Dallas, like many cities in Texas, including the capitol Austin, is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. The city is the commercial and cultural epicenter of North Texas. A city filled with awe-inspiring restaurants, shopping, architecture and art, each of the city’s districts brings a unique quality to the table. Depending on your interests and personality, you’ll love exploring what Dallas has to offer and which niche fits you best.
If you’re a guest and planning to move your family to Dallas, the city offers a wide range of family activities, unique neighborhoods and acclaimed school districts. Whether you’re as close to downtown as the Uptown or lower Greenville districts, or as far north as Addison, Plano or Frisco, there’s an area for every family or lifestyle.
Four Recommended Dallas “To-Dos”
You’ll find, in addition to downtown, many of the city’s attractions are bundled in districts or pockets throughout the cityscape. Among many others, here are a few highlights of things to do while you’re exploring the metroplex:
- Deep Ellum — Located in a former warehouse district just east of downtown, Deep Ellum’s mix of live music venues, cocktail bars, restaurants, breweries and shops makes the area a must-visit for any Dallas resident. If you love music, great cocktails, incredible BBQ or craft donuts, Deep Ellum is the place for you.
- Perot Museum of Nature and Science — After admiring the impressive architectural design of the building’s facade, you’ll find the inside of the museum is no less impressive. You can explore five stories of halls filled with interactive exhibits showcasing advancements in the latest technology and engineering feats. Your soul and your brain will be better for having visited.
- Dallas Arts District — At 68 acres, no other arts district in the U.S. is as expansive as the Dallas Arts District. Multiple decades of planning the area were worth the effort, showing off the city’s notable and distinct architecture for its arts venues. You can take the formal tour, or visit the different locations in piecemeal on your own time.
- The State Fair of Texas — If you love fried food and the idea of watching pigs race, the State Fair of Texas is certainly one of the most unique spectacles of Texas and an event you’re recommended to try at least once. Active in the fall months, the State Fair is a point of pride for Dallas and worthy of a day trip on a September or October weekend.
Where to Eat in Dallas
- Pecan Lodge — This will be some of the best BBQ you have in any city, anywhere. The line for lunch at Pecan Lodge typically lasts anywhere from 30-45 minutes, but the food is more than worth the wait. With only one or two statewide rivals, the brisket and ribs are the gold standard of Texas BBQ.
- Velvet Taco — For some savory street tacos, Velvet Taco on I-75 and Henderson is the go-to locale. While some tacos are in line with the usual Tex-Mex style, you’ll find flavors ranging from Tika Masala Chicken to Ahi Poke and grilled Angus brisket (Dallas loves its brisket, yes). For late-night eaters, Velvet Taco is open til midnight every day.
- Ten Ramen — If simulating an authentic, counter-service Japanese ramen experience suits your fancy, take the time to visit Ten Ramen. Featuring a small speciality menu, this is where you’ll find among the best ramen in the Dallas area (Monta Ramen in Richardson is an honorable mention if you’re looking for true Fukuoka, Japan-quality Tonkotsu ramen).
- Trinity Groves — A compact restaurant and entertainment district, if you can’t quite put your finger on what calls to you on a given night, Trinity Groves has a little bit of everything. Here, you can find great restaurants for everything from sushi (Sushi Bayashi), to country-fried chicken (Fat Chicken), to BBQ (Babb Bros) to Mediterranean (Souk Mediterranean Bistro and Bar).
Where to Shop in Dallas
- The Bishop Arts District — Take a stroll through the quaint and historic Bishop Arts district if you’re looking for a place to decompress and enjoy the moment. Check out speciality stores and galleries like We Are 1976, Zoomos and Indigo 1745. If sweets are your thing, stop by Dude, Sweet Chocolate along the way.
- Highland Park Village — If you intend to stay on the pulse of the latest fashion trends, then shopping at Highland Park Village is your best bet. Here, you’ll find notable brands like Hermes, Chanel, Dior, Billy Reid and Ralph Lauren, among others.
- Northpark Center — Northpark is another place to mark down if you’re looking to upgrade your fashion game. Even if you’re not seeking a new wardrobe, you can still visit the Northpark IMAX theater or visit some of the many restaurants and shops at one of the city’s most iconic malls.
- Shops at Legacy (Plano) — If you find yourself in the northern suburbs of Dallas (Plano and Frisco) or you’re looking for a change of scene, the Shops at Legacy offer a variety of live music venues, shops, bars and eateries.
- Common Desk — Interspersed between Deep Ellum, Fort Worth, Granite Park and Oak Cliff, Common Desk offers ample, if slightly quirky, space for business to collaborate and grow. Each space has flat month-to-month fees with amenities including secure storage areas, private desks and full-floor access.
- Dallas Cowork — Whether you need conference rooms, presentation areas, private offices, coffee, printers/scanners at the ready and a central location in Dallas
Local Coffee Shops
- Houndstooth Coffee — Serving wine and beer in addition to coffee, Houndstooth Coffee makes an exceptional iced coffee. Just off of Henderson not far from the downtown and Uptown areas, this is a great place to satisfy your caffeine fix or grab a favorite brew if you’re in the mood.
- Coffee House Cafe — If you’re a brunch person and a coffee person, this North Dallas locale is the place to go. With delicious coffees and espressos, some of the best pancakes in Dallas and a relaxing outdoor patio, this is a great way to start your day.
- Davis Street Espresso — Bishop Arts is already full of gems, and Davis Street is no exception if you’re a coffee lover. While you won’t find Wi-Fi here, that’s kinda part of the ambiance. This is your chance to disconnect and enjoy a savory cupa with a friend as you meander through the district.
Top School Districts
- Highland Park ISD
- Carroll ISD
- Coppell ISD
- Frisco ISD
- Allen ISD
- Grapevine ISD
- Plano ISD
- Medieval Times — Watch as knights joust and cross swords over a delicious meal in a show that harks back to the time of Medieval Spain. Kids can cheer on their champion and witness the flight of the royal falcon.
- Dallas Zoo — The largest zoo in Texas, the Dallas Zoo features more than 2000 animals and a few exclusive award-winning exhibits. After hanging out with the lions and tigers, kids can visit the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo, with interactive and educational exhibits for children.
- Pin Stack — Not your father’s bowling alley, Pin Stack includes a fully staffed restaurant, arcade, rope course and rock climbing area in addition to a top-of-the-line bowling experience.