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Old 03-30-2019, 08:53 AM
 
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So, I know I asked some questions on here, and I wanted to report back, and with some comments as well!

We were coming from Austin, and did spend a good portion of the morning (3 hours or so), checking out Waco. There, we saw Baylor's campus and facilities along with the Brazos waterfront. Very nice and new campus. After that, we checked out Magnolia Market and Silos, followed by the Dr. Pepper Museum. Our last stop in town there was Torchy's Tacos (excellent comfort food and nicely varied menu). Small-ish city, but one that offers a fair bit for it's size, Baylor's campus is beautiful.

Anyways, from there, we headed off to Dallas. One of the refreshing things about the middle of the country is that even within an hour of Dallas (until we got to within 15 minutes or so of Fort Worth), it was very rural and agrarian in nature. It seems easier to get out of the city than in many similar sized or smaller metros east of the Mississippi.

Our first stop was Arlington, to catch an Indians-Rangers game. Temps were absolutely sublime, and frankly, while the ballpark wasn't anything fancy, the price for tickets was right, and I didn't see anything wrong with this existing structure. That said though-I guess I can see why they're building it, because I can imagine Dallas heat and storms can get pretty nasty through much of the summer. AT&T Stadium, we didn't go in, but I think next time we are in town we will try to take a tour-impressive on a global scale, at least in outside presence.

From there, we headed off to Fort Worth. First stop was Stockyards, and we made it just in time for the very touristy Cattle Drive at 4 PM. From there, we had steak at H3 Ranch, we were very glad to split and order an app (and thus avoid an excess charge), made price very reasonable, it was very tasty, and we had enough to take some home. My wife's general impression was that she didn't mind it and it was sort of neat, but that she wouldn't necessarily go back. I probably liked it more than her (I was impressed with the streetscape and preservation), I wouldn't make a separate trip for it, but if I was in the area, I wouldn't mind stopping by again at all. From there, we drove past the brand new looking cultural district neighborhood, including the Kimbell Museum and Modern Art which were closed by this time. Very unique looking. We then parked, and walked around Sundance Square for an hour or so. I don't think there was any one outstandingly unique feature of the place, but at the same time, it was very inviting and very well set up. In some ways, I would say it probably has more of an inviting feel and retail presence than any other downtown in the south at this point.

Where we stayed both nights was the Market Center Marriott. Of course, staying in the city would be preferable, but free parking, and relatively low free points usage was very nice. It was also interesting that many seemed to be there for the Market Center, very professional clientele at the hotel, and it had a pretty good location.

Our second day in Dallas took a while getting started as I wanted to get some work done on my dissertation. But when it did, we took the park n ride station a 2 minute drive from our hotel. The metro seems very expansive and perhaps serves more of the metro area than any other southern city again. I was originally going to have us take it all the way to the Fair Park station, but somewhere around (Akard, I believe?) a couple got on that were very loudly bickering with one another, and it had a bit of an eerie feel. We probably would have been fine, but we got off at the arts district station to be safe. From there we walked through the arts (Pritzker District), I wasn't especially wowed by any of the structures, but then again I didn't step inside them either. We grabbed delicious tacos and esquites from a food truck at Klyde Warren Park (super well used by locals, great eating options and places to sit, and amazing that a space like that was on top of a highway! Maybe my highlight from downtown Dallas). After that, we walked back towards town, I went inside Thanks-Giving Chapel (very pretty and unique), we grabbed a coffee at Ascension (it made best coffee shop list in US, but we found it just average), and checked out certain architectural landmarks (Magnolia Building, AT&T HQ, Flagship Neiman Marcus), en route to Dealey Plaza (my wife was sort of underwhelmed by downtown at this point, but then again she isn't that much of a city person in general. I enjoyed it more-seeing that type of business power, and some architectural landmarks that don't get as much as press as those on the coasts was pretty great : )). We didn't go into the 6th Floor Depository, but there was a very nice gift shop across the street, and while sad, it was interesting being there. We went from there to the Dallas World Aquarium (not my choice, and not an aquarium in the sense we were expecting, but a decent place to kill an hour or two). Kept walking (and stopped for yummy Ramen just past the aquarium) up and stumbled upon the Lime scooters (a primary goal of mine), and we took them past American Airlines Center, and up the Katy Trail for a mile or so (this was perhaps the highlight for me, these things are so much fun to ride), before going back on DART one station over (Victory to Market Center).

The rest of the evening consisted of driving over to Fair Park (where I waited in my first traffic of the trip to that point, most of the roads in DFW are pretty normal, but the diagonal intersection (over near Pearl I think), was an absolute cluster with everyone seeming to need to merge a different direction. I wanted to maximize time, and making it to Fair Park was a definite goal, if even briefly. I did, and it was so worth it. Seeing the Cotton Bowl as a general fan/historian of American sports was great. The park had a unique and beautiful layout, and being there at dusk really made the buildings along the reflecting pond shine especially well. This is definitely a place I would come to hang a hammock, read, and study if I lived around here. After that, I wanted to treat my wife again, and she enjoys malls, so we strolled around at NorthPark Center for an hour or two (more her type of walk). I'm not a mall person by any stretch, but I found this mall far more interesting than many I have been to. We ended the day by getting FroYo over in the Park Cities and a brief drive by of SMU's gorgeous campus.

Thoughts:
1. Maybe we just timed things right, or maybe Dallas is just sprawled out or has enough roads at this point to manage, but traffic was never an issue for us (apart from a few minutes at rush hour en route to Fair Park). Quite honestly, traffic has seemingly been worse in the Tampa Bay and Bradenton areas in the couple days since we have been back.

2. DART is impressive in how far it has expanded out. I do wonder if there are a couple things that could be worked on though. For one thing, a better system of protecting riders on board (there aren't even ticket stations, which while nice for someone seeking to cheat the system and ride free, could perhaps help with any perceived security concerns). Also, perhaps slightly better waiting areas at some of the stations (I'm sure there are times when Dallas weather isn't as perfect as it has been this past week, and so it would be nice for those times and in general for customers to have waiting stations. Otherwise, no complaints

3. Dallas vs. Fort Worth: Similar to Tampa and Saint Petersburg, Dallas seems to, despite recent efforts, be more of a 9-5 place, where Fort Worth seems to have more cultural clout and things for people to do after working hours. That said, I enjoyed the unique advantages each offered. Though they were 30 minutes apart, they felt much more different than say, Orlando and Tampa.

4. Seems like overall, maybe not world class, but DFW does a better job of providing park spaces and exercise trails than some of the bigger FL metros do. Fort Worth maybe does a slightly better job than Dallas here, but to be fair, I think Fort Worth sits on more varied topography as well. If I am ever back in town, I would probably spend more time checking out area parks. The scooters were excellent, and more prevalent in Austin and Dallas than in any other city I have been to before. I can see why people complain about them, and it is probably because some idiots ride them with no regard for others surrounding them-otherwise, to me they are no different than bikes, though of course without the exercise factor those offer.

5. Dallas has a work obsessed culture, would be my immediate impression, but I don't see anything wrong with that. To me, that sort of drives the world forward, and it is impressive how many of the world's foremost companies are in, or have relocated to Dallas at this point. I visited the Microsoft Store at NorthPark Center, and there was a Microsoft shareholders meeting (I think) happening. To me, that speaks volumes about what Dallas is about. As someone that is teaching and in my 20s, but has a general interest in things like economics, international business, urban planning, etc., if the right work opportunity arose, I wouldn't hesitate to move to Dallas. It may not have anything obviously flashy about it, but it's not the 9th wealthiest by GDP metropolitan area in the world for nothing, either.

Thanks for your recommendations!
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Old 03-30-2019, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX and Las Vegas, NV
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Thanks! Good overview and spot on impressions. You covered a lot of ground during your visit. I have lived in the DFW area since 1978 and am pretty proud of the metroplex. People who compare DFW to other areas may forget its the 4th largest metro in the USA and — considering its size and commercial span — it offers the highest standard of living, medical access and access to quality public school districts of all major cities. Too bad about the lack of topographic beauty, though.
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Old 03-30-2019, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Dallas
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If you want a career in the business/corporate world, Dallas is about as good a city as you will find, IMO. Top 5 for sure.
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Old 03-30-2019, 12:46 PM
 
