One More List of Things to Do In Dallas Reminds: There Are Much Better Things to Do

Categories: Things We Like
trac.jpg
It's always fun to take out-of-towners to the Trinity River Audubon Center, which feels very ... out of town.
The librarians have landed, as today's the first day of the estimable American Library Association Midwinter Meeting at the Dallas Convention Center, so you know what that means. Good timing, then, for Reuters' freshly minted "48 hours in Dallas/Fort Worth" itinerary, which is a little better than The Official List provided by our own DCVB, which appears to have been written by an out-of-towner. (Oh, right.) Ah, yes, the Dream Cafe. It's been ages, old friend. But what's that you say? "Examine the life and legacy of JFK at the museum and spot where the presidential motorcade passed when the shooting occurred at Dealey Plaza." OK, fair enough.

All of which reminds me: Last week, after poring over the DCVB's lackluster list (Spaghetti Warehouse, really?), I received an email from one Jason L., who asked: "Would you ever consider a follow up article about what locals would recommend to see in Dallas if you were from out of town?" I seem to recall we did this once before, and if our search engine were at all functional (seriously, nothing for "jimmy's half price books baby back shak"?) I could just cut-and-paste from there.

As I mentioned then, the list changes as places come and go, but the classics always remain: The Mecca for breakfast, followed by a walk around the Arboretum or Fair Park or the Trinity River Audubon Center, lunch at the Baby Back Shak, drinks at Holland's Beer Lounge (or Ships, take your pick), and if Powell's is the West Coast mecca for used books, then, by all means, visit the Half Price Books on Northwest Highway mothership. And hello, librarians. And Saturdays usually include stops at one or more of the following: Jimmy's Food Store and next-door Spiceman's FM 1410, Titan Comics, Bishop Arts (usually for the chocolate), Dallas Farmer's Market and a walk 'round downtown. And now Spec's. Way too much Spec's. I could go on. And on. Ah, but Jason asked you to do this. Tick, tock. The librarians need something to do.
My Voice Nation Help
21 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
NatWu
NatWu

Zeus comics, not Titan.

steve
steve

Zeus has the worst selection of comics in the city. There are better toy stores, too. 

NatWu
NatWu

Uh, no to that first. That's just ridiculous. If you seriously think that, then you must have only gone to two stores and based your decision on back issues only. 

Toy stores, eh maybe. Mainly they have different stocks of toys, as I rarely find one store's stock completely duplicated at another store.

Finally, Zeus is an Eisner award winner. http://www.comic-con.org/cci/c... So, yeah, my recommendation stands.

Jason
Jason

Funny thing about Dallas is that I never realized until I moved away and traveled more, Dallas really does have a lot of stuff to do for a lot of different people.  Depending on who you're taking around, you can go from upscale to dive in mere minutes.

We've got the fine arts: museums, the opera house, and performing arts places.  And, aside from opera, there are various levels of museums and performing arts places - small theater groups (kitchen dog, undermain,etc.), great small galleries over in the design district and deep ellum, McKinney Ave. Contemporary.  

We have great venues for live music with styles to literally match anyone - rock, country, jazz, blues.  We have bars and clubs for people who like to dance.  We might lack a decent dance club that doesn't require bottle service, but what lacks there could be found at smaller bars with DJs - Beauty Bar, Fallout Lounge, etc.

We don't even need to discuss food.  Dallas has to be, if not the best, one of the top four best dining options in the country - I can only think of NYC, LA and San Francisco to match. I could maybe say Dallas is the best if it weren't for our ethnic food meccas being spread out in the suburbs and over off Harry Hines. In Dallas proper, my only gripe would be that any ethnic restaurant that opens seems to think they have to do a fusion.  Well, actually, they probably do have to do a fusion to be able to get the business.  Dallas isn't great at doing authentic ethnic food.  And, while we're on the subject, can anyone please suggest some Korean restaurants that match Los Angeles' Korean places?  sigh...  Oh, and we have GREAT sushi/Japanese thanks to Teiichi Sakura, and the legacy he left at Teppo, as well.  Vietnamese at East Wind over in the Quadrangle is always good (if she's still over there).  There's really good breakfast options - greasy spoons all the way up to a very much Texas-style Dean Fearing Sunday brunch at the Ritz.  Want some great bar food?  Dallas is full of bars that have exceptional food menus, with decent twists on typical bar fare.  A nice lunch in the atrium at the Krishna temple?  Sure.  Great vegan and vegetarian options - Spiral Diner.  We've even had a few raw food restaurants that were really good.  I still dream about some of the dishes from the one on lower greenville.  Obviously, we have great mexican food (a handful of authentic and a lot of texmex), southern style home cooking, BBQ and soul food!  

Fair Park - Honestly, since the Women's Museum closed I'm not sure what I would do with someone at Fair Park except walk around and look at architecture after eating in Exposition Park or dropping by for some pizza at Black Jack's over off MLK, then go for a walk at Fair Park.  Don't get me wrong, Science Place is great.  The aquarium is extensive but not as awe-inspiring as the Dallas World Aquarium.  The Discovery Gardens is nice but not something to do to really show off Dallas to an out of town person.  The African American Museum has a great collection but I haven't been there in years.  They seem to be lacking when it comes to getting exhibits and advertising/marketing them.  

