Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Explore the Artistic and Culinary Elegance of Dallas

Dallas-Fort Worth Museums Insider Guides
by Lesha Vincent Nov 28, 2023

Dallas, Texas, beckons visitors with a compelling blend of cultural richness and modern allure. The city’s vibrant cultural scene boasts world-class museums such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. History comes alive at Dealey Plaza, forever etched in memory as the site of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the Sixth Floor Museum provides a poignant exploration of that pivotal moment. Dallas also offers an array of sports experiences, from cheering on the Dallas Cowboys to catching a game with the Mavericks or the Texas Rangers. The city’s shopping districts, including NorthPark Center and the Galleria Dallas, cater to diverse tastes, and its culinary landscape ranges from authentic Tex-Mex and barbecue joints to upscale dining in trendy neighborhoods like the Bishop Arts District.

Beyond the urban landscape, Dallas embraces outdoor enthusiasts with parks and recreational areas like White Rock Lake and Klyde Warren Park. The city pulsates with live music, particularly in the vibrant Deep Ellum district, and hosts a myriad of events and festivals throughout the year, including the renowned State Fair of Texas. Architectural marvels such as the Reunion Tower and the Bank of America Plaza define the modern skyline, offering a visual feast for admirers of contemporary design. Yet, amidst its impressive attractions, Dallas stands out for its friendly atmosphere and southern hospitality, creating a welcoming environment for visitors to explore and enjoy.

Top attractions for an art-centric first visit to Dallas

DALLAS, TX -22 JAN 2017- View of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), located in the Pearl Arts District in Dallas, Texas.
Photo: Lesha Vincent
Photo: Lesha Vincent

When exploring Dallas, a must-visit destination is the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens located at 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218. Spanning 66 acres, this enchanting garden features themed gardens, picturesque landscapes, and educational experiences. Ideal for families, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a tranquil escape, the arboretum provides a serene sanctuary bathed in the warmth of the Dallas sun.

For a taste of Dallas’s artistic and bohemian spirit, venture into the Bishop Arts District. In the heart of the city, this vibrant neighborhood boasts charming streets lined with eclectic boutiques, trendy eateries, and galleries. A haven for both art lovers and food enthusiasts, visitors can explore local shops offering unique Dallas trinkets and indulge in delicious bites at renowned restaurants like Paradiso.

Art enthusiasts will find paradise in the Dallas Arts District, where a plethora of cultural experiences await. The district houses various theaters presenting operas, ballets, symphonies, and museums showcasing art centered around curated themes. The Dallas Museum of Art is a highlight, featuring a diverse collection of art and sculptures. Additionally, the Nasher Sculpture Center extends its exhibits beyond the museum, integrating art into the city’s landscape.

Cap off your evening with a musical journey at the Dallas Symphony, located at 2301 Flora St., Dallas, TX 75201. Treat yourself to a concert filled with exhilarating sounds that transport you to different realms. Depending on the season of your visit, you might experience a Pops concert bringing modern music to life or immerse yourself in the magical sounds of Harry Potter’s music. The Dallas Symphony offers a delightful conclusion to a day filled with diverse cultural and artistic explorations.

Getting to and around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex

Flying into Dallas is a great way to get into the city. When flying in, you can land at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) or Dallas Love Field (DAL). Ground transportation at the airport is easy to navigate to grab a rideshare or to pick up a rental if you choose to rent a car while in Dallas.

Navigating Dallas’s public transit system can enhance your visit by providing a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the city. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system offers an extensive network of buses and light rail services that connect key attractions and neighborhoods, as well as DFW airport. To make the most of the public transit experience, start by obtaining a DART GoPass, a mobile ticketing app that allows you to purchase and store tickets conveniently on your smartphone. This user-friendly app not only streamlines the ticketing process but also provides real-time updates on schedules, route information, and service alerts, ensuring a smooth and efficient travel experience.

When planning your journey, consider the DART Rail, which covers major destinations like downtown Dallas, the Arts District, and even extends to neighboring cities. Buses complement the rail system, offering flexibility to reach areas not directly served by the rail lines. Downtown Dallas, in particular, is a hub for various transit lines, making it a strategic starting point for your explorations. Take advantage of DART’s website and trip planning tools to map out your route, ensuring you efficiently reach your desired destinations. By embracing Dallas’s public transit system, you not only contribute to sustainable travel but also gain a unique perspective on the city’s diverse neighborhoods and attractions.

Additionally, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are readily available and widely used for short trips and last-mile connectivity. Lastly, depending on where you are staying, central Dallas, including the areas surrounding downtown and into Deep Ellum, is a pretty easy place to get around on foot.

