One Day in Dallas (from a Local)

Dallas, a modern metropolis in north Texas, is a commercial and cultural hub of the region. It’s rich in culture, history, and culinary experiences, as well as unique neighborhoods to explore. As someone who grew up in the area, here is how to spend one day in Dallas.

Year-round sunny weather in Dallas offers predictably pleasant experiences no matter when you visit. I grew up in the Dallas area so I’ve been more times than I can count, and I am excited to share how to spend one day in Dallas with you!

As a local, I’ve been able to explore Texas many different times, going to Austin on multiple trips, exploring Hill Country in Fredricksburg, and exploring the beautiful city of San Antonio. It’s taken too long for me to write about where I grew up, though!

Table of Contents

Planning for One Day in Dallas

Getting to Dallas

Flying

With two major airports (DFW is 12 miles away and Dallas Love Field is 6 miles away) providing daily direct flights from more than 260 destinations, Dallas is four hours by air from almost anywhere in the country.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Light Rail

Daily 4 – 12 a.m. | $3 half-day pass/$6 day pass

DART is the longest light rail system in the country with over 90 miles of rail lines.

Where can you go? DART connects you to most of Dallas’ entertainment districts, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, American Airlines Center, DFW International and Love Field airports, as well as Trinity Railway Express (TRE).

Dallas Streetcar

Daily 5:30 – 12 a.m. | $1 Rides

Dallas Streetcar connects Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts to Dallas Union Station in Downtown Dallas. The streetcar runs every 20 minutes.

Driving

    •  Interstate 20 (I-20): If you’re coming from the east, I-20 is a major east-west highway that connects Shreveport, Louisiana, to Dallas. Follow I-20 westward until you reach Dallas.
    • Interstate 35 (I-35): If you’re coming from the north, I-35 is a major north-south highway. Follow I-35 south, and it will take you into the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
    • Interstate 40 (I-40) to I-35W: If you’re coming from the west, you can take I-40 to I-35W and then connect to I-35E, which leads into Dallas.
    • Interstate 35 (I-35): If you’re coming from the south, I-35 will take you north into the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Weather & Average Temperatures

Year-round sunny weather in Dallas offers predictably pleasant experiences! Come fall or spring, summer or winter – an outdoor adventure is waiting for you in Dallas no matter when you arrive.

The Dallas climate is humid, with hot summers and winters are mild. The area receives most of its rainfall in the form of thunderstorms with occasional heavy yet brief rainfalls. Thunderstorms occur throughout the year but are most frequent in the spring. Snow is rare.

Where to Stay

Canopy by Hilton Uptown: Uptown is known for its eclectic bar and restaurant scene, including lively sports bars, posh global bistros, and hip cocktail lounges. The Canopy by Hilton has a great location, a rooftop bar with a fantastic view of the city, and wonderful staff.

The Guild Elm St. (Mint Downtown): Located downtown, this condo style hotel is an 11-minute walk from the Sixth Floor Museum, 10-minute walk from Dallas Holocaust Museum, 200 yards from the city center, and a 10-minute walk from Dallas World Aquarium. The rooms are modern and offer views of downtown.

Planning Ahead

If you only have a day and want to do even two of the top things here, I’d recommend getting the Dallas CityPASS. It includes these attractions and more discounts for less. It’s worth getting to make the most of your day in Dallas!

Parking is also tricky in many parts of Dallas; plan to pay for parking if you drive.

Morning

Coffee in Bishop Arts

Start your morning off with coffee in the Bishop Arts District. Found in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Southern Dallas, this neighborhood is one of Dallas’ most unique districts and is home to tons of unique boutiques, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and galleries. Enjoy a shopping spree! Bishop Arts is full of boutiques, antique shops, jewelry stores, and more.

A few coffee shops I’d recommend:

  • White Rhino Coffee
  • La Reunion
  • Tribal All Day Coffee
  • Wayward Coffee Co.

Explore the Arts District

After grabbing coffee, head to the Dallas Arts District, where you’ll find several different art museums. Choose one that interests you the most, or go to a few of the smaller museums for more variety! They are all located close to each other and it’s easy to walk between them.

The Dallas Arts District includes the Dallas Museum of Art ($20), the Crow Museum of Asian Art (free), and the Nasher Sculpture Center ($10). The area is also home to numerous galleries and public art installations.

