You’re not going to let a little thing like the heat index stop you from enjoying the Texas outdoors, are you? Dallas is the ninth largest city in the nation, with a population of more than one million residents and plenty of southern hospitality to go around. And while the temperatures in the area hover in the high 90s in July and August, averages in June are in the mid to upper 80s, affording you plenty of time to explore the city’s emerging food scene, established arts district and outdoor parks and concerts before the humidity arrives. So, say what you want, weather man, but a hot summer forecast isn’t going to keep us away from Dallas.
Where to Stay
Set on 400 acres of secluded land, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas is found in Irving, located roughly 13 miles from downtown Dallas. In addition to the Four Seasons’ luxury accommodations and attentive service, the resort offers four pools, two 18-hole golf courses and several on-site restaurants, including Racquets, which is only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. In late May, the PGA and 250,000 spectators descended on the property for the AT&T Byron Nelson, one of the tour’s longest-standing tournaments. (The resort has hosted the event since 1983.) If you feel inspired by Steven Bowditch’s brilliant run to the 2015 title, you can certainly grab your clubs and hit the fairway. But if you’d rather enjoy an evening by the pool or a cocktail at one of the hotel’s three lounges, you’re free to do that, too.
Where to Play
There is so much to do outdoors in Dallas, it’s hard to decide where to begin. Locals rave about White Rock Lake, a 1,000-acre city lake and park located just five miles northeast of Dallas. From picnic areas and bird-watching zones to a 9.5-mile hike and bike trail, plus kayak rentals, this place has something for anyone with an outdoorsman’s spirit. It’s also directly adjacent to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, which boasts 66 acres of pristine gardens and rare blooms. This summer, in addition to providing beautiful grounds, the Arboretum will host the Cool Thursdays Concert Series, held on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
If you’re looking for another place for some outdoor fun, check out the Trinity River Audubon Center. With more than 6,000 acres, it rivals Central Park in size and activities (hiking and biking trails, kayaking tours and bird watching). For a horseback riding adventure, the nearby River Ranch at Texas Horse Park offers private lessons and trail and pony rides. On top of the good time you’ll have behind the reins, you can also feel good knowing that proceeds from your ride go to charity — as a non-profit organization, River Ranch provides scholarships and riding lessons to underprivileged children in the surrounding communities.
Where to Eat
The Dallas Farmers Market is open every day but Wednesday, offering locals and tourists alike a chance to taste some of the best in Texas. The Shed is where you’ll find fresh produce, while The Market is stocked with handcrafted goods. Arrive early in the day for the best selection, and bring cash or plan to stop at the on-site ATM. Either way, take the time to meet local farmers and hear their stories— you won’t regret it.
When it comes time to sample these just-picked vegetables and locally sourced meats, Dallas offers a host of great restaurants. In fact, this year, many area chefs and restaurants were honored as James Beard Award semifinalists, including “Outstanding Chef” nominee Stephan Pyles of “Best New Restaurant” candidate San Salvaje. Chef Pyles serves up fine, inventive flavors of Latin America at his establishment (see fried squid tacos with preserved lemon or traditional ceviche served with yellow fin tuna, ginger and coconut). But best of all, San Salvaje has an open-air patio that serves as an ideal backdrop for lunch or dinner. After refueling, you’ll be ready for any other outdoor adventures you may have on the itinerary.