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WorldKlas: Glad you enjoyed! So, I would agree, especially given how much more you pay to be in the three cities that are larger than it. Yeah, it is sorta flat, but at same time, still less flat than I’m used to. It also is much closer to mountains to some other places. I checked and in 5 hrs you can drive from Fort Worth to the New Mexico border going west, and going east you can healthily be in much of the Ozarks. Given all the positive qualities, I’m sure people can manage : )

just some guy: Certainly something I would consider-right now, I’m in the mid 40 range salary wise as a teacher in FL. I have a master’s degree and am working towards completion of a doctorate. That said, if there was something I could qualify for that was in the 75 and up range, I would consider it. No question. Yeah, I’d be away from family and work life balance would take a back seat for a few years. But the idea of maybe working up a bit from that even, saving, and retiring by 45/50? (27 now) I would totally be up for it.
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Old 03-30-2019, 03:54 PM
 
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Probably for my next visit I will take a similar approach, but visit Houston. I like mini city breaks, and combining them with other things that are happening in particular, plus, it makes travel to ATX that much cheaper. I think it would be cool to have a healthy sense of comparison of both, but in general it seems like Dallas has, or has preserved more of it's character than Houston has.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:51 AM
 
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Downtown Dallas is in a transition state between its 9-5 past and a more live/work/play future. For after hours, most head to nearby Uptown, Oak Lawn, or Deep Ellum for nightlife or neighborhoods a bit further away such as Knox-Henderson, Lower Greenville, and Bishop Arts. Each has its own vibe and character. A good comparison would be to LA.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTXman34 View Post
Downtown Dallas is in a transition state between its 9-5 past and a more live/work/play future. For after hours, most head to nearby Uptown, Oak Lawn, or Deep Ellum for nightlife or neighborhoods a bit further away such as Knox-Henderson, Lower Greenville, and Bishop Arts. Each has its own vibe and character. A good comparison would be to LA.
Several of the neighborhoods you mention were recommended to me but I always try to see the core of a city first if I havenít seen it yet. That said, while I got somewhat of an overview of Dallas, there would certainly be plenty new to try in another visit.
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Old 04-01-2019, 10:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavsfan137 View Post
Several of the neighborhoods you mention were recommended to me but I always try to see the core of a city first if I havenít seen it yet. That said, while I got somewhat of an overview of Dallas, there would certainly be plenty new to try in another visit.

Unfortunately you missed a lot of Dallas. The "core" of Dallas is not downtown. The "core" is the interesting neighborhoods where people live. That's why Fort Worth seemed more interesting ... because the downtown area has had people living there for much longer than Dallas has. (In recent history, anyway).



You were staying near Market Center and yet you didin't consider that to be "in the city" ... but I think to most of us here the city is far larger than downtown.


Great posts and come back soon!
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cordata View Post
Unfortunately you missed a lot of Dallas. The "core" of Dallas is not downtown. The "core" is the interesting neighborhoods where people live. That's why Fort Worth seemed more interesting ... because the downtown area has had people living there for much longer than Dallas has. (In recent history, anyway).



You were staying near Market Center and yet you didn't consider that to be "in the city" ... but I think to most of us here the city is far larger than downtown.


Great posts and come back soon!
Will do. I feel somewhat motivated to do so actually. Sure, there's something to be said for being a collector of cities, but I think there's something more even to be said for getting to know a few particularly well. Perhaps for this coming year's winter classic at the Cotton Bowl?

As a bigger aside, and someone really trying to figure out where I want to go in my career, I would think that being in Dallas would probably provided some direction in that regard.

Your point about downtown is notable-that said, I want to make sure it's apparent that I didn't have a bad time in downtown either. There were certainly some impressive buildings, and things that have shaped our collective national consciousness within downtown more so than many cities have to offer. But, from a residential and bustle standpoint, yeah, I think Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville esp. are musts for my next visit to town.

As for not being "in the city", I know it's very close to downtown and overall I used that location quite well,2 minute drive, then taking metro around town from there was very convenient. What I meant was more in the sense that it feels more suburban in nature with parking lots and not a ton of places you can walk to, at least not in the traditional sense. The Park Cities area is further from downtown than I was by a decent bit (4-5 miles away vs. within 2 miles), but yet more connected, and more "part of the city" IMO. At the same time though, I am not going to complain, free is free : )

Edit: I'm already ready to go back and explore more, not that it's far better than Tampa Bay or anything (I'd say both Dallas and Tampa have their unique qualities, advantages/disadvantages), but I just love exploring places and figuring them out, on a constant basis. So, next time we go to Texas, I'll have the dilemma of if we go to DFW again, or if we instead decide to go to Houston, or San Antonio, or out to the western national parks.. too many options, too little time. I need to just quit work and become a full time travel writer LOL.
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