People & Places

  • Best Place to Beat the Heat

    Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

    From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we gather defenses, pool resources and try our damnedest to beat the heat. And, though we may win a few battles along the way, the heat always wins the war. You can't beat it, so why not--as the cliché goes--join it. Revel in it. Bake in it. And the best place to do it… More >>
  • Best Place to Swing

    Sons of Hermann Hall

    The large, renovated ballroom upstairs at Sons of Hermann Hall is the perfect venue for swing-dance nights, which it hosts every Wednesday. There's a refinished hardwood floor, smooth enough for twirling without friction but with enough traction that you can stay on your feet. There are tables and chairs for those who need to take a breather, and a bar… More >>
  • Best Bike Trails

    Cedar Hill State Park

    On the weekends you can't stir the bicycles with a stick. Mom and Dad are there with their trail bikes, and the kiddies, some still maneuvering with training wheels, tag right along. There's a maze of off-road cycling for all ages and all levels of expertise. The park's most popular trail is a collection of three single-track routes that wind… More >>
  • Best Free Entertainment for a Kid

    Founder's Plaza at D-FW International Airport

    Little kids who like airplanes, trucks and other big stuff (which means all of them, natch) will truly be thrilled to spend an hour watching the jets come and go from this busy airport. The plaza overlooks main runways and provides a clear view of takeoffs and landings. Voices of air-traffic controllers and pilots can be heard over a speaker… More >>
  • Best Secret Fishing Hole Surrounded by High-end Real Estate

    Beverly Drive overpass in Lakeside Park

    A true hidden paradise for local anglers, this Turtle Creek estuary is home to 1- to 2-pound bass. On a recent summer day, a single fisherman was casting his line (a light-action pole with an open cast reel), relishing the solitude away from the city traffic just a few yards away. Besides the bass, there are also some nice-sized bluegills… More >>
  • Best Tejano Club

    Escapade 2001

    Along with its sister club, Escapade 2009, Escapade 2001 is the No. 1 destination for Dallas' swelling Latino population (the people who've made KNOL-FM one of the highest-rated radio stations in the area) every weekend, the place to go for people looking to blow off steam by dancing to ranchera and cumbia music. And there are quite a few of… More >>
  • Best Outing with the Kids

    Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

    When you enter Fossil Rim, it's hard to figure who is really in the zoo: you and the wife and kids, locked up in your SUV, air conditioner running, carbon monoxide emitting, or the 50 species of well-attended animals languishing over 1,500 gently rolling, beautifully wooded acres in the North Texas Hill Country. Located 75 miles southwest of Dallas, no… More >>
  • Best Place to Go for a Day Trip

    Granbury, Texas

    You might think you're just not old enough to visit Granbury, Texas; that it's a place for bus tours and blue hairs and history buffs. But that's precisely the reason to visit: The trip is a trip, a Victorian town that is remarkably well-preserved and riddled with legend and myth and memory--from Jesse James and John Wilkes Booth to the… More >>
  • Best Playground


    If you are willing to get wet and spend a little money for the privilege, the best water playground in the Dallas area is in North Richland Hills. NRH20 has something for everyone, priding itself on a safety rating system that identifies which rides are appropriate for which age category. Low speed is for shallow-water attractions and shallow-water kids. High… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid's Party

    ASI Gymnastics, Lake Highlands location

    You've done your Chuck E. Cheese's, your Fun Fest, your rain-soaked birthday party at the neighborhood park. And there's no way you are going to subject your own home to the kind of abuse 30 5-year-olds can cause after the giant Jaws bounce house you promised doesn't arrive on time. What you need is a seamless, low-maintenance, high-energy, modestly priced,… More >>
  • Best Swimming Pool

    The Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas

    Some pools are just chlorine and water, a liquid playpen that, when combined with the intense summer sun, will cause the most exuberant of children to grow tired enough to take a nap. But then there are other pools that soak you in luxury, acting as therapy for the mind, a spa for the body. One of these is the… More >>
  • Best Giver of Life to the Limp

    Kirsten Cook, Michael Raymond Salon

    If hair were a religion, Kirsten would be a guru, a prophet, a goddess. But since it's not, she's a very talented angel. The ideal hair appointment is going to the same person to get a haircut, color and a huge boost to the self-esteem at the same time. Kirsten (and to be fair, the whole salon) delivers one damn… More >>
  • Best Place to Multitask

