Travel

8 Suburbs Near Dallas You Should Absolutely Visit

You could use a little space.

Courtesy of Visit Frisco, TX
Courtesy of Visit Frisco, TX
Courtesy of Visit Frisco, TX

Dallas offers residents and visitors plenty of fast-paced excitement, cultural diversity, an incredible arts scene, world-class restaurants, and a never-ending supply of fun things to do-especially now that things are getting a little bit back to normal. However, to never leave the city limits would deprive one of everything the many surrounding suburbs contribute to the overall North Texas experience. 

To put things in perspective, Dallas has a population of around 1.3 million people while the entire metroplex clocks in at more than 7.5 million. That’s a lot of suburban influence. So we’ve rounded up eight of the coolest suburbs in the region with much to offer if you know where to look. Who’s ready for a mini road trip? 

Courtesy of Texas Live
Courtesy of Texas Live
Courtesy of Texas Live

Arlington

20.7 miles from Downtown Dallas
Nicknamed the Entertainment Capital of North Texas-and for good reason-Arlington offers visitors practically limitless options for excitement. Six Flags Over Texas and across-the-freeway neighbor Hurricane Harbor provide the thrills, while Globe Life Field and AT&T Stadium showcase hometown teams Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys on their home turf, or you can tour either complex when matchups take place out of town. Or head over to Texas Live!, which brings in live music acts, as well as year-round consumption of tasty eats and thirst-quenching drinks at more than a dozen restaurants and bars in the same complex.

Courtesy of LSA BURGER
Courtesy of LSA BURGER
Courtesy of LSA BURGER

Denton

39.6 miles from Downtown Dallas
Once a rather sleepy little college town, Denton has grown up to become a legit destination for North Texas locals and out-of-towners alike, thanks in big part to its incredible live music scene. With one of the top music schools in the nation at the University of North Texas, there’s a constant influx of new talent to add to the iconic acts that have been performing for decades. One of the hippest spots to groove to some tunes is Dan’s Silverleaf, but you’ll find live music all over the city from intimate venues like Andy’s Bar or over a burger and killer chicken tenders at LSA Burger, both on the historic downtown courthouse square. And while you’re there, you must visit Paschall Bar (part of Andy’s), one of the greatest speakeasy-style venues in the entire region.

Courtesy of Dee Lincoln Prime
Courtesy of Dee Lincoln Prime
Courtesy of Dee Lincoln Prime

Frisco

27.3 miles from Downtown Dallas
Sports enthusiasts can get their fix on everything from football and basketball to hockey and the “other football” all within Frisco’s borders. Officially branded as Sports City USA, the city plays host to practice facilities for both the Dallas Cowboys (NFL) and Dallas Stars (NHL), as well as the home fields and courts of FC Dallas (MLS), the Frisco Roughriders (MiLB), and the Texas Legends (NBA G League). Because of all these athletic teams congregating in Frisco, businesses have built up around them, including the popular destination, The Star District. That’s where you can catch America’s team practicing, as well as 22 incredible dining options, including Frisco-only spots Dee Lincoln Prime, Sushi Marquee, and Cowboys Club. Of course, there’s always IKEA in town, too, if you feel like putting together a cabinet this weekend from 237 pieces.

Courtesy of Visit Grapevine
Courtesy of Visit Grapevine
Courtesy of Visit Grapevine

Grapevine

27.3 miles from Downtown Dallas
Even someone from another country could probably guess the main attraction of this city to the northwest of Dallas. If you’re playing along and guessed wine then you’re in luck. Texas ranks No. 5 in the nation for wine production and a small slice of that can be found right here with seven different wineries along Grapevine’s Urban Wine Trail. A duo of craft breweries round out the offering of booze-laden beverages created here and you can enjoy them during special adults-only excursions on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad throughout the year, too. And while you’re in town, make sure to visit the 8,000-acre Lake Grapevine for a beautiful change of scenery.

 MaryAnne Campbell/Shutterstock
MaryAnne Campbell/Shutterstock
MaryAnne Campbell/Shutterstock

Highland Village

32 miles from Downtown Dallas
Lake Lewisville, the largest lake in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, rewards visitors with 29,000 acres and 233 miles of shoreline for all varieties of watersports and Highland Village rests directly upon its shores. Fishing, boating, kayaking, and waterskiing all take full advantage of the lake itself or venture onto land for hiking, biking, relaxing on the beach, or camping overnight without having to make a long-distance drive. The lakeside Pilot Knoll Park makes for a great home base during your stay. 

Courtesy of Irving gondola
Courtesy of Irving gondola
Courtesy of Irving gondola

Irving

12.6 miles from Downtown Dallas
When a craving for Indian food strikes, you’ll discover dozens of options in Irving from all-vegan or vegetarian to meaty options galore from all regions of India. Spices of India is always a popular choice and a best bet when it comes to variety. One of the most unique experiences you can have this side of Venice can also be found in the Las Colinas section of Irving where Gondola Adventures takes you out on the canals for quick tours, as well as romantic sunset dinner cruises or early morning breakfast and brunch outings.  

Courtesy of Visit Plano
Courtesy of Visit Plano
Courtesy of Visit Plano

Plano

19.1 miles from Downtown Dallas
When summer rolls around and you need some serious cooling off, check out the immediately recognizable Texas Pool, a 168,000-gallon oasis shaped like the Lone Star State. You’ll find it on the National Register of Historic Places and memberships for the season can be purchased or you can opt for a $10 day pass if you’re only rolling through town. Either way, you’ll be able to brag (and cause a bit of confusion) on social media when you boast that you just swam across Texas. Squeeze in a visit to Oak Point Park, too, where you can kayak, hike, or head high into the tree line for adventure courses and zip lining. 

