Ultimate Guide to Downtown Dallas: What to See, Do, and Eat

I seriously feel so lucky to get to work in Downtown Dallas. I feel like I talk about it all the time, but that’s simply because I just love it so much! I still get a little giddy when seeing the skyline from a glance (best skyline ever, in my opinion). Even through the clouds and the fog, I love that I can see the skyline from all the way up by my apartment. I love riding the train between all of the buildings with other commuters. I love instinctively knowing which streets are one-way so I can cross the street faster (don’t worry mom, I still look both ways, anyway). I love all the food choices. I love all the free activities and all the little parks I love it all!

One of the Blogtober prompts I came up with was to revisit an older popular post, and this is definitely a series that I couldn’t wait to revisit! There is so much to do, see, and eat downtown, and all that goodness deserves to be shared again!!

WHAT TO SEE

  1. Dealey Plaza – If you were paying attention in 10th grade history class, you will remember this as the place where President Kennedy was shot while in his car. Here you can see the grassy knoll and there is even a classy X spray painted on the road where the shot happened.
  2. Old Red Courthouse – There is technically a museum in this building, but I haven’t been inside yet. I just love the look of it! It’s so old! And red!
  3. Kennedy Memorial – This is here in Dallas for obvious reasons. I recommend a little moment of silence when you come to this one. Read the plaques and learn a little, too, while you’re there.
  4. Pioneer Plaza – This was so much better than I expected it would be!! It’s just a bunch of sculptures, but it’s so fun to walk around and take selfies with the bulls!
  5. Giant Eyeball – Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. A 30-foot eyeball sculpture on a patch of astroturf in the middle of downtown. It’s pretty weird and pretty awesome!
  6. Main Street Garden – There isn’t anything super special here, it’s just a cute little park in the middle of the city. There’s a splash pad and you can play games, too!
  7. Fountain Place – There is this cute little courtyard here and it’s the perfect place to enjoy some shade and the sound of fountains in the background. There’s also a little fountain splash pad here, too! (This is actually still under construction, but I left it on the list because it will still be great once that’s finished!)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Reunion Tower – Don’t do this if you’re afraid of heights! Here you go to the top of the tower, inside the giant sphere where you get 360 degree views of Dallas! There are binoculars so you can look all around and inside the globe there are lots of fun facts about Dallas and the surrounding areas!
  2. Sixth Floor Museum – This is the museum dedicated to the death of JFK, and y’all it is GOOD. It’s located IN the textbook depository building where the shots were fired, which makes the whole experience even more meaningful. The museum tour took me about 3 hours to get through (lots of reading and listening to an audio guide) and it was totally worth the price of admission. Everyone should do this at least once. Seriously.
  3. Glass-front pool at the Joule Hotel – I haven’t experienced this yet, but this pool looks so cool! It juts out BEYOND the building and has a glass front, so it looks like you’re swimming out into the air! I hope to try this soon!
  4. Neiman Marcus – This is the original one!! Get some shopping done in a historical building (and go to one of the yummy cafes inside!)
  5. Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Quite a fun museum! There was a lot to learn and interact with, and definitely worth checking out (even though it isn’t free and I’m used to all museums being super free thanks to St. Louis. #spoiled).
  6. Dallas Museum of Art – I really enjoyed this art museum. It had a lot of great pieces to look at and it took me a few hours to get through – this would be a fun date spot!
  7. Nasher Sculpture Center – This is definitely one to do when it’s not TOO hot outside. Or too cold. Just a spot for a nice afternoon spent looking at art. They sometimes have events there, too, which look pretty fun!
  8. Klyde Warren Park – This small park has it all! Food trucks (which I mentioned a few days ago), a little play area for kids, a splash pad, a Southwest Porch, free games to play like Foosball, and they have free fitness classes throughout the week (like yoga, Zumba, and tai chi!) You could seriously spend most of the day here!

WHERE TO EAT

  1. Hoffbrau Steaks – This is a great place for comfort food. They have amazing lunch specials and you get warm bread as soon as you sit down, which is honestly 80% of why I keep going back here. (That and the food is really good!!!) My recommendation: get anything that comes with mashed potatoes and gravy- they are great!
  2. Fluellen Cupcakes – This place has DELICIOUS cupcakes, as I’m sure you guessed from the name. They’re a bit expensive, but perfect to share. My recommendation: the cookies n cream cupcake. (Oreo cookie buttercream frosting? Yes, please!)
  3. Chop House Burger – Best burger downtown. No contest. They have some fun recipes to choose from, and their milkshakes are the bomb. The burgers are pretty big, so I usually try and split one and get my own side of fries. My recommendation: the Wine Country Burger.
  4. Cafe Strada – This is the little stand I go to when I want delicious gelato. They have ice cream cone chairs (!!!!!!!) and you can sit and look at the giant eye ball sculpture on the lawn nextdoor. My recommendation: literally any flavor of gelato. Or all of them. 🙂
  5. Press Box Grill – A good go-to for very casual eating and atmosphere. I came here by default once when the actual restaurant we wanted to go to was busy, and it ended up being pretty good! My recommendation: an order of the southwest egg rolls.
  6. Wild Salsa – This place has good chips and salsa, y’all. The food is pretty decent, too. I got here often with my little lunch group, and I usually get the same thing (and it’s always so good!!) My recommendation: Chicken Tinga quesadilla and a frozen ‘rita de casa.
  7. The Hospitality Sweet – This might actually be my favorite place downtown. It’s just SO ADORABLE! And smells so great (I mean, can you beat that cake smell? Nope!) I’ve had lunch here and I’ve just come to get macarons. Really you can’t go wrong. My recommendation: get the creamy chicken salad sandwich with a Texas scone for dessert (it’s like a churro cheesecake brownie bar and I’m pretty sure it’s the official dessert of Heaven.)
  8. Carmine’s Pizzeria – It might not be the best or the healthiest option, but MAN their pizza is huge and delicious!! It’s New York style, so one slice is more than enough to fill me up! My recommendation: a slice of their spinach alfredo pizza.
  9. Food trucks in Klyde Warren Park – There are usually 7 or 8 food trucks that pull up to the park every day, and there is a wide variety of foods to eat! My recommendation: If Ruthie’s is there, get The Boss (grilled cheese with bbq brisket and sharp cheddar on sourdough. Yum.)

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Five for Friday #38

I know that Friday juuuuuuuuuuuuuust started, but I’m already SO ready for the weekend! I’ve got my to do list made, and it is FULL. My main priority for the weekend is to decorate for HALLOWEEN! I’m hosting a scary movie night (not too scary tho… I’m a wimp when it comes to scary movies!) next weekend, but I want to get everything set up and ready as early as possible. I’ve been scouring the web this week for some good Halloween decorations, but I also found a few other fun things I wanted to share!

one || If you follow/like Warby Parker on Facebook than you’ve probably seen these already, but they have a mini web series called Oddcupations and they are hilarious! This seems like such a fun company to work for, and the employees clearly love their jobs!

two || Surprise, surprise, I found another podcast for you to check out. I JUST found out about this one, myself! Levar Burton Reads is pretty much what you’re thinking – Levar Burton reads you stories. It will take you back to the Reading Rainbow days of your past and you’ll thank me for it!

three || A good friend recently asked me if I had heard of Girl Defined ministries, and my answer was “ummmm nope never heard of them!” She said she had just found them herself, and was going through the videos and really enjoyed them so far. So I hopped online and looked them up. Girl Defined ministries comes from 2 adorable sisters, Kristen and Bethany. They have a book, a blog, and post short, inspirational videos once a week geared toward young, Christian ladies. (I’m slightly older than their target demographic, but that’s totally ok!) I’ve gone through a few of them and like what I saw so far – I’m excited to make my way through the rest of the videos!

four || SUPERMARKET SWEEP IS COMING BACK TO TV!!!!!!!!!! This is not a drill! The best TV show that you’re still not sure why you watched so enthusiastically from your childhood is coming BACK!!! Get excited, and start memorizing what grocery items are worth the most money immediately. (The giant ham, obviously.)

five || I love getting little glimpses into people’s lives, and this little article showing what Martha Stewart can’t travel without was the perfect little thing to read. I feel like I know this very famous stranger so much better now… haha. Martha Stewart travels with food? I travel with food! Granted, her food is homemade salmon and hard boiled eggs and mine is baggies of CheezIts…. but close enough.