    Bar of Soap - CLOSED

    Bar of Soap is the only place we know of where you can buy a box of Tide along with a bourbon and soda and get change for both the dryers and the pinball machine. Besides being a bar, a laundry and an arcade, it also serves as a live music venue on weekends and has a patio for lounging… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood


    Dallas does not suffer from a lack of good, traditional neighborhoods stocked with sturdy homes planted atop shaded lots, but what we like about Uptown is its departure from the city's past. The housing, primarily condos and apartments, may not be everyone's idea of an ideal nesting ground, but the neighborhood is the best indication that our city is, at… More >>
  • Best Place to Commune with Nature

    White Rock Lake

    Yeah, yeah. We know. Aren't there any other outdoor havens besides White Rock, you ask? Unless you play golf, the answer is no. After all, Dallas is not a city known for its fabulous green spaces. White Rock Lake, which was built to provide the city's residents with drinking water, may be an accidental green space, but it is nonetheless… More >>
  • Best Piano Bar

    Pete's Dueling Piano Bar

    Four hot piano players at two baby grands play a mix of Beatles, Stones, Aretha, KC, Culture Club, Billy Joel, Elton John, Dave Matthews and more in a high-energy blast that runs straight through from 8 p.m. until the joint closes at 2 a.m. Cloned from the original in Austin, the Addison Pete's holds 350 people, offers a fare of… More >>
  • Best Place to See Old-School High School Football

    Seagoville High School, Seagoville Stadium

    Hard to find, but worth the hunt if you have a sudden hunger for hot dogs, pompoms and the blood and grit of small-town football in the shadow of the big city. Seagoville High is part of the Dallas school system and plays some tough big-city football schools such as Lincoln, but the spirit on Friday nights is strictly East… More >>
  • Best Too-Hip-for-Blockbuster Video Scene

    Friday night at Premiere Video

    If you have a sudden urgent need to talk to every egghead film-buff Boho in Dallas, what you do is bring a folding chair and park in front of Premiere Video on a Friday night. In the course of a few hours, they'll all come through. In fact, there are entire multigenerational families of film-buff Bohos who gather here on… More >>
  • Best People-Watching Spot

    Mockingbird Station steps

    The steps outside the Angelika Film Center, not the ones that go down to the DART rail line. (Not many folks down there.) If you want confirmation that Dallas has its hip, cool side--as opposed to a place where the predominant fashion trend is the golf shirt--hang out for a while and see who comes cascading down the steps at… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Pierced

    Obscurities Body Piercing

    Most honest answer? Only your ears, unless, of course, you wanna break your mother's already fragile heart. What, she's made out of stone all of a sudden? No, no, we kid because we love. If you have to do it, head to Obscurities (conveniently located next door to Trilogy Tattoo), and Pat Tidwell and the rest of the gang will… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway


    With the recession and all, the mother of all Texas car trips--the weekend in Austin--is looking better than ever. Cheap fun here comes in the form of swimming at Barton Springs, pub-crawling for bands on Sixth Street and cheap, tasty barbecue. The city has some reasonably priced B&B's, and it doesn't cost a nickel to hang out by the lake… More >>
  • Best Place to Drink in the Middle of a Workday

    Sevy's Grill

    Our high school principals were smart enough to ask for a note to explain any absence from school. Fortunately, our bosses consider such tactics childish, which opens the door for the occasional "dental appointment." On any day at Sevy's, you'll find well-heeled, conversant folks suffering from fanciful ailments camped along the extensive bar. In fact, the establishment even inscribes the… More >>
  • Best Homeless Guy

    Marathon Man

    We don't know his name (Marathon Man is a nickname we concocted not long ago), but that's not really important. We feel like we know him anyway, since--for the past two or three years--we've seen him almost every day. On our way to work. On our way home. At work. At the Minyard on Abrams. At various crosswalks in downtown.… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Off the Hook and Kick It

    Club Shiznit

    C-Shiz is basically a Juvenile video shoot, only with no cameras and no Juvenile. Basically, we're talking lots of Fubu and even more rump shaking. The last time we were there, a DJ was spinning music we weren't terribly familiar with, and, as we were standing by the bar, trying unsuccessfully not to look out of place, a fine young… More >>
  • Best Place to See the Real Best Musicians in Dallas

    Any South Dallas church on Sunday

    As one local musician put it, "You get the best show in town, and it only costs you five bucks in the collection plate." You won't find any of these players with more profitable gigs (though, one could make the argument, what pays better than being in the Lord's house band?), since they play all day Sunday, and choir practice… More >>
  • Best Serene Scene

    Asian Gardens

    Now almost 20 years old, the Asian gardens sprang up spontaneously in the early '80s on scuzzy vacant lots in East Dallas at a time when the federal government was dumping tens of thousands of bewildered Southeast Asian refugees into Dallas slums. The gardens were a place of refuge and peace for people who had seen too much war and… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Man in Leather Hot Pants Enjoying a Down-Home Dinner

    Good Eats

    We're not sure about the other Good Eats locations in the area, but if you want a side of people-watching with your chicken-fried steak, look no further than this Oak Lawn staple, where the clientele is always gaily attired. (Simmer down: We meant cheerfully.) If you want the real deal, opt for the smoking section near the bar. That's where… More >>
  • Best Place for a Romantic Rendezvous

    Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden

    So you've had an argument with your significant other. For example: It's the anniversary of the first time she ever called you her "little sugar pants" or whatever, and she wanted to have a nice candlelight dinner to mark the occasion. You, on the other hand, came home drunker than an American Eagle pilot about three hours after she put… More >>
  • Best Day Job For Aspiring Heavy Metal Guitarists

    Food and Beverage Server at Medieval Times

    You've already got the dodgy ponytail and questionable facial hair required for enlistment in Medieval Times' Renaissance army, and Mars Music isn't hiring. And you need the extra scratch to move out of Mom's basement. Bonus: You get to call the ladies "wenches." Or, you could always work the merch booth for ASKA. Your call. … More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Blue Mesa Grill - CLOSED

    You know, there's really no such thing as a bad happy hour. Any working stiff who knows the agony of counting down the seconds till that 5 o'clock whistle blows can tell you that. A drink special's a drink special, right? But some happy hours are better than others, and one is the best. Happy hour at Blue Mesa Grill… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    The Cockpit

    Oh, what's that you say? Dude, it's a pilots' hangout? What up? That's like naming a bar that caters to road construction crews The Manhole. Clarification: The Cockpit is not a gay bar. We repeat: The Cockpit, a neighborhood bar on Marsh Lane, is not a gay bar. Our writer was cracking a joke about The Cockpit's name when he… More >>
  • Best Scenic Drive

    High Five Interchange, near U.S. 75 and Interstate 635

    We could have picked some country road where the traffic is slow and the scenery is beautiful. But this is Dallas and, well, call us sentimental, but nothing warms our hearts like progress. We had this same feeling when Central Expressway was under construction, and we have it again, watching the new merger of Central and LBJ crawl out of… More >>
  • Best Short Road Trip to a Small Town that Isn't Really Anymore


    When we were a kid, last month, used to be a drive up Central Expressway to McKinney lasted a week; 75 was one lane north and south, and it wasn't so long ago. Now it takes 20 minutes, without much traffic, to head up to this Collin County town that's growing every day without losing much of its charm. In… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Patio or Deck


    The space that once held Baby Routh now houses two sister restaurants, Arcodoro and Pomodoro, joined at the hip to form a faux Sardinian village. The patio is especially appealing in good weather and provides a kind of village square where the young cool people, usually from the Arcodoro side, may mingle with old rich people, who tend to hang… More >>
  • Best Beer Joint

    Ship's Lounge

    Because they have all that a good bar needs: a pool table, a jukebox worth your quarters and cheap beer. Because it's much more comfortable than sitting on the tailgate of your truck, and the cops come by far less often. Because it feels like home within five minutes, and you never wanna leave after 10. Because you'd buy this… More >>
  • Best Group With Which One Can Stroll

    Dallas Trekkers

    What they do is called "volkssport," taken from the long-standing German tradition of doing leisurely 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) walks through interesting and attractive venues. This is a family affair, not a competition, despite the fact all finishers receive custom-designed medals or patches for their efforts. The idea is to make the walk at your own pace, even stopping to picnic… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch a Street Race

    111th Street, Arlington

    Need a little illegal excitement that doesn't involve sex? This street is an ever-popular location for the city's mostly younger crowd to gather and ruin the tires and expensive souped-up engines they bought by waiting tables. On a typical summer night, you need only to show up at about 10 p.m. and wait around. Soon, the parking lots of nearby… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection

    The Ginger Man

    Went to a friend's birthday party here recently, and we were sorely disappointed. Not because the service wasn't friendly and efficient, because it was. Not because the outside deck wasn't shaded and comfortable, because it was. And not because the people-watching wasn't entertaining, because it was. ("Hey there. What school you go to?") It was upsetting because the table kept… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Piece of Dallas' Musical History and/or Contribute to the Local Homeless Economy

