Dallas City Guide
| By Kate Zentall, CatalogLink Editor
|Big D has come a long way from its cliché of the oil dude in the 10-gallon hat; it's now not only a monster financial and tech center but the #1 fastest-growing metro area in the nation in population, and host to a staggering number of corporate HQs and Fortune 500 companies, including Texas Instruments, Frito-Lay, Kimberly-Clark, American Airlines, Exxon, Radio Shack, Mary Kay (think pink!), Chuck E. Cheese … and the Original 6 Flags. Dallas also gave birth to the convenience store, and the 7-Eleven mother ship is still anchored there to attest to it.
It's home to native sons and daughters Norah Jones, H. Ross Perot (remember him?), Melinda Gates, Morgan Fairchild, Ramsey Clark, Dr. Phil, and the Wilsons Owen and Luke. Not to mention the Dallas Cowboys, plus a staggering 15 billionaires. Style and swagger, then, are not entirely things of the past.
Many of us still can't think of Dallas without recalling events of November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was felled by a bullet from the Dealey Plaza Book Depository Building, which now has a museum honoring the man's life and death….
When it comes to retail, Big D comes through big time, with more shopping centers per capita than any other city in the U.S. Cradle of the second shopping center ever built in this country - Highland Park Village, opened in 1931-- Dallas boasts at least 21 other major malls, including NorthPark Center (the 2nd-largest mall in large-mall Texas).
|Home to the upscale retail chain Neiman Marcus, Dallas is the #1 shopping destination in Texas, a serious shopper's haven. Central Dallas is anchored by Downtown, the center of the city and the epicenter of urban revival, along with walkable Oak Lawn, with its mix of thrift, resale, and antiques stores.
Greenville Avenue, split into Upper and Lower sections by Mockingbird Lane, attracts the young and trendy with its cool, eclectic boutiques, bars, and bistros … Fashionable McKinney Avenue (aka Uptown) engages with vintage trolley lines that allow shoppers to jump off and duck into the many antique shops, galleries, interior design and specialty shops … Knox-Henderson and the West Village claim high-end retailers, ultrachic boutiques, and exclusive nightclubs … Retro-lovers and fans of antiquing head for West End Historic District, with its 80 stores in restored buildings and red-brick warehouses.
And then there's Deep Ellum, the little New Orleans of Dallas, just east of Downtown, with it clubs and galleries and history. Originally popular in the '20s and '30s as the prime jazz and blues hot spot in the South, it's now home to artists, lofts, studios, and the arty shops, cafes, pubs, and boutiques that inevitably sprout in such fertile soil.
Just south of Downtown, the Cedars is also morphing into an arty arena, with the opening of Southside on Lamar, an old Sears warehouse now converted into lofts, studios, and retail.
And don't overlook Restaurant Row, the two-mile area along I-35E around Walnut Hill so named for the 150 eateries and entertainment venues there.
OK. Now, onward to the bigger-must-be-better Dallas core values, and the mega malls that personify them …
Let's start with NorthPark Center, the original high-end, elegant shopping mall with more than 200 shops, natural lighting, a fabulous sculpture collection of modern masters, and Neimans, Nordstrom, Macy's, Dillards, Barneys, Lacoste, Kate Spade, Juicy Couture, Dooney & Bourk, and Burberry, just for starters. Nearly 2 million sq ft of gross leasable area. Plus a park. Dig it. (1030 NorthPark Center, Dallas, TX 75225; 214-361-6345)
Highland Park Village, America's oldest shopping center and the prototype for many to come, was established in 1931 and is now designated a National Historic Landmark. Located in the “Beverly Hills of Dallas,” it features designer stores Hermès, Harry Winston, Chanel, Escada, and Jimmy Choo. An architectural melange of Spanish, Mediterranean, and Mexican styles gives it charm and human scale, and the open-air center has become a kind of town square. (47 Highland Park Shopping Village, Dallas, TX 75205; 214-559-2740)
Galleria Dallas, aka the grandaddy of giant indoor shopping malls, features a huge, light-filled atrium, 200 stores (Nordstrom, Saks Fifth, Gucci, Tiffany, American Girl, Cartier, Lush Cosmetics), lots of restaurants, and an ice-skating rink (seriously). (13350 Dallas Pkwy., Dallas, TX 75240; 972-702-7100)
The Plaza at Preston Center
Not a shopping center, they assure us, but a shopping experience. One-of-a-kind shops and restaurants give this a more personal face. (8300 - 8400 Preston Road and 4001 - 4033 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas, Texas 75225; 469-232-0000)
