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25 mantastic things to do in Dallas

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Posted 9:56am on Thursday, May. 10, 2012

I'm just a regular thirty-something guy with regular wants and needs who has made some discoveries while living in Dallas for almost seven years, and in the North Texas area all of my life. Below I've outlined 25 Mantastic Things to do in Dallas this year that vary from hedonistic, to fun, to downright ridiculous and uncouth. I've also included some healthy, I dare say humanitarian good-for-the-community-type activities to help make this list more well-rounded. As with every recommendation on our site, all activities are within Dallas proper. I have excluded traditional spectator sporting events because those could be considered a cop out, and I enjoy a challenge.

This article is a celebration of all the things guys love. You might look at this list as a Mantastic bucket list, of sorts. The best part? The list is interactive! You can tell your friends about each activity you've checked off by clicking the "Tweet it" link next to each Mantastic challenge. Plus, it lets these Dallas-based businesses know of your patronage. I highly recommend you bookmark this article and come back when you need ideas for the weekend.

Let's dive in.

Conquer the Shiner Platter BBQ Feast at Lockhart. The smoked jewel of Oak Cliff 's Bishop Arts District, Lockhart Smokehouse offers a special cornucopia of manerific meat and all the fixings. According to co-owner Jill Bergus, "It includes pretty much everything we have on the menu: Kreuz Market sausage, brisket, shoulder clod, chicken and ribs. As far as sides, the Shiner Platter includes beans, deviled eggs, potato salad and mac and cheese." A small platter costs $75 and feeds four, and the large one is $150 and feeds six to ten. It's guaranteed to blow a heart valve, in a good way. Get the BBQ feast details here. Done this? Tweet it.

Compete in a Big Buck Competition at Dave & Busters. D&B is the manly version of Chuck E. Cheese. Bring your buddies to one of the cheapest happy hours in Dallas and challenge them to a digital big game hunting contest. Rack up those those tickets and maybe, if you're lucky, you can come away with a big stuffed monkey or a few Dallas skyline shot glasses at least. Shoot 'em up. Done this? Tweet it.

Consume Bone Marrow at the Moth. So you wanna be a cowboy. Well, get yourself some of this finger-lickin' prairie butter, put it in your face hole and slam it. Meddlesome Moth is a unique Dallas gastropub owned by Shannon Wynne, the son of the family who owns Six Flags. They also happen to offer some of the finest beef bone marrow in town, complete with crispy capers and salsa verde. Lick your lips here. Done this? Tweet it.

Find Punch Drunk Love at The Nodding Donkey. This place has a mantastic name and it just so happens they have a mantastic drink list to match, featuring a drink with the same name as a taboo sexual move. Nestled in a residential area of Uptown that's just a hop, skip, and a jump from McKinney Avenue, you'll find this neighborhood pub beckoning to you with its dozen plasma TVs, tasty brisket grilled cheeses and Texas-based beers. Lone Star anyone? Done this? Tweet it.

Rock Out at Reno's. The official name of this place is Reno's Chop Shop and Chainsaw Repair. I don't know how much chainsaw repair they actually do, but if you get a chance, you should visit this random metal bar in Deep Ellum. If you want to see some local and sometimes national acts, Fridays and Saturdays are always good nights at Reno's. Or give your neck a rest from head banging and go on Mondays to sing karaoke. Note that this is the only place in Dallas where the regulars won't look at you funny when you belt out Mother by Danzig. Just be careful not to get your face melted off. Done this? Tweet it.

Soar like an Eagle at Zero Gravity. This outdoor variety park has been in operation since 1992, and according to their website has remained "incident-free." Good to know. You can bungee jump, skycoast or even free fall (drop like a rock). This is a great place to take a buddy after he loses a bet. I should know, I've bungeed twice and "blasted off" once over the years. Weee! Done this? Tweet it.

Take the Deep Ellum Brewry Tour. Before they had a physical brewery, this group always put on a good show at Brew Riot in Oak Cliff each year. Now that they are pros, they can't compete in the homebrew category, but I'm sure that's not a concern. Try some of John Reardon's brews at his brewery including the Backslider Blonde, Double Brown Stout, Festivus (Black IPA), Darkest Hour (Rye Imperial Stout), Deep Ellum IPA and Rye Pils. And remember, as they say, drink local. Done this? Tweet it.

