Every time I visit Dallas, I fall more in love. Everyone is outside. Everyone is smiling. Everyone is happy to let you in on the cool things happening in the city. From some of the best shopping in the country to tasty Southwestern flavors, here are four new reasons to explore this boisterous Texas town. Come see why Dallas is growing so much and why this year is the year to visit.
The new art-driven boutique hotel in the Arts District
There is no denying Dallas is chock full of some fantastic hotels — from opulent to off-beat. All of your usual favorites have reopened their doors, but there is a new boutique hotel in the heart of the Arts District that should be on your radar, too. Hall Arts Hotel opened on the cusp of the pandemic, so it’s really just been introduced to Dallas. Everyone from Dallas natives to week-long sojourners is raving.
As soon as you enter the lobby, you realize that art is the main event here. The hotel is filled with towering sculptures and colorful murals, and each room and hallway boasts original photography selected (and paid for) in a juried city-wide competition. There is nothing stock, and no piece is repeated.
It’s walking distance to all the hot spots in the Arts District, and there is a sculpture garden right outside the hotel restaurant. Ellie’s serves up a creative menu of healthy to decadent dishes, cocktails, and espresso drinks. Don’t miss the Sunday jazz brunch and daily free art tours throughout the property. A room key also comes with luxe robes, giant soaking tubs, double vanities, and high-tech comfort controls. The heated rooftop pool and Waves bar is a great place to unwind (and watch the Fair Park fireworks when they’re happening).
The new digital art playground
The Dallas Arts District is the largest contiguous arts district in the nation and welcomes more than four million visitors each year. It’s 68 acres and 20 city blocks but still feels condensed and walkable. First-time visitors must hit Nasher Sculpture Center, Klyde Warren Park (which is, by the way, about to build the world’s tallest interactive fountain), Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Dallas Art Museum — all FREE of charge.
If you’re revisiting the arts district, you will likely be completely wowed by the new AT&T Discovery District. This cutting-edge digital playground has so much to see, eat, and do!
You’ll be mesmerized by the 9,000-square-foot, 104-foot tall Media Wall showing futuristic high-definition displays. Walk into the 30-foot-tall globe made of 30,000 LED lights. Pick your favorite eatery in the food hall, catch some live music at Jaxon Texas Kitchen and Beer Garden, or visit the almost-weekly events — from craft markets to workout classes to sports viewing parties.
Down the road, the 5.75-acre Carpenter Park is now open and boasts the distinction of being the largest park in Downtown Dallas. It’s got a lot of new amenities, including downtown’s first public basketball court, an interactive fountain, a dog park, and some incredible public art (like a modern sculpture by Robert Irwin).
New places to savor and sip
This “reason” to visit Dallas is, well, MANY different reasons, as our list of places to try and dishes to taste is always growing. There is no restaurant buzzing around Dallas more than The Mexican. This swanky Northern Mexico-inspired spot on Turtle Creek in the Design District is mysterious and alluring with its robust margarita list (there is allegedly one that costs $250) and creative dishes like bone marrow tacos and sea bass ceviche. Cultural curios and art fill the indoor-outdoor spaces, and there is even a state-of-the-art ventilated cigar lounge.
Another intriguing new culinary project is The Village. It used to be a college-style campus for young Dallas residents in the ’80s (it opened in 1968) with amenities, apartments, and a country club. Last year, The Village announced a four-year plan to revamp this neighborhood and welcome the public in. You could easily spend a day exploring the 18-hole putting green, the boutique Hotel Drey, tons of outdoor space and trails, and dozen eateries. Food-wise, the modern Brazilian Meridian is at the center of it all.
Dallas is also ushering in a fresh patio and rooftop season. The city has an overwhelming selection of patio-perfect watering holes to enjoy libations and bites. Some of the best ones serve up a side of live music, welcome dogs, and offer plenty of indoor-outdoor space. The iconic Katy Trail Ice House is a must-visit for day drinking, but if the wait is long, head to the local fave Truck Yard. It’s got all the vibes, draft beverages, funky outdoor space, and all of the live music you could ask for.
Way up on the forty-ninth floor of The National in downtown Dallas is another new hot spot: Monarch. This modern Italian restaurant was dreamed up by the two-time Michelin starred Chef Danny Grant. The only thing more impressive than the views is the food. For a pre- or post-dinner drink, trendy Catbird is in the same building and attached to the Thompson Hotel (awarded among “Best New Hotels In The World” 2021 by Condé Nast Traveler). A photo-ready entrance of dripping felt flowers and DJ-spun tunes will greet you, while the inventive cocktail list is sure to elicit a “just ONE more” from someone in your group.
As much shopping as you can handle!
Dallas is filled with little pockets of retail paradise, and more and more shops keep opening. The massive NorthPark Center is getting nine new shops, including UpWest, Buck Mason, and Ganni. If you’re ready to splurge, Dallas is ready for you. The Highland Park Village was the first self-contained shopping center in the country and has long been a luxury shopping destination with its ivy-covered, Meditteranean villa buildings and manicured grounds. There are always events and new trends to explore, from Chanel and Goyard to Reformation and rag+bone.
Nestled between Uptown, Highland Park, and Lower Greenville, the vibrant Knox/Henderson district has a lot going on. Knox Street alone has more than 70 retail and restaurant spots, and it’s right on the historic, three-mile-long Katy Trail that people (and dogs) love to run, bike, and stroll.
Vibrant cafe patios and shops are filled on the weekends, and more concepts are landing soon, like an upscale Auberge Hotel. Local shopping favorites like trend-setting Planet Bardot, boho mecca Favor The Kind, and new additions like Keepsake make the Knox/Henderson area an undeniable new player in the Dallas shopping world.
There is so much happening in Dallas it’s hard to keep up! No matter when you show up, your tried-and-true favorites will welcome you, and new spots will be ready for you to discover. For all the latest news, events, and openings in Dallas, check Dallas Discovered, Visit Dallas, Dallas Culture Map, D Magazine, and Eater Dallas.
Give your inbox the Southern makeover it deserves. Subscribe to our daily emails HERE.