop
In a modest strip mall in Old East Dallas, you will stumble across chef Donny Srinavath who is paying homage to his Laotian mother’s recipes, one mouthwatering plate of noodles at a time. This area in Dallas and its surrounding neighborhood has grown to be a hub for the city’s growing Laotian population who is famous for its bright and fresh cuisine, and Khao Noodle Shop is an epitome of those flavors.
Almost all the dishes are small. So, you can easily eat your way through the whole menu in a single sitting. Nonetheless, ensure you don’t miss the comforting and slippery mee kate (rice noodles with coconut and pork) and the Lao sausage that highlights the aromatic lemongrass and makrut lime.
Also, consider ordering all the condiments—ranging from jeow bong, a pork shin-infused chili paste, to a fermented fish sauce with lime and chili called jeow som.
4. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Though it is a dark part of Dallas’s long history, this museum is a place worth visiting. President John F. Kennedy, Jr. was murdered on November 22, 1963, in downtown Dallas. Later on, this little corner of downtown—Dealey Plaza—was turned into a historical site for those commemorating Kennedy’s legacy.
It also serves as a place for conspiracy theorists to share their versions of what happened on that fateful day in November.
You will find tour peddlers crowding the Plaza, but avoid them and head straight to the Sixth Floor Museum. Resting on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building, the building from which Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, the museum is dedicated to Kennedy’s life and death.
Presently, the museum’s main exhibits include historic images, news footage, and artifacts surrounding the event.
5. Perot Museum of Nature and Science
When it comes to urban painting, Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne is a mastermind. And his Los Angeles-based firm Morphosis designed the sprawling Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Situated adjacent to the Dallas Museum of Art, Klyde Warren Park, and other major attractions, this science museum is relatively easy to access.
The museum features 200,000 square feet of exhibition space with 11 permanent exhibitions exploring sports, dinosaurs, and much more. If you are traveling with your family, your kids will be excited by the stunning reconstruction of the Alamosaurus, a massive sauropod dinosaur.
On the other hand, you will find the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall, where you can “race” NFL running back Jamaal Charles appealing. There is also an onsite café that’s operated by Wolfgang Puck, which makes it easy to spend your whole day here.
Where to Stay in Dallas
Downtown Dallas is the ideal place to stay if you are looking to spend your time exploring the whole city. In fact, this is where most first-time visitors come to find accommodation. A stone’s throw away from here, to the north, is the famous Uptown district, the perfect location for restaurants and entertainment options.
From luxury hotels to mid-range hotels and budget hotels, you can find it all in Dallas. The Uptown District has a vast collection of luxury hotels, while you will find more mid-range hotels in the Arts District, such as Magnolia Hotel and Homewood Suites by Hilton.
When it comes to budget options, the options are very limited in Downtown Dallas. Nevertheless, if you travel a bit outside the city center, you will find reasonably priced accommodation options like La Quinta Inn Dallas, Candlewood Suites, and Days Inn Market Center. Though they are situated a fair distance away from the attractions, they do offer good value.
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