Maybe you justed moved here from Des Moines (or, more likely, Guanajuato). Maybe you’ve lived here all your life. Either way, you can’t call yourself a true resident of this fair city until you’ve done each and every one of the following.
embarrassed us all. But it still counts as a guilty pleasure, and nothing conjures up the Ewing era like a trip to
. The tour is equal parts nostalgia and camp—there’s a sign in J.R.’s “bedroom” that reads: “Please refrain from fainting on sofa.” Even better, make sure you stand on the adjoining balcony where Kristin fell (or was she pushed?) into the pool and died. 3700 Hogge Rd., Parker. 972-442-7800.
15. Spend an Evening in Highland Park (But Sleep Over in University Park)
As Christmas approaches, pop over to Highland Park Village
and search for a parking space. Begin shopping approximately one hour later. The Village affords the second-wife set the opportunity to one-stop shop for staples such as Chanel suit (Chanel), toilet paper (Tom Thumb), $125 stationary (Madison), and Chardonnay (Centennial). After buying the necessities, rendezvous with that special someone for a carriage ride
to look at the lights. The wine will come in handy by the time you hit Lakeside Drive. The horses (and the waste they tote) are a bit odorous. Post-carriage, drive carefully through Highland Park. Speed once you get to University Park. Get arrested. (Our suggestion: employ a combination of a pre-2002 vehicle + expired inspection sticker + outstanding tickets.) Spend the remainder of the evening in University Park jail
and enjoy complimentary breakfast from Bubba’s Cooks Country
. (Highland Park jail employs McDonald’s as its caterer.)
16. Pay Your Respects to Texas Stadium
In a few short years, Texas Stadium won’t be home to the Dallas Cowboys. That doesn’t mean that hell will freeze over (ever heard of the Cotton Bowl?), but you need to say good-bye. Game day won’t do; it’s too noisy and you’ll want some time to yourself. If you’re lucky, a sympathetic tour guide will let you stand on the star in the middle of the field and gaze up through the hole in the roof. The seats may be empty, but the stadium is full of ghosts. It’s the closest you’ll ever come to knowing what it’s like to be Staubach, Aikman, or Smith. 2401 E. Airport Fwy., Irving. 972-438-7676.
17. Drink a Cold One >>
The ferns and the macramé planters are gone, along with the rest of the original location in Old Town (Greenville Avenue and Lovers Lane), but the current Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine in Arlington, as well as the new location on Skillman Street, flash our Tex-Mex taste memories back to the good old days when we tasted our first frozen margarita. Owner Mariano Martinez invented the frozen concoction, whose shots are now heard ’round the world. 2614 Majesty Dr., Arlington. 817-640-5118.
18. Get a Table Dance at Cabaret Royale
Cabaret Royale was not the first topless bar, but by many accounts it was the first gentlemen’s club. There’s a difference, you see. Topless bar? Seedy. Gentlemen’s club? Classy. Like it or not, Dallas is known for the latter. We’ve even got a nationwide reputation based on it. Get a table dance and you’ll see why. 10723 Composite Dr. 214-350-0303.
19. Do It with Extra Sauce on the Hood of Your Car
Lord knows how many locations Sonny Bryan’s has today, but the only place for the true “cue” experience is at the original restaurant on Inwood Road. Get there early if you want to grab one of the old wooden school desks to dine on. Otherwise, resort to the hood of your car, toss your tie over your shoulder, and chow down on melt-in-your-mouth, meaty ribs, brisket, and chopped beef. It opens at 10 a.m. and closes when the food runs out. 2202 Inwood Rd. 214-357-7120.
20. Spend a Paycheck at the State Fair
• Even the staunchest vegan needs to experience the massive eat-fest and carnival that comes to town every October. The motto for the 2005 Texas State Fair is “Let yourself go.” Don’t make them tell you twice. Slip into your big-girl pants, head to Fair Park, greet Big Tex, and get ready to cover a lot of ground to let yourself go completely.
• Push the limits of the drawstring. First, eat a Fletcher’s corny dog, preferably smothered in mustard, and scorn all imitators from now on. Find a curly-fry vendor (the straight kind simply won’t do), then top it off with a funnel cake—or a fried Twinkie, whichever you can find first.
• Test your relationship. Spend a car payment on tickets so you can ride the Love Bugs and the Ferris wheel, subjecting that someone special to your (previously unmentioned) bouts of motion sickness and fear of heights.
• Confront your carnie fears. If you’ve managed to hold down the corny dog/curly fries/fried Twinkie, cut loose in the game section as the vendors beckon you to throw a dart at the balloon/ring around the bottle/ball at the stack of bottles in order to secure luxurious prizes, like the fabulous Night Ranger mirrored tile.
• Conduct a gag-reflex experiment. There are two kinds of people: those who are not bothered by the distinctive aromas found in the FFA tents and those who wretch at the whiff of a pig. Grab a cup of feed and hold it out for the animals—just watch out for the ostrich and its super-human strength.
• End the relationship. When a carnie offers to guess your weight and your fair pal throws out a few guesses of his own, it’s time to call it a day.
21. Gender Guess on Cedar Springs
The annual Oak Lawn Halloween block party on Cedar Springs Road—the city’s largest costume party—is the ultimate melting pot of gay, straight, and everything else on the Kinsey scale. Most of the street’s gay bars have costume contests, the most popular being inside JR’s Bar & Grill Dallas and the Round-Up Saloon. Or you can just sit on the corner and count how many Chers strut by. JR’s: 3923 Cedar Springs Rd. 214-528-1004; Round-Up Saloon: 3912 Cedar Springs Rd. 214-522-9611.
22. Add to the Spectacle of the Cattle Baron’s Ball
Bedazzle some jeans, grab a Stetson, and try to snag an invite to the fall social event. (A table is $7,000.) Befriend an older gentleman and marvel to him about the woman with the frozen face and the body of a Playmate. Wonder aloud (and with derision) about why she is being trailed by the camera crew. Learn later that your geriatric chum is the surgically enhanced woman’s husband. www.cattlebaronsball.com.
23. Boot Scoot Like the Best of ’Em >>
|TOE THE LINE: Electric slide or cotton-eyed Joe? Doesn’t matter. It’s all good.|
Put on your freshly starched pearl-snap shirt and head to Billy Bob’s Texas, “the world’s largest honky-tonk,” for longnecks and country tunes. You’re sure to learn a thing or two about line-dancing and two-stepping. 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth. 817-624-7117.
24. Sip Tortilla Soup at the Mansion
Glory be to Caroline Rose Hunt, creator of Rosewood Hotels and the Mansion on Turtle Creek, for endowing Dallas with its signature tortilla soup. Miss Caroline bought the recipe, turned it over to her chefs, and the rest is culinary history. Sure, the Mansion still serves a sassy version from a silver pot, but there are sibling soup bowls all over town filled with great knockoffs. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 214-559-2100.
25. Survive the Carpenter-Stemmons Merge
You’re eastbound on John W. Carpenter (aka 183), in the far left lane, headed toward downtown Dallas. Hey! Look over on your right: there’s a billboard with a sultry, saucy babe on it. Is she Swedish? Oh-my-God-you’re-going-to-die! Suddenly there’s an 18-wheeler on top of you. He was in the right lane of Stemmons Freeway (aka I-35), where the two roads meet and go from three lanes each down to just five total. You close your eyes, jerk the wheel to the right, do a 720, and wind up somehow pointed in the right direction and unscathed, except for your soiled pants. Congratulations. You just survived one of the last so-called “suicide” lane drops left in the state. (TxDOT, thankfully, has plans to fix this one in a few years.)
26. Get Free Advice at White Rock Lake
Most Sunday mornings, weather permitting, you can find Neal Caldwell and Roderick MacElwain sitting in lawn chairs on a spot along the western shore of White Rock. You’ll recognize them because they’re the guys with the sign that reads, “Free Advice.” They’ve been dispensing just that since 1996, on subjects from marriage to large-animal veterinary medicine and everything in between. And they take the business of giving free advice seriously. While you’re at the lake, check out the colony of monk parakeets that lives in the electric power station at the southwest corner of the lake, near the old Dallas Water Works building. They’re easiest to find during the summer, when they are breeding.
27. Release Some Hot Air
Every fall, for 25 years, Dallas families have gone up, up, and away at Texas’ largest balloon event, the Plano Balloon Festival. More than 100 hot-air balloons fill the sky, and it’s really quite a sight. Expect more than just your average rainbow-colored balloon; we’ve seen flying farm animals before. On the ground there are pony rides, face painters, and a huge family entertainment center. And don’t forget to chow down on a funnel cake before you book your private balloon ride. Oak Point Park, Plano. 972-867-7566.
