125 of Dallas’s Best Attractions Even the Locals Love

There is so much more to Dallas than big hair and "Who shot JR?" Scratch the surface a little and you find a community bursting with history, the arts and a cool crowd of people to share it all with. In a city with such rich diversity there is a Dallas attraction to sate every palate, from family-friendly to party-hardy and everything in between. While the burbs have a few gems to offer, Dallas proper is where most of the magic happens. Thus, unlike many lists, 99% of these recommendations reside in Dallas proper. So here it is, 125 of Dallas' best attractions even the locals love.


Oak Cliff: Oak Cliff is sort of Dallas' "old town." A neighborhood consisting of mid-century and older houses and a bright community, in Oak Cliff you'll find some excellent old-school restaurants (as well as a few newbies worth a visit), the Bishop Arts District, and a some awesome hangouts to catch a show, a movie or even a good night's rest. The ever-present friendly faces and relaxed atmosphere are always a delightful contrast to the hustle and bustle of downtown. Cost: Free, website: www.oakcliffchamber.org

Exposition Park: Exposition Park is right across the street from Fair Park, and is a quaint little stretch of 'hood as you make your way to Deep Ellum. It has unique craft beer and growler bar, a couple others, as well as pizza lounge. Cost: free, area retail: inexpensive, website: www.expositionparkdallas.com

Lower Greenville: Lower Greenville is Dallas' main strip for traditional bar hopping. Pop into any place along the strip on a weekend night and you'll find the music playing and the drinks flowing for party hardy crowds. For some local flavor, catch a show at The Cavern, bump and grind at Zubar or relax with a beer at The Old Crow. Cost: free, drink prices vary

Deep Ellum: Deep Ellum is most known for its counterculture heyday in the 80's and 90's, when the neighborhood drew scores of musicians, concert goers, artists and pierced/tattooed punk-types nearly every night of the week. While Deep Ellum has since gone through a transition in which many of the businesses and clubs have gone belly up, the spirit is still kickin' and the artists are still there. Today, you can catch a show, visit one of their many art galleries and actually find parking on a weekend night. Cost: free, website: www.deepellumfoundation.org

Cedar Springs/Oak Lawn: While most of Oak Lawn consists of upscale housing and rental properties, this neighborhood is best known as the "gaybourhood" due to the strip of GLBT establishments along Cedar Springs. Expect fabulous eateries and shops, and a thriving party scene on the weekends. Cedar Springs is also home to Dallas' Gay Pride Parade (usually in September) and is the best place to see wild Halloween costumes at the Oak Lawn Halloween Block Party (usually the Saturday preceding Halloween). Cost: free

Uptown: Dallas' Uptown is generally everything north of Woodall Rodgers until Cedar Springs. In Uptown you find scores of upscale boutiques, restaurants and bars as well as some cool mid-range options. The community is a gentle mix of young professionals and young to middle-aged transplants. The posh reputation of Uptown puts property values and rent on the high side. Cost: mid-range to expensive for living and entertainment, website: www.uptowndallas.net

Bishop Arts District: The center of the arts in Oak Cliff lies in the Bishop Arts District, a quaint little neighborhood with independently owned boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. The galleries usually have an art opening every month or so, and Eno's Pizza has excellent live jazz on Tuesday nights. Cost: free, website: www.gooakcliff.org

Victory Park: Downtown's Victory Park is an urban development with shopping, dining and drinking. Home to House of Blues and American Airlines Center, Victory Park is at the tail end of the Katy Trail and right off the DART Rail line. The park also hosts events year round, including Dallas' biggest New Year's Eve bash. Cost: free, event prices vary, website: www.victorypark.com

Lakewood: Located right next to White Rock Lake, Lakewood's relaxed vibe leaves one wondering if it isn't just Austin's furthest suburb as opposed to Dallas' closest. The less expensive housing with proximity to the city has drawn hippies, hipsters, artists and families alike to Lakewood, creating a bright sense of community. Cost: free, website: www.lakewoodguide.net

Swiss Avenue Historic District: The Swiss Avenue Historic District is an exemplary example of an early 20th century neighborhood and architecture from that time period. The neighborhood has over 200 homes that have been either preserved or restored and represent several styles of architecture. They also host a home tour once a year. Cost: free, website: www.sahd.org

West End: Reminisce the old west at the West End. Formerly an old warehouse district, the historic West End is Dallas' oldest entertainment district. The historic buildings have been renovated and preserved, and even the iron bars of old jail cells still adorn some of the windows. The West End today is an entertainment district lined with restaurants and nightlife. Cost: free, website: www.dallaswestend.org

