To help you experience the vibrant energy of this cosmopolitan city with a Texas twang, we asked Kevin Alderman, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions he could find—not just his own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Resort.
Where to eat
Dallas is a culinary destination, and its star chefs set innovative tables. Enjoy global cuisine at Oak, in the heart of the Dallas Design District. The restaurant has been acclaimed by Leslie Brenner, a respected Dallas Morning News food critic. Fans say that a good strategy for selecting from the menu of appealing choices is simply to close your eyes and point.
After dark entertainment
A league of young, mobile locals infuses the city with an enthralling late-night vibe. The hottest haunts for nightlife include Lounge 31, a Eurocentric Champagne and cocktail lounge atop Bistro 31 overlooking the exclusive Highland Park Village. Among the temptations are nearly 20 varieties of sparkling wines and unique cocktails. Don’t leave without trying the Dark and Bubbly, made with Goslings Rum, fresh lime juice, ginger syrup and Champagne.
If you are in the mood for some local get-up-and-boogie, hightail it to Glass Cactus Nightclub at the Gaylord Texan. Enjoy everything from Texas-style country music to 1980s cover bands to the hottest local DJs. This happening dance club offers valet parking, coat check and even a VIP membership, which allows you exclusive entry into the private lounge as well as special invitation-only events.
Live music and dancing
The House of Blues is one of the best live music venues in town, entertaining guests with shows by local singer-songwriters and big name rock bands. On Sunday mornings, the venue hosts a world-famous Gospel Brunch, a Southern-style celebration of great food and excellent entertainment.
Need a heel-toe, boot scootin’ fix? Billy Bob’s Texas, in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, is the world’s largest honky-tonk. This is where cowboys and cowgirls go to two-step to country music artists like Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Mark Chesnutt, Jack Ingram and Hank Williams, Jr. Don’t forget to check out the live bull riding every Friday and Saturday night.
Give your spirits a boot
In Dallas, you can separate boots into two categories: wrangling/scraping and boot-scooting/black tie. Today you’re likely to see more of the latter walking down the streets of Dallas. To join in, visit M.L. Leddy’s in the heart of Fort Worth. This legendary boot and saddle company has been providing custom-made boots since 1922. At NorthPark Center, you can also pick out your finest outfit at Pinto Ranch, which lays claim to having the largest upscale custom boot selection in the U.S.
The best pub in Dallas
With 70 beers on tap and more than 90 bottled varieties, the collegiate Ginger Man Pub, in the Cultural District, is a destination for beer connoisseurs. Throw darts, play tunes or head to the outdoor beer garden for lively conversation.
Downtown Dallas seems worlds away at the Nasher Sculpture Center, which houses more than 300 sculptures together with 20th-century paintings and drawings. The collection rotates in thematic installations throughout the Center’s seamless blend of indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces. For the most peaceful experience, find a bench near the museum’s outdoor water wall.
Perfect picnic spot
Have the chefs at Four Seasons pack you a picnic lunch, then head to the 66-acre Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden at White Rock Lake. Once at the Arboretum, spread a blanket on its manicured lawn and enjoy both the amazing gardens and a dramatic skyline view.
Step back in time
The Highland Park Soda Fountain, located in the Knox-Henderson area bordering Uptown, transcends time. At this 1912 establishment you can grab an old-fashioned booth or snag a stool at the soda-fountain counter to savour the “Palm Beach” sandwich (grilled pimiento cheese) and the pharmacy’s classic—two slices of Sunbeam bread filled with American cheese, grilled to perfection, and served with dill pickle chips and a chocolate milkshake.