I’m a Midwesterner born and raised, but for four months last year, I called Dallas home. My internship with Southwest Airlines allowed me to indulge in countless opportunities, with one of them being a temporary resident of the south. Like any big city, Dallas offers great nightlife, a thriving food scene and endless activities for the adventurer. While it may be very different compared to its’ hipster neighbor Austin, Dallas embodies what it means to be Texan. If you’re interested in experiencing some of the best Dallas has to offer, then the list below is for you.
Where to eat & drink
Emporium Pies: This Dallas establishment serves up the best pies you’ll ever have. Don’t believe me? Buzzfeed, Condé Nast, Time Out and Thrillist are just a few brands that have named Emporium Pies as one of the best pie shops in the nation. The line may be long, it’s so worth the wait — trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Pecan Lodge: The Pecan Lodge is home to some of the best barbecue around and it was even given the title of Top 4 BBQ joints in the world by Texas Monthly. Be warned, however, that lines can be long since the Pecan Lodge is somewhat of an icon in Dallas. People start lining up up to half an hour before they open, so get there early and save yourself the long wait later in the afternoon.
Cane Rosso: Serving up authentic Italian wood-fired pizza, Cane Rosso has made a name for itself in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Tip: If you go between 3 and 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, all pizzas are half off!
Twisted Root Burger Co.: Local to Texas, Twisted Root Burger Co. serves up some of the best burgers (and shakes) around. And despite being a chain, they source all of their ingredients from meat to buns from around the area, ensuring only high quality items are served.
Pepe’s & Mito’s Café: As a Mexican-American, I’ve never encountered a Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant that truly wowed me. With the constant comparison to my mom’s home cooking, no restaurant has ever seemed deserving of real praise — that is until my first visit to Pepe’s & Mito’s Café. While their dishes are good, the true star is their salsa. If you’re in Deep Ellum, I suggest getting Pecan Lodge for lunch and Pepe’s & Mito’s for a light dinner.
The Rustic: I lived across the street from The Rustic and there was never a night where it wasn’t packed. This kitchen and backyard bar brings Austin vibes to northern Texas. Enjoy home style meals made with farm-to-table ingredients, sip local craft beers and cocktails under the stars or catch a performance nightly by local and national artists.
Katy Trail Ice House: The Katy Trail is a privately-maintained public park that extends 3.5 miles from SMU at its north end to the American Airlines Center in the south. The Ice House is an Austin style beer garden and restaurant, located in the heart of uptown Dallas on the Katy Trail. A fifty foot long bar boasts fifty beers on tap, ranging from Texas domestics to regional and international imports.
What to see & do
JMK Memorial Plaza: Dallas’ John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza was dedicated June 24, 1970. In the years since, it has become an integral part of the city’s urban landscape and cultural heritage. While the assassination of JFK is saddening and a dark mark on U.S. history, the plaza and surrounding memorials, are beautiful tributes to the late president.
Klyde Warren Park: Klyde Warren Park serves as a central gathering space for Dallas and its visitors. The 5.2-acre deck park, designed by The Office of James Burnett, is an urban green space built over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets in downtown Dallas.
Dallas Museum of Art: If you’re on a budget or simply someone who enjoys art museums, then the Dallas Museum of Art is a must! General admission is free every day, which allows you to view most galleries and exhibits.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Gardens: Located on the shores of White Rock Lake, the Arboretum’s 66 acres include a complete life science laboratory with endless potential for discovery. Throughout the year, the arboretum hosts countless events such as Thursday concerts in the summer and the iconic Pumpkin Village during Fall.
M Line Vintage Trolley: The trolley offers visitors (and locals) a free and unique way to get around the city. Visit their website to track in real time where the trolley is and what’s the nearest stop to you.
Dallas Farmers Market: Free to the public, the Dallas market is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.