Top 12 Hidden Gems In Dallas

Here are the top hidden gems in Dallas, Texas.

I wrinkle my nose, roll my eyes, and let my hands rest against my hips in dissatisfaction. Seven. That’s it. Seven. I tote up. My fingers drum to the rhythm of the count.  

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. 

Seven options.

I plonk down on the chair and stare at the glass encasements on the counter.

“Are you still deciding?” I look up to a chipper woman. She looks young, fresh out of college. Her hair is swept back, not a strand falls on her fitted apron.

“No,” I say. “I mean, yes. I don’t know. They all look so…” My voice trails off.

You smile. “Anshula,” you say, keeping a steady voice. “It’s okay. Stay calm.” (I’m so glad you are used to my indecisiveness by now) “How about this one?”

You point to a perfectly circular pie. Neatly trimmed. Rich looking. It’s hidden under glass, and atop, a little stick of paper is slapped along the curve. “Lord of the Pies,” the paper reads.

Oh dear, oh d-d-dear (said in a Piglet voice). I can’t resist a good book reference. 

So here we are, in Emporium Pies, one my favorite hidden gems in Dallas, Texas. It’s the start of our crazy romp through Dallas, my hometown.

I’ve been living in (now near) the Big D for the past five (almost six) years and these are some of my go-to spots in and around town.

So without further ado, here are 12 hidden gems in Dallas, Texas. From lesser-known eateries to secret gardens, this is a side of Dallas you won’t want to miss out on!

Emporium Pies

The Deep Ellum location of Emporium Pies, a Dallas chain that Dallasites, including me, are obsessed with
Here’s a peek at the Deep Ellum location of Emporium Pies!

We take a seat at the corner table. You let your fingers slide through a single yellow flower tilting over the rim of a small ceramic vase. Outside the window, we can see people trot to-and-fro the street. A steady clip-clop of shoes treads the sidewalk.

Emporium Pies, located on a sort-of cul de sac within Bishops Art District, draws a homey feel. The front porch is wooden (the soft colored kind that begs for a hammock and rocking chair) and from the base, white beams stretch upwards to a warm hue.

“Lord of the Pies” is the shop’s classic fusion – a traditional apple pie stripped of innocence, wrapped in seductive sash of sugar. Each slice is densely fat, hosting a small chunk of ten manicured apples.

Emporium Pies at the Bishop Art District Location with a slice of Lord Of The Pies on my plate

The apples here are fine-tuned – soft-baked into a viscous caramel paste. The outer rim, a spontaneous mix of flaky and buttered thickness, reels the senses. A single slice suffices for the two of us, making what appears to be a more expensive pie a bargain offer.

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You fork through the remnants of our slice, scraping the plate clean. I take a bite here and there. Time passes by slowly. And as the sun starts to shine a little brighter, a steady loop of people stream inside.  

Heads bob from the counter to the door, past the porch, past the sidewalk, past the road. By mid-afternoon, Emporium Pies transforms into a hotspot for young couples and eager children. 

I check my watch. The gold-colored fingers stretch at a sharp angle. The second hand laps the surface at a hypnotic speed. 1:00 PM.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

General Info

Address: 314 N Bishop Ave, Dallas, TX 75208

Not-So-Famous Color Walls

funky color walls in Deep Ellum

One of the brightest hidden gems in Dallas is the street art scene. Dallas isn’t known as a street art hub (that title always goes to Austin) so travelers will be pleasantly surprised by the plethora of murals in the Big-D.

Deep Ellum is Dallas’s color factory. Biting reds. Electric greens. Bold blues. A swish of paint. A frantic frenzy of lines and curves. A roughage of hues.

The hip vibe of Deep Ellum is much like Austin. It’s a strange section of the DFW-metroplex, home to gothic speakeasies, antique malls, and more local shops than chains.

But street art here is quite unlike the Texas capital. The murals are more intricate. Complex. Constant yet ever-changing.

Keep It Wild Wall at the Hill In Dallas
If you’re looking for hidden gems in Dallas, check out The Hill, a local shopping complex, for good eats and murals by the dozen!

Deep Ellum focuses less on abstraction and more on large-scale political cartoons, celebrity satires, distorted animal forms, and caricature human figures

Deep Ellum roasts Texas through its works yet somehow, simultaneously glorifies the state. We could spend an entire day poring through every mural and –

“Ummm, Anshula, ” you murmur amidst my rambling. You shake my arm a bit. “Check the time.”

I adjust the husky sandalwood band around my wrist and gaze at a pastel green face. 3:30.

Oh, goodness. We haven’t had lunch yet. I apologize, I’ll fix that right away.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Ruibal’s Market

Ruibal's Market is a cool and whimsical hidden gem in Dallas

Whilst the Dallas Farmer’s Market is a popular attraction (amongst tourists and locals alike), Ruibal’s Market is one of the prettiest hidden gems in Dallas.

