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Things To Include For The Perfect Dallas Weekend Visit

by Our Editors
Dustin Vyers (Photo by Nichole Meyer)

There are so many pockets of Dallas that offer different things.

Dustin Vyers (Photo by Nichole Meyer)

If you want to know what makes Dallas, Texas such a special place to visit, Dustin Vyers is the person to ask.

Dustin Vyers is a very independent and creative individual, leader, and networker who enjoys being artistic, leading groups of people toward a shared goal, and bringing people together. Over the years he has dabbled in everything from painting and photography to illustration and jewelry making. He worked for several years as creative director for an agency in Dallas, leading a fantastic team of creatives. One of his greatest accomplishments at this time was designing the logo for one of the high rises in downtown Dallas—the 400 Record building.

In 2020, he started to paint more and picked up several really great commissions with a local interior designer. He painted several large-scale abstract paintings as part of the 2020 Fort Worth Magazine Dream Home project, and has continued working with them annually. In December 2020, he decided to quit his marketing job and start his own business, Dustin Vyers Art. About six months into owning his own business, in addition to painting, he started to take on clients to help with creative and marketing projects. His clients today range from TACA-The Arts Community Alliance, which he is leading through a complete rebrand at the moment, to Whitebox Real Estate. Currently, he is also the Creative Director for Lane Boots.

Outside of work, he serves on the all-volunteer Board of  Directors for Black Tie Dinner, the largest non-profit LGBTQ+ fundraising dinner in the nation. He started volunteering with Black Tie Dinner in 2016 as a designer. He joined the board in 2017 and currently he is serving his final year as Co-Chair of the organization. It is through his involvement with Black Tie Dinner that he developed a larger passion for networking and fundraising for organizations in North Texas that support underserved communities. He is also a volunteer on the Pride in Bloom committee for the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

How long have you been living in Dallas and why did you first move here?
I grew up in Corsicana, Texas, which is about a 45-minute drive from Dallas. I have been in Dallas for 14 years now, and I moved here because of the people. I was truly fortunate enough to find a quality group of friends in the LGBTQ+ community who are genuinely the kindest people you will ever meet and made coming out for me easier than expected.

Fajitas Are A Brunch Favorite In Dallas (Photo by DronG)

Fajitas Are A Brunch Favorite In Dallas (Photo by DronG)

What are your favorite places to go for cocktails or lunch/dinner?
Dallas has so much to offer, and my friends and I love to go out to eat, so this is really difficult! One of my favorite elevated lunch or dinner and margarita spots is Miriam Cocina Latina, created by chef and owner Miriam Jimenez. Miriam will often greet you herself with her bright smile. The patio, which overlooks Klyde Warren Park, is great for brunch with friends. If you want some thing a little more chill, Campuzano Mexican Food in the heart of Oak Lawn is where you want to go. Order the fajitas on a cold plate. One of the best “vibe” dining spots is a hidden gem called Lounge Here near White Rock Lake. I am not joking about hidden; you have to know where it is or you’ll miss it. The restaurant is perfectly compact, and upon entering you feel like you’re walking onto a set of Mad Men. Their menu is Southern-inspired shareable plates, and they make a very mean hamburger. You’ll want to order a martini—I take mine dirty with extra olives.

Margaritas Are A Must At Miriam Cocina Latina (Photo by Teri Virbickis)

Margaritas Are A Must At Miriam Cocina Latina (Photo by Teri Virbickis)

A brother/sister combo, situated next to each other near the Knox/Henderson area, is Clifton Club Bar & Lounge and Beverly’s Bistro & Bar. They are related, but very different. Clifton Club, with a moody yet approachable atmosphere, is a great spot for a weekday happy hour and appetizers with coworkers or a pre-dinner date cocktail. Beverly’s has a bright and     crisp aesthetic and is great for a boozy brunch or fine dinner. If you enjoy wine, you’ll want to stop by Times Ten Cellars in Lakewood. Times Ten is a gay-owned winery and the perfect spot to have great conversations with friends while enjoying a wine flight. It’s a cute first-date spot, too! If you are just looking for an old-school, table-for-two jazz bar, you’ll want to pop into The Library, located at the historic Warwick Hotel at the entrance to the Dallas “gayborhood.” The live music is fantastic, and again…the dirty martini.

