In the February issue of Southern Living, I wrote about "the most misunderstood metropolis in America" — Dallas. Big D. The Other Dubai. The Central Coast. Where the east ends. The nicknames help to push this fashionable boom city into unflattering light. Fortunately, we don’t research with Wikipedia. Truth be told, Dallas is a killer town. I’ve never in my life been more welcomed into a big city. It’s very local, if that makes any sense. And I’ve never been more happily surprised to find indie music joints, laid back beer gardens, ambitiously green locals, and enough material to warrant a follow-up, top 25 list of reasons to kick it in Dallas sometime soon. So here we go…
21. They are building a waterfront.
A WATERFRONT! I start here because, in life, some stereotypes are true. And only in Texas would people set their minds to building a downtown waterfront on par with Savannah. I love it. The far-reaching endeavor is called the Trinity River Corridor Project, a band of dreamers and water lovers who’ve put forth a $2.2 billion dollar-plan to revolutionize the city. Their "Balanced Vision Plan" includes boating, sailing, and fishing recreation; three new lakes on the western side of downtown; equestrian and hiking trails in the Trinity Forest; two bridges designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava (the models of which I saw and were astounded by); plus numerous other community-accessible features. The Savannah comparison may be an ambitious one, but, hey, we are in Texas, remember?
(I snapped this photo at the TRCP office last April. They also have models of the proposed bridges.)
(Trinity Overlook Park, an early phase of the grand Trinity River Corridor Project.)
22. The pizzas at Fireside Pies. I stopped by their Knox-Henderson spot for a light supper when I was in town. The place thrummed with people. Luckily, I was dining solo (see this post for a further explanation) and found a seat at the fireside bar.
23. Bill’s Records. The legendary music store moved locations in the past couple years, but landed in one of the hippest sections of Dallas, the Cedars/Southside. New digs, but same old massive collection of vinyl. If you stop by the South Lamar shop, ask Bill about Ben Harper. If you don’t know who Ben Harper is, iTunes him. You’ll not find a softer, more mellow songwriter this side of the 70s. After snagging a Beatles LP, head over to Lee Harvey’s, a saloon I mentioned in the printed piece. Bill can direct you there, but it’s only a few blocks away.
24. Old theaters. Lakewood and Granada. I am one of those people who’s obsessed with the way things used to be. I also love Texas writer Larry McMurtry’s novel The Last Picture Show. That said, Dallas has some relics. "Arc deco palace" Lakewood still shows films on it’s one screen, though Joan Baez is performing here in late February. The Granada, a staple of the Greenville neighborhood, is more live music than anything. It wins local "best venue" awards like clockwork.
25. The Dallas Arboretum. Admittedly, I am not a flower person. But, I grew up with one, helping her to plant bulbs every year, plucking yellow daffodils around Easter, etc, etc. So, when I dropped by the Arboretum, I was stunned. The place is magical. Especially if you find that perfectly temperate late morning and grab a bench by the Jonsenn Color Garden. Admission is $9.50, kids under 3 go free.
To continue reading Reasons 16-20, click here.