Getting to Know Dallas
First Things First
What do you do when you find yourself in Dallas without a car but with a whole day to spend exploring? Well, it all starts with finding a hotel in a convenient location.
Hotel Indigo, located in downtown Dallas, was built by none other than Conrad Hilton. It was the very first Hilton Hotel! I do enjoy getting a healthy dose of history when I travel, so my day couldn’t be off to a better start.
If you’ve been a regular reader of the blog, you know that I like to explore cities on foot. If a city requires that you get in a car to see the sights, then, in my opinion, it’s a city pretty much devoid of personality. My research indicates that Dallas is walkable, so that’s what I’m setting out to experience.
Klyde Warren Park
My first stop is Klyde Warren Park, which is located between the Downtown and Uptown areas of Dallas. The 5.2 acre park actually straddles Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Within the park you’ll find a small garden, a playground, a dog park, and a restaurant. If you time it right, you can come and listen to live music or watch a movie on the lawn. Surrounding the park is Dallas’s Art District, offering countless cultural experiences.
Everywhere, a Restaurant
I continue north until I reach McKinney Avenue, which will take me to West Village. Dallasites clearly enjoy the culinary arts. Along both sides of the tree lined road lies one restaurant after another. Bar hopping may not be my thing, but I would welcome some appetizer hopping along this stretch!
West Village turns out to be a very inviting space. The concept of its design is that people should be able to live and work in the same area. It has a natural and settled feel to it, which is very appealing.
If you enjoy independent or foreign movies, The Magnolia Theatre is likely to satisfy your movie going needs. Although built in 2002, it looks like it’s from a much earlier time. I didn’t venture inside, but I expect its interior is likely to be as impressive as its exterior.
Not far away I find the one little shop that I know I have to visit. Bisous, Bisous is a French-style pastry shop where I expect to find a good cup of coffee and a selection of mouth-watering treats. It is, perhaps, a little early in the morning for a pastry but shops like this one are rare, and I will act accordingly!
Lots and Lots of Color
There aren’t many murals along my route today. I’ve checked. The one that is within reach is painted on a large wall between the parking garage and the back of a row of stores. Beautiful bold colors make this mural well worth a short detour.
The Katy Trail
Next up on my list of Dallas experiences is the Katy Trail, which was created when the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad track was removed in order to create a 3.5 mile, uninterrupted path for walkers, joggers, and bikers. As I arrive on a hot Friday afternoon, it’s clear that this is a very popular area to expend some energy. Pedestrian traffic flow is heavy in both directions. Almost immediately, I catch sight of a pond on the other side of the trail. Thinking I’m just going to take a quick look, I head down a long access ramp.
I Found Water!
I find more than a pond. What I’ve run into is Turtle Creek. I find this unexpected discovery enticing enough that I decide not to return to the sun baked Katy Trail, but instead continue on the winding path through the park that lies alongside the creek. This is a quiet and nicely kept area.
Did Someone Turn up the Heat?
When the map tells me I’m about to veer too far from McKinney Avenue, which is by now probably two miles away to the east, I decide to return to my original route. Since this little detour was not planned in advance, I’m now paying for it by trekking two miles across concrete and asphalt, in an area where no one thought to plant any trees. Someone really needs to look into this, or maybe I’m just such an oddity that nothing like this is likely to happen to anyone else.
I Like This Store
Once back on McKinney, I’m uncharacteristically excited to discover a sizable retail area up ahead. Crate and Barrel could not have shown up at a better time. I will admit, I’m just a little hot at this point… I spend the next 45 minutes enjoying the wonders of air-conditioning while having a long look at everything in Crate and Barrel’s inventory.
La Duni Latin Cafe
Across the road, I find La Duni Latin Cafe. It looks inviting on the outside, and is even more so inside. As I eat my crunchy and refreshingly cold salad, I debate what to do next. Should I take a cab back to West Village or face a 35 minute walk in the blazing sun? Fortunately, I decide to walk. On this stretch, at least, someone has put some thought into the landscaping and planted trees.
I Love the Trolley
Once back in West Village, it’s time to find a free trolley that can take me to the Dallas Museum of Art. Not only do the trolleys add a lot of charm to this area of Dallas, but they run frequently enough that it’s not a problem to wait a few minutes for the next one. You can expect one to arrive every 17 minutes. The trolley stops are well marked with round, brown signs.
Dallas Museum of Art
At the Dallas Museum of Art, I head upstairs to the South American art collection. The detail and artistry of 2,000 year old clay figures absolutely boggles the mind. Although I take my time, I’m done much too quickly, and have to resort to looking at paintings until Tim arrives to pick me up.
And... It's Another Irish Pub
Dinner time finds Tim and I at an Irish Pub I passed earlier in the day. Although I can’t remember when it started, for years now Tim’s eyes have lit up the minute someone speaks the words “Irish Pub”. I have accepted that every trip will include one dinner at a pub. After an internet search reveals that this particular one serves Shepherd’s Pie, I’m at least semi-content. It turns out the internet information was wrong. There’s no Shepherd’s Pie, and we have to settle for something else. Oh well, at least I’m in pleasant company!