My Favorite Dallas Blogs

Reading blogs is kind of like a way of life these days. Especially with people who write blogs, yes (it’s a great way to connect, make blog friends, and get inspired for your own content), but even most people who don’t have their own are reading blogs on a regular basis. It’s just a fun way to learn about new topics, figure out your fashion preferences, and maybe read a funny story or two.

One of my favorite things I get out of blogs is recommendations for fun things to do, places to go, and foods to try at fun restaurants. In order to have this content be relevant to me, I try to follow and read as many local blogs as I can.

Thankfully, Dallas has NO shortage of blogs to choose from. Seriously. Dallas is like blogger mecca – they are EVERYWHERE! I’ve been around town a few times and seen a blogger that I like taking outfit pics for their site and their Instagram – I internally fangirled, let me tell you! It was like a mini celebrity sighting, even though most people don’t actually know who that person is and most wouldn’t care. I still thought it was cool… 🙂

If you’re not already following bloggers in your city, I highly recommend you start! Here are some of MY favorites from my city – Dallas!

Helene in Between

Ok, so Helene doesn’t technicallyBrit + Co class live in Dallas anymore… but she got her start here so that still counts in my book. She and her husband moved to Europe last year and her blog gives tons of travel envy, city guides, and TONS of blogging resources. She even has her own – how cool is that?!?

The Cake by Hannah

I actually found Hannah on Instagram first, and then quickly started following her blog, too. She is just an adorable lady who LOVES cake (same, girl… same) and she shares about her life and her favorite things and I love reading along. And she sells cake-themed clothing items and they are SO cute.

The Miller Affect

This blogger, Amanda, mostly focuses on fashion, and while I don’t love all of the outfits she posts, most of them are super cute and super trendy! She shares about her life, too (hello, destination wedding goals) and she just seems really sweet.

Brighton the Day

Brighton’s blog is THE BEST!!! Her hair is ALSO the best! Her blog is probably my favorite one from Dallas, if I’m being brutally honest, and definitely in my top 5 favorite blogs in general. This girl is real, she is so honest and I love that she shares triumphs AND struggles. (Her snapchat and instagram stories are the perfect mixture of fun and random ramblings, which are still fun, tbh.) She shares her travels, her Dallas favorites, and lots of fashion.

Venus Trapped in Mars

Sarah’s blog is super fun! She’s also the lady behind Dallas Love List (which you should go follow immediately if you’re in Dallas and not already) and she has bright pictures that will make you immediately want to eat/drink/do everything she shares. She got engaged recently-ish and it’s fun to follow along as she shares her wedding planning insights!

Molly on the Move

This girl loves bright colors as much as I do, which is why I love looking at her blog so much! She gives great travel tips and city guides, recommendations on places to eat around town, and she gives great running advice, too (she just did a marathon, so yeah… I trust what she says…) She’s just adorable and I think you’ll like her as much as I do.

 

A Wake-Up Playlist for Your Mornings

Mornings are tough. I wouldn’t call myself a morning person at all, but I actually think I’m sort of a morning person. I’m a fake morning person? I’m not sure how to explain it. I hate waking up early, and I often accidentally sleep through my alarm (oops), and I’ll gladly lounge in bed for an hour after actually waking up. But on the flip side, I feel like my whole morning is wasted if I don’t get moving, I’m most productive first thing in the morning, and my “sleeping in” is still getting up hours earlier than my friends. I once suggested meeting friends for 10am breakfast (which seemed crazy late to me) on a Saturday and was told that is unacceptable, how about noon?

