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5 Dallas Hotspots to Check Out

When people hear I grew up in Dallas, Texas, there’s often an initial bit of surprise. Texas conjures up a flurry of preconceived ideas & stereotypes — most of them wrong. And while most people have heard of Dallas, they assume Austin is one of the state’s only cool hotspots. But just as Houston has a handful of cool hotspots, Dallas has its own share of cool things to see and do.

While Dallas itself as a city might appear relatively quiet — there’s not much street life — the city is home to some of the world’s best arts and cultural institutions. And with an impressive culinary scene and surprisingly hip nightlife, the city makes for a great weekend break. Probably the most important attraction in Dallas is the site of JFK’s assassination at Dealey Plaza, and the corresponding Sixth Floor Museum inside the book depository. It’s an important site for U.S. history, but after you’ve visited that, be sure to check out these cool hotspots.

Arts District

In downtown Dallas, the Arts District is home to the city’s most prestigious museums. The Dallas Museum of Art is always free and houses an impressive collection of art from around the world, spanning centuries. The contemporary art collection is especially good. Across the street is the Crow Collection of Asian Art — another free museum — where you can attend yoga or tai chi classes in a peaceful environment, alongside the museum’s art collection. However, probably the best museum in Dallas is the Nasher Sculpture Center, a museum and garden full with works by some of history’s best sculptors. Look out for their special exhibitions, which are often unique and interesting.

Crooked Tree

This organic coffee shop and café is set in a home, just off the trendy McKinney Avenue. It’s a cozy spot with excellent coffee roasts and a great environment for getting work done. There are board games, too — it feels a lot like a living room!

Round-Up Saloon

Something a lot of people don’t necessarily realize, but Dallas is an LGBT-friendly city with one of the USA’s largest gay populations. The Oak Lawn neighborhood has been ranked among the best gay neighborhoods, and the Round-Up Saloon is at the heart of it. Just like you’d expect, this is a country bar (it’s still Texas, hey) — but it’s also a gay bar — crowded every weekend and host to cool events, shows, and (of course) square dancing. It’s a jovial environment, and probably not a lot like your gay bars at home. Worth a visit!

The Joule

The Joule is a luxury hotel in downtown Dallas, but with its prominent location and beautiful design, it’s also become a cultural hotspot. In the lobby of the hotel, you’ll find another one of Dallas’ best coffee shops: Weekend Coffee. Great brews, WiFi, and international clientele make it a cool spot to hang out and get work done. The hotel’s rooftop bar also hosts regular club nights and parties, plus features a rooftop swimming pool that juts out over the sidewalk below.

Klyde-Warren Park

Because of the blisteringly hot summers in Dallas — where temperatures regularly stay at or above 100º F for months at a time — there aren’t many public plazas or open parks in the city. There are some nature trails, however, but one of the coolest parks is Klyde-Warren Park, which borders the Arts District. With free WiFi and an outdoor public library, it’s an easy and comfortable place to chill on an autumn evening. Food trucks also line up regularly in the park on weekdays for lunch and dinner times, and musicians regularly perform at the small outdoor stage.

Have you ever been to Dallas? If so, what’d you think? Any suggestions for things to see and do in the city? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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