Last Updated on April 17, 2023

I confess that I am a transplanted Texan, but I have lived in Dallas for 30-plus years, long enough to claim Dallas as my own home town.

Dallas is a vibrant, diverse city, and the uniqueness of its people are reflected through the sights and sounds of the city. Dallas’  neighborhoods, art and culture, outdoor spaces, and urban lifestyle all contribute to the city’s exceptional makeup. 

Come to Dallas and see for yourself why I love my city. 

Klyde Warren Park

This central green urban space is a  beautiful oasis in the middle of a bustling downtown Dallas. Stretching over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway,  the park serves as a gateway between trendy Uptown and the Downtown Arts District. 

The 5.2-acre space offers a variety of activities, including a dog park, children’s center, games, and live music. Food trucks lining the street provide delicious food and drink options for a perfect picnic interlude. 

2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas.

The Dallas World Aquarium  

The Dallas World Aquarium and zoo is located in a series of warehouses near the Historic West End District in Downtown. With a mission to conserve threatened and endangered animals, the aquarium is home to a superb collection of mammals and marine life in exhibits and aquatic tanks from all regions around the world.

The adventure begins at the top of a South American rainforest filled with monkeys, colorful toucans, crocodiles, manatees, and otters. Not your typical aquarium, it thrills visitors with black-footed and blue penguins and more.

An awe-inspiring interactive 40-foot tunnel displaying all manner of sea-life in an enormous walk-through aquarium tank is just one more reason to visit the Dallas World Aquarium and Zoo.

1801 N Griffin St.  

Open 7 days a week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Dallas Arts District –  culture and more  

The Dallas Arts District is a unique, 19-block neighborhood in the heart of the city that is a walkable hub of creativity featuring art for all the senses.  A rare jewel that is the centerpiece of the region’s cultural life, it is a dynamic destination for locals and tourists alike. 

The iconic downtown neighborhood has more buildings designed by Pritzker award-winning architects than any location in the world. 

Performing Arts venues including The Meyerson Symphony Center,  Winspear Opera House, and Wyly Theater. 

World-renowned visual arts centers and museums include the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Crow Collection of Asian Art and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Uptown & The McKinney Avenue Trolley

Dallas’ most walkable live-work-play community is just a tad north of downtown and connected by Klyde Warren Park.  Uptown is a dynamic district with trendy bars, hot restaurants, and much of the best shopping in town, spanning several city blocks.

Cobblestoned McKinney Avenue in Uptown is lined on both sides with upscale or college-friendly restaurants, with singles in their 20s often dominating the social scene.

What’s even more appealing while visiting Uptown, you can travel for free on authentic, vintage streetcars. The only non-profit transit authority in America, the  McKinney Avenue Trolley will take you to great dining and nightlife options in the pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of Uptown. 

These vintage trolley cars run on almost five miles of track through Uptown and the Downtown Arts District, offering more than 30 stops. The Trolley runs 365 days a year from morning to midnight, it’s great fun to ride the vintage Trolleys while getting to know the neighborhood. 

The Katy Trail

Katy Trail is a local outdoor jogging, walking, and bicycling path that runs through the Uptown and Oak Lawn areas of Dallas. Following the tracks of the abandoned old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, known back in the day as the Katy, the 3.5-mile landscaped greenway winds through the city’s wooded parks and urban neighborhoods. 

The Katy Trail runs from the West End and the American Airlines Center through the most densely developed sections of Dallas with restaurants along the trail, including the dog-friendly Katy Icehouse.

The trail is a favorite of young and old, cyclers and runners, strollers, and dog walkers.  You can access the Katy trail at Knox Street and Abbott Avenue.

The State Fair of Texas

The State Fair is the event of the year each fall in Dallas, with a tradition that goes back to 1886. It’s held in illustrious Fair Park, with an impressive number of entertainment venues, amusement rides, museums, gardens, and landmarks. Among them, the giant Ferris Wheel, midway rides, animal judging, and “SOAR”, presented by the World of Birds, is a must-see. 

The Texas State Fair lasts 24 days, making it the longest-running in the nation. There are hundreds of things to see and do at the Fair, from daily concerts, livestock exhibits, cooking demonstrations, and the Auto Show.

Strolling the Midway with a Fletcher’s Corny Dog or a giant turkey leg is what one does at the Fair. You must be prepared to sample the fried foods with unbelievably tasty new concoctions – the fried Twinkie is my all-time favorite.  

When they say “Everything is bigger in Texas”, it rings true when it comes to the Texas State Fair. Big Tex is the 55-foot tall cowboy that greets you at the fair gates (he actually talks!), the tallest cowboy in Texas. The iconic 212-foot Texas Star Ferris wheel is the largest in Texas. From the top, you can see the Fort Worth Skyline! 

The bustling Midway has more than 70 rides – and that doesn’t include all the games – for hours of fun for the whole family!