    508 Park Ave.

    At 508 Park Ave., there is a building that (on June 19 and 20 in 1937) housed a recording session by legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson, one of just two occasions he ever had his music recorded in his abbreviated career. At the moment, the building is abandoned, though it was once home to the Brunswick Records' warehouse, as well… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Golden Tee

    Frankie's Sports Bar and Grill - CLOSED

    Take it from someone who has shot 21-under on Buckhorn: This is the best place in town to Tee it up. (For those who don't know, Golden Tee is the No. 1 bar game in the country; it's that arcade golf game with the big round ball you see guys smashing as hard as their beer-addled brains will allow.) Granted,… More >>
  • Best Rock Bar

    Barley House

    Great jukebox, even better shows, and if you want to talk to a local musician, just tap the guy next to you on the shoulder. OK, maybe it would be more accurate to call this the Best Roots Rock Bar, but let's not split hairs. Rock is rock is rock, and the Barley House has more than a quarry. Stop… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Dallas Observer Staff Writer Put His Money Where His Mouth Is

    Thursdays at XPO Lounge

    Not too long ago, we finally conquered our fear of singing in public (aided and abetted by our friends Jack D. and Jim B.), and we couldn't have picked a better place than XPO Lounge, easily the finest (and hippest) karaoke night in Dallas. The tunes are spun by DJ Mr. Rid (who's been involved in the local music scene… More >>
  • Best Place to Try Yoga

    Cosmic Café

    Those who know only of yoga from watching Gomez stand on his head during reruns of The Addams Family can learn the art of the downward-facing dog and the proud warrior five days a week in the quiet, comfortable community room upstairs at Cosmic Café. The classes are taught by instructors who practice or teach at other locations and who… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    R.L. Griffin's Blues Palace #2 - CLOSED

    Sadly, Dallas doesn't have many blues clubs these days, and most of the ones it does have traffic in the same kind of "blues" that made Steve Buscemi get queasy in Ghost World. Not R.L. Griffin's Blues Palace #2, owned and operated by The Right Reverend of Dallas Blues, R.L. Griffin. (Just in case you thought it was nothing more… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club


    Still can't beat this Deep Ellum institution, and not many people try. Yeah, there's the Elbow Room or Red Blood Club, at least whenever one of the groups in the Dallas Creative Music Alliance is onstage. But Sambuca doesn't just get this by default: They deserve it, doing everything a good jazz club should and then some. The sound is… More >>
  • Best Afternoon to be Had Two Miles From Downtown

    Golfing at Stevens Park

    Thinking about slipping out of the office early to get in a quick 18 holes before dark? There's no better place than this historic old course that has been in business since 1924. Located in the picturesque Kessler Park area, just two miles from downtown Dallas, the short (6,005 yards from the blue tees) but demanding layout is ideal for… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Bartendress in a Belly Shirt Do a Handstand

    The Green Elephant

    Like an eclipse, you will see this rarely, but we have seen it, and it is a strange, wondrous site. It would be indecorous of us to mention the young woman's name, but let's just say when we first saw this phenomenon occur, we were misty-eyed. We walked into this bar near closing time on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, and… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Lizard Lounge

    Not only does Lizard Lounge routinely feature some of the best DJs in the country (and some of the best in town, including Edgeclub host DJ Merritt), it's just about the sexiest club in town, and we don't mean just because there's a good chance some off-duty stripper might whip her top off at any given moment. Of course, that… More >>
  • Best Honky-Tonk

    Sons of Hermann Hall

    Though Gypsy Tea Room books many of the same acts, Sons has one big advantage: room enough to dance. That, and it reminds us of the dance halls we grew up in, sneaking a sip from a can of Lone Star when our grandpa wasn't looking, dodging the two-stepping couples scooting their boots on the hardwood floor. It's a comfortable… More >>
  • Best Alternative Club


    Ash, Super Furry Animals, Spoon, Dieselboy, Deepsky, The Weakerthans, ALL, Pinback, Guided by Voices, Superdrag, South, James Hall, Supersuckers, Remy Zero, Chomsky, Clinic, The Apples in Stereo, The Vines, The Breeders, X-Ecutioners, The Coup, Blackalicious, Beulah, Sparta, Cranes, The Promise Ring, The Deathray Davies, My Morning Jacket, Nashville Pussy, Hank III, Dixie Witch, Bowling for Soup, Speedealer, The White Stripes,… More >>
  • Best Live Music Venue

