Ten Essential To-Do’s in Dallas

Posted by Lanyon Staff on 10/22/2015

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Dallas “Do” #1: Grub Like a Local

Whether it’s a cheesesteak in Philadelphia or escargot in Dijon, one of the best parts of traveling is experiencing the many different ways that people feed themselves. During your trip to Dallas, make sure to fill up on some signature Texas eats.

Barbecue is perhaps the most quintessentially American cuisine. A blend of cooking techniques with roots in African, Caribbean, Native American and Spanish cultures, it’s way more American than apple pie. And in Texas, barbecue means brisket.

There are many theories as to the origin of Texas barbecue brisket. Some credit the early German and Czech settlers. Others say it was the Caddo Indians who taught the cowboys the art of slow-smoking tough cuts of meat over oak and pecan logs. Others still claim that it was pure economics that made brisket the king of Texas barbecue. Whoever we have to thank (or to blame) you would be wise to get your hands (and your lips) on some authentic Texas brisket while in Dallas.

A couple caveats, though. Avoid the big chain restaurants at all cost. Try Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum or Lockhart in Oak Cliff. Order it fatty, and remember — barbecue sauce is only there to make up for dry meat.

Also on the “don’t-miss” list is Tex-Mex. Same rules apply — stay local. We suggest El Corazon, Herrera’s, or Manny’s Uptown.

Dallas “Do” #2: Eat Something Bigger Than Your Face

As long as we’re talking Texas eats, make sure you eat at least one thing that’s larger than your face. That way, you can tell the folks back home that everything really is bigger in Texas! Try the chicken-fried steak at Matt’s Rancho Martinez. It’s nearly the size of a manhole cover, and comes smothered in your choice of cream gravy, chili, green tomatillo salsa or chili con queso.

Not feeling like a steak? Take a quick drive over to Arlington and try the Super Pho Challenge at Sprout’s Springroll & Pho — finish it in 30 minutes and you’ll go home with a limited “Pho Killa” T-shirt.

Dallas “Do” #3: Explore Your Transportations Options

Big cities come with big city traffic — that’s just the way it is, and Dallas is no exception. Thankfully, though, there are a number of options available to make getting around Dallas more pleasant. For starters, our two airports — Dallas/Fort Worth International and Love Field — are among the short, yet growing list of major airports that allow travelers to use Uber and Lyft to pick them up — meaning you don’t have to wait in line for a cab.

Dallas has the most extensive public transportation system of any city in Texas — with over 90 miles of light rail track (versus Houston’s 22). Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) can cheaply and green-ly get you anywhere in town you need to go — even from the airport.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a trip to Fort Worth on the Trinity Railroad Express and enjoy a night out at the famous Fort Worth Stockyards.

Dallas “Do” #4: Explore the Neighborhoods

Not even counting the suburbs, Dallas has many unique neighborhoods and enclaves — each with its own history, rhythm and things to offer visitors. The new-urbanist neighborhood of Uptown Dallas is a wealth of dining and shopping opportunities, while Deep Ellum is well-known as Big D’s historic nightlife district. The Bishop Arts Neighborhood in southern Dallas is growing ever-more popular for its innovative and organic approach to urban renewal, and it’s also home to Lucia — considered by many to be the best restaurant in Dallas.

Dallas “Do” #5: Klyde Warren Park

In just three short years, Klyde Warren Park has become one of the most beloved and recognizable features of the Dallas cityscape. The 5.2-acre deck park is an urban green space built over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets downtown. KWP is a highly active space, providing free, daily programming for the public — ranging from yoga and book signings to outdoor concerts and films. It’s also a great place to experience Dallas’ burgeoning food truck culture, with trucks serving up mobile gourmet goodies daily.

Dallas “Do” #6: Museums

Take in some fine culture in one of Dallas’ world-class museums — many of which are conveniently located just blocks from Lanyon Live in the Dallas Arts District. The Dallas Museum of Art is free to enter, and boasts an incredible collection of French Impressionist and Islamic art. The DMA is also home to one of the most renowned collections of Indonesian art in the world.

You can also experience one of the world’s finest collections of modern and contemporary sculpture at the Nasher Sculpture Center, or walk a few blocks down to the state-of-the-art Perot Museum of Nature & Science.

Looking for something a little more exotic? There’s the Dallas World Aquarium, with its huge walk-through rainforest exhibit. And history buffs won’t want to miss the Sixth Floor Museum, a fascinating collection of exhibits on JFK’s life, times, death and legacy — located in the infamous Texas School Book Depository Building.

Dallas “Do” #7: Local Brews

Over the last decade, Dallas has gone from having little to offer the growing craft beer crowd to a true brew-lover’s playground. It’s all due — in no small measure — to those brave Texas men and women who sweat, toil and dry-hop in Dallas’ many local breweries.

During your stay in Dallas, be sure to discover what Dallas is brewing. Local favorites can be found in many bars and restaurants in and around town — like Velvet Hammer (Imperial Red Ale) from Peticolas Brewing Company, Temptress (Imperial Milk Stout) from Lakewood Brewing Co., Mosaic IPA from Community Beer Company, or Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Dallas Blonde. With the exception of Lakewood Brewing Co., each of these breweries is just a short drive from Lanyon Live and offers tours of the facility and taproom. Just make sure to brew-crawl responsibly (see: Dallas Do #3).

Dallas “Do” #8: Go Boot Scootin’

We got both kinds o’ music in Dallas, Texas: Country AND Western! Seriously, though — in most ways, Dallas is like any other big American city. We’ve got apartment complexes and traffic, museums, hospitals, and so many transplants (and so few horses) that it’s sometimes easy to forget you’re in Texas.

But that doesn’t mean that Dallas lacks Texas style — you’ve just got to know where to find it. If you’re in the mood for the real Urban Cowboy experience, look no further than these Dallas honky tonks.

The Round-Up. Opened in 1908, it’s quite possible that the Round-Up Saloon & Dancehall isn’t just the best gay country-western bar in Texas — it just might DFW’s best country bar — period. You don’t want to miss Friday night “Howdy Hour” for some cheap drinks, good music and excellent country line-dancing.

Adair’s Saloon. A bit more urban than cowboy, this Deep Ellum landmark may be a little too small for two-stepping. Still, Adair’s Saloon is steeped in country charm. Or, as they put it, “it's not just another hole-in-the-wall honky tonk, it's Adair's Saloon, the best hole-in-the-wall, burger, beer and live music joint around!”

Cowboys Red River. A short drive from downtown, Cowboys Red River is about the closest you can get to the country without having to watch where you step. This HUGE dancehall hosts some of the biggest names in country music, along with frequent dance contests and always lots of fun-loving folks.

Dallas “Do” #9: Take a Spin in Reunion Tower

Perhaps the most unmistakable feature of the Dallas skyline, Reunion Tower offers an impressive vista of downtown and beyond. But this is more than just a good view. The tour’s GeO-Deck features two great restaurants: Cloud Nine Cafe — which serves light food and drinks, as well as brunch on the weekends — and the award-winning Five Sixty Restaurant by Wolfgang Puck.

Dallas “Do” #10: Go to Lanyon Live!!

I mean, that’s why you’re here, right? The entire Lanyon team is stoked, and we’re pulling out all the stops to make this our best user conference to date. To get the most from your experience at Lanyon Live, be sure to build your personal schedule. You can choose the sessions you want to see, and even set up one-on-one meetings with our tech consultants and customer service.

And don’t forget to take your schedule with you. It’s easy with the Lanyon Live mobile app — download it now for iPhone or Android. The app comes complete with networking tools, maps, a game, a local guide and more!

Welcome to Dallas, y’all!