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Dallas folks...come on in and give your suggestions

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I am planning a trip with my oldest dd for her 13th birthday. :) I've been to the area several times before but never with kids.


Share the must-see places, shopping (we will be making a stop in Allen and at IKEA ;)), and restaurants. Then what good hotels would be in a somewhat general area of those things. I know we won't be in the heart of it all b/c of the metroplex size but I always like to get hotel recommendations so I don't end up somewhere weird. lol



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IKEA is actually in Frisco, which is a northern suburb of Dallas. I'm not familiar with what else is in that particular area.


North Park Mall and the Galleria are both fun, big malls. Both have stores which lean towards the pricy side. I think North Park is probably more expensive than the Galleria. Both of these are in the general north Dallas area, if I remember correctly.


I grew up in the DFW area, and I honestly can't think of any "must see" things..is that sad?? There is the Sixth Floor Museum, of course. I've never actually been to it, but if either of you are interested I'm sure it would be amazing. I greatly enjoyed visiting Dallas Heritage Village. The Dallas World Aquarium is pretty amazing as well, and it's all inside so it will be open. Dallas Zoo is all right. I'm not actually sure about its hours at the moment, since it is wintertime.


I'm afraid I don't have much experience with hotels.


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I spent my 15th bday at the Galleria and we had a lot of fun. There is an indoor ice rink and a hotel attached. It is a Westin (last I knew) and a bit pricey but was nice. There is also an American Girl store next to the Galleria. There are also a lot of other stores and restaurants in that area.


I grew up nearby but its been about three years since I've been back so I don't have much more info. Hope you have a good time.

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Well, let's see. Ikea is right next to Stonebriar Mall, which is good shopping )Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, ice skating, Cheesecake Factory, Dave and Busters, etc. Also, Willow Bend Mall is right down the tollway from Ikea. It's a very high end mall, but not usually very crowded. There are The Shops at Legacy in that area, too and I recommend Taco Diner if you eat there.


When you say Allen, I guess you mean the outlets? Also in Allen there is Watter's Creek shopping area which is lovely and has great restaurants: Brio, Mi Cocina (fantastic Mexican, I recommend brisket tacos), The Cheesecake Factory, Village Burger - all great.


North of Allen is McKinney which has a really lovely old downtown. Fun shops with unique clothing and decor (try Swanky for clothes for both of you - fun, a little different, and priced well), plus some very good restaurants. Spoon, Sauce, The Pub, and Mama Emilia's are all excellent. Patina Green is a very cool shop with a lunch counter that serves all local food. Get there a bit early for lunch because when they run out of food it's over. Stop at The Cake Stand for a cake ball.


Hmmm. It would seem we eat out a lot. :)


As far a hotels, there is a beautiful Westin in Frisco close to Ikea.


In Allen, there are several hotels on 75, like Holiday Inn Express and such.


In downtown McKinney there is The Grand Hotel, which can be pricey or a great deal, depending on how busy they are. It's really lovely and right on the square.


Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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Don't worry - they'll bill you on the tollway. It's gone cashless and they supposedly send the bill to the address the plates are registered at. (We have a toll pass so I have never actually gotten one).


The rates vary but it's not expensive IMHO. You can look it up at ntta.org.

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Sooo...I'll get a bill at my home in another state? wow. How big brother of them. lol


That's what they claim.


When we lived on the East Coast we went to DC for the weekend. We apparently ran a red light because a few weeks later we got a ticket at home, complete with pictures. It was late at night, we were in an unfamiliar area, neither DH nor I remember the light - but it's hard to argue with photographic evidence.


DH frets all the time that our toll tag is telling the government exactly where we are and what we're doing.

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Sooo...I'll get a bill at my home in another state? wow. How big brother of them. lol


Last year I was told that they wait until you accumulate a certain amount in tolls, then they send you a bill. I'm assuming that they don't bother collecting small amounts.


Stonebriar Mall in Frisco has a skating rink also.


If you feel like going downtown Dallas, there is the Museum of Art, and the Science Museum is at Fair Park. The Science Museum in FT Worth is a children's museum, no matter what they bill it as.


