Reading a book is an experience that occurs on the page, in your imagination and absolutely within your surroundings. Whether you’re grabbing a book from one of our favorite Dallas independent bookstores or downloading one to your Kindle, here are our favorite places in Dallas to read. We think you’ll find them amazing, too!
Cafe, Bar, Coffee Shop, American, $$$
Everything a coffee enthusiast looks for in a café and more can be found at Mudsmith, from fresh brewed Avoca coffee to rotating beans with special varieties. If you are looking to satisfy an appetite early in the morning or during lunch, the staff here serves a wide variety of breakfast dishes too, all of which go great with that strong cup of joe. If customers are not in a rush to beat the traffic, they should definitely opt to enjoy the neighborhood with a warm cup on the patio here. Look for the cozy, well-worn couches and armchairs. They make for the best reading spots in Mudsmith.
Once a privately owned reservoir located on over 1,000 acres (404.68 hectares) of land, the lake (and adjacent park) is an amazing place to spend the day. The lake is a popular site for mild water activities such as kayaking and sailing, and the park has a 10-mile (16-kilometer) hiking and biking trail, in addition to it being a great site for bird watching. This spot features both a dog park and picnic areas, and the lake is in close proximity to the White Rock Lake Museum, Bath House Cultural Center and Dallas Arboretum. Rent a pavilion to have a private family event or stay active by taking a stroll around the scenic waterfront. Bibliophiles can enjoy a good story in various parks or spots along the lake, whether by laying in a hammock strung between two trees or on a dock with your feet resting in the water.
Javier García del Moral and Paco Vique were Spanish civil engineers who loved books and booze and wanted to create a place where the two could come together. From this passion arose The Wild Detectives. Part coffee shop, part bar and part bookstore, The Wild Detectives has become a favorite in Bishop Arts District. Set in a converted home with a front and back patio, the bookstore offers a curated selection of books that covers a variety of categories like mainstream, local, indie, children, artistic and Spanish-language. They’ve hosted over 300 literary events, including readings, symposiums, community discussions and book club meetings.
Most parks are just open green spaces for people to stroll around for fresh air, but not Klyde Warren Park! This public space is located on top of Woodall Rogers Freeway and hosts a hub of activities and events all year long. For the body, enjoy Sunday morning yoga, Wednesday night Zumba or Saturday afternoon Tai chi and boot camp. For your mind, attend a pleasant outdoor meditation or take a guided tour of the city skyline while learning historical facts about Dallas. For your appetite, there are a variety of food trucks at the park nearly every day, including an ice cream truck. You can also take a free art class or listen to a concert, and if you want a more traditional park experience, you can relax in the sun, play chess, bring your dog to the dog park or participate in a group sport. Magazines, newspapers and books can be borrowed from the park staff and read on one of the many tables and chairs that line the park. Others can bring their own books and lie among one of the grassy fields of the park.
The Garden Café is a magical restaurant and garden hidden in the Junius Heights neighborhood of East Dallas. This breakfast and lunch spot offers homemade, from-scratch meals made from local meats and veggies and organic ingredients from their on-site garden patio, a large area filled with gardens on both sides and a patio with tables and chairs. There are intermittent areas in the garden for those with a good book to sit and read while having a delicious meal.
In the Old Dallas district, Murray Street Coffee Shop continues to attract visitors from neighboring areas. The shop has been thriving for the past five years and the ideal location, with plenty of parking space, is perfect for the traffic that heads over there at all times of the day. All the local creative minds come here to collaborate, relax or grab an on-the-go midday snack, so customers will meet an eclectic group of people at this joint.
Lake Cliff Park is Oak Cliff’s 44.5-acre park most notable for its large pond and garden areas. Visitors can take advantage of this gem of a beautiful park in a variety of ways, though many can be seen walking the trails, enjoying the playground or taking part in a pick-up basketball or baseball game on the respective fields. For those who love reading, it has so many sprawling green spaces to spread out a picnic blanket and read.
Half Price Books is the largest bookstore chain for new and used books. However, it has humble beginnings in Dallas, Texas, in 1972 as a used bookstore out of an old Laundromat. Today, the Half Price Books Flagship store sits off Northwest Highway and offers a wonderful place to buy new and used books or attend literary events. There’s also plenty of tables with chairs where visitors can sit and read a new book, perhaps with a coffee in hand from the on-site coffee shop.
The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library is at the center of the Dallas public library system. Located in downtown Dallas, it sits eight stories high and is filled with books, magazines, DVDs, art collections, a business center and interesting archive collections like Shakespeare’s First Folio and a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence. For kids, the Children’s Center is a wonderful section to read a book in bean bag chairs. For adults, there are plenty of private rooms that can be rented for quiet reading, or visitors can get lost in a book in one of the many armchairs and tables and chairs throughout the eight floors.