All About Dallas!

All About Dallas

So, I get this question emailed to me at least once every.single.solitary.day…

I’m coming to visit Dallas for the first time.  What should I do?  

So, it’s about darn time that I blogged about it, right?!

Okay, let’s start from the beginning.  I consider myself a Dallas girl and not really a Fort Worth girl.  I grew up in Irving, TX which is a very urban city that bleeds right into Dallas and now, we live in McKinney, TX a suburb about 20 minutes north of Dallas…so for me, all roads lead to Dallas.

Speaking of McKinney, if you missed this post…

McKinney, TX

…click HERE to read it.

If you are interested in Fort Worth, here are my thoughts: the zoo is fantastic, Bass Performance Hall is not only beautiful but they produce brilliant shows/plays/musicals, you MUST eat at Joe T. Garcia’s, the Stockyards are everything in Fort Worth, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is worth the stop.  I love Fort Worth…but it’s further away from where I live, so I don’t get over there that much.   One last thing about Fort Worth, I have said 8 billion times on this site that my very favorite food is German food and well, Fort Worth is home to my favorite local German restaurant (it’s very authentic with live music and everything!)…Edelweiss.

Now, here are some of our favorite things to do and places to visit in good old Dallas, TX.

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The Dallas World Aquarium.  This is a good spot especially in the summer because it’s indoors and cool.  It’s not huge, so it won’t take you all day to explore, but it’s definitely a good thing to do for a couple of hours.

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North Park Mall. In the DFW area, this is THE mall.  This place holds all the best stores, some fantastic restaurants (hello Maggiano’s!) and their famous ducks and turtles.  If you are in town to do some mall-like shopping, you must visit North Park.

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Now, not too far from North Park is Highland Park.  This little hamlet right inside of Dallas is home to some lovely (and quite large) estates (I’m talking Jerry Jones lives here kind of houses) and a very cute little “village” area where we like to eat and shop…especially during the holidays.  I absolutely dare you to find better Christmas lights wrapped in trees than in Highland Park.  It’s spectacular!  If you book in advance (like end of August/early September), you can even schedule a horse drawn-carriage ride through Highland Park in December.  Mi Cocina for Mexican food is very yummy, but there are several other restaurants in there too.

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If you still want to shop…the Dallas Galleria has among other things…The American Girl Doll Store.  So, that is worth a trip over if you have a young daughter.

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We visit the Galleria every year to sit in Santa’s lap.  The Galleria is famous for the huge ice skating rink in the center of the mall.  You can skate there year around, but the best time of year to skate is at Christmas when they have their gigantic tree in the center.

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If you’re looking for a zoo, The Dallas Zoo is one of our favorite things to do in the city.  Over the years, Dallas has really made some major improvements on their zoo and we just love it.  You can spend an entire day here at the zoo.

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Looking for a food truck?  Oh man, oh man!  Klyde Warren Park is where it is at for food trucks.  Daily, trucks line up to serve unique, delicious, creative and unbelievable goodness from within.  They have every kind of food imaginable and people line up from all over to grab a bite.  This is such a fun thing to do for lunch in Dallas.  And bonus, it’s right next door to this…

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The Perot Museum.  We heart this museum.  Buy your tickets online in advance because they only let a certain number of people in at a time (this way, it’s never too crowded).  There is a great kids area on the first floor for younger kids to get interactive (sand, water tables, play area, building blocks…for babies through preschool kids).  And then the four main floors of the museum are fantastic.  This place is so interactive and kid friendly, but as an adult, I would recommend it to other grownups too.  You can spend all day here.  Love, love, love this place!

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But I think my favorite part about Dallas is that once a year (for about a month), they host the world’s best fair.  The State Fair of Texas is legendary.  You can read all about my love for the Fair HERE.  If you come to Dallas in October, you MUST visit the Fair.  It’s required :).

Okay, here are a few other places we like that might interest you too:

1: People are always visiting Dealey Plaza in Dallas.  I used to work right next to it and it amazed me that every single day, there were masses of people checking it out.  (Dealey Plaza is where Kennedy was shot.)

2: Bishop Arts District is such a fun (and super trendy) place to eat and shop.  The city has recently revitalized this area and it’s a must if you’re looking for a something a little funky and cool.

3: I love to eat and shop along Knox Street.  There are great stores (Weirs, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and other eclectic stores) and some seriously good food (Chuy’s!).

