Do you realize how lucky (or smart) you are to live in East Dallas? Are there desirable neighborhoods anywhere else so closely ringed by diverse cultural, recreational and commercial opportunities?

I doubt it, but you be the judge. Get in your car and join me as we drive the perimeter of Old East Dallas, an area bounded by Mockingbird Lane, White Rock Lake and Creek, Interstate 30 and North Central Expressway.

What happens along and within these boundaries impacts all of us directly or indirectly – our quality of life and our property values.

Just across Central and north of Ross Avenue, we’ll find the Arts District with its world-renowned Meyerson Symphony Hall and Dallas Museum of Art. Moving south, Ross Avenue, Live Oak Street and Gaston Avenue enter the heart of downtown Dallas, passing new office buildings and landscaped open spaces.

Now, we’re in Deep Ellum, perhaps lunching at the Deep Ellum Café or East Wind, with the bustling Farmer’s Market just a stone’s throw across the Interstate. South and East of the market is Fair Park, a National Historic Landmark (one of Texas’ few) along with the Alamo and State Capitol. Fair Park’s spacious grounds are glowing from a recent multi-million dollar facelift.

There is little anywhere in the world to compare with Fair Park’s unique collection of Art Deco buildings, statuary and murals. Science Place, the Hall of State, the Garden Center, the Museum of Natural History and the Aquarium beckon with year-round exhibits and frequent special events.

Comforting recent crime statistics indicate you’re as safe here as in your favorite shopping mall.

North and East, toward White Rock Lake, we’ll pass Tenison Memorial Park’s glorious azalea gardens and public golf course. Soon, a special amphitheater for the Shakespeare Festival will be added.

White Rock Creek and its surrounding woods lead to White Rock Lake’s picturesque bicycle trails and picnic/recreation areas. Surrounded by luxury homes and the world-class Arboretum, it’s undoubtedly the city’s most beautiful natural park area.

Mockingbird Lane takes us back to Central Expressway, with University Park and Highland Park just across the way. Returning to our starting point in the Arts District, we pass Oak Lawn’s wooded, secluded Glenwood neighborhood, toney Knox Street and magnificent City Place with its successful, new apartment development.

We complete this tour at the unique State-Thomas District, where we can sense the area’s vitality as we view the condominiums under construction.

Old East Dallas is fortunate to be surrounded with these exciting, diverse and progressive areas. Each month, this column will give you a closer look at what’s new in Old East Dallas and its neighborhoods, as we celebrate the people and places that make East Dallas a great place to live.

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