So while I have mixed feelings about the mornings, especially weekday mornings, I try to have some sort of noise going while I’m getting ready. Podcasts make an appearance from time to time, but I usually get distracted by what I’m doing and I miss out on a solid 4 minutes of the episode and have to try to go back and find where I tuned out, and it’s a bit time waster. I decided that I needed a solid, energetic playlist to keep me pumped up in the mornings and keep me bopping along while I’m getting ready. I put together a list of some of my favorite songs and hit play as soon as my feet touch the floor.

It’s a fun mix that really helps wake me up in the morning! This playlist takes about 50 minutes to get through, so my goal is to be out the door by the time I get to the last song. It helps me to stay on track in the morning, which is never a bad thing. Do you listen to anything in the mornings while getting ready? What are some of your go-to favorites?

I Took a Baking Class (and so should YOU!)

I LOVE baking. It’s one of the first things that people find out about me – either because I tell them or because I shove baked goods in their face. Sometimes it’s both! I’m known as the “baking” friend in my little Dallas friend group and I love it – I always make the birthday cake for friends, I bake the pies for friendsgivings, and I’m expected (happily!!) to bring s delicious homemade treat to all of our get-togethers, no matter how casual.

While I feel like I have a handle on cookies and cakes and other various treats, there was one thing that I had always wanted to try and make myself but was kind of scared to try…. Macarons.

You know the ones I’m talking about? They’re so delicious and delicate and can come in so many colors and flavors – but they’re notoriously difficult to make. Everything has to be PERFECT. Beat the egg whites too much? Throw it out. Didn’t fold in the dry ingredients using the proper technique? Toss it. Made the batter too warm while piping out the shells? Ruined. I was so nervous to try it out on my own and ruin it and get frustrated, which was the most likely scenario.

There is a macaron shop (Savor Patisserie) in town that offers baking classes and I’ve wanted to take one there… basically since I moved to Dallas. I was finally tired of saying “I should” and I went ahead and signed myself up for one of their macaron baking classes! And it was…….. AWESOME!!!

Seriously – it was so great! I showed up at their new classroom (by downtown Dallas) and the space was perfect. I met all the other people also taking the class, and we were divided into tables. I was at a table with 3 other ladies, and together I think we did a pretty good job making these little treats!

The owner of Savor (also named Kelly) led the class and helped us step by step as we followed along with the recipe page we were given. There was plenty of room on the paper to take notes – and I took a TON of notes! She gave so many great tips and tricks and I’ll be glad that I wrote them down in the future.

There were a lot of flavor options that we got to choose from, and my table decided to make raspberry shells with champagne buttercream filling. There were also a lot of great color options, and we chose BRIGHT blue for the shells! The color was SO bright and So happy and I absolutely loved it. Piping the shells was more difficult than it looked, but I feel like I got the hang of it pretty fast and felt comfortable doing it. Since there were 4 people at my table, we all took turns piping out a few rows of shells and some of the ladies were…. less comfortable… with the process… so a few of our shells looked very “special.” They still tasted great, tho!

Even the baking process is extremely precise for these little goodies! The host took care of the baking for us, and we all sat together chatting and enjoying the DELICIOUS smells coming out of the oven.

Once they were done baking, we made the buttercream. Again, my table chose a champagne flavor, and I got to pick the color – so obviously I went with BRIGHT pink. I know I’m biased, but I think that our macarons turned out SO GREAT!!!!!

I had SUCH a great experience taking this baking class! It was my first time doing anything like this, and it definitely won’t be my last. I’m so glad that I learned how to make macarons from a professional first and I can’t wait to try making them myself at home! (Actually I’m going to try making them at my sister’s house because she has a nice new kitchen with a fancy new oven and my oven is probably 40 years old and it’s kind of terrible…)

Have you made these on your own before? Have you tried them? What’s your favorite flavor combo?!?