Inwood Village: Inwood Village is a little strip mall village in north of Uptown that's not your ordinary strip mall. Filled with boutique shops, award winning restaurants and the Inwood Theater, it's a great place to make a day out of window shopping and a good meal followed by a drink or a movie. Cost: free, website: www.inwoodvillage.com/index.html

Dallas Design District: Professionals in the interior design business have always flocked to this sweet spot just west of downtown for high end art and home decor. As of late, shops in the Dallas Design District have opened their doors to the general public as well. Window shopping here is almost as fun as finding that one statement piece to bring a room together. Cost: free, merch prices: expensive, website: www.dallas-design-district.com

The Cedars: Located immediately south of downtown, The Cedars was once Dallas' premiere neighborhood for the wealthy. After a century of transitions, highway projects and disrepair, the area is going through a resurgence as new living spaces pop up (like the South Side on Lamar in the old Sears Roebuck building) and is now a little niche for artists to hang their hats. Cost: free, website: www.cnadallas.com/cedars


Voodoo Chile: Go on a treasure hunt at Voodoo Chile. This house-turned thrift store puts all other thrift stores to shame as it's packed to the brim with vintage clothing, masks, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Sleepy-eyed owner, "Jimi," emerges from the chaos when you come in to answer any questions and also sells his own artwork at the store. Cost: merch cost varies, browsing is free

Lula B's: Make a funky find at Lula B's. Now with two locations (Deep Ellum and the Design District), this antique mall has over 80 vendors and thousands of square feet to meet all your collectible, vintage, retro, or just plain funky needs. Get a little lost in this vintage paradise. Cost: "price sensitive," browsing is free, website: www.lula-bs.com/home.php


Dallas World Aquarium: Check out life under water without holding your breath. The Dallas World Aquarium has been enchanting visitors with a peek into marine and freshwater ecosystems since 1992. The aquarium houses 5 permanent exhibits, all culminating with the Mundo Maya installation, a 400,000-gallon walk-through Cenote featuring sharks, stingrays and sea turtles. Cost: $21, website: www.dwazoo.com

Children's Aquarium: The Children's Aquarium at Fair Park is a must-see for anyone interested in marine life and provides an alternative created with the kids in mind. Because it is a children’s museum, the exhibits are built at kid-level and also feature many hands-on activities kids will enjoy. Cost: $6-$8 website: www.childrensaquariumfairpark.com


The Dallas Museum of Art: While most cities have a museum of fine art and a museum of modern art, Dallas' contemporary and fine art museums merged in 1963 creating an institution providing the best of both worlds: the Dallas Museum of Art. In addition to a robust permanent collection, the DMA upholds excellence in art education with their C3 exhibit as well as plays host to numerous nationally renowned temporary exhibitions and community events throughout the year. Cost: $10, price may vary for special exhibitions, free the first Tuesday of every month, website: www.dm-art.org

The Nasher Sculpture Center: View contemporary works in three dimensions at The Nasher Sculpture Center. The Nasher Sculpture Center was founded by Dallasites and avid art collectors Raymond and Patsy Nasher. The museum is home to a rotation of pieces from Nasher's private collection and displays traveling and special exhibitions. The highlight of Nasher Sculpture Center is their tranquil sculpture garden. Cost: $10, free the first Saturday of every month, website: www.nashersculpturecenter.org

The Crow Collection of Asian Art: The Crow Collection of Asian Art displays art and artifacts from China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. The galleries offer a serene setting to find enlightenment, develop your chi or simply enjoy treasures from a far off land. The museum also offers yoga and tai chi classes in the galleries and various events celebrating the culture of Asia (like traditional tea ceremonies). Cost: Free, yoga classes $15, website: www.crowcollection.com

The Rachofsky House: The Rachofsky House is a private residence built by architect Richard Meier. The house itself is a work of modern art and architecture, and the Rachofsky's also have a robust collection of contemporary art. They open their property to the public for guided tours of the grounds and the artwork. Tours are by appointment only, however, check their website for a schedule of public visits and open house times. Cost: Free, website: www.rachofskyhouse.org

Kettle Art: Discover an emerging artist! Kettle Art is the best place to get a solid feel for the art coming out of Deep Ellum. Owner Frank Campagna has been a stronghold in the Deep Ellum art scene for decades and opened Kettle Art in 2005 to exhibit works by local and emerging artists that embrace the spirit of Deep Ellum. Gallery does not sell kettles. Cost: Free, website: www.kettleart.com

