School’s in session, but summer’s still going strong. Whether you’re seeking an adventure downtown or a journey uptown, hop on board for a DARTable staycation to vibrant North Texas towns. Here are a few of places you can get to easily on DART and experience North Texas with the fresh eyes of a tourist. Spend a day exploring, or just pick one or two destinations and while away an afternoon.
Nothing says Dallas like Reunion Tower. And the one-of-a-kind local landmark offers a panoramic view of the city from more than 500 feet up. There’s also a great bar and restaurant – Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck – where you can take in the view with some nibbles or a beverage. Catch the Red or Blue line (or the Trinity Railway Express) to Union Station. There’s an underground walkway directly to the tower.
Afterwards, you could catch the Red or Blue line to West End Station – one station away – and walk a few blocks to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Over the Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31-Sept. 1) check out Dino Fest, a celebration of all things dinosaur. All five levels of the museum will be teeming with dinosaur stuff. The rest of the museum is pretty cool, too.
For another day of dinosaurs, head to the Dallas Zoo, located at its namesake station on the Red Line. “Dinos at the Zoo” is a recreated, prehistoric jungle with more than two dozen larger-than life dinosaurs. This spectacle ends soon, too; the dinos will stick around through Sept. 2. The zoo hosts some fun fall adult events, as well, such as Brew at the Zoo, where you can sample craft beers from 30 breweries in the Wilds of Africa. Mark your calendar for Sept. 13!
If you want to put shopping on your itinerary, you’re in the right place. Take the Red Line to Downtown Plano Station, in the Downtown Plano Arts District, a neighborhood full of small shops, restaurants and bars. The district also is bursting with cultural venues: the Courtyard Theater, Cox Playhouse, ArtCentre of Plano and Interurban Railway Museum all call the neighborhood home.
And the West Village has an impressive concentration of shops a short walk from Cityplace/Uptown Station on the Red, Orange and Blue lines. Next to the station’s street-level West Portal, you’ll also find The Rustic, bastion of laid-back, outdoor partying and Texas-style country music. The M-Line Trolley is right there, too and it will take you through the happenin’ heart of Uptown, with its urban vibe and awesome patios. Of course, these suggestions are only a start in shopping- and dining-crazy North Texas.
If a staycation to you means a break from the fast pace of the city, you’re in luck. Downtown Garland shows the city’s rustic, rural roots. Local specialty shops and eateries like Intrinsic Smokehouse and Brewery ply their trade in a historical neighborhood with a small-town vibe. Shopping ranges from ceramics to vintage clothing, and there’s even an old-fashioned feed store. Keep the Granville Arts Center and the Plaza Theatre on your radar, as well – they both stage frequent plays and musicals, and the latter sometimes even screens free movies. Afterwards, dinner or a drink are definite options. Get to it all by taking the Blue Line to Downtown Garland Station.
There’s a whole lot more where these came from. To check out DARTable destinations, itineraries and other cool stuff, visit DART.org/dartable.