There’s art all around us — if you know where to look.
If you’re tired of looking at the same walls and adding to the dent in the sofa, ditch the cabin fever and make plans to play tourist with these staycation outings in Dallas. Take advantage of the lighter traffic and cheaper gas to explore Big D like a visitor.
Some of these itineraries can be done without leaving the car, especially if you park safely and know how to aim your smartphone just right to get an Instagrammable pic from the car window. Others allow for getting some fresh air and adding to your step count, all while remaining physically distant.
The one-way streets and DART buses can be intimidating, so use this time of less traffic to see the sights. Don’t miss the original Pegasus on the lawn outside the Omni Hotel, nearby Reunion Tower, the cattle drive at Pioneer Plaza, the blues tributes outside Encore Park, Thanks-Giving Square, the three-story eyeball sculpture near the Joule hotel and the detailed exterior of the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture.
Wander the fairly new Pacific Plaza Park, which has a 1-acre lawn, an open-air pavilion, a play area and what may be the city’s longest stone bench. Check out Wyland’s Whaling Wall 82, a mural at 505 N. Akard St. depicting six life-size humpback whales swimming near a coral reef — a scene that until recently was covered by large-scale advertisements.
And pay tribute to President John F. Kennedy by viewing The Sixth Floor Museum, Dealey Plaza and the Kennedy memorial cenotaph. For a longer JFK itinerary, head south to Oak Cliff to visit the Texas Theatre marquee and plaque and 1026 N. Beckley Ave., where Lee Harvey Oswald was living on the day of the assassination. Or go northwest to Irving to visit the Ruth Paine House Museum at the home where Oswald slept the night before.
It’s easy to miss the year-round sites at this 277-acre park if you go only during the State Fair of Texas. When you’re scouting for dollar water, dodging strollers and hunting for Big Tex, you might not notice the tucked-away murals, plaques and statues. Look for the Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Tejas Warrior statue at the Hall of State, the golden eagle atop the Tower Building, the sculptures at the Women’s Museum building, restored murals at the Automobile and Centennial Hall buildings, the Statue of Liberty replica, the Berlin bear statue, Gulf Cloud fountain and the Esplanade with art deco sculptures at each end. Walk around the Leonhardt Lagoon with its 1936 sculpture and resident turtles and birds, and get a good view of the Texas Star Ferris wheel across the water and grounds. Don’t forget Woofus! The statue is an amalgamation of six animals, and it’s perched on the face of the Swine Building on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the Pan American Arena.
Enter at Gate 5, Robert B. Cullum Boulevard and Grand Avenue, Dallas. fairpark.org.
The Fabrication Yard
Graffiti artists have covered old metal buildings with layers and layers of bright paintings at this informal art park in West Dallas. The artwork is constantly changing, and it’s not uncommon to find someone working on a creation, which can range from a signature name tag to a solemn tribute. A recent addition is a mural memorializing Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed in Georgia in February. Rapper Nipsey Hussle was also honored with a painting when he was killed last year. Families and photographers alike flock to this colorful block of buildings located near the intersection of Singleton Boulevard and Sylvan Avenue.
Fabrication Street at Topeka Avenue, Dallas. facebook.com/TheFabricationYard.
The neighborhood’s bars and concert venues are still closed; some are even boarded shut. Only a few restaurants and shops are open, but there’s still plenty to see. Cruise the storefronts for colorful murals. Or check out The Traveling Man, Brad Oldham and Brandon Oldenburg’s three-part sculpture series featuring shiny metallic robots and birds. The one called Walking Tall stands about 40 feet tall near DART’s Deep Ellum Station; the Waiting on a Train piece shows a robot strumming a guitar. Farther down Good-Latimer Expressway, there are painted pieces underneath the overpasses and at the Bark Park dog playground, which has paintings inspired by playful pooches.
Elm, Main, Commerce and Young streets, from North Central Expressway to South Washington Avenue, Dallas. deepellumtexas.com.
Dallas Design District
This neighborhood of fine art galleries and high-end retail showrooms is peppered with public art, including Andrew Myers’ 20-foot-tall sculpture titled In Case of Emergency. Situated on a median on Hi Line Drive at Decorative Center, the work shows a man with a heart encased in glass holding a hammer. Not all retailers and galleries have reopened, but many have window displays and exteriors worth browsing. And don’t forget the alleyways. There’s some fun graffiti painted along the loading docks and back doors. Also nearby are a few new murals. Virgin Hotels Dallas, which opened late last year, has a trippy exterior painting by Drew Merritt called Amor Vincit Omnia. One featuring Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic from Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, is on Riverfront Boulevard near Cole Street. Another is of a nurse wearing a protective mask painted in the style of Rosie the Riveter on the exterior of Redfield’s Tavern near Parkland Memorial Hospital, a bit north of the Design District.
Bound by North Stemmons Freeway, Wycliff Avenue, East Levee Street and Continental Avenue, Dallas. dallasdesigndistrict.com.
This area south of downtown Dallas has some outsized arty accessories. Find the 10-foot-tall, 20-foot-wide, 2-ton bowler hat created by artist Keith Turman on a lawn on Griffin Street West between Browder Street and South Ervay Street. Just minutes away on Griffin at South Akard Street is the bowler’s fashionable friend: a 42-foot-tall sculpture of a black umbrella, located outside the Lorenzo Hotel. While in the Cedars, check out Four Corners Brewing Co.’s murals. They showcase several of the brewery’s can labels, which are inspired by loteria cards. Farther south on Lamar Street, visit the colorful murals outside Vietnamese restaurant Sandwich Hag, which is open for takeout (order in advance online).
South of Interstate 30 between the Trinity River and Interstate 45, Dallas. cnadallas.org.
Stage a version of the Beatles’ famous Abbey Road cover image on the rainbow crosswalks along Cedar Springs Road where it intersects with Oak Lawn Avenue and Reagan, Throckmorton and Knight streets. Then take in what is called the largest transgender-proud mural in America. Painted on the parking lot side of Cedar Springs Tattoo and Piercing, the image designed by artist Brian Kenny commemorates the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York and two transgender activists who were pioneers in the gay rights movement. Also visit the Legacy of Love monument at the corner of Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs. While you’re near, gawk at the three large dragon figures on the corner of Cedar Springs Road and Wycliff Avenue at Cedar Springs Chiropractic. The owner, Dr. Steven J. Tutt, says they bring joy to the neighborhood.