Downtown Dallas is the Central Business District of the city of Dallas. Traditionally defined as the area within the belt of freeways surrounding the centre, it is now deemed to have expanded to an area known as Uptown, north of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway thanks to the new walkable Klyde Warren Park, while in the east the center spills across US-75 into the Deep Ellum neighborhood.
Downtown includes most of Dallas' extant historic buildings, its modern skyscrapers, and the majority of its historic institutions. There are no official administrative subdivisions of Dallas, but a local organization, Downtown Dallas Inc., took it upon itself to redefine, develop and advocate the interests of Downtown.
Uptown is the young, affluent area bounded by I-35E to the west, US-75 to the east, Woodall Rodgers (and central Downtown) to the south, and Turtle Creek to the north.
Deep Ellum, named for its place on the far eastern ("Deep") end of Elm Street ("Ellum"), consists of a 5-to-10-block-long stretch along Elm, Main, and Commerce streets east of Central Expressway. It can be reached easily via Commerce or Main Streets, northern parts of Dallas via Central Expressway to Good-Latimer, or eastern parts of Dallas via I-30 to First Ave/Exposition Ave.
Get in & around
- DART serves Downtown Dallas with several light-rail and commuters lines running through downtown with lines running in all directions. The furthest commuter lines run to Denton and Fort Worth (with a stop just south of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Other lines go to Plano, Richardson, Garland, and south Dallas.
- To get to Deep Ellum on DART, take the Green Line to Deep Ellum or Baylor Stations.
- Street parking in Deep Ellum is free during weekday business hours, but the meters are active on nights and weekends, and there are several pay lots in the area.
- The free-to-ride M-Line Trolley (streetcar) runs from the northern part of Downtown straight through the middle of Uptown, where it connects to DART's Uptown Station (Blue and Red Lines.)
- Amtrak has a station on the west side of downtown and shares a station with DART's commuter rail lines and 2 of the light-rail lines.
Several expressways meet in downtown Dallas, forming a loop around the neighborhood. I-35E (going south to north) and I-30 (going east to west cross I-45 (from Houston), US-75 (to Sherman and Tulsa), and Woodall Rodgers (connecting I-35E to US-75.)
- 1 Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture, 100 South Houston St, ☏ , fax: . M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Tells the story of the development of Dallas County from pre-historic times to the present day. This museum opened in Mayand the quality of the exhibits and explanations is unusually high. Very much worth a visit if you want to understand the historical context of Dallas. In the restored 1892 Courthouse Building, a few minutes' walk from the Sixth Floor museum. Adults $8.
- 2 Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood St, ☏ . Tu-Su, 11AM-5PM, Th 11AM-9PM, closed Mondays, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Great works of art from eastern and western cultures, from all ages. Free to most exhibits.
- 3 Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St, ☏ . This collection of sculpture provides a fantastic outdoor oasis in the heart of the downtown arts district. The Renzo Piano designed facility pulls in the surrounding light and energy of the district but does not overwhelm. The indoor-outdoor collection of renowned Dallas collector Raymond Nasher is truly astounding. Ask about the combined admission ticket to see the Nasher and the Dallas Museum of Art, directly across Harwood St.
- 4 Dallas World Aquarium, 1801 N. Griffin St, ☏ . More than just an aquarium, this unique zoo tour starts at the canopy level of a rain forest. Visitors wind their way down past many types of animals to find the aquarium at the bottom. $15.95 adults and $8.95 children.
- 5 Reunion Tower. One of the defining landmarks of the Dallas skyline, has been renovated. There is an observation deck and restaurant at the top of the distinctive ball-shaped tower.
- 6 Perot Museum of Nature and Science, 2201 N. Field St. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. The Dallas Natural History Museum relocated to this spectacular building funded by Ross Perot, a former Presidential candidate and local billionaire.
- 7 Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, 411 Elm Street Suite #120, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Daily 9AM-6PM. An unfortunate part of Dallas' history is that it is the site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Texas Book Depository is the site where shots were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, and the museum is on the sixth floor of the same building, with an extra exhibition on the seventh. It is a moving experience with videos, full-wall descriptions and photographs, along with artifacts from the event. The museum's gift shop is in a different building. Adults $13.50.
- 8 Dallas Holocaust Museum, 211 North Record St. M-F 9:30AM-5PM, Sa Su 11AM-5PM. The core exhibit covers the Jewish Holocaust during World War II. $10 adults, $8 students/seniors.
- 9 Klyde Warren Park. 6AM-11PM. In many ways this park is redefining the city's character. The Klyde Warren Park is a privately-funded public space over the underground section of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway which forms the northern boundary of Downtown. With greenery and performance/event spaces, it is one of the rare places in Downtown which allow outdoor recreation and enhances walkability towards Uptown. It is named after a living person, the son of its primary benefactor, Dallas billionaire Kelcy Warren.
