Part 2 - 99 More Things About North Texas (The 'We Live Here Now' Edition)

Even more North Texas lessons we’ve learned after living here a few years

March 21, 2017
Last week we gave you Part 1 of our second 99 Things About North Texas list. That was all about food. Here in Part 2, we get down with the family fun and quirky facts about Toyota's new home.  So, here you go. Nos. 29-65:

No Boring Weekends Here

29. There is a 36-block pedestrian tunnel system beneath Downtown Dallas. A former mayor once called it “the worst urban planning decision that Dallas has ever made.” Life has emerged above ground now, but the tunnels are still accessible.
30. Dealey Plaza is a tourist’s first stop in Dallas, and it shows. The site of the Kennedy assassination is always buzzing with out-of-towners, some whom apparently think it’s a good idea to get their picture taken on the “x” in the middle of Elm Street that marks the spot where Kennedy was killed. Of course, Elm is still a major downtown street, so that makes things interesting.
31. The Texas Theater, where Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended, is still open for business. They show campy films and host events in total throwback fashion. 

32. The Dallas Arboretum (above and top) is awesome. Go there.
33. Go to the annual Taco Libre Taco Festival at Main Street Gardens Park in the east end of the Main Street District downtown. It’s annual, and the tacos are delicious and cheap ($2), and there’s luche libre wrestling and Mexican bands performing. It’s on April 29 this year.
34. But really, Main Street Gardens hosts festivals throughout the year, including concerts from local and national artists.
35. The Katy Trail biking and walking trail stretches from SMU south to the American Airlines Center – following the same route as the original Katy Trail railroad. While you’re there, make a stop along the way at Katy Trail Ice House in Uptown for some outdoor food and drink.
36. Dallas now has a WNBA team. The Dallas Wings are about to begin their second season after relocating from Tulsa. The team has a championship history, too, having won two NBA titles last decade as the Detroit Shock. The Wings play at the College Park Center at the University of Dallas at Arlington.


37. Pin Stack, a bowling alley in Plano, has a rock climbing wall inside of it (above).
38. Billy Bob’s Texas is a concert venue mixed with a pool hall and dance floor in Fort Worth. Singers like Terri Clark and LeAnn Rimes have performed there recently.
39. Billy Bob’s also features calf fries, which come from a very special part of a cow. Known in other regions as Rocky Mountain Oysters.
40. Golf your game? The Golf Center at the Highlands in Richardson is a good place to work on it.
41. Here's another money-saver: See still-in-theater movies at the Cinemark 10 in Plano for a buck a ticket.
42. Movie buffs will also love the McKinney Classic Film Festival in September. Last year, Mary Badham (aka Scout) made an appearance before a screening of "To Kill a Mockingbird."
43. Searching for solitude? The Roy and Helen Hall Memorial Library just off McKinney's historic square fits the bill.


44. B.F. Phillips Community Park in Frisco (above) is a sporting paradise. It features fields for just about every sport, a disc golf course, bike trails, hiking trails and a dog park.
45. There's a quirky and quaint farmer's market at Chestnut Square in McKinney 8 a.m.-noon every Saturday.
46. Go out on a limb and release your inner Tarzan out on the ropes course and zip lines at Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course in in Plano’s Oak Point Park. This two- to three-hour activity takes you through the tree tops while equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabiners.
47. Cousin’s Paintball in Forney runs special Zombie Safaris around Halloween. Ride a Zombie Response Vehicle and save society by shooting the attacking zombies. It’s a long drive for a short stint, but pretty awesome nonetheless.
48. Looking for nature (even if it’s man made?) Drive an hour north of Plano to Lake Texoma. How’d it get its name? Well, the lake divides Texas and Oklahoma. So that solves that mystery.


49. The Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine annually features a breathtaking ice sculpture exhibit (above). The 2015-2016 theme was “Christmas Around the World,” and included more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures.
50. Every September Plano hosts its Balloon Festival in massive Oak Point Park. The family-friendly event features hot air balloons, concerts, fireworks and of course, corn dogs. Although cool to see, it’s hot. As in Texas hot. An alternative is to watch the “glow” after the sun goes down.


51. Hope Park in Frisco is a 15,000-square foot playground designed as place for children with special needs to play alongside their peers. It has specially designed swings, sensory-rich features, accessible structures and ramps for wheelchairs. It’s fun for kids of all abilities. Awesome!
52. Get the kids cooking up some fun and delicious dishes at Young Chefs Academy in Frisco. The place has a brightly colored kitchen and offers cooking classes, camps, birthday parties for kids—ages three through teens.
53. See the work of Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. Just 40 minutes from Plano, the museum has a respectable permanent collection of modern art.

Serene Entrance -- In the downtown Dallas arts district, the entrance of the Crow Collection of Asian Art offers a calming presence in a fast-paced area. 

54. In the Dallas Arts District, you’ll find the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Crow Collection of Asian Art all directly across the street from each other
55. Raymond Nasher and his wife Patsy founded the Nasher Sculpture Center where visitors can view exquisite sculptures from artists past and present in Downtown Dallas.
56. The Nasher family also founded the popular North Park Mall in 1965, where they incorporated their passion for art by displaying large sculptures and modern designs throughout the Dallas mall.
57. The annual Deep Ellum Arts Festival is an eclectic take on local arts culture in one of Dallas’ trendiest neighborhoods.
58. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lower Greenville is just as much fun as any St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Sadly, It happened last week. So you’ll have to wait until next year.
59. Allen Station Park in, well, Allen, includes baseball and softball fields, a playground, trails, a concrete skate park, bmx track, roller hockey rinks and a state-of-the-art wakeboard park.


60. Go to the Frisco Gun Club (above), the perfect and safest environment to shoot some guns you’ve only seen in movies.
61. Go to Old Town McKinney and step back in time to what looks like a backlot set from Universal Studios. Enjoy restaurants, shops and people watching.
62. Watter’s Creek at Montgomery Farm, an outdoor mall in Allen, hosts the Concerts by the Creek series where live bands perform every Saturday from 7-9 p.m. Watter’s Creek also has pet adoptions on Saturdays and arts and crafts festivals in the spring.
63. The Bomb Factory venue in Deep Ellum was resurrected after Trees owner Clint Barlow wanted to renovate the concert hall, which, at its height in the mid-90s, hosted shows for Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Phish and the Ramones.


64. You can’t help but feel the rush of indoor skydiving at iFly (above). But the best part? You don’t have to be strapped to your instructor…and it’s super close to our new HQ campus.
65. Go back in time at Free Play Arcade in Richardson to experience over 60 retro, classic arcade games.

66. If you want a great view of downtown Dallas (and about 100 miles in any other direction), Reunion Tower is the place to be. It’s the big sphere on top of the stick and it lights up at night. You can take an 80-second elevator ride to the top and pretty much see Oklahoma from the top. 

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