Dallas Guide: Fun Things to Do in the Big D at Night
Anything and everything you need to know about Dallas to make your night one to remember. Clubs, culture, dive bars, pizza, and more!
Dallas has a little something for everyone, oftentimes served up with a distinctive Texas flair. And the city and its many vibrant neighborhoods buzz with life at night. Looking for a bohemian country-tinged dive bar or an upscale cultural experience? You can find both, right in the city.
There's plenty of ways to get around, too. Dallas has an extensive rail and bus system, more freeways than you can shake a stick at, and -- of course -- there's always Uber.
It can all get a little bewildering, to be honest. What do you do? Where you go first? How can you possibly pick?
Well, that's where we step in. We've tried to give you a nice cross-section of what Dallas offers, a virtual tour of the city. Of course, you can't fit everything in, but we like to think we gave it a good effort.
So without further ado, here's our guide to Dallas nightlife.
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck
It's almost too obvious, but if you want an iconic downtown Dallas experience, you have to eat at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck in Reunion Tower. Built in 1978, the observation tower is a prominent fixture on the Dallas skyline, with over 250 synchronized lights forming an illuminated dome over the top of the building at night.
Puck's restaurant, roughly 50 stories above the busy Dallas streets, is like the icing on the cake. The rotating dining room provides stunning, ever-changing views of the city. And the food isn't bad, either. Puck takes on Asian cuisine, with pork belly pot stickers and a prime New York strip entree dressed up with spicy Chinese and Japanese flavors.
Five Sixty is pricey, but the ambiance and service alone makes it worth it.
LOCATION: 300 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX 75207
Dallas Comedy House
Dallas Comedy House is tops for improv and sketch comedy. Even the open mics bring out some really funny people. Close to bars and restaurants in Deep Ellum, it's a must-see. Get yourself a Steve Martini and prepare to laugh.
LOCATION: 3025 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226
Neighborhood Spotlight: Deep Ellum
Deep Ellum has experienced its ups and downs over the years. A commercial and industrial area, it has a rich history as an epicenter of blues culture. The neighborhood declined as people moved en masse to the suburbs, only to revive again in the 1980s and 1990s as a nightlife destination. It's experienced a few rough patches since then, but is on a clear upswing. It still has a gritty urban feel to it, with gaudy neon signs and plenty of street art -- but that's part of the charm.
Located directly east of downtown, Deep Ellum is again a hotbed of music, good eats, and strong drinks.
MUSIC: Adair's Saloon bills itself as a honky tonk, and scribbling on the wall in marker is a rite of passage. Sons of Hermann Hall is an old lodge that hosts swing lessons and bands. Three Links is a trendy place to catch groups with more of a punk vibe.
EATS: Pecan Lodge hawks legendary barbecue over a loudspeaker and is open until 10:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Serious Pizza bakes incredible New York pizzas that gets people lining near out the door. Uncle Uber's is a celebrated sandwich shop with plenty of hippie-inspired artwork. Buzzbrews Kitchen is open 24 hours, and is the ideal restaurant when it's 4:00am and you desperately, urgently need food.
DRINKS: Black Swan Saloon crafts some terrific, inventive cocktails. Braindead Brewing and Deep Ellum Brewing Company offer great local beers.
LOCATION: Deep Ellen is mostly centered around three streets: Elm Street, Main Street, and Commerce Street. It begins east of US-75, continuing west to Exposition Avenue.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
At Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, it's like a year-round renaissance festival. Valiant knights ride their mighty steads and joust for the crowd's enjoyment inside a formidable Dallas castle. A falconer dazzles with amazing aviary feats. Guests are treated to a full course dinner that includes roasted chicken and potatoes, corn on the cob, tomato soup, and other goodies. Tickets are $60.95 for adults, and $36.95 for children under 12. It's a fun night out for a family.
LOCATION: 2021 N Stemmons Fwy, Dallas, TX 75207
Dallas Museum of Art Late Nights
Every third Friday of the month, the Dallas Museum of Art stays open until midnight. It's an action-packed -- and plain packed -- event, with a festive atmosphere. There's something special about hearing live music in a museum, and the artsy cinema will expand your horizons. You'll also enjoy the DMA's extensive art collection, which includes internationally-famous artists and important cultural artifacts.
LOCATION: 1717 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201
Hyena's Comedy Nightclub
So here's a joke.
A hyena walks into a club. He asks the bartender...
OK, actually, we've got nothing. But don't fret, the comedians at Hyena's Comedy Nightclub have ample material.
The Hyena Comedy Nightclub has the look and feel of your classic, Spartan comedy club, a bunch of tables around a small stage. The food and drinks are nothing special, so keep that in mind. You're going there for the comedy.
LOCATION: 5321 E. Mockingbird, Dallas, TX 75206
Pocket Sandwich Theatre
Now this place is fun. You get to throw popcorn at the actors! Pocket Sandwich Theatre puts on some hilarious plays in an unassuming strip mall. There's also improv, jazz, and more.
