Finding Culture in Downtown Dallas

Have you felt cooped up for the last few months and are now busting to discover your city again? That need to connect with culture and the arts has you wondering what to do. It’s been a while and things are opening up again in Downtown Dallas. Whatever suits your cultural taste, there is something here for you.

Let’s start with the Arts…

The Arts District is a hub of culture in the heart of Downtown Dallas. Visitors can delight their senses with one or more of the many options available to them in this mecca of the arts.

The Dallas Museum of Arts, or DMA, welcomes guests back for its beautiful exhibits and features that are guaranteed to pique your artistic side, stretch your imagination, and soothe your spirit. If you have visited the DMA before, you know what we are talking about. If you haven’t made that trip yet, the time is now to see what all the fuss is about. Check for updated hours and visitor requirements.

Like the DMA, the Nasher Sculpture Center is a feast for the eyes through art and sculpture. On the grounds of the Nasher, you will find an incredible collection of contemporary and modern sculpture throughout. Five different pavilions make up the main building to house some breathtaking art, while the garden outside is home to some beauty of its own with sculptures “planted” for all to view. Pay a visit for yourself and make it a stop while exploring Downtown Dallas.

If music is your muse, then the Winspear Opera House and the Meyerson Symphony Center may call to your soul. The Winspear Opera House, as well as Strauss Square, are included in the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and features a variety of music and dance performances for the public in the coming weeks and months. Strauss Square will offer outdoor performances and Winspear Opera House has a few events planned in the coming months with limited capacity for your entertainment. Please plan ahead for your visit to remain in accordance with current requirements for admission to events.

The Meyerson Symphony Center is featuring many virtual performances during this time of altered arrangements. However, there are some programs that will be performed with no intermission, and be composed of smaller, socially-distanced orchestral ensembles. These programs will allow an audience of only 50-75 guests. Again, make your plans according to the updated guidelines of the facility.

Let’s brush up on some history, shall we…

The Crow Collection of Asian Art is a beautiful oasis of contemporary and ancient pieces spanning the vast history and locales of a rich Asian culture. Nestled in the Trammell Crow Center, visitors will find art and history at every turn that will amaze and inform each and every guest. Admission is free, but plan ahead for your visit for current guidelines for patrons.

It’s an easily recognizable structure overlooking Woodall Rodgers Freeway. That’s right, it’s the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Again ready for visitors, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is an interactive experience of sights and sounds for all who enter. Exhibits are ever changing to meet the interest of all of its guests, so as you make your plans, find out what exhibits are being featured. As always, check their website for updated information on guest requirements and hours of operation.

For the true history buff, the Sixth Floor Museum is the spot to be. One of the most visited spots in Dallas, this is the home to everything JFK in regard to that fateful November day in 1963. Tour, learn, and explore this informative museum and make your own decisions as to how things happened that day. Read the guidelines for the reopened Sixth Floor Museum before making your visit.

Another significant museum that is open to the public again is the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in the West End. Discover each wing of the museum as it presents the history of events, from the Holocaust to Human Rights to the Pivot to America. An educational experience for both history enthusiasts and those who just want to learn more about the past through the scope of human rights, and the struggle to defend those affected and recognize the efforts to rise from a difficult past. Check the guidelines of the museum for hours of operation and other requirements before your visit.

On the Lighter Side of Downtown Dallas…

Now that you’ve discovered art and history, it may be time for a little fun when it comes to culture in Downtown Dallas. They say the city can be a jungle and they may be right. In the heart of Downtown lies the Dallas World Aquarium awaiting your exploration and adventure into an amazing world filled with creatures from the animal kingdom and more. Fun for the entire family, the Dallas World Aquarium offers education and amazement as you are surrounded by creatures from across the globe. It’s so much more than just an aquarium; it’s a treasure of animals from amphibians, reptiles, and mammals from places like Borneo to South Africa, and beyond. Get all the info you need as you plan your journey, to make the most of this extraordinary expedition.

Don’t forget to get a bird’s eye view of this amazing city by making your way to historic Reunion Tower and visiting the GeO-Deck. From high above the Emerald City, 470 feet to be exact, you can experience a breathtaking view of Dallas and its surrounding areas from any spot on the 360-degree observation deck. Visit day or night for a different vibe of your skyline. Ask about a romantic evening experienced at new heights with the Love is in the Air package. From field trips to family adventures, or special occasions, or just to be a tourist in your own town, discover Dallas from a new perspective. Plan your visit in advance and learn the guidelines and updated hours of operation.

