It’s impossible to visit Texas with a virgin mind, uncorrupted from a steady diet of images in the media. So when I landed in Dallas, I immediately started stereo-tripping: visions of big hair, cowboy boots with spurs glinting in the sunlight, George W. Bush’s lopsided face, tumbleweeds, Jessica Simpson-as-Daisy Duke and 12 oz. deep-fried sweet tea balls gulped down in one bite.
Full disclosure: My family is from Dallas, and I used to have a Texas driver’s license and drove a white 1994 Honda Passport with Texas plates all through college. I have spent many a sweaty summer there, yet this is the first time that I have been here all on my lonesome. And also the first time I went head-to-head with preconceived notions of the city.
But I digress. Dallas is a fantastic city that gets short shrift from many of us blue-blooded coastal commies liberals. It’s not as bad as you might think, and while ol’ Dubya does live a quiet life in tony Highland Park, there is a lot here for the gay traveler.
Texans are proud to say that everything is bigger in Texas, and while I didn’t get a chance to confirm this superlative in the obvious ways on my trip (I’m taken, fellas!), it’s clear that space is not an issue in the Lone Star State. One visit to “The Strip,” the center of gay life along Cedar Springs Road, and you will see what I mean: the nightlife venues are gargantuan! Every place has at least one outdoor patio, and most have more than that. The insides are also cavernous, with multiple bars and plenty of room for people to lock horns (or lips if it may please them).
The concentration of gay life is also very convenient, allowing you to park once and visit several venues throughout the night. The biggest spots are the Round Up Saloon, recently nominated as one of the top gay bars in the world by TripOut and S4, which is right across the street from the Round Up. S4 is a mixed crowd, but it’s so gay that even the straight boys are confused. The club has an outdoor patio, an enclosed and basically sound-proof chill area, a giant dance floor with kinetic lights, and the Rose Room with drag shows every weekend.
Surrounding these nightclub behemoths are 7 bars to whet your whistle: TMC, JRs, Sue Ellen’s, Havana, Woody’s (Is there one in every city?!), the Drama Room and Alexandre’s. In a 30-block radius, there are several other popular spots, like Kaliente, the Tin Room, BJ’s NXS, the Eagle, and Joe/Brick’s Bar.
The Big D’s Big Gay scene makes it a solid place to come for a gay holiday, or a regular ol’ holiday with a shade of gay. The vibe on the strip during the weekend is one of revelry, where it’s easy to make friends with the mostly inebriated. Dallas is an entertaining and relatively affordable place to party and a very pleasurable destination to get your gay on!
Click through to read more about Nick’s gay travels.