Dallas’ first Pride parade was held in 1972 in downtown Dallas by a group of 250–300 people, but today, it garners around 45,000 attendees. While most Pride events are held in June, Dallas Pride is in September and celebrated in Oak Lawn. Dallas Pride involves a parade, music festival, and singing competition over two days. There’s also a Family and Teen Zone at the festival.
Formerly a private residence, the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is now a luxurious hotel with a European-inspired décor. It’s tucked away, creating a private vibe unlike any other place in Oak Lawn. Grab drinks at the Mansion Bar, a cozy space with Southwestern décor and amazing cocktails. On beautiful nights, you might want to check out the Restaurant Terrace to have drinks and light bites on a patio space lit by lanterns and warmed by a cozy fireside.
Cedar Springs is a popular avenue with shops and restaurants, but it’s best known in Dallas as a great area to bar hop among LGBT-friendly bars and clubs. Cedar Springs Tap House is a LGBT sports bar and grill, while Round-Up Saloon is a popular country-western gay bar. Sue Ellen’s is a lesbian nightclub with two levels and a dance floor. JR’s Bar and Grill is a local favorite that’s been serving the LGBT nightlife scene since 1980.
Cosmic Café is a vegetarian restaurant with a beautiful interior and exterior, decorated in Indian-inspired artwork and murals. The diverse menu includes favorites like hummus, veggie tacos, enchiladas, falafel, pizza, and dahl. In addition to being a restaurant, they also host weekly activities like yoga, meditation, and ecstatic dance for a low-cost donation of $5.
Oak Lawn has not one, but two amazing thrift stores whose proceeds go to great causes. Out of The Closet sells second-hand books, clothes, and housewares. In addition to offering free HIV testing and an on-site pharmacy, they also donate 96 cents of every dollar you spend at their store to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Down the street, is Genesis Benefit Thrift Store — a thrift store with home, men’s, women’s, and children’s second-hand items for sale. All of the proceeds at the thrift store go to the Genesis Women’s Shelter which houses and supports women and children who have experienced domestic violence.
Drag shows in Oak Lawn are a big to-do, and while a variety of venues host drag events throughout the year, S4 is widely known as the best place to go for a show. Held in what is known as The Rose Room, these Dallas drag shows are notorious for being the biggest and best shows in the Southwest. Shows are held on Thursday through Sunday. Be sure to buy your tickets and look your best; this isn’t a show you’re going to forget.
Turtle Creek is located on the southern end of Oak Lawn and is a wonderful place to walk or bike on two miles (3.2 kilometers) of trail near the creek. Here, visitors will enjoy manicured lawns and lovely views of a creek with a water fountain and charming bridges. The creek connects a few parks like the Reverchon Park, Oak Lawn Park, and the Dragon Park, all of which offer great green spaces to relax on or walk the dog.