Best Kept Travel Secrets: Get to Know Dallas, TX

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Dallas is a hub for business, tourists, and history. There are many aspects that make it famous. From the perennially entertaining Dallas Cowboys to the variety of artistic and business influences, there are many things to see and do when visiting this historic city. It's a city where big things happen.

With more than 4.6 million calling the city home, Dallas isn't kidding around. Foodies, artistic savants, sports fans, and entrepreneurs can find common ground and plenty to do. Dallas is a city that caters to all, and it does so through a unique lens.

While you could embark upon the traditional tourist fare, there are plenty of hidden gems in and around Dallas that pay credit to the local flavor of the city.

The National Cowboys of Color Museum – Fort Worth

Dallas is famous for Cowboys. The two fit together like warm apple pie and ice cream, and for good reason.

The American West was a frontier forged by Cowboys, and while there were many hubs of settlements, few were as big as Dallas. That's why you can find a rich history in the city paying tribute to these pioneers.

One overlooked part of Western Heritage is that of cowboys from other cultures. To experience one of Dallas' best kept secrets is to visit the National Cowboys of Color Museum in Fort Worth. Yes, understandably this is not in Dallas per say but it is close enough! To avoid heavy crowds and enhance your purchasing power on your trip, make sure to check this museum out.

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Travel to a time long past at the Dinosaur Valley State Park! Embrace your inner explorer, take the kids on an educational, exhilarating adventure, and walk in the tracks of dinosaurs.

The $7 Daily use fee for adults is right on budget, and even better is the free admission for children under 12 years of age. It is located off the beaten path in Glen Rose (a short drive from both Dallas and Fort Worth) and offers a unique experience that is both informative and enlightening.

The Eye Sculpture

If you've got an eye for adventure you won't want to miss the ‘Eye' sculpture. Found near the upscale Joule Hotel is a unique, perhaps gaudy surprise to some: a three story eyeball that looks pretty real, aside from how massive it is.

Tony Tasset lays claim to the artistry behind this unique piece, and it is a sight to behold. It made the move to Dallas in 2013 from St. Louis and has been a public fixture since.

Public School 972

Foodies pay attention because you're about to be schooled. Public 972 declares itself to be "An Education in the Art of Gastronomy 101" and does everything to live up to the claim. The gastropub serves up a seasonal menu and a rotating list of craft beers. In addition to unique food offerings such as a PB&J Burger, you will also find a restaurant decorated in all things that bring back memories of grade school.

Want to experience something truly unique? Visit Public School 972 during "recess." This is their aptly named happy hour where you can score great pricing while getting an education in culinary arts.

The Texas Woofus

Dallas is known for many great traditions. One of them is livestock. The area is rich with horses, pigs, turkeys, ducks, longhorns, and sheep, among many others.

To honor the rich variety and tradition of livestock in the area, a statue was developed. It's not just any statue, either. It's the infamous, one-of-a-kind, Texas Woofus.

What's a Woofus? It is a combination of a horse, pig, turkey, duck, longhorn, and sheep. Created in 1936, the Texas Woofus stands proud in Fair Park.

The Texas State Fair

It's tough to keep a secret as big as the Texas State Fair, but those who travel to Dallas must consider taking part in the revelry. A 24-day celebration of everything Texas, this fair features concerts, unique food offerings, livestock auctions, and shows. The fair features a different theme every year and takes place late September through mid-October.

To experience the Texas State Fair is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. No matter where you go or how long you stay, you're bound to find unique offerings catering to any interest.

The Hand Collection

Adrian E. Flatt, MD, was an orthopedic surgeon and widely respected in his field. He took his profession to heart, so much so that he made plaster molds from the hands of various individuals. This began in the 1950s with colleagues and quickly spiraled into casts of famous people.

The hand collection contains more than 100 bronze casts and can be found at the Baylor University Medical Center. Some of the most popular include the casts of Walter Cronkite, Jimmy Carter, Winston Churchill, Walt Disney, Ronald Reagan, and Neil Armstrong. A virtual exhibit can be accessed online, but to see the sculptures in person is something else. Though Dr. Flatt has passed away, his legacy and attention to detail will always live on.

Twin Cities: Highland Park and University Park

Those staying in North Dallas won't want to miss the cities of Highland Park and University Park. These distinct sister municipalities are within Dallas territory and a testament to the rich heritage of plantations and mansions. Also located in this area is the George W. Bush presidential library, a museum not to miss should you want to explore the recent history of a living president.

Though these may be considered off-the-beaten path, the "cities" of Highland Park and University Park are definitely worth a visit when you're near Dallas.

Time to Visit Dallas

Dallas is in a class of its own when it comes to a rich, vibrant history riddled with interesting tidbits. As such, there is plenty to explore. While you could embark upon the traditional tourist fare, there are plenty of hidden gems in and around Dallas that pay credit to the local flavor of the city.