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A Visit to Dallas Reveals Pride All Year Long

by Kelsy Chauvin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday July 7, 2021

  (Source:Visit Dallas)

Rainbow flags fly high during June, but the measure of a city's genuine Pride occurs the rest of the year. Dallas Pride is as big as the state itself, and the city continues to be one of America's most exciting LGBTQ+ hotspots for visitors and locals alike. This dynamic metropolis bursts with memorable sights and flavors representing the city's sophisticated Southern culture. But every day in this town tends to round up something new, surprising and delightful for every kind of adventurer.

LGBTQ+ travelers who are new to Dallas quickly discover how diverse and welcoming the city can be. Openly LGBTQ+ elected leaders hold key posts, while the LGBT Chamber of Commerce (one of the nation's largest) strengthens and promotes equality across a busy queer-owned and -allied business network.

The city makes a point of rolling out the rainbow carpet for LGBTQ+ travelers, too. VisitDallas.com is an easy way to discover top attractions, lively neighborhoods like Oak Lawn, and itineraries for seasonal events.

Walkabouts

Katy Trail Ice House
Katy Trail Ice House  (Source: Visit Dallas)

In Oak Lawn, the Crossroads is the city's LGBTQ+ hub, branching out from Throckmorton Street and Cedar Springs Road. It's fun to get lost roaming those sidewalks, where Pride flags wave all year, and LGBTQ+ locals and visitors commune over brunch and cocktails and dance floors.

About a mile's walk from the Crossroads is the famous Katy Trail, a linear park that replaced a retired rail line through the city. Walkers, cyclists, and skaters love the 3.5-mile route that passes through Oak Lawn and Uptown, and everyone loves the beer-garden-style Katy Trail Ice House near Turtle Creek.

Head south across the Trinity River to stroll through the Bishop Arts District. It's a historic, artsy neighborhood that's almost like its own small town, known for cool restaurants, chill bars, and independent fashion and home design stores.

The central, 68-acre Dallas Arts District never fails to delight visitors with its array of cultural attractions — including the buildings themselves, several designed by internationally renowned architects. Don't miss the Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center, two of the most prominent Southern art institutions. The district also is home to some of Dallas's finest performing arts venues, and parks and plazas are often programmed with live shows.EDGE tip: The Dallas CityPASS offers admission discounts and faster entry at several attractions, including the Reunion Tower GeO-Deck and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Serving Up Dallas

Meso Maya
Meso Maya  (Source: Visit Dallas)

Count on finding great food in this city famous for Tex-Mex, barbecue, and hearty portions. One of the city's most notable eateries is Lockhart Smokehouse in the Bishop Arts District, where you can sample brisket, ribs, sausage, and creative sides like yummy blue cheese slaw.

If Mexican cuisine is calling, the flagship of upscale local chain Meso Maya near the Arts District serves up familiar-yet-refined takes on enchiladas, rellenos and carne asada, plus inventive margaritas. (FYI, if margaritas are your fave, download the Margarita Mile App to find the very best sippers around town and earn rewards.)

For something deliciously different, head to the Knox-Henderson neighborhood for elegant French and Belgian cuisine at Toulouse café and bar. It's charming for brunch, though LGBTQ+ locals also turn to Oak-Lawn landmark Lucky's Café for the slick retro-diner setting.

LGBTQ+ Fun & Nightlife

Two of Oak Lawn's most famous queer spots in town take their names from the immortal "Dallas" TV show, so it should be a given that you'll sip drinks at both JR's Bar & Grill and women-centric Sue Ellen's. Better still, Sue Ellen's is one of the country's biggest lesbian bars, beloved by locals for zesty nightly lineups of concerts, guest DJs, burlesque and drag shows, and the huge lower-level dance floor.

Around the corner, Cedar Springs Tap House is the top spot to watch sports, and Dallas Woody's is a neighborhood hangout with showtune singalongs, comedy, and game nights. Meanwhile, the best same-sex boot-scootin' is over at the Round-Up Saloon, where you can catch free dance lessons most nights.


Thanks to the central location, Oak Lawn is easy to reach from downtown — helping to make it one of the nation's most vibrant entertainment districts. But all across town, Dallas boasts year-round special LGBTQ+ events.

Kickstart your visit by first browsing the VisitDallas.com blog to find the best drag brunches, seasonal parties, and upcoming shows, including the Turtle Creek Chorale men's chorus concerts.

Annual LGBTQ+ Events

It's probably no surprise that this gay-friendly city makes a big splash with Dallas Pride every June. (The pandemic limited the big event to virtual experiences in 2020 and 2021, but expect a rousing Texas return next year.)


For those missing in-person festivities, just hold your horses until fall, when Black Pride Weekend 2021 arrives September 24-26. The same weekend brings Texas Latinx Pride Fest on September 25, marking both gay Pride and Hispanic Heritage Month with a day-long party.

Fall also brings the city's famous Black Tie Dinner, one of the nation's most celebrated (and poshest) LGBTQ+ fundraising events. The gala dinner is planned for November 13, 2021, at downtown's Sheraton Dallas Hotel, where more than 2,000 attendees will celebrate the event's 40th anniversary — all to fundraise for the Human Rights Campaign and LGBTQ+ organizations serving North Texas.

Stay a While

It's a breeze to find a sweet location for lodging in central Dallas. Uptown, check into the stylish Le Meridien, The Stoneleigh, located in a historic building renovated with contemporary, artistic details. The Lorenzo Hotel welcomes queer travelers to its central perch just outside the Downtown Historic District, home to spacious rooms and custom-made décor and furnishings.

For a lofty stay, try the W Dallas — Victory near the Arts District, where you can count on the brand's LGBTQ+ friendliness, plus one of the region's most unique open-air elevated swimming pools. From the great heights you'll have here, it's easy to see how marvelous Dallas really is.

Ready to discover more LGBTQ things to do in Dallas? Check out VisitDallas.com.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, before your trip, please check attraction & event websites to verify status.

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.