Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Uptown Dallas, TX

  • Published 2022/08/13

Uptown Dallas, Texas, is known for its lively bar and restaurant scene, making it a great place to spend your weekends.

This dense upscale neighborhood features an “urbanist” style and is adjacent to the downtown district.

Uptown Dallas was initially referred to as Oak Lawn, originally situated outside the city limits.

In the early 2000s, people started to recognize the area as Uptown Dallas.

The area offers young professionals many activities, unique sights, and picturesque views that are second to none.

Check out the best things to do in Uptown Dallas, Texas.

Traverse the Katy Trail

People walking along Katy Trail

Tim Turner /

Uptown Dallas is popular for its bustling nightlife.

However, there are also a few spots where you can take your sweet time and enjoy the calm atmosphere.

The historic Katy Trail runs along Oak Lawn and Uptown Dallas, clearing a path for those who enjoy walking, running, biking, and inline skating.

The trail sits on an old railroad line, which spans a total of 3.5 kilometers.

You can see a breathtaking array of wildflowers and lush green trees along the trail.

Water fountain at Katy Trail

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Go on a scenic walk and admire the well-preserved trail that’s also rich in Dallas history.

It once belonged to the Union Pacific Railroad in 1865.

The Katy Trail is also a popular venue for outdoor events, such as the annual Katy 5K hosted by Michelob ULTRA.

Entrance to the Katy Trail

anandpreshob /

Explore the City with McKinney Avenue Transit Authority

Street car of McKinney Avenue Transit Authority

Ceri Breeze /

There’s no better way to live like a local than hopping on public utility vehicles and exploring the streets with a camera in hand.

If you make your way to Oak Grove, you’ll see a lineup of classic and heritage street cars under the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority.

However, these street cars aren’t your average vehicles.

Body of a street car from McKinney Avenue Transit Authority

Ceri Breeze /

These are vintage trolleys that date back to the 1890s, once the most popular mode of transportation back in the day.

You’ll find seven vintage trolleys at the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority.

Each trolley has a name and story, adding to the excitement of riding them around the city.

If you’re up for the adventure, look for a maroon “M-Line” stop, and hop on.

McKinney Avenue Transit Authority's view from the inside

Ceri Breeze /

Check Out the Dallas Museum of Illusions

Dallas features many world-class museums that showcase unique artistry and historical artifacts.

Still, if you’re looking for something more unusual, you can check out the Dallas Museum of Illusions.

The museum highlights an “edutainment” concept, combining educational and entertaining displays that anyone can enjoy.

Explore over 80 exhibits with optical illusions, holograms, and other installations that will indeed have you racking your brain.

During the tour, you’ll come across dozens of popular attractions, such as the head on a platter, the beuchet chair illusion, and the infinity well.

The Dallas Museum of Illusions also has interactive displays like the vortex tunnel that will test your equilibrium.

Likewise, you can visit the tilted and anti-gravity rooms.

Watch the Sunset at Griggs Park

Landscape of Griggs Park

Kairos14, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Griggs Park is arguably one of the best places to sit back and relax in a city that’s always on the move.

Spanning eight acres, Griggs Park is the perfect venue where families can enjoy outdoor recreational activities during the weekend.

However, the best part about the park is that you’ll get a good look at the skyline and watch the sunset behind it.

Level up your Instagram game by capturing a photo of the brilliant sunset.

While at the park, enjoy a small picnic with your friends and family, catching up on stories or playing a few games.

If you’re looking to do something more peaceful, you can always pick a spot under the cool shade of trees and take a nap.

Uncover the Secrets of the Universe at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Exterior of Perot Museum Of Nature and Science

Philip Lange /

From physics and chemistry to the natural sciences and paleontology, you’ll learn everything about the universe at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Take an educational tour inside the museum, and uncover the scientific secrets of evolution, astronomy, prehistory, and much more.

You’ll see over ten permanent exhibits, tackling topics like animal bones and fossils, galaxies, the avian world, technology, and engineering, among others.

