If you’re looking for some good clean fun with a view, Dallas’ South Side and Cedar neighborhoods are the place to be. With a vibrant nightlife and arts scene all close many historic sites, this area is known for its charming bars, quirky music venues, and ever-evolving galleries.
Gallery Rooftop Lounge at Canvas Hotel Dallas
If you’re looking for one of the best photo-ops in the city, then the Gallery Rooftop Lounge is a must-do. Perched atop the Canvas Hotel, the rooftop’s crown jewel is the crystal blue infinity pool that goes all the way to the edge of the building. Not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of heights, the lounge is lavish and chic in the way top-floor entertainment should be.
Enjoy a gorgeous view of Downtown Dallas as you sip on a cocktail and watch the sun set and the lights of the city come on. With names that reflect the artsy culture of Cedars, such as “The Van Gogh” and the “The Two Fridas”, the lounge’s cocktails are just as gorgeous as their namesakes’ creations (and they taste even better). The bar also serves small dishes such as tuna poke tostadas or a 5-spice chicken flatbread if you could use an energy boost after your time in the pool.
Opening Bell Coffee
If, at some point in your busy day, you find (or need) a moment to relax, Opening Bell Coffee is one of the best places in town to do so. Sit down in a cozy chair and order something nice and warm. Open far longer than other coffee distributors in Dallas, OBC is known not only for their delicious drinks, but for the great live music that can be found there most nights.
In the evening hours, this coffee bar also serves beer and wine! If you’re not much of a spirits or coffee drinker, though, don’t worry. They have a large selection of teas and snacks available as well. If you’re a fan of The Voice, this is an especially good place to visit. They’ve had over 20 of the contestants play on their stage (and are likely to continue showing them)!
This is one of the coolest music venues in Dallas. Exclusively promoted and booked by Live Nation, the Southside Ballroom gets more top acts and names than many of Dallas’ popular hangouts. Luckily, they collect performances from a variety of genres, so if you’re patient there will definitely be something you like coming up.
The 27,000 square foot venue is three-tiered and can be moved in a variety of different ways to tailor the space to the show, so you might not see the venue in the same format twice! Moreover, they have an outdoor festival space that’s just as exciting as their indoor area. The venue has housed shows for the Arctic Monkeys, Twenty One Pilots, Dua Lipa, and Imagine Dragons (among numerous others), and they always have other exciting shows planned!
This 50-year-old bar has kept its original wood-paneled walls, and in the process has kept a down-to-Earth and cozy feel that you’d expect from your neighborhood greasy spoon, but perhaps not from a bar. With a controversial name that gets your attention right away, it’s worth the trip to this classic watering hole.
Their menu is constantly changing and they’re even vegetarian friendly! Stop by for their award-winning onion rings as well as other options that go far past bar food. Enjoy choices like fish and chips, their “roadrunner” grilled cheese sandwich, and a selection of tacos!
If you’ve never stepped foot inside an Alamo Drafthouse, you wouldn’t believe how much you’re missing out on. Gone are the days of a simple overpriced popcorn and a soda with stiff, uncomfortable auditorium seating. Alamo Drafthouse takes your cinematic experience to the next level, and frankly, it will be hard to return to another movie theater once you’ve tried it out for yourself.
The theater serves a wide menu of options for every taste and show. They will often tailor their menu to the night’s cinematic offerings, as well. For example, they received high praise for their pink, marshmallow-topped milkshake inspired by Jigglypuff when Detective Pikachu came out. Moreover, the theater is known to create spectacular themed nights and throwback movies which can include audience participation! Most importantly, make sure you get there early to enjoy the special pre-show compilations made for each film.
Checkered Past Winery
This award-winning winery is certainly worthy of its acclaim. Promoting themselves as the “wine pub” of Dallas, Checkered Past has a selection of their own specially crafted wines as well as wines from across the world! Don’t let that fool you, though. This Winery is highly curated, with a special emphasis on their roots.
Unlike many other wineries, at Checkered Past local and Texas wines are given the highest priority. Their top-billed wines are usually from the Lone Star State, and this gives their list a certain Texan charm that other spots in town are missing. Not a fan of wine? They also offer a variety of locally brewed craft beers as well as an Italian-inspired menu just for you. The best part, though? The entire winery is located under the historic 100-year-old Sears and Roebuck distribution center, now known as South Side on Lamar!
The Giant Bowler Hat
Have you ever seen a perfectly proportioned hat scaled to 20 feet wide and ten feet tall? Not many people have, not even those of us who have lived in Dallas for years! The city is known for its wide range of unique artworks and statues, but the Bowler Hat has a reputation for being a hidden wonder.
Artist Keith Turman was commissioned to create the piece, but despite having once created a 7-story large saxophone, the Bowler Hat would become one of his most challenging projects, mainly due to the brim of the hat. After some initial zoning issues that prevented the placement of the hat in its originally determined space and some time spent in a warehouse, the hat now weighs two tons and sits atop a 30-foot tall pole for all to enjoy!
SODA Bar at NYLO Dallas
Right next to the famous Southside on Lamar building, the SODA Bar is another rooftop pool and bar combo sitting prettily atop a top-tier hotel. The decor is a stunning blend of a classic European sitting room combined with edgy graffiti and jewel-toned elements. There is comfortable seating everywhere as well as several entertaining pieces such as their unique piano and foosball table.
The rooftop infinity pool sparkles under the lights of the city as day turns to night. Try to plan for a Sunday trip, as they often offer a special “Sunday rooftop brunch”. However, if you’d like your trip to have more of a classic lounge feel to it, we recommend going during a weekday instead of on the weekend, since it will be less crowded. Enjoy the view of the skyline while sipping on a cocktail by the outdoor firepit!