Favorite Hometown Spots: (South) DALLAS

{Friends, I am SO excited about this new series, which will happen on Fridays here at Making Home. I'm leading out today, but have asked other women to share favorite things about & family-friendly spots in their hometowns. This series will take us through a variety of metropolitan areas, including Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and New Orleans. 

EMAIL ME TO CONTRIBUTE AN ARTICLE sharing your favorite "hometown" spots in the metropolitan area near you.} 

I'm a Texas girl, born and raised, and have spent a majority (just barely) of my life in the suburbs south of Dallas.

If you (y'all?) want my opinion, South Dallas has historically been overlooked and underrated. But there's not another spot in the DFW metroplex where you can get as much bang for your buck as south Dallas.  

I'd like to share with you some of my favorite places. All of these are worth a gander, whether for a date night, a Saturday morning, or a day out with the kids. While most are free, a few on the list have a cost depending on how much you choose to partake.  

Feast your eyes and enjoy yourself!

Here are a few of my favorite spots to visit in the South/Downtown Dallas area:

(1) Emporium Pies. This sweet little bakery is found in the charming Bishop Arts District, in Oak Cliff just south of Dallas, with winsome mid-century cottage decor and seven mouth-watering pie choices. I always go for the Drunken Nut (Bourbon Pecan w/ a Shortbread Cookie crust), but my husband loves the "Smooth Operator" (French Silk Chocolate with a Pretzel crust). 

Not only are the pies fantastic, but if you've never visited this unique section of Dallas with eclectic restaurants, art galleries and boutiques, you'll find it worth your while. 

(2) Dallas Art District, specifically the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA).  The DMA's general collection is free on Thursday nights (*note, admission is currently always free, but that is subject to change*), and their sculpture garden is always free. In the arts district, the Crow Collection of Asian Art has beautiful jade and pottery, and is always free (donations accepted). Can you say "FREE ART?" 

(3) Dallas Farmers' Market- a WONDERFUL Saturday morning outing with the kids-- healthy produce with samples galore, all beautifully displayed! Inside the pavilions you'll find locally-owned bakeries, businesses, and organic meat & cheese sellers. We like to make a morning of it, and end with lunch before heading home, fat and happy, with fresh locally-raised meats and cheeses to put in the fridge. 

(4) Klyde Warren Park is a recent addition to the Dallas landscape, built over a tunneled highway. With uber-creative play structures for the kids, plenty of grass and shade, and lunch spots nearby (see El Fenix below) as well as food trucks lining the walkways, Klyde Warren Park is a great place to visit, with or without kids, in daytime or at night.  

(5) El Fenix- The Original. Seriously. If you've just watched a Mavs game, or visited the arts district, played at Klyde Warren, or taken the old trolleys for a slow-mo tour of mid-town Dallas, get thee to El Fenix. The chips & salsa are a Dallas staple, and the old-world decor and fast, pleasant service make for a lovely experience.

The only time I didn't enjoy it was for lunch, almost 10 years ago, when later that night I found out I was pregnant with my now-9-year-old son. And the only reason I knew to test was because, come on, who doesn't enjoy El Fenix? Go!

(6) The Grassy Knoll. November 23, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, which happened in this now-popular tourist spot. Spy out the 6th story window of the book depository, walk the storied grassy knoll, chat with conspiracy theorists, picture it all in your head, and relive a sobering moment of American history.

(7) West End. Visit the original Spaghetti Warehouse, complete with eat-in trolley cars, walk the streets, choose from a variety of restaurants, catch some live music, and browse the shops. This is a great place to stop in if you're only in Dallas for a brief visit.

Perhaps I saved our favorite for last.

(8) Bachman Lake. This is a fun place to visit with kids. On any given day, you might catch college rowing teams practicing on the lake, watch the ducks, and spot plenty of joggers and cyclists. Our favorite thing to do is to park on Shorecrest Drive and find a grassy spot to sit on the south side of the lake, lay down, and watch planes descend overhead, just before they touch down at Dallas' Love Field.   It makes for an awe-inspiring experience with young boys, and it's a thrilling thing to witness up close if you've never had the opportunity.

If you're looking for things to do in South Dallas, I hope this gives you great (mostly) free ideas to enjoy!


Anonymous said...

I'm laughing reading this because my BFF and I are going to that park today!

Jessica Connell said...

Ha, Kristin! Have fun. It's perfect weather for it. :)

Beth Celestin said...

After reading this, my husband and I are both ready for a road trip! :) Thank for sharing!

Kasey said...

I started reading your blog years ago (not sure how I found it) when you lived overseas, and didn't know for a long time you were from the same area as me. Some of these spots are my favorite places in Dallas too. I'm definitely going to add Emporium Pies to my list of places to try!

Jessica Connell said...

Yes, definitely get to Emporium. It's adorable and so tasty. :)

Anonymous said...

Jess, funny story....

After I read one of your posts on Titus 2, I asked a lady in church to start meeting with me to read books together. Small world...her daughter in law owns Emporium Pies!

Loved your other ideas!
Rachel B