How to Spend the Perfect Day in Dallas

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What to see, eat, and do in the Big D.

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The third largest city in Texas, Dallas often gets shut out of the spotlight in favor of San Antonio or Austin. But Dallas is quite a Lone Star destination in its own right—from the architecture to the food, there’s something in this city for everyone. Frank Lloyd Wright fans will appreciate his impact on the city—from his design of Kalita Humphreys Theatre to the John A. Gillin house, which was his last design before death. Foodies, on the other hand, will be all-too-eager to sample a classic Dallas chicken-fried steak, and of course, their signature tex-mex.

Whether you’re ending up in Dallas for 24 hours thanks to a layover-gone-wrong or you’re spending an extra day in Texas after a week-long business trip, we’ve got your itinerary covered. Here’s our guide for the perfect day in Dallas.

9 a.m.: Start your day at Bread Winners Cafe & Bakery, where the ambiance and the food are both a 10 out of 10. The New Orleans-esque patio at their downtown location exudes southern comfort, which will help you start the day off right. Enjoy their tex-mex-infused breakfast menu, and don’t forget to grab one of their fresh-baked muffins, scones, or croissants as a snack for later.

10:30 a.m.: Next up, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Dallas might be a bustling city, but when you’re at the botanical garden, you’ll feel like you’re escaping the fast-paced city life and sliding into floral serenity. The Dallas Bloom is best seen in spring at the arboretum—and the 500,000 tulips will not disappoint.


Courtesy Dallas Arboretum/VisitDallas

11:30 a.m.: The arboretum is also right on the water, so take a walk along the perimeter of White Rock Creek, ending up on the other side at White Rock Boathouse. The man-made reservoir is where Southern Methodist University’s rowing team practices, so the boathouse is where all of their equipment is housed. If you get lucky, you might even get to see the team training on the water.

1 p.m.: For lunch, it’s of course time to explore the Dallas BBQ scene. Honestly, if you made it all the way until 1 o’clock without digging into some BBQ, you’re practicing an impressive amount of restraint, which should be rewarded with a three-meat plate at The Slow Bone. Slow Bone is one of the most coveted Dallas BBQ joints, and it’s only open for lunch. When choosing your meats, remember there is no wrong answer—everything is terrific. But if you need a friendly suggestion: start with brisket and ribs.

3 p.m.: Slow Bone is in the design district of Dallas, so after lunch, take advantage of your surroundings and visit the local galleries and antique shops. The design district is truly the artistic hub of the city, with luxe galleries lining Dragon Street and great antiquing on Slocum Street. While the galleries have a distinctive, modern flair, there’s something for every artistic palette “from French Impressionism painting to contemporary installation art.” About a 20-minute drive north you'll find the new Dolce & Gabbana store at the NorthPark Center, the only one in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

6 p.m.: For a chic pre-dinner cocktail, you’ll want to head to The Henry, which has a gorgeous upstairs bar. The second-floor patio is highly curated, with beautiful design elements and even fire pits for when the nights cool off. Eater Dallas recommends their “Wake the Angels” cocktail with “gin, rose petal, grapefruit, yuzu, and sparkling wine.”

8 p.m.: You’ll already be in downtown Dallas at The Henry, so stay in the neighborhood for an exquisite meal at The French Room. Located within The Adolphus Hotel, this award-winning restaurant has rich, European interiors. They’re known for their delectable five-course tasting menu (and the optional but well-recommended wine pairing). If your reservation isn’t until 9 p.m., spend an hour in The French Room Bar, which has an elegant speakeasy feel and haute artisanal cocktails.

Where to Stay

The Adolphus Hotel—that’s right, home to The French Room—is in the heart of downtown Dallas and boasts luxury suites and proximity to some of Dallas’ best offerings. The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, an American Express Fine Hotel & Resort property, is also downtown and combines a taste of southern charm with the chic, artistic vibe Dallas is increasingly becoming known for.