Doin’ Dallas. The Top Sights.
Dallas is the 9th largest City in the United States, located in the vast state of Texas. It’s also the birthplace of the frozen margarita machine, the microchip and 7/11 stores! It grew as a trade center from it’s history of Ranching, farming and oil production. It’s now an important business, financial and tech center.
I was lucky enough to be in a situation where I could fly over and check out some of the best things to do in and around Dallas and I was super excited. I was staying in the gay district called Oak Lawn. Home to a street of LGBTQ+ friendly bars and businesses it was a good starting off point! Here are the top sights in Dallas.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
This place is jaw dropping from the outisde, an architecturally impressive masterpiece plus it’s an eco building which is awesome. As soon as I was greeted by a Diplodocus skeleton I knew would enjoy it.
It’s definitely a great place to spend with families but I noticed people of all ages enjoying the exhibitons. These range from history to science, culture to technology and space.
6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
This was a surreal place to visit, a massive moment in American politics. It’s the place that Lee Harvey Oswald used as a vantage point to shoot the 35th American President – John F Kennedy. It was fascinating learning about the lead up to the murder. There’s a no photo policy inside the museum so be aware.
However it was the aftermath, what happened, conspiracy theories and the outpouring of good will from around the world in dedication to a man who really seemed like he wanted to change people’s lives for the better. You can look out of the same window and there’s an X on the road below to mark where it happened. Walk along the road a little to a wooden fence with tributes from people carved into it.
I found the center of Dallas pretty non existant and mostly business buildings, but there are a few pretty cool points of interest if you have the time. Nearby the 6th Floor Museum is an interesting memorial to JFK with a whole plaza dedicated to him.
Near this is the John Neely Bryan Cabin, a replica of the founder of Dallas’ home. You can also see the Old Red Courthouse here, I didn’t go inside but it’s a beautiful old building with some interesting exhibits inside.
One of the coolest things I saw in central Dallas was Pioneer Plaza! This had a great sculpture of cowboys herding cattle, which as a big fan of cowboys when I was younger was pretty amazing!
Also look out for the big red pegasus, which started out on the top of the City’s first skyscraper, it’s said to look over Dallas and is a bit of a cultural icon nowadays. Head to Reunion Tower for for panoramic 360 degree views of Dallas, with the Central business district impressive from here at 470 feet in the air!
Fort Worth Stockyards
Actually a nearby City, Fort Worth was an important trading post for cowboys, and is located around 35 miles from Dallas. It’s now home to a historic district called the Stockyards which is a fully realised glimpe of the American wild west!
Full of restored shops, bars and hotels it’s like stepping back in time. Wander along and buy yourself a pair of cowboy boots, or a hat and watch the cattle drive. There’s a mini train to take you around some parts of it and live cowboy acts if you’re lucky.
It was pretty cool, and obviously we had to stop off for a beer in an old timey saloon! Lookout for the Texas trail of fame, a nod to the walk of fame in LA only with famous cowboys and pioneers!
Dallas Parks and Gardens
If you want a break from the City there are a few beautiful green spaces in and around the City. The Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are 66 acres of serenity where you can experience Shinrin-Yoku or forest bathing.
It’s located on the shore of White Rock Lake, has stunning sculpted gardens and a cafe that serves food that utilises things grown there.
A really fun walk I did here was the Katy Trail, this recreational area runs 240 miles across America. In Dallas you can walk 3.5 miles of greenland in the heart of the City. Check out turtle creek along the way to spot snapper turtles.
I love it when a City really uses it’s space to create fun walking/running areas. Klyde Warren Park is the ultimate goal of a green City. Built over a freeway it’s 5.2 acres of parks with food trucks lining the street on the side of it. You can get lovely ice cream and street food snacks from here while you enjoy the fountains and shade in the heat of the day.
Known for it’s completely hipster vibe, this area has been totally regenerated and filled with street art, local brewpubs selling pale ales and IPAs, and quirky stores selling oddities.
It’s a great place to get lost in while checking out the murals, stopping off for a beer or coffee and enjoying some live music at one of the many venues around here.
I stopped off at braindead which had an amazing craft ale menu. It’s also super artsy in general around here with cool sculptures and small independent art galleries.
While here make sure you try some Tex Mex cuisine a staple of Dallas life, sip a frozen margartia while you do it.
Gay District – Oak Lawn
Head here for a night of pure southern charm, start off at JRs for a balcony view of the street and ice cold beers.They host drag shows and have great drinks offers.
For a real taste of gay culture in Texas head to the Round Up Saloon here you can either watch or get involved in some line dancing, I was told about it but until you see it you’ll never understand. The central dance floor is sunken a few feet and it was filled with people in cowboy hats and boots dancing in complete sync.
I didn’t have the guts to join in but I definitely enjoyed watching! I then headed over to Station 4. This place had GoGo boys dancing on poles and they also host awesome drag shows, Asia O’Hara from S10 Dragrace fame comes from Dallas! If you’re after something a little more interesting Eagle bar Dallas is a short taxi ride down the road, where you can enjoy a men only space with lots of fetish nights.
Houston is a 4 hour drive from Dallas, home of Beyonce but more interestingly for me the home of NASA. I wasn’t sure if it was worth spending a night away from Dallas to do it but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
We drove through a huge storm which was pretty insane, but we did get to stop at iHop for a pancake breakfast! We got there in the afternoon and decided to head to Galveston on the coast.
It was fun to stand in the Atlantic ocean as Pelicans flew overhead. It’s a cute old school seaside resort and I enjoyed looking at some of the old buildings.
After some tasty Mexican we hit the hay and headed over to NASA early in the morning.
This is the birthplace of space exploration, and it was an absolutely incredible experience! From learning about the history of the space race, looking at all the flight suits and history, even getting to see the command centre where the immortal ‘Houston we have a problem’ happened, and the speaker where those and other amazing words came from.
You get to look around the science buildings and find out what NASA are working towards, and explore a real space shuttle. There were so many things to see and do we spent a good 5 or 6 hours, maybe more here!
Dallas might not be on a lot of people’s must see lists, but it’s a great City, a big LGBTQ+ friendly area and the locals are some of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered.
I’d love to head back to Texas and check out Austin and maybe Houston properly, Dallas was a great introduction to Texan life and really opened my eyes to a place that I wasn’t sure would welcome me with open arms. I didn’t make it there but I’ve heard the art galleries in Dallas are meant to be incredible too, so there’s definitely enough to keep you occupied for a few days at least here.