When you think of fine art, does a trip to New York or Paris come to mind? London or Rome? In the U.S., the largest arts district isn’t New York, Los Angeles or Chicago; it’s Dallas. Here’s an itinerary for a solo traveler looking to experience the arts. Plan on the first weekend of the month for the best bargain in art.
Arriving in the Arts District is easy. Conveniently located in the northern end of Downtown, it’s accessible by several highways and light rail. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to navigate by walking, and the underground parking is plentiful. There are several large hotels serving the area, including Fairmont Dallas, Marriot Dallas City Center, Rosewood Crescent, and Sheraton Dallas. For those preferring the boutique hotel experience, Hotel Zaza and Magnolia lead the pack of many choices. Check in on a Friday night, and get rested for crowds the next morning.
First Saturday Frenzy
Why the first weekend of the month? The Nasher Sculpture Garden is free. In fact, the Dallas Museum of Art is now free all the time, except for special exhibits. The crowds come out, making it a great time for people watching. The atmosphere is unlike the quiet, retiring museum experience. It’s electric with art lovers and students. Start off early at the Nasher, then step next door to the DMA. Block off the whole morning for these two impressive collections. If the weather is nice, the food trucks across Woodall Rogers offer a wide choice of cuisines. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Klyde Warren Park. Should the weather be uninviting, The Atrium Café or Nasher Café inside the museums will tempt you to stay inside. Spend the afternoon at either the Crow Collection of Asian Art, or catch a matinee at one of the performing arts venues. Round out the evening with a performance at the Meyerson Symphony Center, the Windspear Opera House, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, or the Dallas City Performance Hall.
The Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, St. Paul United Methodist Church, and Fellowship Church all offer services within the district. Linger over brunch, or stroll around the District. Catch up on whatever venue you may have missed, or a matinee performance. As you wind down the day, you may realize why so many condos and apartments are located in or near the Arts District. For many, the District offers so much that it’s a way of life.
With so much to see and do, the solo traveler need not feel lonely in the Dallas Arts District. Even if you didn’t make new friends amongst all the art lovers, the art is its own reward. You may be planning a longer stay before the weekend even ends.