The Dallas Arts District: The Dallas Arts District is the largest in the nation, encompassing 19 blocks and remains home to Dallas' major visual and performing arts institutions. Sit and enjoy Sammons Park, a little urban sanctuary, or take a stroll around the district to enjoy performance centers, museums, or even just the great architecture of each institution. Cost: Free, museum admission and performance ticket prices vary, website: www.thedallasartsdistrict.org

Bath House Cultural Center: Overlooking the serene White Rock Lake, Bath House Cultural Center fosters the growth of multicultural arts in Dallas through various local and emerging artist exhibits and performances. This art deco bath house-turned-gallery hosts monthly exhibitions and performances and doubles as a place to soak in stunning views of the lake. Cost: Free, website: www.dallasculture.org/bathHouseCultureCenter

ArtLoveMagic: ArtLoveMagic is a network of visual artists, musicians and performers aiming to bridge the gap between the creation of art and the consumer. They host monthly exhibitions at Janette Kennedy Gallery and various smaller events where artists of all persuasions get together and create, all while interacting with the patrons. Check their calendar for exhibition and Art and Coffee event times. Cost: $5-10, website: www.artlovemagic.com

Latino Cultural Center: The Latino Cultural Center in Deep Ellum is dedicated to promoting Latino artists in visual and performing arts as well as in literature and film. They always have a few exhibits on display by local, national or international artists, host various performances and show film screenings. Cost: free, performance ticket prices may vary, website: www.dallasculture.org/latinoculturalcenter

Museum of Nature and Science: Get your children excited about science. Located in Fair Park, the Museum of Nature and Science is like three museums in one with displays of artifacts in natural history, hands on exhibits in the science building and a children's museum. The museum also houses a planetarium and an IMAX theater and hosts touring exhibits on occasion (ie: Body Worlds, when it comes through). Cost: GA $10, special exhibit prices vary, website: www.natureandscience.org


Dallas Dive Bars: There's nothing like a good dive bar kick back, relax, and drink and on the cheap, and Dallas has a number good dives to suit your style. The Double Wide is Dallas' token hipster dive or chill with the granola kids at Tradwinds in Oak Cliff. Enjoy some great bar food and a fireside picnic at decades old Lee Harvey's. Get the down-home dive experience at the Wild Turkey or for a dive bar with a dance floor, check out Slip Inn off Henderson. Cost: free, drink prices are cheap but vary, websites: www.double-wide.com, www.tradewindsoakcliff.com, www.thewildturkey.net, www.theslipinn.com, leeharveys.com/pages/about.html

Meddlesome Moth: Become a beer snob and a foodie at the Meddlesome Moth, Dallas' first gastro pub. The beer selection at the Meddlesome Moth will delight any beer connoisseur, with a variety of craft, specialty, and imported beers. Pair the brew of your choice with any of the inventive, gourmet bites on the menu and the result is heaven in your mouth. Cost: mid-range, website: www.mothinthe.net

The Libertine: The Libertine is a chill little spot amongst the raucous bars on Lower Greenville. They have a selection of draughts and bottles to sate any beer snob's palate and better-than-your-average bar food. For a something a little extra special, check out their monthly prix-fixe five course dinner with beer pairings. Cost: mid-range, website: www.libertinebar.com


Crooked Tree Coffeehouse: Break up your daily grind with a cup of joe at Uptown's chillest coffee joint. Crooked Tree practices responsible coffee slinging by providing only fair trade and organic coffee that is locally roasted and vegan pastries. They also hang works by local artists and have live music Friday and Saturday nights. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.crookedtreecoffeehouse.com

Opening Bell: A consistent winner of Dallas' various "best of" contests, Opening Bell is downtown's coolest spot to grab a cup of java. They stay open late, as opposed to the other downtown outfits catering to the business crowd, and have regular live local music nearly every night of the week. Cost: inexpensive, shows are free, website: www.openingbellcoffee.com

Mokah Coffee Bar: Deep Ellum's Mokah Coffee bar is more of a threefer: coffee bar, music venue and gallery space. Go to Mokah to sip a cup of joe, buy your favorite bag of beans, pick up some awesome artwork for that empty space on your wall and squeeze in some live music. There are always creative goings on at Mokah. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.mokahcoffeebar.com

Pearl Cup Coffee: Grab the best latte in town at Pearl Cup. Now with two locations, this friendly little coffee shop that has been making "Best Of" lists since opening is known for their excellent lattes and three different espresso roasts. There's always an interesting mix of patrons, from creatives to business suits, and the quiet atmosphere makes it perfect for studying or telecommuting. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.thepearlcup.com


