Dallas is known for many things — big business, steakhouses, and Southfork Ranch. But something that remains a bit of a hidden gem: the city’s arts and culture scene. In the country’s largest arts district, visitors and locals alike can experience an incredible array of world-class arts, music, and theater on any given night.
So if you haven’t already made plans to get your cultural fix while you’re in town, enjoy this guide to Dallas’ can’t-miss arts experiences. Best of all, many of these incredible venues are just a quick walk from both the Crowne Plaza Dallas and Hotel Indigo Dallas Downtown.
The Dallas Opera
The Dallas Opera‘s home is the stunning Winspear Opera House, a modern take on traditional concert halls. Opened in 1957 with a performance from iconic soprano Maria Callas, the internationally-acclaimed Dallas Opera has continued to bring the world’s most talented performers to the city, including the American debut of director Franco Zeffirelli.
The Dallas Museum of Art
Home to more than 24,000 works, ranging from ancient pottery to modern painting, the Dallas Museum of Art is a serene spot to take in some of the art world’s most recognizable pieces. In addition to an impressive collection of Piet Mondrian, works from Jackson Pollack, Cindy Sherman, and Claude Monet find their home among countless other masterpieces. Best yet, admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is free every day.
The Sixth Floor Museum
Dallas’ most well-known historical happening, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is memorialized at The Sixth Floor Museum. Housed in the former Texas School Book Depository from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy, the museum boasts a wide-ranging collection of photographs and films, including the original Zapruder film. Dealey Plaza, best known for its infamous “grassy knoll,” is just a few short steps away.
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
Considered by many to be the crown jewel of Dallas’ art scene, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center is an incredible place to take in a show performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Designed by I.M. Pei, the Meyerson is home to renowned conductor Jaap van Zveden, who will soon depart Dallas to take the reins at the New York Philharmonic. So if you have a chance to catch van Zveden conduct the Symphony, don’t pass it up.
Crow Collection of Asian Art
Dallas real estate magnate Trammell Crow was an extensive traveler, especially through Asia, and more than 500 artifacts and works of art from his journeys across the globe are housed at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, a free-to-the-public museum that showcases works from China, India, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Two of the museum’s three galleries are connected by the Skybridge, a glass structure that offers breathtaking views of the Center’s relaxing outdoor courtyard.
Nasher Sculpture Center
Most museums require being indoors, but the Nasher Sculpture Center lets visitors take advantage of Dallas’ typically temperate climate. This “roofless” museum houses what is considered to be one of the best collections of modern and contemporary sculpture in the world. Walk through the Nasher’s serene setting while taking in works from Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Joan Miro.
Dallas Heritage Village
Catch a glimpse into how Dallas’ first settlers in the 19th century lived at Heritage Village, the city’s first-ever park, where you’ll find a collection of Victorian homes and buildings filled with pioneer relics. If you’re particularly interested in ghost hunting, the Millermore home is supposedly haunted. Schedule a self-guided tour or allow one of the incredibly knowledgeable guides lead your group through Dallas’ unique history.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
President George W. Bush and his wife Laura have made their post-presidency home in Dallas, along with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Southern Methodist University. In addition to an inside look at 43’s presidency and a farm-to-table restaurant, the Library boasts surprisingly fun interactive video experiences and a life-size replica of the Oval Office.
Bishop Arts District
Home to more than 60 independent art galleries, boutiques, and eateries, the Bishop Arts District is frequently described as Dallas’ most unique neighborhood. A quick drive from Downtown, Bishop Arts is excellent for a leisurely stroll as you peruse locally made goods and work from some of Dallas’ best artists.
Ready to experience the best of Dallas’ arts and culture? Plan your trip now, or explore other cities with unique arts and culture scenes.
Dallas photo credit: Flickr/ThunderKiss Photography