It's Winter In Dallas And You Want To Spend At Least One Day Doing It Right. We Got You.
In case you somehow haven't noticed, the holidays are here, and everyone's busy gathering last minute gifts, while doing their best to avoid all that crazy mall traffic. If, by some miracle, you've set aside a little “me time” for yourself these next few weeks, though, we've come up with the perfect plan on how to make the most of this wondrous time of year in Dallas.
Tis the season to eat more than you normally would because, hey, it is the holidays! But, if you follow our schedule, you can have a fun, festive and, most importantly, active winter day in Dallas. Hopefully by the day's end you won't feel quite so bad about all the overindulging. Maybe you'll get a little last minute holiday shopping done while you're at it, too.
Your morning begins in the Design District. There, you'll find Meddlesome Moth, and one of the most badass waffles you will ever experience. Literally, the dish is called the Badass Bacon Waffle, and they are not lying. This dish comes loaded with bacon, spiced cream, pecans and maple syrup, with the option of moonshine ganache if you want to really start your morning off with a bang. For those of you interested in a healthier morning, they also offer a festive breakfast porridge, which consists of oats, farro, quinoa, nut and dried fruit.
Less than a mile down the road is the Hilton Anatole, which again this year is hosting its Sparkle at the Anatole event. This gigantic hotel is decorated from floor to ceiling with holiday lights, trees, ornaments, and awesome activities. The main attraction, of course, is the indoor ice-skating rink to get you in the winter spirit despite our continuing warmer temperatures. After getting chilly on the ice, grab a hot chocolate and a sample from the Nothing Bundt Cakes table (gingerbread cake is offered this season, yum!) and head to the light show offered every half hour. The entire space is filled with over 1.2 million lights!
If that's not enough, there's also a Velcro jump wall, live holiday entertainment, food trucks, face painting and crafts available every day. You might also get to meet Santa while you're there — unless you've been naughty of course. Pro tip: Parking prices may appear ridiculous, but if you are there to attend the event they give you a voucher to wave the parking fee when you leave.
Ice-Skating can definitely build up your appetite so we will make our way to one of the most festive holiday traditions that Dallas has to offer. The original Neiman Marcus was opened at its permanent location on Main and Ervay in 1914, and has been a Christmas staple for the Downtown holiday tree lighting every year since. Each year, Neiman Marcus Downtown features a different unconventional Christmas tree made of things like car parts, shoes, glass, robots and even pencils. Make sure to grab a box of their famous chocolate chip Christmas cookies on your way out. Pro tip: The Dalpark parking garage is just across Elm St. from Neimans and they will stamp your parking ticket in the store to wave the parking fee.
After waltzing through the beautifully decorated store, you can make your way up to the sixth floor for their seasonally offered holiday buffet at The Zodiac Room. For $40, Neimans offers an all-you-can-eat buffet of gourmet fresh eats to satisfy any craving you may have this time of year. A few of their regular offerings include: Seared rare tuna, chopped Italian shrimp salad, orange souffle, prime rib roast, turkey, herb dressing, roasted Brussels sprouts, seared salmon, ravioli and even potato latkes. An assortment of tiny tarts and cookies end the buffet to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Following the buffet, a short walk will definitely do you some good. Fortunately, Downtown is covered in lights and decorations this time of year. Half-a-mile down the road is the stop for the M-Line Trolley at Ross and St. Paul that runs from Downtown to West Village for free every 30 minutes. The trolley is a convenient way to get around Dallas that helps to avoid that pesky holiday traffic. And because it has been running since 1983, it also has a very old-timey feel that will make you want to sing carols and watch White Christmas.
West Village is the last stop on the trolley and it's a good spot to pick up some last minute gifts. Take a stroll around the shops with your afternoon coffee and check everyone off your list.
Once your hands are full with shopping bags, it's time to head back to the trolley. You might want to take one pit stop on your way back to the parking garage, though: The Original Cupcakery is along the trolley's route and completely worth the stop. They have more cupcake flavors than you have ever dreamed of. Their seasonal flavors include: rum cake with an orange glaze, a holiday spice cake with a butter rum frosting, a pumpkin bread cake topped with cranberries, chocolate chips, and maple cream cheese frosting, a lemon rosemary cake and a vanilla cake with peppermint frosting. They also have special order holiday cupcakes for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well. This Cupcakery is the official cupcake for the AT&T Performing arts center and if you stop in before Sunday the 21st you can enter into a drawing to win two tickets to see Once: The Musical at the Winspear on the December 23.
Speaking of the AT&T Performing Arts Center, they are hosting their annual show at the Wyly again for the holidays: their own personal take on A Christmas Carol. As you return back to Dalpark garage to drop off your shopping bags, and pick up your car, make your way to the Wyly Theater parking garage to drop your car off once again.
Half a mile down the road is the decorated Klyde Warren Park, which is home to the biggest outdoor Christmas tree in Dallas. Just to spend a little more time admiring the beautiful view, stop into Savor Gastropub for dinner right on the park. Their floor-to-ceiling windows provide an awesome background to an awesome meal. On our visit, the rotating pasta was a mac and cheese with short rib and Brussels sprouts, but everything else on their menu is good, too. Check out their seasonal cocktails that contain some very unique ingredients, like their Baked Apple Mule which contains baked apple syrup, the Ichabod Crane which has fresh pumpkin puree, Scotch, and cinnamon syrup and their Autumn Knights with black walnut bitters.
After a long, busy day in Dallas, there's nothing like ending the night with a classic holiday show, like A Christmas Carol. Dallas Theater Center does an incredible job of bringing this old show into a new light. With the help of some special effects– the ghost of Christmas present flies above the audience, snow falls throughout the theatre, and Bob Marley's ghost burst from the floor below. The show is filled with classic holiday hymns and if you weren't in the holiday spirit before walking into the Wyly, you will definitely be when you walk out. Pro tip: Buy your tickets early, because all 26 performances were sold out last year.
With no intermission, the show only runs 90 minutes, which will relieve you from your long, productive, fun, and festive day spent in Dallas just in time to hit the pillow.
And if you haven't already eaten all of them, maybe leave some of those Neiman Marcus cookies out for Santa before bed.
All photos by Melanie Shafranek. Graphics by Patricia Gonzalez.