Today officially marks 1 full year that we’ve been living in Dallas. At this time 365 days ago, we were in the final stretch of our forever long cross-country drive. Seriously, have you ever driven through the entire state of Oklahoma alone? It’s pretty much torture. But, we eventually made it onto the busy highways that lead us to the new place we’d call home.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride, for sure. Coming from Ohio, it was quite the culture shock. And weather shock. And traffic shock. Pretty much, we spent the first few months in just shock. But before we even realized it, Dallas started to feel a little more like home. We started to find our favorites. We started talking about sections of town as if we’d grown up in them. We started re-building our lives. And while we still have a lot of exploring to do and lots of new friends we want to make (hiiiii — where are you?! let’s chat!), we’ve started to settle in.
Honestly, when we committed to making a move here, I had only been here one time for a friend’s birthday weekend, and my hubby had only seen the inside of the airport and hotel conference rooms for work – we had no idea what to expect, what to prepare for, or what to be excited about. So, in honor of our Dalliversary (totally not a word), I decided to put together a list of the top 10 things I love about Dallas. I read a stat recently that said around 300 new people are moving here PER DAY. C-R-A-Z-Y. That means there’s tons of people who are currently packing up their moving trucks, just like we did, and wondering what life will be like once they arrive. If that’s you, here are some of the things that helped this Midwest girl feel a little more at home.
1. Brunch is a lifestyle in Dallas
Brunch has become the basic girl’s main meal everywhere, but in Dallas, they take weekend brunch to a new level. Restaurants that don’t even open until 5 PM most days make an exception for weekend brunch. Pizza restaurants, Asian restaurants, 5 star steakhouses and everything in between get in on the brunch game around here. And because Dallas has literally thousands of restaurants, you’ll always find what you’re looking for, and even what you’re not looking for (those cinnamon rolls get me every dang time). Some of our favorite brunch spots are STIRR (get the cinnamon roll, always — pictured below), HG SPLY CO, Yolk, Up inspired kitchen, The Porch, Blue Mesa Grill (i.e. Mexican brunch buffet), and while they’re only open for a few holidays, The Ranch at Las Colinas has the most incredible brunch buffet.
2. Dallas desserts are ridiculous
You know the “would you rather” game? My most feared question is “would you rather have brunch or dessert if you could only have one for the rest of your life?”. Luckily, no one has forced me to choose, and most weekends, you’ll find me eating both. Since we just talked about brunch, let me share a little about the dessert scene here. It’s intense, insane, and absolutely perfect. When we first moved here, it took us awhile to find some favorite restaurants – but from the very first dessert, we’ve been chanting the same thing: “Dallas wins on dessert over and over and over again!” First of all, because there are so many different cultures represented, you’ll probably find things here you’ve never even heard of. Rolled ice cream? Customized vegan cinnamon rolls? Black charcoal ice cream? Yep, it’s a thing. Those of you who have been following my Insta for awhile know that Froyo used to be queen, and don’t get me wrong, she’s still my girl… but there’s so many incredible things here that need to be devoured before you can retreat back to your comfort zone, if you ever do at all. Some of our favorite dessert spots are Milk•Cream (a hot, amazing glazed donut stuffed with ice cream and topped with cereal. Don’t ask questions… just do it. Pictured below), Cinnaholic (could also be breakfast if you wake up craving sweets… or hungover), Azucar Ice Cream Company, Howdys Homemade Ice Cream (not only is it amazing, but they also provide employment for people with special needs. Their speciality is Dr. Pepper Chocolate Chip. Get it girl), and Yogurtland (because froyo is still always a really good idea).
3. The weather is 75% AMAZING
I grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to Ohio at the age of 18. My life has been filled with grey skies, winters that last too long, and springs and falls that are basically non-existent. Dallas is nothing like that. When we moved here last summer, we went an entire month without seeing rain. Most days, you can barely see a cloud in the sky and the sun seems to be out almost all the time. The winters are really pretty mild, and I’m pretty sure I only busted out my big North Face parka one time, and that’s only because I had just bought it the year before and wanted to find more reasons to wear it. Last year, we went to pick out of our Christmas tree in t-shirts and sunglasses (check out Walls Family Farms for a huge selection and free apple cider)! PRAISE! The downside; the summers are brutal. I can’t believe I’m saying it. Before we ever had plans to move to Texas, I had a 10 year dream of moving to Miami. People told me that I would grow to hate the heat, and as a girl who barely ever saw the sun, I would laugh in their faces. Now, after spending just 1 summer here in Dallas, I’m so ready for it to be over. But, with that being said, it’s easier for me to look forward to the high heats cooling down because I know they’re not cooling down down and I don’t have to dread those single degree digits and months without sun.
