Katia Iervasi

If you’re traveling through the USA, chances are you’ve flown through Dallas. Next time, check in and check out this pocket of the Lone Star State. It’s a city of contrasts: the streets are lined with glossy high-rises, bustling bars and stylish eateries, but the cowboy hats, snakeskin boots and the smell of barbecue wafting through the air remind you that you’re in Texas – where they don’t do things halfway. From cultural hotspots in the city to rodeos and ranches just a short road trip out of town, here’s how to make the most of a stopover in the ‘Big D.’

Soak up the sun at Klyde Warren Park

Sitting pretty in central Dallas, this beautifully landscaped park is a hive of activity every day of the week. If you’re keen to sweat it out, time your visit with a free yoga or Zumba class. To zen out after the long flight, grab a book from the outdoor stack, or pop into an art class. Otherwise, feast on treats from one of the many food trucks – try Ruthie’s Rolling Café for gourmet grilled cheese toasties, or Coolhaus for decadent ice-cream sandwiches.

klyde warren park dallas

Klyde Warren Park is Dallas’ most popular public space, with plenty of spots to both mingle and relax.

Photo courtesy of Klyde Warren Park

Get a culture hit at the Dallas Arts District

Stroll through the park until you reach Dallas Arts District, which, at 19 blocks, doubles as the biggest art hub in the country. While you could spend all day wandering the museums, galleries and theatres, you can also just work your way through the highlight reel. The Nasher Sculpture Center is a stunning space displaying art by big names like Matisse, Calder, and Henry Moore. It’s worth a visit – even just to sit in the lush garden and take it all in.

nasher sculpture center dallas

The Nasher Sculpture Center flows through indoor and outdoor spaces, like this one.

Photo courtesy of Nasher Sculpture Center

Go back in time at the Sixth Floor Museum

Skipping the Six Floor Museum is kind of like going to Italy and walking straight past the Colosseum. At Dealey Plaza, the museum turns back the clock to pay tribute to John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated on the street below in November 1943 (‘X’ marks the spot – but please don’t stand on it to take photos!). Pick up an audio guide to learn more about the former President’s life, legacy, and the details of that fateful day.

See the view from the top at Reunion Tower

To see Dallas’ skyline in all its glory, head to Reunion Tower and take the lift all the way up to the GeO-Deck. The lofty landmark has an observation deck with a rotating floor and 360-degree views of the city, so you don’t miss a thing. For a close-up of the buildings that define Dallas, nab a telescope or play around with the interactive experiences on offer.

reunion tower dallas

On the top floor of Reunion Tower, the GeO-Deck boasts panoramic views of Dallas’ skyline.

Photo courtesy of Reunion Tower

Combat jetlag with the Katy Trail

The leafy 3.4-mile track winds its way through the city’s parks and neighborhoods like Mockingbird, Highlight Park and West End. It’s buzzing with runners, cyclists and dog walkers, so you’ll feel like a local as you breathe in the fresh air and explore one of the city’s most iconic sights.

katy trail dallas

Katy Trail runs along the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad, and is a go-to for outdoorsy locals.

Photo courtesy of Katy Trail

Ride with cowboys at the Texas Horse Park

No trip to Texas is complete without an encounter with a cowboy. That’s where River Ranch at Texas Horse Park steps in. There, you can hop on a horse trail ride led by a real-life cowboy. To experience more of the Wild West, go to a local rodeo. The Fort Worth Stockyards is as fun as it gets, with rowdy rodeos, western wear shops, and bulls striding the streets like kings. An hour’s drive from downtown Dallas, it’s guaranteed to boost your ‘gram game.

texas horse park dallas

Cowboys lead horse trail rides at the Texas Horse Park.

Photo courtesy of River Ranch

Cheer on the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium

Ask any Dallas local and they’ll tell you: football is a religion in Texas. Dallas is, of course, home to the Dallas Cowboys who play at AT&T Stadium. More than a stadium, it’s an altar to the sport that makes Texas tick. You can tour the impressive grounds year-round, but if you’re in town during football season, try to catch a game. Arrive early so you can tailgate – this is just as much of a tradition as the game itself! 

Dig into authentic, Dallas-style barbecue

In the Big D, the meat is slow-cooked, smoky, tender, and coated in a sticky barbecue sauce. It’s finger-lickin’ goodness. For your fix, make your way to Pecan Lodge, where the lines often wrap around the block. Those waiting do so happily, because they know what’s coming: a plate piled high with pit-smoked meat, handmade jalapeno sausages, and ‘the hot mess’, a house special made up of beef, sea salt-crusted sweet potato, and chipotle cream.

pecan lodge dallas

Pecan Lodge is a Dallas institution that has been serving up tender, barbecued meat for years.

Photo courtesy of Pecan Lodge

Dance the night away at Deep Ellum

Established back in the jazz and blues era of the 1920s, the nightlife district has evolved through the ages, but is still the best place to see live music in the city. With a hipster vibe, it’s packed with spots where you can dance, or just sit back and listen to some tunes. Check out Trees, House of Blues or Double Wide, or Sons of Hermann Hall to get your honky-tonk on.

Dallas is fascinating: a city where age-old tradition meets modernity, and the South meets the wild west. With flights going through every day, it’s easier than ever to explore everything Dallas has to offer. While most people stop over for a few days before flying cross-country, there’s no reason why Dallas can’t be your final destination!

 

Katia Iervasi is an Australian freelance writer who currently calls New York home. With most of her family living in Italy, she was lucky enough to start traveling at a very young age, and hasn't stopped hopping on flights since. A water baby and city lover at once, she loves ticking off places on her ever-growing travel to-do list, and sharing the tips, tricks and stories she learns along the way. Follow her adventures on Instagram: @katiaiervasi

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the Policy Documents available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.