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You are the star of these super-awesome summer daycations

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It’s summer, and it seems all your friends and acquaintances are enjoying lavish vacations. You can’t click on your favorite social media site without images of their surfing and seaside lounging slapping you in the eyes. You wonder: “Am I the only person with a job and responsibilities in this world?” For starters, you are not alone. Furthermore, you don’t have to travel far for relaxation, entertainment and excitement.

For the landlocked Preston Hollow dweller, follow our story for four tailored-to-your-taste itineraries, each only 10-20 minutes from home.

Korea Town: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Korea Town: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

WEST: A POCKET OF CULTURE

Did you know that Dallas has the largest Korean-American community in Texas? And it’s clustered just a few miles from our neighborhood. Venture out for a cultural experience you never knew awaited.

1
Hop onto Royal Lane and head west — past the gated mansions and manicured bushes. Keep going … at Harry Hines, drab strip malls come into view. Korean symbols appear on signs advertising salons, pharmacies and dentist offices. You’ve arrived. The lackluster looks can be deceiving; there is much to discover in Korea Town. Now, are you hungry?

Yes, let’s eat! Go to #2.

Nah, I want to explore. Go to #7.

2
Take your pick of Korean restaurants clustered around Royal and Interstate-35. Nearly everything is good. Are you a vegan or vegetarian?

Yes, meat is murder. Go to #3.   

Heck, no! Go to #8.

3
At Goji Café, formerly known as A New Start Veggie Garden, at 2330 Royal, you don’t have to study the menu for vegan and vegetarian options. They are the menu. The buffet features traditional meat dishes made with seitan strips as well as noodles, wraps, salads, kimchi pancakes. The only downside? The restaurant closes at 8 p.m., so head here for lunch or an early dinner. Would you like to continue eating your way through Korea Town?

Yes, please. Go to #4.

No, I’m full for now. Go to #7.

4
Pop into Mozart Bakery, at 11420 Emerald Street, for decadent desserts that rival the trendiest spots in Preston Hollow (the shop even serves cronuts). Try the green tea or pistachio macarons, a slice of the green tea sponge cake, or a slab of fruit mousse that’s almost too pretty to eat. You may want to sneak in another visit on the way home. The bakery is open until 10 p.m. Now, are you feeling energized?

Yes, the day is just beginning! Go to #5.

No, it’s time to wind down. Go to #9.

5
Grab some more friends and reserve a room at Family Karaoke, 11433 Goodnight Lane. The name is a slight misnomer since the place has a noticeable bar atmosphere, so call a babysitter if you have little ones in tow. Small rooms for five to six people start at $23 per hour and include HDTVs, disco balls, the works. Song lists are in English and Korean. There’s also a full bar and a small food menu good for nighttime snacking. On Saturdays, the place is open until 4 a.m. Have you had enough fun for one day?

Yes, let’s call it a night. Go to #6.

No, way! Go to #9.

6
A successful day for a foodie. You ate a lot and sang your heart out. [END]
7
Well, food is the main attraction in this neighborhood, so get hungry! Go shopping in the Ko’mart Marketplace, 2240 Royal, to entice your taste buds. Browse the aisles of the grocery store and try a new kind of soda or bag of chips. Just roll the dice because all of the labels are in Korean. Most people go for the food court where you can score a tasty lunch on the cheap with huge portions. A few options include spicy pork with steamed rice, short ribs, chicken soup and mixed vegetables. The same shopping center also houses a bookstore, clothing boutiques and a great bakery. Would you like to go to there?

Yes, let’s have dessert! Go to #4
.
No, I’m finished eating and tired of running around. Go to #9.

8
Korean barbecue it is! Seoul Garden, 2502 Royal, is one of the best, operating under the same ownership since 1995. Call ahead for a barbecue table where meats are cooked right in front of you. Orders include banchans, which are small plates of vegetables, soup and other side items that allow you to taste a variety of Korean fare. Are you in the mood for some dessert?

Yes, please! Go to #4.

No, I’ve had enough. Go to #5.

