Ah, the allure of jetting off to Europe or hiding out in an overwater bungalow in Fiji. Sound tempting? Sure, until reality sets in and you realize you can’t take that many days off work, can’t afford a transcontinental trip, and oh, right, who is going to watch the kids? Just because you can’t fly to Paris doesn’t mean you can’t get away from it all.
More than ever eager travelers are looking into their own backyards to find the perfect getaway. “Staycations” are a great opportunity to take time off and relax, but also save money and experience your hometown in an entirely new light. After all, you’ll still get to sleep in, leave your wet towels on the floor, and let someone else make you breakfast. Besides, when was the last time you viewed your city through the eyes of a tourist?
Today we highlight one of the best staycation cities, Dallas, Texas, a bustling hub of commerce and art that is too often overlooked as a destination for leisure.
Things to Do in Dallas
Whether you’re a culture vulture, history buff or people-watcher, Dallas has something to whet your appetite.
You didn’t think parks were just for kids, did you? This innovative urban park in the heart of downtown is the ultimate outdoor living room with free programming ranging from yoga classes to concerts and book signings. Plus, there’s no need to pack a picnic–food trucks roll in daily to serve visitors a variety of foods like sushi, burritos and bahn mi.
Who needs the Louvre when you can peruse 22,000 works of art spanning nearly 5,000 years right here in Dallas? Amble through the galleries where you’ll spy ancient ceremonial masks, spot a Tiepolo, get lost in a Picasso or marvel at the modern masterpieces of artists such as Donald Judd and Bruce Nauman, it’s all here under one roof. Go beyond the surface and sign up for a hands-on creative workshop, take a gallery tour with an artist or historian, or be inspired at one of the Arts & Letters Live talks from renowned artists, writers and performers.
You don’t need to visit New York to see a Broadway show. The AT&T Center hosts everything from first-run Broadway shows, comedians and speakers to opera, dance and concerts by world-renowned artists, companies and troupes. The center, which comprises ten buildings, is also an architecture aficionado’s dream, with two buildings designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects. The Meyerson Symphony Center, designed by I.M. Pei, is a triumph of modern design, while the Winspear Opera House takes the classic horseshoe shape and reinterprets it with a striking contemporary style.
If the last time you visited this museum was on an elementary school field trip, it’s time to revisit. Housed on the sixth and seventh floors of the former Texas School Book Depository, this museum honors the memory of John F. Kennedy and shows the impact his assassination had on one of Dallas’, and the country’s, darkest days.
Bring the kids along to this fascinating museum where even the building itself serves as a lesson in the wonders of science. Catch a 3D movie or visit the 11 permanent halls showcasing interactive exhibits focused on everything from nature and space to weather and engineering. The children’s museum is ideal for those 5 and under who want to learn by climbing, touching, and playing. There’s even an outdoor courtyard with a pond and stream.
Set on the edge of White Rock Lake, this stunning spot has 70 acres of blooming gardens for meandering or just soaking up the sunshine. It’s just the place for quiet reflection, a romantic picnic, or a little family fun. Come spring and summer, find a patch of grass and sit back and enjoy one of the many live concerts.
Where to Eat in Dallas
Dress up or dress down for dinner? Dallas does both.
It’s true that it’s better in Texas and we do Mexican like nobody else. When you’re craving a little ceviche, chile con queso, shredded brisket taco or flame-grilled fajita, head straight to Mi Cocina, a Tex-Mex staple.
Pecan Lodge isn’t called one of the top four BBQ joints in the world for nothing. This casual spot dishes out old-fashioned southern comfort–fried chicken, pulled pork, tender brisket–in heaping portions that will make your mouth water.
This is Texas. If you’re hankering for a prime cut of beef, look no further than this classic steakhouse. Bob’s delivers time-honored favorites: succulent seafood, mouthwatering steaks and crispy salads–all served in a contemporary setting.
Where to Shop in Dallas
Dallas does shopping better than most (we did create Neiman Marcus, after all) and no staycation is complete without a little retail therapy.
Anchored by department stores, this classic mall also has boutiques from some of the leading names in specialty apparel, handbags and fine jewelry.
Rodeo Drive? Fifth Avenue? Thanks, but no thanks. We have Highland Park Village right here, with premier brands such as Christian Louboutin, Harry Winston and Hermès.
The name says it all at this village-style shopping center with hip offerings, including a wide variety of chic restaurants.
Recognized names from the best in apparel, jewelry, home furnishings and more. There’s even a seasonal ice skating rink!
Where to Stay in Dallas
For more Texas Staycations, read Best Staycation Cities: Fort Worth.