4: The George Bush Presidential Library is new and a great place to go on a hot day (when you need A/C to escape the heat!).

Speaking of weather, Dallas is a pretty great city to visit year around.  It gets hot here in July and August…but there is enough to do inside to keep you busy.  It snows/freezes over on occasion, but for the most part, the weather is not an issue in the winter.  For food…you just cannot go wrong with Mexican or BBQ in Dallas.  We love both…equally.

Whew!  That’s my take on Dallas.  Please comment and share if you’re a resident and want to offer other ideas and suggestions!  We heart Big D!

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  • Regine Karpel August 17, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Will check out the Presidential Library. Thanks.
    http://www.rsrue.blogspot.com

  • Erika Slaughter August 17, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Great minds, friend! Hahaha! We both shared our love of the Texas State Fair today! It seriously is so much fun! My kids talk about it all year.

  • Christy Latimore August 17, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Headed to Waco this fall for the KSU/Baylor game and I am already looking forward to stopping in Dallas and trying out a couple of your food recommendations. Thank you for the post, Shay!!!!

  • Narci August 17, 2016 at 6:17 am

    This really is the perfect round up of fun things to do and see in Dallas!! Love! Great work, girl!!

  • Megan August 17, 2016 at 7:07 am

    It’s not crazy exciting, but if you have little kiddos, the MATA is a vintage trolley car that’s free and for a kid is like riding a train. We used to drive to the first stop (cityplace station/uptown) and park. Hop on the trolley and take it down to the Art District or Klyde Warren Park, have some lunch, and then ride the trolley back to your car! A fun little outing!!

  • Megan August 17, 2016 at 7:12 am

    The MATA (the vintage trolley cars on McKinney Ave) is a fun, free activity to do. It’s not crazy exciting, but my little kids have always enjoyed riding the “train”. We park at the Cityplace/Uptown station, hop on the super old and cool trolleys and ride it down to Klyde Warren Park. I think they’ve extended the line past there since I was there last. But once we finished lunch and playing, would hop back on the trolley and take it back to our car. It’s simple, non-fussy activity, but fun!

  • Jess Deisher August 17, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Perfect! We are looking into coming out for the Cowboys/Ravens game in November. I can’t wait to check Dallas out!

  • Sheaffer August 17, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Fun post on Dallas! There really are so many great things to do at our fingertips!

  • Jan Fisher August 17, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Thanks for the post! I’m headed to Dallas Nov 12 for a few days with all my cousins, sister, mom and my aunt. One of my cousins lives in Plano! Can’t wait!!!! I’m hoping for nice weather, I’m sure it will be nicer than Illinois in November!!! We are definately taking a day and heading to Waco as we are all fans of “Fixer Upper”!

  • Angela Ellingson August 17, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I LOVE these posts! Such great resources. I still share your traveling with kids shade of Shay post with my friends on a regular basis. I’m sure I will be doing the same with this post as family and friends go to Dallas. Thanks Shay!

  • Meaghan August 17, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Thank you for doing this post! My husband and I just moved to Waco from Illinois for a job opportunity for him and want to explore the cities surrounding us. I was mentioning to him the other day that I want to go to the Galleria in Dallas because I had seen it online somewhere, but if North Park Mall is better in your opinion (we don’t have kiddos…yet!) then we will have to give that a shot. I definitely want to check out the state fair too. So much to do, so little time. Thanks again, Shay!

  • Kelley Mayeux August 17, 2016 at 8:13 am

    We went to Dallas this past weekend and took the kids to Medieval Times…. so much fun!

  • Susy August 17, 2016 at 8:20 am

    The Dallas Art Museum is one of the largest art museums in America. From its date nights (open until midnight) to its art workshops and visits for toddlers, school age and teens, DAM scores for families. The Museum is a cultural hub for conversation and activity for the citizens of Dallas making art accessible and adding to the lives of all.

  • Carol August 17, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Don’t forget our amazing Arboretum with the incredible children’s area. It is rated one of the best in the country and it is so fun for adults and kids during the holiday seasons. I love the pumpkins in the Fall.

  • Ashley Clark August 17, 2016 at 8:25 am

    We live by White Rock Lake and love taking our out of town family to the Arboretum, especially in October when they have their pumpkin patch setup. My nephew loved it the last time he was in town. Thanks for all the other great ideas!

  • Kelley August 17, 2016 at 8:33 am

    The Dallas arboretum! Beautiful year round but especially during the tulips (spring) and pumpkins (fall). Plus the children’s garden is fantastic! Our favorite place in Dallas!

