Going to the “Big D” … and do mean “Dallas”? Put away your notions of cowboy hats and big hair. While denizens of this larger-than-life North Texas city hold a special place in their hearts for cowboys (especially the touchdown-scoring kind) and country music, we offer so much more than that. And our revitalized downtown is at the center of all the action. Here’s where to stay and what to do the next time you visit.
First, we’ll start with your home base. Two words: Lorenzo Hotel. This 237-room art-centric boutique hotel is unexpected from the moment you arrive … wait, no unnecessarily expensive valet parking? But this is only the beginning of the happy surprises you will notice at the Lorenzo, which is set in the heart of the vibrant Convention Center District of downtown Dallas. Here, everything has a story to tell.
If kolaches, the Czech immigrant pastry made famous here in Texas, are the motivation you need to get out of bed in the morning, the Kolache Korner will literally be your moring lifeline.
Once you’ve rubbed the sleep out of your eyes, you’ll notice many unique and interesting touches throughout the hotel — original art from local artists (over 600 pieces!), a killer pool scene complete with an unforgettable Einstein portrait and blue mannequins atop exposed beams from a former ballroom … and even one-of-a-kind headboards crafted for each guest room. And let’s not forget the best views around of the iconic Dallas skyline.
When you visit, look for the birds that border it just below the roof — you can’t miss it! And you certainly wouldn’t want to.
Also, don’t miss the hand on each floor holding room numbers. They are there to pay homage to Tom Coughlin, the hotel caretaker and sole resident who kept the place running for seven years after its stint as the Dallas Ramada Inn (the one Tina Turner made her safe haven as she fled from Ike Turner in ’76) to the head-turning Lorenzo Hotel of today.
The great thing about staying at the Lorenzo? You’re so close to the numerous sights that make downtown Dallas such an exciting place to spend a night, a weekend or even a few days. After a cozy night at the Lorenzo Hotel, here are a few of our local favorites to check out during your waking hours:
Perot Museum of Nature of Science
Not far from your hotel is the towering Perot Museum, which stands at the equivalent of 14 stories tall! It boasts five floors of 11 permanent exhibit halls primed for curious minds. Come with your kids or don’t, there’s truly something here to pique everyone’s interests. Its unique architectural design will help ensure you’re in the right place immediately, just look for the continuously running elevator extending from outside the museum. Get a CityPASS to save on this and other attractions listed ahead.
Klyde Warren Park
After a few hours in the museum, you’ll be craving some fresh air and food. Lucky for you, you’ll find it just a short walk away at Klyde Warren Park. This sprawling 5-acre park is built right over the bustling Woodall Rogers Freeway, quite literally bridging the gap between urban and nature. Play in the park, join a fitness class, listen to live music, indulge in delicious local food truck cuisine, or simply sit back and relax.
Dallas World Aquarium
Now that you’ve had a brush with Mother Nature, why not take it into the aquatic realm? The Dallas World Aquarium is an amazing way to slip away from the city noise for a couple of hours and experience a tropical oasis — you’ll forget you’re still in the heart of downtown! Here you’ll be immersed into a rainforest setting, complete with monkeys swinging near waterfalls, sea otters playing, sloths just hanging out being their cute sloth selves, penguins waddling about and more.
Neiman Marcus Flagship Store
You can’t visit downtown Dallas without a shopping trip. And where better to spend your hard-earned cash than the mother of all stores — at the Neiman Marcus Building and flagship store? On the way there you’ll spot several historic landmark hotels — including The Adolphus, Magnolia Dallas Downtown and The Joule. Take a peek inside to admire the architecture and grab a drink at the bar while you’re at it. Surely, you’re thirsty by now?
You’ve gotten a taste of history on your march through the Historic District, but that’s just the beginning of your lesson. Now head to the West End to experience one of the most visited sites in the city, Dealey Plaza. This National Historic Landmark became infamous for all the wrong reasons when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated here in November of 1963. Today, visitors can commemorate the late President’s life and legacy at the Sixth Floor Museum and reflect at the JFK Memorial Site, one block from Dealey Plaza.
Ge-O Deck at Reunion Tower
Now that you’ve explored downtown Dallas from the ground, it’s time to take it up to the next level. The GeO-Deck is an observation platform at Reunion Tower (atop Hyatt Regency Dallas) featuring panoramic city views at a height of 470 feet. The scene is breathtaking any time of day, but if you prefer to see the skyline light up at dusk the tower is open to guests until 9:30 p.m. Enjoy an appetizer, casual meal or drink at Cloud Nine while you’re up there, or set your sights even higher at the renowned Five Sixty Restaurant by Wolfgang Puck — which elevates an incredible dining experience even further with a revolving floor and floor-to-ceiling windows, so you always have the best seat in the house.
Entertainment comes in many forms in downtown Dallas. For sports fans and concert goers, the American Airlines Center is the place to catch the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Stars and the most-sought after concerts and events. For live music with a bit more of a low-key feel, head to the House of Blues. Looking for theater, comedy or something else you can’t quite put your finger on? Try the AT&T Performing Arts Center for an evening that’s guaranteed to keep you entertained.
Your show may have ended but the night is still young in downtown Dallas. What next? Deep Ellum is always your answer. Before calling it a night, you must swing over to this eclectic neighborhood to explore cool bars and breweries, hot dance clubs, live local music and quirky art at every turn. Expect to be anything but bored.
Now that you’ve had a fun-filled day and night in downtown Dallas, it’s time to head back to your hotel to catch a few zzz’s. We could offer another day’s worth of epic ways to explore the Big D, but we won’t blame you one bit if you decide to sleep in before grabbing a kolache and heading straight for the Lorenzo Hotel pool.
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