Walk—or run, or bike, or skate—along the Katy Trail. Then stop for a cold one at the Katy Trail Ice House. Photo by Leah Clausen.

How to Spend 12 Hours in Uptown Dallas

In the city's most walkable community, you can live, work, and play without ever getting in a car or setting foot outside the neighborhood.

Our neighborhood guides take an up-close look at where Dallas residents live, work, and play. In Uptown, the city’s most walkable community, you can do all three without ever getting in a car or setting foot outside the neighborhood. Here’s a guide to spending 12 hours in the city’s “dream project of New Urbanism.”

Getting There | Prologue

No need to bring a car to Dallas' most walkable neighborhood. Photo by Josh Blaylock.
No need to bring a car to Dallas’ most walkable neighborhood. Photo by Josh Blaylock.

It would almost be rude to bring your car along for a visit to Uptown. Try not to upset the delicate equilibrium that’s made it the most walkable neighborhood in Dallas. The McKinney Avenue Trolley will cart you from downtown to Uptown’s West Village, and the DART rail’s Uptown/Cityplace stop opens up right next to The Rustic. Consider an Uber if you’re leaving late for drinking and merry-making, or find a designated driver who can afford to pay for valet parking.

Cause a Racket | 10 am

Cole Park has eight free public tennis courts. Photo by Leah Clausen.
Cole Park has eight free public tennis courts. Photo by Leah Clausen.

Cole Park has a basketball court, a playground, and some wonderful walking paths going for it, but the main appeal of this seven-acre slice of green space is its eight tennis courts. Bring your own racket and a friendly competitor.

Trail Mix |11 am

Walk—or run, or bike, or skate—along the Katy Trail. Photo by Leah Clausen.
Walk—or run, or bike, or skate—along the Katy Trail. Photo by Leah Clausen.

Stroll — or run, or bike, or skate — along the Katy Trail, one of the best places to be outdoors in Dallas. Whether you’re shedding some calories running the 3.5 mile path from SMU to the American Airlines Center or just looking for an excuse to grab a drink on the patio at the Katy Trail Ice House, the trail has you covered.

Dine & Dawdle | 1 pm

Photo by Josh Blaylock.
Photo by Josh Blaylock.

There is no shortage of dining options in Uptown. Try some restaurants along McKinney Avenue before the evening bar crowd comes out to crawl. If you’ve brought a four-legged friend along, consider Mutt’s Canine Cantina, a combination dog park and restaurant with treats for you and your furry pal.

Treat Yourself | 3 pm

Photo courtesy of West Village.
Photo courtesy of West Village.

There’s a strong chance you had lunch at one of the many restaurants in West Village, the Uptown residential and retail hub, which will make this next step even easier. Stick around and treat yourself to a spree of pampering, shopping, and more in the development’s 250,000 square feet of retail space. Spa Habitat, Avalon Salon, and Floyd’s Barbershop will leave you looking good and feeling better. Pick up some new duds or stop in at one of the many upscale stores in Dallas’ most visually appealing shopping district. By the time you’re done, you can mosey to another restaurant for dinner.

Now Showing | 7 pm

See a movie at the Magnolia Theatre. Photo credit: travis(ty) / Flickr.
See a movie at the Magnolia Theatre. Photo credit: travis(ty) / Flickr.

The McKinney Avenue Contemporary and Kitchen Dog Theater are packing up for the Cedars, but Uptown’s Theatre Three has kept its home base in the Quadrangle for four decades and counting. The company stages some of the best shows you’ll see in Dallas, but check ahead for tickets and showtimes. Any night of the week you can catch a movie at the Magnolia Theatre, which shows an eclectic mix of new mainstream and indie films. The theater, conveniently located in the West Village, also has a cozy bar.

Night on the (Up)Town | 9 pm

Photo by Leah Clausen.
Photo by Leah Clausen.

Your 12 hours in Uptown won’t be complete without a crawl through some of the neighborhood’s many bars. The stretch along McKinney Avenue is a notorious playground for Dallas’ $30,000 millionaires and the city’s more obnoxious twentysomething social butterflies, but that reputation isn’t entirely justified. Uptown plays host to a bustling social scene, and you’ll find a decent mix of people looking for a fun night out and some good old fashioned debauchery. Try the Blackfriar Pub, Idle Rich Pub, or Renfield’s Corner. Two of the city’s best hotel bars — Rattlesnake and Hotel ZaZa’s Dragonfly — can also be found in Uptown.

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