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Where to Enjoy the Best of Dallas

Get a taste of Texas with these top activities in Dallas and Fort Worth.

THE BEST SPOTS FOR AUTHENTIC TEXAN FOOD IN DALLAS

Truck Yard

Truck Yard

Photo: Courtesy of Drew Kelly and Brad Torchia

Jason Boso’s love of honky-tonks inspired him to open Truck Yard, a beer garden in Dallas’ Lower Greenville that’s jacked up with junkyard finds like truck beds repurposed as picnic tables. The converted Airstream has six beers on tap, and the treehouse offers original bottled cocktails.

5624 Sears St., Dallas, 469-500-0139, texastruckyard.com

 

Smoke
Inside his wood-fire kitchen, chef Tim Byres cooks almost everything over a burning flame, including meat, vegetables and – in stockpots – even sauces and soups. On top of a busy restaurant, his unique approach yielded a James Beard Award-winning cookbook. Grab a seat at the bar and order a house craft cocktail like the Woodshed Margarita, made with cedarwood-infused tequila, and dig into the chef’s perfectly grilled Berkshire pork chop with apricot preserve.

901 Fort Worth Ave., Dallas, 214-393-4141, smokerestaurant.com

 

Off-Site Kitchen
Off-Site may be relatively new to the game – well-established burger stands already dot the city – but this casual restaurant remains true to form by selling fairly priced burgers. Chef Nick Badovinus smashes the quarter-pound beef patties when they first meet the grill – Shake Shack-style – imbuing them with a rich crust and a juicy interior. Enjoy a beer on the patio after placing your order at the walk-up counter, and keep busy with a game of basketball or bumper pool.

331 Singleton Blvd., Dallas, 214-741-2226, oskdallas.com

 

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
One glance at Babe’s menu – think chicken-fried steak, fried chicken and massive bowls of gravy for dipping – confirms its status as a deep-frying specialist. Pair your mountainous plate of crispy, golden-brown meat with simple side dishes like salad, green beans and mashed potatoes. Be prepared to wait for a table at this family-owned joint during prime hours, and don’t forget your doggy bag on the way out.

1006 W. Main St., Carrollton, 972-245-7773, babeschicken.com

Nick & Sam’s
With a dimly lit dining room and a popular caviar dish, this steakhouse has cemented its reputation as a see-and-be-seen playground for Dallas’ well-heeled, having welcomed countless celebrities over the years like actor Michael Keaton and rock star Gene Simmons. Book a table and make this a night out with friends. In addition to massive cuts of meat, the menu features a rich collection of sides that demand to be shared, like the Brussels sprouts with apples, Medjool dates and bacon.

3008 Maple Ave., Dallas, 214-871-7444, nick-sams.com

 

Pecan Lodge

Pecan Lodge

Photo: Courtesy of Drew Kelly and Brad Torchia

Sample Texas BBQ at its best at Pecan Lodge in Dallas. Choose from brisket, pork ribs, sausage or pulled pork – or get the Trough sampler of mesquite-pit-smoked meats.

2702 Main St., Dallas, 214-748-8900, pecanlodge.com

 

Taqueria La Ventana
At Taqueria La Ventana, set in downtown Dallas behind Mexican restaurant Meso Masa, grilled and roasted meats cradled by delicate hand-pressed tortillas are passed through a tiny takeout window (ventana is Spanish for window). Chef Nico Sanchez prepares his tortilla dough ¬– called masa – daily from freshly ground corn. Enjoy your tacos with a side of elotes, a dish consisting of grilled corn with Mexican crema, lime juice and hot sauce.

1611 McKinney Ave., Dallas, 214-484-6803, taquerialaventana.com

THE BEST DANCE HALLS IN DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Sons of Hermann Hall

Sons of Hermann Hall

Photo: Courtesy of Drew Kelly and Brad Torchia

Every Wednesday, crowds stomp the wooden floors of this historic dance hall at the biggest East Coast swing night in the DFW. Keep time with dance instructors Jerry and Kathy Warwick as they lead beginners in the basics at 8 p.m., and then stay for the party at 9 p.m.

3414 Elm St., Dallas, 214-747-4422, sonsofhermann.com

 

Stagecoach Ballroom
Jean Czajkowski and her husband, Kiran Desai, have owned and operated this historic dance hall for the past 40 years. Lit with the warm glow of vintage neon, the space has a 3,500-square-foot dance floor on which couples (and singles) come to twirl every weekend to country music. Drop in on Sundays at 2:15 p.m. for lessons with Betsy Anderson.

516 E. Belknap St., Fort Worth, 817-831-2261, stagecoachballroom.com

THE BEST SHOP FOR DANCING SHOES

Maverick
Enjoy a cold bottle of beer at Maverick’s in-store bar while shopping for your dancing duds: cowboy hats, jeans and boots. Note: leather soles are essential for spinning out on the dance floor.

100 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth, 817-626-1129, maverickwesternwear.com

THE BEST CATTLE DRIVE IN DALLAS

Fort Worth
Catch the Daily Longhorn Cattle Drive, where kitted-out drovers parade Fort Worth’s herd down Exchange Avenue. Best spot: in front of the Visitor Center. Every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

111 W. 4th Street, Suite 200, Fort Worth, 800-433-5747, fortworth.com/the-herd

THE BEST CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS IN DALLAS

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Photo: Courtesy of Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

With 5,000 square metres of gallery space and a collection comprising nearly 3,000 objects, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth focuses on artworks created after World War II. The streamlined architecture by Tadao Ando serves as a clean slate for the art, like Roxy Paine’s intertwining metal trees.

3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, themodern.org

 

Nasher Sculpture Center
Nestled in the Dallas Arts District near the AT&T Performing Arts Center, this exquisite museum houses the collection of the late Raymond Nasher, featuring masterpieces by de Kooning, Matisse and Picasso, plus rotating exhibits.

2001 Flora St., Dallas, 214-242-5100, nashersculpturecenter.org

 

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza

Photo: Courtesy of Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza

This museum – located inside the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger – explores the life, death and legacy of John F. Kennedy. The exhibit showcases images, news footage and artifacts related to the 1963 tragedy.

411 Elm St., Dallas, 214-747-6660, jfk.org

 

Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre
Built in 2009, the Wyly Theatre takes the idea of flexible space and understated materials from its predecessor, a metal shed with bleacher seating. One push of a button allows the sets and three seating towers to move, instantly transforming the venue for an augmented experience. The theatre presents plays and musicals like the amusing Hood, a take on the Robin Hood tale, created by five-time Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane.

2400 Flora St., Dallas, 214-880-0202, attpac.org

 

THE BEST OUTDOOR CULTURAL HOT SPOTS

Fort Worth Water Gardens

Photo: Courtesy of Fort Worth Water Gardens

Fort Worth Water Gardens
Philip Johnson’s Fort Worth Water Gardens make a splash in the city’s downtown. The area has three distinct spaces: the quiet pool, the aerating pool and the active pool.

1502 Commerce St., Fort Worth, 817-392-7111, fortworth.com/listings/fort-worth-water-gardens/2989

 

Fair Park
Think of Fair Park, five kilometres east of Dallas, as an open-air museum – home to such historic art deco structures as the Cotton Bowl stadium and the monumental Hall of State. The park offers 60 informative walking-tour stops, with a map downloadable from their website.

1121 First Ave., Dallas, 214-426-3400, fairpark.org

THE BEST HOTELS IN DALLAS AND FORT WORTH

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

Photo: Courtesy of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

With lobby and suite redos and a two-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, the Mansion is the way to stay. Other perks include the stunning step-out patio and exclusive bath products by Natura Bissé. The five-star restaurant also earns a standing O.

2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., Dallas, 214-559-2100, mansiononturtlecreek.com

 

Stockyards Hotel
In Forth Worth, hole up at the Stockyards Hotel, just like Bonnie and Clyde did in the 1930s when they were casing out a bank across the street. Awash in dark wood and burgundy hues, the 52 rooms recall the Wild West, with everything from tall wooden shutters to mounted animal heads.

 

Hotel ZaZa
Dallas’ Hotel ZaZa boasts 31 fun concept suites. Music fans will want to book the Rock Star, an elegant 2,010-square-foot tribute to modern music that harbours a monstrous organ in its walk-in closet and a signed portrait of Ozzy Osbourne.

hotelzaza.com

 

The Joule
Perched at the forefront of the design scene in Dallas – look no further than its cantilevered glass swimming pool peeking out over the street – the Joule Hotel is a landmark in its own right. With interiors designed by Adam D. Tihany, the 1920s neo-Gothic building now includes a Taschen library and spa.

1530 Main St., Dallas, 214-748-1300, thejouledallas.com

 

Omni Fort Worth Hotel

Omni Fort Worth Hotel

Photo: Courtesy of Omni Fort Worth Hotel

With handsome, contemporary decor, the rooms at the Omni belong on the cover of a glossy magazine. Located in downtown Fort Worth, the hotel boasts summer kids’ activities, a classy spa and easy access to all downtown attractions, including the nearby Water Gardens.

1300 Houston St., Fort Worth, 817-535-6664, omnihotels.com/hotels/fort-worth

 

Worthington Renaissance
The Worthington is still the It place for the affluent in Fort Worth. Handsome Western-chic rooms (think rustic wood and dark brown leather touches with a contemporary vibe) overlook Sundance Square. Don’t forget the upscale Southwestern cuisine at Vidalias.

200 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-870-1000, marriott.com/hotels/travel/dfwdt-the-worthington-renaissance-fort-worth-hotel

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