If you look hard enough in glittering Dallas, a skyscraper thronged city that gives urbane definition to its surrounding flat-as-a-pancake hinterlands, you certainly can find the stereotypical cowboy type, capped with a Stetson and dancing the two-step. But, that’s not really the essence of the stylish city, better known for big hair, large jewelry, loud laughter and one of the United States — if not the world’s — best financially supported, first-in-class arts scenes. A city that veritably invented luxury shopping (think: Neiman Marcus) and high dollar fetes, genteel Big D can be earthy too. It’s friendly, inspiring and welcoming—just the kind of city we at HAP love to visit.
So bijoux that entering feels like you’ve fallen into a glamorous siren’s jewel box ,this literal gem in downtown Dallas captivates with blue-lacquered walls, glossy marble, Mid-Century furnishings, unexpected shapes and curios, polished brass and drippy chandeliers. Its exterior, a historic skyscraper, built in 1965 to emulate a pin-stripe suit, adds a masculine touch to the mix. 219 capacious rooms (go for the Corner Suite for its soaking tub and uninterrupted city vistas), a rooftop pool, immense fitness area, and buzzy restaurants seal the deal. Don’t miss a cocktail at Catbird, one of Dallas’ preferred watering holes, set on the 9th floor rooftop.
Like an extension of Dallas’ famous arts district itself, HALL Arts Hotel, fashioned as an assemblage living piece of art reigns as a place designed for aesthetes to ponder the glory of the Pritzker Prize-winning architecture that encircles the hotel. As a gallery-like showcase for contemporary work, it acts as a nerve center for guests keen to visit nearby galleries and attend performances — from the symphony to dance. With 183 rooms, HALL Arts, exudes a connoisseur’s vibe, all 19 Arts District-inspired suites tempt. Choose the glam Masterpiece Suite for its artistic finesse and views of the Wyly Theater. Save a sunny afternoon for the attention grabbing rooftop pool, and don’t miss a chance to nosh at Ellie’ Restaurant & Lounge, led by Chef Anthony Hsia.
Elegant, airy and trendy Tei An showcases the cunning craft of Japanese food and the philosophies of Japan’s graceful culture. Like a sushi-sized bit of Tokyo in Texas, zen-like Tei An gets high marks for its freshly made soba noodle dishes.
Brunch in Bishop’s Art District at Encina, which manages to meld both Southern strut and Mexican magic in sleek digs. A collaboration between two Dallas food celebrities, Corey McCombs and former Bolsa chef Matt Balke, the menu offers a range that includes Brisket Hash, Blue Corn Pancakes, and Honey Glazed pork Belly with Cheese Grits. Sip a Verde Maria, bright with mezcal and tomatillo.
You won’t see Humphrey Bogart at Casablanca Bar & Lounge an oasis of exotica, but it’s still a magic realm of film noir chic with that moody far flung feel. Expect Moorish interiors and craft cocktails you can’t get anywhere else. Try one of the boozy teas, such as The Lost Chemist, a commingling of goji berry tea infused vermouth blanc, vodka, falernum and more.
Neon lights and cushy couches combine to create an aura of contentment and cool at Double D’s in the Design District, , a cozy but chic hotspot. Peruse the six page menu to discern which inventive cocktail you crave — it’s a long read, but worth the effort.
The Knox District
Snuggled between Lower Grenville Avenue, Highland Park and Uptown, find the buzziest see, be seen and do-it-all-with-zest-spot in the city: the Knox District. It incorporates a range of entertaining possibilities, including the verdant Katy Trail (shirtless Troy Aikman sightings are a daily affair), tons of unique shops (try Tipsy Cupcakes for alcohol-infused baked goods, Art is Art for paintings and other artwork, Vintage Martini for clothing), restaurants aplenty (new Pizzana for high profile pizza and iconic the Porch for burgers), and bars galore. Don’t miss the extravaganza that is Grange Hall—an eclectic shopping and eatery fusion.
The Dallas Arts District
You can’t do it all in one day in the nation’s largest contiguous art district. Pick and choose between amazements like the Dallas Museum of Art , a cache holding 24,000 masterworks with a range of 5,000 years, and the eye popping Nasher Sculpture Center, home to pieces by the likes of Cy Twombly.
The Sixth Floor Museum chronicles the life and assassination of JFK from all different types of perspectives. When here, you will be privy to over 90,00 artifacts as well as stand right in front of the window that JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald shot his rifle.
Katy Trail is Dallas’ version of the Highline (before the Highline even existed). It’s an urban greenbelt that occupies a stretch of abandoned Union Pacific Railroad — when here, walkers, joggers, and cyclists can travel from Uptown to Highland Park, playing witness along the way to a slew of eclectic pop-up art installations.
In Highland Park Village, this fashionista’s dreamscape redefines retail. A concept store that carries new and emerging designers (Aje, Simon Miller, Rotate,) but also established brands (Jonathan Simkhai, Marni, Cult Gaia and Mark Cross), they’ve established themselves as an incubator program for creatives wanting to test the Texas market. For shoppers that means being first in line to some of the world’ hottest wearable items.
Located in Knox-Henderson, this boutique is replete with Texas-inspired menswear, stocking brands such as Beams Plus and Universal Works. Handsome wide-brimmed hats are on the shelves too.
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