9
King Spa and Sauna: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

King Spa and Sauna: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Imagine a place where you could don comfy pajamas and lounge around all day on no particular schedule. You could soak in a hot bath, relax in an array of special healing rooms, watch a movie in a cozy recliner, or just fall asleep. That place exists, and it’s called King Spa & Sauna, 2154 Royal. The admission fee grants 24-hour access to everything (except services, such as massages and scrubs, which are extra). There’s also a restaurant inside if you get hungry. You won’t want to leave, so you’ve reached the end of a successful day trip. [END]

White Rock Lake Fish Hatchery: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

White Rock Lake Fish Hatchery: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

EAST: THE GREAT OUTDOORS

You don’t have to leave the city to get close to nature. White Rock Lake, known as the “jewel” of the Dallas park system, is right in our backyard, spanning more than 1,000 acres. The lake has something for everyone from weekend warriors to leisure seekers.

1
How would you like to travel?

By bike. Go to #2.  

By car. Go to #3.

2
Bike Trail: Photo by Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Bike Trail: Photo by Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

So, you’re in peak physical condition? Great. The White Rock Creek Trail passes right through our neighborhood. Leave the car at Anderson Bonner Park off Park Central and LBJ Freeway. Or drive east to Hamilton Park and start at the Cottonwood esplanade, which intersects with the trail. Ride for several miles through the gorgeous White Rock Greenbelt until you approach Northwest Highway. Working up an appetite?

Yes. Go to #4

Nah, let’s keep truckin’. Go to #5.

3
Not a long-distance cyclist? Bring your bike along for shorter excursions or explore the lake on foot. Drive east on Northwest Highway. Choose an activity:

Lunch! Go to #4.

Water sports. Go to #5.   

4
Stop for a bite at Lake House Bar & Grill (7510 E. Northwest Hwy.), located just off the White Rock Creek Trail. Order from a menu of feel-good comfort food such as the shrimp and crab martini, an array of flatbreads or the “kitchen sink” burger. (Know before you go: They’re open for lunch only on the weekends.) Linger on the spacious patio and get ready to explore our destination. Now choose the option that applies to you:

Cyclist? Hop back on the White Rock Creek Trail. Go to #5.

Motorist? Load your lazy butt back into the car. Go to #7.

5
Follow the White Rock Creek Trail to the White Rock Lake Trail, across the Mockingbird Bridge (If you came by car, park at the White Rock Lake Dog Park, 8000 E. Mockingbird). It’s time to get on the water. Rent a single or tandem kayak from White Rock Paddle Co. at 315 E. Lawther. The company also offers canoes if that’s more your style. Afterward, relax and take in the view from Boy Scout Hill. Do you need to peddle home before dusk?

Yes, I’m on a time crunch. Go to #6.

No, I’m driving, or friends are picking me up on the south side of the lake. Go to #7.

6
Continue riding in the same direction along the east side of the lake until you’ve made it all the way around, about nine miles. (Linger at Winfrey Point and T.P. Hill for the best lakeside views). Hook back up with the White Rock Creek Trail and finish the scenic journey back home. [END]
7
It’s time to get out into nature. Which type of experience do you prefer?

Picture-perfect, manicured gardens. Go to #8.

Rugged, off-the-grid trails. Go to #9.

8
The Dallas Arboretum: Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

The Dallas Arboretum: Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

You could kill the rest of the day strolling the Dallas Arboretum. One point of interest is The Lay Family Garden, which recently reopened after a yearlong renovation. It features perennials and woody plants, a large koi pond, and limestone walls with cascading waterfalls. The day is winding down — how would you like to relax?

In an air-conditioned theater. Go to #10.

Outside, watching the sunset. Go to #11.

9
Go deep into nature at the White Rock Lake fish hatchery. Drive to the south end of the lake and park at the lot near Winsted and Garland Road. Get out and hike along White Rock Creek Trail until you see unpaved paths. Go down them and explore the wooded trails. Be prepared to crawl under brush or over tree limbs. Dusk is coming — how would you like to spend the evening?

In an air-conditioned theater. Go to #10.

Outside, watching the sunset. Go to #11.

10
Visit the Bath House Cultural Center (521 E. Lawther), which features Anna Palmer’s photography exhibition, “Wild & Peaceful: Life at White Rock Lake.” Catch an evening performance of Echo Theatre’s production, “Precious Little,” a play that explores language and what makes us heard. [END]

11
White Rock Lake: Photo by Robert Bunch

White Rock Lake: Photo by Robert Bunch

Finish the day at one of the most iconic spots at White Rock Lake: Winfrey Point. It’s the perfect place to reflect on the day as the sun dips below the horizon. [END]

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

NORTH: BEYOND THE LOOP

We get it — driving anywhere near car-clogged LBJ Freeway is likely at the bottom of most daycation lists. But trust us, it’s worth the trip. The entertainment and dining options in “forgotten” Far North Dallas are way underrated and just waiting to be discovered by outsiders.