Drawing avid shoppers from farther afield than just the greater Dallas area, this expansive mall includes 200-plus stores, from manufacturers' outlets to off-price specialty stores. Ann Taylor Loft, Chico's, Hollister, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, plus requisite ice skating arena and a 30-screen movie theater. (3000 Grapevine Mills Pkwy., Grapevine, TX 76051; 972-724-4900)
|Downtown Neiman Marcus This old-school-beautiful grand dame of all Neimans, and the original. has set the standard for fashion and elegance since it opened in the early 1900s. The Downtown store also features a 5th-floor museum that tells the story of this ready-to-wear couture retail legend. (1618 Main St., Dallas, TX 75201; 214-741-6911) … Giving it a run for its money is the way-luxe high-end Stanley Korshak department store, which comes complete with courtyard, fountains, bridal, hair salon, menswear, designer duds, the works. (500 Crescent Ct., Dallas, Texas 75201; 214-871-3600)
Cool and edgy Elements carries a great selection of stylish labels for apparel, bags, shoes, and jewelry. They're definitely the sultans of swing. (4400 Lovers Lane, Dallas, TX 75225; 214-987-0837) … Right nearby (don't worry, there's room for y'all) step into Hemline for trendy togs, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. (4439 Lovers Lane, Dallas, TX 75225; 214-559-3600) … Verso, a hip men's and women's boutique tucked away in the Rising Gallery, brings forth up-and-coming designers and shares profits with projects all over the world. A chari-tree dangles cool jewelry designs that support organizations from its branches. (4631 Insurance Ln., Dallas, TX; 214-683-1369)
Two cute too-cutes: the I'm That Grrl hot-pink boutique in the Bishop Arts District carries contemporary, affordable (all under $100) women's clothing, jumbo shoulder bags, trendy shades, and costume jewelry (lacquered bangles, beaded necklaces, '80s-inspired hoops, jade rings), plus a local makeup and skin care line. (509 N. Bishop Ave., Ste. D, Dallas, TX 75208; 214-946-4775) … Slightly younger set? Check out Jenny on the Block, where the motto, There's a little something for everyone, is borne out with reasonably priced dresses, jewelry, flip-flops, toys, kids' togs, yoga gear, candles, and a DIY lip gloss station with pots of clear, flavored gloss and glitter and dye mix-ins. (6715 Snider Plaza, Dallas, TX 75205; 214-361-1781)
Scene change: Go local at Wild Bill's, the perfect spot for the western gear Texans are so famous for - belt buckles, hats, dusters, boots, even stuff for lil' buckaroos. (311 N. Market; Dallas, TX 75202; 214-954-1050) … Then dip back in time at Archive,
for vintage clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry in near-perfect condition. Unique designer finds - just ask your ma -- are mostly from the '60s and '70s. (2912 Maple Ave., Uptown, Dallas, TX; 214-999-8921)
|Start with the charming and unique Make Shop & Studio, in the Bishop Arts District -- 25 independently operated coffee shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants and growing. Classes, too! (313 N. Bishop Ave., Dallas, TX 75208; 214-256-3061) … there's more fun crafty stuff at StellaDallas (love the name!), as in pillows, lamps, Missoni throws, retro furnishings. In the back of this sleek, colorful shop find whimsical with-it stationery - cards, notebooks, calendars - as well as a wall of single-sheet graphic wrapping papers. (4346 Lovers Lane, Dallas, TX 75225; 214-691-0000) … Now step into a little bit of Haven for some interior therapy, as they call it, and snap up tony, one-of-a-kind glassware, vases, books, pillows, throws, and tabletop items. (3699 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75204; 214-954-1515)
OK. Take those sweet boutiques, give them steroids, and you've got Forty Five Ten, 8,000 sq ft of very classy stuff in a historic building in Knox/Henderson with central fountain courtyard. Expect a well-edited selection of linens, tabletop & decoratives, books & stationery, along with clothing, café, and apothecary. You might even bump into Laura Bush, Melissa Etheridge, Oprah, or Gwyneth, all of whom have stopped in at one time or another. (4510 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75205; 214-559-4510)
Now change the channel, for the Forestwood Antique Mall, 1 where 250 antique dealers in 38,000 sq ft offer up arts and crafts, collectibles, antique furniture, gift items, and garden antiques, and where you're sure to find primitive styles, 18th and 19th century French and American pieces, and Art Deco. (5333 Forest Ln., Dallas, TX 75244; 972-661-0001)
Feeling crafty? Create something special from the precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, carved bone, coral beads at Bella Bead Boutique, or restring or redesign an old favorite. Not feeling so creative? Pick out some Murano glass jewelry, a Lampe Berger lamp, or some French fragrance. (The Shops at Willow Bend, 6121 W. Park Blvd., Plano, TX 75093; 469-366-0008).
