I’ve visited the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex many times over the years, but never spent time in Irving, a city just northwest of Dallas. During my visit in late May, I found Irving has several notable sights well worth checking out!
The Ruth Paine House Museum – In the Footsteps of an Assassin
It looks like a simple middle class house with a front lawn and garage. But this house in Irving played an important role in the grim history of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s where Lee Harvey Oswald stayed the night before shooting Kennedy in 1963. Oswald would visit the home often because his wife Marina was staying there with her children while he was living and working in Dallas at the Texas School Book Depository. In fact, Oswald at one point hid the gun he used to kill Kennedy in the home’s garage.
The house has been recently restored to the way it looked in 1963. In addition to the period refrigerator, washer, sofa, television and other items, multi-media hologram-like projections showcase actors playing the roles of Oswald and Marina as well as homeowner Ruth Paine and her husband repeating scripts according to what was found in historical records.
Visitors first spend time in a small museum showcasing photos, interviews with Ruth Paine, and mostly black and white videos of Kennedy’s Dallas visit looped through 1960s-era TVs. They are then driven to the nearby Paine House for a tour.
What to See and Do in Irving
The Mustangs of Las Colinas exudes the free and wild Texas plains spirit in the heart of the city. Sculptures of nine galloping mustang horses stand over a man-made fountain/stream surrounded by office towers within Williams Square Plaza. A museum in the East Tower highlights sculptor Robert Glen, an African wildlife artist, and what inspired him to create the sculptures.
I also attended a concert at The Pavilion, an indoor/outdoor music venue on the grounds of Irving’s Toyota Music Factory, a complex with several other music venues, shops and restaurants. Key to what makes The Pavilion unique is its retractable rear walls that in good weather open to a grassy area on a hill, where concert goers can sit on blankets.
In addition to the hills and treed streets of Las Colinas, an Irving neighborhood, there’s also the scenic waterfront of Lake Carolyn. Canals weave in and around apartments and other high rise buildings and lead out to the lake’s two distinct bodies of water. It’s also where you can ride “trikes” (aqua-cycles with pedals that sit high above the water) and where you can try your luck on stand-up paddle boards. One highlight was my evening ride on a Venetian-style gondola – a sunset ride with cooling breezes, and a simply delightful way to cap off the day, especially in the hot summer months.
Irving sits next to sprawling DFW airport, with most sights only a 10 or 15-minute car ride away. Adjacent to the airport sits Founders’ Plaza, an observation area to see roaring jets taking off and landing. Historical plaques pay tribute to traveling military veterans, and the area has picnic tables, telescopes, monuments and actual communications from the air traffic control tower broadcast through loudspeakers.
The Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas
Often referred to as Texas’ first urban resort, staying at this Four Seasons property was like visiting a country club. It’s a fabulous hotel/resort that lives up to the chain’s luxurious reputation with welcoming staff, fine restaurants, a full service spa and simply outstanding facilities all around.
In particular, the Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas offers a resort vacation with a large tennis and sports club, pool and an 18-hole, par-70 golf course where the AT&T Byron Nelson Golf Tournament was held from 1983-2017. Located between Dallas and Fort Worth, it’s particularly popular as a staycation destination for locals, for a Dallas area vacation for visitors, and as a convenient stopover hotel for passengers flying in and out of DFW Airport.