1
Which arterial road is the easiest to access from your house?

Preston. Go to #2.

Hillcrest. Go to #3.

2
When it comes to shopping, Preston Hollow neighbors are spoiled. From NorthPark to the Plaza at Preston Center, we pretty much have it all. Why should we ever venture outside the loop? Far North Dallas malls are about more than shopping — they’re about the experience. What kind of experience do you want?

Upscale and high-end all the way. Go to #4.

A little rough around the edges, but on the up swing. Go to #5.

3
Valley House Gallery:  Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Valley House Gallery:
Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Head north on Hillcrest to an artistic oasis, hidden away from the busy intersections. The small and intimate Valley House Gallery (6616 Spring Valley) showcases regionally and internationally recognized artists in various mediums. Find a moment of Zen in the outdoor sculpture garden lush with plant life, canopy trees and a tranquil pond. You’ll forget you’re in Dallas at all. Now it’s time to eat —which type of cuisine do you prefer?

Something ethnic. Go to #6.

American comfort food. Go to #8.

4

TurkyilmazGalleria

NorthPark meets most of our shopping needs, but today be a tourist and roam the four levels of the Galleria (13350 Dallas Pkwy). Go ice-skating. People watch. Score major cool points with your daughter and have afternoon tea at the American Girl Bistro (dolls are provided if you left yours at home). Soon, though, you’ll be craving a grown-up meal. Pick one:

International cuisine. Go to #6.

Good ole’ steak-and-potatoes fare. Go to #8.

5
The once declining Valley View Center is making its comeback even before the $3 billion redevelopment turns it into Dallas Midtown. Scores of local artists have moved in to create the Gallery at Midtown, hosting free art walks 6-10 p.m. every third Saturday of the month. Next on the agenda: dinner and a show. Which type of entertainment do you prefer?

Music. Go to #7.

Comedy. Go to #9.

6
For sharable Mediterranean dishes, go one street north to the fantastic Pera Wine and Tapas (6006 Belt Line). For great dumplings and pad Thai in a basic, no-frills setting, head east to Thai Soon (101 S. Coit). For upscale Indian cuisine, dip one street south to Mughlai Restaurant (5301 Alpha). Now, how epic do you want today to be?

I want my mind blown. Go to #10.

Let’s keep it fun but low-key. Go to #7.

7
Mercy Wine Bar:  Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Mercy Wine Bar:
Photo by Can Türkyilmaz

Cozy up with a bottle of wine and a cheese plate at Mercy Wine Bar (5100 Belt Line). The warm, low-lit atmosphere and live jazz music provide a great way to wind down after exploring the mall. [END]

8
Zip down Belt Line to Addison, a dining Mecca full of coma-inducing comfort food. Order the adult mac ‘n’ cheese at Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill (5000 Belt Line), try the famous chicken and waffles at Buttons Restaurant (15207 Addison Rd.) or, for some New England clam chowder and Maine lobster, visit Lefty’s (4021 Belt Line). Now, how much money do you have to throw around?

Let’s not get carried away. Go to #7 or #9.

I’m rolling in it. Go to #10.

9
Stand-up comedy can be hit or miss, but that’s part of its appeal. Addison Improv hosts famous and unknown comedians every weekend. Arrive early for dinner before the show. The menu has a little something for everyone from grilled steak to fried catfish. Got kids? Sunday afternoons feature an all-ages comedy and magic show [END]
10
Want a bird’s eye view of Dallas? All you need is clear skies, a love for heights and $500-$700. Epic Helicopters (epichelicopters.com) operates out of Addison Airport and offers a variety of tours, including an aerial tour of Dallas landmarks, a romantic ride at sunset and a private fireworks show during the summer months. You can even pipe your own music through the helicopter speakers. How’s that for a Far North Dallas adventure? [END]
Trees: Photo by Benjamin Hager

Trees: Photo by Benjamin Hager

SOUTH: FOREVER YOUNG

Book a babysitter for this one because today is all about recapturing the wild days of our youth. Don your favorite old school band t-shirt, and wear comfortable shoes. We’re going to Deep Ellum.

1
First stop: lunch. This is around the time that Deep Ellum wakes up. The neighborhood boasts restaurants that routinely make local and national headlines. How long are you willing to wait in line?

As long as it takes! The longer the line, the sweeter the reward. Go to #2.

