It’s Never Dull in Dallas: What to Do in the Texas City

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It’s Never Dull in Dallas: What to Do in the Texas City

Texas is a state I know well. I grew up going there often to visit family and eventually ended up living there for a few years myself. As a girl we would stop in Dallas and see the Reunion Tower near Dealey Plaza, where President Kennedy was assassinated, and although that happened before my time you could still sense the scars left behind by that tragedy. Of course, the city is also the setting of my mom’s favorite show in the ‘80s, Dallas.

Dallas has always symbolized the fancier part of Texas to me, and with good reason. It has museums, skyscrapers, fancy restaurants, expensive stores: if you have a recent Louis Vuitton bag, there’s a good chance it was made in Dallas.

So when I was recently invited to visit Dallas I hesitated. What could be new for me to see there? I know the place. I’ve been there. Would I even fit in there today? To be honest, my family fits better in Fort Worth, the more casual of the two nearby cities.

Dallas has changed over the years, obviously, so I decided to go and see how. While I was there, some dreams came true, and I got to see a side of the town I was mostly unfamiliar with before. Here are a few of the highlights if you plan to visit.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden


I know some people love to be cold in the fall, but for me, I’d rather be warm while enjoying a pumpkin patch. The Arboretum takes up 66 acres in Dallas with all the blooms and foliage one would expect. However, they do a seasonal display during fall that’s simply amazing. It has the pumpkins, squash and gourds you would expect for a fall display, but of course everything is bigger in Texas; I didn’t expect there to be 100,000 gourds on site! If you want a fall picture for social media, this is the place. They have entire pumpkin houses, a pumpkin patch, and the whole thing is inspired by Charlie Brown.

While the whole experience was lovely, my other favorite garden was A Woman’s Garden. This part of the gardens is a popular spot for photos and relaxation due to its infinity pool, the proximity of White Rock Lake, and the gorgeous flowers throughout. I could have happily gone back there to sit and write this article. In fact, I hope I can go back and do some writing one day. It’s serene.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens will transition to a holiday display in November that is sure to be equally stunning.

Crown Block at The Reunion Tower

The Reunion Tower has been a part of the Dallas skyline since 1978. I’ve driven past it many times on trips to visit my grandparents, but I never thought I would get to eat there. To say I was thrilled is an understatement. The Crown Block is a new restaurant at the top of the tower. The menu does not disappoint, with plenty of steak options one expects to find in Texas. I have high expectations when I’m in the state and the steak here is to be recommended. The sushi and fish options were a surprise and were equally delicious. While the appetizers and dinners were divine, the dessert options were stunning, especially the donuts topped with a cotton candy tower. Again, childhood fantasies came true here, and far exceeded my expectations.


Dallas Arts District

I stayed at the JW Marriott Dallas Arts District, which is brand new and as the name suggests, right in the middle of the Dallas Arts District. This neighborhood has undergone a transformation over the past few years. Heavy investments have been made to create a world class arts area and it shows. This hotel had the typical features you expect of a JW Marriott, with clean natural features like white stone and wood. The rooms are fairly large for a hotel in the middle of the city with plenty of room for your suitcase and space to move around. The bathroom has variable lighting which is important to anyone who wears make-up.

The museums did not disappoint for those who love the visual arts. The Nasher Sculpture Center was an experience that I have thought about many times since. You’ll find breathtaking works by lesser known artists amid big names like Brancusi, Calder and Warhol, and it has a regular, ongoing exhibition celebrating works by new artists from Texas. Another current exhibit, running into January, Groundswell: Women of Land Art focuses on the contributions made to the form by women. Land art has so often been just attributed to men in the field, and this display aims to correct the historical record. 

The Dallas Museum of Art has a deep collection of classic, modern and contemporary artwork from Europe and the Americas, along with several collections of art from different global cultures. During my visit it had an interesting exhibit that has since ended called Saints, Sinners, Lovers, and Fools: 300 Years of Flemish Masterworks, which was organized by the Denver Art Museum and moved to Dallas earlier this year after its initial Denver run. It included a number of paintings from Flanders during its 15th through 17th century heyday, many of which had never been displayed in America until this exhibit. It filed every painting into one of the four categories of its title, and honestly, I couldn’t get over the unique take on the expected art display. It was a creative framework that imbued these classic artworks with modern relevance, and I’m glad I saw it.

Bottom Line

Dallas is a big city in a big state. I’ve been going to this city for years, and I was still able to see and experience new things. It is the reason I will keep going back. And if you need a drink, here’s our guide to some of Dallas’s best bars.

Keri Lumm is a professional chatterbox who loves watching TV & movies, reading about pop culture, and gawking at any craziness on the internet. You can follow Keri on Twitter.

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