Arts & Culture

What to do around SMU

Where to shop, eat, stroll and visit while you are visiting your favorite SMU college student.

Shug's Bagels near SMU campus
Jennifer Simonson
Posted on Oct 14, 2021

Are you headed to SMU to watch the Mustangs take on a rival football team and need plans for after the game? Or are you visiting your favorite SMU student and wanting to plan a little off-campus fun? You are in luck. The long-standing university is located in one of Dallas' most vibrant neighborhoods. Charming boutique shops, traditional restaurants, sophisticated museums and a presidential library are scattered throughout the tree-lined residential streets of University Park. Here is a sampling of what to do the next time you visit SMU. 


Snider Plaza

The delightful three-block shopping center has been a de-facto town square for the neighborhood since it opened in 1927. Dozens of petite boutiques selling everything from antiques to wine to linens to toys create the backbone of the square. Local favorite dining spots such as Kuby's, Bubba's and Balls Hamburgers act as refueling stops for serious shoppers. 


Mockingbird Station 

If you did not get your shopping fill at Snider Plaza, head to Mockingbird Station. A modern mall complete with big-name stores and local boutiques has popped up around the DART Light Rail stop. After a long day of shopping, stick around for a movie at The Angelika or a comedy show at Hyena's Comedy NIghtclub. 


George W. Bush Presidential Library 

The University Park area is home to the presidential library of our 43rd president George W. Bush. The library seeks to promote a deeper understanding of Bush's life, his presidency, American history and public policy. The library highlights the events that shaped Bush's presidency including the September 11 terrorist attacks, the global war on terror and diplomatic events. Visitors can walk through an exact replica of Bush's Oval Office, sit behind the Resolute Desk for a photograph and make presidential decisions in an immersive, role-playing Situation Room simulation. 

A 15-acre park filled with native Texas plants sits just outside the museum. Visitors are encouraged to take a mile-long stroll among the Native Blackland Prairie grasses, Post Oak Cross Timbers Forest and seasonal wildflowers that provide homes for butterflies, birds and other species. 


Meadows Museum  

The Meadows Museum is dedicated to the study of art from Spain. As a result, it is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art in the world. The museum opened to the public in 1965 after philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings to SMU. Meadows's vision was to create "a small Prado for Texas". 

Works by such masters as Dalí, Velázquez, Goya, Miró and Picasso are permanently on display. The museum is open every day except for Mondays. Admission is free to the public on Thursdays after 5 pm. 


Mustang Donuts 

Start the day with a warm apple fitter at this no-frills donut shop. The neighborhood donut shop is a favorite among local school children, hungry college students and everyone in between. The white icing topped with red, white, and blue sprinkle on their delicious donuts is Instagram-worthy for SMU game days or the Fourth of July. Make sure you stop by an ATM machine before entering as it is a cash-only establishment. 


Kuby's Sausage House 

Love a good bratwurst and a schnitzel? Then head to Kuby's Sausage House. Kuby's is an old-world full-service market specializing in homemade sausages, schnitzels and sauerkraut. In addition to the European-style deli and meat market, the German family serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

The Wurst teller (sausage plate) with homemade sauerkraut, hot German potato salad and red cabbage is the most popular lunch plate. While Kuby's Sausage House is famous for its sausage (duh), they will also process your wild game for you.


Burger House

Burger House has been serving up award-winning burgers, crispy fries and old-fashioned malts since 1951. Throughout the years the burger joint has won a steady stream of "best fries'' awards. The thin, crispy fries tossed in a secret mixture of natural seasonings remain a must-have for many patrons, but we recommend you do not miss the creamy chocolate shakes. 


Montlake Cut

This seafood joint is not only a neighborhood favorite, but also a city-wide favorite. In a town that is not known for its seafood, the fresh-fish, raw seafood bar and bi-coastal selection of oysters makes it a go-to destination for all seafood lovers. Like any good seafood joint, the bar has a long list of rum cocktails served in tiki glasses under the shade of a tiny colorful umbrella.