Things to do in downtown Dallas

So, any Dallas denizens have suggestions for fun and interesting places to visit or things to do in the downtown area, ideally within walking distance or available via DART?

The West End isn’t what it used to be, the big shopping area and movie theaters are closed. However, if you’re interested in an upscale lunch (per diem or someone else is buying), The Palm is usually my pick. The Sixth Floor Museum is on the west side as well, near the completely forgettable Kennedy Memorial.

You might check whether the AAC is hosting a Mavericks or Stars game while you’re there, it’s in easy walking distance just north of downtown, along with a bunch of upscale shops and the trendy bars and clubs.

In downtown itself, there’s not a lot of things to do other than eat, and then usually only the lunch trade. If you haven’t tried it, local pizza/Italian chain Campisi’s has a downtown location. It’s somewhere I take out of towners to impress them with unique pizza, be sure to try it with the salami topping.

In the arts district, the easternmost part of downtown, there’s the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Gallery.

East of downtown is Deep Ellum, with more edgy stuff like tattoo parlors and clubs with local live acts. I recommend Cafe Brazil (health-conscious eclectic) or Angry Dog (great bar food - best chili dog ever) for food. I’m not saying you’re necessarily likely to be mugged, but do keep an eye out in Deep Ellum after dark.

If you’re bored, you can take the Dart rail to Mockingbird, where the Angelika movie theater and a Virgin Megastore anchor an urban mall (and just south of the station, there’s Kieth’s Comics, my local shop). Or go further up to Park, where you can walk about a half a mile west to go to North Park Mall (where David Byrne shot the fashion show in True Stories!). South of North Park, there’s a magastrip center with a Cheesecake Factory and a Barnes and Noble. The biggest Half Price Books in the metroplex is about a mile southeast of the Park station, if I recall correctly.

Check to see if anything particularly interesting is happening when you’re scheduled to be in town.

I haven’t been over in about 9 months, but Deep Ellum is mostly dead now, I think. I think the ‘scene’ has moved further up Greenville, though I am not sure how far.

I don’t spend a lot of time downtown, but I would definitely recommend Jade Garden. Don’t know how DART-accessible it is, but it’s pretty close to downtown and I’d imagine you could catch something going down Ross (actually, that’s probably true in multiple senses). I recommend the orange beef and the hot and sour soup.

[QUOTE=RickH;1260843The biggest Half Price Books in the metroplex is about a mile southeast of the Park station, if I recall correctly.[/QUOTE]

About a half-mile:,+dallas,+tx&ie=UTF8&ll=32.866575,-96.768308&spn=0.012166,0.020084&t=h&z=16

Take a backpack if you go, that place is great. I can never get out of there with less than 20 lbs.

Weird, Deep Ellum used to be the hip place and what not when I was there 10 years ago, and everyone tells me that the downtown area is undergoing heavy revitalization. There are a lot of high rises (The Republic, Third Rail, The Mosaic) that have been renovated the past two years in an attempt to gentrify the region.

I’m hoping there’s a lot to do in walking distance, would suck if all the cool stuff has moved into the burbs. I’m specifically going to be on Akard St. in downtown proper.

Hell, all of the stuff used to be in the burbs, and then in the 90s Dallas had this vibrant edge in the West End and over in Deep Ellum. Now it’s all dead again. It’s really weird and a bit sad. I think it got a little too over-commercialized and they’re trying to push a lot of residential into the downtown area (or just north of downtown, like just on the other side of Woodall Rogers).

The only other place I can think of in the area would be the new Victory Park (which basically stretches from Woodall Rogers and the I-35E intersection up to the AAC) for a quick look but I don’t think there’s actually much to do there. I haven’t actually been there since WFAA moved to the square so I dunno what’s changed since then.

The Angelika is a very nice arthouse theater and the urban mall complex is fairly interesting. Is the Virgin still open? I thought they were going out of business. Lot of bars on Greenville road near that area (some of the intersections near the light rail line are freakin’ packed with revellers on St. Patty’s Day).

The big Half-Price is great going to but it’s a bit of a walk from the nearest station, which is on Park Lane I believe. Plus you’d have to go by the Million Dollar Saloon. That HPB is great though, freakin huge, in essentially a giant warehouse. If you like malls, Northpark should be a good place to visit. It’s practically unrecognizable from ten years ago. Heck it’s a brand new mall essentially (Northpark was one of Dallas’ original malls).

