Travel Tip: Spending a Different Kind of Day in Dallas

With two sons currently living in Texas, I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of stereotypes about the Lone Star State out there. For example, in Dallas everything is slathered in barbeque sauce, everyone drives a big truck and carries a gun, and the men there are all urban cowboys, the women beautiful socialites.

Though some of these are certainly true, I’ve found that Dallas has many sides to it. Here are a few recommendations if you only have a day to spend in Dallas.

Breakfast at Norma’s Café

An Oak Cliff institution since 1956, and a local favorite for Texas home cooking, Norma’s is not for the faint of heart! The country breakfasts (think chicken-fried steak, biscuits and eggs, and mile-high pies) are popular and servings are generous. Great place to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with friends or family.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

This 66-acre garden is a fantastic place to burn off a few of those breakfast calories! The flowers, trees, and shrubs are gorgeous and there are plenty of benches and other places to just sit down, relax, and enjoy the abundant natural beauty soundtracked by bird songs.

The Dallas Museum of Art

One of the largest (it is Texas after all!) art museums in the country, the museum hosts an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from a plethora of countries. I was able to see an exhibit by Los Angeles painter Jonas Wood. Best of all, general admission to DMA is free!

Kalachandji’s Restaurant

I bet you weren’t expecting to see a vegetarian restaurant recommended in a Dallas blog post! I wasn’t expecting to eat at one either, but that’s where my son and his girlfriend took me for dinner. The Indian buffet is cafeteria-style and you sit in a wonderfully soothing garden courtyard located within an exotic Hare Krishna temple. Menu choices change daily and the price is quite reasonable. The night we were there featured items like Blackeye Pea Curry, Eggplant Pakora, and Pappadam, with Vanilla Sweet Rice and Pineapple-Coconut Halvah for dessert. Reviews say it’s a place that nourishes your body and soul and, despite my initial skepticism, I have to agree!

Bishop Arts District

This unique (and not so secret since it’s become gentrified) former warehouse area is not to be missed if you want to experience some vibrant nightlife. Start out at The Wild Detectives indie bookstore where you can browse through their selection, then have Olivia, their self-professed “intoxicologist”, serve you something delicious and trendy with a name like Pimm’s Revenge or Shakespeare Sister. Then walk down the street to one of the newest bars, Revelers Hall to hear some live music, make some new friends, or simply enjoy another cocktail. It’s a vibrant place with a New Orleans feel and all sorts different bands. I went a few times (spoiler alert, my son is an investor in the club) and got to hear the Revelers Hall house band and his Balkan Brass band The Revelers Hall Orkestar,

That’s all for now! If, after all this, you’re still craving some good, old-fashioned Dallas BBQ try Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ or Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum. We can never agree on which we like better. Both are excellent!

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