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A favorite pastime of locals, the structure of many Dallas neighborhoods make bar-hopping easy to do. Start by heading over to Uptown’s bar-line McKinney Avenue to find 20- and 30-somethings drinking on laid-back patios or dancing in upbeat clubs before exploring the slightly more hip and grungy Deep Ellum area for breweries, live entertainment and some rooftop bars. Lower Greenville is a great spot for dive bars and outdoor seating, perfect for a slightly older crowd, while the strip on Cedar Springs in Oak Lawn is a popular area for LGBT bars and clubs.
With so many evening and late-night show available in Dallas, it’s hard to pick. You could take in a comedy show at Dallas Comedy House, catch a superstar performance at American Airlines Center or Starplex Pavilion or hear up-and-coming artists at smaller venues like the House of Blues, The Bomb Factory or Trees. Alamo Drafthouse is the perfect place for families to catch a film and munch on popcorn or for adults to catch a midnight showing while sipping on spiked milkshakes. Catch the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, an opera or ballet at the Winspear Opera House or a theatrical or musical performance at one of many venues like Music Hall at Fair Park or the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre.
Though many aren’t aware, Dallas is home to a vibrant artistic and literary community that offers almost weekly readings, gallery showcases and other events. Wild Detectives, Deep Vellum Books and Interabang are three local independent bookstores that have weekly readings, while Lucha Dallas is an organization that leads open-mics once a month.
As for gallery openings, check out Art&Seek, a website that showcases many of Dallas’ art gallery openings and events. Or, if you’d like, follow some of Dallas’ popular galleries to see what’s showing in spaces like Jen Mauldin Gallery, SITE131, Mary Thomas Gallery, Laura Rathe Fine Art or Talley Dunn Gallery. Deep Ellum and the Design District are known for having great art galleries, while plenty more around Dallas are still completely under the radar.
Dallas isn’t known for hiking, but visitors and locals have the unique opportunity to join a unique night hike at the Trinity River Audubon Center. During the monthly Owl Prowl Night Hike, attendees are guided through the Great Trinity Forest where they learn about nocturnal animals, call and search for owls and end the evening with s’mores over a campfire. There’s plenty of nature to go around, but tickets are limited, so be sure to register early.
Dallas is home to an array of top-notch museums, many of which have events in the evenings and late into the night. Every third Friday, the Dallas Museum of Art hosts Late Nights at the DMA where the museum has speakers, live performances and unique shows on display until midnight. The Perot Museum has an adults-only, late-night series that includes Social Science, featuring drinks and hands-on science exhibitions for folks over 21. They also have an evening speaker series and summer-themed nights like “music” or “wizarding science” with exhibits, live performances, drinks and food. The Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Zoo both offer evening summer events with movie screenings, live concerts, food trucks, drinks and other special programming designed to get the city outside at night.
An iconic structure in the Dallas skyline, the Reunion Tower is part of the fabric of downtown Dallas. At night, it’s a rotating ball of lights, messages and images that delight folks who drive by on the highway. More than just something to admire from a distance, Reunion Tower is home to the GeO-Deck, an observation area that offers stunning views of Dallas from 470 feet in the air. For a more romantic experience, make a reservation at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, the rotating Asian-inspired restaurant in the tower.
An unexpected experience, The Spirit of Dallas is an organization that offers free sailing rides at sunset on a 38-foot catamaran on White Rock late. Guests are invited to bring a picnic and drinks – though no alcohol – onboard for the 45-minute sunset sail. Like the Owl Prowl Night Hikes, these free sailing trips go quick, so make reservations well in advance.
During the summer, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington stays open late, providing an opportunity for visitors to ride thrilling rollercoasters late into the night. Watch the sunset and the stars come out as you dive and dip on the Texas Giant or fly into the sky on Mr. Freeze as the park transforms into a stunning neon wonderland. Don’t forget to visit Six Flags Over Texas during Fright Fest, an after-hours ghoulish experience in September and October, when the park is full of haunted houses, scare zones and zombies running around in the dark of night. For something less frightening, Holiday in the Park between November and January offers magical nights of holiday-themed fun, where roller coasters and rides light up in the spirit of the season.