Dallas Comedy: Get your LOL's on and catch some standup at any one of Dallas' comedy clubs. Hyena's, Ad Libs and Backdoor Comedy all feature local comedians as well as comedians on tour that will have you ROFL before ordering your second drink. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.hyenascomedynightclub.com/dallas.html, www.backdoorcomedy.com, www.ad-libs.com


Cohabitat: Work remotely with others working remotely at Cohabitat, a co-working space in Uptown for creatives and "work from homers." Anyone that has ever worked from home knows home is not always the best work environment and that a lack of personal interaction can not only get lonely but sometimes stifle the creative process in the absence of the proverbial "sound board." Cohabitat is a space that provides desks, wi-fi, coffee and, yes, even a water cooler equipped with coworkers. Cost: $20/day or $275/month, website: www.cohabitat.us/dallas


Magnolia Theater: Uptown's Magnolia Theater is Dallas' premier spot to catch either an indie flick or the occasional blockbuster. The theater, geared towards an adult crowd, is also equipped with a full bar so enjoy a drink before the show or even take it in with you. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.landmarktheatres.com/market/dallas/themagnolia.htm

Inwood Theater: The Inwood Theater has been in operation since 1947, aside from a brief hiatus in the early 80's due to a fire. In the past decade the theater (including the fantastic ceiling murals) has been refurbished, still creating that old theater house feel. For a twist, the Screening Lounge opened in 2008 with loveseats, couches and ottomans instead of regular theater seats. Have a little snuggle at your date-night movie! Cost: inexpensive, website: www.landmarktheatres.com/market/dallas/inwoodtheatre.htm

Texas Theater: Swathed in history as the place that Lee Harvey Oswald was caught and later remodeled for the film JFK, Oak Cliff's Texas Theater is now a real deal independent movie house. Take yourself back to the day when seeing and indie film meant screening something low budget, underground and obscure. They also offer discounts for riding your bike there. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.thetexastheatre.com

Lakewood Theater: This 1930's theater is now a movie theater, stage theater and music venue all wrapped up in one (mostly) original Art Deco package. Catch some live music, see a burlesque show or reenact the Rocky Horror Picture Show at this single-screen movie palace. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.lakewoodtheater.com

Majestic Theater: Originally an old vaudeville theater house, the Majestic has seen the likes of Houdini, Mae West and Bob Hope. With the exception of a 10 year hiatus, the theater has been in operation in some form or fashion since its opening in 1921 and today operates as a venue for live music, comedians and performing arts. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.dallasculture.org/majestictheater/index.asp

The Granada Theater: This old theater space currently operates as one of Dallas' most popular music venues. The Granada always has an excellent lineup, often features local musicians (sometimes even before a bigger touring band) and despite its roomy size you still get the feeling of an intimate environment. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www,granadatheater.com

Kessler Theater: The Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff has been through a lot over the years; from beginning as a place to buy war rations in the 40's, to a movie theater in the 50's, to getting hit by a tornado in the late 50's, and along the way becoming a church, a sweatshop and a retail location before it sat dormant for about thirty years. The theater was renovated and reopened in 2010 as a music venue and mixed use space (including a dance studio and art gallery). Cost: event prices vary, website: www.thekessler.org


Nobu: Located inside the Crescent Hotel, dine on Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's inventive Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. Share a platter of his signature whole fish steamed, grilled or tempura or spring for the tasting menu to nosh on a little bit of everything while sipping a delicate cold sake. It's not all about the sushi at Nobu. Cost: Pricey, website: www.noburestaurants.com/dallas/experience/introduction

Reunion Tower and Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck: After recently undergoing a renovation, Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty moved into the restaurant space at Reunion tower, complete with the rotating dining space so every table has a view. Enjoy Puck's modern spin on fine Asian cuisine or just soak in the view of downtown and the Trinity River with a cocktail or an appetizer in their lounge area. Cost: full dining: expensive, cocktails: mid range, website: www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3917

The Mansion on Turtle Creek: Start off your night on the town with a little class at The Mansion. Sip on an aperitif before enjoying Chef Bruno Davaillon's French-inspired menu. Enjoy either their intimate dining area or their breezy terrace for something a touch more casual. Either way, the dining experience is always chic and elegant at The Mansion.  Cost: Expensive, website: www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/mansiononturtlecreek/dining/the_mansion_restaurant

Stephen Pyles: The highly decorated Stephen Pyles (aka the father of Southwestern cuisine) takes a contemporary twist on Southwestern flavors at his namesake restaurant in the Arts District. Drawing influence from cuisines around the world, Pyles brings Southwest and fusion cuisine to its finest at this upscale, "New American" restaurant. Cost: expensive, website: www.stephanpyles.com

Fearing's: Chef Dean Fearing's namesake restaurant, located in the Ritz Carlton, is New American cuisine at its best. With a seasonal farm-to-market menu and personal appearances by Fearing himself, people can't get enough. Fearing's has been locally and nationally decorated with awards including the 2009 Silver Spoon Award for sterling performance by Food Arts, and, more recently, made the list on Forbes' "Top 10 Restaurants Across The Country For A Power Lunch." Cost: expensive, website: www.fearingsrestaurant.com


Dallas Food Trucks: The food truck fad has swept the nation, and Dallas is no exception. Grab a quick and delicious bite at Ssahm BBQ, Greenhouse and The Bomb, to name a few of the local favorites in mobile eateries. Check food truck websites or Facebook pages for hours and locations. Cost: inexpensive, websites: www.greenhousetruck.com, www.facebook.com/thebombfriedpies, www.ssahmbbq.com


Cruisin' the Crossroads: Check out one of the nation's most robust GLBT scenes by "Cruisin' the Crossroads" Friday and Saturday nights. Here's the program: The Mining Company, S4, Sue Ellen's and JR's each offer free cover and $2 wells and domestic long necks for 30 minutes between 9-11 pm. The "free times" vary so check venue website for details. The drag show at S4 on weekends is also not to be missed. Cost: Free, $2 drink specials, website: www.caven.com

Roundup Saloon: Recently heralded as the "The Best Galdanged Gay Bar in the U.S. of A.," the Roundup Saloon puts a little boot scootin' boogie to Dallas' thriving GLBT scene. This country and western gay bar plays mostly country tunes, has free dance lessons a few times a week and keeps their dance hall open 7 days a week. Cost: free, website: www.roundupsaloon.com


JFK museums and sites: Dallas holds an unfortunate spot in history as the place John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Learn more about the events of that fateful day at the Sixth Floor Museum, take a stroll around the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza, or pay your respects at the nearby JFK memorial. Cost: Sixth Floor Museum - free, Dealey Plaza and JFK memorial - free, website: www.jfk.org

Stevie Ray Vaughan's Grave: Pay your respects to blues great Stevie Ray Vaughan by visiting his grave at Laurel Land Memorial Park.  Vaughan is usually associated with Austin after moving there as a teenager to further his career in music (needless to say his career as a blues rock musician flourished there), however, he is a native to Oak Cliff where he was buried after his untimely death in 1990. Cost: Free

Fair Park: Put a little Art Deco in your day. Fair Park was finished in 1936 for the World's Fair and it has the original Art Deco architecture to prove it. Now, Fair Park is home to a number of museums, the Music Hall and the annual Texas State Fair. It also hosts a slew of other events throughout the year. Cost: free, event prices vary, website: www.fairpark.org

M-Line Trolley: Explore Uptown in vintage fashion by catching Dallas' one remaining trolley line from the pre-auto era. The trolley's route stretches from near the Arts District then up McKinney Avenue to the West Village (and back around again). The trolley cars have heating and air con for an enjoyable ride 365 days a year. Cost: free, website: www.mata.org

Thanksgiving Square: Thanksgiving Square is one of downtown's best kept secrets to find a little serenity in the city's center. The square was built to promote the concept of giving thanks, but most notably strives to provide a place where religions of all persuasions can find common ground. The Chapel of Thanksgiving is the square's most popular feature, consisting of a 60 foot spiral chapel lined with stained glass. Cost: free, website: www.thanksgiving.org


W Hotel: Book a swanky room at the W Hotel to finish off your downtown night out in style. Located in Victory Park, the W Hotel is close to nearly everything downtown has to offer and is walking distance from American Airlines Center, the House of Blues, and the West End district. The W is also equipped with all the amenities, including an infinity pool that overlooks downtown. Cost: expensive, website: www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1521

Crescent Hotel: The Crescent Hotel is a staple in Uptown providing everything you want and more in a luxury hotel. From the architecture of the building to the decor, the Crescent is lush and refined down to the smallest detail. The Crescent is also home to the largest presidential suite in the city at a whopping 3,035 square feet. Cost: Expensive, website: www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/crescenthotel

The Adolphus Hotel: Treat yourself like royalty at The Adolphus Hotel. Built in 1912, The Adolphus is Dallas' original and most prestigious luxury hotel. With Beaux-Arts architecture and fine European decorative touches, The Adolphus is the epitome of elegance and class. Coupled with their reputation for excellent service, it's like spending the night in a palace. Cost: expensive, website: www.hoteladolphus.com

