If Austin is Texas’ epicenter of cool, think of Dallas as its more-glam neighbor to the north. As in: blowouts over beachy waves and sculpted physiques over super-chill savasanas. And, in a word: Neiman’s.
But the football- and fitness-crazy city has a lesser-known bohemian side, too—don’t forget, Dallas is the home of wellness girl crush Erykah Badu. And it’s where Wes Anderson shot his first film, Bottle Rocket. He and Luke Wilson reportedly spent so much time at Cosmic Cup, a vegetarian Indian spot (now called Cosmic Café), that its owner became one of Anderson’s go-to actors. (Kumar Pallana’s most memorable role: as Gene Hackman’s sidekick, Mr. Pagoda, in The Royal Tenenbaums.)
In terms of getting your sweat on, transplants from other big cities will see lots of familiar places: Barry’s Bootcamp, CorePower Yoga, Orangetheory, and more. But there are plenty of distinctly Big D studios to check out as well—and that goes double for the food scene. Of course, you’ll have no trouble scoring barbecue, chicken fried steak, and tacos. So. Many. Tacos. But these days, the plant-based and fresh, farm-to-table food scenes are thriving, too. And wherever you go, remember: Hydrate! Triple-digit summer heat is no joke.
Keep reading for the healthiest places to sleep, eat, and play in Dallas.
The art-filled hotel in downtown Dallas is known for unexpected touches—like the wonderfully weird 30-foot-tall eyeball sculpture it loaned to the nearby Nasher Sculpture Center. But for wellness lovers, in particular, the delightful surprises keep coming: a boutique fitness studio with a dream menu of classes, including cycling, boxing, yoga, TRX, and HIIT, plus a spa whose “Earth Inspired” body treatment includes the super-relaxing Ayurvedic practice of shirodhara, where a stream of warm oil is drizzled onto your third-eye chakra on your forehead.
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SUNNY, 2015 by Brian Calvin. Creating a warm welcome, this beautiful piece is set just inside the entrance of @americanodallas. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #TheJoule #JouleArt #BoutiqueHotel #UrbanHotel #BrianCalvin #SUNNY #JouleArtCollection #BlueChipArt #DallasHotel #AmericanoDallas #1530Main #MainStreet #DowntownDallas
It’s all about the poolside scene at this Uptown Dallas boutique hotel—you can take a rooftop dip during the day or enjoy it after dark when a DJ spins for the city’s cool kids (and visiting celebs). Other wellness-y perks include pop-up workouts from local studios like Grit Fitness, an on-site, full-service spa, and an open-door policy for your pooch. Yep, Fido can stay with you—and the concierge can direct you to Dallas’ best off-leash parks as well.
For decades, Crescent Court has been one of the most luxe spots in town. And its spa is the place for pampering. But you can’t say they’re resting on their laurels—the uptown hotel has of-the-moment offerings like nutrient IV drips (offered in its spa) and complimentary boutique fitness classes (everything from spin and yoga to barre and HIIT).
Craving some superfood sustenance (the drinkable kind)? This coffee-and-juice joint in the artsy neighborhood of Oak Cliff serves up turmeric lattes and one of the best matchas in town. And its cold-pressed juices (always served in glass bottles, BTW), include a blend for anyone who may have had a late night (ahem): The Day After, with water, lemon, and activated charcoal.
This vegan comfort food mecca in Oak Cliff is a perennial favorite among locals (it’s even been blessed by Badu). In addition to serving up classic diner dishes, Spiral has Tex-Mex with a legit healthy upgrade. (AKA get your guac here—plus nachos, migas, and quesadillas—if you’re looking to skip dairy and meat.) And bonus: The Beyond Burger is in the house.
Yep, you read that right—some of the best Thai food in Dallas (and definitely the freshest) is served up at these food stands, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is literally home-cooking, from members of the Thai community that founded the northeast Dallas center in 1982—and much of it is made from vegetables grown in the cooks’ gardens. After your street-food feast, you can make a mindful day of it, by strolling the center’s serene gardens.
This Arizona-based fast-casual chain from True Food Kitchen founder Sam Fox isn’t unique to Dallas, but the spot near Lovers Lane and Inwood Road is the company’s busiest, Fox says. It’s the perfect place to rub (muscly) shoulders with the city’s wellness in-crowd going about their day-to-day routines—and grab some avocado hummus and a custom-made bowl to go. Pro tip: If you’re dining in, kombucha’s on tap.
Can’t decide between some heart-pumping cardio and a muscle-quivering Pilates sesh? This sleek, airy uptown studio brings it all together in one workout, with reformer work combined with cardio drills for a serious full-body burn.
At Grit, it’s about quality time, not quantity time. The studio—with locations in Addison, near SMU, and in the Design District—has 30-minute HIIT classes that are designed to get you pumped, fast. You can also make some fast friends since the community-minded studio caters to boss babes with speed networking and potluck events. Oh hai, new running buddy!
With showers, mats, and props included in the price of a class, Uptown is the ultimate drop-in studio for yogis looking for a (chic, super-welcoming) place to practice. The local yoga chain—with locations in the Lakewood and Uptown neighborhoods of Dallas, and just outside Dallas in The Colony—offers vinyasa flow, from beginner to advanced, as well as a “strictly core” class to fire up your power center.
This five-acre park is a Downtown Dallas oasis built in the most unlikely of places: above a freeway. (It’s kind of like the High Line in New York City—if the High Line actually covered a functioning rail line beneath it.) And since the park opened in 2012, it’s become the perfect place for a low-key meetup or some good people-watching (a rare pleasure in a car city like Dallas). Take in a lunchtime concert or get your sweat on with barre, yoga, boot camp, and tai chi classes—then fuel up at the food trucks (among the city’s best) or at on-site Savor Gastropub. Or, you know, just do what parks are made for and chill out.
Hands down, the most scenic spot to bike (or hike, or picnic) in the city is White Rock Lake in East Dallas. The nine-mile trail is easy enough that you can take in the scenery and wildlife as you pedal—and after you’ve made the loop, stop by the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden (on the shore of the lake) to experience 66 acres of flower-power vibes.
This facials rockstar has a celeb following that reportedly includes Anna Wintour, Kate Winslet, and Christy Turlington, and her menu includes some of the newest techniques anywhere. You may have heard of microneedling or cryofacials—but what about a radio wave facial? It won’t be cheap: The radio wave facial—which also uses microcurrent, ultrasound, and LED light therapy—will set you back $850. But, you can get the star treatment yourself at Czech’s Victory Park studio.
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