The biggest challenge of visiting Dallas is that it’s big. There’s enough in this bustling metropolis to fill dozens of daytrips, so my advice is to pick a section and explore its many nooks and crannies. While it may be hard to pinpoint where the city’s northside begins and ends, it doesn’t really matter; as long as you’re learning, exploring, and eating well, you’re doing it right.
Visit Southern Methodist University for its stunning Georgian architecture and lessons in art history and the politics of Texas and the nation. The Meadows Museum features modern and Renaissance artwork, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum takes visitors through his terms as governor and the tragedies of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Don’t miss the 15-acre Native Texas Park, which features trails running through displays of native plants from around the state, cultivated by former First Lady Laura Bush.
This burger stalwart has been slinging beef patties since 1951. The walls are cluttered with photos of SMU Mustangs, celebrities, and athletes who have eaten here over the years. Co-owner Chris Cannellos claims his secret to success lies in the special seasoning added to every savory item on the menu, including the award-winning fries.
White Rock Lake
It’s hard to imagine a 1,015-acre lake with over 9 miles of trails so close to downtown Dallas. If the weather’s good, you’re guaranteed to find hundreds of Dallasites jogging, biking, kayaking, and even practicing tai chi at one of the best urban parks in Texas. Bring sunscreen.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
This outdoor wonderland, once two sprawling private estates, comprises 66 acres of picture-perfect horticulture. Half a million flowers, each hand-planted, rise from the ground at this garden in the spring, and fall brings an unrivaled pumpkin display. I’m not a flower guy, but I walked away with more than enough glamor shots for my next 20 Christmas cards.
Chef Jason Boso combined his love for food, Texas honky-tonks, and casual beer gardens into this outdoor venue that defies all Dallas stereotypes. It offers over 20 craft beers and an ever-rotating selection of local food trucks in a junk-filled yard. The one permanent food counter serves Boso’s take on the Philly cheesesteak, complete with made-to-order rib-eye. It’s best enjoyed at the top of the Truck Yard treehouse.
So whether you follow my footsteps or forge your own path, I hope to see you on the road.
Chet Garner is the host of The Daytripper® travel show on PBS.
To view the North Dallas episode, visit thedaytripper.com.
Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @chettripper.