Downtown marks its northern boundary with the Arts District, a compact, 19-block area. (Once you cross the Woodall Rogers Freeway, you’re in Uptown, which you can explore aboard the McKinney Avenue Trolley). The Dallas Arts District Friends docents lead a free, one-hour guided walking tour of the district at 10:30 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month. You can book a place by email (www.artsdistrict.org) or strike out on your own any day of the week.
Begin this relatively short trek at the corner of Ross and Pearl streets at the (1) Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe at Ross and Pearl Street, home to Dallas’s first Catholic parish, originally called Sacred Heart Church at its founding in 1869. The magnificent church you see today was begun in 1898. One block north, across Flora Street, the (2) Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center is another of Dallas’s I.M. Pei designs. Plan to arrive by 1 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, when free tours of the interior offer a chance to gape at the 4,535 pipes on the Herman W. Lay, and Amelia H. Lay Family Organ, a $1.36 million instrument.
Return to Flora Street and walk a block west to Olive Street, turning left (south) one block to its intersection with Ross Avenue, where the (3) Belo Mansion is an elegant neoclassical revival home built in the 1890s by Colonel Alfred Horatio Belo, founder of the Dallas Morning News. Over the years, it’s been a funeral home—outlaw Clyde Barrow’s funeral was here in 1934—and home to the Dallas Bar Association since 1977.
Across Olive Street to the west, find the (4) Crow Collection of Asian Art in the ground floor of the Trammell Crow Center. One of the most important commercial developers in Dallas during the 20th century, Trammell Crow has also amassed one of the most significant private collections of art from across Asia, which is shared in this smallish but valuable space. Outside, the Sculpture Garden presents more than 20 pieces of statuary from Rodin and other French masters.
Immediately to the north of the Crow Collection, the (5) Nasher Sculpture Center shines for its massive private collection of 20th century sculpture. The outdoor space is dramatic, gloriously green with gardens, but you don’t want to miss the indoor exhibits, either. Turn west again and cross Harwood Street to visit the (6) Dallas Museum of Art. Here, spacious galleries present myriad art pieces from ancient to contemporary, pulled from treasuries in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. A popular draw is the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection of Impressionist paintings, but the wonderful museum store is worth a visit in itself.
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