Where to stay in Dallas

room at jw marriott dallas arts district

Photo: Lesha Vincent

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Dallas offers a range of convenient Airbnbs and hotels. In particular, these properties are convenient for an arts- and culinary-centric trip.

JW Marriott Dallas Arts District
800 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201

With a convenient location right in the Dallas Arts District, this newer hotel to Dallas brings luxury and sophistication right to the forefront. It encapsulates exactly what you would expect from a JW Marriott with the blend of Dallas culture. With exceptional service and comfortable rooms and suites for guests, this hotel brings more than just a place to stay, it gives you a place to fully experience the elegance of Dallas.

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Hôtel Swexen
2575 McKinnon St, Dallas, TX 75201

Blending European influence and Dallas culture, this hotel is a dream for those who love to find new experiences around every corner. Each level of the hotel encompasses its own theme and decor. From the rooftop with its stunning guest-only pool with cabanas all the way to the bottom floor which houses the eclectic bar, Babou’s, and its hidden speakeasy library, you’ll be able to have a variety of different experiences without having to leave the hotel.

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Ritz-Carlton Dallas
2121 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

Bringing the luxury of Ritz-Carlton, this Dallas hotel is the true definition of luxury. Being newly renovated, guests of the hotel are able to enjoy various types of rooms and suites that fit the type of stay that you are looking for. Offering guests luxury spa experiences, a rooftop pool with a one-of-a-kind view, a fitness center with Peloton bikes, and so much more, the Ritz-Carlton Dallas not only gives you a place to stay, but brings you home.

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Artsy spots to eat and drink in Dallas

Paradiso. Photo: Lesha Vincent
Léonie. Photo: Lesha Vincent
Margarets. Photo: Lesha Vincent
Las Palmas. Photo: Lesha Vincent

Las Palmas
2121 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

If you’re looking for mouthwatering Tex-Mex cuisine, then Las Palmas is a place that you want to add to your itinerary. Offering Texas and Mexican flavors with food options ranging from tacos and enchiladas to burritos and fajitas expect a blast of flavor with each bite.

Crown Block
300 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX 75207

For a great dinner with a panoramic view of Dallas, head to the top of the Reunion Tower to dine at Crown Block. Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by the vast bar serving exclusive craft cocktails along with the various cooking stations where you can watch the chefs prepare the raw food and bakery options, this type of dining is not found anywhere else. A dinner reservation around sunset is exactly what you’ll want to plan for because the glow from the descending sun will be the greatest opening to your unforgettable meal.


2575 McKinnon St, Dallas, TX 75201

Reflecting the unique experience that you’ll have if you choose to stay at Hotel Swexen, Leonie is a rooftop restaurant that is intimate and vibrant at the same time. This is a great location to plan for breakfast or brunch when you are able to sit on the outside terrace and enjoy the cool of the morning paired with the delicious breakfast offerings.

308 N Bishop Ave, Dallas, TX 75208

If you’re planning time around the Bishop Arts District, make sure you stop in to Paradiso and imbibe on some tasty craft cocktails and delicious pizza. The vibe of the restaurant is well noticed right from walking towards the front door. With the coastal, relaxed vibe, it’s a great place for lunch to enjoy made-from-scratch pizzas and other savory plates.

2550 Pacific Ave Ste 120, Dallas, TX 75226

The night comes alive at Komodo. This restaurant that also houses a lounge is a restaurant that not only brings you amazing Asian-fusion dishes but the presentation along with them is one that will stun. Head to Komodo to order a Pikachu cocktail and their famous sushi platter for a great night that you will remember.

1717 Leonard St, Dallas, TX 75201

For those planning a day in the Dallas Arts District, stop into Ellies for a meal. This casual, yet upscale restaurant creates dishes in a unique way such as their Croffle for breakfast which combines the croissant and waffle into one. This is a great place to meet for coffee and a meal when you are taking your time to tour around Dallas.

2121 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

For another location that offers a different type of Tex-Mex flavor, head to Ferring’s located right in the Ritz-Carlton Dallas. This restaurant is a great location for a midday lunch when you are looking for great flavors that come on smaller plates. Combined with a margarita from the conjoined bar, Rattlesnake Bar, the flavors of each plate will leave you with a bigger appreciation of Tex-Mex.

800 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201

Houses in the JW Marriott Dallas Arts District, you’ll find the upscale restaurant, Margaret’s. With a variety of tasteful farm-to-table dishes, this restaurant pairs sophistication and food in a unique way that can’t be found in other places. The well-curated menu matched with an extensive wine list is one to be marveled at and well appreciated.

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