White Rock Lake is one of the city's most beloved outdoor spaces and East Dallas' greatest asset. Photo by Kristi and Scot Redman.

How to Spend 12 Hours in East Dallas

East Dallas seems to have it all, from the natural beauty of Lakewood to the nightlife and entertainment of Lower Greenville.

East Dallas seems to have it all, from the natural beauty of Lakewood to the nightlife and entertainment of Lower Greenville. You’ll find tight-knit, charming communities in the M Streets, Ridgewood Park, Forest Hills, and Lochwood, all neighborhoods that enjoy a more easygoing kind of city living.

Our neighborhood guides explore where people live, work, and play in Dallas, but you can’t really know a place until you experience it firsthand.

Spend 12 hours in East Dallas, and you may never want to leave.

In Bloom | Noon

See what's blooming at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Photo by Josh Blaylock.
See what’s blooming at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Photo by Josh Blaylock.

Take in 66 of the most beautiful acres in North Texas at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. An ideal spot for field trips, dates, and family outings, the spacious gardens are filled with thousands of flowers and a striking array of plants — the annual Dallas Blooms festival in March and April features more than 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs. Bring along a picnic basket for lunch or stop by the restaurant at the historic DeGolyer House on the grounds. Seasonal festivals and evening concert series are a plus, but the natural beauty at the Arboretum is a year-round constant. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for children (ages 3-12), and parking is $15 per car.

For Love of the Lake | 2 pm

White Rock Lake serves as the rallying point for East Dallas. Photo by Kristi and Scot Redman.
White Rock Lake serves as the rallying point for East Dallas. Photo by Kristi and Scot Redman.

White Rock Lake is possibly the city’s most beloved outdoor space, a “humble urban oasis” that is East Dallas’ greatest asset. Head out for an afternoon of biking, hiking, strolling, jogging, kayaking — whatever physical pursuit strikes your fancy. Gawk at some bizarre birds. Seek some sage counsel and free advice. Ponder the fate of the White Rock Water Theater and the state of public art in Dallas. Look for ghosts. Stop by the Bath House Cultural Center to check out an art exhibition — if the timing’s right, you can catch some live theater or dance, and maybe a poetry reading or another event. Whatever you do, visit White Rock Lake.

For the Record | 5 pm

Pick up some wax at Good Records. Photo by Andi Harman.
Pick up some wax at Good Records. Photo by Andi Harman.

The field, strangely enough, feels simultaneously more competitive (see: Josey Records) and less crowded (see: CD Source) than it has been in the past, but Good Records remains one of the best record stores in Dallas. Good Records regularly hosts in-store performances from bands performing down the street at the Granada, and its selection of CDs and vinyl records is consistently on point. Browse the shelves and leave with your favorite new album.

Seeing Green | 6 pm

Grab a drink and a Philly cheese steak at the Truck Yard. Photo by Kristi and Scot Redman.
Grab a drink and a Philly cheesesteak at the Truck Yard. Photo by Kristi and Scot Redman.

Take care of some shopping or grab a bite and a drink along Lower Greenville, and feel free to extend yourself all the way down to the recently rejuvenated Lowest Greenville. The neighborhood features some of the city’s greatest bars and restaurants, and every March, it hosts the biggest party in Dallas, as revelers from across North Texas make their way to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The area’s pretty lively the rest of the year, too. Take a stroll and see what piques your interest. We’ll suggest the Truck Yard for now — its outdoor setting and rotating lineup of food trucks make it ideal for an early evening beer and a Philly cheesesteak — but there is no shortage of options for dining, drinking, and shopping on Lower Greenville. While we’re at it, we’ll go ahead and also recommend the french fries at the Blind Butcher and the vegetarian grub at Sundown at Granada.

Live and Uncut | 8 pm

Live music fans will find some of the best shows in Dallas at the Granada. Photo by Mikel Galicia.
Hear some live music at the Granada. Photo by Mikel Galicia.

The Granada Theater is one of Dallas’ best live music venues, consistently booking fantastic national acts and local rock stars alike. You’ll also usually find bands and local performers next door at Sundown at Granada. When the theater isn’t hosting live music, it often reverts to its original function, screening movies — cult films, concert documentaries, and nostalgia hits — and dispensing drinks. Scope out the box office or take a peek at the marquee and see what’s showing. Odds are good you won’t be disappointed.

Into the Night | 10 pm

Continue carousing on Lower Greenville. Photo by Scott Womack.
Continue carousing on Lower Greenville. Photo by Scott Womack.

Let’s say the show at the Granada lets out early and you walk out the venue’s doors full of energy. No sweat: You’re still in one of Dallas’ finest entertainment districts. Continue carousing on Lower Greenville, or mosey a short way over to Henderson, where you can dance the night away at Beauty Bar or get a new high score at Barcadia, one of the best arcades (and best arcade-bar) in Dallas.

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