Dallas Details: What to do in Our Leadership Conference Host City

June 18th, 2018
Filed Under: Leadership Seminar

By Ellen Long Liston, Alpha Kappa

With our Leadership Conference in Dallas just days away, my trip planning has turned from what to pack and what not to forget to what to do with my free time in the Big D and where the best places are to shop, eat and sightsee.

So I turned to my resident expert in Texas: my 20-year-old goddaughter who just completed her sophomore year at SMU. She’s a Pi Beta Phi there, so I knew she would be the perfect source for all things touristy and tasty in her adopted hometown. And she did not disappoint! As a matter of fact, she had so many good suggestions that I’ve had to group them into three categories so you can go to exactly what you are looking for – best places to shop,” must not miss” places to eat, and landmarks and attractions that can’t be experienced anywhere but Dallas.

Now I’m going to let this Greek sister, Kate, tell you in her own words what to do in the Big D – I’m going back to double check my packing list just to be sure!

See you at Leadership Conference!


Top place to go shopping: NorthPark Mall has everything a girl could want in terms of shopping – Nordstrom (with the best Nordstrom shoe floor in the country), Neiman Marcus, Madewell, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, a great swimwear store called Everything But Water, and SO much more! Of course there are yummy mall snacks of all varieties. 

Specialty shopping: Snider Plaza is another shopping area right next to SMU! It has adorable and reasonably priced boutiques. Some of my favorites are Dear Hannah, Impeccable Pig, E Leigh’s, and Bevello. 

Most unique place to shop: My absolute favorite boutique in Snider Plaza is called Dear Hannah. It has cute clothes for every type of casual occasion and the most fun home decor (pouches, candles, cups, napkins, confetti balloons/party decorations, etc.) and accessories.


Favorite out of the ordinary place to eat: Dallas has amazing food, so I’m going to give you a few options! Taverna is a delicious Italian restaurant that has a lovely atmosphere for brunch or dinner. It’s in a cute area called Knox Henderson and is a fun place for people watching. I love their pizzas and pastas, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu! 

When in Texas, you have to eat Mexican food! My favorite place is called Mi Cocina, and it’s in a beautiful outdoor shopping center in the middle of Highland Park. Guacamole is a must!

Dive is one of my absolute favorite spots in Dallas. It’s very casual, but fresh and delicious! Most of their salads, wraps, and sandwiches are seafood inspired, but you will still love Dive even if fish is not your thing! There are plenty of amazing options without meat. Some of my favorites include the kale salad (I like to add salmon!) and the ahi tuna wrap. Be sure to ask for a side of plantain chips! 

Two other spots for a quick lunch or dinner are True Food Kitchen and Flower Child. Both are amazing! True Food Kitchen and Flower Child are quick, healthy, and extremely popular among sorority girls. 

Most trendy place to eat: Cane Rosso is a delicious pizza place in a cool, artsy district of Dallas called Deep Ellum. It’s a fun area to explore during the day followed by an artisan pizza dinner! It’s a bit farther from SMU, but definitely a worthwhile adventure. 

Velvet Taco is another fun option. It has really unique tacos and is a hotspot among my friends. They definitely aren’t the tacos that come to mind when you think of classic Mexican food. Some of our favorite menu items include the Grilled Brisket Taco and the side of Elote Corn! They have very interesting Crisp Tots, too. Again, you can’t go wrong! 

HG Supply Co is a perfect summer dinner spot. It has a fun rooftop, but even the first floor of the restaurant is very open. It has incredible food; everyone can find something they’ll love here regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences! 


Royal Blue Grocery, located in the middle of Highland Park, is a great morning or afternoon pick-me-up! 

Bird Bakery, almost next door to Royal Blue Grocery, has coffee, teas, and lemonade. Most importantly, it has cupcakes, pastries, and baked goods that will make your mouth water! 

JD’s Chippery in Snider Plaza is a famous bakery known for their cookies. I’ve also heard wonderful things about their chocolate chip muffins. 

Nekter Juice Bar, also in Snider Plaza, has yummy and refreshing smoothies!


Best thing about being a college student and having a free day in Dallas: I love the Katy Trail. Former train tracks have been converted into an urban dog-walking, running, biking, or even rollerblading trail that extends for 3.5 miles. Whenever I have free time, I enjoy getting fresh air and passing through different Dallas neighborhoods on the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail Ice House is at the end of the trail and is a great place to enjoy lunch, live music, and a gathering of dogs on a sunny afternoon! 

Favorite historical things in Dallas: I was moved by the Sixth Floor Museum, which commemorates John F. Kennedy. It is located on the very floor of the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy. It is informative, engaging, and powerful. I gained so much knowledge and perspective from my visit here! 

I also enjoyed visiting the Bush Presidential Library on SMU’s campus. Regardless of your political affiliation, the library is both eye-opening and entertaining. I learned a lot about the hardships George Bush had to overcome during his presidency. 

While this is not historic, I also recommend the Dallas Museum of Art for a relaxing afternoon. It is located in downtown across the street from a cute park called Klyde Warren, which is also worth a visit.