On a recent Reddit thread identifying the most generic big city in the United States, Dallas was mentioned several times. One user called Dallas “the largest city that lacks a soul in America.” Another user insisted it was “the most uninteresting city in the country” and that “once you’ve seen the 6th Floor Museum and eaten BBQ at Pecan Lodge, your [sic] done.” A third person claimed that “Dallas isn’t even really a city, rather a bunch of random people who decided to live close to one another and ignore each other while going to Panera.”
Anybody who thinks like that has bad taste.
These people are basically admitting that they have no friends, that Panera Bread is the only restaurant they go to, and that they lack enough original thought to be aware of anything in Dallas that isn’t already listed in every single tourist guidebook. They also have a severe lack of understanding of all the things that make Dallas great. After all, there’s a reason why the State Fair (the largest state fair in the U.S., by the way) has always been held here. Unlike certain cities, our entire culture doesn’t revolve around being weird. Instead, we have actual things for people to enjoy, such as our arts and culture, incredible neighborhoods, delicious food, and so much more.
Dallas is the country’s fourth most diverse city, and this diversity is evident through the wide range of ethnic food and cultural experiences available within the area. In Far North Dallas alone, you can try an array of niche cuisines, ranging from Uzbek to Salvadoran to Ethiopian. We have the biggest Laotian food scene in North America. We even invented the German Chocolate Cake and the frozen margarita machine. We might be known for our BBQ, but plant-based eaters need not beware; in 2019, PETA ranked Dallas the 7th-most vegan-friendly city in the U.S. (It was the only Texas city to make it on the list.) I’ll take that over mediocre breakfast tacos anytime.
Are you a movie buff? Check out the DFW South Asian Film Festival, which will celebrate its 8th anniversary this month. More of a modern dance person? The Dallas Black Dance Theatre is the city’s oldest continuously operating professional dance company. We also have a world-class opera and symphony. Dallas has the country’s largest arts district — with over 19 blocks of museums, venues, and galleries — and this iconic destination attracts over 4 million visitors each year. Neighborhoods like Deep Ellum and the Design District also help contribute to the city’s art scene through their well-known festivals and street art.
Speaking of Deep Ellum, this East Dallas neighborhood has a great live music scene, playing host throughout the year to numerous best-selling artists. Visit Oak Cliff for historic boulevards and buildings, including the movie theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and which now serves as a repertory cinema, showing dozens of cult classics each month. Or head over to Greenville Avenue, which is just 10 miles from UTD and offers numerous unique stores and trendy nightlife. On the other side of town, West Dallas and Trinity Groves are filled with innovative and award-winning restaurants.
All of these areas are easily accessible regardless of whether or not you have a car. DART might not meet your expectations if you’re from New York or DC, but it’s easily the best public transit system in Texas, with over 95 miles of metro rail, four lines, 60 stations, and three suburban train lines. In addition to Dallas, the system serves 12 other cities in North Texas. Take advantage of the free pass given to UTD students and hop on the train to the nearest city neighborhood — adventure awaits. Or you can be stuck in Houston rush hour traffic instead. The choice is yours.
If you’re looking to get back to nature instead, Dallas still has a lot for you — including the Great Trinity Forest, which is the largest urban forest in the country. The city also has 22,000 acres of parks and is surrounded by breathtaking rivers and nature preserves. If you’re willing to make a short (at least for Texas) drive to the suburbs, the Grapevine and Lewisville Lakes each attract numerous beachgoers during the summer. Cedar Hill State Park is only 10 miles southwest from downtown Dallas. Fair Park — the most visited attraction in Texas — has 7.5 acres of public gardens and a two-story butterfly exhibit, which you can enjoy when you aren’t checking out the numerous museums and performing arts venues.
Dallas is also the most cosmopolitan city in Texas. Neiman Marcus — which was once referred to by the former editor of Vogue as “the perfect store for women” — is headquartered here, and the flagship store continues to take up a city block downtown.
Finally, this isn’t technically part of Dallas, but no other city can boast anything like the DFW metroplex. Fort Worth — the 12th largest city in the country — is just 32 miles away; enjoy a glimpse of traditional Texan culture at the historic stockyards in the morning before spending your afternoon touring the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (where over 50% of American currency is printed). The DFW suburbs range from Frisco (home to seven professional sports teams) to UTD’s very own Richardson (recently ranked the ‘best foodie city’ in Texas). Whether you temporarily visit or live in Dallas itself or anywhere in the metroplex, you should be proud of your life decisions. After all, you have access to the best city in Texas.