Belmont Hotel: Get the best bang for your buck at the Belmont. The Belmont in Oak Cliff was built in the 40's by architect Charles Stevens Dilbeck with an emphasis on Art Modern design. After a renovation in 2005, the Belmont still operates as a boutique hotel that's reasonably priced, has clean, bright rooms and views of downtown. Cost: midrange, website: www.belmontdallas.com

The Stoneleigh: This luxury boutique hotel charms guests with Art Deco architecture and design and the whole nine in services and amenities. Located in the heart of Uptown, The Stoneleigh is a stone's throw from area galleries, restaurants and bars, or you can stay in to dine at Bolla and have a post-meal cocktail during Bolla Bar's reverse happy hour, starting at 11 pm. Cost: expensive, website: www.stoneleighhotel.com

Omni Dallas Hotel: Connected to Reunion Tower, (aka "the ball"), the Omni is Dallas' most recognizable luxury hotel. In addition to its proximity to downtown and the Dallas Convention Center, the Omni offers all the luxury amenities including a heated infinity pool overlooking downtown. Cost: expensive, website: www.omnihotels.com/findahotel/dallashotel.aspx


Korea Town: Dallas' Korean neighborhood is located off I 35 and Royal lane and is the best place to find good, authentic Korean food, Korean-style karaoke joints (aka "nori bang") and one Korean style spa (King Spa) with one on the way. Seoul Garden (traditional) and Veggie Garden (Korean Vegan) are two good restaurants to start with. Cost: inexpensive


Bill's Records: Ask any Dallasite where to find good vinyl and they will direct you to Bill's. They carry CD's by national and local musicians, but are mostly known for their robust record selection and collectibles. Bill's has free live music weekly and occasional in-stores with touring bands, creating a more intimate live music experience. Cost: free, website: www.billsrecords.com

Good Records: Opened by local musician Tim DeLaughter (Tripping Daisy, Polyphonic Spree), Good Records carries all the goods for audiophiles and regular listeners alike. They have a large selection from local musicians and have a good reputation for bringing in excellent bands (national AND local) for in-store performances. Cost: free, website: www.goodrecords.com


The Meyerson: Renowned architect I.M. Pei graced Dallas with The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in 1989, giving the city a music hall with graceful design and impeccable acoustics. The Meyerson is home to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Wind Symphony, as well as provides a premier performance space for touring concerts and musicians. Cost: free to visit, ticket prices vary, website: www.dallasculture.org/meyersonSymphonyCenter

House of Blues: Located downtown in Victory Park, Dallas' House of Blues books some great mid-sized shows that come through town of every music persuasion. While the HOB is a national institution, they make an effort to bring in local flavor with the occasional local performance and by having artist Frank Campagna (of Kettle Art) paint murals of upcoming performances outside the building. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.houseofblues.com/venues/clubvenues/dallas

Sons of Hermann Hall: Catch a show in a Texas Historic Landmark. Built in 1911 for the Order of the Sons of Hermann, the hall now operates as a music venue for mostly local and regional bands. Some say the building is haunted, so keep an eye out for "orbs" on your visit. They also host swing lessons on Wednesdays. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.sonsofhermann.com

Club Dada: With a recently renovated space geared towards better sound, Club Dada in Deep Ellum consistently books quality bands (local and touring) in great lineups. Their smallish venue creates an intimate setting for live music, but it's not so tiny that you're packed in like sardines when a popular band hits their roster. They also have good beers on tap and a nice patio. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.dadadallas.com

The Loft: The Loft off South Lamar downtown is a small little music venue known for booking eclectic bands and indie "up and comers." In between set changes, concert-goers can enjoy stunning views of the Dallas skyline from their roomy roof-top patio. When the crowd really starts movin' to the music, the creaky hardwood floor that moves with you. Some call it a smidge scary, we call it character. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.theloftdallas.com/venues/the-loft


Katy Trail: Get outdoors and run or cycle without leaving the city. The Katy Trail is a 3.5 mile bike and foot trail that runs from Mockingbird Station to American Airlines Center right through the heart of Uptown. There is even a beer garden (Katy Trail Ice House) along the way should you become parched during your exercise routine. Cost: Free, website: www.katytraildallas.org

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden: The Dallas Arboretum, located on the south side of White Rock Lake, is a 66-acre expanse of botanical gardens, research gardens and educational facilities. In addition to providing a little sanctuary in the city for folks to enjoy being outdoors, the Arboretum has seasonal events year-around. Cost: $12, website: www.dallasarboretum.org

