I often get this question from family or friends who want to show visitors around town – What is there to do in Dallas? It is a pretty loaded question. With so much going on in a small area, it can be hard to narrow down. Here is Part 1 of my favorite things in Dallas.
Espresso at Cafe Strada
Cafe Strada is on a great little pedestrian side street in downtown Dallas. After ordering your coffee (or gelato!), grab a seat at one of their small tables and do some people watching. With the Joule hotel across the street and a 30-foot giant sculpture of an eyeball, there is plenty to see while you enjoy your coffee.
Catch a ride in an e-frog
Getting around the different neighborhoods of downtown can be difficult if you have a large group. While many areas are walkable, it can be overwhelming to get around if you are new to town. So when you need to go from downtown to Deep Ellum, Uptown, the Arts district, Fair Park, the Cedars, or anywhere in between, text an e-frog! These electric motor, open-air carts can hold 5 adults comfortably and are easily reached via text. Just let them know your name and how many in your group and they will send someone over. We recently coordinated 2 carts to take a group of friends from our house to Klyde Warren Park for a few hours of fun. No one had to find parking and we had a great time. Note – these guys do not charge a fee for the ride, so tip your driver well!
See the sloths at Dallas World Aquarium
While I would argue the DWA is more tropical forest and less aquarium, it is still a great place to see some animals and other creatures when it is too hot or too rainy for the zoo. Also, my attention span for museums and zoos is pretty short, so the smaller footprint of the aquarium suits me just fine. After you enter, you will wind through 2 levels of rain forest with all kinds of monkeys and birds. Because you start at the tops of the trees, you have lots of opportunities to spot different animals. Moving further down, the exhibits with lizards and snakes start, and at the very bottom of the building are all the tanks. There are also sloths, penguins, and a panther. While the small footprint of the building makes for 1-2 hours of fun, it also means it can be crowded. Aim to be there when it first opens to avoid the crowds, or go during the week.
Take a stroll on the Santa Fe Trestle Trail
I’ve posted about the Santa Fe Trestle Trail before, but you truly can’t miss this bit of nature in the middle of the city. Whether you have 20 minutes or 2 hours, experiencing how quiet it can be inside the levees while you are right next to the city is something you shouldn’t miss.
Klyde Warren Park – See what happens when you build a park over a highway
This 5 acre park is built over a highway and connect the Arts District with Uptown. On a nice day, every bit of this park will be packed with people lounging in the sun, playing in the fountains, enjoying some free yoga, or grabbing a snack at the many food trucks. My favorite thing to do is find a seat and do some people watching while enjoying a beer. While the park offers plenty of space for people, there is very little parking. Grab a trolley or an e-frog and leave the car at home.
Meet new friends at Full Circle Tavern
After all this exploring, you will be starving. Make your way to the Cedars and grab a drink and a meal at Full Circle Tavern. They have a great shaded patio and are dog friendly, so bring along your four-legged friends too. The owners at FCT are super friendly and take extra care to be sure you enjoy your food and your time in their tavern. The servers and bartenders complete the experience by making you feel right at home. The husband says order the grilled cheese with bacon and an egg – you won’t regret it.
End your day with a drink and some music at Lee Harvey’s
Lee Harvey’s was a neighborhood staple long before we moved here. Considered a dive bar, it has evolved over the years into a great place for a burger and a beer. Seating is mostly outdoors and long picnic tables give you space to hang out and chat with friends, or enjoy some live music. Bands are booked on most Friday and Saturday evenings. It is a great place to wind down your day before heading back home.
My list could go on forever, but I’ll stop Part 1 here. What are some of your favorite places in Dallas?