Speaking of architecture - Dallas has some remarkable architecture.  From North Dallas to South Dallas.  If you have someone coming to town that loves architecture it would be worth it to look into the famous architects that have designed stuff here (local and international) - Philip Johnson, George Dahl, Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, Calatrava :), Rem Koolhaas.  This doesn't even include some of the residences.  Drive Highland Park, Swiss Avenue, Kessler Park, that little neighborhood behind The Old Monk has some cute Dilbeck houses.  There's also that subdivision over off of Davis in Oak Cliff that has some great retro-modern homes.  Then, of course, there's Fair Park mentioned above.  

Speaking of Fair Park and the southern part of Dallas, if you've never been to RL's Blues Palace you should some night.  Don't let it intimidate you.  And, whatever you do, don't ever let someone invite you to an afterparty at the Green Parrot, okay?  If they're even still around...

We have great history.  Like Robert mentioned before, if this site was a wee bit better I'm sure you could do some searches for some of the articles he's done on Dallas history.  Dallas has roots in some great national and international entrepreneurs.  Not sure there's much to really "see" when it comes to history but if you read up it gives you great stuff to talk about while driving around.

As far as the livestock/cowboy culture goes, eh, there's always Ft. Worth.  Dallas hasn't ever really been known for that and there's no reason to start now.  Dallas is known for business and money.  Actually, now that I think about it, that would be a great destination for Fair Park.  Not that it should try and steal any of the culture from Ft. Worth but be a more history of cowboy south and take on a more southern slant rather than true livestock/cowboy.  Incorporate the Mexican cowboys and ranching, southern agriculture, etc.  Could work...?

As far as the librarians go, it is what it is.  The brochure from your other article was pretty much spot on for what I would expect from our friends at the visitors bureau.  It's unimaginative but acceptable and seemed pretty close to what you would expect librarians to do.  But what that whole thing got me to thinking about is that Dallas is seriously lacking in an Entertainment District.  When people go out of town they like areas that are lively. We don't have that.  Greenville is dead.  Uptown is alright, a little spread out but decent, but will be killed soon due to the parking issue.  West End?  heh.  Deep Ellum?  heh.  West Village?  Boring, unless you like to eat, see a movie and look at shops that closed at 9pm.  Henderson is fun but a little spread out.  I guess you could easily barhop from Barcadia to Speakeasy/Gin Mill to Beauty Bar and Thin Room, but they almost offer the same thing.  I mean, I don't know.  Maybe people don't go out to barhop within walking distance anymore.  

Oh, yeah, I would suggest heading over to the Belmont for dinner at Smoke and sitting on their patio for a nice view of downtown Dallas.  Tonight would be a great night for that, in case anyone from the Library Meetup are reading this.  

And, finally, I can't help but mention another great museum that Dallas needs - The Texas Music Museum.  I've bugged Robert before about writing a book about Texas' extensive music history, but we really need this.  A museum dedicated to music and musicians of Texas, and their influence outside of Texas.  I mean, hell, I know museums aren't cheap.  Double it up with a cowboy museum at Fair Park.  Give it a wing in the building.  Have a multiplex of museums inside one building - cowboy museum to left, music straight ahead, women's museum on the right.  I hear we might have a couple of empty buildings coming our way soon, right?

Sorry for the tl;dr...

sarawithoutanh
sarawithoutanh

If you're talking about Bliss (raw vegan place on Greenville) they're still here, they just moved (6005 Berkshire Ln.).

RSF
RSF

What..no Lakewood Landing, Times Ten, Cock and Bull or Balcony Club?  Maybe they should also go to The Round Up and Lee Harvey's for a non-official look at Big D.

downtowndude
downtowndude

Dallas Comedy House has shows on Friday and Saturday nights for around $10, and is like the Dallas version of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater or The Second City.

LaceyB
LaceyB

That's where I got my improv training. I couldn't recommend them more. Sweet memories!

Likeicare
Likeicare

Anyone else miss Mother Blues?

Dallasgirl5683
Dallasgirl5683

those are great additions to the list ... however have you thought maybe these women can't get around unless it is on a DART line etc ... locals can go all they want.  Some groups specifically need to stay close or close to public transportation.

LaceyB
LaceyB

also, free dessert Sunday with dinner at breadwinner's. More great deal tips for anyone who'll deliver to me this "New Make Try Box" from Spec's.

Not sure if DART runs up or near there.

MattL1
MattL1

Red Line to Walnut Hill.  Should put you right at their front door.

LaceyB
LaceyB

I agree with many many of these, but, uh, last time I was at Ships, they didn't serve any alcohol above beer or box wine. I loves a dive, but, whoa. That was just too yikes.

Put in the Slip Inn. Still Greenville. Still cheap-ish. Decent shot prices on Sunday to cap off a trip. Librarians can toss em back!

Jason
Jason

They've never served liquor.  You BYOB and get the setups.  

MattL1
MattL1

Robert, your list is making me miss Dallas already.  The DCVB list?  Not so much.

ELH
ELH

The reason it appears to be written by an out of towner is because the fee to appear in that particular publication is enormous and thus out of reach of most of our institutions.

heyheymama
heyheymama

Those librarians are on a budget.

The Old Red Museum, $8The Crow Collection of Asian Art, freeRide the Trolley, freeLunch at Technique at Le Cordon Bleu, $10 + tip

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...