White Rock Lake: White Rock Lake is Dallas' man-made answer to getting out of the city without actually leaving the city. You can sail, canoe, boat and kayak, thought check their regulations on power boats. The lake has a 9.3 mile hike and bike trail, designated bird watching areas, picnic areas, free advice on Sundays and allegedly one ghost. Cost: free, website: www.whiterocklake.org

Trinity River Audubon Center: The Trinity River Audubon Center is a 6,000-acre hardwood forest only eight miles from downtown. The center includes nature trails and exhibits and its main facility is a LEED-certified green building complete with a vegetated roof, rainwater collection system, recycled blue jeans and other materials for insulation and windows specially designed at an angle so birds will not fly into them. Cost: $6, free every third Thursday, website: www.trinityriveraudubon.org


Dallas Farmer's Market: Certified vendors from up to a 150 mile radius have been selling locally harvested goods and produce at the Dallas Farmer's Market for over sixty years. Hire professional removal of insulation. Buy fresh, local and seasonal produce and meet the grower. Seasonal is sweetest at the Dallas Farmer's Market. Cost: free, produce prices vary, website: www.dallasfarmersmarket.org

Sidewalk Sale Computer Market: Meet local techies every first and third Saturday at Woodall Rodgers Plaza by the West End.  This quirky little high-tech market is the place to buy, sell and trade anything you can think of in electronics from games and ham radios to computer parts and supplies. First Saturdays start at 6 pm Friday and stay open until 2 pm Saturday (with the best shopping after 10 pm) and 3rd Saturdays are 6 am - 2 pm. Cost: free to attend, prices vary, website: www.sidewalksale.com

Deep Ellum Outdoor Market: Find something unique at the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market. Every third Saturday of the month from March through December, local artists and vendors set up shop on the streets in Deep Ellum selling handmade and vintage items, art and food products. There is also always live music at this family-friendly community event. Cost: free, website: www.deepellummarket.com

Harry Hines Bazaar: The Harry Hines Bazaar is a treasure trove of all things Latino and then some. Grab a horchata or aguas frescas to sip as you peruse booths selling everything and anything you didn't know you needed. A few examples of bazaar finds include quinceanera supplies, pinatas, jewelry, electronics and Mexican wrestling masks. Cost: free, merch price varies


The Labyrinth Metaphysical Herbal Apothecary: Located in a little purple house off Greenville Avenue, Labyrinth is run by Cerina and Una, both who offer a multitude of divination services. If parapsychology isn't your cup of tea, you can probably get your favorite cup of tea there, too. Labyrinth has over 400 herbs, powders and teas in stock on their shelves. Cost: free, prices on divination services vary, website: www.labyrinthmetaphysical.com


Spiral Diner: Spiral Diner in Oak Cliff is Dallas' most delicious option in vegan fare. All menu items are completely vegan (aka, no animal products) and organic and locally sourced when possible. The main draw, however, is simply how delicious the food is. Fill up on quinoa, tempeh, and even nacho "cheez" while feeling good about eating an environmentally friendly, cruelty-free meal. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.spiraldiner.com

La Casita: La Casita is a little hole in the wall restaurant off Lower Greenville that strictly caters to the late-night crowd as they leave the bars. Owner Rena is the waitress and the cook in this family-owned restaurant, serving up the best as it gets in greasy, hole in the wall Mexican and Tex-Mex fare. Locals also know this place as "Rena's." Cost: inexpensive

Original Market Diner: The Original Market Diner has been serving up classic diner fare since 1954, when it opened as a drive in. The diner has changed names and undergone remodeling over the years but continues to please patrons with great food, excellent service and a good dose of local charm. They even have a pie case. A pie case! Cost: inexpensive, website: www.originalmarketdiner.com

The Dream Cafe: Dine on eclectic diner food at Dream Cafe in Uptown. Dream Cafe's menu dons typical diner food dressed up with a little gourmet and international flair. Equipped with a playground, this local eatery is one of Uptown's kid-friendliest places. The Dream Cafe is also dog friendly on the patio. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.thedreamcafe.com

Good 2 Go Taco: Now in their very own storefront after recently moving out of a gas station, Good 2 Go Taco brings regular darn good tacos to Dallas' seemingly lackluster taco shack scene. The Paris, TX and the Hangover tacos are a few local favorites. Show up early, this taco shack closes at 3 pm daily and the tables fill up fast. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.good2gotaco.com