Volunteer as a Big Brother. No, this doesn't involve giving noogies, swirlies, or atomic sit-ups like your brother used to do. Pretend you had a benevolent big bro who wanted to teach and/or mentor you. Be that guy and help some kids out on the weekend. A few hours may not be much to you, but it could become a turning point for a kid. Man up and sign up. Done this? Tweet it.

Throw a Rib Eating Contest at Off the Bone. Located in what is considered the Cedars neighborhood of Dallas, this badass BBQ spot smokes ribs on an daily basis that live up to it's name; the meat literally falls off the bone. They offer some amazing sides as well, including pasta salad, specialty baked BBQ beans, cole slaw and potato salad. Their catering business is what got them thriving before they opened their brick and mortar that is now frequented by everyone from Dallas Cowboys to actors to regular guys like us. Let's get to the point. Every Thursday form 6-8pm they offer an all-you-can eat ribs deal for around $30. And as far as I'm concerned, this is the only place to go in Dallas for ribs. Whoever loses has to bone up for the bill. Done this? Tweet it.

Bargain Browse at M'Antiques. I recently discovered that there's an incredible antique store in the Bishops Arts District that's completely tailored toward men. While waiting on my girlfriend, who was perusing through hats and accessories at Zola's Everyday Vintage, a guy told me about this place that offers free beer while you browse just down the street. It was amazing. I saw swords, coins, typewriters, ventriloquist puppets, ancient books and the antique version of a modern Big Wheel. And you can drink locally-brewed Rahr & Sons beer while you shop. Check out the photo of the fridge above for proof.

Owners Compton Creole and Robert Welsh were interesting chaps who have certainly found a niche in the heart of the shopping district in Oak Cliff for men waiting on their wives or girlfriends. Like them on Facebook to get the latest in inventory updates. Done this? Tweet it.

Kayak Around White Rock. White Rock Paddle Co. offers kayak and canoe rental by the hour. They have prepaid, monthly and unlimited rental memberships for those of you who really want to man up and become captain of your own ship. According to whiterocklake.org, the only state regulation for non-powered boats, kayaks, canoes, and other human-powered craft is that your wear a life jacket or PFD (personal flotation device). Pick your paddle or oar. Done this? Tweet it.

Rack Some Balls at Billiard Bar. Apparently, this historic pool hall off Lower Greenville has been around since the 1960s. It has plenty of tables, cheap drinks and strikingly anti-uppity clientele. They also have air hockey, darts, shuffleboard, and best of all, several pool tables with which to challenge friends or strangers. Billiard Bar is one of the classic Greenville Avenue bars that survived the neighborhood debacle and resurgence. The patio is nice and roomy, there's never a cover, and they have $1.50 to $2 specials pretty regularly. Smashing. Done this? Tweet it.

Tee off at Top Golf. This isn't your grandpa's driving range. Top Golf is a unique and revolutionary sports entertainment complex that combines games with great food and an environment you can enjoy year-round. Top Golf puts microchips in every golf ball that track your shots’ accuracy and distance while awarding points for hitting targets ranging from 20 to 250 yards away. I've enjoyed a few rounds there with friends, and it's an amazing time for those who don't want to trek all over God's green earth looking for their balls. Heh. And it's a golf cart-free zone, except for the guy scooping up balls in a reinforced Gwar-esque one. The food isn't half bad either, and they bring it right to your section. Get your digital Caddyshack on. Done this? Tweet it.

Build a House with Habitat for Humanity. A safe and stable home is the foundation on which families build success. You can participate in construction of homes for families with the local Dallas chapter of Habitat for Humanity Tuesday-Saturday. No experience is necessary (so you have no excuse). You can get involved on a regular basis by becoming a volunteer leader or participate as your schedule allows. Sign up here. Done this? Tweet it.

Test Drive a Ferrari at Boardwalk Ferrari. Make sure your confidence is good and up. Then walk in and attempt to give the perception you're a baller with at least a hundred grand to spend, so maybe you won't have to show them last year's W2. Fire it up. Done this? Tweet it.

