Top 10 Dallas Experiences

Dallas may be universally known for the TV show namesake, big hair and cowboys but it's so much more than JR Ewing and western stereotypes. A city personality quite averse to this perception provides locally grown flavor and sophisticated experiences. So kick the typecast and explore the dynamic ways to do Dallas. (Photo: Shutterstock/Yan Simkin)

Updated: September 02, 2009

Textbook Dallas

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218

Shopping and eating seem to dominate Dallas activities but a day at the Arboretum is one unmatched by a plate of enchiladas or finding a Fendi bag. Many plant collections are displayed throughout the 66 acre gardens off the shore of White Rock Lake. Six and a half acres of that greenery showcase 2,800 specimens of Azaleas, which reminds you that the city blooms with new things to see daily.

Mia's Tex-Mex Restaurant

4322 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Tex-Mex joints are a dime a dozen in Dallas but this one inspired many of those you'll see around town. The wait is long for tender brisket that is piled into a taco with Monterey Jack cheese, grilled onions and poblano peppers but this is why a bartender is at the door ready to serve you a mambo taxi margarita.

Highland Park Village

47 Highland Park Vlg Ste 200, Dallas, TX 75205

It's recognized as the first shopping center in America and consists of coveted stores Hermes, Chanel, Jimmy Choo and Harry Winston. A day at HP Village is like a trip to Beverly Hills. It's not all about shopping though, a carriage ride through the village with a gelato or possibly spiked Starbucks is relaxing, educational and possibly romantic.

Bob's Steak & Chop House - Dallas

4300 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Everything is bigger in Texas and that doesn't exclude the steaks. Choosing where to eat your steak is tough though--too many options. But slicing into a hunk of meat at this chophouse is the quintessential Dallas experience. A 28-ounce porterhouse steak and a bat sized carrot will satisfy the Lone Star appetite anytime.

Fair Park

1200 S Second Ave, Dallas, TX 75210

The largest Art Deco collection in this 277-acre park was the backdrop for the 1936 World's Fair and is the epicenter for history buffs and art aficionados. A stroll around Fair Park will take you by the Cotton Bowl, the Music Hall where Martin Luther King spoke to the 20-story Texas Star Ferris Wheel and the Dallas Aquarium. The Big D may just stand for Deco.

White Rock Lake

8300 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218

One of the few outside area attractions, runners, bikers and rollerbladers love to circle the 9.33-mile path around this lake off Garland Road. Not only is it a meeting spot for many fitness enthusiasts but for families looking for a place to picnic and play with their pets. Despite the , the lake is a breath of fresh air for most.

Mc Kinney Avenue Transit Auth

3153 Oak Grove Ave, Dallas, TX 75204

A trolley ride is the best way for you to explore the 3.6 miles of restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues on McKinney Avenue. There is a stop along the route for all ages and tastes. Breadwinners can start the day with eggs Benedict, then a stop at West Village for some mean shopping, sushi at Gui and a drink at Fearing's or Frankie's Sport bar to finish off the Uptown trolley tour.

Nasher Sculpture Center

2001 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201

Soon to be the largest urban arts district in the nation, the 19 blocks of established and developing art venues provides a cultural day for art connoisseurs and a spot on the map for Dallas. Select performing and visual arts facilities on one block (including Nasher Sculpture Center) alone were designed by four different Pritzker Prize winning architects--the only street in the world for this to occur.

NorthPark Center

8687 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75225

Since the 1960s, this Ray Nasher (of Nasher Sculpture Center) development has been the model for luxury large scale shopping. Going to NorthPark Center is a right of passage for most Dallasites. It's a chance for you to shop at Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's and Oscar del la Renta as well as view works from renowned artists. Art and fashion equals a very stylized city.