6 Attractions Making Dallas A Great Destination

With its wide array of cultural attractions and recreational activities, Dallas is one of Texas's most popular vacation spots. Visitors to this bustling city can tour renowned museums, enjoy green spaces, and discover award-winning food. Here, in no particular order, are sites to check out while exploring this southern metropolis.

Starting off the list at #1 is Highland Park Village, which was built in 1931. According to the Urban Land Institute, this Mediterranean Spanish-style development was the first planned shopping center in the United States with a unified architectural design and stores facing in toward an interior parking area. It hosts a Christmas tree lighting ceremony each year, and offers horse-drawn carriage rides as well as a local artisan market with vendors, games, and entertainment.

Highland Park Village provides complimentary personal shopping services for wardrobe updates, bridal events, and other special occasions. It is also home to such specialty retailers as Jimmy Choo, La Perla, and Christofle, and offers corporate gifting through the Tory Burch and Harry Winston stores. Additionally, guests can visit the historic Village Theatre, which opened in 1935 and was the first air-conditioned movie theater in Texas.

At #2 is the George W. Bush Presidential Center, located on the campus of Southern Methodist University. It is the official site of the George W. Bush Institute, a nonpartisan, independent public policy initiative. The grounds also include Native Texas Park, which features a one-mile network of trails that walks visitors through environments indigenous to the state, including Blackland Prairie, Post Oak Savannah, and Cross Timbers Forest.

The Center is also home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which promotes an understanding of the American presidency, examines the specific time in history during which President Bush served, and provides access to official records and artifacts from his administration. Through its Impact Centers, which include Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and Engagement Agenda, the organization focuses on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today's most pressing challenges.

Entering the list at #3 is the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Founded in 1984 by a group of local Holocaust survivors, the Museum is dedicated to teaching the history of the genocide and advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Visitors can view personal testimonies at video stations, walk through an authentic World War II boxcar, and see a collection of suitcases with personal items that Jewish people might have taken with them to the concentration camps.

The Museum's Pivot to America Wing features interactive kiosks, brief films, and testimonies that examine human rights. A highlight of the area is the Texas Upstander Wall, which is a celebration of Texans and Americans who have stood up to injustice and changed the world. Guests can also interact with Dimensions in Testimony, which offers the opportunity to sit across from a Holocaust survivor and ask them questions about their life.

In the #4 spot is Klyde Warren Park, a five-acre deck park over the recessed eight-lane Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Designed by renowned landscape architect Jim Burnett, the design is meant to create a sense of different rooms throughout the space. It connects the Uptown neighborhood with the Arts District and Downtown business center.

Signature events at Klyde Warren Park include movie nights and the Memorial Day Music Fest, which features concerts, games, and food trucks. Other popular activities are fitness classes that encompass everything from boot camps to yoga. The Park is also available for private gatherings such as weddings, happy hours, and children's birthday parties.

Coming in at #5 is Norma's Cafe, a Dallas institution for Texas home cooking. Founded in 1956, the eatery is famous for its biscuits and gravy, award-winning chicken fried steak, and homemade Mile-High Pies for dessert. The Dallas Observer voted the restaurant the city's Number 1 Hangover Cure.

As part of its commitment to community, Norma's Cafe created the Favor A Neighbor program to allow individuals and companies to support local groups such as hospitals and clinics, first responders, shelters, and senior centers. The restaurant has been featured in Plano Magazine, Park Cities People, Zagat, and Thrillist. In 2010, the Texas Restaurant Association inducted owner Ed Murph into its Hall of Fame.

Wrapping up the list at #6 is Trinity Groves. A multi-phase redevelopment effort of a former warehouse and light-industrial site, it began as a restaurant and specialty food incubator and destination. Today, it's a shopping mall located along the Trinity River across from Downtown at the base of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. In addition to eateries and retail, it features a microbrewery and culinary events center, and regularly hosts art and theater shows, musical performances, and chef cook-off competitions.

Trinity Groves is home to Skyline Trapeze, Dallas's first trapeze school and training center. Other recreational activities include Yoga on The Bridge, with jogging and biking trails also in close proximity to the area. PaperCity, CraveDFW, and D Magazine are among the media outlets to highlight the project.