28. Hang Out With the Wild Things
True, the Dallas Zoo boasts the state’s tallest sculpture, thanks to that unruly tongue on the giant giraffe, but the Fort Worth Zoo is the only one in the nation to house all four Great Ape species. So stop by the World of Primates exhibit to witness all the monkey business. After checking out Texas Wild—which features 8 acres of Texas natives including jaguars, mountain lions, bats, and bears—say hello to Rasha, the zoo’s resident elephant artist, at Asian Falls. 1989 Colonial Pkwy., Fort Worth. 817-759-7555.
29. Go Fly a Kite
The updrafts are as good as the view from Flagpole Hill, the only significant slope in Dallas. From the top, it’s easy to launch a kite and while away a lazy afternoon snacking on a picnic lunch, playing fetch with Fido, or just shooting the breeze. 8700 E. Northwest Hwy., across from White Rock Lake.
30. Be a Lady Who Lunches
The Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus Downtown used to be the spot for upper-crust ladies in white gloves who lunched on Helen Corbett-inspired recipes like tomato aspic and finger sandwiches. Today many of the original items remain—poppy seed dressing, popovers with strawberry butter, demitasse cups filled with chicken broth—but the snob appeal is gone. Still, it’s the most sophisticated lunch spot in town where manners matter. 1618 Main St. 214-573-5800.
31. Indulge in Something Chicken-fried
Forget the carbs and the calories. Pull on a pair of Sansabelt pants and head over to the original Black-eyed Pea on Cedar Springs Road for the ultimate Dallas pig out: chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, and a tall Texas iced tea. 3857 Cedar Springs Rd. 214-521-4580.
32. Stand in History’s Shadow
A pilgrimage to Dealey Plaza is mandatory for every Texan, but don’t bother standing on the “X” in the center lane of Elm Street—that’s not the exact spot where President Kennedy was shot. Instead, walk 25 paces up the grassy knoll to a short concrete pedestal on the left side of the pergola’s steps. That’s where Abraham Zapruder captured the motorcade and the assassination with his 8mm Bell & Howell camera. When you stand on that spot and face the street, you take in the most famous vantage point in Dallas history. 411 Elm St.
33. Go Home with a Souvenir
Feel free to continue calling it the Ballpark in Arlington, because Ameriquest Field is a terrible name. But when you go, preferably against the Yankees, sit in the lower reserved section in left field, where most of the home runs will be hit. It doesn’t matter that the Rangers never win the pennant; sitting in the outfield is why God created summer. All you need to feel like a kid again is your well-oiled glove—and a scoop of ice cream served in a miniature helmet. 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington. 817-273-5100.
34 Pull on a Longneck in the Fort Worth Stockyards
The White Elephant Saloon is allegedly the second oldest bar in the state, but according to owner Tim Love, “Nobody knows what the first is.” What we do know is that it opened in 1858 and was one high-falutin’ saloon. One hundred and forty-seven years later, it’s still a happening spot. Pull on your cowboy duds, knock back a shot of whiskey with a beer chaser, and tap your toes to live Texas tunes every night. 106 E. Exchange Ave., Ste. 110, Fort Worth. 817-624-8273.
35. Pucker Up at Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus may no longer be a Dallas exclusive, but we still claim it as our own (and still remember fondly Mr. Stanley, the man who changed retail forever). Besides, NorthPark has the busiest makeup counters in the chain, selling more tubes of lipstick than any other in the country. Buy a tube of Chanel Coco Red, then collect some free beauty samples (they have the best freebies) before wandering upstairs to browse the Manolos. 400 NorthPark Ctr. 214-363-8311.
<< 36. Grab a Stool at Highland Park Pharmacy
|GRILL, YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE: A griddled sandwich at Highland Park Pharmacy can’t be beat.|
Gals at the soda fountain at Highland Park Pharmacy have been grilling sandwiches and swirling thick chocolate shakes and malts since 1912. Today it is one of the few remaining drug store eateries in the state. Belly up to the counter for two slices of Sunbeam bread filled with American cheese, grilled to perfection, and served with dill pickle chips. The thick shake is guaranteed to chase your blues away. 3229 Knox St. 214-521-2126.
37. Strike a Pose at the Dallas Arboretum
On purpose: Get photographed (alone/with spouse/with child) in front of the azaleas. Later, use the photo for a fun, unique Christmas card or birth announcement. Receive remarkably similar cards from friends and neighbors. By accident: Lose yourself in thought as you stroll through the beautiful gardens. Return to the present when you stumble in front of a beautiful bride and are subsequently berated by both the woman in white and her photographer. 8525 Garland Rd. 214-515-6500.
38. Receive an E-mail From Mark Cuban
For one thing, the Dallas Mavericks owner/billionaire/ blogger checks his e-mail, like, all the time. For another, he’s not shy about sharing his opinions and welcomes hearing yours. And what’s really going in your favor: he’s desperate to keep his “I’m just a regular guy” image. He e-mails with us
commoners much more than you’d think. www.blogmaverick.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
39. Feed Your Tex-Mex Fix
More than 87 years ago, the Martinez family pioneered what is now known internationally as Tex-Mex food. Today, they are still dishing out old family recipes at El Fenix, but Wednesday night they serve the real deal. As in $4.99 for a hot plate loaded with bubbling cheese enchiladas, rice, and beans. The downtown location, where every night is a fiesta, is the oldest in the chain. 1601 McKinney Ave. 214-747-1121.
40. Speed on the Tollway
The Dallas North Tollway does have posted speed limits. And during rush hour, you certainly won’t have the opportunity to exceed them. But during non-peak times—say, on a Saturday afternoon trip up to the new Ikea store, which opens this summer—you need to put the pedal to the metal, good buddy, ’cause everyone on that road drives like they’re headed back from Texarkana with 400 cases of Coors.
41. See the Ivories Tickled
The world’s most promising pianists descend on Fort Worth every four years for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The event bears the name of the renowned Fort Worth classical pianist who won the first Moscow Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in 1958. This year you’re in luck: the 12th battle tunes up at the end of this month, and self-proclaimed Van Cliburn fanatic and Academy Award winner Sir Anthony Hopkins will present the prestigious medals on June 5 at Bass Hall. 4th St. @ Calhoun St., Fort Worth. 800-462-7979. www.cliburn.org.
42. Make a (Temporary) Friend at Lone Star Park
Wanna know which horse that guy’s rooting for? Just wait until they reach the homestretch. “C’mon, No. 2,” he might say. You find in your hand a $2 win ticket for same. No. 2 wins. You share an awkward high-five between strangers. You collect your winnings. Repeat. 1000 Lone Star Pkwy., Grand Prairie. 214-263-7223.
43. Make Your Mark at Adair’s >>
|WRITE NOW: Not even beer mugs are safe from scriber’s scratchings at Adair’s.|
The burgers? Great. The music? Even better. (Pass the tip jar to show the band some love.) The ambience? The best. The only thing harder than finding an uninscribed square inch of wall space, tabletop, or promo poster at Adair’s is finding what you wrote the last time you were there. 2624 Commerce St. 214-939-9900.
44. Stroll the Stately Homes of Swiss Avenue
Settled in 1905, this grande dame of East Dallas is a tree-lined jewel of Colonial-style mansions and impressive Tudors, and it’s unlike anything else in town. The Centennial Tour of Homes & Gardens (May 7-8) includes 11 homes of the Swiss Avenue Historic District. www.sahd.org.
45. Become Art Smart
Admittedly, the Dallas Arts District is on the verge of greatness (see the Nasher, No. 4). But for now, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth is still tops in this town. The building itself is famous, designed by Louis I. Kahn. Once inside, make a beeline for Picasso’s Man with a Pipe and Matisse’s L’Asie. The Kimbell also regularly hosts spectacular, high-profile exhibits that sometimes travel to only one other city in the world. 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-332-8451.
<< 46. March to the Neiman Marcus/Adolphus Children’s Parade
Just think of this hoopla as our own little Macy’s Day Parade—with a more chic sponsor. Now in its 18th year, this Christmas tradition attracts more than 350,000 people who watch in awe as larger-than-life Spider Man and the Incredible Hulk float down Commerce Street. Call ahead and reserve a bleacher seat for prime viewing. 214-456-8383.
