University Park has the unique ambiance of a college town surrounded by the big city; Dallas on three sides and Highland Park to the south. Covering just 3.72 square miles clustered around Southern Methodist University, the tiny enclave was voted “Best Suburb” by D Magazine in 2002, 2004, and 2008. Not surprisingly, University Park’s premier location gives it unusually good access to amenities and activities in the area, greatly enhancing its popularity with families and singles who want to buy a home or lease a property in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Community Interaction at Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University has a year-round calendar of events open to the public as well as to the campus community. University Park residents have their pick of top-flight college sports matches and games, ranging from basketball and football, to swimming, diving, tennis, track, and others. Expect a varied roster of art shows in every medium and style, lecture series, and performances by vocal, instrumental, and stage students and artists.
Through the school’s program of continuing education, SMU makes informal adult enrichment classes available to the broader community in addition to seminars in professional development and business skills. (Community members are also welcome at on-campus worship services.) In the future, SMU will be home to the George W. Bush presidential library, which will be both a research center and political “think tank.”
The Arts in Downtown Dallas
Located just five miles from downtown, University Park is minutes from the Dallas urban arts district. Among the district’s offerings, the Museum of Nature & Science hosts year-round programs for children in addition to its regular exhibits and IMax and Planetarium shows. The Nasher Sculpture Center, conceived as a serene urban retreat, opened in October 2003. More than 300 works of modern sculpture, paintings, and drawings are housed in its indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces, which are also used for lectures and performances.
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1913, owns more than 23,000 pieces from ancient to modern times including American paintings and sculpture, Mediterranean, Asian, and contemporary pieces, examples of the decorative arts and design, European paintings and sculpture, African art, and pieces from the Pacific islands. Through the museum’s Center for Creative Connections, a 12,000-square-foot facility for interactive learning, community events including screenings, concerts, readings, and music are presented to museum members and to the general public.
The downtown district is also home to the Morton H. Meyerson Center, which houses the Dallas Opera and the Dallas Symphony. For the 2010 season, the Opera put on Don Giovanni, Anna Bolena, Romeo & Juliet, Rigoletto, and Boris Gudunov. During the same season the Symphony performed with artists Kenny G., Pink Martini, Liza Minnelli, and Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti (among others) and presented programs including the music of Michael Jackson and a Beethoven series.
Upscale Retail at NorthPark Center and Surrounding Venues
Located at the intersection of US 75 (North Central Expressway) and Loop 12 (Northwest Highway), the upscale NorthPark Center provides visitors with a selection of more than 235 stores and restaurants. Anchored by AMC Theatres 15, Barneys of New York, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, NorthPark also houses Bookmarks, a 1,993-square-foot facility within the Dallas Public Library system geared for children 12 years and younger. The center is surrounded by two other major shopping venues, the Galleria Dallas and Highland Park Village.
The Galleria Dallas is anchored by Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Old Navy and includes a popular ice-skating center and play place. Three levels of boutiques and restaurants complete the Galleria experience, making it one of the most popular destinations in Dallas. Highland Park Village sports a selection of local and international retailers (Hermes, Harry Winston, Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Louboutin, and more) with venues for fine dining including the elegant Cafe Pacific and Mi Cocina.
These samplings barely touch upon the varied life of University Park and the surrounding DFW metroplex, the 4th largest urban area in the United States and the 12th largest metro economy in the world. Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and the fifth largest in the nation. The local economy and real estate market have each weathered the recession with exceptional durability and real estate sales in Texas have climbed for the past three quarters according to the latest data released in August 2010.
For families wanting a “small town” feel in a big city setting or young professionals who want to place themselves at an easy commute to downtown, University Park is an ideal relocation site. Simply put, University Park offers an ideal combination of old and new, small and large, upscale and simplistically homey — absolutely the best of both worlds.