Most of us who have secure jobs work in static, humdrum settings with little to no visual stimulation, which is why we go to shopping centers and classy restaurants on weekends—to distract ourselves from everyday routines. Eventually, those getaways become routines, too, unless you find new places to explore. You may not have time to explore, you say, but then a date pops into your calendar—and not just that; it’s a first date with an artsy guy, and you want it to be perfect. Are you really going to limit your date plans with your usual getaways? 

When it comes to dating in a city like Dallas, it can be challenging to choose destinations different than that go-to premium casual restaurant or the nearest Cinemark. It’s especially challenging when the guy you’re going on a date with is so jaded even Deep Ellum  seems like a bore.

So you run through some date ideas that a guy might like. Coffee at Denny’s? Too common. Walk in the park? Yeah, you and the other ten couples strolling by you. Applebee’s? C’mon, you’re trying to make a good impression. This guy is wearing obscure designer clothes, is into urban living, and has already passed by the Arts District multiple times. Rest assured, there are other parts of town that offer a similar environment but feel more unique.

Imagine your male companion has already had the tourist tour of downtown Dallas. What would you suggest that tells him you know all the trendy places hidden within the city? If you still don’t know where to go on a first date, here are a few options situated around the downtown area.

West Village

He seems fashionable enough to admire high-class apparel, so why not take him to West Village, where you can walk around and gaze at Uptown’s riches. Built in 2001, this nearly-100-shop district equips enough retail stores dedicated to both men’s and women’s fashion that you could spend an entire late afternoon dressing each other up, pretending to be rich. If that’s not to his liking, go to the Magnolia, where they usually screen the latest independent and foreign films. Hungry? There are more than 20 chic restaurants and bars to choose from. Even if these things don’t suit your taste, you can’t go wrong with walking under string lights.

Museums and Galleries

It seems you both share an interest in art but have already seen the permanent collection in the Arts District museums. What do you do? You go to Google Maps and look around the Design District, because, believe me, there are dozens of other museums that don’t get as much deserved recognition as the Dallas Museum of Art  or the Nasher. For example, the Haas Moto Museum and Sculpture Gallery owns over 170 beautifully-designed motorcycles sure to catch any artist’s attention. The Museum of Geometric and MADI Art is the only one of its kind in North America and has a collection of abstract art so playful and colorful that would make fans of Suprematism scream with joy. Dallas Contemporary is one of the older museums within the Design District, having been founded in 1978, and stays relevant by constantly rotating or adding exhibitions by local and nationally-renowned contemporary artists. Drive around the design district long enough and you’ll soon be sharing art opinions with your date in places like Site131, Conduit Gallery, Laura Rathe Fine Art gallery, Samuel Lynne Galleries, LuminArte Fine Art Gallery, PDNB Gallery, Cris Worley Fine Arts gallery, and Goss Michael Foundation gallery—just to name ALL museums and galleries in the Design District alone. If you do decide to explore the area, don’t be thrown off by all the industrial, factory businesses around these museums; that’s just the typical underground art space.

Lula B’s

In case you weren’t aware, vintage aesthetics are currently ‘in.’ It’s the perfect time to visit thrift stores and antique shops for retro needs, and what better place to visit than Lula B’s, where most items are pricy but the information you get is worth more. Lula B’s can make for the right first date environment for a variety of reasons: you learn what a person is attracted to just from what they decide to pick up, comments about an object illustrates personality, and the history of these ancient objects might cause nostalgia, perhaps letting the person speak about their past through that. At any rate, Lula B’s has an eclectic inventory of furniture and other miscellaneous goods that are bound to start multiple conversations and keep the guy you’re with engaged. Not engaged as in…well, you get the point.

Trinity Groves

One of the most popular things to do on a first date with a guy is go out to eat. An artsy man likes artsy things, obviously, so the ideal place seems to point a finger at Trinity Groves, where everything in this area speaks the language of art. Just past Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge leaving downtown, some of the best restaurants for first dates hide within this posh plaza. From sushi to BBQ grill and pastries, you can find different places to eat appetizers, entrees, and desserts individually. Once you finish your meal, take a walk throughout the complex. No matter where you go within its borders, eye-catching designs and intimate lights will follow you.

​Wild Detectives

A combination of books and booze never fails to give the coziest feeling ever and Wild Detectives not only offers that; it provides the ideal atmosphere to talk all things culture, literature, and music. In a way, it appears like the main hangout of Dallas’ intelligentsia due to its camping cabin size, but really, it’s designed that way to spark off face-to-face conversation. The coffee shop/bookstore/bar is loosely named after Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives and also follows the book’s essence: to push a flow of ideas between people and get them to experience a wholesome get-together. Any man who’s into the arts will adore you for bringing him here. Just remember: talk!

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