If you were to pick the most idyllic Dallas suburb to live, work, study and play in, the upscale town of University Park, especially the neighborhood surrounding Southern Methodist University– would be it. Along with being home to the coveted George W. Bush Presidential Center, this family-friendly neighborhood offers all the conveniences of a big city, while maintaining its small-town charm.
See & Do
The SMU neighborhood is most famous for being home to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which encompasses the Bush Institute as well as the Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Not-to-be-missed is the Meadows Museum, housing one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. SMU's McFarlin Auditorium hosts everything from rock concerts to guest lectures by world renown speakers. For SMU basketball games and guest symposiums, hit Moody Coliseum. And there's also the Katy Trail, a scenic path that meanders through Dallas' urban core.
From cheap eats and mid-priced meals to high-end dining, the SMU neighborhood boasts something for every craving and budget. And best of all, everything can be found within walking distance of the campus. For the best burgers, hot dogs and old-fashioned malts, head to the Burger House, a local favorite since 1951. German specialties are on order at Kuby's Sausage House, a Snider Plaza mainstay since 1961. You'll definitely want to check out the Neapolitan style pizzas at Olivella's, they're some of the best in town. And if you're craving a juicy slab of beef, Knife delivers some of the best steaks in the state.
Being known as one of the country's top college towns means that there's no shortage of nightlife options, many of which can be found within walking distance of SMU. Two of the most popular spots are Milo Butterfingers and The Nodding Donkey, both offering excellent food, booze and the best game watching in town. There's also The Green Elephant, known by SMU students as Homebar. It's the place to be for live music, dancing and affordable libations. And be sure to check out Bandito's, not just for its fantastic Tex-Mex food, but also for the daily and nightly happy hours.
Those wanting to stay near SMU need not go further than the Hotel Lumen, a hip boutique hotel located across from the campus. Amenities, like a wonderful on-site restaurant, a heated outdoor pool and complimentary evening wine hours score high marks with hotel visitors. Two minutes away on the other side of US-75 is The Highland Dallas, an upscale hotel boasting a resort-like atmosphere and the city's best steakhouse. And a just a stone's throw from The Highland is the Magnolia Hotel Dallas Park Cities, a trendy boutique hotel offering great amenities and rooms for refreshingly affordable prices.
The SMU neighborhood sits smack-dab in the center of some of the best shopping areas, but none are as charming as Snider Plaza, a three-block shopping strip that has been serving area locals for nearly a century. Fashionistas will go crazy for the designer shoes and clothing at Studio Sebastian. As well, there's Luxury Garage Sale, a posh consignment shop offering the ultimate selection of designer merchandise. Cotton Island is the best spot to find trendy casual clothing and accessories. And for home accent pieces, you'll want to check out Vintage Living. If you need to refuel, stop in for sweets at Creme de la Cookie.