Must-See Landmarks In Dallas
Ever drive by a statue, monument, or old building and never give a thought as to why it’s there, what it means, or the history behind it? Probably. Everyone has.
The fact is, though, that the history, culture, and traditions of a city are often locked up in these landmarks. Taking the time to explore them can make travel a much more enriching experience. You can bring home not just souvenirs and selfies, but a deeper understanding and appreciation of the place you visited.
So here are a few landmarks in Dallas that every visitor should try to see. Some are old, some are new, some are fun, some make visitors pause and reflect. But each is an important part of the Big D.
Old Red Museum
A castle in Dallas? Sort of. This Romanesque-style building, made of red sandstone, was built in 1892. Originally a courthouse, it is now a museum that tells the cultural, political, social, and economic history of the city. It contains some fascinating historical artifacts; it is also said to be haunted. The museum is located at 100 South Houston Street. It’s the red building that looks like a castle. You can’t miss it.
Bank of America Tower
New York has its Freedom Tower, Paris has its Eiffel Tower, and Dallas has the Bank of America Tower. At 921 feet high and 72 stories, it’s the tallest building in the city and the third tallest in Texas. Green LED lights illuminate the tower’s façade at night to make it the king of the after-hours Dallas skyline. The tower is at 901 Main Street in downtown Dallas, but you can see it from just about anywhere.
John F. Kennedy Memorial
The history of Dallas is inextricably linked to the assassination of America’s beloved 35th president on November 22, 1963. The John F. Kennedy Memorial is located in downtown Dallas near Main and Market streets, just a stone’s throw from where he was shot. Inside the simple but dignified 50-square-foot, open-roofed enclosure is a granite slab with the President’s name engraved on it. It’s plain and stark and designed to evoke contemplation.
Sixth Floor Museum/Texas School Book Depository
Another site etched into America’s collective memory of the Kennedy assassination, this landmark is now the Dallas County Administration Building. According to government investigations, Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK from a window on the sixth floor of the building. Today a museum occupies the infamous place. Historic films, photographs, artifacts, and interpretive displays tell the story of the assassination and its aftermath as well as the legacy of JFK. Visitors can even stand at the corner window where the shots were fired. A gift shop and café are on site. The red-brick building is at 411 Elm Street.
Cathedral Santaurio de Guadalupe
Opened in 1902, this Gothic Revival structure was designed by famous 19th century Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton. The cathedral church of the Roman Catholic diocese of Dallas is the second-busiest Catholic cathedral in the country. The bell tower soars to 209 feet and has a 49-bell carillon. Cathedral Santaurio de Guadalupe is located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas at 2215 Ross Avenue.
The Mustangs at Las Colinas
It’s no secret that horses figure prominently into the Lone Star State’s history. This bronze sculpture depicts a group of nine wild mustangs at full gallop to pay homage to Texas’ proud past. Fountains give the effect of water splashing beneath the majestic animals’ hooves, and the overall impression of horses running wild and free is an apt symbol of the state’s past and traditions. The sculpture is between North O’Connor Boulevard and Williams Square Drive, just east of West Las Colinas Square Boulevard.
That odd-shaped building with a ball on top? While you can’t go to the top, Reunion’s observation deck is open to the public. Visitors get a spectacular 360-degree-view of the city from 470 feet in the air on the GeO-Deck. Reunion Tower is at 300 Reunion Boulevard East.
Opened in 1921, the Majestic traces its history way back to the days of vaudeville, when Elm Street was a bustling entertainment district known as Theater Row. By the end of the 1930s, when vaudeville had run its course, the Majestic became a movie theater and remained so until 1973. Then the screen went dark for ten years. The theater was remodeled and reopened in 1983 as a performing arts venue. The Majestic is the last remnant of those heady days of Theater Row. It is at 1925 Elm Street.
What is Traveling Man? It’s a little difficult to describe. It is best explained as a series of three metal sculptures intended to evoke the history of railway travel in the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Each sculpture depicts a larger-than-life folk robot – the Traveling Man – in different chapters of his own story – Awakening, Waiting on the Train, and Walking Tall. It’s worth it to seek out these unique sculptures and snap a few selfies with them. They are located in the area of the Deep Ellum light rail station.
Cattle drives may have been – and still are – an intrinsic part of Texas, but you would hardly expect to see one in downtown Dallas. Well, you can. Pioneer Plaza was created in 1995 to commemorate Dallas’ important role in the settling of Texas. The area is adorned with native plants and trees as well as a flowing stream. The highlight, though, is a series of bronze sculptures – 49 steers and three trail riders – depicting a 19th-century cattle drive along the Shawnee Trail. It is the largest sculpture of its kind in the world. But of course; after all, it’s Texas. Pioneer Plaza is located at 1428 Young Street.
Old City Park
Just south of downtown, Old City Park is a museum of architectural and cultural history. Established as the first city park in Dallas in 1876, the 14-acre area contains 37 structures dating from 1840 to 1910. They include homes, a bank, a print shop, a general store, a church, a train depot, and a school. Guided tours are available. There is a restaurant with historic menus as well as a gift shop on site. Old City Park is at 1515 South Harwood Street.