University Park has the unique atmosphere 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. Unsurprisingly, University Park’s prime location gives it unusually good access to services and activities in the area , greatly increasing its popularity among families and singles who want to buy a home or rent 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 and the campus community. University Park residents can choose from top-notch college sports games and matches, ranging from basketball and soccer, to swimming, diving, tennis, track and field, and others. Expect a diverse roster of art shows in every medium and style, lecture series, and performances by students and vocal, instrumental, and theater artists.

Through the school’s continuing education program, SMU makes informal adult enrichment classes as well as professional development and entrepreneurial skills workshops available to the wider community. (Members of the community are also welcome to worship services on campus.) In the future, SMU will house the George W. Bush Presidential Library, which will be both a research center and a policy “think tank.”

The arts in downtown Dallas

Located just three miles from downtown, University Park is minutes from the Dallas Urban Arts District. Among the district’s offerings, the Museum of Nature & Science hosts children’s programs year-round 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, founded in 1913, has more than 23,000 pieces from ancient to modern times, including American paintings and sculptures, Mediterranean, Asian and contemporary pieces, decorative arts and design examples, European paintings and sculptures, 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 the general public.

The downtown district is also home to the Morton H. Meyerson Center, which is home to the Dallas Opera and the Dallas Symphony. For the 2010 season, the Opera has staged Don Giovanni, Anna Bolena, Romeo and 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 that included the music of Michael Jackson and a series of Beethovens.

Upscale retail at NorthPark Center and surrounding locations

Located at the intersection of US 75 (North Central Expressway) and Loop 12 (Northwest Highway), the upscale NorthPark Center offers visitors a selection of over 235 shops and restaurants. Anchored by AMC Theaters 15, Barneys of New York, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, NorthPark is also home to Bookmarks, a 1,993-square-foot facility within the Dallas public library system that caters to children ages 8 and younger. 12 years. Downtown is surrounded by two other major shopping malls, Galleria Dallas and Highland Park Village.

Galleria Dallas is anchored by Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Old Navy and includes a popular ice skating center and gaming venue. Three levels of boutiques and restaurants round out the Galleria experience, making it one of Dallas’ most popular destinations. 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 the diverse life of University Park and the surrounding DFW metroplex, the fourth largest urban area in the United States and the twelfth largest metropolitan economy in the world. Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and the fifth largest in the nation. The local economy and housing market have both weathered the recession with exceptional durability, and Texas home sales have increased over the past three quarters according to the latest data released in August 2010.

For families who want a “small-town” feel in a big city, or young professionals who want to position themselves within an easy commute to downtown, University Park is an ideal relocation spot. Simply put, University Park offers an ideal blend of old and new, small and large, elegant and simplistically welcoming – absolutely the best of both worlds.

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