Best Secret Garden 2017 | Dragon Park | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

For those who need help believing in magic, Dragon Park is Dallas' zenith of enchantment. You may miss it if you're driving too fast along Cedar Springs Road in Oak Lawn, and you'll certainly be disappointed if you think it's any place to let the kids run wild on park equipment. Despite the name, it's not a park. This small, privately owned secret garden of gargoyle, angel and dragon statues; lush, green grass; hidden nooks and water fountains is a place for solitude in an otherwise hectic part of town. Whether you're out for a picnic, looking to read a book or wanting a romantic pitstop on your way to dinner, Dragon Park provides a little slice of Zen.

Kathy Tran

Dogs love bars. Well, not all dogs. But if your pooch can take a lot of stimulation and distraction, the Truck Yard is a surprisingly good venue. The place gets crowded, seemingly with dog lovers. The spacing of the tables enables the free flow of leashed animals while the heights are low enough for the dogs to feel engaged — and for helicopter owners to keep an eye on them. The layout encourages interaction between your dog and other tables. This makes the joint the best place to socialize with your dog, and it's a place you socialize because of it. So you can go to a dog park and get giardia, or you can go to the Truck Yard and get a beer. Take your pick.

Readers' Pick: White Rock Dog Park

He invades our homes every night at 5, 6 and 10 on KTVT-TV (CBS 11) to give us the breaking and nonbreaking news of Dallas-Fort Worth. His smile and authoritative voice help the news go down easier, but what Dunbar does off the screen makes him one of the best. Last October, he headed to Kona, Hawaii, to compete in the IronMan Triathlon World Championship to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Not only did he complete the race in 14 hours, but he also raised more than $156,000 for the fight against blood cancers. Channel 11 followed him along the way as he met fellow racers — cancer warriors, cancer survivors and one who competed without arms. Dunbar says the race was the hardest day of his life and completely humbling.

Readers' Pick: Pete Delkus, WFAA

Dallas' spring saga, the federal corruption trial of County Commissioner John Wiley Price, would've been a lot harder to understand without the yeoman's work of KRLD reporter L.P. Phillips. Day after day, Phillips showed up to the Earle Cabell Federal Building downtown, updating KRLD's listeners throughout the day about the latest goings on in Dallas' trial of the decade. Austin York, Phillips' colleague at the station, is an essential resource for anyone in Dallas who wants a live window into the city's breaking news. While the station's opinion content, led by Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey's nightly show, leaves a lot to be desired, there is nowhere better than 1080 on your AM dial for a Dallas hard news fix.

Readers' Pick: KERA 90.1

Danny Gallagher

In 2017, the rest of Texas found out what Dallas has known for a long time: Krys Boyd, host of KERA's flagship midday program, Think, conducts some of the best interviews anywhere. The first hour of Boyd's show began airing in Texas' other big markets, including Houston, Austin and San Antonio, in January. Now, her lengthy interviews with big names from across the cultural, political and entertainment worlds are available to double the previous audience. New listeners will hear a host who's engaged, prepared and capable of eliciting candid responses from the most reticent guest. It's as good as lunchtime desk radio listening gets.

Readers' Pick: The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show

Kathy Tran

After two years in exile thanks to term limits, Dallas most entertaining City Council member is back at City Hall. Dwaine Caraway cruised to election over incumbent Carolyn Arnold in May, beating the woman he'd endorsed to take over his seat in 2015. This time around, Caraway promises that he'll help get a deck park built near the Dallas Zoo and that he'll continue the economic revitalization of council District 4 that he spurred during his previous four terms. Caraway's ascension means a return of showmanship and good humor to the council horseshoe, a welcome change for anyone who's sat through even one of Arnold's lectures.

Danielle Lirette

This spring, the Dallas City Council finally passed a cite-and-release policy for marijuana possession. The decision, which maintains the same penalties for marijuana possession while allowing those busted to respond to a summons rather than immediately head to jail, isn't perfect. It's not decriminalization or legalization. It is a start, however, one for which Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston fought for years. While getting busted for weed can still seriously screw up one's life, anyone given a citation has a fighting chance to get his or her affairs in order at home before a court date, rather than spending a night or two in jail.

Brian Maschino

For going on 20 years, to build or not to build — that was the question. Now we have an answer. The Trinity toll road, that six-lane behemoth that supposedly would relieve traffic congestion downtown (except it wouldn't), bring $1 billion in state and federal construction dollars to Dallas (not really), improve flood control (nope) and even raise the level of racial equality in southern Dallas (seriously, someone said that) has passed on to its final reward. The fulcrum of Dallas city politics was laid to rest by a City Council vote in August. Let us not mourn the toll road. Instead, shed a tear or two for the editorial writers, the bloggers, the internet commenters, the flacks and pols and consultants who bothered to learn what a charrette was, who educated themselves on traffic flows, toll financing, Alternative 3-C and complicated federal procedures for building a road that's now deader than disco. What on earth are they going to talk about now?

Harry Wilonsky

Only a particularly crass sort of person — that would be us — could find humor in the knowledge that the city of Dallas will spend $2 million to partially remove the Standing Wave, the pile of concrete that the same people who supported the Trinity toll road decided to toss into the Trinity River to create fake rapids for the entertainment of kayakers. Built for $4 million, the "whitewater feature" opened with much fanfare in 2011 — for one day. The city immediately shut it down when it figured out that its design had the unfortunate, unexpected side effect of likely killing anyone who tried to paddle through the supposedly safe bypass around the rapids. It sat in the river since then, unused, blocking canoeists, filling with silt and creating a slew of finger-pointing and legal threats among city staff until the City Council voted this spring to remove at least enough of the concrete so that canoeing Cub Scouts wouldn't be sent to Davy Jones' locker.

For Our Community

To hear his detractors tell it, District 14 City Councilman Philip Kingston is a dick. To his supporters, however, Kingston is better known as a dick. He's certainly no friend of Mayor Mike Rawlings, whom he recently called an "overgrown jackleg." (We looked it up. A jackleg is an unskilled, incompetent or dishonest person.) He also called the mayor an "ass-clown." (We didn't have to look that one up.) Kingston's temperament became the cornerstone of a campaign by a super-PAC called For Our Community, which raised more than $200,000 from Dallas' political old guard to support the mayor's allies on the council and unseat Kingston in his race against challenger Matt Wood. The result: The Dick trounced Wood, proving three things: Money isn't everything, East Dallas voters like their politicians to be dickish and Leo Durocher was right — nice guys finish last.

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