LOCATION: 5400 E Mockingbird Ln #119, Dallas, TX 75206
Neighborhood Spotlight: Uptown
No true guide to Dallas nightlife would be complete without mentioning Uptown, a relatively new urban neighborhood that follows McKinney out of downtown. It's quickly emerged as one of the city's most happening areas in the city thanks to persistent redevelopment efforts. The West Village Shopping Center (with high end shops, a fun movie theater, and various restaurants) is a major destination, and Rosewood Crescent Hotel is an impressive limestone showpiece for the city.
There's even a free trolley in Uptown, the M-Line, that uses vintage, restored streetcars. The M-Line runs until around midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. All in all, Uptown is a walkable place to eat, drink, shop, and dance.
MUSIC: Concrete Cowboy is like the quintessential "I just turned 21" club, with live DJs and hardly any room to move. Two Corks and a Bottle has a much more relaxed vibe, perfect for a glass of wine, with jazz and acoustic performers on most Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The Rustic has an awesome backyard space and hosts bands that tend to exhibit more of a country twang.
EATS: Crushcraft Thai Street Eats is a colorful, ultra modern Asian eatery that's open until 3:00am on weekends, and has great drunken noodles and delicious, soupy khao soi bursting with flavor. The Shell Shack dishes out heaping plates of crab, shrimp, and crawfish (seasonally) with veggies, flavored how you like. Salum has a menu studded with classics -- think spaghetti and fried chicken -- but graced with gourmet touches, like shaved tartufella or spicy chipotle gravy.
DRINKS: Parliament's cocktails are incredible, many a throwback to the golden age of speakeasies and hotel bars, others cutting edge. The Ginger Man has an impressive array of tap handles. Cork Wine Bar's touchscreens allow you to research your wine before ordering, and the bar lets you order 1 oz samples.
LOCATION: McKinney Avenue is the main "drag" in Uptown. You can spot most of what you'll want to check out from that road, though don't hesitate to explore some of the neighborhood spots. Its borders, roughly, are Akard Street, Katy Trail, US 75, and Haskell Avenue.
At first glance, the Design District in Dallas might look like your typical industrial park. But it's quickly becoming the chic place to be, a home for trendy art galleries and expensive designer furniture. Bowlounge is yet another welcome addition to the neighborhood, with lanes that recall the wonderful, kitschy '60s.
The food is bad for you in all the right ways, like any bowling alley food should be. Plus, there's 40 taps of beer.
What are you waiting for?
LOCATION: 167 Turtle Creek Blvd #103, Dallas, TX 75207
Granada Theater, Kessler Theater, Inwood Theater, and Texas Theater
Dallas has put its old historic Art Deco neighborhood theaters to good use. The Granada Theater and Kessler Theater are host to a steady assortment of live musicians, and benefit from an intimate feel. The Inwood Theater and Texas Theater play both classic and quirky movies, with the occasional mainstream release thrown in.
Texas Theater, by the way, is where Lee Harvey Oswald was eventually apprehended by authorities.
LOCATION: Granada Theater is at 3524 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206. Kessler Theater is at 1230 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208. Inwood Theater is at 5458 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75209. Texas Theater is at 231 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208.
Looking for those hidden, strange, weird, and often sublime nighttime locales that'll offer you a one-of-a-kind experience? The It'll Do Club is on a nondescript street in Old East Dallas and is host to cutting edge EDM acts every Saturday night, from 10:00pm to 2:00am. The Church/Lizard Lounge, on the outskirts of downtown on Swiss Avenue, is a unique dance club in a grand old building that also has goth nights. Lee Harvey's bar is smack dab in the middle of an old neighborhood, and its huge backyard will make you feel like you're at a house party.
LOCATION: The It'll Do Club is at 4322 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226. The Church/Lizard Lounge is at 2424 Swiss Ave, Dallas, TX 75204. Lee Harvey's is at 1807 Gould St, Dallas, TX 75215.
Or, maybe - maybe - you're looking for a more refined, sophisticated night out. SODA Bar is up on the roof of the swanky NYLO hotel and provides glamorous views of the Dallas skyline. The Midnight Rambler is relaxed and debonair, in the basement of the 1920s-built Joules Hotel. The Mansion Bar at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is where you go when you want to impress someone, with expensive drinks and decor that'll make you feel like you're in an old billionaire's house.
LOCATION: SODA Bar is at 1325 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215. The Midnight Ramber is at 1530 Main St, Dallas, TX 75201. Mansion Bar is at 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX 75219.
Neighborhood Spotlight: Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts District
Oak Cliff, and its trendy Bishop Arts District, is an up-and-coming area in South Dallas. South Dallas hasn't quite seen the same level of development and activity as the areas north of the Trinity River, which bisects the city. But it offers an interesting change of pace, and in the case of ultra-cool Bishops Arts, you might say it's already arrived.
The Wild Detective, in Bishop Arts, is half-bookstore, half-bar, and has frequent readings. Small Brewpub in Oak Cliff brews big beers and has a seasonal menu that's featured such ingredients as pickled pig's feet and pickled egg, among more pedestrian items. Bishop Cider Company is a small joint with yummy hard ciders.
