April is Arts Month in Dallas and there's no better place to celebrate the arts than the Dallas Arts District. The 20-square block district is jam packed with fine art museums, performing arts venues, award winning restaurants and so much more. With so much to see and do, it's hard to know where to start. Here are our top 10 things to do in the Dallas Arts District.
1. Do a walking tour
The best way to explore the neighborhood's fascinating history is on foot during a 90-minute Dallas Arts District architecture walking tour. From museums to mansions trained, tour guides lead groups through the district to explore the architecture of buildings from 1890 to present day. The tours are offered on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
2. Visit the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin Guadalupe
Dallas' oldest Catholic church sits in the heart of the Arts District. The cornerstone for the cathedral was laid in 1898, but the church was not formally dedicated until 1902. Architect Nicholas J. Clayton used Gothic elements of high pointed arches, 100 stained glass windows, and light-filled interior spaces when designing the building. With its recently completed towering 224-foot spire and 49-bell carillon, it's one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic Architecture in Downtown Dallas.
3. Explore the Nasher Sculpture Center
The Nasher Sculpture Center is considered one of the foremost collections of sculptures in the world. The center features more than 300 modern sculptures from great artists like Gormley, Matisse, Miró, Picasso and Rodin. Be sure to save time to stroll through the city-block long outdoor sculpture garden.
4. Stroll through Klyde Warren Park
If you visit the Arts District on a warm, sunny day be sure to visit the Klyde Warren Park. The 5-acre park built above Woodall Rodgers Freeway is one of the top attractions to visit in Dallas. You can check out a book, magazine, or board game from the lending library, and grab a bite to eat at one of the food trucks. Or play a game of croquet, listen to live music, and just enjoy the sunshine while people watching.
5. Check Out the Crow Museum of Asian Art
If you're a fan of Asian art, then the Crow Museum of Asian Art is not to be missed. It's one of only a handful of museums in the country dedicated solely to the arts and cultures of Japan, China, India and Southeast Asia. During your visit you'll see jade ornaments from China, delicate Japanese scrolls, and a rarely seen 2-by-28-foot sandstone façade of an 18th century Indian residence.
6. See a show at the Winspear Opera House
The Arts District is not just famous for its visual arts. Performing arts reign high here as well. One example of this is the Winspear Opera House, home to the Dallas Opera and Texas Ballet Theater. The horseshoe shaped performance hall was specifically designed for opera and musical performances.
7. Enjoy the Arts District's food scene
It's easy to spend an entire day in the Arts District, and you're certain to work up an appetite. Early birds can cozy up with a cup of joe at Yolk, while the happy hour crowd can indulge in cocktails and shareable plates at favorites like Tortaco (across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art), Savor – a standout thanks to prime park views from its patio seats, or Playwright Irish Pub which offers 50 beers on tap.
Late night visitors – including those sticking around after a performance – should plan for dinner at newcomer Musume or district mainstay Tei An. Or make reservations at celebrity chef Stephan Pyles' Flora Street Café for a more elevated dining experience. Most museums in the district have café options if you're looking for something casual, light and tasty.
8. See a variety of art at the Dallas Museum of Art
Of course, you can't spend time in the Dallas Arts District without hitting the Dallas Museum of Art. From O'Keeffe, Pollock, Warhol, Monet, the museum has more than 22,000 pieces spanning the third millennium BC to present day. Check out Jonas Wood's exhibit, his first major solo exhibit that traces the artists fascination with psychology, memory and the self. And spend all-day soaking up the world's great works and the museum's free admission makes it easy to spurge in the gift shop.
9. Watch a dance performance at the Dallas Black Dance Theatre
Spend an evening watching the virtuosic dancers of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre bring to life modern, jazz, ethnic and spiritual works by nationally and internationally renowned choreographers. The theatre celebrates its 42nd season as Dallas' oldest, continuously operating professional dance company. The group of 13 talented dancers make up the nation's fourth largest black dance company.
10. Play performing arts roulette
Are you planning an upcoming trip to the Arts District, but you don't know what you're in the mood to see? Just pull up the AT&T Performing Arts Center's event page and grab a ticket to any show playing on the evening of your visit. The four-venue arts center hosts comedy performances, Opera, dance, musical theatre, classical theatre, live readings, music and more. All performances are top-notch, so you do not have to worry about fate leading you estray.