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Dallas, Texas

25 replies

woowoo · 19/01/2005 23:41

Anyone been to Dallas? Any recommendations of what to do, where to go, what to see? What is shopping like there? Any ideas of what the weather is usually like around the end of March or beginning of April? Any information would be good.

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Chuffed · 20/01/2005 09:43

Spent a bit of time near Arlington which is halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. Go to the one of the factory shopping malls in Texas, great shopping, and you'll get great benefits from the exchange rate. If I remember rightly it is a bit chilly in the evenings but reasonably warm during the day, jeans and sweater. It gets really really hot during the summer so depending on when that kicks in.

woowoo · 20/01/2005 09:49

Was there anything in particular that you would recommend doing with children, either during the day or evening, dd's seven and a half years and five years.

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Bozza · 20/01/2005 09:56

Think the weather will be quite pleasant in March/April (was an au pair in Dallas for a year). I remember it being a little chilly in the unheated outdoor pool at Easter which suggests that it was reasonably warm for us to even try it! Given that I spent a year as an au pair I should be able to think of some child-friendly things shouldn't I? There was an aquarium downtown that we went to. Also what about a drive-in movie for a novel experience? I remember going to one once. The Galleria is a nice shopping centre north of Dallas with a skating rink in the middle - perhaps go skating.

There are loads of kiddy friendly restaurants and soft play places (Discovery Zone is a chain).

tallulah · 20/01/2005 18:58

We went to Dallas in 1995 on a stopover back from Las Vegas, and hated it with a passion! You must have a car (we didn't!) because there is no public transport, no pavements & nothing in walking distance. Everything we needed (FOOD) was apparently on a toll road (& we had no currency left) & we couldn't find anything to do. Southfork was good- otherwise our whole trip was a waste of time (& some kid in a camper van crashed into the back of us when we did get a hire car, so we spent all day sorting that out)

The best day we spent in the airport. Best airport we've ever been to & only thing good I would say about Dallas....

(Sorry- particular bugbear!!!!!! Seriously, if your hotel is advertised as "Market Centre" the market refers to World Trade Centre & not eating/shopping market, and is miles from civilisation. Be warned)

woowoo · 20/01/2005 22:25

Doesn't sound great tallulah. Was the airport really the only thing that was good?

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MeerkatsUnite · 21/01/2005 07:30


I spent a week there a few years ago in my pre children days and enjoyed it. We stayed at the Fairmont in the downtown area.

We visited the Galleria shopping mall with their ice rink (I remember we used public transport to get there) and also went on trips out to Six Flags Over Texas (theme park) and Fort Worth. Didn't go to Southfork as this was at the time closed for refurbishment.

MeerkatsUnite · 21/01/2005 07:31

This is a good website to look at as well.

happymerryberries · 21/01/2005 07:36

Dh is there atm. You need a car. He was there on buisness but manages to see round the Book depository, which he says is very interesting....not sure how good that would be for the ids. He has also gone to some american football matches which he enjoyed very much. they are a family 'thing'

tallulah · 21/01/2005 17:47

For us, sadly, the airport was the highlight

We couldn't actually find any attractions to visit & were stuck at the Market Centre with no way of getting anywhere, in a really crap hotel where the staff were downright rude.

I'm sure if we'd planned it properly & got the books (like we normally do) it would have been OK. Didn't help to do it after Las Vegas, either...

Sorry to worry you, but I thought you should be warned!

assumpta · 23/01/2005 18:40

How long were you there for? Could you not get out of your hotel and ask if there was anything to do that might appeal to you all, or at least the children? Surely there has to be public transport or cabs in Dallas??? Eveyone couldn't have cars.

Merlot · 23/01/2005 21:14

I went there in 1994, before kids.

It was a freebie trip accompanying my dh who was working there.

The Galleria was good for shopping.

I went to a Great Museum (lots of interactive stuff, but cant remember the name of it )

I went to Southfork which was quite fun.

The weather was quite hot and I was there in March. Very changeable though, one minute hot and muggy - the next minute raining.

I read Dh your thread and he said that if were going to Dallas with kids he would definitely pay this place a visit - here

Bozza · 23/01/2005 21:24

It is a very spread out city. There are buses and taxis but it is really very car dependent. When we were au pairs we used to go out on a Friday night and always have a designated driver and pack 7 of us into an MPV whereas when I was living at my parents the norm would be a bus into town and a taxi home.

Merlot · 23/01/2005 21:33

Also there is this stuff to do

woowoo · 23/01/2005 23:08

Thankyou so much for taking the time to reply. I think we are going to have a really good time and from what I have seen on web sites, there seems to be plenty to do. I do hope the weather is nice as this is our main holiday this year and it would be nice not to have to wrap up every day. Tallulah, hopefully things have changed since you were there, I will let you all know after Easter. Thanks again.

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tex111 · 23/01/2005 23:20

Hi woowoo, I spent 20 years in Dallas! Actually where I grew up. You definitely need a car. There is public transport but it is not very good. I would recommend the West End for strolling and eating and you can walk over to the 'grassy knoll' from there. You should also go up to the top of Reunion Tower (the big tower with a ball on top) which is also walking distnace from the West End. There's a very overpriced restaurant up there but we would often go to the bar for a drink and there's a viewing platform that gives a great view of the city.