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

This urban oasis is the crowning jewel of Dallas, just minutes from downtown on the shore of White Rock Lake. Nature lovers will love the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical gardens, where flowers are always in bloom no matter the season. 

A full calendar of events caters to a range of tastes and ages, with an emphasis on family-oriented activities. One of the top botanical gardens in America,  there are 66 beautiful acres to explore, with surprises around every turn.      

11 lush display gardens offer seasonal color all year long, a tranquil oasis where visitors are surrounded by the beauty of all four seasons. Many visitors praise the Garden for its beautiful vistas, colorful display gardens, and groves of pecan trees, magnolias, crape myrtles, cherry trees, and azaleas.

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza 

Located in a building once known as the Texas School Book Depository, the Sixth Floor Museum is where Lee Harvey Oswald was reputed to have fired the rifle assassinating President John F. Kennedy. The Museum chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy with documentary films, photographs, and artifacts.

Continue with a timeline of Kennedy’s life and presidency and the moments of November 22, 1963, as the entire nation watched. A tribute to the late President, the Museum’s exhibitions take an introspective look at the assassination of President, the legacy he left behind,  and its impact on today’s global society.

To continue the JFK experience, you can stand at the corner of Elm and Houston, walk past the Repository and proceed to the grassy knoll in a matter of minutes. In the road on Elm are two Xs marking the spot where JFK was shot. You can step out into the street and experience where our world changed forever on that fateful day.

411 Elm Street, Dallas, Texas 75202.

Sports Venues in Dallas – Catch a Game or Two

Sports are held in such high esteem in Dallas that, for many, is almost a cultural experience that shouldn’t be missed. There’s plenty of professional sports teams in the Dallas area competing in all sports. The Dallas Cowboys (football), Texas Rangers (baseball), Dallas Mavericks (basketball), Dallas Stars (hockey), FC Dallas (soccer), and the Dallas Wings (basketball) are the major teams.

Buy some tickets to a game, tailgate with fans that love their teams, and then scream and chant with Dallas locals during the game. It’s an experience you won’t forget. 

Dallas has been the host site to a Super Bowl, two NCAA men’s Final Fours, and multiple championship boxing matches. Dallas also annually hosts two NASCAR races, and two PGA Tour stops and is home to a score of minor league franchises. In no other area is this sense of grandeur witnessed than in their sports franchises.

The stadiums built to house the big-league franchises are some of the largest and most opulent palaces for professional sports in the world.

The best stadiums and arenas in Dallas are American Airlines Center in Victory Park, the AT&T Stadium in Arlington where the Cowboy’s play, and Globe Life Park, where the Rangers play. Toyota Stadium in Frisco is the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. 

Shopping is Big in Dallas

A trip to Dallas is not complete without some significant shopping included during your visit. Dallas has an abundance of shops and stores to meet all your gift and fashion needs, with more shopping centers per capita than any other city in the U.S. 

The best place to shop in my book has to be NorthPark Center. Unmatched in customer service and first-class amenities, it continues to set the standard as one of the nation’s premier shopping destinations offering an unparalleled luxury shopping experience. 

NorthPark Center is one of the largest shopping centers in North Texas.  With more than 235 stores in its roster, it has a variety of department stores, unique boutiques, and luxury retailers, along with more than 30 dining options.

It’s not often one equates shopping with world-class art and sculpture.  NorthPark Center’s internationally acclaimed 20th and 21st-century art collection turns shopping into a cultural experience 8687 N. Central Expressway.

Dallas’ Diverse Restaurant Scene is Buzzing

Tex-Mex and Barbecue vie for the affection of Dallas visitors, and the truth is, you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to try both. This is the land of Tex-Mex where Taco Tuesdays are seriously observed, starting with queso and frozen margaritas.

Bon Appetit Magazine named Dallas its 2019 Restaurant City of the Year, but we locals already know how diverse and delish our restaurant scene is.

Let’s talk, Barbeque. “Texas Monthly” gave a shout out to Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum as one of the Top 50 BBQ joints in Dallas. Its award-winning BBQ is smoked in a pit and steeped in a time-honored tradition. I’ve already stated, everything is bigger in Texas, and it’s better in Dallas. You’ll want to add a visit Pecan Lodge to your Dallas bucket list. 

2702 Main Street.

Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor

Thrill-Seekers, your adventure awaits at two exhilarating theme parks for family-friendly fun. If you’re a lover of roller coasters, you can’t miss the mega-coasters like Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas. 

When you’ve had enough of the coasters and want to cool down, then head to Hurricane Harbor with slides, a lazy river, wave pool, and more! Very close to Dallas in  Arlington, Texas, visit the website for park operating hours. 


  • Sharon Kurtz

    Sharon Kurtz is a freelance writer and photographer who shares her love for travel and food by exploring unique cultures and flavors at home and around the globe. While she calls Austin, TX home, her carry-on is always packed, ready for the next adventure. Sharon has a way of crafting a story that pulls you in, holds your attention and entertains along the way; always looking for a unique angle to bring a fresh perspective.