Dallas is often associated with football, rodeos and oversized barbecue. A sports lover’s mecca, the city is home to five professional sports teams: The Dallas Cowboys (NFL); Dallas Stars (NHL); Dallas Mavericks (NBA); Dallas Wings (WNBA); FC Dallas (MLS) and the Texas Rangers (MLB) plus NASCAR and Indy racing. The area also boasts over 200 golf courses.
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Although Dallas attracts almost 25 million visitors each year, visitors to this friendly city can also discover a wide array of off-the-beaten-path attractions that are generally less expensive and not as crowded as the more famous tourist sites. Thus, they can provide a very enjoyable experience for visitors.
You can explore the many city trails that literally take you off-the-beaten-path by walking the Katy Trail, which is linking the people of Dallas in an exciting new way. Once an abandoned railroad line, the trail has become one of the most iconic destinations in the city. Joggers, bikers, skaters and walkers take advantage of the trail runs through the densest part of the city from the West End and the American Airlines Center in the south, through the heart of urban Dallas past Knox Street, up to SMU and Mockingbird DART Station in the north. The trail also hosts a number of events each year.
The Deep Ellum District is a hotspot for those looking for music, eclectic dining or to capture the perfect picture at one of the many murals that are scattered throughout the neighborhood. Established in 1873 in an area east of downtown Dallas as a residential and commercial neighborhood, the area was one of Dallas’ first commercial districts for African-Americans and European immigrants. As such, Deep Ellum is one of the most historically significant neighborhoods in the city.
Known as Dallas’ “most independent neighborhood,” the Bishop Arts District affords visitors the opportunity to explore boutiques, grab a drink and catch a classic/indie flick at The Texas Theatre. The Bishop Arts District is home to over 60 boutiques, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, theaters and art galleries. Located in the heart of North Oak Cliff and only five minutes from downtown, the district lays claim to one of Dallas’ most unique neighborhoods with historical shopping full of great finds, good eats and good ol’ Oak Cliff charm. The area is populated with many independently-owned businesses, and many of the shops stay open late on the weekends to provide a fun shop, stroll, and eat environment for visitors.
Are you ready for a rousing round of games on Fighters Row? Then head over to the Cidercade, where 170 arcades await. Featuring a mix of both new and retro, the emphasis here is on games that are competitive and that are specially designed for two or more players. Although food is not available on the premises, a variety of food trucks make their presence known throughout the week. As its name implies, Cidercade features 30 in-house made ciders along with wines on tap.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected yet truly unique tourist attractions found in Dallas is the Samurai Collection which houses one of the largest displays of samurai armor and artifacts in the world. Comprised of almost 1,000 objects, the collections include armor, helmets, masks, horse armor and weaponry, and features several masterpieces that are sure to “wow” visitors. In 2011, 140 pieces from the collection were compiled for an exhibition to tour Europe, Canada and the U.S.
The food throughout the greater Dallas area is as appetizing as you’ll find anywhere else in the country. The Taste Your Way through Dallas Tours are a great way to satisfy your taste buds by experiencing the sheer variety of food options. Start your Dallas visit by joining Food Tours of America as they take you around Uptown Dallas discovering local restaurants, from casual to upscale. Or join Dallas by Chocolate and Dallas Bites! Food Tours on a very sweet tour of Dallas. Join the locals at a brewery tour. Dallas is home to several microbreweries. Some of the most popular options include Community in the Design District (try the Mosaic IPA), Four Corners in Trinity Groves (try El Chingon) and Deep Ellum Brewery. Don’t miss a visit to Trinity Groves, a restaurant incubator concept that features up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs in Dallas. With more than 14 restaurants it’s hard to choose where to go.
Traveling off-the-beaten-path is a great way to explore any city because a treasure trove of surprises may await you. This is especially true for the unique attractions throughout Dallas.