A neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown of bars, restaurants, and transportation for CEDIA Expo 2022 attendees in Dallas, TX
In the early 1990s, while CEDIA was still in its early stages of development, so many of us bonded over food, drink, and entertainment in Dallas. I know this because my business partner and I put on the legendary, “World Famous Texas BBQ Parties” at my home. The association has outgrown my yard, but I hope many of you still hold a fond place in your heart for Dallas. We are known for our Texas hospitality, and I look forward to seeing you here in my hometown.
The Downtown district will hardly be recognizable to those attendees that haven’t been to Dallas recently. There are now many parks and green spaces all over the downtown area. There are also a lot more restaurants and bars close by to the convention center area, so I’m going to cover some of the entertainment and transportation options if you find yourself with some down time during CEDIA Expo 2022.
DFW is the larger of our two airports, of course. It has gone through a lot of renovations and modernizations over the years, with more to come. The Skylink system will help connect you to anywhere you need to go within the secure portion of the airport quickly. If you take a cab ride from DFW to most of the downtown hotels, expect to pay $45-60. Both Uber and Lyft are authorized to pick up and drop off from DFW. Uber will cost you approximately $25-30 to get to most hotels in the downtown area.
The DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) light rail and bus system opened in June of 1996. It didn’t go very far initially but has since been expanded to 90 miles of track throughout Dallas, with more to come. There are several hotels within a block or two of the DART system downtown, and there is a station directly underneath the convention center. Day Passes are available on all buses from ticket vending machines at rail stations, the GoPass app and with a GoPass Tap card. Passengers can purchase a Day Pass ($6.00 Local, $12.00 Regional, and $3.00 Reduced). These Day Passes will be good for unlimited rides on DART buses and trains (including your return trip) until 3 a.m. the following day.
Within 15 minutes from the convention center in Dallas, you will find more food, drink, and entertainment than you can possibly explore during your trip to CEDIA Expo 2022. The best way to cover that much territory quickly is to give you the names and links of each of the major nightlife areas close to everything downtown. They are all great in their own ways, and each one is a totally different experience. I’ve provided links to further help you to choose just the right place.
Wild Salsa on Main Street is more Mexico City-style food.
Here’s a link to some cool places for food and drinks downtown:
There are many more great steakhouses in downtown area, but this will give you a head start on you journey to the best steak in town. I’d say as good as Chamberlain’s is, it is the furthest from downtown on this list. So, you might want to stay a little closer to downtown, there are plenty of great choices closer.
Uptown and West Village
Uptown is a trendy area just up McKinney Avenue a little north of downtown. One of the ways to get there is to take the Trolley from downtown. The trolley system runs from near the Fairmount Hotel downtown all the way to West Village. It might not be the fastest way to get there, but it certainly is one of the coolest ways. It’s free to jump on and off of the trolley, and if you ride to the end, there is a very unique turnaround spot that is an experience all its own. Located conveniently close to downtown, the vibe here is young urban. There are great steakhouses like Truluck’s and Perry’s Steakhouse, alongside seafood and burger restaurants. You won’t have any problem finding abundant food choices and some friendly nightlife as well.
West Village is a planned community that has residential, retail, restaurants, and bars all in a nice, neat package. It’s a good place to have dinner, do a little shopping, and walk to several yogurt and gelato shops. There is a cool urban feel to the area with plenty of foot traffic for people watching. There are Mexican food options here, too. Mi Cocina is in the heart of the West Village and has a great bar. It’s noisy there, but the food, drinks, and interesting people are worth a visit.
This is the best description of the food and activities around the West Village area.
Across the beautiful Margret Hunt Hill Bridge (Dallas’s first of two Calatrava bridges), you will find a really cool dining experience. Trinity Groves is a newer area, and there are a lot of great places to eat there. The prices run from inexpensive to a bit pricier. There is a little something for everyone in Trinity Groves. The view of Downtown Dallas is spectacular coming back across the bridge to your hotel.
Here is a little about what you’ll find in the Trinity Groves area.
Deep Ellum is an eclectic area just on the east side of downtown, featuring a lot of music venues, restaurants, and bars. Small shops and galleries are all around. The vibe is a little more bohemian than the north side of downtown. There are a few well-known BBQ places like Terry Black’s and Baker’s Ribs here too. On the weekends, nightlife really picks up in this area of town. The music seems to bring people here, and there is plenty of it on the weekends. There are a number of clubs Deep Ellum, and if it’s jazz or blues you’re looking for, this is the part of town that you want to visit. Rock is also alive in Deep Ellum. Live music, in general, thrives in this neighborhood. Although, I would like to caution you to watch your back. The area is packed with people and clubs so just keep your eyes open and you should have a great experience here.
Dallas Art District
Just on the North side of Downtown, the Dallas Arts District is the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation, spanning 68 acres and 19 contiguous blocks. There are museums like Dallas Museum of Art and performance halls for just about anyone’s taste. Klyde Warren Park is also located in the Dallas Art District. It spans 5.2 acres that was built over the top of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. The park is a beautiful space among the towering buildings. There are food trucks on the side of the park and a great restaurant called Savor right in the middle of the park with glass walls all the way around. There are regular performances on the stage near Savor in the park. This place is full of activity day and night.
When I think about the West End, which is right downtown, I mostly think of old historic Dallas. There are casual dining restaurants here, but YO Steakhouse is high on the list, too. For more down-home cooking with Cajun shrimp and grits, you can’t beat Ellen’s Southern Kitchen and don’t forget brunch at Ellen’s. But eating is not all there is to do in the West end. There is also music at the House of Blues and even world-class museums like the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy happened in this neighborhood. The John F. Kennedy Memorial is a block away from the West End as well as the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. You can pay your respects at the site of this tragedy and soak up the history of this neighborhood. There’s plenty to eat and drink within a few blocks of this area, and it is right downtown.
Bishop Arts District
Uber is probably your best bet if you want to stray a little farther from downtown. The Bishop Arts District, located only about 15 minutes from the convention center, is inhabited by a large community of artists. There are galleries and small shops right along with the restaurants here. One of my favorites, Zen, is a cool sushi restaurant, and it just so happens that Zen is owned by fellow integrator, Tony Militello. There is pizza, and a number of other local restaurants within easy walking distance once you arrive. If you venture into this area, don’t miss the Dallas Grilled Cheese restaurant and the Emporium pie shop. If you don’t come to Bishop for anything other than the pies, it’s worth the trip. Just ask anyone where the best pie in the Bishop Art District is, and they will point you in the direction of Emporium Pies.
I hope this tour of the food around the central part of Dallas helps.
See you soon!