August 25, 2015

3 cool neighborhoods in Dallas

If you’re looking for great places to visit in Dallas, these three neighbourhoods will provide plenty of entertainment, dining options and shopping.

We were in Dallas with no plans except to visit the spot where JFK died so each day we wake up and do some more Googling to figure out where to go to shop, eat and drink. We also ask everyone we meet for their recommendations in the hopes it’ll speed the process up. Afterall, no one knows the hidden gems in their city like a local!

So this post is about three neighbourhoods we discovered in Dallas that I think you’ll like too.

Where to drink in Dallas
Everything’s bigger in Texas!

Visit Bishop Arts District

This very cute neighbourhood of only three blocks has about 60 boutique shops ranging from antiques to gifts, fashion to homeware, an old fashioned barber for a razor shave and health shops, plus galleries, cafes, bars and trendy restaurants in North Oak Cliff, southwest of downtown.

My advice is to get here mid to late afternoon to browse the shops and galleries, then have a drink in one of the bars and stay for dinner.

You’ll find live bands playing outside on some weekends and can check their neighbourhood website for wine walks and other events.

We dined at Hatties (my married name is McHattie so we thought that was fun!) which is a white table cloth kind of restaurant open from brunch through to dinner. They serve “southern bistro” : fried green tomatoes, crab cakes, mac and cheese crusted filet of beef(!) and NZ lamb.

Bishop Arts district
I loved this homeware/art gallery store in Bishop Arts

Trinity Groves

Just south of the river from downtown Dallas (and a stone’s throw north of Bishop Arts), this restaurant incubator project is a fabulous unique concept and is hopping at night.

It’s located on a 15-acre former warehouse block now filled with 15 restaurants, bars and shops is a great spot for “progressive” dining or just come for a drink on the veranda that runs the full length of the project with the tables and chairs from each bar or restaurant all mingling together.

Trinity Groves dallas
Kitchen LTO’s “featured” chef

The Trinity Groves concept is a base for start up businesses (mainly restaurants) where entrepreneurs will be teamed up with experienced restauranteurs to open their dream. 

There are 16 restaurants here including Kitchen LTO (Limited Time Only) which rotated their chef every four months, but have increased that to six months to give them a chance to get into to the groove.

We ended up visiting three of them – Kitchen LTO which at the time was serving Mexican-fusion small plates, then we walked across the car park and found a bbq joint with a live band where diners file through the servery picking their meat and sides and walking out with everything on a tray to sit family-style with others while the cowboy band plays. I think this was not actually part of the incubator concept!

We finished back next to Kitchen LTO at LUCK – Local Urban Craft Kitchen where craft beers were on tap and you could get a growler for $16. Don’t ask!

Trinity Groves Dallas at night
Dining at Trinity Groves

Uptown Dallas

The Rustic is a very cool cowboy style beer bar with a huge outdoor beer garden and a stage playing live music during the day. We arrived at 8pm on Sunday and the band was just leaving, but the basketball was on so we watched Le Bron in the background and drank beer out of glasses the size of fish bowls.

Next we went to Standard Pour, a $5 Uber ride away on McKinney Avenue. This street is packed with bars draped in fairy lights and restaurants that could easily require a week’s worth of appetite.

Standard Pour is a cocktail “den” with exposed brick walls, those cool studded leather lounge suites as well as tables for dining. The bar lines the back wall with bottles to please every penchant. But it’s not all about drinking. This is a great gastro pub too and as much effort has been put into the menus as the ambience.

Our night had run out by the time we finished here on a cheeky whiskey cocktail and desserts to share, but here’s a link to all the bars and restaurants on McKinney!

Rustic Dallas
Chilling at The Rustic

Where to stay in Dallas

We didn’t know whether downtown, uptown, east or west was where we wanted to stay, so with the help of the nice people at Dallas Tourism and letting them know that I was keen to see JFK’s grassy knoll (read that post here) we decided on downtown.

It turned out this was a great pivot point for all the places we visited. Smack, bang in the middle of the three neighbourhoods we enjoyed and a 10-minute walk from Dealy Plaza.

We stayed at the Magnolia. It’s an historic hotel on Elm Street with stylish rooms and complimentary happy hour from 5pm-6pm and free cookies and milk after 10pm!

If you have longer here or are basing your stay in Dallas, here are 15 day trips from Dallas to keep you busy!

Where to stay in Dallas
The Magnolia Hotel, Dallas

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About Megan Singleton

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

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