Other CITIES, Dallas
There are various reasons you may head South when you leave Dallas. Most people want to do the Texas trifecta, heading from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, south through Austin to San Antonio. On this journey, there are a ton of neat little towns to stop in, including Luling, Salado, Gruene, New Braunfels, San Marcos, and many others. One of the places that is often missed is the slightly larger town of Waco. I would recommend that you do make a stop in Waco on your way down South, as this town does have quite a few things to peak your interest.
Waco is home to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame for those interested in real cowboys. It is also home to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame for the sporting nuts in your group. If you would like a taste of down home flavor, the Dr Pepper Museum is worth an hour of your time, and if you love Dr Pepper, you should also stop by the Elite Cafe, which serves the best Dr Pepper Ribs in the world. Of course, I am a little biased as I lived in Waco for 4 years while attending Baylor University.
If you would like to learn more about Waco, visit my Waco page using the link below:
Well, I have to admit, I have lived in Texas a long time and have never seen the Tyler Roses in bloom. It seems every time we are going through the area, we have to get there quickly and miss this beautiful display of God's handy work. If you are visiting Dallas in the autumn, and you have a rental car, it may be worth it to trek out to Tyler for the day to catch these beautiful roses in bloom.
Tyler is known as the Rose Capital of the World, and its beautiful flowers are known world wide for their beauty. 2008 marked the 75th anniversary of the Tyler Rose Festival, yet once again, we missed out on seeing this pageantry.
This year's festival was October 16-19th, so if you are planning to be in Dallas around this time every year, consider the trip out to Tyler.
If you are looking for a visit to a smaller town while on a vacation to Dallas, then I would highly recommend making a drive 30 miles north to the small town of McKinney. McKinney actually is not all that small any more, but they have kept the old town quite unique and antique. The central square is still intact and has quite a few antique and specialty retail boutiques for all your Texas goodies. There are also several small cafes and restaurants around the square for a nice walk and snack. For those looking for a little night life, there are also a couple of places that really go late into the night as well, however if you are staying in Dallas, I would warn against those since there is no good public transportation system back to Dallas and the cab ride would be very costly!
As for getting to downtown McKinney, your only real option is by renting a car. Technically you could take the DART up to Plano and then take a cab the rest of the way, but this would be alot of hassle compared to renting a car for the day.
If you would like more information on McKinney, drop by my page using the link below:
If you are in search of the real Texas, you likely can pass Dallas right by. Dallas is not known for its Western heritage, and frankly has done as much as possible to move completely away from anything that would signify itself as a Texas town. The flat layout does not add much adventure to the city, and if you were to walk around the downtown area, I doubt you would know you were not in any other Midwest US downtown area.
If you are interested in learning a little bit about western heritage or just seeing a little of the "Real Texas", I would head out to Fort Worth, which is located 25 miles or so to the west of downtown Dallas. If you are visiting with a rental car, that would be the easiest, but if you would like to use Public transport, then just hop on the TRE train from Victory Park and head over.
For more information on Fort Worth, please visit my Fort Worth page!
When my mom and dad visit us, we will usually go to at least one place nearby as a day trip. So when someone asked what day trips there were from Dallas (and they had already been to Fort Worth and Irving) I asked, "Had you thought about going to Denton? Very nice town square, a little museum and some nice places to have lunch."
This was a place that my Father-in-law found, and he just fell in love with it. He especially liked Beth-Maries
Palace of Wax & Ripley's Believe It Or Not! features over 175 realistic characters such as Hollywood stars, favourite storybook characters, heroes and villains from the wild west and famous American figures in history. They were all created by a resident wax artist.
601 E.Safari Pkwy, I-30 at Beltline.
I went to Irving and Las Colinas, and Mandalay Canal when I was in the area in 1997. I was particularly impressed with the Mustangs of Las Colinas. Los Colinas is a planned development where the sculptures are displayed. It consists of high-rise office towers, retail centers, upscale residences and apartment complexes, and golf courses in Irving TX. Irving also has Texas Stadium (where the Cowboys play,) the Movie Studios at Las Colinas and more.
When we visited in 2006, we got to see the Los Colinas Mustang (free) museum, and also we took a ride on the elevated rail line.
Drive about 160 miles south towards Houston and you'll come to Huntsville. If you have an hour or so free, you can visit the Texas Prison Museum and have a look at Old Sparky. Of course, they do things more humanely down in Texas nowadays. They should do - they get a lot of practice. Indeed, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice judicially kills more people than any other state in the US or than any other country in the civilised world. When it comes to the number of executions, only places like China and Iran rank ahead of Texas: not exactly the kind of places that redneck America would normally want to be associated with. There is no denying that many of those executed are guilty of particularly heinous crimes, but there is no denying also that Texas has executed those who were minors at the time of the crime, the mentally retarded and those who had been denied their full rights under international agreements. If you live in Texas, you are more likely to be executed than to die in a plane crash.
