Here in the West Village, Dallas's most vibrant new neighborhood and a mecca for shopping, dining, and entertainment, the season is an experience for the senses.
A Special Place
Outside of Tom Tom Asian Grill, diners sip spearmint tea or blackberry mojitos. They sit at outdoor tables beneath the live oaks on a wide sidewalk that frames the neighborhood's Neoclassical architecture. The bottom floor of every building features retail stores, coffee shops, and restaurants, while upper floors hold apartments. Residents lounge on the balconies above the buzz. Impatiens and ivy fill some window boxes, the reds and greens bobbing in a spring breeze.
Across the street from Tom Tom, Jana Schleif arranges designer shoes at Accomplice. She moved here from West Texas, similar in name but a world away from West Village. She found it the perfect fit. "This area is unlike any other in Dallas," she says. "It very much has a big-city feel but is still friendly. You know everybody, and when you visit, you sense that friendliness."
Donovan Dawson, a 34-year-old bicycle enthusiast, agrees. He's the leader of the weekly Bike Party that begins in front of Taco Diner, a casual Mexican restaurant. Every Sunday night, dozens of cyclists show up for a leisurely ride through the neighborhood. Donovan calls it a "part pub crawl, part bike ride."
Something for Everyone
You don't have to be among the ultracool to enjoy your time here though. Like most enduring places, West Village attracts the young and old, single and married, families and couples. Resident Royce Ring, who owns an architecture and design firm and designed the area's newest restaurant, Village Burger Bar, says it's the uniqueness combined with approachability that has made the area such a hit. "You see a lot of people who come here from other parts of the city and from out of town," he explains. "They feel comfortable here, and they get to see something different."
Village Burger Bar itself is a mix of the unique and familiar. The menu features down-home fare such as sweet potato fries, hamburgers, and on-tap root beer. It also boasts a coolly lit lounge where you're likely to hear Miles Davis tunes over the sound system.
In the end, that's the balance that makes West Village work, and it's also the reason the neighborhood draws visitors from across the South. They come to see the city in a new way, to find discoveries on every corner. On a beautiful spring day, there's no better place to be.
For more information on West Village, visit www.westvil.com.
Five Must-Stops In West Village
"Explore the Village" is from the May 2006 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.