Dallas food & other info?
Hi. I may be moving to Dallas from New York by way of Seattle (long story). My husband would be working at UT Southwestern Med Ctr and I'll probably try and get a job at the same place. I'm a food person and I love to cook. I am also an bike riding urbanite that loves walkable neighborhoods with lots of character and good food options (dog friendly, i.e. sidewalks & parks is also a must).
My question to you is what are the distinctive neighborhoods in Dallas near UT SW Med Ctr that you would consider living in and what great food options (stores, markets, specialty shops and restaurants) are nearby? The lesser the commute the better.
Oh, my! This is a tall order for a western city. There is no area that has all of your requirements so you will need to prioritize. As everyone will have there own opinion, I will do my best to share the facts i've gathered in the last 20 years of living here.
First, constraints. Cars are a requirement in the west due to the way the cities grew and developed through the years. Any central area, say like Gramery Park in NY City or Beacon Hill in Boston, was long ago bulldozed for skyscrapers and the residents moved, mainly north of downtown. Like many western cities, it is a city of suburbs that have been absorded over the years and distant towns that are now suburbs. Also, I'm assuming money is an object and that will drive your decisions as it will in most cities.
In mulling over the best way to communicate a lot of information quickly, I'll give an outlline of the major neighborhoods for you to explore while visiting. There are sooo many and the people in each area drive the personality of the community, so I will try to simplify and hit my favorites. Okay, the other thing to know is that there is no where I would want to live that is near (walkable to) SW'ern - which is on Harry Hines, an old industrial road/highway that is in various levels of distress.
Uptown (which I consider to run from downtown to Knox Ave) - is the area that comes the closest to your request. It has the most urban feel with walking to restaurants but not enough parks in the main areas being redeveloped today (a big mistake by the city planners in my opinion). The area is bounded on the north and west by Highland Park and it's Turtle Creek Park. There is also the Katy trail for walking and running. Shopping and restaurants abound in the West Village(s), Knox-Henderson areas, Travis Walk, the Quadrangle, McKinney Avenue, Cedar Springs, Routh Street, The Crescent, and on and on. (Highrise living is available here and on Turtle Creek in Highland Park)
Forest Hills (in East Dallas)- my personal favorite; small area east of White Rock Lake Park - and walking distance to the lake (the best walking, biking area in Dallas); the houses are all unique and range in style from Tudor to Mediteranean to Contemporary ranch; Tom Thumb, worth the drive to Central Market (W); Casa Linda Shopping Center; the biggest issue I have is there are just not many good restaurants within walking or short driving distance.
Lakewood (in the area between Skillman and the lake) - my second favorite; area west of White Rock Lake; beautiful houses build in the 20's to current (some teardowns or newly built); very walkable; it has hills!; Tom Thumb, Whole Foods on Greenville, Central Market to the north; funky shopping and eating areas are a short drive to Lakewood Village or Greenville Avenue (foodie area basically stretches from Ross (on the S) to Mockingbird (on the North)
Swiss Avenue Historic District (W of Lakewood) - I love this area (and have lived there) which is built on a median greenbelt running the length of the district. I used to run on Swiss daily and it is popular with people in the area. The spirit is of the "urban pioneer." Munger Place is nice too but again you need a pioneer spirit. Whole Foods on Greenville, Minyards on Gaston; Lakewood Village, Greenville Ave or drive to Uptown and North Park Mall.
AREAS CLOSEST TO SW'ern -
Highland Park (E): Walkable; lots of small parks, housing - $$$$$$M; old and new Dallas money; grocery stores - Whole Foods, Tom Thumb, Wild Oats; nearby areas with restaurants, groceries, etc - Highland Park Village, Snyder Plaza near SMU (W), Lover's Lane (N), Knox-Henderson (E), Loma Alta Shopping (S)
University Park(NE): Walkable; some small parks, housing - $$$$$; old and new Dallas money, professors; grocery stores - Whole Foods, Tom Thumb, Wild Oats ; nearby areas with restaurants, groceries, etc - Snyder Plaza near SMU, Lover's Lane, Preston Center, North Park Mall
Greenway Park (E) - Located west of Highland Park, east of Love Field, north of Mockingbird; houses built in early-to-mid-1900's with fronts on wide greenbelts - goal was to create a close community; Walkable; lots of small parks, housing - $$$$$; old and new Dallas money; grocery stores - Whole Foods (SE), Tom Thumb (W); nearby areas with restaurants, groceries, etc - Inwood Village (N), Lover's Lane (N)
Bluffview (E): somewhat walkable; housing - $$$$$; grocery stores - Tom Thumb ; nearby areas with restaurants, groceries, etc - Lover's Lane (S)
Stephens Park (Oak Cliff): somewhat walkable; Stephen Park was developed by partners that eventually split and one went on to create Highland park; housing - $$$; architects, designers, artists, just folks; grocery stores - Tom Thumb; nearby areas with restaurants, groceries, etc - it's been awhile so perhaps chowhounders can help me out here.
Some links to explore for more info and neighborhoods:
I think you will find the people here gracious (when not driving, as they can get a bit aggressive), friendly and willing to be of assistance. All the best of luck to you!
Sounds like you need to live in "Uptown". The Katy Trail bisects the Uptown/Knox Henderson area and runs from the American Airlines Center north to almost SMU. This area is very close to UTSW and has many walkable areas. You could live a block or two on either side of the Katy Trail and be able to exercise, run your dog or ride your bike whenever. The neighborhood is largely 22-30 year olds, college educated professionals. The yuppies bring in a plastic, fake feel, but that's just the way Dallas is. There is a bohemian vibe that ebbs and flows everytime old housing is torn down for a luxury high rise condo.
From the north end of the Katy Trail, it's a short 10 minute bike ride down to White Rock Lake. I run the Katy Trail a few times a week and ride around White Rock Lake with the same frequency.
Uptown also includes many of the restaurants, nightspots and cafes mentioned on this messageboard.
The only downside to Uptown is that most of the housing is apartments and condos so there is not much in the way of homes with yards. If you wanted a traditional home, look elsewhere.
The only real dog park in Dallas is at the north end of White Rock Lake. There are two other small ones in other areas of town but not worth mentioning. The White Rock Dog park is interesting but not worth investing any real time in regarding living near it. 99% of the visitors to the White Rock dog park drive their cars and their dogs to the park.
The key to enjoying Dallas is to live close to where you work. People in DFW are beatdown daily by massive commutes to the far flung suburbs. Don't be one of these people.
Folks, thanks for sharing your love for Dallas with a new neighbor, but we'd like to steer this thread back on track by asking you to share your food insights or recommend food-worthy neighborhoods.
Chowhound's narrow focus is food. Dog parks, commuting advice, and other important day to day concerns are outside the scope of this site.