City Cheat Sheet: A Travel Guide for Dallas, Texas

The Dallas Arts District. Photography by Joseph Haubert Photography.

WHY VISIT THE SOPHISTICATED metropolis of Dallas, Texas? The Scout Guide Dallas editor Ginna Wilbanks can name a few reasons. Looking for a vibrant and diverse food scene? “The list of A+ restaurants is seemingly endless,” says Ginna. “Grab brunch over in Bishop Arts, dinner in Deep Ellum, and a drink in the Harwood District.” Enjoy browsing exquisitely curated boutiques? “Spend a weekend wandering the Design District for gorgeous antiques and interior décor, and shop for cutting-edge fashion downtown on Main Street or in idyllic Highland Park Village,” she recommends. And if you’re interested in the arts, you’re in luck. “A visit to the Dallas Arts District is an absolute must,” Ginna says. “The number of arts organizations throughout the city has grown immensely over the past decade and is truly impressive. You can easily spend an entire day exploring the collections of the Nasher Sculpture Museum and the Crow Collection of Asian Art, or catching a performance at the Meyerson Symphony Center or the Moody Performance Hall.”

Ready to plan your visit (or staycation)? Here, Ginna shares her favorite local finds and activities for taking in her city.

*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc. 

WHERE TO STAY // Hotel Crescent Court (400 Crescent Court). This hotel is a Dallas classic, known locally for its spa and to tourists for its luxurious amenities.

Le Méridian Dallas, The Stoneleigh (2927 Maple Avenue). With its renovated features and large rooms, guests can expect a comfortable and satisfying experience.

Hotel ZaZa (2332 Leonard Street). Located in the stylish Uptown neighborhood, this funky boutique hotel features the Dragonfly bar, a Dallas hot spot.

WHAT TO DO // The Dallas Arts District. The largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation, the DAD features top notch restaurants, museums, performing arts centers, parks, and more. It’s a great place to spend the day with family.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (8525 Garland Road). Featuring 66 acres of breathtaking gardens with water views and majestic holiday displays, the Arboretum, which is situated on White Rock Lake, draws visitors from all over, all year round.

The Katy Trail (3505 Maple Avenue). Running along a historic railway line, this pedestrian and bike-friendly path goes through some of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. Consider having a beer at The Katy Trail Ice House (3127 Routh Street) during your excursion.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (411 Elm Street). Also known as The JFK Museum, the museum chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.

WHERE TO SHOP // Tootsies (8300 Preston Road, Suite 200). A must-visit for women’s clothing.

Caitlin Wilson (2923 N. Henderson Avenue). Located in the heart of Knox-Henderson, this shop offers an amazing collection of unique home furnishings and decor designed and curated by interior designer Caitlin Wilson.

Maestri Gallery (401 Exposition Avenue). Located in Deep Ellum and curated by a full-service design studio, this art gallery features affordable contemporary art, cool custom furniture, and globally inspired decor.

Talulah & HESS (5810 Live Oak Street). This Lakewood gem features a range of items, from fabulous home décor to special gifts.

Dallas Design District (1025 N Stemmons Freeway). A favorite spot for browsing for antiques, the Dallas Design District is situated by I-35E on the north and east, Wycliff Avenue and the Trinity River levee on the west, and Continental Avenue on the south.

WHERE TO EAT // Shug’s Bagels (3020 Mockingbird Lane). Bordering the SMU campus, this is the go-to spot for bagels and breakfast sandwiches.

Le Bilboquet (4514 Travis Street) and Taverna (3312 Knox Street). Located right near The Katy Trail, these restaurants are great for brunch or a mid-day meal during a day spent walking around.

Mi Cocina (77 Highland Park Village). A wonderful place to order some queso and a Mambo Taxi (tequila, lime juice, and sangria).

Al Biernat’s (5251 Spring Valley Road and 4217 Oak Lawn Avenue). This chic steakhouse is a classic dinner spot in Dallas that won’t disappoint.

Dolce Riviera (2950 North Harwood Street). With its cozy Italian vibe, locals love the house-made options of this restaurant. Pro tip: try the Bolognese and the truffle gnocchi.

Shinsei (7713 Inwood Road). Serving sushi and inspired Pan-Asian fare, this is a great place for dinner.

Emporium Pies (314 North Bishop Avenue). Located in the Bishop Arts District, the baked goods are worth waiting in line for, especially the Buttercream Gang.

WHERE TO DRINK // La La Land Kind Café (5626 Bell Avenue). A charming old home transformed into an organic coffee and tea shop, with the purpose of mentoring and employing foster youth that are aging out of the system. The patio is a great place to spend an afternoon with your laptop and coffee.

The Juice Bar (66 Highland Park Village). Known for its healthy creations that don’t sacrifice on flavor. Try the Green Energy, or if you’re craving something a bit sweeter, the Peanut Butter Cup.

The Mansion Bar (2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard). Located at The Rosewood Mansion, this is a quintessential Dallas cocktail destination. Live music on the weekends transforms the old world charm of the place into a fun dance spot, and enjoying a Texas Margarita outside on the patio is highly recommended.

Lounge 31 (87 Highland Park Village). This is a lesser-known spot where locals like to watch football on the weekdays and sip cocktails on Saturday night while listening to the DJ.

LOCAL PRO-TIP // If you head upstairs at Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village, you can enjoy your Mambo Taxi in the treehouse-like Monkey Bar.

You can download this Dallas Cheat Sheet by clicking here. For additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Dallas, follow The Scout Guide Dallas on Instagram.