It seems like every week brings some hot new development to Downtown Dallas, and with it exciting opportunities to explore the best of what our city has to offer. But trendy spots can mean large crowds and extra difficulties seeing, doing and enjoying. Relax into the more low-key aspects of Downtown by venturing off the beaten path. While they may be hidden in plain view, these destinations offer all of the unique interest, character and fun of Dallas’ most talked-about places — but you won’t have to wait in line just to get in.
First up: coffee. If you can’t abide hearing the barista shout out another “grande, quad, nonfat, one-pump, no-whip mocha” before you’ve had your own sip of Joe, take a stroll down Downtown Dallas’ sky bridge system and look for Stupid Good Coffee (1910 Pacific Ave.). Here, the offerings are no-frills and the brews are all about the quality of the beans. Expect top-notch varieties from local roasters (most notably, Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters), impressive artwork by Dallas creatives, a very cozy seating area and a small but dedicated team of two.
Now that you’ve got your coffee fix, it’s time to talk food. Whether you’re looking for an impressive lunch spot close to the action or a nice restaurant for a Saturday night on the town, check out Si Tapas. This Spanish import is nestled just north of Downtown under an old house at 2207 Allen St. in Uptown’s State Thomas neighborhood. With no fanfare or fuss to speak of, it’s easy to drive right by — an essential aspect of Si Tapas’ appeal. But the menu is extensive, featuring a wide variety of shared plates (both hot and cold). Just make sure to order a pitcher of the house sangria for your table as well.
Another must-go Downtown Dallas restaurant is Texas Spice (555 Lamar St.), otherwise known as the official restaurant of Dallas’ signature Omni Hotel and Resorts. However, Texas Spice is hardly your typical hotel restaurant. With a huge footprint, ample seating, stunning modern rustic decor and a menu pairing the best in Southern cooking with fresh, local, farm-to-table ingredients, every meal here feels truly intimate. Don’t be shy about making a reservation, and give yourself time after dinner to pay a visit to the Pegasus to take in the spectacle of the Omni’s light show. Bonus: you’re not all that far from The Cedars, one of Dallas’ most up-and-coming neighborhoods and home to plenty of hidden gems of its own.
Having indulged in the art of fine dining, why not satisfy your taste in fine art? You’re certainly acquainted with the DMA, Nasher, Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Crow Collection — but have you heard of the Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum (2501 N. Harwood St.)? This lesser-known institution is located on the second floor of the historic St. Ann’s School Building and is home to a group of over 1,000 objects associated with Japan’s samurai culture, including suits of armor, helmets, weapons, shields and more. It’s one of the largest and most complete collections of its kind anywhere in the world, and the only museum dedicated to these noble warriors outside of Japan.
Last up is Deep Ellum’s High & Tight Barbershop (2701 Main St., #180/190), but not necessarily because your hairdo is ripe for a redux — rather, because you’re in search of one of the most unusual watering holes anywhere in the Metroplex. Unbeknownst to passersby, this boutique barbershop stocks a full bar that’s secreted behind a velvet curtain. Thanks to its speakeasy vibe, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back to the era when Bonnie and Clyde put Dallas on the map. Stick around for the live music and don’t return to the present day without sampling one of High & Tight’s 18th (or 21st) Amendment-inspired craft cocktails.
As you can see, it’s still possible to take a detour and escape the hustle and bustle without leaving city limits. Don’t forget to share your own favorite Downtown Dallas hideout with us on Facebook and Twitter!