Dallas locals have been keeping the best, weird and unusual experiences of Dallas to themselves, but not anymore. The secret is out. Whether it’s swimming in air, having a drink in your car or hanging out on highways, Dallas is home to a wide variety of unique experiences that you’ll want to add to your bucket list.
Hang out on a highway
While parks are plentiful in Dallas, there’s one that’s quite different than the rest. Klyde Warren Park is a beloved park, and yet, it sits on top of the Woodall Rogers Freeway, where hundreds of thousand of cars pass beneath each day. The 5.2-acre (2.1-hectare) park opened in 2012 and has since been the gathering place for Dallasites. Food trucks ring the outer edge, though there’s also Lark on the Park, a high-end restaurant on one side. Kids play on the interactive playground on one end. Games, books and magazines are available to rent. The large green spaces are enjoyed by visitors watching a weekend concert or just lying out in the Texas sun.
Swim in air
With the Texas heat, pools are a staple of most hotels; however, The Joule’s pool stands out from the rest. The pool extends eight feet beyond the edge of the hotel, so that guests feel as if they are swimming in air above downtown Dallas. Though it’s heated, the pool is only open during the summer and is exclusive to hotel guests.
Take a bike left on the sidewalk
In Dallas, no one will call the cops if you grab a bike from the sidewalk and ride away. Well, sort of. That’s because Dallas is home to dockless bikeshare companies, like LimeBike, that place bikes around the city for visitors or locals to rent by the hour. If it’s a yellow, green, red or orange bike and clustered in a group, it’s probably safe to assume that you can use it, as long as you have a phone and a credit card to rent it.
Enjoy a steak underground
Having a steak at Dakota’s Steakhouse is made better by the fact that the restaurant is 18 feet (5.48 meters) below street level. Why is this so? The Lincoln Property Company bought the land from First Dallas Baptist Church in the ’80s. The church had a legally binding clause in the agreement that prevented any future owner from selling alcohol on the grounds. In a genius twist, the Lincoln Property Company realized that they could sell alcohol underground, which is why they dug deep and built a unique steakhouse experience.
Have a frozen margarita where it all started
An ice-cold frozen margarita on a hot Dallas day is heaven, and that is all due in part to a local restaurant owner. Mariano Martinez, with the help of a friend, Frank Adams, created the first frozen margarita machine for Martinez’s restaurant, Mariano’s Hacienda. The original machine was shipped off to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, but you can still get that perfect frozen margarita at Mariano’s Hacienda in northeast Dallas.
See important documents of history
“Romeo, Romeo, where[fore] art thou, Romeo?” In Dallas, actually, along with the rest of Shakespeare’s plays. Nicknamed the “First Folio,” Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies can be admired at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown Dallas. The First Folio was printed in 1623 and is one of 250 copies still in existence. A copy of the Declaration of Independence, the only one in the western U.S., can also be viewed at the library.
Drink and shop for groceries
Visitors quickly learn that Dallas loves to drink. Bars are abundant in the city and most coffee shops offer beer, wine or cocktails. However, one of the most unique drinking experiences you can have in Dallas is to drink as you grocery shop. The Whole Foods at Park Lane and in Uptown both have bars that serve craft beers and wines. Sit at the bar and enjoy a drink or take it in hand as you walk through the store searching for the best deals on organic and healthy food.
Take a picture with a giant eye
The eye of Dallas is upon you… Literally, there is a 30-foot tall (9.1 meter) eyeball in the middle of downtown Dallas. Created by Chicago artist Tony Tasset, The Eye is the first sculpture in The Joule’s garden. Though the garden is locked most of the time, the Joule does open it up for events like yoga in the garden where the public can see the eye up close and personal.
Find hidden bars
There’s a candy store in Deep Ellum that never seems to be open. However, if you walk inside and provide the right password, a man will open a hidden door to Truth & Alibi, a speakeasy with a chic vibe. This isn’t Dallas’ only speakeasy. Just around the corner is High & Tight, a speakeasy with a real, in-use barber shop in front. At night, visitors walk through the shop to the hidden door in the back and make their way to a low-lit bar that often has live bands.
Have a drink in a junkyard
The Truck Yard is probably one of the most unique places you can enjoy a drink, food and good tunes. Set in what looks like a junkyard, complete with repurposed truck beds, a tree house, an airstream bar, and old-fashioned lawn chairs, The Truck Yard is a Dallas favorite. While the main restaurant serves Philly cheesesteaks, there’s always a rotating selection of food trucks in the yard. The Truck Yard is also known for its on-tap cocktails, frozen daquiris and craft beer. Head here with your dog and friends any day of the week, and you’re sure to have a good time.
Do yoga on a highway
Dallas has a lot of traffic, and shutting down those highways can be quite cumbersome to the ebb and flow of cars. However, once a year, one of the Dallas highways closes for a pretty weird reason: yoga. Known as Yoga on the Bridge, this yoga event is one of the most popular aspects of the yearly Trinity Festival which shuts down the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, a highway in Dallas, to invite participants to do a group yoga session. Last year, they had 1,000 participants moving in sync as cars raced by on another highway nearby.
Eat Pan-Asian food with a 360-degree view of Dallas
Rotating restaurants are not exclusively unique to Dallas, but that doesn’t make them any less cool. Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck serves Pan-Asian cuisine 560 feet (170 meters) in the air at the top of the Reunion Tower. This rotating restaurant offers a 360-degree view of Dallas, an experience that is particularly amazing at night.
Have a beer in your car
Drive-in bars are a thing in Texas, with two in Wichita Falls and one in Houston. However, people often forget that Keller’s Drive-In in Dallas does serve beer to cars parked at their drive-in. Perhaps, it’s because Keller’s is more of a restaurant than a bar, but the fact remains: you can drink a beer in your car at Keller’s. The old-fashioned restaurant has the look of an old carhop and offers a family-friendly atmosphere and poppy seed hamburgers that visitors love.