Wanderlust

The 10 Best Things To Do On A Dallas Stopover

Break up that loooong flight with a stopover!

Aussies are all too familiar with long-ass flights. If you’re jetting off to the east coast of the USA (like New York, Washington DC, or Miami), you might fly through Dallas. Instead of racing to catch the next flight, make the most of your stopover and explore ‘the Big D.’ Just like The Real Housewives of Dallas, the city itself is flashy, but the cowboy hats and the smell of barbecue remind you that you’re in the heart of Texas…

DALLAS STOPOVER

Get breakfast tacos at Klyde Warren Park…

Near downtown Dallas, this 5.2-acre park is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s most famous for its food trucks. They line the park, and serve up everything from breakfast tacos to toasties and ice-cream sandwiches. The park also hosts free fitness classes on the reg, so you can start your stopover with some downward dog or a good ol’ sweat sesh. As if that wasn’t enough, the park runs art classes, rents out ping-pong gear, and has a huge stack of books that are available to anyone (you have to return them, so speed read!).

Stroll through the Dallas Arts District…

Walk across the park, and you’ll reach the Dallas Arts District – the biggest arts hub in the country. Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the fact that the art district stretches across 19 blocks is proof of that! If you’re a total art buff, you could spend hours exploring all the museums, galleries and theatres. But if not, head straight to the highlight: the Nasher Sculpture Center. It has a huge collection of larger-than-life sculptures, and artworks by big-name painters like Matisse and Picasso. Got time for one more? The Dallas Museum of Art has 24,000 artworks on display, and entry is free. Obsessed with architecture? Sign up for an architecture tour – it’ll set you back just $10.

Check out the Bishop Arts District…

A 10-minute drive away, the Bishop Arts District is like the Dallas Arts District’s cool, younger cousin. The boho neighbourhood is humming with cafes, bars, boutiques, op-shops and gourmet food stores. The truffles at Dude, Sweet Chocolate store and the key lime pie at Emporium Pies are TDF.

If you’re ready for a real meal, head to Smokehouse for barbecue or Eno’s Pizza Tavern for the cheesiest pizza of your life.

Dig into some traditional Dallas eats…

Speaking of barbecue, the Big D takes its meat seriously. If you’ve travelled around the USA, you’ll know that ‘barbecue’ means different things in different states. In Dallas, it’s slow-cooked, smoky, tender, and coated in a sticky, spicy sauce. And it’s messy! To get your fix, head to Lockhart Smokehouse or Pecan Lodge. There will probably be a wait, but you’ll be rewarded with an enormous plate of finger-lickin’ good meat, veg and sides.  

Dallas is also known for its Tex-Mex. As you probably guessed, it blends the best of both cuisines. Think nachos, fajitas, tostadas, and enchiladas with lots of cheese and chilli to suit the American audience. If you want to feast on Tex-Mex, go to Mariano’s Hacienda – the place that also invented the frozen marg. Bottoms up!

Turn back the clock at the Sixth Floor Museum…

Every trip has what I like to call ‘compulsory cultural items’ (or cc’s). In Paris, it’s the Eiffel Tower. In Rome, it’s the Colosseum. And in Dallas, it’s the Sixth Floor Museum, which pays tribute to John F. Kennedy, the American president who was assassinated on the street below. There’s an ‘X’ on the very spot, but ffs, please don’t take a selfie standing on it (you wouldn’t believe how many tourists do this). Inside the museum, you can listen to an audio tour about JFK’s life and legacy.

Cheer for the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium…

If Friday Night Lights taught us anything, it’s that football is a religion in Texas. And if football’s a religion, AT&T Stadium is its cathedral. The stadium is home to the Dallas Cowboys, and it’s HUGE. You can tour the grounds all year round, but if you happen to be in the city during football season, you have to watch a game. The best bit is the tailgate – which is basically a huge party in the parking lot before the game. #murica

Shop til you drop…

Dallas has the most shopping centres per capita of any US city – so yeaaah, you could do some damage here. The most overwhelming one is Galleria Dallas, which has 200 stores across three levels, plus an indoor skating rink and movie theatre. From November to January, it also has the country’s tallest Christmas tree. If that’s a bit much right now, head to West Village, an outdoor mall, or NorthPark Center. It has a good mix of high-end boutiques and department stores like Neiman Marcus and Macy’s.

Go all the way up to Reunion Tower…

The city is traditional in many ways, and ultra-modern in others. The Dallas skyline is made up of glossy high-rises, LED-lined buildings and old-school architecture, and the best way to take it all in is from the Reunion Tower. The observation deck has a rotating floor and 360-degree views of the city, so you can see it from every angle. Try to time your visit with sunset. If you’re hungry, the tower has two eateries: the casual Cloud Nine Café, and the fancy Five Sixty Wolfgang Puck. Pick the one that matches your holiday budget!

Hang out with the cowboys at Texas Horse Park…

Yeeeehaw! This is the land of cowboys, and if you’re on a mission to meet one, make your way to River Ranch at Texas Horse Park. You can go on a horse trail ride led by real-life Texan cowboys, and buy the cowboy boots of your dreams. In Dallas for a few days? Make the trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards. It’s an hour away from the city, and it’s a true taste of the Wild West, y’all. There’s literally a lollypop lady whose job is to let the cows and bulls cross the street safely, and the Cowtown Coliseum (yep, really) hosts wild rodeos. After the rodeo, drop into Billy Bob’s Texas and get down to country music.

Spend the night in Deep Ellum…

Dress up in your Showpo finest and head to Deep Ellum. It was the centre of jazz and blues in the 1920s, and to this day it’s the best place to listen to live music and dance the night away. If you want to sip on a cocktail while soaking up the music, check out House of Blues, Double Wide and Trees. And if you’ve always wanted to ride a honky-tonk (a mechanical bull), now’s your chance. Go to Sons of Hermann Hall, and thank me later…

 

Words by Katia Iervasi.

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