The Ft Worth Zoo is fabulous, and the arts district is close to the zoo. Ft Worth Stockyards may have an event worth going to, but you'll have to look up their site for details. I wouldn't go just for the cattle drive.


I've not been to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, but I've heard mixed reports.


Great Wolf Lodge is very close to the airport, probably 30 minutes from IKEA. If you go during the week, you can get a great deal. Right across from GWL is the Gaylord if you want a high-end hotel. :)


There's a huge 1/2 Price Books close to Northpark on 75 if you get down that way!


I think if you stay on 75 or 121, the hotels will be in good places. :)


Have fun!

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Thanks Amy! Great suggestions! McKinney looks like a lot of fun!


Is the aquarium in Dallas worth the expense??


Also...if we are using the tollway, how much is the toll charge?


The aquarium is actually very nice. It's not Baltimore or Monterey, but it is a very good value, imo.


Also, I think Aggie had some good suggestions if you want to do more museum type things rather than shopping. Fort Worth is a cool city. (Ole South has great Dutch babies - it's right near the zoo. There I go with the food again!)


If you do go to Fort Worth the Kimbell Museum of Art is a small but fabulous art museum. The building was designed by Louis Kahn and it is spectacular. Right there you also have The Modern designed by Tadao Ando and the Amon Carter designed by Philip Johnson, so you've got some serious architecture to enjoy in Fort Worth.


They will bill you for your tolls. They know where you live. Count on $1-$1.50 per use if you are hanging around the northern suburbs. More if you use it do go downtown.



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The mall next to IKEA is fantastic. Stonebriar Mall is literally next door and it is all you could wish for. Just across the street is more shopping - Target, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, all sorts of specialty shops, Half-Price Books etc. There's more food than you could ever eat and too much to see and do as far as shopping goes right there at the corner of Preston and 121.


They were building a new mall in Allen (near the outlet mall) when we left. I have no idea where they are with all of that, but there is tons of shopping in that area as well.


Downtown McKinney is a fun experience as well. It's very close to Allen, just a few miles north, and there are (were) a bunch of local antique shops, homecooking restaurants - basically small town fun.


I don't know about sight seeing up there. We would always go down into Dallas for the adventures. The arboretum, aquarium, zoo, museums, etc. were all downtown.


I'm very jealous. I'm super homesick right now and just thinking about it makes me want to cry!!! Have a great time!



ETA: I just read the other posts and should have done that first. The aquarium is worth the expense in my opinion. I loved it every time we went. You could eat down in West End - in fact, you could take the train from Plano down so you don't have to worry about driving downtown. I would say stick with Stonebriar over the Galleria. Unless you're shopping for Armani you're going to find the same things and I don't like the Galleria. Northpark is different, but again, super-high end shops.

Edited by TXMomof4
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Oh dear....1/2 price books!!! We would be in heaven!!! :lol: Is the "mother store" the one I see on NW Highway?



That is indeed the massive, amazing, wonderful Half Price Books. :D I just double-checked on their website. It's actually very close to North Park Mall, too.


I've greatly enjoyed the Dallas World Aquarium every time I've gone, so I would say it's worth the price.


Last time I checked, the tollways vary based on the tollway. If you go on 161/George Bush Turnpike, you are to *KEEP MOVING* through all of the tolls, and they will indeed bill you. I do not know if the Dallas North Tollway is the same way or not. The last time I went on it, you still had to pay in change or cash if you did not have a Toll Tag. However, that was over a year ago. Google will probably be able to tell you what the current situation is. :)


I've also been told by a friend that they will not bill out of state license plates, but I don't know if that's true. Either way, if you do get a bill it will be mailed to your home, and you won't get one until you've accumulated a decent amount of toll charges. I think the lowest bill dh and I have received for ZipCash was about $7.

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Oh dear....1/2 price books!!! We would be in heaven!!! :lol: Is the "mother store" the one I see on NW Highway?



Is this it? http://www.natureandscience.org/


Thanks so much!! I'm getting so excited about our trip! :)


Yes, NW Highway is the "mother" store, LOL!


And that is the right science museum.


If you go downtown, the 6th Floor Museum is very well done and reading the guest book is plenty of entertainment because everyone is happy to share their conspiracy theories!

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