7 Things - Dallas
It’s easy to give love to the city I’ve chosen to live in - Nashville - but that’s not to say that I don’t love where I’m from. My friends tell me I’m a “reformed Texan" - meaning I’m only slightly less cocky than most, although I’m still proud. That said, I thought it would only be appropriate to share seven things I love in or about Dallas to give it the attention it deserves. Seven is my lucky number, and since I spent over 2/3 of my life there, it gets a little bit more love than Nashville:
The Skyline - Over the course of my college career, I made many 10-hour trips back to my home “town” for Christmas and summer breaks. Every time, I was awestruck by the skyline as I traversed over many sprawling suburbs to my parents house in Dallas proper. My favorite two buildings are undoubtedly the “Pickle” building - a tall rectangular building that’s lit up all green - and Reunion Tower - which essentially looks like a Pez Candy Dispenser (tall rectangle with a sphere on top). Reunion Tower has a restaurant up top that slowly rotates for guests to have a 360-degree view of the city. I have no idea what is in the Pickle building, but it seems like a pretty big dill. Although I never watched the hit 80s series Dallas, I can’t help but feel as cool as J.R. as I roll into town with the skyline on the horizon.
Love Field + Southwest Airlines - Now that I am an adult in the working world and receive a paycheck, I rarely drive back to Dallas, instead opting for a quick two-hour flight into Love Field. You heard me right - not DFW - but Love Field. The DFW Airport is practically a metroplex on its own with 5 terminals and many confusing signs. Tack on a 40-minute drive from there to my parents house and I’d rather drive home than fly. Love Field, on the other hand, is centrally located and easy to maneuver. It feels bright, clean, and Texan - complete with a Whataburger (Whataburger:Texas::In-n-Out:California) - thanks to renovations that Southwest Airlines made to up their game. Drop-off and pick-up are a breeze AND it’s only 20 minutes from my parents house. Southwest is headquartered there, which means the employees are friendly, enthusiastic, and hilarious. Thank you Dallas for having an airport for people like me. Thank you Southwest for investing in this airport.
NorthPark Center - When people ask me about Dallas, I usually say it can be summed up by four things: shopping, restaurants, a great skyline, and big business. I already covered the skyline. NorthPark Center falls into the “shopping” category. When I was a kid, NorthPark was a boutique mall - with Neiman Marcus as the capstone store. Only the Dallas elite could really afford to shop there, but it was still fun to window shop. While I was in middle school, NorthPark renovated and expanded to be the shopping destination for the masses. Those boutiques are still there, as well as Neimans, but you’ll also find a movie theater, Madewell, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and not one, but two, Starbucks. NorthPark is so good that it has made me a snobby consumer in that it is hard for me to go shopping in Nashville. The mall itself has art installations - both temporary and permanent - everywhere you go. Like Love Field, it is open and airy, so that you don’t feel like you are in a vacuum when you shop. There’s even a courtyard in the middle of the mall should you feel you need a breath of fresh air. I have NorthPark to thank for always bringing out the ultimate consumer in me.
Bubba’s - If I don’t feel like tapping into my shopping greed when I’m back home, I often tap into my other deadly sin of choice - gluttony. There’s no other place better to do it than Bubba’s: southern cooking at its finest. A Dallas staple, Bubba’s has been around for 25 years. While it’s best known for its fried chicken, my favorite time of day to visit Bubba’s is in the morning. A sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit paired with a cinnamon roll to share with the rest of your party (or not, let’s be honest) will make you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven. The 50s style diner bears the marks of its regulars' big booties in its wrap-around booth seating. I grew up just a few blocks from Bubba’s, and while my parents have since moved to a different part of town, I still find it hard to not make any sort of pit-stop at this establishment when I’m home.
Texas State Fair - If you’re in Dallas in the fall, another option for fulfilling your gluttonous desires is the Texas State Fair. Every year the State Fair holds a competition for the best new fried food - and winners have ranged from “Fried Grilled Cheese” to “Fried Ice Cream” to “Fried Beer.” Yes - that’s right - even science can be beat at the Texas State Fair. But if you’re a serious fried food fan, all you really need to know about is Fletcher’s Corny Dogs. You will never view Corny Dogs the same way again. Don’t believe me? One look at the numbers might convince you: Fletcher’s sells over half a million corny dogs every year at the State Fair. Other than indulging in a footlong corny dog, be sure to take a photo with Big Tex, check out the the 3,000 pound pig named Boris, peruse the butter sculptures, and top-off the night with one of the largest ferris wheels in the United States, the Texas Star.
White Rock Lake - After you’ve emptied your wallet and fueled your tank, the best place to walk it all off is White Rock Lake. I’ll be honest - besides the skyline, Dallas is not the prettiest city. White Rock Lake is a hidden gem amidst six-lane highways and potholes. About 10-miles around, it’s an easy bike ride on a nice day, or you can just walk part of it. There’s also dog park for your pup to run free, and while you wait for your romantic-comedy love story to begin, you might see some sailboats taking a spin on the lake or families flying kites with the Pickle building in the distance. For those with a green thumb, the Dallas Arboretum is also on the lake if want to enjoy landscaping at its finest. Every time I go home, I make it a point to ride around the lake (and not just because I have eater’s remorse from the Bubba’s I consumed).
Dry Heat - In Dallas, we may have over 30 consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures in the summertime (true story) - but it’s dry heat. This makes riding a bike around White Rock Lake in July slightly less miserable than it would be somewhere like Nashville. Combine this fact with the fact that backyard swimming pools are as plentiful as stars in the sky and you’ll start to love the heat like I did as a kid. Grab a Slurpee from 7-11, bask in that dry heat, hit the pool, and repeat.
Dallas can be an overwhelming city for those who pass-through it or who are visiting for the first time - it still takes me by surprise every time I return with all that it has to offer. While I will continue to explore the sprawling city, I know I will always have these things to look forward to when I return home.