Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Visit Dallas’ off-beat locales

By Kathryn DeBruler

Staff Writer



For some college students, Spring Break represents the opportunity to explore a dis­tant land, or at least to get far enough away to justify their recent North Face purchases.

For Brookhaven College student Jay Sheth, it means, “My family is going down to Galveston for a few days to stay in an oceanfront beach house.” Yet in today’s economy, many students must put their jet-set­ting desires on hold in favor of a staycation. If this is the case for you or your friends, there are plenty of unusual things to see and do in Dallas.

If you’ve ever had distant relatives come into town, no doubt they’ve wanted to visit Dealey Plaza. There’s nothing a tourist likes more than strap­ping a fanny pack around their waist, slinging a camera over their neck and standing around the site of former president John F. Kennedy’s assassina­tion. This place is sad – like, Elvis impersonator sad.

So the next time Great Aunt Sally suggests the Plaza, sug­gest the Texas Theatre instead. Also of great historical impor­tance but with the added fun of B-movies, the Texas Theatre is the infamous location of Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest. It remains a fully operational movie theater to this day and offers movies for your reel-devouring pleasure.

Texas Theatre shows a vari­ety of movies ranging from horror to independent, avant-garde to cult favorites, 35mm and digital alike.

For the student who may be feeling outdoorsy, Trinity River Expeditions offers canoeing and kayaking day trips, allowing you to explore a side of Dallas that is nor­mally zoomed past at 70 miles per hour. While tours are pro­vided, I prefer the self-guided approach. Day trips are $60 per canoe and provide visitors with paddles, life jackets and shuttle transportation.

There are several routes, but the Main Stem, which flows past downtown and into the Great Trinity Forest, begins just past Woodall Rogers Freeway. Because it runs through the heart of Dallas, the Trinity’s history is as polluted as it is long.

The Trinity River Authority’s own website cites that the Trinity was once referred to as a “little narrow deep stink­ing affair” and in 1952, the Texas Department of Health called it a “mythological river of death.”

Over the years, the river has undergone a massive clean-up. Before you go, grab a sand­wich from Jimmy’s Food Store and throw it in your bag. You can have yourself a nice little river picnic in the heart of the city. It’s almost Huck Finn-ian, if you squint.

Another adventure right here in Dallas is unknowingly walked over every day. Below the streets of downtown is a network of underground tun­nels that stretch on for three miles.

The tunnels, which were originally projected to be a premier Dallas attraction, have since been blamed for the demise of vibrant downtown street life.

In fact, former mayor Laura Miller said in a New York Times interview that the tun­nels were “the worst urban planning decision that Dallas has ever made.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. And maybe the tunnels have been a leech on downtown, but you know what? Go anyway. It’s weird down there.

There are four main entranc­es — Thanks-Giving Square, Renaissance Tower, One Main Place and Bank of America Plaza. The tunnels are only open during weekday business hours.

The Thanks-Giving location gives no indication as to where you can enter the tunnels. It’s kind of like Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and three quarters, where you just have to believe. Once you’re in, you get the distinct feeling that a zombie apocalypse has taken place and you’re the last to know.

The walls are brightly col­ored in yellow and orange brick, which fail to distract you from the ominous, surreal atmosphere.

It was 3 p.m. on a Thursday, and the place was dead. There was a Mexican restaurant that was closed for the day, but it felt like it was permanent­ly frozen in a state of being open, yet inaccessible. Festive flags hung overhead for no one. Escalators continually ran without a soul on them.

There are parts of the under­ground that are more populated with businesses and business­people alike, but I prefer stick­ing to the areas of the tunnels that leave me feeling like I’ve stumbled onto the set of “The Walking Dead.”

So there you have it, my offi­cial Spring Break To-See-and- Do list: It doesn’t exactly read like a Yelp guide to Dallas, but I bet most of you have already been to the museums and the zoo. If you haven’t, go there, too. However you wind up spending your break, just don’t forget that Dallas is, in fact, a great city to get stuck in.




Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Brookhaven Courier Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest