A Quick Tour of Downtown Dallas

Considering how I grew up in the Dallas area, it’s kind of sad that I can count the number of times I’ve been to downtown on one hand. The truth of the matter is, Dallas is such a huge, sprawled out city that a trip downtown would take nearly an hour by car! But since a couple of out-of-town guests visited us last week, I seized the chance to tour my own city with them.

First stop was in the Dallas Arts District at the Crow Collection of Asian Art:

Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas

After going up the stairs, I found myself standing on a little plaza that offered nice views of the city:

Fountain Place in Dallas
Online research told me that the pointy building is called Fountain Place (a work of I.M. Pei!).

And was bedecked with various pieces of Asian art, as you would expect:

Celadon Landscape Crow Collection Asian Art Dallas
Celadon Landscape – Jean Shin

“These shards are the result of potters destroying finished ceramic vessels with any minor imperfections. As an immigrant from Seoul who was raised in America, Shin views the celadon fragments as a metaphor of the Korean diaspora, vibrant artifacts of the Korean people, their history and culture that are scattered all over the world to form new identities elsewhere.” – Crow Collection

I was quite pleased to later learn that Celadon Landscape was a temporary exhibition, so it seems that I came at an opportune time.

Shi of East & West Crow Collection Asian Art Dallas
Shi of East & West

Across the Crow Collection of Asian Art was the Nasher Sculpture Center, which I had previously read about and wanted to see. Only the outdoor sculptures were open for viewing:

Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas

Joan Miró - Moonbird
Moonbird – Joan Miró

Lol, that looked more like a cow than bird.

Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas

Bronze Crowd - Magdalena Abakanowicz

Nasher Sculpture Center Fountain
Fun with slow shutter speeds

My conclusion? It was exceedingly small! More like a large backyard decorated with fancy sculptures (compared to Citygarden).

Next stop, Plaza of the Americas:

Plaza of the Americas Dallas

It seemed more like a mall than a plaza to me. And if there’s one thing you’d immediately notice about downtown Dallas, that would be there are no people around. This mall was eerily empty, with just a few people dotted here and there on lunch break. The rest of the streets were like that too, with very few pedestrians. Nothing like the streets of New York!

The architecture around here was very peculiar, a mix of old and new. For example, contrast Fountain Place (in the 2nd picture) with this cathedral below:

Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe Dallas
Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe

Also, apparently this Cattle Drive at Pioneer Plaza was pretty famous because I saw more tourists here, including some surprising characters:

Dallas Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive
You just don’t see monks around here every day.
Proud tourist in my own city!

On the way to the John F. Kennedy memorial, we passed by Reunion Tower.

Reunion Tower Dallas

I’ve been to the John F. Kennedy Memorial once waaay back and was surprised that it was just that – a memorial. Not where Kennedy was assassinated. So potential visitors – you have been warned.

Dallas Kennedy Memorial
Here it was, no more, no less.

No names, words, or messages on the white walls. The fountain (?) in the middle was also turned off. Couldn’t the city have done more for the poor president? It was so underwhelming that the Old Red Courthouse right next to the memorial captured my attention for a longer time:

Old Red Courthouse Dallas
Old Red Courthouse

Finally, I wanted to see the stained glass spiral in Thanksgiving Square, but the chapel was closed. Oh the tragedy!! The colorful glass is so beautiful that you just have to see it for yourself. Word of the wise, arrive earlier than 5 pm if you want to go into any public building. Thought I would’ve learned when trying to get into the capitol building in St. Louis, right?

Have you ever visited Dallas? What sorts of things did you do here? I’m genuinely interested in hearing (and perhaps visiting) your favorite places!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Also, a happenin’ neighborhood in Dallas: Bishop Arts District

  • Great post! These are things I will have to keep in mind! I literally just booked a trip to Dallas this fall for one of my husband’s work events!

    -Lindsey
    http://www.have-clothes-will-travel.com

    • Thanks Lindsey! I’d love to hear if you went to any of these places (and any others that you found interesting!).

  • Kim

    Hmm Shin’s view of celadon fragments representing Korean “diaspora” was rather interesting. While Koreans do joke that there are Koreans practically everywhere in the world, I find it amusing that Shin decided to use celadon fragments for that particular metaphor as celadon fragments represent a part of the history that is rooted so deeply in the culture here.
    Anyway, I love the Cattle Drive 😀 Especially the shot you have with the monks walking up the stairs against the flow of cattle. It has this really interesting feeling as the monks are known for their calm and peaceful demeanor while the cattle are nearly stampeding towards them. They must have been amazing to see in person with all that dynamic movement!

    • Oh I didn’t know about the metaphorical meaning of celadon fragments in Korean culture. Now this knowledge offers a deeper perspective on the piece.

      Thanks, that was one of my favorite pics of the day! It really was a contrast, for the reason that you mentioned, and the sight of seeing East meeting West.

  • I love the view of the city from the plaza. Lovely. I’ve never been to Dallas so it’s interesting to hear your point of view as a local. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

    • Thanks, I do too! It’s been interesting because even though I’m a “local” I have yet to do the tourist things in my city!

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