Downtown Dallas streetlife: Getting better?

We’ve all heard plenty about downtown Dallas and its reputation as a hot spot in the city. Years ago, I used to work downtown, and I haven’t spent much time there in the past 15 years. But it was our wedding anniversary, and we thought it would be fun to stay where we stayed our wedding night — the Adolphus Hotel — so we packed up early on a Saturday and checked into the hotel at noon, planning to spend some time wandering around downtown to see what all the commotion was about.

The good news: Maybe it’s the new homeless center, but while walking the main downtown streets for a couple of hours, we didn’t run into anyone even remotely homeless or scary, and the streets were downright clean.

The bad news: We didn’t run into anyone else on the streets, either. In fact, foot traffic was almost non-existent, which I suppose is an improvement over the general image of downtown. But this was a Saturday at around 1 or 2 p.m., a time when I would expect a little more action on the streets.
We also stopped by The Metropolitan, a 26-story 240-unit condo converstion project on Main Street; pretty nice place with some great views. The salesperson said that a couple of competitive projects will be coming online next year, probably some of the taxpayer-subsidized projects, so there will be plenty of places to buy, if you’re so inclined. We also visited the downtown Urban Market grocery, subsidized in part by the taxpayers, and it reminded me of a miniature Whole Foods, in terms of both offerings and prices. Not too many people there, either, but we saw a couple of dog-walkers who obviously live downtown somewhere.

We stopped by eat at ten sports grill, a pretty neat sports bar with great burgers. Honestly, it’s worth going downtown just for the burgers, if you like that sort of thing. The place was kind of spartan in terms of decor, and there wasn’t much of a crowd, but there were plenty of flat screens showing the college football games and the waitstaff was friendly and attentive.

Later that night, as we went down Main Street, there was quite a bit of walking activity and a couple of places spilling out with people having a good time, particularly at City Tavern. In case you’re not picking up the pattern here, if you’re going downtown, trying hanging on Main Street first — that seems to be the main hot spot.

All in all, downtown is clearly on the way up. It’s going to be awhile, though, before Manhattan has anything to worry about.


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