    Gypsy Tea Room

    Yeah, we've given it to these guys before, but hey, this isn't your son's Little League team. We don't have to make sure everyone gets some playing time. If you suck, you ride the bench. Simple as that. So until someone comes along and does it better, we ain't changing the starting lineup. Look, we know there are plenty of… More >>
  • Best Place to "Accidentally" Grope Someone

    Central Market

    A well-known author whose name we cannot recall at the moment wrote something in one of those college anthologies--can't remember which--about the anonymity of a crowd. Or perhaps it was loneliness. Anyway, it was quite appropriate to the topic and would have conveyed the message in words far more powerful than those without which the entire meaning of this paragraph… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Someone Score in a Non-sexual Way

    Dallas Desperados games

    Admit it, you and every other sports fan in this part of the world want to see tons of scoring. And not just with the cheerleaders. (Rim shot!) The bigger the blowout, the better. And not just with the cheerleaders. (Thank you, Dallas, goodnight!) Forget pitchers' duels and 1-0 hockey finals. Which is why the high-octane, indoor pinball game of… More >>
  • Best Horrible Pickup Line Overheard in a Dallas Bar

    "Are you standing upwind from me? Because when I breathe in, all I smell is you."

    Really can't say much more than that...except that it failed. Obviously.… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Tattooed

    Trilogy Tattoo

    Let's put it this way: Most of the musicians in town swear by the steady hands of Mark Thompson and the rest of the artists at Trilogy. If it's good enough for rock and roll, it's good enough for you. … More >>
  • Best Local Ski Mountain

    Taos Ski Valley

    Well, yes, a 12-hour drive is as close as it gets, but Taos Ski Valley is well worth it, and far more interesting than a lot of places you can reach by plane. Taos is a family-owned, family-run, world-class ski mountain for serious skiers. The local lore is that Taos was initially thought to be too steep for most recreational… More >>
  • Best Place to Urinate in Public

    Behind the cluster of buildings west of Midway between Beltway and Belt Line

    For countless centuries, humans performed every personal activity--No. 1, No. 2, No. 69--in full view of their neighbors. Nowadays, the undeniable pleasure of relieving your bladder when and where it demands is circumscribed and carries considerable risk. If you insist on establishing some sort of kinship with humans past and wish to lessen the risk of prosecution, the aforementioned area… More >>
  • Brady and Brandt Wood

    Entertainment Collaborative

    If necessity is the mother of invention, then needing a cold beer must be the mother of all necessities. Because that was essentially the spark behind the Entertainment Collaborative, a klatch of successful formula-repellent entertainment and hospitality concepts hunkered down in Deep Ellum and downtown. The thirsty parent of this collaboration is 34-year-old Brady Wood, who as an SMU student… More >>
  • Joe Tillotson, Richard Winfield and Scott Cecil

    Owners of Barley House and Muddy Waters

    It wasn't much of a party to begin with, but it looked as if the Barley House had gotten there when the last guests were putting on their coats and saying their goodbyes. When the Barley House opened almost 10 years ago, there weren't many other bars or restaurants in the Knox-Henderson area, and the ones that were there wouldn't… More >>
  • Jeremy Shorr

    Titan Comics

    "It seems I will never sell these She-Hulk vs. Leon Spinks comics. Worst crossover ever!" --Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons, "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses" Guys who own record stores are cool. Just look at John Cusack in High Fidelity, the big-screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel; he's young, hip, able to score with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lisa Bonet. Guys who own… More >>
  • Leonard Bishop

    Lincoln High

    If you're to be the best, preaches Dallas Lincoln High basketball coach Leonard Bishop, you must stand ready to prove it. Which is exactly what his undefeated state Class AAAA champions did last season. En route to a 40-0 record and the No. 1 spot in the nation in schoolboy rankings conducted by USA Today and Prep Sports, his Tigers… More >>
  • Paul Evans

    Vine Texas

    Local wine publications haven't shown much resilience in Dallas. At least two upstart carcasses litter the landscape, testaments to the absurdity of attempting to translate Big D's thirst for cork-finished juice into an urge to read about it through a local lens. The Dallas Food & Wine Journal, a food-and-wine rag launched by entrepreneur Harvey Jury in 1995, lasted just… More >>

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