Six Flags is great for kids. The zoo is also fantastic. There are water parks out near Six Flags that are pretty cool too. I've never seen anything like them in the UK - huge slides, wave pools, etc. The Galleria is wonderful for shopping but not for bargains, though the exchange rate is on your side, so everything will seem like a bargain! Fair Park is another great place for a day out. Lots of museums (natural history and science with lots of hands-on exhibits) and nice park areas for picnics. The Dallas Museum of Art is very good too.

Just let me know if I can help. Feel free to CAT me!

tallulah · 24/01/2005 17:18

assumpta, our hotel was stuck in the middle of a motorway system with no way of getting anywhere without a car. Opposite the hotel was a sex club and a gun shop!!!!

When we finally got a car, courtesy of the hotel next door, we went out but couldn't get onto the toll road because we had no cash, and although we followed signs into the city there was nowhere to go. We were only there a few days, fortunately.

In the car we managed to get into the wrong part of town and spent 20 minutes at a railway crossing waiting for the longest, slowest train I have ever seen to trundle past. All around us were dark alleys, pawnshops & gunshops- I was terrified! DH went to ask directions in a pizza place when we did find civilisation & conversation stopped when he walked in. Everyone was Spanish...

Our trip was like something the Griswalds would have experienced (& quite funny to look back on).

We did find 6 Flags but with just the 2 of us and a 3 year old it really wasn't a good idea so we didn't go in. (Would have meant riding separately & I get scared on coasters)

tex111 · 24/01/2005 17:51

As I say, you definitely need a car but there's only one tollway in Dallas and I've never had to use it! Much easier to use the regular highways. You might need some small change if you're driving into and out of the airport though. People started driving through the airport as a short cut so they introduced a toll (I believe it's $1) to discourage people from cutting through.

And even if you end up in the 'wrong' part of town (South Dallas, in general) people are usually very helpful and definitely would be as soon as they heard that you're foreign. There's a lot of racism in Texas which creates a great deal of tension at times, but that's just between Texans. And if you see Hispanic people they'll be Mexican, not Spanish. Of course, you get bad people wherever you go but I've generally found people in Dallas to be friendly.

tex111 · 24/01/2005 17:54

Oh, and yes guns are everywhere. They sell them at Wal-Mart which is the equivalent of Asda, so don't be shocked. I do hate the gun culture (one of the reasons we don't live there) but you'll be fine.

woowoo · 24/01/2005 22:28

Thanks for warning me about the guns, as I will be prepared for an explanation to the children. If the Galleria is not so good for bargains, where is? Do you still go back Tex111 for visits or definately not? Can you tell me what the weather is usually like toward the end of March? Is anything in particular, e.g. leather, shoes or bags, a bargain in Dallas or just everything with the exchange rate?

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woowoo · 24/01/2005 22:29

I forgot to say that we were going to pack the bare minimum to wear, and just buy stuff when we got there. Does this sound a mad idea, or is it feasible.

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tex111 · 24/01/2005 22:42

I go back at least once a year and will be there in May. It's changed a lot since I left in '93 and has become much more metropolitan. There are outlet malls but will have to check on the locations. Everything does seem like a bargain so I usually just go to the regular shops. I would say especially trainers and children's sandals are very good value (I always buy DS's when we're there). Of course, American shops like Gap, Calvin Klein, etc are cheaper than in the UK and there's a shop called Old Navy which is owned by Gap and is an even more discount version. Great for basics like Tshirts and shorts for the kids.

I don't know what you're into but US brand beauty products are cheaper there too and you MUST go to a big drugstore (chemist). Eckerds or Walgreens are my favourites for all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff. I recommend checking out a grocery store too. Great cake mixes and Mexican products. Mexican extract of vanilla is the best in the world but not sure if it's legal for customs due to alcohol content. For some reason American cinnamon always tastes better to me too and I bring some back with me most trips.

Other great stores are Pottery Barn for home stuff, Restoration Hardware for more home stuff, Sees Candies for pressies for friends, Bath & Body Works for yummy smelling bath products, Victoria's Secret for great undies (both practical and sexy styles). And, of course, if you want genuine Western apparel there are some great boot makers, cowboy hat manufacturers, huge belt buckles, etc. The World Championship Rodeo is in Mesquite, where I grew up, and could be a fun night out. I should warn you though that if you're a great animal lover things like calf roping can be a bit distressing. Not my thing but an interesting cultural experience.

March should be really nice. Lovely sunny days and cool nights. You'll probably be there during Spring Break when the schools are out so there should be lots of organised activities at all the museums and tourist sites.

Hope that helps!

tex111 · 24/01/2005 22:46

Packing light is a great idea. That's exactly what I do if I go in spring or summer. The clothes are so much cheaper and there's such a huge selection of warm weather things that you can buy a whole wardrobe. In fact, that's just what I do for DS. We were there last March and I bought all his summer clothes, trainers and sandals. I'll do the same again in May. Makes a huge difference.

If you want real bargains I would try Wal-mart and Target. The quality is mixed but they're both good for basics. I bought DS half a dozen pairs of 100% cotton shorts for $1 a pair last year and he just wore them all summer. Also good for pants, socks, vests, etc.

woowoo · 25/01/2005 22:40

Thanks a million Tex111. I feel and hope that this is going to a really good holiday. All your info is bound to be a good help. Thanks again.

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bibibaj · 01/02/2005 18:41

We're planning to have a family reunion in Texas in December this year for about 40 people including kids. Any recommendations of a good place to stay, a Centerparc type venue?

woowoo · 05/02/2005 15:27

Bibibaj, sorry as I haven't been yet, but just thought I would bump this up for you. I'm sure someone knows.

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