Out Destination: Dallas

Dallas is one of the largest cities in the southern United States and those visiting the Big D will quickly see that even though it has all the makings of a major cosmopolitan city, it has somehow managed to maintain its southern charm. Best known for its legendary BBQ, Dallas has emerged as a culinary capital of the South, offering a variety of options for every budget and taste. Most surprising about Dallas’ culinary scene is the abundance of Asian restaurants in which to choose. I even visited an all-you-can-eat dim sum restaurant, which was quite exciting since I have not seen this kind of restaurant outside of a Chinatown neighborhood.

The majority of GLBT activity in Dallas is centered around Cedar Springs Road. Just a short taxi ride from downtown, CSR as the locals call it, is a mix of GLBT-friendly retail, restaurant and nightlife venues that could rival those of Chicago or San Francisco. To many people’s surprise, Dallas is a very progressive city with a thriving GLBT scene and business community. The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce is one of the fastest growing and most active in the country.

The Round-Up Saloon is the place to go if you are looking to embrace your inner cowboy.  The venue offers three distinct rooms and a large dance floor where patrons can two-step and line dance to their heart’s content. Across the street is 

J.R.’s Bar & Grill, an extremely popular destination and a great place to meet the locals. Its sister club, Sue Ellen’s is a hot spot for women, open seven nights a week and offers a laid-back sports bar vibe as well as a dance floor.

After a night of partying, Texas-style, head to the Warwick Melrose Hotel, just a brief five-minute walk from the heart of Cedar Springs Road. The 200-room luxury hotel is one of the finest in the city, offering a mix of traditional design with contemporary amenities including 37” flat-screen televisions, iPod docking stations and 300-thread count sheets. For an amazing dining experience, head to the hotel’s Landmark Restaurant, a recipient of the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Award.

For something a bit more on the quirky side, stay at the Belmont Hotel, a converted motor lodge which offers many amenities of a major hotel chain including a full-service restaurant, fitness-center access and outdoor pool. The retro-chic property also offers complimentary shuttle service within three miles of the hotel and hosts many GLBT events throughout the year.                            

Dallas is a shopper’s paradise. With large department stores such as Neiman Marcus calling the city home, it would be hard not to leave without spending a few dollars. For those who would rather invest in small boutiques, head to Outlines Menswear or Union Jack, one of the oldest GLBT-owned and operated clothing stores in the nation. In addition to other brands, Union Jack is just the place to find that perfect pair of Andrew Christian underwear.

To catch up on local news and events, grab a copy of the Dallas Voice, the local GLBT newspaper or for more information go to www.visitdallas.com.

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