With August having drawn to a close, posh Dallasites have returned home from chalets in Aspen and yachts in the French Riviera, and they’re ready to get back to business. September brings the dawn of the second gala season of the year, a several-month span in which time can be measured in luncheons, charity fashion shows, and evening soirées. Socially speaking, there’s a long ride ahead.
If you’re unfamiliar with this strange, fancy world, it can be an intimidating to make your entrée. Consider this your official invitation. We’ve gathered ten of the best black tie affairs to attend in Dallas this autumn, and we’re giving you the low-down on each one. Whether you want to support a good cause, you want a reason to break out your evening finery, or you want to see world-class live entertainment in an intimate setting, these events will get the job done.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Concert & After Party
When: September 28
Where: Meyerson Symphony Center
What: Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell joins the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for a breathtaking performance of Beethoven and Brahms, followed by a lively after party where you can dance and sip champagne into the eve. Expect an impressive photo op, tables of sweets, and foot massages for your tired soles.
Dress code: Black tie. Ladies, this is a rare opportunity to wear a full-on ball gown in Dallas.
Tickets: Individual tickets start at $99.
TWO X TWO Gala and Auction
When: October 26
Where: The Rachofsky House
What: This exclusive annual dinner and art auction brings in major funds for both amFAR and the Dallas Museum of Art. This year’s soirée is hosted by Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and Lisa and John Runyon, and honors artist Alex Katz. The invite-only affair includes a silent auction of very hot contemporary art.
Dress code: Bold, modern black tie.
Tickets: Individual tickets start at $3,000–by invitation only (unfortunately, ours alone won’t do)
The Crystal Charity Ball
When: December 7
Where: Hilton Anatole
What: There are plenty of spectacular parties in town, but the opulent Crystal Charity Ball is the gala of all galas. It’s been a hot ticket for decades, and scoring a ticket isn’t easy or cheap. The ball benefits children’s charities in Dallas County.
Dress code: Black tie. Frothy frocks and sparkly gowns welcome.
Tickets: Contribution Tickets are available for purchase in October.
Night at the Museum
When: November 9
Where: Perot Museum of Nature and Science
What: Explore the Perot Museum after nightfall at this fun annual party with dinner, cocktails, live entertainment, and engaging activities in the exhibition halls. Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra will keep the party going with dancing until midnight.
Dress code: Something in between cocktail and semi-formal.
Tickets: Packages are available from $3,000.
Cattle Baron’s Ball
When: October 19
Where: Gilley’s Dallas
What: It’s a long-loved Texas tradition that’s raised more than $81 million for cancer research in its 45-year history. The Cattle Baron’s Ball is a boot-scootin’ good time with drinks, dancing, and performances by big country stars (this year brings Keith Urban).
Dress code: Texas chic. Boots, hats, and big belt buckles encouraged.
Tickets: Individual tickets are available from $1,000 starting October 1.
A Night to Remember
When: September 21
Where: Winspear Opera House
What: Their Netflix special may be called An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, but comedy icons Steve Martin and Martin Short promise a memorable evening of stories, musical sketches, and jokes in Dallas. This event is a major fundraiser for CitySquare, an organization fighting against poverty in the Dallas area. The after party is only open to sponsors.
Dress code: Evening casual (don’t worry about it).
Tickets: Individual tickets available from $100.
When: September 20, 7 p.m.
Where: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
What: The gardens will be decked out with decor and 12 food stations by featured chefs and restaurants like City Hall Bistro, Le Bilboquet, Tulum, Up On Knox, Parigi, The Henry, and more. DJ Lucy Wrubel will provide the entertainment. All proceeds go to the North Texas Food Bank’s child and senior programs.
Dress code: Fancy casual.
Tickets: Individual tickets available from $200.
When: October 18, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Winspear Opera House
What: The Dallas Opera kicks off its 2019-2020 season with a special opening night performance and celebration. Walk the red carpet in front of the opera house, enjoy a seated dinner, see The Magic Flute, and attend an after party with the cast.
Dress Code: Black tie. Ladies, maybe opt for a cool matching set or tea-length cocktail dress rather than a gown.
Tickets: Single tickets available from $1,000.
Curtain Call Gala
When: September 27
Where: Vouv Event Center
What: The Firehouse Theatre will announce its 2020 season at the second annual Curtain Call Gala this September. The jazz age-themed fête includes dinner, dancing, live music by Denise Lee, and live and silent auctions.
Dress code: Cocktail or 1920’s attire
Tickets: Individual tickets available from $150.
Black Tie Dinner
When: November 2
Where: Sheraton Dallas Hotel
What: It’s the largest fundraising dinner in the nation for the LGBTQ community, and it benefits up to 20 local non-profit organizations every year. The evening includes a seated dinner, lively performances, inspiring community leaders, and more.
Dress code: It’s all in the name.
Tickets: Individual tickets available from $400.
When: January 18
Where: Crow Museum of Asian Art
What: The Crow Museum’s annual Jade Ball is a newer gala in the circuit, but it’s become a favorite among art advocates nonetheless. The evening includes a myriad of cultural experiences, like traditional tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and fortune telling, as well as drinks and dancing.
Dress code: Black tie.
Tickets: TBA. See the museum’s website for details to come.