|Throw caution to the wind - heck, you're in Texas! - and go for the sweet jugular at The Cake Ball Company. Pop a couple of these puppies in your mouth and tell us the bite-size bits of moist cake blended with rich frosting and wrapped up in confectionery coating are not to die for. A nice twist on cupcakes - and they'll ship, too. (10230 E. Northwest Hwy., Lake Highlands, Dallas, Texas 75238; 214-559-5788) … Something more familiar? Get on the bandwagon at The Cupcakery, for gazillion variations on this theme -- try cocktail-inspired (virgin) flavors, from pina colada to grasshopper to Kir Royal, or some yummy-looking special-occasion beauties (we esp. love the ones for baby shower and Valentine's Day). (2222 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75201; 214-855-0003; also 6975 Lebanon Rd., at the tollway in Frisco, TX; 214-705-1110) … And for a large selection of bakery-inspired delectables, there's Celebrity Bakery, with its scones, muffins, salads, paninis, wraps, cakes, petit fours, and other forbidden fruit. Several shops in the area. (65 Highland Park Village, Dallas TX 75205, 214-528-6612; also 10720 Preston Rd., Dallas,TX 75230, 214-373-0783)
Cleanse your palate at Molto Formaggio,
with its 150 varieties from 16 countries, everything cut fresh to order. They give out samples (yes!) and have a great selection of salamis and French and Italian wines as well. (68 Highland Pk. Village, Dallas TX 75205, 214-526-0700; also Preston Royal Shopping Center, 6025 Royal Lane, Dallas, TX 75230, 214-361-9191) … Not cheesed out? Sniff your way to the amazing Scardello Artisan Cheese with its sweet Old World vibe. Maybe it really is “all about the cheese” here as they say, but you'll find lots more to tempt you -- charcuterie, pasta, olive oils, wine, beer, fresh baguettes. And yes, they, too, cut to order and dole out (mercy!) sample tastes. (3511 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas, TX 75219; 214-219-1300)
Continue your culinary quest at the Flavors from Afar
gourmet boutique, with its terrific pastas, pestos, sauces, olive oils (some from Texas!), and balsamic vinegars direct from Italy, along with French delicacies, tabletop essentials like imported ceramics from Deruta and Florence, tools for cooks, and lots of wine. They swear by their Wine Clip, whose magnets break down red wine's tannin molecules to make it less acidic. (6712 Snider Plaza, Dallas, TX 75205; 214-696-2327)
For something a bit more local, check out Dallas Farmers Market with its diverse offerings, great prices, and fresh fruits and vegetables (including the renowned Park County peach).
(1010 S. Pearl St., Dallas, TX 75201; 214-670-5880) … And for urban-chic gourmet-to-go appetizers, entrees, sides, desserts, and wine, there's the
Dallas City Market, www.dallascitymarket.com with a full-service Starbucks at the minimalist deli. (5600 W. Lovers Lane, University Park, Dallas, TX 75209; 214-350-8646)
Don't forget, Dallas is especially known for BBQ, Mexican, and Tex-Mex; and Bob's Steak & Chop House, currently ranked #3 according to the USDA Prime Steakhouses chart, will satisfy any yearnings for red meat. (4300 Lemmon Ave., Dallas, TX 75219; 214-528-9446)