You only have 24 hours to have a Dallas experience? No problem! Here’s an hour-by-hour plan for seeing the best things Dallas has to offer, beginning with a delicious breakfast, a busy day filled with invigorating things to do and wrapping it all up with a late-night snack before hitting the hay. Let’s go!
No one does breakfast like Ellen’s, a trendy restaurant offering Southern favorites in downtown Dallas. With an all-day breakfast menu, it’s easy to enjoy the home-cooking any time of day. All-time favorites include shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, huevos rancheros, and French Toast. Come with a big appetite as portions are served Texas-sized.
Burn off the 10 lbs of food you’ve eaten at Ellen’s by hiking through the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is not mountainous or hilly like some parts of Texas, but visitors can still enjoy eight miles of hiking or mountain biking trails. Be on the lookout for artistic sculptures or funky areas in the preserve, which include a large steel spider and another that has a pink Christmas tree.
With the largest arts district in the United States, Dallas offers a lot for visitors to enjoy in terms of art. Take some time to explore the Arts District on foot or by bike and admire a giant eye sculpture in front of The Joule or wander through the Dallas Museum of Art, home to 24,000 pieces of art, for free. The Nasher Sculpture Center has a large selection of modern, larger-than-life sculptures, while The Crow Collection of Asian Art has a collection of historical and contemporary pieces from all over Asia.
After some time in the Arts District, head to Klyde Warren Park, the park on the highway, for lunch. One side of this modern park is lined with food trucks every day offering something to satisfy everyone’s tastes and preferences. After chowing down on your food, grab a book, magazine or game, like ping pong or croquet, from the park staff and spend some quality time in one of the coolest parks in Texas.
Deep Ellum is a historical neighborhood with a lot of ties to the music scene, but in the last few years, it has transformed into a thriving artsy area. Rent a dockless bikeshare bike and ride through the neighborhood, checking out some of the amazing rotating murals. Be sure to catch Insta-worthy shots with The Traveling Man sculptures and see if you can find a dinosaur statue or astronaut-like figure.
Take advantage of the fact that Dallas has the most shopping centers per capita than any other U.S. city with an afternoon of shopping. Stroll through the outdoor shopping center of West Village, home to high-end stores and boutiques. NorthPark Center has luxury brands like Roberto Cavalli, large department stores like Neiman Marcus and Macy’s and exceptional art exhibits. If you enjoy being overwhelmed with shopping options, check out the Galleria Dallas, which has three floors filled with over 200 stores.
Head south to Bishop Arts to begin your evening with a meal and exploration of the many independent boutiques that line the street. Lockhart Smokehouse has fall-off-the-bone barbecue and great sides like deviled eggs. Eno’s Pizza Tavern has cheesy pies, while Oddfellows has a chic diner vibe and American favorites with a modern twist and fresh ingredients. After dinner and some shopping, grab a slice of homemade pie from Emporium Pies.
The Spirit of Dallas Foundation wants to offer everyone the opportunity to enjoy sailing. They offer a great sunset sailing trip on White Rock Lake for free on a 38-foot catamaran with an online reservation. Food and drink aren’t provided, so grab some snacks and drinks (unfortunately, no alcohol) and have yourself a sunset picnic on the water.
Knox/Henderson and Lower Greenville offer some amazing opportunities for bar-hopping. Start on Lower Greenville at Truck Yard, a truck-yard-themed outdoor patio bar that attracts tons of locals with their dogs and a wide selection of frozen drinks and on-tap cocktails. Next, head to Single Wide, a small dive bar with a retro interior and interesting alcoholic drinks like Frozen Yahoo or a Grandpa’s Glory special – a Lonestar well-whiskey shot and cigarette. They often have nightly events like Bingo, karaoke or vibrator races (yes, vibrator races). For a good view of downtown Dallas at night, visit the rooftop bar at HG Sply Co. Finally, make your way to Barcadia on Knox/Henderson for cheap drinks and a night filled with arcade games and a giant game of Jenga.
Before heading back to your accommodations when the bars close at 2 a.m., take a Lyft to Fuel City Tacos for a late-night meal. Located in a gas station, this cash-only taqueria has some of the best street tacos around and serves them 24/7. If you visit over the weekend, be prepared for lines that wrap around the building.