  • Sarah August 17, 2016 at 8:41 am

    I traveled to Dallas/Ft. Worth about three years ago (my first visit to Texas) and really enjoyed it! We found the Sixth Floor Museum very interesting (love history!), and had a good time walking around Ft. Worth. I really loved driving through some of Dallas’ neighborhoods.

    We were there during the fair, and I have to say I was disappointed. The food was good, but I found that there just wasn’t that much to see and do (and there were so few people there). I’m used to the North Carolina State Fair, which just seems to offer more in terms of rides, activities, exhibits, etc. Don’t get me wrong, though, it was nice that the Texas fair didn’t have the long lines we’re used to in NC! 🙂

  • Corbie August 17, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Loved this post Shay! Both times we have been to Mckinney we have blown right through Dallas… I never thought to stop there except to get back to the airport. LOL!!! I didn’t know I was missing so much! It sounds so kid friendly too; I know Jack would love it. Thanks!!

  • Caroline August 17, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Such a great post! I definitely still need to do a lot of these things 🙂

  • Misty August 17, 2016 at 9:46 am

    We love the arboretum, especially in the spring and fall. On Monday and Tuesday they have face painting, a petting zoo, story time, and Kindermusik. The kids love the children’s garden year round!

  • Whitney August 17, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Also, if you have littles who are always amazed by “the ball”, stop by reunion tower and ride up to the observation deck. You can buy tickets at the door to just ride up and enjoy the views…you don’t have to eat! Long time reader, first time commenter. 🙂 I just had to share this because I took my boys for the first time this summer and they are begging to go back!

  • Megan Butler August 17, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Soooo fun!! I miss Chuy’s!! Ahh their queso. I miss Torchy’s tacos too! Ha. Sounds like I need to visit for some mexican food! We love the aquarium and the lights in highland park!

  • Melissa C. August 17, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I would also suggest Deep Ellum for fun and funky hipster places if that is your thing. Eat at Pecan Lodge BBQ, Cane Rosso for the best pizza EVER, Buzzbrews or Twisted Root. Anywhere down there really. Also? The Dallas Farmers Market in downtown Dallas. There is also the Dallas Arborteum if botanical is your jam.

  • Melissa August 17, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    We lived in Dallas while my husband was getting his PhD at SMU, with littles. The Christmas lights in Highland Park are the best! I would add the Arboretum. My kids loved it! There are always special exhibits, and the pumpkins in the fall are the best spot for pictures. And there are great places to eat in lower Greenville, and the ‘M’ streets.

  • Kristin August 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I loved this post! I live in Oklahoma now but I am a born and bred Texan and my love of all things fall and Texas runs deep!

  • Linda L. August 17, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    I’m a FW girl, but I love all your suggestions for Dallas……to add to your FW ideas….Sundance Square at Christmas time is a must…..and eating at Reata’s.

  • Ester Woohälid August 18, 2016 at 9:37 am

    The Dallas Theater Center for some of the best theatre around. The Farmer’s Market in Deep Ellum. Deep Ellum in general. The Central Library (8 stories). Norma’s. The George Bush Library. Dallas Social on instagram also updates often on events coming up in Dallas.

  • Juliet August 18, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks so much for this Shay! I’m going to be staying at the Sheraton Dallas in November and am looking forward to all the places you recommended!

  • Leslie August 19, 2016 at 12:25 am

    This is awesome! We’re heading to Dallas over Labor Day weekend to watch USC vs. Alabama play in Arlington. Do you have any BBQ restaurants you’d recommend? We’re all staying in Downtown Dallas and we’d love to get some good BBQ. Thanks, Shay!

  • Tonya Morris August 21, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Maggiano’s is my favorite Italian ever!

  • Natalie M. August 22, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I used to drive to Chuy’s on Knox from Grapevine, but I am so glad they opened one closer to us in Southlake! I put their jalapeno ranch on everything 🙂 Great list! For a great skyline view without having to go up to the Reunion Tower, you can go to Hotel Nylo’s rooftop bar (Soda) and get a great view (and photo!). There is no cost to go to the bar, but might as well have some champagne while you’re up there 🙂

  • Carly August 24, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    People have left some additional great ideas, but I wanted to add that if you go over to Knox, go across 75 to the Henderson side of the street too! Great restaurants that (for the most part) aren’t chains! There are some cute boutique type stores over there too!