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The Dallas skyline at dusk is breathtaking
The Dallas skyline at dusk is breathtaking | © Joseph Haubert / Courtesy of VisitDallas
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How to Spend 48 Hours in Dallas

Picture of Alex Temblador
Updated: 19 March 2018
It’s hard to see Dallas in a day, but Dallas in two days? Now there’s something to that. With only 48 hours to explore the Big D, we’ve created a two-day guide on the top things you must see and do in Dallas from sun up to sun down.

Day One, Morning

START DOWNTOWN

What’s a trip to Dallas without a Texas-sized breakfast? Start your morning off right at one of the top three breakfast spots in downtown Dallas. Ellen’s serves large portions of typical Southern breakfast foods all day, with a menu that includes pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and shrimp and grits. On the more mainstream, but equally delicious side, Yolk, located at One Arts Plaza, offers a selection of egg-inspired meals like creative omelets and scramblers, as well as dishes like chicken and waffles. If a stylish eatery is more your thing, CBD Provisions has a simple menu in a great upscale atmosphere. Be sure to try their green chile pork migas.

REFLECT ON HISTORY AT DEALEY PLAZA

Following breakfast, head to Dealey Plaza. A visit to Dallas isn’t complete without learning about one of the most significant aspects of the city–the John F. Kennedy assassination. Stand on the Grassy Knoll, the same spot where crowds witnessed one of the most horrific acts in U.S. history. Visitors can take photos of the “X” in the middle of Elm Street, marking the spot where JFK was shot. Afterwards, head into the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza to learn about the life and death of John F. Kennedy. If you have a chance, walk around the corner to the John F. Kennedy Memorial, a structure designed by Philip Johnson to represent the spirit of JFK.

following the John F. Kennedy theme, grab lunch in West End at 3Eleven Kitchen and Cocktails, a trendy new eatery with a subtle design and a menu inspired by JFK. Check out vintage newspapers from the day John F. Kennedy was shot or enjoy a fanciful cocktail named after Jackie Kennedy. While the JFK theme is different and educational, this place really is a great spot for a good meal. Its lamb is tender, the fried hummus and quinoa balls are delightful, and the cheesecake is to die for.

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Dealey Plaza is home to the Sixth Floor Museum and the Grassy Knoll | © Stephen Hanafin / Flickr

Afternoon

INDULGE YOUR INNER ARTIST

Don’t leave downtown just yet. Head to the Dallas Arts District for an afternoon of exploring public art and fantastic museums. The Dallas Museum of Art is free and offers 24,000 works of art from all different cultures and time periods for visitors to enjoy. The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection, another free museum, inspires visitors with its collection of Asian art that is quite unique to the southwest United States. If you’re delighted by large sculptures, the Nasher Sculpture Center is well worth the small entrance fee, as the modern sculptures in their lovely garden are thought-provoking.

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The Nasher Sculpture Museum has an outdoor garden with stunning sculptures | © Allison Meier / Flickr

Evening

EAT DINNER IN DEEP ELLUM

Deep Ellum is one of the most dynamic neighborhoods of Dallas offering plenty of dining options and entertainment. Begin your evening with dinner at one of the amazing eateries. Pecan Lodge has a casual atmosphere and barbecue that people are willing to wait in line for. Craving pizza? Canne Rosso is a staple of Deep Ellum, serving Neopolitan-style pizza. Zatar Lebanese Tapas and Bar is chic with a delicious menu filled with Lebanese favorites and hookahs for those who wish to partake.

ENJOY LIVE MUSIC

Following dinner, indulge in Deep Ellum’s live music scene. Bars and venues like Trees, Dada Dallas, the Twilite Lounge, Curtain Club, The Prophet Bar, High & Tight, Adair’s Saloon, and The Bomb Factory host concerts and bands throughout the week, offering a large selection of live music to choose from. While some of these bars and venues require an entry fee, you can generally find places with free entry.

Deep Ellum - Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
A band jams at Deep Ellum Brewing Co. | Courtesy of VisitDallas

Late-night

HAVE A MIDNIGHT SNACK

As the night wears on and your stomach begins to crave a late-night snack, you need to know where to go. Head to Cosmo’s before 2 a.m. for amazing Vietnamese dishes like pho, fried chicken, and noodle bowls in a 70s retro style bar. The same can be said of Lakewood Landing, which has a late-night menu that includes American comfort food like their popular hand-dipped corn dogs.

If it’s past 2 a.m., make your way south to Fuel City, a gas station serving delicious Mexican street tacos 24/7. Don’t be surprised if you see the line stretching out the door. It’s that popular! For visitors who just want something quick to take to their hotel, Whataburger is always a must-try Texas favorite for late-night snacks and meals.

Day Two, morning

RECOVER WITH AN AUTHENTIC MEXICAN BREAKFAST

You’ve had a late night out in Dallas and you need a good breakfast to recover. A Mexican-inspired breakfast will get you going on your second day in Dallas. Visit Margarita’s Restaurant during the week for an amazing authentic Mexican breakfast. Enjoy dishes like breakfast burritos or tacos, eggs and chorizo platters, and huevos rancheros. On the weekends, Gonzalez Restaurant offers a savory Mexican breakfast with some of the best tortillas around. If you’re hungover, order a Michelada drink or menudo (only available on the weekends). Just don’t ask what’s in the menudo, just trust us.

GET SOME FRESH AIR

Following breakfast, head outside and explore Dallas outdoors. Go biking on the Trinity Skyline Trail, which offers great views of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Hike or mountain bike in the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, known for its beautiful fields of wildflowers in the spring. White Rock Lake is a great spot for hiking and biking, but consider renting a kayak or going sailing across this popular lake. If you don’t mind paying an entrance fee, check out the Great Trinity Forest at the Trinity River Audubon Center or wander through the beautiful floral gardens at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

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The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens has plenty of natural wonders | © Alex Temblador

Afternoon

SHOP FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL

In Dallas, there’s a shopping experience for everyone. Boutique lovers will get a kick out of exploring Bishop Arts, an area that has women’s and men’s boutiques, and stores selling trendy house wares. Luxury shoppers, who want an indoor experience, should head to NorthPark Center for brands like Versace, Lacoste, and Coach. If the weather is lovely, head to West Village, an outdoor shopping center with stores like Brooks Brothers and Kendra Scott. Galleria Dallas has three levels of stores, making it the perfect shopping experience for any type of shopper.

Evening

CATCH A GAME

Dallas is home to multiple professional teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Dallas Wings, and FC Dallas. Take advantage of this scene by attending a sporting event your second night in town. While FC Dallas plays in Frisco and the Texas Rangers, Wings, and Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington (about a 30-minute drive from Dallas), the Mavericks and Stars play just a few minutes north of downtown Dallas at the American Airlines Center. With diverse athletic teams, it’s easy to find a game happening in Dallas no matter the time of year.

Sports - Texas Rangers/Globe Life Park
The Texas Rangers is the MLB team of the Dallas-Fort Worth area | © Jim Cowsert / Courtesy of VisitDallas

Night

RELAX AT A COCKTAIL BAR

After a late night in Dallas the night before, you might be looking for something a bit more chill, but still fun. Explore some of Dallas’ relaxed bars in Victory Park and Uptown. Happiest Hour is perfect for those who like stylish atmospheres. It offers indoor and outdoor spaces, with a rooftop bar that has become especially popular thanks to stunning downtown views and fire pits. If you’re looking for a more casual scene, Katy Trail Ice House is a restaurant and bar that features an outdoor beer garden and indoor bar with a laid-back vibe. There’s lots of brews on tap, an American menu, and drinks that come in large goblets.