LOCATION: Oak Cliff is large, starting south of the Trinity River, and bounded by I-30 and I-35E. It continues southeast from there for quite some ways. Bishop Arts is a small neighborhood, between Davis Street, 9th Street, Tyler Street, and Zang Boulevard.
Truck Yard might be the coolest thing about Lower Greenville, a neighborhood named after the road that passes through its heart, Greenville Avenue.
Now, let's see here. Truck Yard has a tree house. A metal trailer. A rusted car (?). A stage. Food trucks, beer, and picnic benches. Carnival Barker's, out front, serves ice cream.
There's live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, making Truck Yard a fun start to the day.
LOCATION: 5624 Sears St, Dallas, TX 75206
Developers took a truck terminal, and various other benign buildings, and turned it into the collection of fun concept restaurants known as Trinity Groves. It shuts down a little early, but is perfect if you just want dinner and a couple of drinks in a fresh, eclectic setting. Most of the restaurants are connected, so it's easy to take a peak at each one and see what catches your fancy.
Souk is a "Moroccan bistro" with belly dancers on busy nights. Off-Site Kitchen has awesome burgers, but the 48-hour cracked pepper brisket on a long roll is something else. Yes, that's right -- they slow cook it for two entire days. Four Corners Brewery has quality beers and giant Jenga.
If you want what's arguably the best view of the Dallas skyline, the nearby Continental Avenue pedestrian bridge is well worth the short trek.
LOCATION: 300 block, Singleton Blvd, Dallas, TX 75212 (you should be able to spot most of Trinity Groves from here -- parking is plentiful)
Cowboys Dancehall Red River
Cowboys Dancehall Red River is the apex, the apogee of Dallas country bars. For starters, it's physically massive. This place is gigantic, with multiple bars.
But its more than its size that makes it the top dog. It's the atmosphere. There's two-stepping, swing dancing, and long-necks being passed around. Free dance lessons are available every Wednesday-Friday, and country bands take the stage at night. It's like what everybody not from Texas thinks Dallas is like 24/7.
Oh, and the disco saddle will blow your mind. Trust us.
LOCATION: 10310 Technology Blvd, Dallas, TX 75220
Neighborhood Spotlight: Oak Lawn
Cedar Spring Road in Oak Lawn is the center of the LGBT scene in Dallas. So much so, that some refer to Oak Lawn as the "gayborhood". A large chunk of it is apartments and condos, giving it a dense, big city feel.
The Round-Up Saloon is a favorite haunt, a campy take on places like Red River. Station 4 has regular drag shows upstairs, and stays open until 4:00am. JR's Bar & Grill is more of a low-key affair, a chill bar with a tin ceiling.
And no, it's not that J.R.
LOCATION: Oak Lawn is centered around the intersection of Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs, extending south to Harry Hines Boulevard and north to the city of Highland Park.
Painting with a Twist
Sure, Painting with a Twist is, like, everywhere. But it's fun! You get to bring your own wine, and, with a little help, paint your own masterpiece. If you thought Bob Ross made painting look easy, wait until you try this.
LOCATION: Painting with a Twist has numerous locations throughout the Dallas area, making it a very convenient night out.
House of Blues
House of Blues is in Victory Park, a splashy new entertainment district in downtown Dallas with giant TV screens. It has pretty solid food, and a theme park feel to it.
Of course, the real attraction is the steady stream of live performers. These aren't no-name people, either. Chances are, in any given week or two, somebody you recognize will be up on stage.
Ticket prices vary, but usually you can score a ticket for $20-$40, or less.
LOCATION: 2200 N Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75202
American Airlines Center
American Airlines Center is the home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars, and the hub of Victory Park. It's also a favorite stop for big, illustrious national acts like Garth Brooks and Justin Bieber. Finished in 2001, the stately arena is an excellent venue for sporting events and shows.
And remember -- Dirk Nowitzki can't play forever. See the legend while you still can.
LOCATION: 2500 Victory Ave, Dallas, TX 75219
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
When you need a break from ear-ringing music and loud, aggressive crowds, there's always the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. For much of the year, the orchestra has evening shows on Friday and Saturday at the awe-inspiring, I.M. Pei-designed Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.
Pieces by Mozart and other mainstays make regular appearances, alongside more contemporary songs. The Meyerson Symphony Center has two restaurants, so you can conveniently stuff yourself before the show.
LOCATION: 2301 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201
The Dallas Opera
The Dallas Opera is tremendous, and performs in the beautiful and sleek Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, yet another breathtaking Dallas building. The Dallas Opera's stellar talents bring the stories they tell to life.
LOCATION: 2403 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201
Dallas is a big city. Recent estimates peg the population of Dallas-Fort Worth to be close to seven million. That's a lot of people, so naturally there's a lot to do.
Which reminds us... word to the wise: as you may or may not know, places in Dallas can get very crowded. We're not joking. So be prepared to wait occasionally for a table, or to lose your spot at a show the second you go to the bathroom. Parking, especially, can be a chore. Factor that in when you're planning on when to leave.
Not that we want you to worry. For the most part, you shouldn't have a problem. Mostly, you'll be too busy having fun.
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