Courtesy of DFW Chinatown
Courtesy of DFW Chinatown
Courtesy of DFW Chinatown

Richardson

13.5 miles from Downtown Dallas
Unlike Houston, which has an actual Chinatown that spans nearly 3 square miles, Dallas has smaller pockets of fantastic Asian restaurants and retailers in numerous suburbs. One of our favorites, however, can be found in Richardson. Funny enough, they’ve named one particular shopping center DFW China Town, so it sounds like we have a full district when it’s really only a collection of businesses, almost entirely restaurants. That doesn’t diminish what you can find here, however. Some of the best Asian fare we’ve ever eaten locally can be found in popular spots including Jeng Chi (Taiwanese, Chinese), Maru Ramen (Japanese), Pho Que Huong (Vietnamese), Royal Sichuan (Chinese Sichuan), and Tofu Factory (Korean). You can also find a variety of culinary treasures at Good Fortune Supermarket, which might be smaller than some of the Asian grocery megastores in North Texas, but you’ll benefit from an easier-to-navigate experience.

Steven Lindsey is a Thrillist Contributor.

Travel

This Beautiful Region of Patagonia Was Devastated By Wildfires This Month

ATicuS/Moment Open/Getty Images
ATicuS/Moment Open/Getty Images
ATicuS/Moment Open/Getty Images

I moved from the suburbs of Michigan to Argentine Patagonia in 2009, and haven’t regretted it a single day since. My three kids grew up climbing ancient knotty ñire trees, swimming alongside massive trout in transparent glacial rivers, gathering walnuts in autumn and shelling them by the woodstove. Days are spent working in the garden and enjoying long, leisurely lunches with neighbors. The surreal natural beauty that surrounds my little adobe home in El Bolsón, not too far from the legendary road trip Route 40, is astounding.

But it is the kind and welcoming community I appreciate most. Twelve years ago, as a newcomer who barely spoke Spanish, my neighbors were inviting me to asados and sharing holiday traditions in no time. I’ve gotten close to this community by teaching English, hosting seed exchanges, receiving guests on my land for meditation and sacred medicine retreats, and collaborating with the indigenous Mapuche to study native medicinal plants.

Earlier this month, I sat on my roof in absolute shock to watch over 75,000 acres of pristine Patagonian forest get completely devoured by wildfire. The flames destroyed close to 300 homes and left over 1,000 of my Patagonian neighbors without shelter. The latest fire, on March 9, moved in so fast and was so widespread that it is estimated to have burned 2.5 acres every 3.5 seconds. The local Golondrinas Fire Station burned to the ground. 

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Argentina
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Argentina
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Argentina

There is no home insurance in this rural area; many live in humble dwellings that took years to build with their own hands, heated by wood collected on their land, nourished by food from their own gardens and livestock. Many of those people are now living in tents made from a few sticks and black plastic, as the harsh Patagonian winter fast approaches.

There’s my neighbor Juan who, when he realized he had no escape route from the encroaching flames, managed to hide with two small children in a pool of water. There’s Marcelo the mechanic, who had to be dragged off his land by firefighters because he was trying to move as many clients’ vehicles as possible until the very last second. There’s “man-of-few-words” Pablo, who held back tears as he gave me a tour of the home he built 20 years ago, now reduced to rubble and ash.

While donations of clothing and household items have poured in from around the country, the government’s promises to send aid have yet to materialize. There has been next to no news coverage of the crisis, and I have yet to find any non-profit organizations mobilizing to help these communities. As part of the grassroots effort here, I am working with a team of volunteer professional builders who are on the ground every day, getting up as many structures as possible to house young families and the elderly. They offer their time, their tools, and their skillset, but they need roofing, insulation, water tanks, and wood stoves. I am soliciting donations and posting updates on our building progress on Instagram.

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Argentina
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Argentina
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Argentina

Meanwhile, volunteer firefighters have been going in on motorcycle and horseback, often with nothing more than some water in a backpack and hand tools. A local GoFundMe hopes to outfit at least one volunteer fire brigade with necessary equipment such as VHF handheld radios, fire pump backpacks, quality boots, fire-retardant suits, gloves, and goggles. 

Our community is already thinking ahead to reforestation efforts, with plans to disperse thousands of “seed bombs” in the style of Japanese agriculturalist Masanobu Fukuoka, filled with the seeds of native trees and wildflowers. Fruit and nut trees will be planted this autumn which, in a few years’ time, will replenish the orchards so many families depend on for food.

If you’d like to donate to one of the international NGOs working here in Argentina, the Tompkins Conservation does great work in ecological restoration throughout Patagonia, and Fundacion Vida Silvestre also works in local conservation. Patagonia is a natural wonderland filled with residents who routinely welcome visitors with open arms, yerba mate, and a traditional asado whenever they get the chance. I only hope that we can spread awareness, support, and appreciation for the stewards of this supremely beautiful land.

Cathy Brown splits her time between traveling the globe writing for Lonely Planet and CNN, working with Indigenous rights in the Brazilian Amazon, and hanging out at home in her garden and hosting permaculture and medicinal plant retreats. 

For more information on how you can help the Patagonian community recover from these devastating wildfires, write to cathybrown2100@gmail.com or send her a message through Instagram.

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