A Beginner’s Guide to Dallas

By: Steven Lindsey

January 13, 2014

Dallas. The Big D. The Metroplex. Whatever you choose to call it, the ninth largest city in the United States is a cosmopolitan paradise for lovers of art, architecture, culture, fashion, and food. With more than 6.7 million residents in the greater metropolitan area, there’s a wealth of diversity in both people and experiences.

The city’s rich history can still be found peppered through a landscape that celebrates all things shiny and new. In downtown, Pioneer Plaza and the Old Red Courthouse provide glimpses of the distant past. Nearby, visitors flock to The Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza, both pivotal to the nation-changing events when JFK was assassinated in 1963.

Nasher Sculpture Center | A Beginner's Guide to Dallas

Outdoor artwork at the Nasher Sculpture Center © Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau

Art aficionados will rejoice at the booming Dallas Arts District, the largest urban arts district in the nation. Destinations include the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Crow Collection of Asian Art. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra calls the Meyerson Symphony Center home while next-door neighbour Winspear Opera House brings in touring Broadway productions. Across the street, the Dallas Theater Center occupies the Wyly Theatre and Dallas City Performance Hall hosts a variety of local productions and one-night-only performances. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a must-visit, but often sells out, making advance tickets a necessity. And political buffs are obsessed with the technologically marvellous George W. Bush Presidential Center.

State Fair of Texas | A Beginner's Guide to Dallas

Larger than life cowboy at the State Fair of Texas © Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau


Each September and October, Fair Park is home to the State Fair of Texas, the largest in the U.S. Year-round activities are also available, including touring Broadway productions at the Music Hall at Fair Park and a variety of museums and attractions in the 227-acre park’s large concentration of Art Deco structures.

Celebrity Chefs | A Beginner's Guide to Dallas

Dallas is teeming with local celebrity chefs © Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau

Dining out is a way of life in Dallas and has resulted in the rise of many local celebrity chefs as a result. Hometown heroes include Stephan Pyles, whose Samar, Stampede 66 and eponymous restaurant Stephan Pyles always thrill. Kent Rathbun’s Abacus is consistently on the cutting edge, while Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen wows with Texas comfort foods. Fearing’s Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton is Dean Fearing’s crowning achievement. And the newest headline maker, John Tesar, has really put the landlocked city on the seafood map with Spoon Bar & Kitchen.

Klyde Warren Park | A Beginner's Guide to Dallas

Modern green living in Klyde Warren Park © Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau

With almost-year-round beautiful, sunny weather, there are several places to commune with nature, possibly working in a little exercise while you’re at it. The city’s newest green space addition is Klyde Warren Park, a multi-block oasis connecting uptown with downtown and built over a freeway. Food trucks, on-site restaurant Savor, and dozens of free daily activities keep things bustling. White Rock Lake and Katy Trail are both havens for runners and cyclists, and the Dallas Arboretum is a wonderful place to stroll while literally stopping and smelling the roses.

Galleria Dallas | A Beginner's Guide to Dallas

Luxury shopping at Galleria Dallas © Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Dallas without a few hours of world-class shopping. NorthPark Center and Galleria Dallas are two of the biggest and best malls, whereas Highland Park Village focuses almost exclusively on high-end designer brands. Downtown, the original Neiman Marcus is still tops in customer service and luxury merchandise.

Everything is indeed bigger in Texas, including your to-do list.

Booking a trip to Dallas? Our codeshare arrangement with Delta makes it simple for you to travel all over North America.


Have you visited the Big D? Where do you go when you’re in town? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Written by Steven Lindsey


Steven Lindsey

Steven Lindsey is a Dallas editor, freelance writer and obsessed lover of travel, food and cocktails. Steven is editor of the Zagat blog in Dallas and Contributing Editor of He Said Magazine's USA and Dallas editions. Additionally, he regularly contributes to The Dallas Morning News special sections.

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