Weekend Getaway: Dallas
A weekend-worthy destination brimming with heart, and fit for foodies, art lovers, and shopaholics alike.
Story & photos by Deborah Loeb Bohren
Today’s Dallas preserves the myth and perpetuates the reality that “big things happen here.” It’s a vibrant, modern city that has not forgotten its cowboy roots. The result is a weekend-worthy destination brimming with heart, fit for foodies, art lovers, and shopaholics alike.
For an immersive visual and performing arts experience, the Dallas Arts District reigns supreme at 68 acres, making it the largest, contiguous arts district in the country. Within its 20 square blocks you can marvel at the works of Alexander Calder, Picasso and Henry Moore at the Nasher Sculpture Center, or explore more that 24,000 works of art from around the globe spanning 5,000 years of human artistry at the Dallas Museum of Art. Afterwards, you can attend a play or an opera, listen to a symphony or revel in the ballet at one of the District’s several unique performance spaces. And art isn’t only on the stage, with buildings designed by architecture masters I.M. Pei, Rem Koolhaas, Sir Norman Foster and Renzo Piano.
The District also boasts inviting parks, including Klyde Warren Park, an urban oasis of green space dotted with walking trails, eateries and, my personal favorite, a foosball table. But if “shop till you drop” is more your idea of a perfect weekend, Dallas won’t disappoint. For the art and antique lover, a visit to the Dallas Design District is a must, with more than 100 world-class upscale and eclectic design studios and art galleries. For the ultimate in fashion, make a pilgrimage to the flagship Neiman Marcus on Main Street. This Texas Historic Landmark building is as iconic as the fashions it contains. Along the way, you can find everything from the ultra modern and ultra chic at TenOverSix to ready-made and custom cowboy boots and hats at Wild Bill’s Western Store), without which no visit to Dallas is complete.
A bit farther afield is the Bishops Arts District, a gem of a neighborhood filled with small and charming independent boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Once there, don’t miss the opportunity to satisfy your sweet tooth with artisanal dark chocolate creations at Dude, Sweet Chocolate. Using seasonal farm and locally sourced ingredients these chocolatiers mix up flavors that defy logic. Think blue cheese and chocolate don’t mix? One bite of their Albatross Fudge truffle will have you thinking different.
To keep you going, Dallas delivers a broad array of superb restaurants. From a breakfast of tacos at the Taco Stop to lunch at Spreeza for pasta to Stephen Pyles renowned Flora Street Cafe with quintessential Texas BBQ in between at places like 18th & Vine and Smoke, your palate will be tempted and tantalized and your appetite satiated. You can also support local up and coming chefs at one of the many restaurants at Trinity Grove’s Restaurant Concept Incubator program. Choose from a collection of styles and tastes including tapas, Middle Eastern, Latin-Asian fusion, Italian, and sushi. And to dine for a cause, try Cafe Momentum, where they are transforming the lives of at-risk Dallas youth who have spent time in juvenile facilities by providing intensive culinary, job and life-skill training in their one-of-a-kind restaurant.
To rest up for each day’s activities, consider The Joule Hotel, a beautifully restored 1920’s neo-gothic building with a carefully curated art collection throughout its indoor and outdoor public spaces. Perfectly situated in the heart of central Dallas and easily accessible to everything, it offers 161 exquisitely decorated rooms and suites, a garden that boasts a sculpture of a 30-foot eyeball by Chicago-based multimedia artist Tony Tasset, and CBD Provisions, one of Dallas’ hottest dining spots.
But a trip to Dallas is not complete without a stop at Dealey Plaza, the grassy knoll where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This historical spot that looms so large in our minds is, surprisingly, quite small, but demanding of a time out and moment of reflection.