When it comes to planning the perfect date, Preston Hollow has plenty to offer, from scenic country drives to cozy, romantic dinners to vibrant cultural experiences. We even have a few dingy dive bars if that’s your speed. So, here it is — your cheat sheet to celebrating Valentine’s Day right here in the neighborhood, plus some tips to keep in your back pocket just about any time of year.
Start the day with a breakfast picnic at Preston Hollow Park — one of the only public green spaces in our neighborhood. While it may not have the city’s best view of the sunrise (or any at all), it offers a rare opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before the daily swarm of children descends upon the popular park. Pack some breakfast sandwiches from home or hit up a family-owned doughnut shop. We love the eclectic, indulgent tastes at Yummy Donuts (4355 Lovers at Douglas). If you’re coming from the north, try Inwood Donut (11814 Inwood at Forest). Burn off the calories with a tennis match on the park’s public court. (This is Texas, so at the time of publication, it was not known whether Valentine’s Day temperatures would be in the low 30s or the high 70s. Come prepared. If the wintry weather proves too brutal — or you’re just not keen on early mornings — go ahead and sleep in and skip to the next activity.)
Let’s face it. Any time spent not driving in Preston Hollow is precious — unless you escape the car-clogged thoroughfares for the beautiful country lanes of Old Preston Hollow. Take a leisurely drive through the estate neighborhoods bound by Northwest Highway, Walnut Hill, Midway and Preston. There’s Sunnybrook, Preston Downs, Inwood Park, Maywood and Meadowbrook, to name a few, all full of architecturally significant homes. Admire the stately exteriors and speculate about what goes on behind the iron gates.
Give your time and gain some perspective with folks who can teach you a thing or two about love. The Legacy at Preston Hollow (11409 N. Central) senior-living home accepts volunteers for everything from helping residents with crossword puzzles to running errands to leading bingo. Volunteer coordinator Cheryl Weitz says that volunteers and residents alike benefit from building relationships with residents. “Some of our residents don’t have family visitors, so it’s great for them to have somebody to talk to,” she says. Visitors are welcome to bring baked goods to residents — perhaps even some heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cookies. If you miss the morning slots, swing by at 1 p.m. Feb. 14 to help serve residents during their Valentine’s Day dance. Schedule a visit and apply to volunteer, by contacting Weitz in advance at 214.239.5735 or email@example.com.
It’s lunchtime, but you may want to resist that pre-programmed urge to eat a full meal and save plenty of room for the evening’s epic dinner required to complete any Valentine’s Day outing. The burrata bar at Dough Pizzeria (11909 Preston at Forest) features small plates centered on the key ingredient, made from fresh mozzarella and cream. Try the truffle and mascarpone burrata, served with tomatoes and a rosemary balsamic reduction on flatbread. Looking for something a little more casual? Keep it simple and stop into a taqueria such as Tacos y Mas (7752 Forest at N. Central) for $2 tacos.
Go on a treasure hunt. Shop at antique stores and pick out a funky gift for each other. The Forestwood Antique Mall (5333 Forest at Inwood) specializes in old sports memorabilia, and you might discover some one-of-a-kind, vintage Valentine’s Day jewelry. North Dallas Antique Mall (11722 Marsh at Forest) offers plenty of mid-century modern, Mad Men-era knick-knacks. Plus, you can find some of those old records and eight-tracks you listened to back when you first started dating. Shop for a cause and stick to a tighter budget at The Family Place Resale Shop (11722 Marsh at Forest) or St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store (3052 W. Northwest Highway at Bachman), where you never know what you’ll find — from designer clothing to chic furniture.
Create something together. Stop into a neighborhood art studio and work some magic. From 4-5 p.m. every Friday, the popular mosaic shop Smashing Times (6025 Royal at Preston) hosts a craft class where you can learn how to create a fused glass pendant. Call ahead to reserve a spot for $30 per person. Or, grab your mate and round up a group of eight to 12 friends for a B.Y.O.B. painting party at Painting with a Twist (5202 W. Lovers at Inwood) Two- or three-hour private parties are available for groups to paint and enjoy beverages noon-6 p.m. Canvas, easels and paint are provided, but space is limited, so reserve early.
Linger over a romantic dinner. Some of our favorite hideaways with great pasta are the rustic Princi Italia (5959 Royal at Preston) and the cozy and intimate Zio Cecio Cucina Italiana (4615 W. Lovers at Travida). Dig into French soufflés at Rise No. 1 (5360 W. Lovers at Inwood), and don’t skip the marshmallow soup. For upscale American cuisine, try the warm, low-lit Hillstone (300 Preston at Northwest Highway) or The Mercury (911909 Preston at Forest) for some serious indulgent dining. Remember to make reservations as soon as possible.
Let go and party a little. There aren’t many places to get down in Preston Hollow, but you might be surprised at what lies in some corners of our neighborhood. For a true dive-bar experience, Velvet Elvis (3720 Walnut Hill at Marsh) draws a mixed crowd beyond the 20-something hipsters and features pool tables and live rock music from just about every decade. Oh, and cheap, strong drinks (we already splurged on dinner). Right next door, there’s A Step Up Lounge (3720 Walnut Hill at Marsh) with a similar atmosphere worth popping in for look-see. For a more cultural experience, Stratos Greek Taverna (2907 W. Northwest Highway at Webb Chapel) presents a live belly-dancing show at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and makes for a pretty wild night. If you want to keep it low-key, you can’t beat the folk music shows at Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse (9555 N. Central at Walnut Hill), which keeps to its Friday-night schedule on Valentine’s Day, featuring singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky.
Cozy up to a classic movie. This is an easy one. Every Friday and Saturday night, the Inwood Theatre (5458 W. Lovers at Inwood) features Midnight Madness, screening a different beloved film from a variety of genres in its theater of cozy couches. On Valentine’s Day weekend, you can catch Woody Allen’s famous love story, “Annie Hall,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1977.
More awesome date ideas in Preston Hollow
Take an archery class together
The Texas Archery Academy (9550 N. Central at Walnut Hill) recently opened a new facility near our neighborhood, making the once-obscure sport more accessible to those who want to try their hand at shooting a bow. See page 7 to learn more from its Preston Hollow owner.
Go on a chocolate tour
Dallas by Chocolate hosts wildly popular tours of chocolate shops and bakeries around the city, often including some near our neighborhood. You can visit several venues in just over three hours, sampling goodies and learning how they’re made. Sign up for a Valentine’s Day tour at dallasbychocolate.com.
Expand your brains
Just outside the neighborhood is Dallas Makerspace (2995 Ladybird at Walnut Hill), which offers hands-on workshops for things such as blacksmithing, robot building and computer programming.
Sip some wine
The little shop The Art of Wine (11909 Preston at Forest) hosts a daily happy hour 5-7 p.m. On Tuesdays, it offers a $25 painting class 6:30-8:30 p.m. with appetizers and, of course, wine.
Forget that you’re grown-ups
At Jump Street (11250 N. Central at Royal) apparently people of all ages can bounce off the walls. The gym offers sports adapted to the trampoline, including basketball, dodgeball and others.
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