Your Go-To Guide to the Dallas Art Fair 2018: Where to Eat, Drink, Shop, and More

All the sites and bites around Big D.

Mark di Suvero, Eviva Amore at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Courtesy of the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas.

This week, the Dallas Art Fair returns to Fashion Industry Gallery for its 10th annual edition. One of the best parts of going to an art fair is taking advantage of everything the hosting city has to offer. Dallas, being one of the country’s biggest cities—in many senses of the word—has a lot to offer. For newcomers to the city or those simply looking to check off all the hot spots while they’re in town, we surveyed galleries based in Big D to get a local’s perspective on where to eat, drink, shop, and, of course, see more art. From upscale restaurants and swanky watering holes to casual coffee spots and colorful outdoor destinations, this is your go-to guide for the Dallas Art Fair.

Recommendations courtesy of AND NOW, Bivins Gallery, Conduit Gallery, Cris Worley Fine Arts, Erin Cluley Gallery, Liliana Bloch Gallery, PDNB Gallery, Talley Dunn Gallery, Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden.


A non-traditional take on Bouillabaisse from Boulevardier. Courtesy of Boulevardier. Photo: Kevin Marple.

Jalisco Norte

After a day of fair-going, refuel with the modern Mexican fare and exquisitely crafted margaritas from the wunderkind Mexican transplant, chef José Mez. Just a 10-minute drive from the convention center, the lively dining area and bar are the perfect way to end a day of art-hopping.

3858 Oak Lawn Ave #470


The latest foray from owner Teiichi Sakurai (who brought us Teppo and Tei Tei) has garnered national attention for its chic-minimalist vibe and superlative soba noodles. The sushi passes muster with even the most discerning diners, but the hand-cut buckwheat noodles are the real draw; Tei-An is one of only five restaurants in the country where you can get them fresh on the premises. Other favorites include the curry short green soba with duck meatballs and the shumai.

1722 Routh St Suite110


In the charming Bishop Arts District, a neighborhood bistro with an upscale French twist. Most popular for brunch, you can also expect decadent offerings like bouillabaisse and crawfish beignets on the dinner menu, plus a seriously extensive wine selection. After indulging, wander around for unique curios, artsy nooks, and independent bookstores.

408 N Bishop Ave #108



Interior view of Mansion Bar. Courtesy Mansion Bar and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.


Mansion Bar

Located in a luxury hotel with a rich history, this Uptown Dallas bar channels the look and feel of an old private club, down to the leather-lined walls and plush velvet settees. Known for its signature take on classic cocktails, like the Mansion Manhattan and Texas Margarita, the bar has also launched a new Spring cocktail menu, which will be available during the fair. Mansion is particularly lively on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, when it features live music.

2821 Turtle Creek Blvd.

Happiest Hour

If you’re looking for a more casual cocktail experience, Happiest Hour is your go-to destination. Spread over 12,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, the city’s largest patio bar and lounge is just a 15-minute walk from the fair and the downtown arts district. The bar is known for being abuzz before and after Stars and Mavericks games at the American Airlines Center a couple of blocks away. Fortunately, neither team stands to make the playoffs this year, so by the time mid-April rolls around, there should be plenty of room for fairgoers.

2616 Olive St.


Courtesy of Ascension Coffee.


Need caffeine? Check out Ascension. For a quick hit on-the-go, or to settle in with a small plate, all three locations around the city are local haunts with a great atmosphere and quick service.

1621 Oak Lawn Ave.; 200 Crescent Ct. 40; Thanksgiving Tower, 1601 Elm Street 120

Spiral Diner

Classic diner comfort food, all made totally vegan—a regular stop for the artsy set, but you don’t have to be a plant-based devotee to enjoy the green goodness. The restaurant offers casual, standard diner ambiance, plus a full range of coffee and alcohol.

1101 N Beckley Avenue



Interior view of The Wild Detectives. Courtesy of The Wild Detectives.

