The West End, Dallas
I went to the West End many years ago & had a blast with my kids & my brother. We walked around, took the carriage ride & learned some Dallas history on the trip, got hit up by the rose peddlers, listened to street musicians, looked in the shops at the warehouse & had the best time listening to the guys at the fudge factory - singing while making the fudge in front of you before we went to one of the restaurants to eat & were surprised at the huge servings there. It was a Mother's Day treat.
This past weekend on Saturday night, my husband & I went down there after being at a convention in town. I expected the same thing & had told him about the fudge, etc. Well, the warehouse no longer has the shops or the fudge factory. Instead, it contains a haunted house.....not what I was looking for in August. We did get hit up by a rose vender. We ate at the Spaghetti Warehouse..had about a 45 min wait. I never saw the carriages around...don't know if they are there anymore or not. There weren't many people down there, I remember a lot more when I had been there in the past. One band set up on the corner while we were eating & began to play...they weren't bad but were literally on the street corner....not much place to stand & listen. The place felt like any other restaurant row but on a walking street instead of parking lot butted against parking lot.
Unique Suggestions: Go with someone you enjoy being with no matter what you do & enjoy the stroll. The Spaghetti Warehouse was good ....food, service & price.
I still love the West End in Dallas. Many neighborhoods have suffered in this economic decline ... and West End is one of them. But it is still a great go. However, if you are seeking pounding music and massive numbers of twenty-something party-goers ... this is not the place to be. It's much more of a 30-something, family destination, now.
The West End was at one time an awesome place but with the revamp of Fort worth, its been forgotten. Its completely dead, my friends and I used to go down every Sunday night to try a new restaurant but even that is a stretch nowadays.
Unique Suggestions: The Spaghetti Warehouse is pretty neat, and Sunday nights there is this guy Cosmo that spray paints these amazing scenes in a sort of dance to trance.
Fun Alternatives: I would really suggest you head to Lower Greenville and Mockingbird Station. Check out Blue Goose Cantina, get some queso con todo, home made tortillas, Mexican mini tacos and a margarita!
If you want to see all the tourists in one place, here you go. Chain restaurants, overpriced stores and more. Go to the areas I pointed out, or better yet, ask a hotel worker what they recommend. Locals know best, and they know not to go there.
...I am originally from Dallas & the last time we had family in town, we headed to the West End so the kids could play video games at the West End. We were shocked to discover that the West End Warehouse area/mall/tourist shops had closed down! I have heard from so many tourists crusing through Dallas that they are utterly disappointed in the downtown area. There may be more in the past few months, but not that I am aware of!
Unique Suggestions: Restaurants are fun...just hit Friday's, Spaghetti Warehouse, On the Border, Dick's (although my latest experiences there in San Diego sucked, the bartenders were exceptionally rude & the service overall sucked), Morton's......& the horse carriage rides are always fun, especially for kids. The best museum/tourist thing around downtown is the Sixth Floor JFK Museum at the old Texas School Book Depository, which is very well done, & if you walk around the Grassy Knoll there is rarely a shortage of conspiracy theorists ready to tell you who REALLY killed JFK, so those are fun. I even heard a rumor that you can take a convertible ride down the route JFK took, ending at Parkland Hospital...but that may be an urban legend, & it's certainly a bit morbid.....
Fun Alternatives: Better bets are to hit lower Greenville, where you find everything from upscale wine bars to totally cas sports bars. I also really enjoy the area around Travis Street/Knox/Henderson, & the West Village/Uptown areas around Lennon/McKinney are the new hotspots to hit........
Dallas Museum of Art is always fun, as well as the zoo (but the Fort Worth Zoo has more to offer if you can head over there), & the Oaklawn/Lemmon area has cool restaurants such as Eatzi's.
Dallas has a lot to offer but unfortunately you can't just go downtown & walk around looking for it!! Drive around & take the time to find really cool places.....
The West End is a very touristy spot in Dallas. Unfortunately, other than the restaurants, I'd felt it had kind of gotten run down until recently when I'm happy to say, I think things there are picking up. It still isn't the hip-happenin' place to find the most local's and personality, but it's a way to fill a few hours.
There are a few clubs down there including the Bar Dallas and Have a Nice Day Cafe, there are loads of restaurants, a huge game room that seems to be popular with the kids, lots of little touristy shops, fudge and candy shops, etc. They even manage to have some decent acts outside sometimes.
There are horse and buggy rides offered around the area and many of the restaurants offer outdoor patio's which is why my friends and I head out there occasionally on beautiful days. It's within walking distance of The Dallas World Aquarium and many of the restaurants there offer free bus rides with receipt over to games and other events at the American Airlines Center around the corner. My friends and I will often head to On the Border, have a few drinks, and then hop the noisy and grafitti-covered "Border Bus" over to the American Airlines Center to watch the Dallas Maverick's play. It drops you off right at the door. Picks you up at the same place if you're lucky. :)
Fun Alternatives: For more West End Historic District information including directions and up-to-date calendar, visit http://www.dallaswestend.org/
Image is from http://www.visit-dallas.com/
Watch out for those West End men who shove a rose in your hands saying it is free. As soon as it is in your hands they announce, "Free for the lady, but not for the gentleman!" The unsuspecting lady feels bad for taking it, the unknowing man feels bad if he makes her give it back...they've got a sale, she's got a rose, and you've got a lighter wallet.
Unique Suggestions: Politely say, "No thanks." with a smile and walk on. You'll have to say it about a dozen times before you reach the other side of the West End, but they are used to it and don't pursue.
Fun Alternatives: Or you can fork out the couple bucks the first time. You'll be a few dollars lighter, but the lady will have a rose, and the other dozen sellers won't approach you when they see a rose in her hands. You might want to warn her ahead of time, saying, "I hear there are quite a few rose vendors down here. I want to buy you one. (Add on whatever romantic saying you want.)" Then she won't feel terrible for taking it, and you won't have to tell her about the scam, and you won't hear the same line a dozen times.
DALLAS WEST END. What a crock, Dallas Alley used to have great free concerts, but these days it seems like just being there (outdoor alley literally) will cost you a 2 drink min... if you simply must go to where 'the east meets the west' (blah blah blah), then at least get your food over at Hooters where the waitresses have to wear skimpy shorts and tight t-shirts but the hot wings are excelent and the drinks are not watered down.. Anyplace with the word Gator's in the name is probably a trap, as Texas is not known for it's large aligator population. Anyplace where a burger costs more than $7.00 is probably a trap. Drinks should be anywhere from $2.00 to $4.00 for a bottle of beer to $6.00 or even $8.00 depending on well or call for a mixed drink or Margarita, (unless it is a wine bar) if they want more than that you are probably being skinned.
Thank them, pay what you owe and head politely for the door. I've been a few places especially downtown where they over charged (tourist traps) but never anywhere that they were ugly about it, but then again I am obviously local.
Unique Suggestions: Find some place that will let you ride a mechanical bull. Yes, it's stupid, especially if you've been drinking, but you can tell all your friends.
Also, cowboy boots and hats come in two varieites, useful and expensive. Typically, not even some crazy oil baron is going to be happy about stepping in cow plop wearing $2000 boots. So, really, think, then spend. Or else we may have to laugh.
Incidentally, if you go someplace like first trade day at Canton, or one of the MANY spanish market places, you can probably find a really nice set of hand made boots from mexico (in a remarkably small selection of colors) for around $100. Which is very, very fair.
Fun Alternatives: If you go someplace like first trade day at Canton, or one of the MANY spanish market places, bring cash. It's pretty much the only form of payment accepted. Keep in mind that this is Dallas, and not Thailand or New York, be descrete with your money and you can pretty much expect no trouble. I've lived here all my life, and have yet to have a singe incident of a pick-pocket or mugging nature, and I go everywhere, and frequently alone.
There is nothing to do here. If you want to eat there are restaurants, but not the best Dallas has to offer. You have to pay to park, so you can walk around and look at buildings.
Unique Suggestions: If you have to go here, Dick's on Sundays at Brunch ,has gospel singers and a mix your own bloody marys. We use to ride our bikes down there and have a bloody mary and sit out on the patio.
Fun Alternatives: Deep Ellumn could be an alternative if your in West End. The dinning is better here. Try Monicas on Sunday Brunch I believe it is a $5. menu. Or it was last time I went. Anyway Monica is my neighbor so I sugest you go there. You can listen to any kind of live music you want. Some unique shops. During the day, you can check out the mid century modern furniture store, next to Monica's. The traffic is getting very bad. A cab would be a good idea, then you can walk the area. The cabbie will know how to get there.
Also West Village seems to be a hopping place, with shopping, starbucks, dinning, clubs and a theater with artsy films. Better looking people than in west end or deep ellumn.
Dallas' Westend is an old warehouse district that has been converted into shops, restaurants and a movie theater. In my opinion, the Westend has really turned into a tourist trap; shops are unimaginative and typical for a tourist trap. It is usually filled with tourists so don’t bother. There are several other areas throughout Dallas and the Metroplex that offer a better, local experience...
Fun Alternatives: There are two good alternatives to the Westend: Lower Greenville Avenue and Deep Ellum. Although the so-called yuppies (remember that term) are driving all the edginess out of these places too. Regardless, both are still good locales for live music, bars and restaurants.
The West End - there are some good restaurants and bars in the West End and places for shoppinp...but I still think of it as a tourist trap. Tourists just seem to end up here. It's not a bad place to walk around...there just isn't much substance to it.
Unique Suggestions: Eat at Spaghetti Warehouse
Fun Alternatives: Deep Ellum is a better alternative to the West End. More clubs and restaurants and not as touristy.