Lunch in Klyde Warren Park

Walk two blocks over Klyde Warren Park. This is a vibrant urban park with food trucks and plenty of green space. It’s located over the highway and offers a unique perspective of downtown Dallas. You’ll also find art installations and a beautiful fountain here.

You can enjoy a picnic or grab lunch from one of the nearby food trucks. There are food trucks there daily, and often host special events. Check their website for the latest on what and who will be in the park!

Photo by Joshua Davis on Unsplash, Photo by Priscilla Fraire on Unsplash

Afternoon

For your afternoon in Dallas, I’m going to recommend two different options depending on what you are interested in! Some people might prefer more museums and to learn about history, while others might want to take in the beauty of this area and explore more fun a quirky neighborhoods! Below are the options for you.

Option 1: Explore History

Tour the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey PlazaHead to Dealey Plaza to visit the Sixth Floor Museum, which chronicles the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. The museum is located in the former Texas School Book Depository and tickets for adults are $18.

Option 2: Stroll through Gardens

Head to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden to enjoy beautiful gardens and scenic views. It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll. With 66 acres of beautiful grounds to explore, there’s no shortage of surprises around every turn.

Option 3: Perot Science Museum (included in CityPASS)

Enjoy interactive exhibits and hands-on activities at the Perot Museum, covering topics such as science, technology, and natural history. This is a family favorite and you can easily spend a whole afternoon here!

Photo by ALEKSEY KUPRIKOV on Unsplash, Photo by Dan Formsma on Unsplash

Skyline Views from Reunion Tower (included in CityPASS)

Wrap up your afternoon with breathtaking views of the Dallas skyline from Reunion Tower. The observation deck provides a stunning panorama of the city. I love the afternoon views of Dallas or even try and spend sunset here! Just stunning.

From 470 feet up, you’ll experience breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views, a free digital photo, and an indoor/outdoor observation deck that lets you see for miles in any direction.

Dinner & Drinks

For the end of your one day in Dallas, head to one of two well known areas in Dallas, perfect for nightlife, live music, and fun out and about. I’ll give two options depending on where you are staying and what vibe you are looking for. You’ll have a great time either way!

Uptown

Uptown Dallas is a trendy and vibrant neighborhood located just north of downtown Dallas. Known for its upscale atmosphere, diverse dining options, and lively entertainment scene, Uptown attracts both residents and visitors.

    1. McKinney Avenue: This bustling street is the main thoroughfare in Uptown and is lined with an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars. It’s a popular destination for dining and nightlife.
    2. West Village: A stylish, walkable shopping and dining district with a mix of national retailers, local boutiques, and a variety of restaurants, ranging from casual to upscale.
    3. Katy Trail Ice House: A popular beer garden located along the Katy Trail, offering a relaxed atmosphere, a vast selection of beers, and outdoor seating.
    4. Uptown Pub: A classic pub with a laid-back vibe, featuring a rooftop patio with great views of the Dallas skyline.

Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum is a historic and eclectic neighborhood located just east of downtown Dallas. Known for its vibrant arts scene, live music venues, street art, and diverse dining options, Deep Ellum is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

    1. Eclectic Restaurants: Deep Ellum offers a diverse range of dining options, from barbecue joints and taco stands to upscale restaurants. Pecan Lodge is particularly famous for its barbecue and will have a line some days the night before.
    2. Breweries and Craft Beer: The neighborhood has a thriving craft beer scene with several breweries and pubs. Deep Ellum Brewing Company is a popular one.
    3. Nightlife: Deep Ellum comes alive at night with numerous bars, pubs, and clubs. The scene caters to various tastes, from laid-back lounges to energetic dance clubs.
    4. Live Music Venues: Deep Ellum is renowned for its live music scene. Venues like The Bomb Factory, Trees, and Deep Ellum Art Co. host a variety of concerts, showcasing everything from indie and rock to hip-hop.

These are just a few highlights, and Dallas has much more to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, arts, outdoor activities, or culinary experiences, you’ll find something to enjoy in this dynamic city. You’ll love your time in Dallas. I hope this post gives you plenty of ideas for your one day in Dallas and that you have an amazing time!

Discover the best of Dallas in just one day with this local's guide! Explore the arts scene, dine at vibrant neighborhoods, and soak in the city's rich culture.
Discover the best of Dallas in just one day with this local’s guide! Explore the arts scene, dine at vibrant neighborhoods, and soak in the city’s rich culture.
Meghan

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