The Dallas Farmer’s Market is a colorful feast. Bright and plump fresh produce.  Friendly farmers and merchants. Oh, did I mention free samples?

You help me find ingredients for a makeshift picnic lunch. Strawberries. Check. Peaches. Check. Tomatoes. Check. Organic sugar cookies? I’m so tempted….

Don’t have the free sample, Anshula. Don’t even think about it.

secret garden in Dallas at Ruibal's

Mmmm…let’s take a box (just this one time). I have no self-control when it comes to sweets.

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Ruibal’s Rosemeade Market, next door, is wild and whimsical. If Willy Wonka had a plant factory, he’d own Ruibal’s: lush green plants, cast iron separators, a bright orange door, gardening accessories of every shape and size.

Tick. Tick. Tick.  

General Info

Address: 3646 E Rosemeade Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75287

White Rock Lake

White Rock Coffee at White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake, a quiet spot northeast of Downtown Dallas (thanks for the update Kristina), featuring almost 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, is picnic-perfect.

I normally grab a cup of joe from White Rock Coffee (one of the best drive-through hidden gems in Dallas) before heading out here!

Large expanses of grass, shaded by tall trees, stretch out and surround a deep blue-gray reservoir. This is the White Rock Lake I know and love.

We set up at a broad picnic bench and lay out our fruits and vegetables against the wood. We listen to the songbirds perform their litany of chirps. An egret swoops upwards from the lake. A coxswain chants as a small group rows into the lake.

“Take it full pressure is seven strokes,” she yells. “One…Two…Three…Half Stern to Row….Four…Five…Six…Seven.”

The paddles churn in rhythm to the time.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

General Info

Location: White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX

MADI Museum

MADI Museum is one of the most underrated art museums in Dallas. this is the gray facade.

One of my favorite hidden gems in Dallas is a tiny little free geometric art museum.

The shapes dance to a gentle symphony. Beat by beat, the concentric circles and blocks move together harmoniously. A few harsh notes tear them apart and texture their clean-cut figures with the intensity of emotion. The outlines, elementary in pattern, melt into unique twists and forms.

MADI focuses on an abstract craft that toys with mathematics and science in art forms. And as a die-hard nerd, I’ll admit, the collection makes me just raving MADI (and thus begins an inevitably sad slew of awful puns). 

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Update: A reader recently informed me that this museum has recently closed due to a loss of lease. I was incredibly disheartened to hear this as MADI has long-been one of my favorite museums in Dallas. Here’s hoping it finds a new home.

General Info

Address: 3109 Carlisle St, Dallas, TX 75204

Highland Park Village

Shops in Highland Park Village

The Highland Park Village shopping center looks like it has been plucked out of a billion-dollar movie starring Audrey Hepburn. It’s set amongst a thick of mansions that are equally plush.

Gucci. Burberry. Louis Vuitton. The only brand missing here is Tiffany’s.

Even the Starbucks is upscale, ingrained with artwork and a softer color palette.

Highland Park Village theatre follow me to shot.

But the reason we’re walking around this shopping center is to embrace a unique architecture style that I don’t see quite often when I travel. Highland Park Village follows a mission style revival architecture – a mix of traditional Spanish architecture and colonial American architecture. The blend looks very Italian gothic due to the intense detail but is far from it in terms of origins. 

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And that’s what makes Highland Park Village one of the best hidden gems in Dallas.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

P.S. If you’re looking for more hidden gems in Dallas, there’s a cute romantic gazebo (perfect for a photo op) nearby that’s often missed!

General Info

Address: 32 Highland Park Village, Dallas, TX 75205

Wild Detectives

Inside Wild Detectives, one of Dallas' hidden gems

Wild Detectives is a literary bar (making it one of the most unique hidden gems in Dallas).

When we enter, you’re convinced we’re in a bookstore. Shelves of books line the restaurant. There is even a counter that showcases locally written books.

But the tipoff is the lights. And the faint smell of alcohol. Candles and lamps illuminate this wooden space.

The bar revolves around an air of enticing mystery. Each detail is like a hidden clue scattered here and there. The menu is an illustrated picture book and most of the drinks are a play on classic literature titles (which, if you couldn’t tell by “Lord of the Pies”, I’m more than mildly obsessed with).

Also, the posters are absolutely adorable. I wish I could find them and purchase them on Etsy.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s ale?”

If Romeo came up with punny drunk pick-up lines like this, I would totally fall for him.

On a complete side note, what you like to order? One book. One drink.

Dostoevsky and Vodka? Sophie Kinsella and Cocktails?

