Dallas, girlfriend, 18 year olds, car, late July/early August.
June 10, 2007 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Dallas, girlfriend, 18 year olds, car, late July/early August... what to do?

I'm coming to visit my girlfriend in Dallas (July 25-August 15ish) and I have no idea what we're going to do. I've looked through some other posts, but there isn't much... what are some interesting places to see, places to eat, events to attend and generally cool things to do?

I'd pretty much like to impress her.
posted by senterstyle to Travel & Transportation around Dallas, TX (18 answers total)
The Pocket Sandwich Theatre is a really neat hole in the wall dinner theater. During the time period you specified they will be having one of their "popcorn" plays. The audience is encouraged to throw large amounts of popcorn at the actors and the rest of the audience. It is really a neat night out.
posted by busboy789 at 8:02 PM on June 10, 2007

Watch Oliver Stone's JFK ahead of time, then go see the grassy knoll.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:05 PM on June 10, 2007

Wait, if she lives there she should already know the cool spots. My suggestion? Go to Deep Ellum and hang out. Maybe try to see a live band play.
posted by Brittanie at 8:21 PM on June 10, 2007

Also, the Book Depository Museum is AWESOME, as noted above.
posted by Brittanie at 8:22 PM on June 10, 2007

If you're looking to go slightly fancified in the dining, there's a mile-long strip on Belt Line Road in Addison that covers about every restaurant genre you can think of. They also have a Studio Movie Grill out there, which can be fun.
And yeah, Deep Ellum for music-y things.
posted by ormondsacker at 8:45 PM on June 10, 2007

senterstyle, I've lived in Dallas my whole life. (am currently 22). What do you guys normally do? are you chilled, laid back? Do you like to go out clubbing? Is your idea of fun going to the mall? Tell me a little bit more info and i'll hook you up.
posted by unexpected at 8:54 PM on June 10, 2007

I have to disagree with the post that mentions the restaurant row in Addison. If you want interesting eateries that are specific to Dallas, you should try the uptown area, specifically McKinney Ave. Breadwinners is a popular and yummy brunch spot in that area. One of my favorite Italian restaurants is Taverna, which is not far from there.

As far as entertainment, I second the recommendation for the Pocket Sandwich Theater. I'd also suggest the Bishop Arts District.

I've lived in and around Dallas for 25 years and these have been some of my favorite date places. They're unique to Dallas, but may be places your girlfriend hasn't already visited.
posted by djuna at 9:17 PM on June 10, 2007

Yeah, we definitely need some context to be able to offer specific recommendations. Beyond food and entertainment, what do you all like? Also, is she just moving to Dallas/grew up here/ just finished her freshman year at SMU and is staying for the Summer (just a hunch).

Typical touristy things like the 6th floor museum are fun, but certainly far from romantic. I'd take the Nasher over that any day, especially if you're trying to impress in *that* sense.

Deep Ellum is, sadly, nearly dead, especially if you're under 21 and looking for something other than a cheesy, blinky, $20 cover dance club thing. Used to be you could just walk around and listen through doors to find a band you wanted to hear. Now, a lot of the live music venues have either closed or moved and the only time I go down there is to see a specific band. It's less than half of what it used to be when I moved here, and even then, it was long past it's heyday. If you're under 21 and want to go there, have a plan in mind and ensure you can get in.

If you want specific restaurant info, at least offer up a genre and a price range. Dallas has restaurants out the ass, and there are a ton of great ones, ranging from hole in the walls to taking out a second morgtage. And you can find a lot of great stuff in the city (no offense, to ormondsacker, but Addison can bite me, and you can find food as good of a quality as Uptown has in East Dallas for pennies on the, well, nickel, which may make a difference to an 18 year old).

But really, what do you want?
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:32 PM on June 10, 2007

Huh, I've never been to the Bishop Arts District and I lived in Dallas for many years, so maybe that is an option if you guys like art. However, it is going to be fucking hot during your visit, so maybe you don't want to walk outside a whole lot.

The Nasher is a fantastic museum. Dallas World Aquarium is a neat place to go spend an early afternoon.

A New Yorker, eh? There is an Angelika Film Center in Dallas, too. There's a shopping area and restaurants around it and it is pretty nice. In a similar vein is the West Village shopping area in uptown Dallas, which has an art-house film theater, stores & restaurants. She has most likely been to both places.

