World-Class Oasis in Downtown Dallas

Next time you visit Dallas, check out an inspiring setting for outdoor art.
Warner McGowin

Trust us on this: The Nasher Sculpture Center is among the most stunning urban spots in the South. Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, it's a cityscape unlike anything else.

 Step inside the wide glass doors and you're transported to a cool, calming gallery filled with impressive sculpture. The real star, though, is the 1.5-acre outdoor garden. Framed by thick travertine walls and adorned with live oaks and gurgling fountains, the garden shows off works by artistic giants such as Rodin, Picasso, and Borofsky. You'll do a double take when you see Walking to the Sky, a 100-foot-tall pole that jets skyward, with life-size figures ascending its side. The piece is mind-boggling and will stick in your memory for a long time.

To really experience this dynamic cultural gem, come to the Nasher after the sun's gone down. The first Saturday of every month, the center stays open until 11 p.m. With food from Nasher Cafe by Wolfgang Puck, live music, gallery talks, and all that amazing artwork, you're in for an invigorating, utterly original night in the city.

Nasher Sculpture Center: www.nashersculpturecenter.org or (214) 242-5100.

(Click here to read about the story of the gallery.)

The Story of the Gallery
Many people believe that this is the most important privately held sculpture collection in the world. While museums around the country were clamoring for the collection, Raymond Nasher decided to give the art a home in Dallas. He built the center with his own money. That gesture gave an incredible boost to the city's art scene.

Don't Miss This
When you visit the Nasher Sculpture Center, be sure to see James Turrell's Tending (Blue). A series of steps leads down to this black granite structure at the north end of the garden. Open a glowing door made of frosted glass, walk through a small, lit tunnel, and you'll find yourself inside a stone cube with an opening to the sky. The cool, white stone walls and the perfect uniformity of the design, interrupted by that square of light where the top opens, makes for a truly memorable experience. You don't need to be an aficionado to appreciate the utter quiet, the dynamic light, and the perfect stillness.

"World-Class Oasis" is from the August 2007 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.