Where to Go in 2020: Dallas Three Ways

by Kelsy Chauvin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday January 4, 2020

Between busy art scenes, vibrant neighborhoods, and creative projects by acclaimed chefs, Dallas promises something delightful for every traveler. Even better is knowing that "The Big D" is loaded with LGBTQ appeal thanks to its diverse, dynamic queer community. So fasten your saddle and get scootin' with this trio of tips for 2020.

Savvy travelers know that Dallas gastronomy is far more abundant than its heritage cuisines of barbeque and Tex-Mex. It's easy to spot the waves of food and beverage trends that earned Dallas the Bon Appetit 2019 "Top Restaurant City of the Year" title.

Much fanfare is compliments of chefs with a mastery of French cooking. Top among them is James Beard Award finalist Bruno Davaillon, who serves dishes rooted in his Loire-Valley traditions at his popular downtown eatery Bullion.

Meanwhile, inside the century-old Adolphus Hotel, The French Room continues to dish up refined classics with its five-course tasting menu, and now with its long-awaited a-la-carte offerings. For a less formal setting, Uptown's new bistro Perle on Maple serves solid French dishes with seasonal, Texan twists.

Less expected may be the spectacular Asian cuisine unfolding across Dallas. At Uchi, strikingly innovative cold and hot Japanese dishes have wowed diners since its 2015 debut. At Japanese soba house Tei-An, Chef Teiichi Sakurai prepares an unforgettable 90-minute omakase tasting experience (and don't miss the views from the restaurant's rooftop cocktail bar).

Just across the Trinity River, Chino Chinatown creatively blends Chinese dishes with Latin American ingredients, such as Cotija cheese and Ahi tuna nachos served with crispy rice noodles and wonton chips.

If you're devoted to LGBTQ-helmed restaurants, stop into Texas-born Chef Stephan Pyles' polished downtown Flora Street Café. And finally, it wouldn't be Dallas without at least one enchilada, and Monica Greene's Monica's Mex-Tex in Deep Ellum is sure to please.

There's undeniable energy flowing northward from Downtown up to Southern Methodist University (SMU). In Uptown and Knox-Henderson, travelers can discover the "real" Dallas that's emerging with vibrant areas dotted with boutiques, bistros and bars.

One reason for these neighborhoods' evolution is easy access thanks to the city's convenient DART light-rail transit system, whose Red and Orange lines traverse busy McKinney Avenue. (FYI, DART also links to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.) By bicycle or on foot, the 3.5-mile Katy Trail is another key connector, making use of a former railroad that's now a landscaped path linking Uptown to SMU. (Check out the Katy Trail Ice House while en route.)

Uptown, check into Le Méridien, The Stoneleigh, a chic boutique hotel housed in a 1923 Art Deco building. Vintage Dallas charm effuses the 11-story Stoneleigh, which recently underwent a $33 million renovation. Lounge poolside, sip martinis in the Instagram-worthy lobby bar or tour the "secret" top floor with marvelously preserved décor by midcentury design maven Dorothy Draper & Company.

LGBTQ travelers will appreciate Uptown's and Knox-Henderson's proximity to Oak Lawn's busy queer nightlife. And as similarly LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods, both offer fabulous shop-dine-play enclaves like Cityplace, and bustling strips along Knox Street, Cole Avenue, and Travis Street.

In Knox-Henderson, anchor your visit with a patio spot at French- and New Orleans-influenced Toulouse, famous for its indulgent brunches. Get your sangria on at Cafe Madrid, a favorite among locals for its daily happy hour and first-Fridays Flamenco. Or explore the best neighborhood outposts on Dallas's "Margarita Mile" with a handy

Some of the state's most eye-catching architecture and museums fill Downtown's Dallas Arts District. The district fills 68 acres across 19 blocks and is home to more buildings designed by Pritzker award-winning architects than anywhere else in the world.

There you'll find five of the city's great museums, plus ten performing-arts venues, each hosting a variety of concerts, dance performances, touring Broadway shows, opera and more. For a rundown of what's on the 2020 calendar across town, check out the independent Dallas Theater performance guide.

For visual art, browse the Dallas Museum of Art's impressive permanent collection and exhibitions and even time travel into Coco Chanel's recreated 1927 Mediterranean villa. Through the first half of 2020, be sure to catch Brazilian artist Sandra Cinto's visual/audio "Landscape of a Lifetime" mural installation (through July 5, 2020). Come spring, view the "Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art" exhibition with rarely seen works representing women in Mexican Modernism (February 15 - September 20, 2020).

Soak up the shady outdoor sculpture garden and indoor galleries at the compact Nasher Sculpture Center. Just a 10-minute walk, pass through Klyde Warren Park to reach Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar. Here you can enjoy the enormous patio featuring the iconic "Our Lady of Guadalupe" mural, preserved from the building's original 1927 school for Hispanic children.

Upstairs from Saint Ann, duck into the free Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, the only museum outside Japan to focus on samurai armor, with nearly 1,000 pieces.

For an unexpected artistic discovery in the Dallas Design District, explore one of the largest collections of contemporary British art in the country at the admission-free Goss-Michael Foundation, founded by the late music icon George Michael and Kenny Goss in 2007.

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.

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