There are good restaurants absolutely all over the city in any direction, and it's a little silly to be snobbish about where because so many of them are chains at least on the local level. Addison is a giant strip mall though. Well, most of Dallas is, but some areas are less strip-mall-ish than others.
posted by furiousthought at 9:50 PM on June 10, 2007

Go to Fort Worth and visit the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
posted by brujita at 9:54 PM on June 10, 2007

Okay, I'm going to take over this thread, even though you haven't responded to my initial question :-P

Deep Ellum is totally shot to hell now. It was great 5-10 years ago, but now it sucks.

Since you're 18, your options are limited on the bar/club front. If you're looking for clubs though, if that's your seen, the 18+ clubs are limited.

As far as cool/trendy places to go, I can think of 3 off the top of my head. Since everyone says they live in Dallas, but really just live in a random suburb, these are spread out: the Uptown Area, the Addison Area, and the up and coming shops at legacy area.

I love uptown. The crowd is about 18-24, and is great for the nightlife.

Addison is really good for restaurants, too. The Tollway and Beltine area is fantastic, and as a bonus, Addison has the most romantic destination in the world. If there's one thing you do, check out Celestial Park in Addison (you can google). Not too many people know about this place. Just bring blankets (and maybe a mosquito candle), and I guarantee you the magic will happen).

For night life, Addison is an older crowd (24-28). In general, if you start downtown and go north, the older the crowd gets.

The shops at legacy is good for daytime stuff. It's a really pretty area with some cool shops and is close to Stonebriar Mall and Willowbend Mall, and has it's own Angelika Film center too. At night the crowd is a lot older, so don't stick around there.

Now that I've thought of all this (and I'm trying to remember what I did when I was 18), you can also check out Mockingbird Station and West Village. (again, google).

Lots of people might also talk about Greenville, but a lot of those places are 21+ (it's basically the SMU area). There's a hookah bar there called Al-Ameers that's 18+ if that's your thing though too.

So that's all about nightlife. As for daytime, Dallas is all about shopping. We've mastered putting New York shopping into a mall. The best malls are probably the Galleria and Northpark center. As a bonus, you can go ice skating in the Galleria.

Museums and stuff: uh, the Arboretum should be cool, the Dallas Museum of Art, and uh...yeah. This stuff won't compare to New York.

There's also Six Flags. It's the original one and has pretty good roller coasters.

So yea, a wealth of activities. I love Dallas, but be prepared to drive around a lot. Stay away from the public transit (except for maybe the light rail) because it sucks.

Oh yeah, last but not least. You'll notice when you visit Dallas that it's really a collection of suburbs. There's no real defined downtown (as far as living and nightlife and fun- just tall office buildings). If you want a more traditional downtown, check out fort worth, and the Fort Worth Stockyards. Go during the day, as it'll probably take an hour to get back at night (which would suck).

I hope this helps. I'll check this thread in the morning, so if you have more questions, just pelt away.
posted by unexpected at 10:10 PM on June 10, 2007

I've been to Dallas. I'm with i_am_a_Jedi.
posted by wsg at 10:24 PM on June 10, 2007

celestial park is great and you should absolutely check it out, but it technically "closes" at 11pm, so beware of the regularly patrolling Addison police if you plan to go late when "magic" usually happens. Personally, I love the park during the day. It's great for Frisbee.
posted by djuna at 10:35 PM on June 10, 2007

Response by poster: There's only so much sex that we can handle (i_am_a_Jedi, wsg)... anyways, variety is key here, haha.

I love all the responses, but to specify more, we're more laid back, still in that lovey dovey phase kind of deal. I'm sure finding a place to eat won't be a big deal now, but I'm looking for some perhaps eye-opening things?

To make the story a bit more dramatic: I will be a freshman in college next year, while she'll be a senior at our boarding school... it'll be the last time we'll hang out for this amount of time, for a long, long time.
posted by senterstyle at 10:36 PM on June 10, 2007

Things I have done (with and without boyfriend) in Dallas and enjoyed, as a 17 year old:
- Gone to Fort Worth for the day and seen the museums (they have some pretty good ones- the Kimball and the Modern are small-ish and pretty great) and just wandered around downtown Forth Worth- we took public transportation and it was totally fine.
-Driven around the various small and growing towns around the perimeters of the Dallas area- take a map if you aren't familiar with the roads, but you can drive not very far at all and find some nice country areas. Then again, I love driving around randomly.
- Just hung out. Seriously, if you guys are still lovey dovey, you'll enjoy whatever you do. If you want to impress her, find something (it doesn't have to be anything amazing) that sounds cool to you, personally; if you're excited about it, she'll probably enjoy herself too. Pretty much anything can turn into an adventure that way. Don't stress out too much about it, just enjoy your time together.
posted by MadamM at 2:07 AM on June 11, 2007

If it's not too hot, just find the prettiest park you can get to easily and do a picnic.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:23 AM on June 11, 2007

Possum Lake.
posted by spitbull at 5:00 AM on June 11, 2007

Best answer: Dallas resident for more than 15 years now...

