Where to Eat, Drink, and Play in Downtown Dallas

By Jenna Bailey - February 20th, 2020

As a lifelong local, I’ve often been asked by visitors for a list of great things to do in Dallas, and one of my favorite areas to direct people toward is Downtown. It’s a section of the city that I became even more enamored with when we opened our new location inside of Trammell Crow Center. I’ve loved getting to share my favorite downtown spots with members and guests as they settle into their new work neighborhood! With everything from specialty coffee shops and craft cocktail bars, to fascinating museums and beautiful public spaces, Downtown Dallas is a walkable gold mine that is definitely worth exploring. Below are a few of my “must trys” when spending time in the heart of the city.

Klyde Warren Park 

A park wedged between two sides of a highway? Yes, please. Lined with trees and food trucks, this is one of the best spots to hit for some quality time in the great outdoors. There’s something here for everyone–games, books, free fitness classes, live music, a children’s park, a dog park, and more. Hot tip: our Downtown Dallas location is just steps away from Klyde Warren Park, so it’s incredibly easy to pop out and get some fresh air here during your lunch break.

(Photo from www.dallasnews.com)

Dallas Museum of Art 

Step inside the Dallas Museum of Art and immerse yourself in an inspiring afternoon. With free (yes, free!) general admission, you can get lost in a maze of hallways displaying art from cultures around the world. A personal favorite of mine and not to mention, a great weekend-kickoff activity, is their Late Nights program on the third Friday of each month! During these special evenings, the museum stays open until 11:00 pm for a themed evening of performances, film screenings, art exhibits, activities, and more. If you do end up at the DMA, be sure to explore the Nasher Sculpture Center just across the street as well! Their outdoor sculpture garden is such a relaxing place to stroll when the weather’s nice.

(Photo from www.dallasartsdistrict.org)

Farmers Market 

While a favorite any day of the week, the Farmers Market shines brightest on the weekends! Just as you’d imagine, fresh fruits and veggies along with unique craft goods abound in the outdoor shed (weekends only)–however, the indoor market (open seven days a week) is another treasure trove. Incredible vendors with everything from Neapolitan pizza to Caribbean cuisine line the halls, including a true gem: Taqueria La Ventana, where their generous happy hour (M-Th 3:00-7:00, F 3:00-9:00) allows you a margarita and two tacos for $6. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any more convincing than that! While you’re there, don’t forget to walk through Bullzerk and get your Dallas-themed tees and accessories.

(Photo from www.dallasfarmersmarket.org)

Joule Hotel 

You could spend all day inside the Joule if you wanted; as a matter of fact, it’s on my bucket list to do the following sequence of events in one decadent Saturday! Whether you’re after great coffee, gourmet food, craft cocktails, or just some quiet reading time–this hotel has got you covered. Weekend is located in the lobby, serving up Counter Culture espresso and coffee as well as a variety of tempting baked goods. Getting hungry after your coffee fix? Americano is ready to serve you up an impeccable lunch, offering incredible Italian dishes and a really lovely patio to enjoy them on. Need to kill some time in the afternoon? Hop inside the TASCHEN library and peruse their walls of coffee table books to your heart’s content–that is, until you’re hungry again for dinner! CBD Provisions is ready to give you a truly transcendent meal (I’m still dreaming about a crab linguine I once devoured). Cap off your night with a cocktail from the talented bartenders downstairs at Midnight Rambler. My personal recommendation: try one of their ridiculously good tiki drinks!

(Photo from www.facebook.com/thejoulehotel)

The Statler 

The Statler is another hotel that brings the heat when it comes to an ideal night out! Bourbon & Banter is an upscale cocktail lounge that lives downstairs, serving up an impressive bourbon selection–but hey, if that’s not your thing, they have everything else as well. If you’re itching to feel the evening air, Waterproof is their rooftop bar that opens to the public starting at 9 pm. Sitting on the 19th floor, you can count on a great view of the city skyline at night as you sip your drink. If a more casual and high-stakes vibe is what you’re seeking, head on over to Scout on the ground floor for the ultimate combo of food, drinks, and games! Scout has a collection of pool, ping pong, and foosball tables, but the crown jewel is most definitely their bowling alley. This is the perfect place to play your friends for the next round! Both Bourbon & Banter and Scout have happy hour on weekdays from 4:00-7:00.

(Photo from www.facebook.com/thestatler)

Dallas World Aquarium  

The Aquarium is a lifelong favorite of mine! Walking into the Dallas World Aquarium feels like entering a jungle filled with exotic plants and animals (and, of course, lots ‘n lots of fish!). There are countless exhibits representing different regions of the world and their animal inhabitants range from Mundo Maya’s flamingos to South Africa’s penguins. If you’re there at the right time, you can actually watch the penguins eat lunch! Always dreamt of swimming with the sharks? Well, the Aquarium’s got the next best thing in the form of the shark tunnel, where you are totally surrounded by various shark species swimming to your left, right, and above you (fun fact, you can even get married inside it). Bring the whole fam, or take a solo trip– either way, you’re sure to enjoy all the wonders of the Dallas World Aquarium!

Image result for photo of the outside of the dallas world aquarium
(Photo from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_World_Aquarium)

Reunion Tower 

No Dallas sight-seeing list can be complete without Reunion Tower! As the fifth tallest building in the Dallas skyline, it offers some pretty spectacular views. Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck sits 470 feet above ground and provides you with a panoramic view of the city with the aid of their array of high-definition cameras, telescopes, and indoor/outdoor options. You can also grab a bite to eat as you take in the skyline at their casual cafe, Cloud Nine. A great date night can be had at their restaurant Five Sixty by the legendary Wolfgang Puck, where you get all the views courtesy of a rotating floor!

(Picture from www.visitdallas.com)

Common Desk

If you need to get some work done during your exploration of this area, we have two Common Desk locations here–one inside Trammell Crow Center, and one in the West End! We have carved out spaces that are both beautiful and functional to make your work experience more enjoyable. With in-house Fiction Coffee, ample shared space, incredible views of Dallas, and our own collection of local art, we have everything you need to create a memorable workday. Come grab a day pass and say hello–we’re excited to serve you!

That wraps up my list of favorites in Downtown Dallas! Honestly, compiling this list makes me anxious to spend my weekend revisiting these spots. Working in our new Downtown Dallas location has made it easier than ever to enjoy this area, and I hope you make your way down soon!

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About the Author

With one foot in coffee and the other in hospitality, Jenna helps keeps our Downtown Dallas location caffeinated and ready to work.
Jenna BaileyAuthor
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