This blog post was updated on July 20, 2021.
Known for the Cowboys, the TV series of the same name and, of course, shopping malls, Dallas frequently receives no more than a quick glance from travelers. As the rest of the pack heads for Austin or Houston, those who choose to hop on flights to Dallas will find the city boasts unique museums, a roaring nightlife, and plenty of shopping opportunities. Whether you’re in town on business or just looking to get a taste of Dallas in two days, we’ve come up with a 48-hour itinerary that’s sure to keep you busy.
Day 1 in Dallas
Since you are in Texas, you’ll need a breakfast the size of the state to accomplish all of the day’s activities the second your cheap flights to Dallas land. Begin at Norma’s Café, a hometown institution for Texas home cooking since 1956. The Proud server of “eNORMAus” breakfasts, their Country Breakfast option includes just that: two eggs with chicken, fried steak, and creamy gravy. These large, rib-sticking breakfasts will tide you over for touring until dinner.
History buffs shouldn’t miss the chance to then head to the Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza. This plaza marks the spot where former President John F. Kennedy was shot in November of 1963. For an insider’s look at the JFK assassination, you can head to the neighboring museum. The museum details what happened through eyewitness photographs, video, and audio clips. You can even delve into the many conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day (if you haven’t already). The Sixth Floor Museum occupies the former Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald reportedly took his shot.
Even if you haven’t quite worked up an appetite yet, you’ll want to make room for Rafa’s Cafe. The authentic Tex-Mex eatery on West Lover’s Lane provides a fine lunch spot to grab a taco, tamale, or enchilada.
If your stomach is bursting from Dallas-sized breakfasts and lunches, you can work it off a bit by roaming the Dallas Arts District for the afternoon. Known as the biggest art district in the United States, the area spans 68 acres, offering up some of the city’s best art, entertainment, and culture scene. Travelers won’t want to miss stopping in the noteworthy Dallas Museum of Art or combing through the modern art installations at the Nasher Sculpture Center.
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To keep up your eating spree, take a quick drive over to Off the Bone Barbecue for dinner. With scrumptious smoked brisket and notoriously delicious baby back ribs, you’ll never want to leave Texas. You can also enjoy some classic South favorites like pecan pie and peach cobbler.
No need to feel guilty post-dinner – you can work it off the Texas way by line dancing at Gilley’s Dallas. The legendary honky-tonk establishment provides a fine place to hear country music, dance, and grab a beer. Just south of Dallas, Gilley’s was an older venue reopened in 1971 by country singer Mickey Gilley. The dance floor is over 90,000 square feet, so get your dancing boots ready.
Day 2 in Dallas
If you’re still full from yesterday’s extravagance, you can start day two off on the right foot at the Dallas Farmers Market. Open Monday through Sunday, the spanning food hall and market offers something for everyone for breakfast, from bakery options to brunch spots. You can find plenty of local specialty food, produce, and artisanal food vendors within the multi-stall market.
Even if you aren’t a shopper, this city might have you changing your ways. Spend the morning doing as many locals do: shopping. Start your retail journey at Neiman Marcus, the company’s flagship store set up in the downtown district. Next, you can head to Wild Bill’s Western Store. Located on North Market Street, the shop remains one of the best places to pick up cowboy boots while in town. In fact, many celebrities have stopped in Wild Bill’s for boots while passing through.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Dream Café. The healthy organic diner features a whole slew of sandwiches, salads, and gluten-free options for lunch.
If you need to escape the noise of Dallas, you’ll find a beautiful retreat at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Across 66 acres, you can explore gardens and lawns at White Rock Lake Park. Be sure to look at the event calendar as well, The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden frequently host seasonal festivals and events.
For your last night in Dallas, you’ll want to dine out at Meddlesome Moth. With its classy but easygoing atmosphere, the menu hones in on regional specialties freshly shucked oysters, crispy pork belly, and shrimp and grits. After dinner, end your time in Dallas in the Deep Ellum neighborhood. This corner of East Dallas is known for music, with roots in jazz and blues beginning in the 1920s. Throughout the neighborhood, you can find bars and venues blasting out some of Dallas’ best live music.
Forty-eight hours in Dallas isn’t nearly enough time to fit in all there is to see, do, and eat in town. However, this two-day stint in Dallas might have whetted your appetite for more of this large Texas city. Or, maybe just the food.
Have you been to Dallas? Where do you recommend heading to while in town?