Activity-based stuff is a little harder to find, and depends on what you want to spend. Some ideas...and yeah, it's gonna be effin' hot. Bring water, comfortable shoes, and get used to sweating some. It ain't that bad. Couple things you need to keep in mind

1) With the exception of some parts of Uptown/McKinney, you will need to drive everywhere.
2) Cabs here are expensive and not always reliable. If you find a cabbie you like, get his card, keep it, and call him. He'll bust his ass for you.
3) God help you if you park anywhere you're not supposed to. The impound fees will kill you. Do yourself a favor and pay the five bucks to valet if you have to. Unless you REALLY know the city and places to park in given neighborhoods, you can end up in a heap of fees and fines.

Ft. Worth has the decent museums. Bass performance hall in Ft. Worth is brilliant. The Myerson in Dallas is acoustically gorgeous. See who's playing/doing what. The Nasher in Dallas is cool. Also - there are quite a number of theatre troupes around. The Kitchen Dog Theatre has some good performances.

I second watching JFK and then visiting the grassy knoll. There's a blue 'x' spraypainted on the street which is where JFK's car was when the final shot hit him in the head. Keep in mind that Stone's film takes a lot of dramatic license with the history.

The Pocket Sandwich is a good one, and so is the Addison Improv, as well as Ad Libs on Ross Avenue. I recommend Ad Libs - it can be interactive and you might end up on stage. Worth going. I've been several times and had a blast every time.

Live Music
Clubs are mostly 21+, but there are often shows at Nokia Theater and Smirnoff Music Center as well as the American Airlines Center in downtown. You might find something you want to see while you're in town.

Not a lot going on that time of year. Basketball's done, Football hasn't started yet. The Rangers positively suck this year, but if you just like going to ball games, the Ballpark in Arlington is a beautiful place to watch a game. Not really a bad seat in the house. Like driving? SpeedZone on I-35 in Dallas is a fun place to drink a beer and drive go-karts. Lots of fun. Race fans? Check out the Texas Motor Speedway. Plan a FULL day for that.

Depending on your budget, there are several good places in the Uptown/McKinney area. La Taverna was mentioned earlier, be prepared to wait for a table. Legal Grounds in Lakewood is a wonderful coffee shop/restaurant with the most amazing whole grain pancakes. Half a block away is Angelo's, an italian place with moderate prices and hot, steaming garlic bread rolls served with marinara which are nearly a sexual experience.

If you get a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, it's worth the trek up to Plano to eat at Love And War in Texas. Regional TX cuisine, and a great patio, usually with live music. Honky-tonk style. Good stuff. Embarrassingly huge portions of food.

Also - Ozona Bar And Grill (Greenville Avenue) has quite possibly the greatest patio on earth. It's huge, with lots of shade trees. Good tex-mex food. Great place to recover from a hangover on a sunday afternoon. People watching, too.

Celestial Park is, indeed pretty sweet. It's a little hard to find, but it's on a side street just off (south of) Belt Line between Preston and Montfort. You'll find it. The houses are impressive in an "I have fuck-you money" kind of way. Spending a night at the W hotel is expensive as hell, but it's a really cool hotel experience. And if you're a guest of the hotel, I doubt they will check your ID to go up to the Ghost Bar on the roof, especially if you grease the elevator guy.

There is also a lovely little romantic place on Greenville Ave called "The Grape." It gets crowded late, but early in the week it has ambiance, privacy and a good menu. Definite fave.

Final note....someone else said Deep Ellum was dead and in my opinion they're right. What isn't dead in Ellum is dangerous anyhow...the last of the good live music venues have basically gone away. It will all be condos and lofts in another ten years.

You're under 21 so that makes it harder to recommend some favorite watering holes....

It's not a bad town. It's a little ugly, a little superficial...but it's also very cheap to live well here. Cheap enough that you can afford to travel anywhere else you want to go visit.

You need to visit Austin sometime, too.
posted by TeamBilly at 6:56 AM on June 11, 2007

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