Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 19, 2017

© Matt Pasant

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Dallas

The heart of Texas for five kinds of travellers

Conspiracy theorist

November 22, 1963 is the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. The squarish, brown structure from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy is now the home of the Sixth Floor Museum, where you can learn about Kennedy’s life and death and look out from Oswald’s (alleged) perch.

The JFK Memorial is right across the street. Designed by Philip Johnson, it’s still a matter of debate whether it’s an understated, tasteful homage to Kennedy or an ugly concrete box. Make up your own mind.

In front of the memorial is the JFK Tour pickup location. This guided bus tour runs you through all the significant spots in JFK’s assassination and Oswald’s subsequent flight and arrest. If you’re planning to do the tour around the anniversary, make sure to book ahead.

If monuments aren’t your thing, or you prefer to commemorate the event a little differently, head to Lee Harvey’s, a well-known local pub. The name is iffy, but they do have live music and some award-winning onion rings.

High-art connoisseur

Thanks to billions of dollars of investment, the Arts District is fast becoming Dallas’s main draw. Klyde Warren Park is the newest addition and the park’s design places an emphasis on activities, with games tables, pétanque courts, and huge lawns where daily events take place.

The Nasher Sculpture Center opened in 2003 and has steadily expanded its collections. The open-air concept makes it pleasant to amble though the various pieces and installations, even if you’re not debating the merits of the minutiae of each piece.

Two great free art options are the Dallas Museum of Art, which is one of the premier art museums in North America, and the Crow Collection of Asian Art, whose surrounding gardens, with their serene water features, are a highlight.

The AT&T Performing Arts Center offers ample choices for entertainment. Completed in 2009 and the centerpiece of the Arts District, it plays host to Broadway musicals, ballet, plays, opera and more.

Fresh-air fanatic

For a pleasant afternoon, take the 30-minute ride on the 60 bus from Commerce Street downtown to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. The park is 27 hectares of trees, gardens and green space, and a favourite spot for proposals and photoshoots (it’s said to be unbearable during prom season). Bring food for a picnic.

On the north side of the lake you can rent canoes and kayaks at White Rock Paddle Company, and paddle around spotting herons, pelicans, geese and other birds.

If you’re willing travel further, you can take the hour-long train ride to Forth Worth, and then head to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. At 44 hectares it’s larger than its Dallas counterpart, and better yet it’s free (the worthwhile Japanese garden is an extra US$5.)

Deep Ellum diver

For a more relaxed atmosphere, make for the artsy neighbourhood of Deep Ellum and the divey Adair’s Saloon, which has live music every night and cheap drinks.

The Sons of Hermann Hall has been an institution since 1911, through the neighbourhood’s ups and downs. It juggles weekly events like swing-dancing Wednesdays (US$5 for a lesson and a few hours of dancing) and Thursday’s Electric Campfire Jam, with country music shows.

The entire neighbourhood is covered with outdoor murals. For indoor options, there are plenty of art galleries (deepellumtexas.com/art/galleries). From the University of Texas’s CentralTrak program, to the artist/volunteer-run Kettle Art, to swankier environs like the Kirk Hopper or Liliana Bloch galleries, it’s easy to hit up a half-dozen in a day if you time it right.

Real cowboy

With its art museums, green spaces and trendy neighbourhoods, Dallas may have gone a little “east coast,” but Fort Worth, the other eponymous part of the DFW Metroplex, is proud to display its Western roots. The Stockyards Rodeo runs events every Friday and Saturday night; get there early to snag the best seat to watch bull-riding, calf-roping and more.

If you prefer to learn about past exploits of cowpeople, the National Cowgirls Hall of Fame, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum tell you everything you could possibly ever want to know.

The Will Rogers Memorial Center plays host to a constant stream of events, many of them equine or bovine in nature. If you can’t time it to see a horse or cattle-trading event, the Cattle Barn Flea Market (free entry) is a great place to discover Texan treasures on Saturdays and Sundays, and the whole place even smells vaguely of cow.

If all that staring at animals makes you hungry, Cousin’s Pit Bar-B-Q was named on Texas Monthly’s coveted Top 50 list in both 2008 and 2013. The flagship of a growing chain of restaurants, this spot serves up the classics, like pulled pork and beef brisket, and it’s pretty easy to eat for around US$10.

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