Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
I’m the President and Executive Director of TACA, The Arts Community Alliance. We support excellence and impact in the arts in North Texas through grant-making, capacity-building, and thought leadership.
How long have you been living in Dallas?
I was born in Dallas and have lived here most of my life, except for brief stops in NYC and Chicago for my career. I love being from and living in Dallas. It has changed considerably over the years, for the better, and we still have work to do. However, Dallas is an awesome city.
What are your favorite places to go for a cocktail and/or dinner?
If you are lucky enough to live in a city like Dallas, you have a great variety of bars and restaurants to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites: Parigi, Fearing’s at the Ritz Carlton, Salum, El Si Hay Taqueria, 400 Gradi and, of course, Whataburger. If you want a night out clubbing, you’ll need to hit Oak Lawn (Dallas’ center of all things LGBTQ+). There are lots of great options, including Alexandre’s (where I occasionally sing), JR’s, S4, Round-Up and Mr. Misster. Oak Lawn also has wonderful restaurants.
What cultural attractions are a must-see for visitors to Dallas?
I’m particularly bullish on the arts, so I would recommend a day or more spent in the Dallas Arts District, with stops at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and the Crow Museum for Asian Arts. You must stop at the African American Museum in Fair Park. If your visit to Dallas hits right, you can take in a performance by the Dallas Opera at the Winspear, catch the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, or even a concert by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson. Dallas is fortunate to have many fine theater companies, including the Tony Award-winning Dallas Theater Center, Teatro Dallas, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, and many more. I would also recommend touring Fair Park in Dallas. It’s where the State Fair of Texas takes place each fall, and the buildings are an architectural marvel. Built for the Texas Centennial in 1936, it’s the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the country and worth seeing if you’re a design and architecture buff.
A friend is coming to Dallas for the first time…please describe the perfect weekend.
There are so many things to see, do and experience in Dallas. My perfect weekend would include a spa treatment at The Joule Hotel downtown and brunch at one of the many fantastic brunch spots in the city. My “go-to” for brunch is Parigi (on the patio, depending on the weather) for the delicious food, service, staff, and atmosphere. If you’d prefer a drag brunch, I’d recommend going to the Drag Brunch at The Commons Club at the Virgin Hotels Dallas. From a more historical perspective, I’d catch a tour of the excellent exhibits at the Sixth Floor Museum, where President John F. Kennedy is commemorated. I’d also put shopping on the itinerary, with stops at any and all of my favorites, including Bishop Arts (shout out to my neighborhood!), Highland Park Village, Knox Street, and NorthPark Center. I’d also include a walk through the beautiful Turtle Creek area. It’s gorgeous any time of year, and a walk through Klyde Warren Park, where you can stop for “your juice of choice” at one of the area restaurants, bars and food trucks that line the park. Fitness buffs can also enjoy free outdoor yoga in the park, and it’s totally pet-friendly.
What are the best places to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
Dallas has a staggering number of outdoor spaces where you can get back to nature. My favorites are Turtle Creek, the Trinity River Forest, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and White Rock Lake. You can also enjoy natural beauty on the Katy Trail, an urban walkway that’s great for biking and running too.
What is your favorite time of year in Dallas, and why?
Early spring is my favorite for gardening at home, entertaining friends on my porch, or hanging out at my favorite restaurants. Dallas has a lot of natural beauty and green spaces. Spring is the best time to enjoy everything before the heat descends upon us in summer.
What’s one souvenir to bring back for friends or family?
Some of our BBQ! My favs are Lockhart’s, Pecan Lodge, and Terry Black’s BBQ. You’re welcome! If budget permits, you can’t go wrong with a good pair of cowboy boots and a hat.
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Dallas without…
Plans to come back soon! We’re a friendly city with many attractions, a great arts community, vibrant culture, and incredible food!