Frisco is mostly a bedroom community 12 miles north of Dallas in central Collin County. My daughter who lives there says that you can live, shop and eat there, but there are not many tourist attractions.
They do have a stampeding sculpture in their Central Park which is at the northwest corner of Parkwood Blvd and Warren Parkway and down the main road in front of the Target shopping center.
In 1902, when the post office was established, the town was named Frisco City after the St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway Company, known as the Frisco system. Later the name was shortened to Frisco.
Plano is another suburb of Dallas which has many corporate headquarters.
The Plano Sports Authority has this complex which includes a full size NHL hockey rink. The actual PSA center is two years old
The website says: "Plano Sports Authority was founded as a non-profit agency in December, 1970 when the individual sports leagues incorporated to form one administrative youth sports organization. It provides quality year-round recreational sports leagues to all boys and girls who live within the Plano Independent School District and surrounding areas."
While the west begins in Fort Worth, Dallas is where the east peters out. Fort Worth with about a half million people has also been know as Panther City (because of reports of bobcat sightings) and Cowtown.
Because the two cities share the large Dallas Fort Worth airport there has been some rivalry between the two cities. Fort Worth thinks that the citizens of Dallas are snobs, and Dallas thinks that Fort Worth is an overgrown rambunctions cowboy town.
We went to Ft. Worth to see the cattle drive.
In 1849, soldiers were ordered to set up Fort Worth and protect the settlers in North Texas. Soon Fort Worth became a frequent stop for cattlemen herding through the area. Many cowboys herded up the cattle (longhorn), branded them, and drove them north for a large profit.
By 1866, the city had earned its reputation as "Cowtown," and was in the middle of the Chisholm Trail. The city now began to prosper as a leader in the cattle business.
With the opening of various meat packing companies, Fort Worth soon became one of the major beef suppliers in the country, and continued to be until the 1960s. In 1976 the Fort Worth Stockyards were renovated and is now one of the most famous and fun historical sites in Texas.
First Monday Trade Days is in Canton, Texas - about 50-60 miles east of Dallas. It's the oldest (since 1850) and biggest flea market in the world. At the market, you'll find antiques, collectibles, crafts, junk, art, greasy food, lots of shoppers and vendors. It happens on the weekend before the first Monday of every month...hence the name. The place is huge though, and it's almost impossible to see it all in one day. The town of Canton has several hotels for anybody looking to stay for more than one day. Most of the vendors seem to stay in campers and RVs on the grounds...I guess that alot of them drive from flea market to flea market...kinda like nomads. They seem to like it...many of the vendors are friendly, colorful characters who probably enjoy the community aspect of the market as much as anything. Shoppers seem to like it too...cuz there are lots of 'em.
If there is one thing that is associated with Dallas, that is the world famous Southfork Ranch and the TV. series 'Dallas'. The ranch has attracted millions of visitors ever since it became the homestead of the T.V. family, the Ewing clan. Its probably not quite the image you would imagine while driving up the long drive way.
First what you see is the Visitors Centre and the Convention centre and a carpark full of cars and tour buses.
You can see the actual homestead - a little smaller than you would have imagined going by the t.v. series - by driving further on down the road from the main visitors entrance. To view the homestead you actually have to take a tour from the Visitors Centre.
There are several items of memorabilia you can recognise from the series including Lucy's wedding dress and Jock's Lincoln Continental. A guided tram tour drives you around the ranch grounds and stops at Miss Ellie's Deli and shop. I had just missed one tour and I wasn't that much of a fan. Just seeing the Ranch was enough for me.
Located just 10 minutes from the Plano Centre, Southfork is open daily.
K Road to right on Parker Road 5.5 miles East from US 75.
Fort Worth is the twin city of Dallas. Fort Worth Stockyards are in the National Historical District and well worth a visit. The livestock industry began to develop here in the 1880s and there were sheep, cattle, hog pens and horse and mule barns. The original barns were burned in 1911 and were replaced with concrete and steel buildings.
You can really feel the old west recaptured all along Exchange Avenue. In 1976 the area was renovated with western-style stores and restaurants and is now one of the most famous and fun historical sites in Texas. There are many activities within this area of 'cowtown'. Fabulous bars/restaurants and great for Texan style souveniers.
More in my Ft Worth Page