4. Even though Dallas has a lot of great stuff, it’s really easy to get out of town
When we lived in Columbus, it was pretty much a given that every flight we booked was going to be long, inconvenient, expensive, and possibly delayed or cancelled at least twice before we finally got outta town. Dallas is the exact opposite of that. With two airports, the flight availability here is ridiculous – in a good way. There’s so many airline options to choose from that we can almost always find an affordable flight at a desirable time. And since Dallas is such a major travel hub, if we do miss a flight or have a cancellation, they can almost always re-route us without too much hassle. Plus, there’s so many direct flights (even internationally) that layovers are mostly a thing of the past. PRO-TIP: the $85 for TSA Pre-Check is ALWAYS worth it.
5. Dallas is a second (or third) home to so many great things
So many cool, creative, inventive, talented entrepreneurs are either moving here, or came from here and they’re bringing their new concepts with them. I love living somewhere that has the newest things, and even though the concepts might exist one or two other places before arriving here, I still feel like I get to be among the first to try something new. So many “second locations” are opening up in Dallas after seeing success in their creator’s home town. Some of the places I mentioned in the brunch and dessert sections are second locations that we’re lucky enough to get our hands on, like Azucar Ice Cream Co (pictured), which was founded in Miami, and Yolk, which opened it’s first locations in Chicago. And even if we don’t get it first, or second, or even third – we eventually get it. There’s even a Gino’s East of Chicago Pizza here (thank God, because if it’s not deep dish, is it even pizza?)
6. There’s a festival for everything in Dallas
Sure, we don’t have Coachella or Lollapalooza (although we’re heading to Austin later this month for ACL, so stay tuned for that!) but we have tons of crazy creative fests happening all the time. Margarita festivals, slider festivals, hot air balloon festivals – there’s always something happening and it usually involves meeting a bunch of new people, eating something really amazing, and drinking a little too much. And the tickets for these events are usually pretty reasonably priced, which gives you something great to do on the weekends without breaking the bank. I usually find out about what’s going on around town through Facebook Events and Guide Live.
7. There’s always an event happening
I know this sounds similar to #6, but we’re not just talking about festivals here; I’m talking about anything and everything your little heart desires. Whatever you’re into, there’s something planned around it. Dallas has lots of people who left their families and friends behind when they moved here, so everyone is looking for connections, and most of us learned that as soon as we grew out of assigned lunch seats and college roommates, new friends can be hard to come by. But there’s so many ways to connect here; and it just starts with showing up! One of my favorite ways to meet new groups of ladies here in Dallas is through Instagram. I started following a lot local influencers and found out about events they were hosting. I signed up for their newsletters, and I made a point of forcing myself to go, alone, even though I had a mild panic attack in the car before getting out and forcing a smile. And then I actually started having fun, building connections, trying new things, and waving bye-bye to comfort zones. If you’re local to Dallas and you’re a blogger, check out my friend Rhonda’s Dallas Blogger Brunch and sign up for her newsletter so you can see what’s happening (honestly, I get 90% of the new information I have about Dallas from her weekly newsletter). If you’re into fitness and looking to meet new friends or try new things, follow Dallas Fitness Ambassadors on Instagram and sign-up for their newsletter too!
8. The Holiday Season in Dallas in GORGEOUS
I wasn’t anticipating the amount of dedication and electricity committed to lighting up Dallas for the holidays. There are so many different light displays to visit, holiday events, and places to see Santa (and his overly glitzy, Dallas style set-up). Some of our favorite places to visit in December are Galleria Mall (pictured below – they even have an indoor ice skating rink!), The Dallas Arboretum, The Deerfield Holiday Lights in Plano, and of course, the most glamorous display of houses and holiday lights you’ll ever see, Highland Park (and you can book a carriage ride that’s totally romantic and gram-worthy).
9. Dallas makes it on like every tour list
If you grew up in a big city, this one might not seem like that big of a deal for you, but for us Ohioans, this is pretty huge. Even when we lived in Columbus, it felt like a lot of our favorite up and coming comedians or musicians didn’t make a stop there. Here in Dallas, it’s pretty rare that you can’t find a tour date scheduled to see your favorite celeb do their thing. And even if Dallas doesn’t make the list, it’s almost certain that Austin will – which is a quick drive away!
10. There are so many diverse and interesting districts in Dallas
When we first moved here, we had no idea about anything, so we actually moved into a house in a suburb about 45 minutes north of Dallas.Totally nothing wrong with it, but it was quiet and mostly filled with families – if you know me, you’re laughing out loud right now about how out of place that puts me. I was frustrated, felt super lonely, and immediately started to regret the choice to move. But then we started exploring different areas, and I quickly realized what a difference a few miles in Dallas can make. There is somewhere that vibes with everyone and the key is simply finding it. If you’re planning a move here (or anywhere really), I would highly suggest spending some time exploring different parts of town; and not just the touristy attractions, but also the things you’ll be doing on the daily. Go into the local grocery stores – do they sell your favorite brand of yogurt? Drive around and see how long it takes you to find a movie theatre or a Nordstrom Rack or wherever else you frequent and make sure those places feel like home to you. Because as cool as it might be to live near the Reunion Tower or the park with all the food trucks, you’ll be so much happier if it’s not stressful and chaotic to do all really the small things that make up your really wonderful life.