Q: I’m meeting family in Dallas this December and would like to go out while I’m there. Do you have any suggestions on where I would go to hit the gay hot spots? –Alexander Ruth
A: Dallas (affectionately known as the “Big D”) is said to have one of the largest LGBT populations in the U.S., and the largest gay population in the state of Texas, so you’ll have your choice of queer establishments to visit. The city is even home to The Cathedral of Hope, the world’s largest gay and lesbian church.
The church is found in the traditional gayborhood of Oak Lawn, a few miles north of downtown. Oak Lawn’s intersection of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs is known as “the crossroads,” and like most gay districts, it was once shabby and downtrodden but became chic once the LGBTers moved in. On the weekends, Oak Lawn is one of America’s most hopping gay districts, with happening bars, restaurants, shops, and urban cowboy-and-cowgirl-flavored eye candy.
Oak Lawn is where you will first want to head to for Dallas’ nightlife. The lively four-block swathe of Cedar Springs Road from Oak Lawn Avenue to Douglas Avenue is where you’ll find several bustling gay bars. This includes two of America’s most famous gay venues, JR’s (for the boys) and nearby Sue Ellen’s (for the girls), as well as the 24,000 square-foot Station 4, one of the largest and most impressive gay dance clubs in the entire region. TMC Mining Company (with its pool tables and laid-back Western vibe) and The Rose Room with its world-class “gender illusionists,” round out the scene.
Other queer-friendly districts in Dallas include Deep Ellum, east of downtown with live music venues; Lower Greenville Avenue with its vintage clothing stores and bohemian nightlife; and The Cedars, a revitalized and artsy ‘hood with swank eateries and polished condos and lofts.
No matter where you go, you’ll be surprised that Dallas is not nearly as conservative or uninspired as its oil-soaked reputation will have you believe. It’s quite the creative and cultural capital, with the I. M. Pei-designed Dallas Museum of Art, and neighboring Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum designed by Louis Kahn, Amon Carter Museum, and Modern Art Museum – as well as the lesbian-popular National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame!