Upon learning I was going to be going to Dallas for work recently, I posed one simple question on Twitter:
Truth be told, I knew nothing about Dallas. Even now that I’ve been there and back, I’m not 100% sure I could tell you where it was on a map. But what I do know is that even though it’s been a few weeks since I was there, I’m still thinking about my time in that mysterious little city.
I’d admit, I was a bit nervous to go to Dallas. In this political gun-loving climate, Texas seems like the last place I should be comfortable visiting. But I’ll tell you this, I ended up staying three days and not once did I feel unsafe, unwelcome, nor did I see any “red hats” or a single gun.
This isn’t your crazy-uncle’s Texas.
So for those who are going to Dallas and might looking for somethings to do, here’s some of my favourites:
Of note: I went a few weeks before Christmas, so there’s lots of decorations in the pictures. I assume they come down after the holidays.
First things first, there’s a 30-Foot-Tall Eyeball.
Yeah, you read that right. I didn’t know there was a giant 30-foot-tall eyeball until I turned the corner and I saw it just, well, it was staring at me. So after I let out a little shout, I took a second to figure out what was going on. Turns out, it’s a sculpture, created by Chicago-based multimedia artist Tony Tasset. As you hopefully know, I love public art, so I instantly fell in love with this piece.
The charm of Dallas took me a little while to find. I wandered for quite a while hoping I would find that thing that would make feel super happy about my decision to add an extra day to my trip. And that’s when I saw it: A sign that read “Rainbow Vomit.”
I didn’t care what it was. Who was in there. Or how much it costs. I needed to go into something, anything called Rainbow Vomit. And boy was I glad that I wandered in. Rainbow Vomit is an immersive art experience, that takes our obsession with Instagram and gives us the opportunity to take some of the coolest photos our cracked cell phones have ever seen. It is an interactive photography exhibit that makes you feel like you’ve been pulled into the pages of a comic book that features a lot of rainbows and unicorns. If I did nothing else during my time in Dallas, I would have been satisfied.
After taking countless photos, and finally finding the secret room, I asked the guy running Rainbow Vomit where he hangs out in Dallas. Because I knew if anyone knew where the cool things were, it would be the guy who created something called Rainbow Vomit.
He recommended Deep Ellum. Which, despite its name, is not a mid-2000s Hillary Swank movie. One of my favourite things about Dallas was the many different ways there were to get around. There’s scooters, bikes, vespas, uber, Lyft. It’s one of the great examples of how the sharing economy is changing the way we travel. Not once during my time in Dallas did I feel like I needed a car. So I hopped on a Lime scooter and made my way to Deep Ellum.
I loved this neighbourhood. I was there over the lunch hour, but it definitely felt like it’s a neighbourhood that comes alive once the sun sets. But since I was in Dallas for only a short time, I was eager to explore with what time I had. After wandering for a day, I had finally found a place packed with local shops, great food, lovely patios and cool alley art. Even just writing this blog post, I started reading about Deep Ellum and realized just how much I missed.
With my time quickly running out, I again asked a local where, after Deep Ellum they would go, and they immediately recommended The Uptown district. So I hopped in an Uber and headed that way.
I really liked this area too. It’s perhaps a bit more sophisticated and “put together” than Deep Ellum, but I’ve always been a sucker for a good shopping district that sorta feels like a mall, but you’re outside. In places where it’s normally really hot you can do that sort of thing. When I was there, it was only 14 degrees, so I was the only one checking out the patios. When you’re Canadian, anything about zero is patio weather.
Speaking of patios. If you know anything about me, know that I love a rooftop patio. I basically plan my trips around them. There’s just something so amazing about being able to see a city from high above, while also having a delicious drink in your hand. I found this awesome rooftop patio in downtown Dallas that I loved so much, I went twice in the same day. It’s called Sky Blossom, and it’s right by the giant eye. Seriously, I’m kidding when I say that thing follows you around. I enjoyed the patio during the afternoon, and then I returned a few hours later to take in the city lights at night. Both times, the drinks and food were delicious. And if I ever get to go back to Dallas, it’s one of the first places I’ll go.
While in Dallas, a friend tweeted me the following:
Now, this tweet contained some of my favourite words. Mainly “beef” “bbq” and “arts district.”
So before heading to the airport, I made a pitstop at the Lockhart Smokehouse in the Bishop Art District. And I’ll tell you this, my big regret of this trip was not spending more time in this fantastic area. I know I didn’t see all of Dallas, but this was my favourite area by far. I could have spent a whole day, if not more, exploring all the coffee shops, local stores, taverns, patios and everything else that’s packed into this beautiful neighbourhood. If you only have a little time in Dallas, I would recommend this place without question.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I ended up loving Dallas. I think I like a city that takes a little work to find it’s gems. It’s a city that’s easy to get around thanks to things like scooters and bikes. It’s a city where the people are so nice, that you almost feel uncomfortable. Like, why are they so nice? Turns out, they are just nice. Which is, well, well it’s nice.
If you ever find yourself in the city, make sure you leave some time to explore. And everyone will tell you to check out the Sixth Floor Museum, which details the the final moments of JFK’s life before he was assassinated, and they’d be right. That museum was really cool. And if I ever get a chance to go back, I know there’s so much more to explore and discover. Especially the patios.
Here are some of my other favourite photos of Dallas: