When planning a trip, Dallas does not usually fall within most people’s top contending destinations, but it should. Much like Manhattan and Miami, Dallas is a major city with a lot to offer. A quickly growing community of young professionals brings with it exciting food, culture and nightlife ripe for exploration—many of which continue to fly under the radar. In this one-day itinerary, we clue you in on the top things to do in Dallas, so you can seize the day when you visit this up-and-coming “it” city.
Early morning jog along the Katy Trail
If you like to jump-start your day with outdoor exercise, the Katy Trail is one of the best things in Dallas for you. Runners, walkers, skaters, and cyclists are all welcome on the 3.5-mile path, which was built on the former route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad. The beautiful tree-lined greenway connects Dallas’ Uptown and Oak Lawn neighborhoods, allowing you to break a sweat while exploring the city.
Breakfast at Bread Winners Café and Bakery
Dallas loves Bread Winners on McKinney Avenue for breakfast and for brunch. Although the menus vary, they both have offerings to entice healthy eaters and decadent foodies alike. Some of their more gluttonous items include the six varieties of eggs Benedict, the fried chicken with jalapeño bacon cheddar waffles and the cinnamon roll French toast. The hardest part of our visit was deciding what to eat. Bread Winners gets packed on the weekends so make sure to make a reservation. If you have to wait for a table, kill time at Quarter Bar next door, which shares the same owners.
Coffee break at Crooked Tree Coffeehouse
Specialty coffee shops are microcosms of their surrounding community, so you can say the Crooked Tree Coffeehouse is a window into Uptown. Here you can find locally roasted coffee, free Wi-Fi and an outdoor seating area, making it an excellent place to work, people watch or both. Comfy couches inside beg you to stay for a while with a good book.
Lunch at Truck Yard
Truck Yard is a favorite Dallas hangout because of its versatility. During the week, the beer garden acts as a quiet, relaxing hangout. On the weekends, especially on Saturdays and Sundays when there is live music, it can get loud and packed. It makes a great lunch spot for groups, too. Check their website for a list of the rotating roster of two to three local food trucks. The culinary variety allows everyone to order individually and reconvene at one of the picnic tables to eat together.
Afternoon exploration at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
As far as attractions go, the nationally acclaimed Dallas Arboretum is one of the city’s most popular destinations. The 66-acre property is home to a series of beautiful gardens and fountains that boast breathtaking views. The setting is perfect for a leisurely afternoon stroll or a romantic picnic on one of the arboretum’s several lawns. For an additional fee, families with children can enjoy an edible garden, a maze and other features unique to the Children’s Adventure Garden area.
Cocktail hour at The Rustic
Grammy-nominated country artist and Texas native, Pat Green, got it right when he decided to take part ownership of The Rustic. The modern bar with its expansive outdoor patio is one of the best places to listen to live music in Dallas. From Thursday through Sunday, it’s jam-packed with people for free and ticketed concerts headlined by local and national artists. In addition to a killer vibe, The Rustic is a great place to explore local beers, spirits and farm fresh fare. They have a full kitchen so, if you feel at home, do not hesitate to transition your cocktail hour into dinner.
Dinner at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar
For fine dining with a Southern twist, Dallas looks to Sissy’s. Their claim to fame is the 10-piece bucket of house-spiced and buttermilk-soaked fried chicken, which comes with your choice of coleslaw or whipped potatoes and gravy on the side. We also love the low country gumbo, the pickled cucumber and red onion salad and the fried okra. Be sure to make a reservation. You can thank us later.
Nighttime fun on McKinney Avenue
McKinney Avenue has some of the best bars in Dallas. The section between the 2000 block and the 4000 block is packed with everything from dive bars to cocktail dens to nightclubs. Dallas’ young and chic set frequent the area because they can easily hop between favorites like the Black Friar Pub, The Quarter Bar and Nickel and Rye, to name a few. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, a large crowd gathers inside Big Al’s McKinney Avenue Tavern or “The MAT” for karaoke. Nothing closes out the perfect Dallas day like belting “Backstreet’s Back” with fifty-plus friendly and enthusiastic strangers.