Less than half an hour. Go to #3.

2
Pecan Lodge: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Pecan Lodge: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

You guessed it — Pecan Lodge (2702 Main). Get in line and find out what all the fuss is about. Arrive well before they open at 11 a.m., and get comfortable. Make some new friends. Sometimes, it’s all about the journey, but know what you’re going order: The brisket, the hand-made smoked sausage or, mix things up with the “hot mess,” which combines barbacoa, chipotle cream cheese, sea salt-crusted sweet potatoes, butter and green onions. Enjoy it with a cold beer on the spacious patio. Now, how would you like to walk off some of those calories?

Strolling art galleries. Go to #4.

Shopping. Go to #5.

3
Take your pick of diverse cuisine: Chinese noodles at Monkey King Noodle Co., Chicago-style dogs at Luscher’s Red Hots, a gooey grilled cheese at Uncle Uber’s, fresh seafood at Deep Sushi, or chicken fried steak at All Good Café. Feeling good and sluggish? Get moving:

Strolling art galleries. Go to #4.

Shopping. Go to #5.

4
The power of the Dallas Arts District often overshadows the small, indie galleries that showcase emerging or lesser-known artists. A quick hit list includes: The Kettle Art Gallery (2650-B Main), 500X Gallery (500 Exposition), Barry Whistler Gallery (2909 Canton), and Kirk Hopper Fine Art (3008 Commerce), to name a few. Let’s take a breather. In which would you rather partake?

Beer. Go to #7.

Coffee. Go to #8.

5
Snag some souvenirs at In Accord (2719 Main), a fair-trade gift shop stocked with handmade goods made from local artists. Peek inside Deep Ellum Postal & Grocer (3100 Main), part post office, part thrift store. Go exploring at Lula B’s Antique Mall (2639 Main) — you never know what you’ll find. Been walking a while? Choose a rest stop:

A bustling brewery. Go to #7.

A low-key coffee house. Go to #8.

6

Stepping into the Black Swan Saloon feels like a hug from Eddie Vedder, kisses on the cheek from Siouxsie and all of her banshees. Framed Toadies and Rev. Horton Heat posters line clean, shellacked walls. Vintage Pac Man and Donkey Kong screens occupy tabletops above shiny hardwood floors, near a stylishly curved bar. But the product here is all grown up — Bloody Marys and spirits made with fresh mixes and fruits from nearby Dallas Farmers Market and signature cocktails such as the Four-Leaf Clover or weirdly wonderful four-pepper tequila infusions. If the choices become overwhelming, start with old favorites like Shiner and Dos XX or one among a rotation of seasonal brews. If this did not get you in the mood for further exploration of revitalized Deep Ellum, nothing will, so how do you envision today’s finale?

Dancing and drinking until the wee hours. Go to #9.

Loud, live music. Go to #10.

7
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. offers tours and tastings noon-3 p.m. Saturdays. The $12-$15 admission fee includes a souvenir pint glass and three beers. If you miss the window for a tour, hang out on the patio, and sip some craft brews, play board games and have snack from one of the many food trucks parked outside on weekends. Should the night end here?

Yes, my dogs are barkin’. [END]

No, let’s move on! Go to #9 or #10.

8
Get a caffeine boost and a sweet snack at the spacious and friendly Murray Street Coffee Shop (103 Murray). Enjoy a brew upstairs in the cozy lounge area. Are you recharged? Great, get back on your feet and choose an activity:

Dancing. Go to #9.

A rock show. Go to #10.

9
Hit the dance floor at Adair’s Saloon (2624 Commerce), a Deep Ellum honky tonk with live music every night. Or, during the week, Dallas Swing Dance Society hosts blues and swing dancing classes at Sons of Hermann Hall (3414 Elm) on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Dance until the cows come home. [END]
10
Trees on Elm Street and The Bomb Factory on Canton — whose stages supported the likes of Kurt Cobain and Radiohead before they were household names — were elemental to Dallas’ music scene in the 1990s. Now they are thriving again. Clint and Whitney Barlow re-opened Trees a few years ago, and more recently, The Bomb Factory, where opening week hosted Erykah Badu and The Toadies.  It’s June, so you can catch rapper Tyler, The Creator at The Bomb Factory on the 5th or D’angelo — the R&B singer whose first album in 14 years, Black Messiah, has garnered a massive amount of buzz — on the 16th or blues/boogie/soul singer Benjamin Booker at Trees on the 9th. [END]


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