If Austin boasts that it has more restaurants per capita than any other place in Texas, and is thus its restaurant capital, Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City. These restaurants, in contrast to Austin’s, are more gourmet affairs than college-friendly, although there’s always enough range from expensive to inexpensive to keep the visitor fed regardless of pocketbook.
The food is diverse, if Southwestern style cuisine seems to be Dallas’s pride, and thus often its most expensive fare. Lovers of mesquite can only be pleased. But any type of food, no matter its reputation, can be found gourmet-style here, and Dallas is best known for its barbecue, Mexican, and Tex-Mex cuisine. Even steakhouses, perhaps associated with ranches and cowboy décor, can show up in buildings you might think better suited to French-style ritz. What “genre” of food is served makes little difference as to how is served and where, and the restaurants range from the casual to the ultra classy. Some of the “best restaurants in America” are here.
Dallas may not be Austin, but with 110 live performances daily, it’s certainly something. Blues is Dallas’s hallmark and that former warehouse district, Deep Ellum, was where that blues scene began. It’s still bluesy, if jazzy and alternative as well, home to experimental music and rock so new or weird that the big names haven’t sniffed it out yet. As the city expands, these entertainment districts and music venues expand as well, sometimes from focused to eclectic and Deep Ellum is only one district of many. The daily newspapers tend to be very thorough about what’s playing where and when. Greenville is another area to crawl when just looking for something to listen to.
And Dallas has expanded. Naturally, the blues scene is matched by the country-western one, with massive honky-tonks and country dance floors. (The largest dance floor in Texas is in Cowboys.) Latin dance is also big in Dallas, and other ethnic dance styles find place as well, particularly Polish and Celtic. In fact, the National Polka Festival can be found near Dallas in Ennis, come May, and the Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games rolls out in Arlington in June. For something a bit more mainstream (and more family friendly than trawling the streets for live music), check out the Dallas Summer Musicals and the excellent Dallas Symphony Orchestra.