NorthPark Center

If you expect to do any shopping while in Dallas, chances are you’ll end up at NorthPark Center. With 2.3 million square feet of space and more than 230 stores and restaurants, Northpark is the largest shopping center in Texas, and one of the most popular in the country. You can find virtually everything there, even world-class art: works by dozens of artists, including Andy Warhol, Joel Shapiro, and Beverly Pepper are installed throughout the center. The highlight, though, is a 48-foot-tall, 12-ton Mark di Suvero sculpture located in the mall’s NorthCourt—it’s the only one of his monumental public pieces installed indoors.

8687 N Central Expressway

The Wild Detectives

If you’re looking to avoid the chain consumerism of the mall, make a point to visit the Wild Detectives, an independent bookstore and bar in Dallas’s Bishop Arts District. Grab a coffee, beer, or plate of appetizers while you browse a curated selection of hundreds of books. If you’re lucky, you might even catch one of the many events the bookstore hosts regularly, from readings to wine tastings to concerts.

314 W Eighth St.



A section of the Katy Trail. Courtesy of the Friends of the Katy Trail.

Katy Trail

Looking to get some exercise in between big meals and fair events? Take a walk, run, or bike ride along Dallas’s Katy Trail. Built on the abandoned tracks of the old Missouri–Kansas–Texas railroad line, the three-and-a-half-mile stretch of paved walkway takes you along Turtle Creek—an offshoot of the Trinity River—and through multiple neighborhoods and parks. The southernmost entrance to the trail is also just a short walk from the Fashion Industry Gallery.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Take a break from the fair to visit the 19 gardens the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Sitting on the shores of White Rock Lake, the gardens account for over 66 acres of vibrant flora and fauna. April is one of the peak times to visit the gardens during the year—hundreds of plants will be sprouting anew, and the weather is likely to be warm and pleasant ahead of the summer heat.

8525 Garland Road



The Nasher Museum of Art.Photo: Nasher Museum of Art.

The Nasher Museum of Art. Photo: Nasher Museum of Art.

Nasher Sculpture Center

The permanent collection is a checklist of world-renown artists, many of whom are not recognized for their sculptural works. The breadth of the 300-plus collection ranges from classic artworks by Auguste Rodin and Barbara Hepworth to the mobiles of Alexander Calder and comically surreal works of contemporary artists Mark di Suevro and Michael Craig Martin—all curated between the galleries of the Renzo Piano-designed building and the sprawling lawns and gardens.

On view through April 28: “First Sculpture: Handaxe to Figure Stone”

Calendar of events throughout April

The Nasher is located at 2001 Flora Street

General admission $10; Regular admission includes entrance to special exhibitions.

Dallas Contemporary

Just in time for the influx of art-seekers, a very meta show at Dallas Contemporary featuring the work of New York-based painter Eric Fischl. In “If Art Could Talk,” Fischl explores the physical and psychological structures that are purpose-built to house art: from the white cube gallery to the collapsible fair-tent and how visitors interact with the art in situ.

On view April 12–August: “Eric Fischl: If Art Could Talk

Also on view, “Harry Nuriev: 6 Fears” and “Sara Rahbar: Carry me home” through August 2018.

Dallas Contemporary is located at 161 Glass Street

Admission is free.

Dallas Museum of Art

After making its debut at New York’s Whitney Museum, more than 60 works by the West Coast artist Laura Owens come to Dallas in an eponymously titled exhibition perfectly timed for the Art Fair. Although her work employs the visual language of pop art, Owens paintings are tinged with satire and social commentary, while exploring the limits of the medium and challenging the conventional classification.

Laura Owens” is on view now.

It is the last month to experience the (literally) all-encompassing joy and madness that is the world of Yayoi Kusama in the DMA’s Infinity Mirror Room. Kusama’s signature polka-dot motif is taken to the extreme, and visitors will be transported into an alternate reality that takes interactive art to a level few can offer. Get in on the Kusama Kraze, but order tickets in advance here.

Yayoi Kusama: All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” is on view through April 29, 2018; $16 special admission.

DMA is located at 1717 North Harwood

General admission is free, special exhibitions $16

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