Dallas Museum of Art (Photo by Kit Leong)

Dallas Museum of Art (Photo by Kit Leong)

Which cultural attractions are a must-see for visitors to Dallas?
If you are visiting Dallas to take in all things arts, The Dallas Arts District, sandwiched between downtown and uptown, is where you will want to stay. Book a room at the Hall Arts Hotel, and step outside to a walkable district of visual and performing arts, and several amazing restaurants. A few of my favorite museums are: The Dallas Museum of Art, which provides diverse exhibitions, paintings, and sculptures from around the world (general admission is always free!). For the Ross Gellars out there, the Perot Museum of Nature & Science is a multi-level experience of dinosaurs and science; and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, located in the historic West End District, that is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference.

Giganotosaurus at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Photo by William Cushman)

Giganotosaurus at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Photo by William Cushman)

What are the most exciting annual events in Dallas?
Black Tie Dinner (blacktie.org.) is the most exciting annual event that Dallas offers, and not just because I am involved with it. The Black Tie Dinner board of directors host several fundraising events throughout the year, all leading up to our annual dinner. More than 2,500 guests from all parts of Texas and the nation come together for an evening of education, empowerment, and entertainment, all in support of raising money for deserving organizations that focus on LGBTQ-health issues, homelessness, trans-rights, community, and the arts. My first Dinner was in 2016, and it was such a magical experience. It’s not until you walk into the ballroom that you truly grasp how massive this event is. In Black Tie Dinner’s 43-year history, we have distributed over $30 Million to local LGBTQ+ supportive organizations, and our national beneficiary, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. In 2023, we distributed a record-breaking $1.73 million. For the first time in our history, over $1 million was distributed directly to North Texas beneficiaries. Previous guest speakers and performers include: Ann Richards, Maya Angelou, Billy Porter, Gus Kenworthy, Ryan O’Connell, DJ Shangela, Connie Britton, Deborah Messing, and Cynthia Nixon. If you enjoy being outside, celebrating Pride Month, and supporting LGBTQ+ owned and operated businesses, the annual Pride in Bloom event held at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a must. Pride in Bloom typically occurs the second weekend in June and is filled with flowers, food, entertainment, shopping, and an amazing view of White Rock Lake. And since things are better in threes: if you happen to be visiting Dallas during the holidays I would recommend you get tickets to the Turtle Creek Chorale holiday concert. The Turtle Creek Chorale is one of the largest, and among the most-recorded, gay men’s choruses in the nation.

Black Tie Dinner (Photo courtesy of The Black Tie Dinner)

Black Tie Dinner (Photo courtesy of The Black Tie Dinner)

Where are the best places to enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
My suggestion would be to get in your car and get lost (with GPS, of course). There are so many pockets of Dallas that offer different things. If you bring your dog to town, White Rock Lake has a large dog park right off the water that is great for taking in nature and meeting new people. If you are into casual walks/running, the Katy Trail is a 3.5-mile linear trail that extends through the city. It is perfect for taking in several of the wonderful areas of Dallas, and has many entrances and exits so you can take a break for food, drink, or shopping.

A friend is coming to Dallas for the first time. Please describe the perfect weekend.
The perfect weekend would include introducing them to my friends over a happy hour somewhere in uptown, because as I mentioned, the people here make it wonderful. I would take them to dinner in Bishop Arts, and maybe pop into Mike’s Gemini Twin Lounge for an after-dinner drink. If they were looking for a night out, we would venture over to Cedar Springs to visit the famous Round-Up Saloon. On Saturday, a chill morning strolling the Katy Trail, and stopping at the Katy Trail Ice House for lunch. Saturday evening we’d snag a dinner reservation at Mot Hai Ba then catch a show at Broadway Dallas, or a Dallas Mavs game at American Airlines Center. Sunday, of course, would be a brunch with friends at Miriam’s!

Dallas Pride Takes Place Annually In June (Photo by Esfera)

Dallas Pride Takes Place Annually In June (Photo by Esfera)

What locally made products should visitors bring back from Dallas for their friends and family?
Dallas has an amazing “maker” culture. So many great local artists and artisans. If local and handmade gifts are your vibe, and you find yourself here in November, The Cedars Open Studio weekend should be added to your calendar. The open studio tour is a one day walkable event in The Cedars where 30+ artists open up their workspaces for you to shop. If you can’t make it for that, though, Dude, Sweet Chocolate makes a deliciously perfect travel gift. And, just around the corner from them in Bishop Arts is Jackson Vaughn, an elegant collection of Texas-inspired candles. I would also recommend White Rock Soap Gallery and their candles inspired by all the neighborhoods in Dallas. I’m a sucker for a good candle.

Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Dallas without…
Stopping by Full City Rooster in The Cedars for your favorite hot or iced coffee. Michael Wyatt, the coffee roaster and owner, knows what he is doing! Seriously, they have the best espresso in Dallas. Plus, they are always featuring the work of very talented artists, which I love.


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