The Perfect Day in Downtown Dallas
I visit Dallas fairly frequently and wrote a few of the top things to do in the downtown Dallas area. When I stay, it is usually for work and our layover hotel is a block from the downtown Greyhound Station. It is centrally located which makes it easy to walk to pretty much the entire area.
One Minute Video in Downtown Dallas
Overview of Downtown Dallas
The first thing I noticed when arriving into Dallas was the number of bridges and beautiful architecture. In fact, I made the comment that in some ways it reminded me of Montreal with the gorgeous integration of its architecture into the human spaces in the cities. The parks and courtyards are great and are framed with numerous restaurants, shops, and hotels that make street walking fun and interesting.
You can’t miss the lights downtown at night that decorate the architecture. It was especially pretty because this trip was in December and the city was in full Christmas display. It was also the weekend George Bush Sr. was laid to rest. George was a hero in Dallas. The Reunion Tower rotated their display of lights between “41” and the American Flag. The Omni Hotel also had a nice tribute to the recently-passed president as well.
Dealey Plaza Area
I was staying right on the edge of downtown. Since it was the day George Bush Sr. was laid to rest, all the networks and radio stations were covering the funeral. Without knowing it, I began my late afternoon walk at Dealey Plaza, the doorway to Dallas, where John Kennedy was shot. It was a surreal experience to stand on the grassy knoll listening to the service for Bush.
At the park, you will see memorials on the ground and plenty of people with information on the history of the assassination. There is a trolly you can take to tour the events of the day or the Sixth Story Museum from the building the shooter perched on that famous day. Like most memorials, the place has the vibe of a sacred American story and it is worth your time to find.
Dallas Historic District
The plaza is on the southwestern side of the historic district, walking east, you will come to the light rail station with plenty of restaurants and good walking. The Dallas Aquarium is also in this area and looks gorgeous. On a strict budget, I passed on buying the $20 ticket but walked through the entryway to get a taste of the venue.
Returning back towards my hotel, I walked along the route of the light rail for some exercise and exploring of downtown.
Normally, I’m pretty street smart since I spend so much time on the road, but today, it got a little close for comfort. I was in the Rosa Park Plaza at 2PM. The park and neighborhood appeared to be very nice but I got a little too much attention from a group of guys who were eyeing my camera. Luckily, a cop ran up to me and broke up my new friends. He said this was not a great area to walk around; even during the day. So keep in mind there is a significant homeless population and regular pickpocketing. The policeman said this was particularly the case around Christmas and within a block of the light rail. Ironically, the park had a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to demonstrate their compassion, and agreement among races. Today, we just disagreed on who was going to walk away with my camera.
Commerce, Main, and Elm
Later on during the day, I set my camera up in my room for a time-lapse of the sunset with the Hyatt Regency and Reunion Tower in the foreground. After hitting go, my crew took the short walk downtown and walked up Main Street looking for a place to eat. Main street plus both parallel streets had plenty to do at night. Bars, restaurants, shops, and street walking was clean and felt very safe.
We ended up dining at Bread Zeppelin which looked like a chain but had great salads and a killer broccoli and cheese soup. It was perfect for a quick, cheap light meal. As we walked along Main, Commerce, and Elm, there were a few notable places to visit on this strip.
Check out the giant eyeball at Main and Stone Pl:
Or, see the Christmas display at Pegasus Plaza:
Convention Center Area
This trip we had back to back layovers in Dallas. The second night, we walked to the Omni hotel and had some excellent chicken wings in the sports bar. The Omni stands out on the horizon from downtown looking toward the convention center. It has a few restaurants on it’s first floor.
Dallas Bar Scene
If you are looking for more of a bar scene, check out the area on Commerce and Main between N. Field Street and N. Ervay.
Overall, Dallas was a really fun city to visit! The architecture was stunning and it offered a lot of American history, attractions, and venues within walking distance of my hotel. It was mostly very comfortable and safe so long as you stayed a block from the light rail tracks.
If you visit, let me know what you thought of downtown Dallas. Is there a great restaurant or attraction I should add to this post? Until then, make sure to check out the domestic layover cheat sheet for things to do at popular layovers in the US.
Visit my Dallas Photo Gallery on SmugMug
Want to see more of Dallas? The full gallery can be seen at SmugMug.