Downtown Dallas is not what it used to be. It has seen an incredible reinvigoration over the past decade. The Arts District—the largest in any U.S. city—boasts the Dallas Museum of Art, now showing a solo survey of work by the Los Angeles painter Jonas Wood, and the Nasher Sculpture Center, currently exhibiting works by Sterling Ruby. But museums aren’t the only places to see art downtown. The Joule hotel, in addition to its fantastic spa, boasts an incredible art collection and temporary projects, like this spring’s installation by Tony Matelli. While at The Joule, grab a drink at Midnight Rambler, a chic spot with some of the best cocktails in town. For your stay, we also love the Fairmont Dallas, Hyatt Regency, and Rosewood Mansion. After getting in your daily steps walking around neighborhood anchor Neiman Marcus and fashion Mecca Forty Five Ten, replenish those calories at Americano, or with unbeatable fare at Michelin-starred Chef Bruno Davaillon’s Bullion.
East of Downtown is Deep Ellum, in the former warehouse district of Dallas. It’s the place to go for live music and late-night eats and drinks. The area is characterized by neon signs and its long history (going back to 1884) as a spot for blues, jazz, and rock ’n’ roll. For sips and snacks, it’s a more casual hood, where you can grab some BBQ at Pecan Lodge, cocktails at Deep Ellum Distillery, handrolls at Nori, or local brews on the outdoor patio of Deep Ellum Brewing Company. We suggest kicking off the night with an afternoon visit to feed the eyes at Kirk Hopper Fine Art, and then spending some time at “Rochelle Goldberg: born in a beam of light,” currently on view at The Power Station.
Uptown Dallas is defined by its shopping and dining scene. Places like Hotel Zaza, with its Spanish colonial charm, and Warwick Melrose, housed in a 1924 landmark, are a great jumping-off point for fashion and art spots like Bivins Gallery and Nicole Kwon Concept Store—which brings together unique collectibles, objects, and pieces from brands like IRO Paris, Saloni, and Cortana. For classic Texan fare, head over to the Ritz-Carlton for award-winning dishes like the mesquite grilled ribeye with West Texas Mop Sauce at Fearing’s. Nobu has been in the neighborhood for almost 15 years, mixing unparalleled Japanese dishes you’ve come to know and love with a dash of Texas charm. And if you’re still in town after the fair ends on Sunday, don’t miss the monthly themed Sunday Supper at Nick & Sam’s.
Just east of Uptown Dallas is the Design District, home to the city’s top art galleries, specialized boutiques, and trendy restaurants. We recommend starting your day with gallery hopping, checking out new work by Leigh Merrill at Liliana Bloch Gallery, Sarah Ball at Conduit Gallery, Sheila Hicks at galerie frank elbaz, and other shows at spaces like Erin Cluley Gallery and The Goss-Michael Foundation. Next, move on to Dallas Contemporary, where fashion-focused exhibitions like “Self Service” and “Mario Sorrenti” will whet your palate for a mini spree at design spot SMINK. For lunch, we suggest El Bolero for an elevated, authentic Mexican dining experience. And for dinner, try the tasting menu at FT33, which is working to redefine farm-to-table dishes.
North of Oaklawn is the upscale neighborhood of Highland Park. The exquisite homes of some of the top Dallas—and the country’s—collectors are here. It’s also the place for the best shopping. Like NorthPark Center, which has long placed public art at its location, with pieces by Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Joel Shapiro, Jim Dine, James Rosenquist, Antony Gormley, and more thanks to mega collector Nancy Nasher. You’ll also be charmed by the historic Highland Park Village, founded in 1931 and now a Historic Landmark, with high-end stores like Saint Laurent, Dior, and Alexander McQueen. Between boutiques, stop at Bistro 31 for their signature Bistro Burger. Close out the evening at Le Bilboquet, which offers an intimate escape with its private dining or garden rooms.