Dallas may be full of skyscrapers, but it has a soft spot for mavericks who think big and forge their own path.
Start your day Texas-style with a hearty bowl of chili topped with eggs at Ellen’s Southern Kitchen in Dallas’ West End Historic District. The trendy Southern diner, which serves breakfast all day, specializes in comfort food with a modern twist. Then step back into history at the Old Red Courthouse, built in 1892 and home to the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture. You’ll find a pistol that belonged to infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde and even J.R. Ewing’s famous Stetson cowboy hat from the classic television show Dallas. Step into the restored 1892 courtroom and imagine some cattle rustlers are on trial.
Make time for Wild Bill’s Western Store, where you can enjoy a cold Texas beer while you get a hat steamed to fit you perfectly, or get measured for custom-made boots. Then stop for a few snapshots at the iconic Pioneer Plaza, the world’s largest bronze monument depicting a cattle drive, complete with nearly 50 longhorn steers being herded by three cowboys.
Head to West Dallas for lunch at Smoke, whose intensely-flavored smoked meats aren’t for the meek. The menu is Southern meets Texas, so start with the pimento cheese croquettes, dipped in a Tejano red sauce. Next, find some cowboy chic as you browse the Bishop Arts District. Pick up a ceramic trophy head for your wall or stamped leather coasters with a Texas motif. Wander into M’Antiques, where you can enjoy a beer while you find a cool vintage cuff and imagine the history behind the store’s antique knives and guns.
Grab dinner at The Rustic, a relaxed Uptown restaurant, bar and backyard concert venue serving Southern-inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Settle in by the fire pits and enjoy live music under an oak tree canopy at Pat’s Backyard, named for country music star Pat Green and voted one of the city’s best patios.
Head to Pecan Lodge, which Texas Monthly magazine called one of the top four barbecue joints in the world. You’ll go through plenty of paper towels as you enjoy the meltingly tender smoked brisket and sausages made in-house. Then spend the afternoon immersing yourself in Dallas’ early days at Dallas Heritage Village, a collection of more than 25 historic structures from the early 1900s located on the site of Dallas’ first public park. Stop by the general store or country church, or visit a Civil War-era homestead with livestock.
Enjoy the West’s iconic spectator sport at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo. Gasp over the speed and agility of the barrel racers and bareback riders, the steely nerve of bull and bronco riders and the lightning quick reflexes of steer wrestlers. Come early to make time for cowboy autographs, pony rides, the petting zoo and a visit to the Western store and ranch-style dinner from the barbecue pavilion.
Experience a real Texas honky tonk at Cowboys Red River. Get your boots moving and don’t forget your hat before heading to Texas’ largest dance floor. Learn how to two-step in an Old West setting with live country music, and make sure some gets a photo of you on the mechanical bull.
This itinerary is compliments of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.