47. Take a Handout at the Farmers Market
Looking for a real tomato? You’re not likely to find one at your corner chain grocery store, but you’ll find it easily in Shed One at the Dallas Farmers Market. Thanks to the city of Dallas, which lifted the ban on sampling, you can once again stroll and sample the vendors’ huge slices of juicy, ruby-red tomatoes. They’re as good as any in Italy. 1010 S. Pearl St. 214-939-2808.
48. Eat the Breakfast of Champions
Mecca on Harry Hines Boulevard is the ultimate place to people-watch over a pot of hot coffee and a plate of pancakes. It’s always filled with cops, politicians, soccer moms, cops, businessmen, doctors, and more cops. Seasoned waitresses with big smiles and that loveable “thanks, hon” attitude make this a happy place to start your day. 10422 Harry Hines Blvd. 214-352-0051.
49. Spend the Day at Sandy LakeSandy Lake Amusement Park
(yes, there is an actual lake) has been one of the top family weekend spots in the area for 35 years. The most popular ride, the Miniature Train, attracts youngsters and adults alike who want to cruise around the 40-acre amusement mecca. Kids go crazy for the bumper cars, paddleboats, Rock-O-Plane, and Dragon Wagon. Pet the adorable Shetland ponies before chowing down on quintessential carnival fare: nachos and sno-cones. 1800 Sandy Lake
50. Shop Stanley Korshak
As the adage goes, everything is bigger and better in Texas. And so it is with high-end retail. Stanley Korshak at the Crescent houses the biggest Armani Collezioni boutique in the South.
Stop by and see buyer and top seller Bart Trigg, and you’ll be in good company. Local sharp-dressed man Mike Modano drops his dough here. Celebrity visitors Britney Spears, Elizabeth Taylor, Heather Locklear, and Rod Stewart have also been spotted shopping at the award-winning specialty store. 500 Crescent Ct. 214-871-3600.
51. Attempt a Triple Toe Loop
Release your inner Dorothy Hamill—or Wayne Gretzky—on the ice-skating rink
located beneath the twinkling lights in Galleria Dallas
. There’s nothing like a cool breeze and a brush with humiliation to shake a case of buyer’s remorse after a day’s spending spree. Got the pre-skate jitters? Sip a margarita at the rink-side Mi Cocina. Christmas is a great time to skate because of the enormous tree—just watch out for the slush around the trunk. 13350 Dallas Pkwy., Ste. 50. 972-392-3361.
52. LEARN HOW TO BE A BONA FIDE COWBOY
Although Dallas wants
to fancy itself as fashion-forward and cosmopolitan as New York City, we’ve never been able to shake that cowboy image. (Have you seen a commercial for a Ford truck lately?) We say, embrace it. To get the look, start with a pair of original Ropers
from Justin Boots
. To sate our desire for all things cowboy, we visit Cavender’s Boot City
(857 W. Pipeline Rd., Hurst. 817-595-0462), which carries the widest selection of Justin Boots in town. Cavender’s can also suit you up above the ankles: Stetson
, skin-tight Wranglers
, and a big Texas belt buckle
. Look out, Marlboro Man. If you’re inspired by John Travolta in Urban Cowboy (he is smokin’) and desire that vintage, cowboy-cool look, head to Ragwear
(13410 Preston Rd. 972-866-6555) to purchase a collectible Western
shirt. Ragwear has the best assortment in the city and carries hard-to-find Gabardine
shirts from 1947-1958 ($60-$150), as well as western shirts from the 1960s-1980s ($18-$20). Look for brands such as H Bar C California Ranchwear, Panhandle Slim, and good ol’ Sears and J.C. Penney. Once you’ve got the threads, you’re ready for the Rodeo Capital of Texas: Mesquite. For 48 seasons and counting, bucking bulls and broncs put on the best in show for families from all over the world. Dallas’ own sports emperor, Tom Hicks, now owns the Mesquite Championship Rodeo
at Resistol Arena (1818 Rodeo Dr., Mesquite. 972-285-2999), where you can also enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, photo ops on a bull, Wild Bill’s Western Store, and Sonny Bryan’s BBQ. Keep an eye out for Dubya, who’s purportedly a fan. Until you turn pro yourself, you can practice on the mechanical bull at Gilley’s Dallas
(1135 S. Lamar St. 888-GILLEYS). Ride ’em, cowboy.
Photos: Margarita: Scott Wendel; Parade: Allison V. Smith/Dallas Morning News; All others: Doug Davis