Dinosaur skeleton exhibit in Perot Museum Of Nature and Science

William Cushman /

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science also has a great selection of interactive exhibits that provide a unique way for kids to learn about the world.

Let your kids try spelunking and crack open a giant geode.

Then, let them run and see if they can beat a cheetah, or have them live a day in the life of a junior paleontologist.

Exhibit in Perot Museum Of Nature and Science

William Cushman /

Spend the Day at Victory Park

There’s never a dull moment whenever you’re in Uptown Dallas.

Spending the entire day at Victory Park can keep you off your couch because of the many fun activities and attractions to do and see.

Beat the heat as you indulge in a picture-perfect soft serve at Aqua S, known for serving aesthetic ice creams in a pastel color palette.

Then, you can head over to Cinepolis to catch a movie at the luxurious 44,000-square-foot cinema.

If you’re looking to do some shopping at Victory Park, you might want to check out places like Biagio Wine & Spirits, Simply Elegant, Zspoke, and the Hangar, among others.

You’ll also find other services within Victory Park that are perfect for spending much-needed alone time, such as spas, salons, and gyms.

Get the Best Skyline Views at Reunion Tower

Night lights of Reunion Tower

Moab Republic /

Go as high as 470 feet above the ground and enjoy the best views in Dallas at the Reunion Tower in Uptown Dallas.

Enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the city, and take as many pictures as possible.

The Reunion Tower is one of the best places to catch scenic skyline views.

Besides having the best sights in the city, Reunion Tower is also a place where you have fun.

This popular Dallas attraction is also famed for lively events after hours.

Skyline views from Reunion Tower

Nate Hovee /

Stop by the tower on a Friday or Saturday to enjoy Toasts on Top, a late-night program filled with drinks, laughter, and good times.

Otherwise, if you’re looking to spend a date with your significant other, Reunion Tower also makes a great dating spot.

Its Love Is In The Air package includes admission tickets, drinks, photo ops, and VIP elevator service.

The top of Reunion Tower

Joseph Sohm /

Visit the Dallas World Aquarium

Cute penguins in Dallas World Aquarium

jmanaugh3 /

Get up close and personal with wild animals and check out replicas of their natural habitats at the Dallas World Aquarium.

Founded in 1992, the aquarium started in an old warehouse in downtown Dallas.

Since then, the aquarium has expanded and constructed more prominent exhibits for public viewing.

There are a total of seven exhibits you can explore at the Dallas World Aquarium.

Each exhibit features unique themes and covering different topics about the animals in the wild.

People in Dallas World Aquarium

jmanaugh3 /

Visit the Mundo Maya exhibit to meet one-of-a-kind species like the ocelot, black and white hawk-eagle, American flamingo, and the spectacled owl.

Next, go to the aquarium to look at palm tree polyps, blackeye gobies, colt corals, Moorish idols, and more.

The Photo Ark is another must-see attraction at the Dallas World Aquarium, a collection of over 9,000 photographed species in the animal kingdom.

Flamingos in Dallas World Aquarium

Victoria Ditkovsky /

Catch Live Performances at the Kitchen Dog Theater

Besides the eclectic bar scene and nightlife, Uptown Dallas also features a bustling arts district.

If you ever want to glimpse the locals’ talents, head to the Kitchen Dog Theater to get front-row seats to the city’s finest shows.

Founded in 1990, the Kitchen Dog Theater began showcasing its productions from the attic of a downtown coffee house.

If you think the Kitchen Dog Theater is like any other theater, limited to producing and adapting classic plays, think again.

The Kitchen Dog Theater is known to produce thought-provoking plays about justice, morality, and other values, covering issues like gun violence and other issues.

Celebrate the Dallas Nightlife at the AT&T Discovery District

The grounds of AT&T Discovery District

JHVEPhoto /

Pick out your wardrobe and choose the best nightlife outfit because the scene at the AT&T Discovery District is anything but boring.

Get a load of tech, culture, and entertainment along the streets of the AT&T Discovery District.

Visit dozens of places offering great food and drinks.

