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Dallas Farmers Market (Photo by Marple)

While its been an institution of eons, the Dallas Farmers Market has had a major facelift thanks to new owners and a slew of investments that’s created a posh piece of foodie heaven smack dab in the middle of downtown. And this is the weekend to go, when the BoHo Holiday Pop-Up Market comes to town bringing with it barrels of unique gift items and other festive fun (see item #4). Here’s 10 reasons why you should make the 10-minute schlep across town to the Market.

  • Free (and easy) parking — Gone are the days of circling congested roadways while praying for parking. New owners erected a multi-level garage right across the street at Pearl and Taylor, and best of all — it’s totally free.

    (Photo by James Edward)

  • Travel the world without leaving the city — Where else can you get Mexican tamales, French macarons, true Cajun gumbo and fresh-caught New England seafood all under one roof? Leave the passport at home and let your taste buds take you around the Dallas Farmers Market world.
  • A family affair — You can find a gourmet bite and a cold adult beverage and kick back in a rocking chair while your little ones climb around the newly installed playground on the patio. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening out, plus you can get your grocery shopping done for the week while you’re there. Kids can explore the demonstration garden and, coming soon, the Dallas Farmers Market will build a splash table with water features for the young’uns to enjoy. 
  • So many fun events — Tamale cook-offs, brew-fests and an entire party dedicated to brunch called The Morning After? You really can’t go wrong (do yourself a favor and bookmark the calendar here). This weekend is a prime example. The Boho Market is a collective of Dallas artisans who host pop-up events that are part craft fair, part festival. The Boho Holiday Market will include visits with Santa, a hot chocolate bar, live music, a photo booth and games all in a festive atmosphere. Find it this Saturday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Always open (almost) — Not a morning person? Don’t worry, the Dallas Farmers Market is still for you. The new owners extended the hours to 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Fridays. With brunch on the weekends and happy hour deals every weekday, it’s a place you’ll want to linger any day of the week.
  • Free samples — Want to try apple caramel corn (trust us, you do)? Or a sliver of locally sourced cheese? Sample away at the market — cause everything tastes better when it’s free.

    (Photo by James Edward)

  • Miss Rex’s Seafood? The market has you covered — Many of our readers bemoaned the loss of Rex’s Seafood when it shuttered its Mockingbird-Abrams location. But worry not, Rex’s at the Market is serving up all your favorites, right down to the Grouper Rueben.
  • Locally sourced everything — Are you a localvore? Or just love to support mom-and-pop operations over big business? From produce to beer to antiques, everything you find at the Dallas Farmers Market is proudly made in Texas.

    (Photo by Ashley Tobar)

  • Hard-to-find items — Any chef looking for an unusual spice or ingredient knows the pain of scouring specialty markets for vegan broth or Thai peppers. The market has experts in everything from butchery and produce to baked goods and spices, and they’re all eager to help answer your questions.
  • Weekend extravaganzas — While the Dallas Farmers Market is open every day, it becomes a whole different event Friday-Sunday. The Shed fills up with farmers and vendors from around the region, in addition to the vendors in the main Market. It’s twice the market, really. Lush produce just plucked from the earth, specialty cuts of meat and farm-fresh eggs are carted in every weekend. We recommend going for the First Friday events where the first 100 attendees score a prize like a $5 gift card or a free beer. Can’t make it out on the weekend? Fear not, Market Provisions Co. brings a trendy take on the general store with a full selection of produce, proteins and other staples seven days a week.

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