Best Museum 2015 | Meadows Museum | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Next to a tree-lined boulevard, fronted by sculptures by Henry Moore and Claes Oldenburg, the Meadows Museum on the Southern Methodist University campus houses one of the foremost collections of Spanish art outside The Prado in Spain. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, this small but impressive museum, funded by Dallas oilman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows in 1965, houses works by Velasquez and masterpieces from the last 500 years of Spanish painting and portraiture.


Years in development at Dallas Theater Center, February's world premiere of the musical Stagger Lee, written by DTC playwright-in-residence and Meadows Prize SMU writer Will Power, filled the Wyly Theatre with impressive talent — Cedric Neal (now living in London and starring in West End musicals there), M. Denise Lee, Traci Lee (Denise's daughter), Akron Watson, Major Attaway, Ricky Tripp, DTC company member Hassan El-Amin, power-belter Tiffany Mann, Saycon Sengbloh and Brandon Gill — in a near-epic retelling of factual and mythical black history. Power, who wrote book and lyrics, with music by Justin Ellington, says this is still a work-in-progress. But the lavishly designed and visually stunning production directed by Camille A. Brown, in its debut here, had a thrilling emotional pull. Its powerful take on "black lives matter" made for a wrenching commentary on what's happening in the real world.

It was around dusk one evening during Dallas' monsoon season last spring, and clumps of people were sprinting off the Continental Avenue bridge, just steps ahead of a wall of fat raindrops. The downpour was expected, but the lure of standing above the swollen Trinity River and watching downtown Dallas enveloped by inky clouds had been too striking to pass up. The bridge, which closed to traffic several year ago and reopened last spring as a pedestrian-only linear park, will never be as popular as Klyde Warren. It's too monotonous, with too much concrete and too little shade to have that type of pull. But it offers majestic views of downtown Dallas and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, a sorely needed pedestrian connection across the Trinity River and a welcome splash of whimsy (Dallas turned a car bridge into a park?!?), all without the danger of being flattened by cars.

Order a Neapolitan pizza of your choice and make sure to request that it stays in the oven till it's extra crispy. You'll be well on your way to enjoying the best pizza served in Dallas. The crust here has integrity and stands up to toppings without going limp. You can even fold one of the tiny slices and it will stand at attention. With three locations (the newest is in Victory Park), you shouldn't have to travel far for perfection. Just make sure you dine in; great pizza seldom travels well.

Sometimes you go to a bar to hide. From your spouse. From your problems. From the glare of daylight itself. The murky atmosphere of the Cock and Bull, a cozy little red-walled bar in Lakewood, is as dark as a Raymond Chandler mystery. Some poorly lit bars skimp on cleaning, but you'll find no sticky surfaces here, my friend. Just killer drink specials ($2.50 well booze Thursday nights) and a lovely absence of lumens.

Kathy Tran

Drop in during the weekend and be prepared to leave with a little extra zip in your step. Whether you prefer freshly ground coffee or the more delicate appeal of loose tea-leaves, The Cultured Cup will send you home with everything you need to assure your coming week is well caffeinated. But don't rush out the door! The best thing about visiting The Cultured Cup is spending time at the tasting bar. You'll likely encounter new teas and coffees and meet fellow stimulant junkies. The store is as social as your favorite coffee shop but with a much larger offering.

As if it weren't cool enough to slink down the stairs positioned just under a neon-lit "cocktails" sign, the atmosphere at Midnight Rambler is chic without feeling over the top. Once you find your way into this dimly lit cocktail den, the drinks that await somehow manage to eclipse the ambience. The cocktail nerdery of bar braniacs Chad Solomon and Christy Pope is evident in their modernist technique and clever wordplay on the cocktail menu, and the drinks they stir are just so damn good. Close your eyes and point at a random spot on the menu, you'll find a winner every single time.

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