Best Cat Sanctuary 2011 | Operation Kindness | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
From the moment you park your car in the lot of Carrollton's no-kill shelter, Operation Kindness, you can see the oversized screened-in cat patio full of cats palling around. Inside, there's an open play area where most of the cats hang out and kennels for kittens and cats with "special needs" and behavioral "issues." The open spaces, though, are literally crawling with cats, bounding over toys and each other. It's a revealing environment and a great way to check out your furry friend's demeanor, how he acts around other felines and how he may behave in your house before you commit to him forever.
Lily Pad Cafe sits at the sidelines of Main Street Park like a charming little oasis, its covered patio shading the sun and creating a mini-fort among skyscrapers. With a name like Lily Pad and bright green adornments, it might truly be the most adorable place to hang out in the city. While pedestrian life in downtown Dallas generally leaves something to be desired, an afternoon snack of hummus and pita or a post-work beer on the cafe's patio offers a peek into a more vibrant slice of downtown. It's the perfect stage for people-watching as locals walk their dogs, children play in the fountain and kickball leagues compete in the park. Homeless people drawn to the surrounding park benches are typically of the friendly ilk and add some color to what is otherwise a small island of sun-dressed urban euphoria.
Broadcast news is a sweet gig for main anchors in big cities, with such perks as six-figure salaries and wardrobe allotments. It's a long way up the ladder, but Fox 4 anchor Steve Eagar has a naturally competitive nature. When his pro-baseball career went south, he switched to an equally cutthroat career in journalism. The bosses at KDFW make good use of Eagar's smooth delivery by placing him at the helm of the only local 5:30 p.m. show and pairing him with Heather Hays at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. They're the quintessential homecoming king and queen everyone wanted to be in high school. Eagar's sardonic edge makes local news worth watching, especially the often hilarious Viewer's Voice segment.
With apocalyptic drought still choking us, worrying about water-logging your wheels seems unlikely. But with inconsistent curbs and questionable drainage systems, rushing water is an occasional reality come rainy time in Little Forest Hills. Leave the neighborhood and navigational concerns still exist: There's the spillway heading south on Garland Road that could be called a spillover. There are the low areas of Buckner Road that turn trying to get to Northwest Highway or Mockingbird Lane into a dare. There's Buckner Road's nosedive before the Loop 12 and Interstate 30 overpass. And there's that one part of Garland Road near Centerville that doesn't flood, per se, but gushes. Sure, Little Forest Hills is a great neighborhood — and so are Forest Hills and Casa Linda Estates, for that matter — if you get to work using water wings. Winter? We'll let that topic just slide on by.
Anything you need on a Saturday afternoon (or any afternoon, really) can be found on or around the intersection of North Henderson at McMillan avenues. Get a damn good coffee at the Pearl Cup, a funky art print or gift at We Are 1976, a couch at Again Design Studio, Sputnik Modern or Form, a Bloody Mary at Barcadia and a pomerita at Café San Miguel. Do some yoga at Padma Yoga if that's what the day calls for and you're still sober. Groceries and bulk snacks at Sunflower Farmers Market are only a block out of the way. By then, Louie's, the Slip Inn and Beauty Bar will be open and you can drink knowing you have helped save the world through capitalism and fuel conservation.
Boat parties, bass fishing, art exhibitions, fairs, cooking expos, runs, dog park days and more celebratory events marked the 100th anniversary of our fair lake. Oh, and a huge lake clean-up, which might be the most celebratory of them all. For a century, White Rock has provided cooling lake breezes, a scenic route for exercise, a place for rowing crews to practice and a home for migratory birds. It's a jewel that we haven't always treated as such, but hopefully the rash of celebration events this year has inspired Dallasites to treat it with respect.
Sure, you can spot Dirk and company throwing back a few PBRs at former smoke-hole The Loon, but let's face it: You'll also have to navigate through a sea of glossy twentysomethings and SMU frat boys just to get a gander at a championship-winning athlete. If you really want to rub elbows with a sports star, and possibly buy one a drink, spend an evening at the Rosewood Crescent Court Hotel. Besides being the preferred hotel for visiting sports teams, it's also home to a Mavs fave, Nobu. Don't be surprised if you share an elevator with Kobe Bryant when the Lakers visit, but just don't do like our mom and ask him if he's there for the Miller/Stevens wedding.
Courtesy Dallas Arboretum
We're not advocating you make a regular habit of showing up to weddings uninvited, but let's say you happen to be at White Rock Lake doing a little fishing (don't eat anything you catch, of course) and you happen to see some nuptials being exchanged amidst the beautiful flora in the Dallas Arboretum. Resist the urge to scream, "Don't do it!" when the minister asks that question. Instead, eavesdrop on the blissful couple's exchange of vows in the most serene of settings, follow the wedding party to the party inside the arboretum's fancy digs and enjoy a complimentary glass of Champagne. Don't usually fish in a tux? That's OK. Pretend you're that crazy cousin who just returned from the hippie commune in Peru.
Did you know Tillman's Roadhouse used to be the site of the Texas Bowling Center? That the makeup company turned Mary Kay empire had its humble beginnings in the same area? Or that the Oak Cliff Broom Co. was once at the corner of Bishop Avenue and Seventh Street, and that its blind owner sent an oversized broom and mop to President Franklin Roosevelt to help him "sweep away the corruption" in the government — and got a thank-you letter in return? These little historical nuggets may be interesting to read, but they're even more fun when read aloud by an enthusiastic teenager who complements the text with funny sound effects and ragtime and jazz from the period. Corrie Coleman, a lifelong resident of Oak Cliff, began researching for the tour as a Girl Scout project and got so enthusiastic that the finished tour — which cites more than 50 sources — helped earned her a spot at the TAG Magnet School at the Yvonne A. Ewell Center.
North Oak Cliff combines all of the best parts of Austin with none of Highland Park's pretense or the West Village's douchebaggery. Instead of cookie-cutter tract housing, the oak-lined streets are populated with Tudors and craftsman bungalows like a sprawling mosaic. Depending on your location, your neighbor is rehabbing a Spanish Eclectic or chilling in his front yard, bare-chested, drinking beer, listening to conjunto and waving at you. Take a walk or a short drive and you'll find three-dollar Maker's shots and the best smoked brisket in town at Lockhart Smokehouse, a delicious licuado de fresa at El Jordan Cafe, or legendary mac 'n' cheese at Oddfellows. Used to be, people worked on one side of the river and lived on the other. Then everyone moved to Plano. Now North Oak Cliff is on the rise. Of all the neighborhoods in Dallas, it feels most like home.

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