Best Bowling Lanes 2017 | USA Bowl | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Hannah Ridings

In an era when some Dallas bowling haunts have become more club than alley, with wait times and prices to match, USA Bowl in Northwest Dallas sticks out for its simplicity. More than four dozen lanes, a decent pro shop and fair-to-horrible bowling alley food make for a decent way to spend a Saturday afternoon or a Tuesday morning, depending on your schedule. If you aren't worn out from all that rolling, USA Bowl boasts some stellar neighbors to visit after bowling as well — the Spearmint Rhino is right across the street.

Readers' Pick Bowlounge

Dallas Observer

At the risk of raising howls of outrage from Dallas' bike community, we're just gonna say it: There's a lot of snobbery and cliqueishness in the bike world. "Oh, you have derailleurs? My fixed-gear just seems more kind of the back-to-basics real thing." "Ah, still riding aluminum, eh? Well, maybe when you get serious, you can make the jump to carbon frame." "Carbon? I find it just doesn't have the same feel as my custom-made titanium beauty, hand welded by an artisan in Boulder." It's driven by gear lust, and it's why we once heard high-end bikes described as "a poor man's Porsche." No place in Dallas satiates gear lust better than Richardson Bike Mart, the perennial readers' favorite for best Dallas bike shop. The main shop on Campbell Road isn't the cheapest shop in town. It doesn't offer the personalized service of some of the smaller local joints. It's just so damn big. It has everything, from entry-level commuter bikes to recumbents to e-bikes on up to a $12,000 Trek Domane roadster with electric shifters. (Pedals sold separately. No kidding.) Neon spandex, ultralight and cool helmets, shoes that would make Manolo Blahnik envious — it's all there. Don't worry. You can get out of Richardson Bike Mart with a decent set of wheels and money in your pocket. But if you fall in love with the sport, you'll be back for more. So much more.

Readers' Pick: Richardson Bike Mart

Dallas Observer

The Dallas Morning News has exactly one sports columnist worth reading any time his byline crosses your Twitter feed. Bob Sturm, who also does great work for The Ticket, the Dallas Stars studio show and FC Dallas' local broadcasts, breaks down the Cowboys offense and defense in two columns each week during the season, in addition to providing commentary on prospects in the runup to the NFL draft. His writing is insightful, nerdy and still easy to read, perfect for anyone who wants to dive deeper into the Cowboys' performance every week. Even when he's wrong, and he rarely is, Sturm is perceptive. After panning Dak Prescott before the 2016 draft, Sturm had the good humor to eat some crow and try to figure out what he and the rest of the media missed about the new Cowboys star.

Readers' Pick Dale Hanson, WFAA


Our apologies to the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association ( and the fine work it does maintaining a large number of off-road trails in the area, but we're skinny-tire guys here. In fact, some of our staff members occasionally bike-commute to work, though to be honest, a good, solid mountain bike is needed to ride many of Dallas' poorly maintained streets. For our money (new rims cost a bundle), give us the good ol' White Rock Trail — not the part around the lake, necessarily, but the portion that runs from the north of the lake to Valley View Park north of LBJ Freeway. Its 9.3 miles aren't packed with pedestrians and strollers like Katy Trail, and it takes riders through native forest, past shopping plazas and under freeways, giving cyclists the full panorama of city living. That includes the grittier side — we've seen homeless guys bathing in the creek and one shaven-headed, shirtless soul lugging a 6-foot-tall cross on a freeway bridge embankment. Best yet, if you really want to put some miles on, you can connect to the Santa Fe Trail to downtown, or with a little backstreet maneuvering past Valley View Park or from the connecting Cottonwood Trail (watch out for homeless people's shopping carts), riders can reach Plano's extensive trail system, making it possible to ride from downtown to Frisco without fear of catching an SUV in the back.

Readers' Pick White Rock Lake

City of Arlington

In the natural bottomlands and prairies along the Trinity River in Arlington are 8 miles of paved hike and bike trails. The more than 1,000-acre park, much of which is shaded, is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., and its wooded areas are natural habitats to hundreds of species of wildlife, including bobcats, armadillos, raccoons, wild boars, snakes and turtles, which can often be spotted along the trail routes. Although not 100 percent complete, River Legacy Trails are part of the vision to link Dallas and Fort Worth via trail, says Michael Debrecht, park operations manager. "We are in the planning stages to extend our eastern portion to [State Highway] 360, where [Fort Worth] and Grand Prairie can then join and extend within their jurisdictions," he says.

Readers' Pick Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve

Early in its first-season run, The Doomsday Podcast got a bit of a shock when ESPN laid off co-host and longtime NFL reporter Ed Werder. What started out as an interesting but straightforward weekly look into the Cowboys added an intriguing layer of pathos as Werder's career was in limbo. For the first time in years, he isn't on ESPN, but he can't work anywhere else because the network continues to pay his contracted salary. He's only allowed to keep doing the podcast, he says, because he got the go-ahead before being laid off. Stir in the fantastic guests Werder and fellow host Matt Mosley have booked, including Dak Prescott, Jaylon Smith and Wade Phillips, and Doomsday has become an appointment download for fans of the Cowboys and pro football in general.

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott scored a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Dec. 18. After his two-yard run, Elliott ran through the back of the end zone and headed for the oversized Salvation Army kettle that the team displays during the holiday season. He hopped in, drawing a 15-yard penalty thanks to NFL's humorless anticelebration policy. The Cowboys came out unscathed, however, eventually winning the game 26-20. The real winner, however, was the Salvation Army. In the two days following Elliott's leap, the charity raised more than $800,000.

Dallas Observer

Over the last few seasons, FC Dallas, which, despite its name, inexplicably plays in Frisco, has built itself into an Major League Soccer juggernaut. Thanks to homegrown players like budding U.S. Men's National Team star Kellyn Acosta, during the last year, North Texas' professional soccer club has racked up a U.S. Open Cup, MLS Supporters Shield and Champions League semifinal appearance in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. By building from within, starting with a league-best youth system, FC Dallas has achieved sustainable, repeatable success in a league that is built to enforce and ensure parity. While MLS leaves a lot to be desired as a league, FC Dallas is as good a soccer club as exists in the United States.

While Reddit is often maligned, fairly, as the internet's bathroom wall, there are spaces on the sprawling link-sharing site that provide genuine community. One such subreddit is /r/Cowboys. /r/Cowboys is a happy place, full of goofy inside jokes like the deification of Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey and the shared experiences of a fan base that's gone more than 20 years without an NFC Championship game experience. The subreddit's members are often genuinely insightful about the latest tidbit of news out of Frisco, Arlington or Oxnard. Stop by whenever you need a quick look at the Cowboys universe.

Dallas Park & Recreation

The painful truth is that Dallas is terrible for disc golf and has earned its reputation for offering few places to play. BB Owen takes the prize for the city's best, beating out the one in Oak Cliff with drainage tunnels crowded with homeless people. Still, the short course is fun to play, and there are no pesky hills to wear you down in the heat. The flat terrain and straight holes are good for beginners and seasoned players who want to calibrate the range of their throws without impediment.

Readers' Pick Oak Cliff Founders Park

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