6th floor Musuem is good… also Reunion Tower if you feel like going up to a big rotating floor in a ball thing. Dallas Museum of Art is okay, and the Nasher Sculpture Center (Nasher is huge in Dallas)… the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science is way over in Fair Park on the east side (kind of near Deep Ellum). Also has a new-style OMNI Theater. The Meyerson is totally worth going to if there’s classical music going on. I’m sure you can walk around in the park area, there’s quite a few interesting historical buildings (one museum hall once held the Age of Empires launch party, that was fun). Still, as far museums and the arts… Dallas kind of sucks especially compared to Ft. Worth, which is just brimming with stuff. Even the Dallas Zoo, which is south of the city a ways, blows in comparison to the Ft. Worth Zoo. Heck, the Ft. Worth OMNI is badass.

— Alan

Oh yeah, and if you really like old bookstores with a historical bent, you could visit The History Merchant, which is in east downtown. It’s one of the very few places in the city that has an old, quaint, European feel to it.

— Alan

Well, this is not encouraging news.

Dallas sucks. I mean, it really, really sucks.

It doesn’t really suck, you just really, really need a car.

— Alan

So that you can drive to Ft. Worth or Austin and go be somewhere where there’s actually something to do.

Well, I plan on visiting Austin a lot, and I agree that Dallas is kind of a cultural wasteland, but I’ll have to learn to make do with what I have. I DO have a car, just would prefer to avoid using it if I can walk.

Sounds like you’re moving?

— Alan


Trinity Hall is a good irish pub located in Mockingbird station. Poor Davids pub south of downtown on Lamar (near a DART station) is great if you like folk music, and that area is also starting to develop. Victory plaza is just north of downtown by the American Airlines center has a DART station…very happening but also pricey.

Dallas has a number of once-a-year events, depending on your interests. Fair Park is not within walking distance (but will have a DART station fairly soon I think) has the North Texas Irish Festival this weekend, and then the Texas State fair in the fall. There are a number of pretty good museums there too, and concerts at the amptheater. The Greenville Ave St Patrick’s day parade is wild. Dallas car show is in the downtown convention center in a few weeks. Its also possible to take the TRE from Dallas to Ft Worth, and then Ft Worth has a (last time I looked) free shuttle buses running from thier main downtown station to tourist destinations like Sundance square, the museum district (Kimball and Amon Carter museums are top-notch), and the stockyards. If you drive your car, parking in downtown Ft Worth near Sundance square is free from Friday evening thru Sunday, and there are many great restarants and entertainment options. If you like beer, go to the Flying Saucer in Sundance square.

Using your car, you should visit the Cavanaugh flight museum in Addison (great collection of warbirds), and if you like wine you should try the wineries in Grapevine. White Rock Lake north of downtown Dallas is a great place to run, rollerblade, or bike.

Hmm, I’ve always heard the Grapevine wineries suck. Or maybe it was just the one on 114 on the west side of D/FW that sucked.

One time the car show and the St. Patty’s day celebration on Greenville on the same weekend/Sunday. That was fun.

Think I’ve been to the car show three times now. It’s not too bad.

— Alan

You are nuts. Ft. Worth? What the fuck is wrong with you?

There are in fact cool places downtown, but uptown (just across Woodall Rogers) is your best bet. Hop on the McKinney Avenue Trolley (it’s free!) and ride on up, hop off on any stop, and there is plenty, plenty of nightlife to be found. McKinney Ave. between the Crescent and West Village is nothing but really cool places to go.

Also: the aforementioned Deep Ellum, lower Greenville, the Old Monk cluster on Knox Henderson. West End sucks.

Daytime stuff? As mentioned, the original Half Price Books over on NW Hwy is just awesome. You’ll get a huge workout from hauling your pickin’s over to the checkout stand. 6th Floor Museum is a tourist must. For flicks, I adore the Magnolia in West Village, partially because I can walk to it and partially because you can bring your bar purchases into the show. Oh, and the movies are good, too.

The aquarium is nice.

Nothing, but remember what this is compared to Dallas. It isn’t the city it was in the early 80’s. It’s not even the city it was in the early 90’s.