University Park, Texas – Where College Town Meets Urban Center

Covering just 3.72 acres, University Park, Texas seems to be all but swallowed up by the big city. Bordered on three sides by Highland Park and on the south by Dallas, the suburb is known as a premier residential location for families and singles wanting to buy or lease a property. At its true heart, however, University Park, the home of Southern Methodist University, is one of the most unique college towns in Texas just five miles from downtown Dallas.

SMU, founded in 1911, occupies a 210-acre urban campus. Approximately 6,000 undergraduates and 4,693 post-graduates are taught by 603 full-time faculty members. Together, this population, as well as the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, form the core of an active scholarly, social, and community life.

Seven Degree-Granting Schools

There are seven schools at SMU granting degrees to undergraduates and post-graduates. Of these, the Cox School of Business was ranked first in the nation by The Economist” for its “potential to network,” while the Dedman School of Law placed 46th in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of America’s Best Graduate Schools in 2009. The other SMU schools include the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the Meadows School of the Arts, the Perkins School of Theology, the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development, and the Lyle School of Engineering.

Center for Research and Scholarship

SMU boasts a total of ten libraries, which collectively comprise the largest privately-held body of research resources in the American Southwest. Among those, the Bridwell Library is recognized as a premier theological collection, while the Central University Libraries, the largest in the system, have a catalog of more than 2 million volumes. Additionally, the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library maintains one of the most extensive cartographic collections in America.

George W. Bush Presidential Library

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and the George W. Bush Policy Institute will be located on the southeast side of the SMU campus and will include a museum open to the public and an archive for researchers. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the 227,000 sq. ft. complex will be held in November 2010 with the approximately $250 million project slated for completion in 2013. The design calls for a structure of red brick and Texas limestone with a central tower, all chosen to blend with the Georgian Revival architecture of the surrounding university buildings with landscaping incorporating native Texas grasses and wildflowers.

On-Campus Museums

SMU maintains two museums. The Pollock Gallery serves as a showcase for rotating exhibits of works by faculty and students in a range of media, as well as providing a venue for shows by artists not affiliated with the Meadows School of the Arts. The Meadows Museum is home to a collection of Spanish works spanning the tenth to the 21st centuries and includes sculptures by Rodin, Maillol, and Giacometti, as well as pieces by modern contemporary sculptors.

Performance Venues and Athletic Contests

Throughout the year, the calendar at the McFarlin Memorial Auditorium offers a range of speakers, performers, and touring troupes that have, over the past 80 years, included such widely diverse figures and groups as: Martha Graham, Salvadore Dali, the American Ballet Theatre, Itzak Perlman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Elton John, Sir John Gielgud, Vincent Price, Yo-Yo Ma, the Houston Ballet, W.H. Auden, Harry Connick, Jr., Luciano Pavarotti, Barry Manilow, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac, Melissa Etheridge, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and Dashboard Confessional.

The SMU Mustangs participate in the NCAA Division I and are a member of Conference USA. Football games are played in the Gerald J. Ford Stadium on campus with the school’s closest rival being neighboring Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Before every home game, students, faculty, staff, and alumni gather on the school’s main street, Bishop Boulevard, for pre-game festivities including food tents and entertainment, with pets and children welcome.

Beautiful Holiday Tradition of Lights

Each December, a candlelight ceremony with music and readings is held on the Main Quad. The University president traditionally reads the Christmas story from the Christian Bible and choirs from the Meadows School of Arts and neighboring high schools lead the crowd in singing carols. At the culmination of the evening, the lights decorating Dallas Hall and the trees surrounding it are lit in a Celebration of Lights that is a well-loved staple of the community.

Residents of University Park have the unique opportunity to live in the third largest city in Texas and in a tiny college town where day-to-day life naturally blends on and off-campus activities. With all the benefits of the the 12th largest metro economy in the world, residents can still enjoy a walk on campus, a student art show or play, and tailgating for a home game. University Parks stands out among all the Dallas suburbs for this very mix: modern and traditional, small and large, urban center and beloved alma mater.

Downtown Spartanburg for Visitors

Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the state’s scenic Upstate region, offers a lot for visitor to discover. Its vibrant downtown has many shops, galleries, restaurants, and cultural centers to explore. The city is home to several colleges, which offer a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Downtown Spartanburg is the site of festivals, farmers markets, and live music throughout the year. The city has earned the nickname “Hub City” because it is very bicycle friendly. Whether in town for a day or a weekend, downtown Spartanburg has much to offer visitors.

