Thursday, October 21, 2010
The Dallas-Fort Worth area offers a vacation playground for all ages. By Leah Shafer
With more than 6 million people, the Dallas–Fort Worth area is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States. But there’s still some folksy charm in an area that’s perfectly at home with the chic and fashionable, as well.
Start your day at upscale grocery store eat Zi’s, in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, minutes from downtown Dallas. Hit the grill and get breakfast sandwiches and fresh juice for everybody. Don’t forget an extra loaf of bread to feed the ducks.
Head two blocks east to Turtle Creek Boulevard; this is one of Dallas’ most tony neighborhoods, and the creek has plenty of shady spots to people-watch. Stop at Lee Park and see the classical architecture of historic Arlington Hall, built in 1939 and fully restored in 2002. The park itself dates back to 1903 and is one of the urban area’s treasured oases.
One of Dallas’ major airports is Love Field, which houses the Frontiers of Flight Museum in the terminal building. Take a flight through time with exhibits that range from the pioneering aviators of the 1920s to the rocket age that launched us into space. Kids love the old airplanes, hands-on models and interactive exhibits.
Head to the Knox-Henderson area and get ready for squeals of delight in Wild About Harry’s when your children try one of Dallas’ best frozen custard creations, such as “Mort’s Favorite” sundae with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. Sit outside beside the giant hot dog and watch the world go by.
Afterward you might head next door to Knox Street Market, a grown-up toy store with posh knickknacks and gourmet treats. A little farther down the street, visit Iota, a fine arts and crafts store showcasing sculptors, painters, jewelry makers and designers.
Dinner is upscale at Abacus, just steps away. The contemporary global cuisine of chef Kent Rathbun has kept this restaurant flush with accolades. Our favorite? Wood-roasted beef tenderloin with red wine butter, truffle-whipped potatoes and baby vegetables ($39).
Start your day in Uptown at the most popular brunch spot in the area, Bread Winner’s Bakery Bistro. Kids love the breakfast tacos, and grown-ups can opt for the French ham Benedict.
Head west on Interstate 30 to Cowtown—Fort Worth got this name because it was a stop along the Chisholm Trail . Start the adventure at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Head upstairs and have a video made of everyone “riding” the mechanical bucking bronc; it superimposes your image on an old-timey video of a rodeo that you can download from the Internet later.
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History offers an IMAX theatre, as well as special exhibits.
Don your cowboy hat and step into cowboy lore when you walk across the street to the Fort Worth Stockyards, at the center of the Stockyards National Historic District. There are more than 50 shops and stalls inside, but be sure not to miss the herd of longhorns that will walk outside at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wild West Weekends mean gunfights, cattle roundups, the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show at Cowtown Coliseum and the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze.
If you have extra time, you might mosey on over to the Log Cabin Village, with all the sights of 19th-century Texas on 2.5 acres in Forest Park.
Author Bio: Leah Shafer was dancing to “Cotton-Eyed Joe” before she could ride a bicycle.