Find Treasure at a Texas Storage Auction. Do it. I dare you. When the hit TV show Storage Wars came to Dallas I found it fascinating. The chance to get someone else's stuff. The opportunity to find someone's old baseball card, coin, or comic book collection that's worth a ton more than you paid for the unit. I'm sure the pros would tell you this isn't a casual activity. But they'd just be trying to cut down on their competition. Check the local listings for this weekend's auction. Find an auction. Done this? Tweet it.

Get Your Steak On. You have plenty to choose from when it comes to good, hearty slabs of beef here in Dallas. Afterall, we're kind of known for it. Check out Bob's, Hillstone, Nick & Sam's or Perry's, just to name a few. Or for something more affordable, you can hit up Texas Land and Cattle. Yes it's a chain, but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do -- to eat a steak. Done this? Tweet it.

Smoke a Stogie VIP Style at Up In Smoke. You'll occasionally run into ex-Cowboys or ex-governors (what's up, Rudy?) at Up in Smoke in Uptown. Go with a buddy and purchase a box of Padrons, Romeo and Juliets or Macanudos. With any box purchase, you get to hang out in the VIP room featuring manly leather chairs and plasma TVs for a night. Or join their membership club ($25 a month) for permanent access to the VIP room plus 10% off every purchase. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Done this? Tweet it.

Acquire Bow Hunting Skills. Texans Archery Club offers group lessons as well as yearly archery range memberships. They'll hook you up with a compound bow, or if you're feeling medieval, a classic straight bow. Classes are held on Wednesdays from 6-7pm (except holidays), and no reservations are needed for groups under 10 people. Cost: $10 for general public, $5 for members. Go Brave Heart. Done this? Tweet it.

Take a Hike at the Trinity River. The somewhat new Trinity River Audubon Center offers outdoor fun like camping, paddling, archery, fishing, nature photography, birding, nature journaling, monthly classes and more. Located by the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest, it's the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States. The land supports a diverse community of plant and animal species and contains a unique mixture of bottom land hardwoods, wetlands and grasslands. The third Thursday of each month is free. Get back to nature. Done this? Tweet it.

Float the Tank UFC Joe Rogan Style. Adrift Float Spa, the only float spa in Dallas, offers sensory deprivation tanks with floating services that are supposed to help you focus, cut down on addictions, think more creatively and re-center your life. Oh, you don't think a spa is manly? Sensory deprivation is what they use during wartime to get answers out of people. In smaller doses it can change your life. I overheard the owners say that most of their clients are actually men. Joe Rogan of UFS commentator and Fear Factor fame is such a float therapy evangelist that he has a float tank in his house. Watch some videos on the subject, then take a float for yourself. Done this? Tweet it.

Have a Mustache & Bowtie Party. That's right, you don't have to wait until Movember. Just get some buddies to all agree to grow mustaches for two weeks straight. Then have a party at some hipster joint like Eno's, The Cedars Social, Smoke (hit up Bar Belmont) or Lee Harvey's. Be dapper gents for a day. Done this? Tweet it.

Work Out During the Day at "The Stripper Gym." I've been told that all the strippers in Dallas work out at the 24 Hour Fitness on Central at Royal Lane. I guess they have to go somewhere during the day, right? This may or may not be true, but I have to say I can't tell the difference between the hot Housewives of North Dallas and the actual pole dancers. Costuming is usually the dead giveaway, but in this case everyone's in spandex. Either way, it's quite a large facility and right next to the Movie Tavern, so why not? Done this? Tweet it.

Put on a Show at Rock Star Karaoke. Over the years there have been a handful of places around Dallas that have hosted karaoke with a live band. I know because I've sang at a few. Locations and bands have changed, but according to the Dallas Karaoke Facebook group you can rock out every Monday night at Sherlock's Baker Street Pub across from NorthPark Mall. So wear a wig and do your best Axel Rose every Monday. Or break from your rusty cage...and run. Or put your Chad Kroger Nickelback face on. Done this? Tweet it.

Climb a Tower at Humperdinks. How can 100 ounces of micro-brew beer with a floating glacier in the middle shared with four friends not make a great afternoon? Steer clear of your usual domestic draft and go with the Texas Blond (like a buttery Bud Light). If you get hungry, Humperdinks has a pretty decent steak and veggies meal. And bonus: here are some other micro-brew ideas for filling it up. Done this? Tweet it.

Edited by foodbitch

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