Ok, if you are like me, you have absolutely had it with traffic lately. I mean seriously though…WHERE is everybody going? It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or which direction you’re heading, it seems like I waste half my life trying to woosah my road-rage away. Enter DART. Now, I know what you are thinking – “I already know everything about DART and sometimes ride it to The State Fair.” I promise you, it is so much more that. With a super accessible app that you can download to your phone, as well as a new program called “DART-able” which highlights area establishments and points of interest accessible by our great public transportation system, it’s time to change your thinking! To prove that DART really is for everybody I planned a little adventure that I challenge you to try for yourself that includes one of my favorite neighborhoods and some hidden gems within in it. Now, don’t worry – this excursion won’t take all day, it’s more of a morning jaunt around Oak Cliff. Ohhhh but you’ll hit traffic? No, you won’t because I’ve detailed the whole trip out for you and ensured the whole thing is accessible by public transportation! I figured Mockingbird Station is pretty central to most everybody in Dallas. Luckily, there is a handy-dandy Park & Ride there so you can ditch your car there and let someone else take you around for once. From Mockingbird Station, take the BLUE line train towards Ledbetter and hop off at the 8th & Corinth Station. This part of the trip takes just about 25 minutes and you’ll practically be down in Oak Cliff without revving your engine or paying a ridiculous amount for a car service (cough…cough…you know who you are). Once you hop off the train, you’ll want to grab bus #444 towards Cockrell Hill. A quick 7 minute bus ride to the Davis @ Madison stop leaves you with just a 0.1 mile walk to my first DARTable hotspot, The Wild Detectives. Now, if you follow me on social media (which you should), you know I absolutely adore The Wild Detectives, an awesome coffee shop and bookstore disguised in a former house that you may miss if you blink while walking by. May I suggest grabbing and iced almond milk latte and perusing their awesome book selection? You’ll want to find a great book to read for a later part of our trip. Just a quick 10 minute walk away is our next stop, Top-Ten Record Shop. It’s practically a direct shot from The Wild Detectives and is another great DARTable find. Top-Ten Record Shop has been an Oak Cliff institution for more than 30 minutes and the selection of music here is deliberate and anything but predictable. Aren’t sure what you’re looking for? No sweat! Owner Mike Polk is super friendly and will steer you in the right direction. When you’ve had your fix, head over to the Jefferson @ Bishop bus stop and grab bus #11 towards Cockrell Hill PTL. A quick 3 minute bus ride to the Jefferson @ Winnetka stop will put you right in front of the iconic Oak Cliff diner, Norma’s Cafe. Of course, you’ll want to grab a booth and order breakfast. Their food is so delicious and no diets are allowed here! My personal favorite breakfast item is their veggie omelet with a huge side of hash-browns, don’t miss them, they are delish!
After your belly is full, grab the #542 bus towards Corinth Station at Davis @ Winnetka. Another quick ride (see how accessible DART is?!) down the road, hop off at the 8th & Starr stop. A five block walk from that stop is where one of my favorite spots to relax in all of Dallas lies. Lake Cliff Park is truly a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city. The are several different walking paths, a decent sized lake and fountains, not to mention, an awesome view of the skyline. Remember that book you picked up at The Wild Detectives? This is the perfect spot to crack it open and just relax! When it’s time to come home just walk a block to the Beckley @ 5th bus stop, grab bus #001 towards Mockingbird Station via Matilda and sit back to enjoy the ride which will bring you right back to where you left your car at the Mockingbird Station Park & Ride. Sounds like a pretty awesome morning, doesn’t it? In fact, I am so convinced that you will enjoy your DART experience as much as me, I think we should have a little contest. To enter, just take your photo and tag me (@OhHeyDallas on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) while riding some form of DART transportation. It can be leaving your car at the convenient Park & Rides around town, taking the bus to work, zooming down the rail for date night or whatever else you can dream up! On October 1st I will sift through the entries and pick the most creative pic to be my winner and you’ll get a bonus entry if you tag me in multiple posts. Let’s talk about the prize… the winner of this contest will win a gift card to each of the stops on my route above. That’s right, you’ll nab a gift card to The Wild Detectives, Top-Ten Records AND Norma’s Cafe. So what are you waiting for? Head over to http://dartable.dart.org/explore/ check out the other awesome DARTable finds our great city has to offer and get to moving!