I’m going for some old-fashioned Alexandre Dumas and a large hot chocolate. How does that sound?

Eventually, the Dallas sky is enveloped in a tar-paste darkness. As I check my watch, I realize, we should probably head out, but I promise, next week, we’ll investigate more hidden gems in Dallas, Texas.

General Info

Address: 314 W Eighth St, Dallas, TX 75208

5 More Hidden Gems In Dallas

View of Teddy Bear Park Dallas from Lakeside Park, one of the prettiest hidden gems in Dallas

Here are a few more hidden gems in Dallas to check out if you’re visiting for a longer period of time (or are a local looking for more things to do)!

  • Dragon Park: a tiny garden with a full-on Game Of Throne vibe
  • Chocolate Secrets: a multi-room candlelit chocolate lounge perfect for a date night
  • McKinney Avenue Trolley: free transportation from Uptown to the Arts District and back
  • Teddy Bear Park: a quiet fairytale pocket by Lakeside Park that’s easily one of the prettiest hidden gems in Dallas
  • Half Price Books: If you live in DFW, you might not know that the Half Price flagship store is in Dallas. HUGE discounts on books (I mean, I practically live here.)

Near Dallas (Texas)

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sincerely anshula

Did you enjoy this list of hidden gems in Dallas, Texas? What are your favorite hidden gems in Dallas? Let me know in the comments below!


  • Christine
    September 9, 2017 at 6:24 PM

    When i visited Dallas a few years ago I didn’t visit any of these spots! I would love to during my next trip, especially the farmers market! Thanks for sharing these!

    • anshula.varma
      October 20, 2017 at 2:31 PM

      The Farmer’s Market is one of my favorite places – I’m way too fond of free samples (they make me want to pack up all the fruits and veggies and sweets and try to fit them into my fridge). Have a fantastic day and happy travels! xx – Anshula

  • Lena
    September 9, 2017 at 6:39 PM

    Wild Detectives seems like a bar that’s just up my alley! I’ve bookmarked it for when I’m in town. And LOVE your watch!

    • anshula.varma
      October 20, 2017 at 2:32 PM

      Hey Lena, hope you get a chance to visit! I absolutely love Wild Detectives (even their menu is a picture book with custom illustrations). Wishing you a fantastic day and happy travels! xx – Anshula

  • Megan
    September 9, 2017 at 7:31 PM

    So many colorful spots!! That watch fits in perfectly to the vibrant colors around Dallas 🙂

    • anshula.varma
      October 20, 2017 at 2:34 PM

      Thanks, Megan ?. I’m particularly fond of bright and cheery colourful spots! Have a fantastic day and wishing you happy travels! xx – Anshula

  • Michelle
    September 9, 2017 at 10:54 PM

    You have a great voice to your writing. Thanks for sharing this fun post. I live in the DFW area and haven’t been to a couple of these places. I do love the Bishop Arts District though!

    • anshula.varma
      October 20, 2017 at 2:37 PM

      Awww….thank you so much, Michelle. That means a lot to me! I agree, Bishop Arts District is awesome (I’ve started to become obsessed with Ginger Fox Gallery and want to tuck away all their mini-paintings). Happy travels! P.S. Wishing you a fantastic year featuring hopefully stable weather in DFW xx – Anshula

  • Leigh
    September 9, 2017 at 11:55 PM

    What a unique way to list out a destinations list of Dallas. I used to visit often, but only ever saw my friend’s house and pool…I’d like to return as a tourist and see some of these places!

    • anshula.varma
      October 20, 2017 at 4:17 PM

      Thank you, Leigh! Hanging out with friends is the best (I always get distracted from exploring too) ? Hope you get to visit Dallas as a tourist soon! Happy travels! xx – Anshula

  • Valerie
    September 10, 2017 at 12:16 PM

    I like the colour walls in Dallas- the picture is amazing. Plus, the Follow Me To one!

    • anshula.varma
      October 20, 2017 at 4:18 PM

      I couldn’t resist taking the standard Follow Me To picture xx – Anshula

  • Danielle @ Follow My Gut
    October 22, 2017 at 11:15 PM

    Your adventure looks like it was so much fun and you got to check out some awesome places. The mural has to be my favorite. But that watch is super nice so it only makes your journey even better!

    Danielle | <3

  • Kristina
    April 15, 2021 at 9:30 PM

    You lost all credibility from me when you said White Rock Lake is south of Downtown Dallas. It’s northeast of downtown.

    • Anshula Varma
      April 16, 2021 at 7:19 AM

      Hi Kristina, thanks for catching that! I’m terrible with directions (it’s a running joke on the blog as I’m always getting lost). And that’s no excuse for the mistake. I’ve gone ahead and updated the post and credited you as well. xx – Anshula


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