Morgan Square is in the heart of downtown Spartanburg. The square is the site of festivals and other events during the year. Denny’s Plaza, at 203 E. Main Street, is another downtown gathering spot. It is the venue for Music on Main, held on Thursday evenings from April-August. Crowds come after work to enjoy an eclectic line-up of entertainment each week. Shoppers can explore two farmers markets during the week. There is a Wednesday market from noon to 2pm in Morgan Square, and a Saturday market at the Magnolia Street Train Station from 8am to noon.

The Chapman Cultural Arts Center is located at 200 E. St. Johns Street. It is the home of Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg Science Center, and the Regional History Museum. The art museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, and admission is free. An Artists Guild Gallery sells a variety of artwork. The science center is open Thursday-Sunday, with a $4 admission for adults and $2 for youth. The Regional History Museum is closed on Sunday and Monday. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children.

The Wofford College Arboretum offers visitors a shady break from shopping and museums. More than 5,000 trees make the campus a green and pedestrian friendly oasis in the city. Wofford College is the site of the Carolina Panthers Training Camp each July and August. Panthers’ practices are free and open to the public. The team schedules a number of special fan and family friendly activities during training camp.

Shoppers will find several interesting galleries to explore in downtown Spartanburg. The Showroom at HUB-BUB is located at 149 S. Daniel Morgan Avenue. This is a contemporary gallery showcasing the work of progressive artists. Many young and emerging artists are featured. West Main Artists Cooperative, at 578 W. Main Street, is a non-profit organization that gives exhibition space to more than 45 local artists. Shoppers can browse for paintings, photography, ceramics, fiber arts, glass, and sculpture. Carolina Gallery, at 523 W. Main Street, specializes in fine art originals. The gallery carries the work of local, national, and international artists.

Downtown Spartanburg has a number of excellent choices for lunch and dinner. Back Porch, at 100 Wood Row, is a new downtown restaurant specializing in New Orleans cuisine. Enjoy live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Delaney’s Irish Pub, at 117 W. Main Street, is open for lunch, dinner, and drinks. Refuel Wine Bar, at 129 N. Spring Street, serves Tapas and drinks. The Peddler Steakhouse, at 464 E. Main Street, is open for dinner. For Asian cuisine try Lime Leaf Thai, at 101 E. Main Street or Miyako Sushi, at 116 Magnolia Street.

Plenty of Places For Fun in Downtown Pittsburgh Pennsylvania!

Looking for fun for your family in historical downtown Pittsburgh? There are a ton of fun activities and attractions in Pittsburgh to satisfy all types of interests and budgets. Here is a list of just some of the great things you can do and see in downtown Pittsburgh with friends or family:

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Weather you’re a local or a visitor the David L. Lawrence Convention Center offers a wide verity of events and exhibits every year. You may be surprised to know that the DLLCC is well known for its innovative green practices. Its massive skylights bring in 75% natural light and are sure to “light up” any event! Plus, with ample Pittsburgh Convention Center lodging nearby, you won’t need to worry about calling a cab to get to your hotel afterwards.

Point State Park

You would never guess that this beautiful 36 acre state park was once part of the slums in the 40’s. Among the beautiful landscaping, visitors will also enjoy the 100 foot tall water fountain located in the park. This fountain was constructed in 1974 completing the parks 29 year reconstruction.

Carnegie Museums

Probably one of the most well known attractions of downtown Pittsburgh is the Carnegie Museums. Museums include an art, science, and natural history museum. While strolling through the museums is a wonderful experience, some visitors may also enjoy a lecture or a class. Currently Carnegie offers a wide verity of art classes and lectures for all types of interests. Children may also enjoy a more hands on experience in one of the many classes, camps, and sleepover opportunities the museums offers.

The National Aviary

This amazing exhibit of over 600 endangered and exotic bird collections is among the largest in the United States. Visitors can walk through the aviary’s many climate and habitat simulations and enjoy the sounds and sights of nature. Newer exhibits include Penguin Point and the Grasslands. The National Aviary also offers a variety of classes for anywhere from preschool to high school students!

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

This 77 acre zoo and aquarium features over 475 species of animals. Imagine being able to view 4000 animals from across the globe all in one zoo! The Worlds of Discovery program even offers children and visitors the opportunity to meet with some of the smaller animals and reptiles of the zoo up close and personal. Ranked by top magazines as one of the best zoos in the country, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is truly committed to offering a unique experience for every type of visitor.

Great Hotel Options for the End of the Day

No one wants to get in the car and drive back home after a long day visiting all the sights of Pittsburgh. Fortunately, there are Pittsburgh PA luxury hotels readily available for your lodging. So put your feet up and relax at the end of your busy day.