- 10 Dallas City Hall. Constructed in the early 1970s, the City Hall of Dallas is a unique architectural monument, shaped by its architect I.M. Pei as an inverted pyramid placed in the centre of a large open plot of land. While constructed of uncovered concrete, the building is not obnoxiously brutalist, as the colour of the concrete was carefully chosen to match the earth tones of the surrounding grounds. Unusual when constructed, it now provides a unique retrofuturistic vibe, which lent it to star, e.g. in Robocop as a dystopian corporate headquarters.
- 11 Art Prostitute, 2919-C Commerce St, ☏ . Very popular art gallery relocated from its original location in Denton.
AT&T Performing Arts Center
Traditional performing arts in Dallas are housed in a complex of purpose-built objects next to the Klyde Warren Park. Construction was financed by private donations over the 2000s, and design attracted architects of international fame, with every building an architectural point of interest in itself. The major performing arts companies moved to the new buildings, each bearing a name of its principal sponsor, while also leaving space for guest performances, which provides for busy and varied schedules.
- 1 Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Choir, features a busy schedule of classical music performances
- 2 Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. Home of the Dallas Opera company and Texas Ballet Theater, both with wide repertoires, and also welcoming guest performances by acclaimed artists from all over the globe.
- 3 Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre. Unorthodox in its design, the Wyly Theatre has its functions "stacked" one upon another, creating a relatively tall twelve-storey block, covered with anodized aluminium rods on the outside, with main stage seating for up to 600 spectators. The home company is the Dallas Theater Center.
Apart from the above, the square between the opera and symphony hall is sometimes used for outdoor performances and named Annette Strauss Square for the former mayor of Dallas who championed the arts.
American Airlines Center
The 4 American Airlines Center is a large arena that can seat more than 20,000 people, depending on the arrangement and event. It is most known as the home field for Dallas' basketball and hockey teams. The brick retro arena is just north of Downtown, adjacent to the Victory Park DART and TRE (Trinity Railway Express) rail stations, at address 2500 Victory Ave.
- Dallas Mavericks. Dallas' professional basketball team, playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Ticket prices vary from $10 up to $240 for a seat very close to the action. In 2011, the team won the NBA championship.
- Dallas Stars. Dallas' professional hockey team, playing in the National Hockey League (NHL).
- 5 Undermain Theatre, 3200 Main St, ☏ . Under Main St in Historic Deep Ellum, the Undermain Theatre produces exciting, original plays and acclaimed international works. Undermain stirs emotions and inspires the imagination.
- [dead link] Deep Ellum Arts Festival. In early April.
- Mozzerella Company, 2944 Elm St., toll-free: . Offers short hands-on courses in cheese-making and cheese pairing.
There are some good antique stores in the Knox-Henderson area.
- 1 West Village, 3699 McKinney Ave, ☏ . Trendy shopping mall for the 20/30-somethings.
- 2 Dallas Farmers Market, 920 South Harwood. M-Sa 10AM-6PM. A functioning, if not bustling, farmers' market in a convenient downtown location
- 3 Neiman Marcus, 1618 Main St,, ☏ . The flagship store of this luxury department store chain.
There are tons of restaurants, or a couple dozen anyway, including TGI Friday's, Dick's Last Resort, The Palm, Hooters, and the original Spaghetti Warehouse. There are several popular local establishments as well. This area does not make the list of must-see places in Dallas but is a convenient place for dinner or a drink if you are already in the area.
Central Downtown/West End
The area around West End (North Market Street) and further east along Main Street are the best places to start looking. On Sundays check out the food vans parked long the road by Klyde Warren Park.
- 1 RJ Mexican Cuisine, 1701 N. Market St Suite 102, ☏ . Kind of classy Mexican food in the West End. Try the quail.
- 2 Spaghetti Warehouse, 1815 N. Market St, ☏ . The original Spaghetti Warehouse and flagship location of the chain. It was the first restaurant in the area, opening in 1972, and started what the West End is today.
- 3 Dallas Chop House, 1717 Main St. Excellent aged steaks.
- 4 Y.O. Steakhouse, 702 Ross Ave.
- 5 Hofbrau Steaks, 311 North Market St.
It must be said that a bona fide "foodie" would be remiss to skip the fabulous restaurants that line McKinney Avenue and environs -- if there's one arena in which Dallas merits its own pretentions to "world-class" status, it's in its varied, creative restaurants, where quasi-celebrity chefs hold forth with true flair. Just to the north of McKinney is the Knox-Henderson area. It is similar but more laid-back. The west side of highway is Knox Street. This is just on the edge of Highland Park, and it features a plethora of home-decorating boutiques as well as eateries and watering holes. Cross the freeway and Knox becomes Henderson -- bastion of hip but laid-back eateries, check out Hibiscus, Cuba Libre, and Fireside Pies.
- 6 Bread Winner's. Amazing Cinnamon Bread, to die for. Great customer service.
- 7 Gloria's, 3223 Lemmon Ave.. Probably the best and most well known El Salvadoran/Tex-Mex in Dallas with locations in UpTown, Addison, & Bishop Arts District. Great food & Margaritas. Definitely try a Meltdown. Very cheap.
- 8 [formerly dead link] Mi Cocina, 3699 McKinney Ave. Excellent Tex-Mex. Without question the best frozen margarita. The flagship restaurant is Highland Park Village. Mi Cocina has other locations throughout Dallas, including Preston at Forest and in West Village.
- 9 Nick & Sam's Steak and Fish House, 2305 Cedar Springs Rd, Suite 405, ☏ . A great steakhouse with very good service, be sure not to miss the bone-in filet. Dark, romantic atmosphere. Dress code enforced. It also has a great bar scene for anyone over thirty that wants something a little more sophisticated.
- 10 Nobu, 400 Crescent Ct, ☏ . Excellent sushi.
- 11 Old Warsaw, 2610 Maple Ave, ☏ . 5-star French dining with a distinctly old-fashioned feel. A Dallas institution since 1948.
- 12 State & Allen, 2400 Allen St., ☏ . A place for a quick cocktail, or impeccably prepared food accompanied by a selection from an impressive wine list.
- 13 Cane Rosso, 2612 Commerce St (just east of the 75, almost downtown), ☏ . Excellent pizzas for main course and desert.
- 14 Café Brazil, 2815 Elm St. The Deep Ellum location of the Dallas favorite.
- 15 Pepe and Mito's, 2935 Elm St, ☏ . This restaurant truly has some of the best Tex-Mex in Dallas. Try the tacos norteños, the fried taquitos, or the shrimp enchiladas verdes. You can't go wrong; there's not a bad choice on the menu. Everything is homemade, even the chips & sauce.
- 1 Dick's Last Resort, 2211 North Lamar St., ☏ . The Dallas outlet of the USA-wide restaurant chain known for obnoxious staff and sloppy service, the entertainment value of which is an intentional feature the brand was built around.
- 2 [formerly dead link] Draft Media Sports Bar and Lounge, 400 N Olive St, (at the Sheraton), ☏ .
- 3 Gator's, 1714 North Market St, ☏ .
- 4 The Nodding Donkey, 2900 Thomas Ave, ☏ . A casual place to drink beer and eat some good southern style food with your friends.
- 5 [dead link] The Ginger Man (McKinney Avenue Area), 2718 Boll St, ☏ . American Pub with more than 75 beers on tap and another 100 selections by the bottle. Wines, Ales, and Ciders also available. Two story house with beer garden and upstairs lounge/library.
- 6 Concrete Cowboy (McKinney Avenue Area), 2512 Cedar Springs Rd. Dallas's newest party bar. Unbelievably crowded on the weekends and extremely popular. Typical 20s-30s crowd.
- 7 Urban Oasis at Hotel ZaZa, 2332 Leonard St, ☏ . In Uptown Dallas, Urban Oasis is a trendy bar and lounge that attracts an eclectic mix of Hollywood celebrities and world travelers. Open year round, the lounge offers a chic, poolside retreat.
- 8 Club Dada, 2720 Elm St. Shows W-Su. One of the oldest live music venues in Deep Ellum. They have a nice patio in back.
- 9 Curtain Club, 2800 Main St. Live music venue which hosts local and national acts.
- 10 Lizard Lounge, 2424 Swiss. Pass under the bridge on Good Latimer to find this spacious 2-story dance club. On Sunday nights they have popular gothic/industrial events known as The Church.
- 11 Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm. On the far east edge of Deep Ellum. This venue hosts live music of all types from local and national acts.
- 1 Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 North Olive St (Financial district), toll-free: . Spacious rooms, quality furnishing. Reasonably sound proofed and quiet air conditioning (for USA). Connected to Convention Center.
- 2 SpringHill Suites Dallas Downtown/West End, 1907 North Lamar St, ☏ .
- 3 La Quinta Inn & Suites Dallas Downtown (formerly Lawrence Hotel), 302 South Houston St, toll-free: . An historic boutique hotel in the West End, which has been renovated. Across from the George Allen Courthouse and the closest hotel to Dealey Plaza and the Kennedy Sixth Floor Museum.
- 4 Dallas Marriott City Center, 650 North Pearl St, ☏ .
- 5 Hotel Crescent Court, 400 Crescent Ct, ☏ . Offers European-style rooms, a day spa, business center, meeting space and wedding facilities, and a private club.
- 6 Magnolia Hotel, 1401 Commerce St, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Re-opened in 1999 and is in the oldest high-rise building in downtown Dallas. Adorning the top of the building is a red lighted Pegasus, which is a permanent fixture in the Dallas skyline. The hotel offers great features, location and amenities, such as: complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks, breakfast and cookies and milk at bedtime.
- 7 Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh, 2927 Maple Ave, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This renovated luxury boutique hotel is an historic property that is a staple of the neighborhood. This unique property features a skyline penthouse, Bolla Modern Italian restaurant, a full-service spa and top-of-the-line accommodations.
- 8 W Dallas - Victory, 2440 Victory Park Ln, ☏ , fax: . Very nice and has a modern feel. Check out Ghost Bar if you stay there.
- 9 Hotel ZaZa Dallas, 2332 Leonard St (Uptown), ☏ , toll-free: . This boutique hotel features a variety of concept suites, meeting and wedding facilities, luxury day spa, and dining and nightlife spaces.