Maple and Motor Burgers and Beer: Get your "low class cool" on at Maple and Motor. Serving up what many call the best burger in town in addition to sandwiches and even a salmon burger for those looking to inhale some Omega 3's. The owner doesn't take any crap, so don't give him any. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.mapleandmotor.com


West Village: The West Village in Uptown has a gentle mix boutique shops and upscale chains in this outdoor shopping district. It's also home to cafes, restaurants, a few bars and lounges and the Magnolia Theater, making it the perfect place to round out an afternoon of perusing. Cost: free, website: www.westvil.com

Mockingbird Station: Shop, grab and drink then catch an indie flick all in one place at Mockingbird Station. Located right on the red and blue DART rail lines, Mockingbird Station is home to Urban Outfitters, a few boutique shops, the Angelika Theater and a few places to grab a bite or a cocktail. It's also a great launch point to park and ride due to their ample parking lot and garages. Cost: Free, website: www.mockingbirdstation.com

Northpark Center: Enjoy art while you shop at Northpark Center. Art installations by nationally and internationally renowned artists line the corridors of one of Dallas' premiere shopping destinations, so you can put a little culture into your shopping experience. Northpark is also home to high end designer stores and better than your average mall restaurants. Cost: free, website: www.northparkcenter.com

The Galleria: The Galleria is Dallas' original mall for upscale shopping with designer storefronts, Nords and Sak's, a spacious ice rink and even a little fine art gallery. The Galleria area is also a great place to get all your big chain stores for home furnishings and decor in one place (think World Market and Bed Bath and Beyond). Cost: free, website: www.galleriadallas.com


Mozzarella Company: Buy locally made cheese at the Mozzarella Company. The Mozzarella company makes fresh mozzarella daily and makes a variety of other cheeses in house. They also offer pairing classes, cheese making classes and, if you can't decide which delectable fromage to choose from, you can join a cheese of the month club. Cost: midrange, website: www.mozzarellaco.com

The Soda Gallery: This clever little shop in the Bishop Arts District is exactly what it's called: a soda gallery. They sell hundreds of specialty sodas from the country and world over in a cute little storefront that has that old "candy shop" nostalgia. This gallery of soda is also an actual gallery, with art for sale on the walls. Cost: inexpensive, website: www.thesodagallery.com


Music Hall at Fair Park: The Music Hall at Fair Park has served Dallas as a premier music and performance hall since 1925. The Music Hall has since become home to Dallas Summer Musicals, the second oldest theater organization in the nation that coordinates a series of popular musical theater performances every summer, making the Music Hall more than just one singular sensation. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.liveatthemusichall.com

Dallas Black Dance Theater: Celebrate human form and movement by checking out a performance at the Dallas Black Dance Theater. This dance company is the oldest continuously operating company in Dallas and always allures audiences with contemporary modern dance and astounding choreography. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.dbdt.com

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre: With award-winning architectural design, there isn't a bad seat in the Wyly Theater. Their "superfly" system (that's no joke, it's called "superfly") can raise and lower seating areas, set scenary and the proscenium wall giving directors ultimate creative control in set design and experimental theater. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.attpac.org/index.cfm?pagepath=Plan_Your_Visit/Venues/Wyly_Theatre&id=38364a

Winspear Opera House: Put a little culture in your diet at the Winspear Opera House. This traditional horseshoe opera house built with modern influence and design is home to The Dallas Opera and host to a variety of musicals, symposiums and performances. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.attpac.org

Pocket Sandwich Theater: Forget the movies, make it dinner and a show. The Pocket Sandwich Theater specializes in crowd-pleasing comedies and melodramas with the option for dinner before the show. They also present an occasional drama or musical production. Cost: $10-$18, website: www.pocketsandwich.com

Dallas Children's Theater: Get your kids interested in the magic of the theater. The Dallas Children's Theater brings children's stories old and new to life in their dedication to providing professional theater productions to families and young people. They also offer classes and children's programs like after school drama clubs and in-classroom reading programs. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.dct.org

Theatre Three: Dallas' oldest private theater company has been introducing Dallas theater goers to award winning plays and musicals for over 50 years. They currently produce 7 shows a season in addition to the six shows they produce in the basement stage space with their offshoot company, Theater Too. Cost: ticket prices vary, website: www.theatre3dallas.com


Dallas Wine Bars: Become a wine connoisseur at one of Dallas' area wine bars. Book a cozy private room at the Wine Therapist, use Cork's state-of-the art touch screen pour machines, or do a wine and pizza night almost any Wednesday at Times Ten Cellars. Cost: mid-range to expensive, websites: www.thewinetherapist.com, www.corkwines.com, www.timestencellars.com