Visit Dallas’ park like no other as you explore Downtown. Klyde Warren Park at the northern edge of Downtown is an oasis of fun and relaxation with a view of Downtown all its own. With something for every member of the family, including the furry ones, Klyde Warren Park is 5.2 acres of adventure and solace. Kids will love the Children’s Park and your canine fur babies can frolic in the My Best Friend’s Park. There is always something to do in the park, from yoga classes to movie nights to exercise, it’s all here. You can make a day of it too, as food trucks are lined up to offer some of the best tastes Dallas has to offer within footsteps. Plan your visit for details on safety updates, programs, parking, and other info you may need before you arrive, and then enjoy!

Now, mark your calendars and go!

As more and more places begin to reopen and allow visitors to enjoy and explore Downtown Dallas, always remember to prepare for your visit by checking the website of the facility or location you plan to attend. A quick rule of thumb is that almost every place is under some version of the current guidelines of Timed Reservations Only – Masks Required – Limited Hours of Operation. Keep those in mind, then get out there and have some fun rediscovering your city. Be a tourist again and enjoy Downtown Dallas!

For more information on arts and culture events and places to visit, check out the Dallas Arts District website.


Holiday Lights – Downtown Style!

It’s that time of year again, and the sights and sounds of the holidays aren’t forgotten in Downtown Dallas. Dallas is known for its cityscape, skyline, and beautiful lights anyway, and the holidays crank it up a notch. There may be a giant eyeball Downtown, but your eyes may feel that big with the lights you will experience during the holidays.

Things are getting started soon as Deck the Plaza, a Dallas holiday tradition, will return for 2020 with a bit of a twist. Visitors and holiday light connoisseurs are invited to join in a contactless, holiday drive-thru experience with a celebration of lights at City Hall Plaza. The Deck the Plaza light extravaganza goes from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21st.

The parade of vehicles will begin at City Hall Plaza on Marilla Street. Drivers will make their way through City Hall Plaza to experience holiday entertainment and a festival of lights, leading up to the 35-foot holiday tree. This will surely be a sight to behold. To add to the experience, Classical 101.1 WRR-FM will again participate in the celebration for 2020. Drivers can tune in to the radio station during the drive-thru to enjoy some festive holiday music and messages of good tidings from a few Dallas dignitaries. Plan ahead for your visit for all details and requirements for the event, so you can enjoy it safely.

While Downtown, you may notice a tree made out of car parts. That’s right, car body parts! The Neiman Marcus Car Tree was commissioned in 2003 and was displayed in the Neiman Marcus Flagship store. Since then, it moved in 2012 to its current home in Pegasus Plaza. It’s a sight to be seen with its construction from car trunks, tail fins, taillights, and more taken from thirteen classic cars. The parts were taken from cars made between 1949 and 1962. Some of the lights are also from a vintage school bus. This display is a photo op must for car enthusiasts and holiday light fans alike.

Another favorite from the Neiman Marcus Legacy Holiday Collection is the collection of Butterflies at Belo Garden. The beautiful metal sculpture of eight LED-lit butterflies is on display at Belo Garden through December 31st.  The highest butterfly’s pinnacle ranges about 18′-20′ above the ground.  The flagship Downtown Neiman Marcus store was the former home of these picturesque butterflies from 2005 – 2010.

Many other fantastic sights await you during the holidays in festive Downtown. Visit Main Street Garden to witness their gorgeous holiday tree, featuring 3,000 bulbs, 10,000 mini lights, and 450 ornaments…quite a display! Can you count them all? Sip on a hot cocoa and give it a try!

Don’t forget the many hotels and plazas who also have amazing trees and lights on their premises, such as The National shown in the photo above! The Adolphus Hotel displays a giant holiday in their lobby and the Statler Hotel is home to a beautiful tree as well.

As you explore Downtown, make sure you cruise by AT&T Discovery District to see their tree and lights. Klyde Warren Park always gets into the holiday spirit with their own towering tree to make Dallas proud. Not to mention, the Omni Dallas Hotel and Reunion Tower are both always lit for every occasion and the holidays are no exception.

Whether you’re walking around or just taking a drive through the Downtown streets, enjoy every visual treat Dallas has to offer. Wind your way all over the Downtown area and make your own yuletide discoveries and find your favorites. Dallas is such a beautiful city lit up at night most of the year anyway, but the holidays become a wonderland during this sparkly season. And be sure to share and tag your photos of these beautiful lights with #MYDTD. Happy Holidays!

Staycation Nation: The Girls Take Downtown Dallas

Birthday extravaganzas and Wednesday wine gossips haven’t felt the same since Covid-19 moved all of our lives online. But now, with more Dallas restaurants, spas, and shopping centers opening their doors, getting back to boozy brunches with the girls is becoming a little bit easier. This one’s for the ladies! Grab your masks and your crossbody clutches as you head to Downtown Dallas for a safe, memorable, and fun girls’ staycation.

Keep Fit

If bonding through working out is more your style try heading to Cowboy’s Fit for pilates, biking, and even cardio dance parties.

If yoga is more your style, you can head to V12 and practice regaining your center.

