White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas
Credit: Sarut Panjavan/Getty Images

In the popular imagination, Dallas is a land of big hair and big sky, iconic football and thick-cut steaks, ten-gallon hats and steel-toed boots.

But the city's not all 80s soap opera — and really, it never was. It's home to neo-soul legend Erykah Badu, as well as famous architecture from Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, and Renzo Piano. There's even a thriving hip-hop scene.

Pick up a cowboy hat if you will, but don't neglect the great Mexican food or fantastic music.

African American Museum

With one of the largest folk art collections in the United States, the museum is one dedicated to African and African-American history, as well as art and culture in the southwest.

Klyde Warren Park

A five-acre park atop a sunken freeway, this park opened in 2012 to great acclaim. It's full of lawn games, music performances, film screenings, food trucks, and more.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza

Dedicated in 1970, the memorial lies one block east of Dealey Plaza, the site of Kennedy's assassination.

McKinney Avenue Trolley

Five lovingly restored vintage trolley cars — some of which are more than a century old — roll through Dallas's historic Uptown district. (Bonus: They're air-conditioned.)

Crow Collection of Asian Art

Local real estate developer Trammel Crow collected more than 600 works of art from Japan, China, Indian, and southeast Asia on display here, including a notable jade collection as well as an Edo-era suit of Samurai armor.

Trinity River Audubon Center

One hundred and twenty acres of nature preserve await visitors on the banks of the Trinity River, once — though it's hard to believe it — home to the state's largest illegal dumping site.

Juanita Craft House

Home to civil rights activist and public servant Juanita Craft, who started over 180 chapters of the NAACP in rural areas, this cottage hosted both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lyndon Johnson.

Hall of State

Originally build for Dallas's Fair Park, this grand building — one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture in Texas — is now run by the Dallas Historical Society and houses an extensive archive as well as the American Museum of the Miniature Arts.

White Rock Lake

East of Downtown, White Rock Lake is a pictureque spot for a picnic or just spending time in nature. Many local residents love the lake for recreational activities like sailing, cycling, and running. Don't miss the White Rock Bath House Cultural Center and Sunset Bay.

Dallas Museum of Art

The DMA began offering free admission in 2012 and has since been a go-to spot for art-lovers. It's located in the Design District and accessible by the Mckinney Avenue Trolley, though it's also walking distance from Klyde Warren Park. The museum recently acquired Yayoi Kusama’s infinity room, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins!

Mariah Tyler contributed to this story.