Enjoy the lively atmosphere after hours, and marvel at the display of lights.

Sing and dance along to the tunes of bands playing in the area.

If you visit the district for dinner, head to favorites like Jaxon, Hawthorn, the Exchange, Attalie, and more.

Then, you can kick it up a notch with a round of drinks from The Grove, Double Tap, and Hard Shake.

Explore the Outdoors at Trinity Forest & Southern Cross Adventure Center

Those who love the great outdoors and thrilling experiences will have a great time conquering the courses at Trinity Forest & Southern Cross Adventure Center.

Try going through military-style obstacle courses, such as wobble bridges, tight ropes, cargo nets, and more.

The adventure center also features a zip line standing at 50 feet and covers a 100-foot distance for those who love going on adventures in the wild.

Trinity Forest & Southern Cross Adventure Center’s courses have varying difficulty levels, allowing young kids to conquer the obstacles.

The adventure center is also famous for hosting team-building activities, birthday parties, and other events.

Take a Stroll around West Village

Daytime view of West Village

Nikoybanez1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Everything you could want to see in Dallas, from shopping and dining to wellness and art facilities, is in West Village.

The area features a laid-back atmosphere with a booming shopping district, creating a perfect spot for those looking to relax and have fun at the same time.

You’ll also find a dozen pampering services in the area, such as spas, nail salons, yoga centers, and barber shops.

A steakhouse at West Village

jmanaugh3 /

Regarding restaurants, you’ll have a wide selection to choose from.

Each establishment serves specials like pastries, pizzas, chocolates, fusion cuisines, and more.

West Village also boasts a lively nightlife scene with its bars, a testament to the Dallas community’s reputation for after-hours fun.

Velvet taco at West Village

Tim Turner /

Take a Round of Drinks at the Standard Pour

The Standard Pour is one of the best places to enjoy a round of drinks in Uptown, Dallas.

Combining an old-fashioned and contemporary feel, the Standard Pour gives its customers the feeling of fun and relaxation.

The Standard Pour is one of the city’s premier craft cocktail and dining destinations.

It showcases concoctions adapted from advanced mixology programs and food inspired by modern American cuisine.

Choose from cocktails such as a Moscow Mule, Rose 75, Rosemary Paloma, Golden Girl, Lululemon, and more.

If you’re looking for something more “chill,” you can explore Standard Pour’s extensive wine selection sourced from the most trusted suppliers.

Dine at Malai Kitchen

Exterior of Malai Kitchen

Tim Turner /

If you want to fill up on some authentic Asian cuisine in Uptown Dallas, check out Mala Kitchen.

Indulge in a freshly prepared Thai and Vietnamese cuisine menu using only the finest ingredients available.

Braden and Yasmin Wages own Malai Kitchen, with other branches in Southlake and Fort Worth, Texas.

Choose from a broad menu of food and drinks, from specialties and wok-fried noodles to rice entrees.

Try the Malai Cafe’s best-sellers like the North Atlantic Arctic Char, Vietnamese Barbecue Pork Ribs, Whole Fried Branzino, and more.

Have a Cup Of Fresh Brews at Sip Stir Coffee House

Nothing beats the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans in the morning, and if you ever find yourself needing that extra caffeine boost, make your way to Sip Stir Coffee House along McKinney Ave.

Spend a relaxing day admiring the coffee shop’s rustic atmosphere as you have a cup of house drip coffee to start your day.

Make sure to try Sip Stir’s signature lattes, such as butter beer, coconut pie, crème brulee, vanilla lavender, and healing spice.

Have a plate of grilled cheese, avocado toast, or caprese panini to go with your drink to get the full Sip Stir Coffee experience.

For those who aren’t a fan of coffee, they can still enjoy a cup of green or herbal tea, chai or matcha latte, and hot chocolate.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Uptown Dallas, you need to stick to this list.

Remember that you might need more than a weekend to complete all these activities.

If you want an unforgettable visit to Uptown Dallas, you might want to book a weeklong stay!

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