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Pavement to paradise
The Dallas Parkway leads travelers to shopping heaven

Story and photos
by Rona Distenfeld

Published: Jan/Feb 2002

For the shopper, Dallas is paradise. The city is reputed to have more retail space per capita than any other American city.

The Dallas Parkway, an 11-mile stretch between U.S. Highway 121 and Galleria Drive, runs from Plano into Dallas. If you can’t find what you’re looking for along this road that’s also known as the Dallas North Tollway, it may not exist.

Fun for the family

Less than a mile east of the tollway on state Highway 121 is Stonebriar Centre. This family-friendly mall has an ice rink, a carousel, a 24-screen movie theater, an indoor playground and easy-to-find family bathrooms. Frequent events for children are often scheduled.

Nordstrom, Macy’s and JCPenney (complete with a day spa) are the anchor stores in this center. Specialty stores include Galyan’s, an outdoor recreation store with a climbing wall; Noah’s Ark, a treasure trove for collectible toys; and The People’s Pottery, featuring handmade pottery, glass, jewelry and wood items from more than 600 American artisans. At the Build-a-Bear Workshop, children of all ages create their own teddy bear.

Stonebriar also has an impressive collection of shops for children, such as Pottery Barn Kids, Abercrombie Kids, BabyGap, Gap Kids, and Talbots Kids. All the children’s shops are grouped together, and stores catering to teens are grouped together on a different floor.

There are lots of shops for adults, too, such as Bang & Olufson for serious stereo buffs, Coach Leathers, Brookstone, Williams-Sonoma, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer and many others.

Deep in the heart of Dallas

The Galleria (exit the tollway at Galleria Road) aims to create a European feel of shops along a covered street. Since many of the shops carry European merchandise, it’s like a shopping trip abroad without the long flight. Shoppers coming from more than 50 miles away can ask for a passport containing discounts from Galleria merchants.

There are more than 200 stores, including Baccarat, Gucci, Cartier, Gianni Versace, A/X Armani Exchange and Louis Vuitton. The area’s largest Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom’s are also on-site.

Feel like a celebrity by visiting Gregory’s and Ylang Ylang. Ylang Ylang offers original jewelry from hot new designers worn by stars like Meg Ryan and Candice Bergen. Gregory’s carries incredible shoes and boots seen on MTV. Clients include Celine Dion, Aerosmith, N Sync and Mary J. Blige.

Another great shoe store, Marmi, caters to women needing narrow or wide widths, and those needing to match shoes to unusual colors. Their shoes are designed and made in Italy, and they will have the shoe you select made and dyed to match your color sample.

The perfectly pampered shopper

The upscale Shops at Willow Bend offers valet parking (as does The Galleria and Stonebriar), plus two concierge stations to make reservations at area restaurants. Guests also can buy tickets to theater, music or sporting events. Travelers can also ask for a passport for discounts from the center’s merchants. Roving ambassadors help with packages and provide assistance to disabled visitors.

This is a great place for high fashion. You’ll find the only Armani Collezione in the United States, Escada, Bernini, Bruno Magli, Loro Piana, Adrienne Vittidini, Hugo Boss and Betsey Johnson.

Visit Sworski to see the beautiful, handmade Austrian crystal, then Neuhaus for fresh Belgian chocolate. This is one of only two places in the United States you’ll find this treat. Apple computer fans will find one of only three national retail locations here.

When you’re ready for a break, stop by Elizabeth Arden’s red door salon & spa for a massage, body wrap and other special services. An hour here will leave you refreshed, relaxed and ready for more.
Home, sweet home

For those building, renovating, or furnishing a home, stops at The Great Indoors and the Expo Design Center are a must. Both are by the Galleria.

When it’s time to call it a day, the new DoubleTree Hotel at Legacy Park offers comfortable rooms, personal service, a relaxed atmosphere, weekend packages and free shuttle service to Stonebriar and The Shops at Willow Bend from a convenient location at the tollway’s north end. There are also shops and restaurants you can stroll to if you’ve had enough driving for the day. At the southern end, there is a Westin Hotel attached to the Galleria.

With destinations like Dallas, shopping has become the No. 1 tourist activity in the United States. In fact, among last year’s 143 million adult travelers, 63 percent included shopping as an activity on at least one trip. Shopping and dining are also the leading spontaneous activities for U.S. travelers while on the road.

Whether you’re looking for a great gadget, terrific toys, that perfect pair of pants or just an extraordinary escape, make sure to put Dallas at the top of your shopping list.

Rona Distenfeld is a new contributor from Austin, Texas.

More information: Shopping tips for the Big D

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