Both centers have adopted new guidelines to cater to COVID-19 restrictions so that you and your friends can enjoy a safe experience.

Sunday Funday

Everyone loves a good Sunday brunch and shop. Check out the Dallas Farmers Market where you can enjoy an open indoor and outdoor layout. The Dallas Farmers market not only has plenty of good eats and tons of outdoor space for dining but amazing small and local businesses to support. We actually did a whole blog on it! Head here to find out all there is to enjoy at the Dallas Farmers Market.

Museum Musings

If you and your gals are an intellectual bunch, or simply appreciate artistic endeavors, Downtown Dallas is filled with endless museum options for you to peruse. Fill your Saturdays with a showing of the beautiful new Sandra Cinto DMA exhibit, or head to the Nasher Sculpture Center for breathtaking views.

Need something more tactile? Spend your Saturday at the Museum of Illusions. Totally trip out at seemingly slanted rooms or snap an iconic girl squad pic in the Infinity Room.

All museums mentioned are open but in order to stay safe they will require a reservation in advance online. Easy to navigate and safe to access.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

During your girl’s staycation, there is plenty of shopping to partake in. Downtown Dallas is home to the flagship Neiman Marcus store, a luxury department store featuring high fashion brands like Alice + Olivia, CELINE, and David Yurman.

Another great luxury shopping experience can be found at Forty Five Ten. The Downtown location is open with limited hours to ensure social distancing measures.

You can also try shopping at Commerce Goods + Supply, the boutique at The Adolphus Hotel and The Taschen Library at The Joule are both  unique gift shops within a 1-2 minute walk of each other.

Girls Gab over Bubbly

There are plenty of spots Downtown to grab a quick bite and chat with friends during your girls’ weekend. Transport yourself to English high tea at Mirador across from  The Joule Hotel. Mirador boasts expansive views of downtown through floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound terrace overlooking Tony Tasset’s outdoor sculpture Eye. However, if you’re planning a winter staycation, the French Room at The Adolphus Hotel is currently booking for Holiday Tea Sessions starting in November.

Champagne more your game? Head to La Tarte Tropezienne for a bottle of bubbly and a savory slice of quiche. La Tarte began in Saint-Tropez and the Dallas location is the only US location available.

Spa Sessions

Take a group trip to Downtown Dallas for some much-needed girl talk and relaxation. Escape the everyday routine at The Spa at The Joule. Choose from a variety of services like the codage Paris facial, the triple body scrub, or the face and ice stone massage. Head to The Studio portion of The Spa to receive eyebrow threading, waxing, and even microblading.

Downtown Dining

Finish off each adventure with some of the best dining and drinking options Downtown Dallas has to offer. Take the gals to The Woolworth for daytime happy hour where wine is just $5 a glass and craft cocktails are just $8.

For those of us with a love for TexMex, head to Queso Beso to see the cutest interior decorating and also enjoy $10 nachos on an open and airy patio.

Want dinner with a view? The newly opened Sky Blossom Bistro is a rooftop Vietnamese fusion restaurant and bar with some of the best views of Downtown.

Head to The Statler for some adult gaming and drinking at Scout or take in some more Dallas views at the rooftop pool and bar called Waterproof.

Whatever you and the girls decide to do this weekend, Downtown Dallas is jam packed with fun and exciting activities to boost bonding, creativity, and conversation. It’s easy to make memories of a lifetime with all of the options Dallas has to offer. Let us know what you decide to do with your girlfriend’s in Dallas this weekend!

And for a complete list of open businesses, visit us here.

This article was written by Ashni Pabley. As a Dallas native, Ashni loves browsing new exhibits at the DMA or shopping small businesses at the Dallas Farmers Market. You can contact her at

Jennifer Keesmaat Keynote Presentation


AM photo for blog

Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) hosted another successful Annual Meeting & Luncheon on February 4, 2020 with a sold-out crowd of over 1,000 business leaders, elected officials and Downtown stakeholders. DDI’s President and CEO Kourtny Garrett, provided an update on 2019 highlights and accomplishments, which included DDI’s Board of Governors and Board of Directors for 2020 was approved and Mattia Flabiano III, Senior Principal, with Page took the reigns as the Chair of the Board. Katy Murray, senior vice president and CFO of A.H. Belo was approved as Treasurer; and Holly Reed, Managing Director, Texas Central as Secretary.

Keynote speaker Jennifer Keesmaat, who’s presentation was aptly called “The Ambitious City” gave many examples of successful work from Toronto, where she served as Chief City Planner. She also cautioned Downtown Dallas to address mistakes that others like Toronto have made  and emphasized the importance providing housing that is affordable for all, especially for “key workers” and of designing places to live, play and learn for children if we want to attract families to live in the core. Jennifer’s full presentation can be found here. Keesmaat Presentation compressed