I am a resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and after living here for nearly four years, I consider this parking lot “paradise” home. I know, many people cringe when they think of Texas, and Dallas in particular, picturing pouffy-haired rich folk, modern day cowboys, Texas-sized egos, extended cab pick-up trucks, and more barbecue and steak restaurants than should be legal. Now, there may be a little truth in every stereotype, but it’s never the whole story. So, I’ve compiled a little list of some of the best and worst Dallas has to offer. Have a look-see, and decide for yourself whether or not bigger really is better in Texas.
- There’s always somewhere to eat – Dallas has more restaurants per square mile than any other place on Earth, or something like that…
- There’s no winter to worry about (And on the off chance that we get a few snowflakes, there’s the entertainment factor of watching crazies fight over milk and bread at the grocery store.)
- Home prices are reasonable – You can buy a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house for $150,000. That amount won’t buy you anything in some parts of the U.S.
- All roads lead to I-635, resulting in a harmonious circle of life. 🙂
- The multiculturalism – I am constantly amazed by the ethnic diversity here in DFW. Just going to the store, you might hear five different languages walking from the produce area to the meat aisle. This cultural variety leads to meeting new people, hearing interesting stories, and discovering many different festivals to explore.
- The Mavericks! (Well, at least during the season. We like to block out that part of the year called “the playoffs,” when the team crashes and burns.)
- The Farmer’s Market – I don’t know where these farmers come from, since the soil in the DFW area is perpetually hard and dry, but somehow they are here, carrying an abundance of fresh produce.
- Jazz under the Stars – During the summer you can pack a picnic and lounge outdoors at the Dallas Museum of Art, enjoying wine, cheese, or whatever suits your taste, while listening to live jazz music.
- The State Fair – The State Fair of Texas is many people’s annual excuse to go off of their diet for a day. Normally this would be a bad thing, but hello? Funnel cakes? Corny dogs? Frito pie? Fried twinkies? Fried Snickers? These are masterful works of art!
- Half Price Books – This chain of bookstores is one of my favorite places! Sure, there are books in every city in the U.S., (and Half Price Books in other cities), but this is DFW’s version of a mecca for bookworms. Each visit is like a treasure hunt, and you never know what you’ll discover!
- During the summer, it’s so hot that in only 30 minutes, the sun can completely drain you of energy, leaving a worthless, soggy shell of a human behind.
- During the summer, the ground is so cracked and parched, it’s a miracle that the earth doesn’t just open up and swallow your house whole.
- Because of the oversaturating pestilence that is shopping mall after shopping mall, you forget that there are places in the world that are green, beautiful, and natural. (But, in DFW’s defense, there are a few places where you can find a tree or a lake – you just have to know where to look).
- The Cowboys (meaning the football team, not the boot and hat wearing ones) – Everyone in America hates the Cowboys, right? And even a large percentage of Dallasites hate them. Why are they still called “America’s Team”?
- The traffic – There are too many commuters in DFW, which is somewhat understandable since everything is too far apart to walk or bike to, but this overabundance of traffic causes many headaches and temper tantrums.
- Big trucks – It seems to become more and more true with each passing day that if you don’t drive a monstrous truck or SUV, you are in the minority. So it’s a mystery to me why so many shopping centers still have row after row designated as being for “compact cars only.”
- Obesity – The numbers don’t lie. There are lots of fat people here. But we’re not all overweight! The plethora of fast food establishments, the long distances between point A and point B, and the extreme heat are big factors in the high percentage of obese Texans. We just have to be more pro-active in our healthy dieting and exercising since the environment is working against us.
- The Dallas Ego – Yes, there are some not so nice people in Big D, who are completely self-absorbed, think the world revolves around them, and expect you to pull over on the side of the road so that they can get where they are going more quickly. But, you learn where these people are and avoid those places, or, you simply smile, breathe deeply, and go to your happy place until they are no longer in your general vicinity.
- The modern day cowboys – Before I moved here, I must admit I was concerned about encountering these boot struttin’, hat wearin’ hooligans everywhere I went, whether it be church, the grocery store, a restaurant, etc. However, these cowboys are actually a rare occurrence. True, I spot one occasionally out on the town, but they aren’t so scary. And just as people in Louisiana don’t ride alligators through the swamps, Dallasites aren’t all riding around town on horses shouting “Yee haw!” I suppose there will always be some element of cowboy culture here, but honestly I haven’t come across it in any obvious ways yet.
- Steakhouses – Steak restaurants are not a bad thing. Texas-style steakhouses, however, do cause me some concern. I’m talking about the places that have a “Wall of Fame,” where photos of customers with frighteningly large appetites are displayed to “honor” them for having accomplished the superhuman feat of consuming an entire 72 oz. steak in one sitting. As a bonus, they get the steak for free! If you are unfamiliar with this strange cultural ritual, check out Big Texan Steak Ranch. This celebratory attitude toward gluttony is, in my opinion, the biggest negative about Texas. Many people here do love the all-you-can-eat buffets, the “free food” promotions, and other types of culinary catastrophes. I allow for one day a year of enjoying some good fried food (see State Fair above), but a year-round reverence for fat, sodium, and cholesterol is truly a scary thing. But, if this is the worst Dallas has to offer (aside from a little thing called the oppressive summer heat), then why not pack your bags and mosey on over to our corner of the world today?