Sur­prise: You don’t need a car (or truck) to en­joy Dal­las

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - By John Lump­kin

As­phalt and con­crete have de­fined Dal­las since a north-south “cen­tral ex­press­way” was en­vi­sioned in the early 1900s for a stretch of rail­road right-of-way. Travel by any­thing other than an au­to­mo­bile can be chal­leng­ing and some­times im­prac­ti­cal.

How­ever, there is a promis­ing al­ter­na­tive — call it “Walk­ing Dal­las.” The de­vel­op­ment of the Up­town neigh­bor­hood, abet­ted by the ex­pan­sion of Dal­las’ cul­tural dis­trict and mil­len­ni­als mov­ing into the area, means a car is not a re­quire­ment.

Ground zero for en­joy­ing the city on foot is Klyde War­ren Park. Phi­lan­thropists and city plan­ners put a roof over a free­way canyon that sep­a­rated Dal­las’ down­town from Up­town. Add grass, flower beds, trees, a dog park, a sound stage and food trucks, and the re­sult is throngs of pedes­tri­ans.

Miche­lin’s Green Guide awarded Dal­las its high­est city rat­ing, gush­ing about “a fan­tas­tic, world-class cul­tural, ar­chi­tec­tural and culi­nary des­ti­na­tion.” Sev­eral of Miche­lin’s touts are a walk away from Klyde War­ren.

The “burbs” haven’t dis­ap­peared and cor­po­rate moves to out­ly­ing cities are busi­ness-page head­lines. Mass tran­sit is im­prov­ing, but not com­pa­ra­ble to the North­east, and, let’s face it, it’s too hot in July or Au­gust to walk in day­time.

But au­tumn is on the way, with tem­per­a­tures in the 70s and 80s, ar­guably Dal­las’ best sea­son.

What’s new

Near Klyde War­ren are ho­tels like the $600-a-night ZaZa or fam­ily op­tions un­der $200. It’s a short walk to the Perot Mu­seum of Na­ture and Science — a 15-story cube where kids can race against videos of a tyran­nosaurus, life-sized chee­tah or Dal­las Cow­boys run­ning back. Rather ride than hoof it? In Deep El­lum east of down­town, Lo­cal Hub Bi­cy­cle Co. rents bikes for $35 a day. “We’ve had peo­ple from all over the world get a bike for the whole week,” says co-owner Justin Shan­non. Ride the Katy Trail, a 3.5mile lin­ear park that starts near down­town, or pedal to the Trin­ity Groves en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict and Dal­las’ lat­est land­mark, the soar­ing Mar­garet Hill Hunt Bridge.

The old-fash­ioned McKin­ney Av­enue Trol­ley fol­lows a 4.5-mile elon­gated loop to the Nasher Sculp­ture Gar­den and the Dal­las Mu­seum of Art, both high­lighted by Miche­lin, as well as Up­town’s brasseries.

The Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush Li­brary is a short cab ride to the shady cam­pus of South­ern Methodist Uni­ver­sity, First Lady Laura Bush’s alma mater. The mu­seum has a replica of Bush’s Oval Of­fice and in­cludes a 22-foot sec­tion from the fallen World Trade Cen­ter. While there, visit SMU’s Mead­ows Mu­seum, called “Prado on the Prairie.”

Car alert: The Star, a new $1.5 bil­lion, 91-acre com­plex that houses the Dal­las Cow­boys head­quar­ters and train­ing fa­cil­ity is in the north­ern sub­urb of Frisco. From down­town, the drive is 30 min­utes to an hour.

Clas­sic at­trac­tions

“Walk­ing Dal­las” should in­clude Neiman-Mar­cus’ flag­ship store, even if you can’t af­ford a $15,000 Carolina Her­rera gown. Opt for the Zo­diac Room, where the man­darin or­ange souffle with chicken salad ($20) fol­low recipes of le­gendary Neiman’s cook­book au­thor He­len Cor­bitt.

The down­town Sixth Floor Mu­seum, rev­er­ent and not ghoul­ish, is ded­i­cated to the “life, death and legacy of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy.” It’s lo­cated on the sixth floor of the build­ing on Dealey Plaza from which shots were fired on Nov. 22, 1963, killing Kennedy as he passed by in a mo­tor­cade.

The State Fair of Texas will host 3 mil­lion vis­i­tors Sept. 30 - Oct. 23. Big Tex, a talk­ing 55-foot statue in cow­boy duds, is the of­fi­cial greeter. The re­quired snack is a Fletcher’s Corny Dog, but ven­dors will fry al­most any­thing, in­clud­ing JellO and Twinkies. The Texas Star Fer­ris Wheel, 20 sto­ries high, only op­er­ates dur­ing the State Fair, but Fair Park’s renowned art deco build­ings can be viewed year-round.

Tips

Since Au­gust 2014, vis­i­tors have been able to ride DART, Dal­las’ light rail, from DFW Air­port to down­town for $2.50. The fixed rate for taxis from the air­port is $45. Also, con­sider that down­town ho­tels might charge up to $35 daily for park­ing your car.

Check for tick­ets to clas­si­cal and pop­u­lar mu­sic and drama at down­town Dal­las’ clus­ter of the Win­spear Opera House, Mey­er­son Sym­phony Cen­ter and Wyly The­ater, if you plan to stay near down­town.

Hang­ing out

Happy hour pa­trons are two-deep at the Ritz-Carl­ton Ho­tel’s Rat­tlesnake Bar and celebrity chef Dean Fear­ing’s name­sake restau­rant is on the same floor, serv­ing con­coc­tions like buf­falo ten­der­loin with jalapeno grits, lob­ster pot stick­ers and oys­ters “Rock­afear­ing.” Less ex­pen­sive is Up­town’s S& D Oys­ter Co., where the daily chef’s sam­pler ($16.95) in­cludes raw and fried oys­ters, gumbo, hush pup­pies and shrimp four ways.

Near Lo­cal Hub Bi­cy­cles is Pecan Lodge, a Dal­las bar­be­cue mecca. Justin and Diane “Boss Lady” Four­ton sold brisket sand­wiches in a Jiffy Lube park­ing lot, then a stand in Dal­las’ Farm­ers Mar­ket be­fore open­ing their ex­pan­sive cur­rent lo­ca­tion. Feed your del­e­ga­tion with “The Trough,” stacks of beef and pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and sausage links ($75).

TONY GUTIERREZ — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

In this file photo, vis­i­tors to the Ge­orge W. Bush Pres­i­den­tial Li­brary and Mu­seum look up­wards at a 360-de­gree video screen show­ing a video wel­com­ing them to the cen­ter in Dal­las.

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