This post is sponsored by DART. All opinions are 100% our own!
First of all, let’s acknowledge how oppressive car culture can be. Endless driving and traffic and parking and gas stations. TEDIOUS. Plus, driving is so ubiquitous in Dallas that we rarely stop to consider other options. But you guys, taking a train to your destination is a breath of fresh air! It’s so breezy and continental. And do you even realize how hype kids are to take a train ride? They are so into it!
Spring break is the perfect opportunity to get your family time “on track” with a DARTable staycation. We’ve put together some DARTable day trips that will fit the bill nicely. How many times will I say DARTable in this post? Let’s find out!
The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) is a spacious double-decker train you can ride over to Cowtown. Take the DART to the TRE and get off at T&P Station – it’s a 1930s Art Deco building, which you’re for sure going to love. The trains run about every hour except on Sunday when there’s no service.
From T&P, it’s a short walk to the Fort Wort Water Gardens and a few blocks more to photogenic Sundance Square. Maybe bring a change of clothes in case your kids get in the fountains (no bathing suits allowed). Downtown Fort Worth is a pretty ideal downtown – small enough to be walkable, not too crowded, lots of shops to meander through, and plenty of restaurants.
As you wait for the TRE back to Dallas, unwind with some beverages and bean bag tossing for the kids at the retro T&P Tavern, literally at the foot of your train stop. Perfect day trip!
People keep talking about how cool and indie Denton is now, so I have to see this with my own eyes. Take the Green Line to Trinity Mills, then transfer to the A Train (operated by DCTA) to Downtown Denton. From the Downtown Denton Transit Center, it’s about a 10-minute walk to the historic Courtyard-on-the-Square where you’ll find lots of places to go/things to eat.
Basically, you’ll want to spend time on the streets surrounding the square – Hickory, Elm, Oak, and Locust. You’ll find places like the beloved Mad World Records, More Fun Comics and Games, Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, Recycled Books (in the old Wright Opera House), and the Campus Theater. Think old-timey buildings that are now home to eclectic gift shops and vintage stores.
FYI – here’s the DART stroller guidelines and here’s the one for DCTA, which you’ll need to get to Downtown Denton. A good rule of thumb is to avoid jogging strollers and go with something like an umbrella stroller for easy collapsible stowing if the train gets crowded. Tip: The center section of each DART Rail vehicle has low floors that are level with the platform – perfect for families with strollers, wagons, wheelchairs, walkers or other mobility devices.
A trip to Plano becomes downright quaint when you leave your car behind. Take the Red or Orange Line to Downtown Plano Station and hop out into the greenery of Haggard Park. Stroll the trails, hit up the playground, and visit the ArtCentre of Plano, in the NW corner of the park. Their Plein Air exhibit runs through March 30.
This DART stop is right in the heart of Historic Downtown Plano, which is cute, clean, and walkable. Spend your time on and around 15th Street – there’s the kid-friendly Interurban Railway Museum, Cox Playhouse and Courtyard Theater, Georgia’s Farmer’s Market, Pipe & Palette, the popular XO Coffee Co., and lots of little boutiques for shopping. Pop into Amazeballz Plano for a sweet treat before you head home!
Well, well, well, turns out Garland is DARTable, and I bet you never go there. Take the Blue Line to Downtown Garland Station, and walk south to get to their historic downtown area. You’ve got the itty-bitty Garland Landmark Museum, the old school Plaza Theater and newer Granville Arts Center, Wild Grace boutique, Boogie Nights Vintage, and the hot new Intrinsic Smokehouse and Brewery. You’ll find attractions along the way as you move southward from the station, with a concentration of retail spaces around 7th, Main, and Avenue A.
Remember this DARTable spot because starting in April Garland is home to Urban Flea every second Saturday. It’s an outdoor vintage market with vendors, food trucks, and live music. Who knew?
BEFORE WE GO
Two last things about DARTable staycations:
- Be sure to check out DARTable Gems, cool spots all over town you can easily get to by DART. Each Gem has information, photos, and route instructions. Filter destinations by category: Family, Free, Outdoors, Sports, etc. And have a look at the DART rail map to get an idea of the system and of your closest station.
- Are you wondering about ticketing for all these train rides you’re about to take? There are little automated kiosks at every train station, but you can also get them while you’re sitting on your couch with the DART GoPass app. Plan your trip, buy tickets, and get discounts at DARTable Gem locations all from the app! #technology