Better late than never? So last year me and my friends flew out to So What?! Music Festival in March. Not sure if I can afford to go back this year but you totally should. The lineup is a perfect mix of throw backs (Friday Night Boys, Mayday Parade, Set Your Goals!!!) and current / up and coming bands (Knuckle Puck, I The Victor, Turnstile, Sleep On It). It’s actually held at a baseball stadium which is pretty sick because it’s mostly outdoor but there’s still seats / vendors / shade. The fest also does a lot of shows / after fest stuff in an area I fell totally in love with, Deep Ellum. Dallas isn’t a place I would’ve thought to visit without an excuse but traveling for music usually makes for an unforgettable experience. I would go back in a heartbeat so let’s get into it.
Where To Go
Reunion Tower ($)
This is my #1 recommendation. Normally I hate touristy places but the view at the top of the tower is phenomenal. The main viewing room is super interactive and they have a rotating dinning room! You can get a quick bite pretty cheap at the Cloud Nine Cafe and then just sit and watch the skyline go past. It’s a super unique way to see a city and only about $16.
Dallas Museum of Art (Free)
Even if you’re not an art fan, I still think it’s nice to take some time when you’re in a busy city to slow down the pace for a bit…and also just enjoy some free air conditioning. Their collection includes works from Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and lots more. They also have a cafe!
Klyde Warren Park / food trucks
For the most part Dallas has gorgeous weather so if you need an excuse to get out and enjoy it go here! This is not just any park, and not just because it does have WiFi. They have games, food, music, fitness, activities, and most importantly the food trucks. Literally they have everything from ice cream to pizza to lobster.
The short story about this place is it used to be a train station and was converted into an art / dog park (yes dogs!!). Street art is awesome because it’s usually a current reflection of society and is usually forced into underground because some places don’t have public legal places for it to be practiced. Deep Ellum is also just a very creative little area full of unique people and independent business with it’s own sort of culture. If you’re into punk / indie music or art at all you have to spend a few hours just enjoying this area.
I have never fallen in love with an area so quickly. Finding a “home away from home” in another city is an incredible feeling because then you always knows you can go back. It’s a neighborhood dedicated to arts and entertainment so there’s no shortage of fun here during the day or night. It has the community feel I think a lot of us are looking for but have trouble finding in places that aren’t temporary. Every place seems to be independently owned so there’s a sense of pride / hard work that’s contagious. There are shops, galleries, venues, cafes, bars, tattoo shops etc etc. You could look up where to go before but it might be more fun to just go explore and discover it for yourself.
Again with the southern vibes / hospitality, this lil space had such an open and relaxed atmosphere. People just sit outside and let their dogs run around and play cornhole or whatever. My favorite places were Kate Weiser Chocolate (hand-painted), Cake Bar (keep reading for that), V-Eats Modern Vegan (for anyone with that lifestyle this is great), and Fat Chicken! It also has a great view of the city / skyline.
Where To Eat
Serious Pizza (Deep Ellum)
“Texas sized pizza”! It’s not the world’s best slice but the atmosphere is incredible, there’s a bunch of street / graffiti style art on the walls.
This restaurant is around a lot of popular spots in the city! The menu was pretty affordable and the food was fantastic. It’s easy to forget to eat well when you’re traveling so definitely add at least one place where you can get a good meal and just relax for a bit to your list. Also this location is decorated so interesting and showcases a lot of culture.
In-N-Out Burger (Irving)
Ok you have to understand I am from the east coast so this is literally the closest location. I think the customers and staff here thought we were aliens the way we were acting like this place was Disney. We even made our Uber driver wait for us. Point is, it was worth it. Yes it is literally just burgers / fries / shakes (SO CHEAP) but you can also look us the secret menu online.
Cake Bar (Trinity Groves)
Maybe I just have a sweet tooth but how remarkable is this concept of a cake bar?! You can get an entire cake, a slice of cake; no judgement. I love finding quirky places like this that reflect a city’s people and personality well. Dallas is in the south so it’s very friendly and comfortable and the Cake Bar really captures that.