You know the expression, “You just have to be there.” Well, Dallas is kind of like that. You really have to live here to understand its unique, bigger-is-better attitude.
Just like any city, it has its idiosyncratic quirks — some of which involve football and fried food basically being a love language. Of course, the Big D isn’t too pretentious (only a little bit pretentious) to not make fun of some of these quirks.
So, we’ll join in the fun with our own roster of things that will definitely happen to you when you’re there — here — in the Lone Star State.
Important: This list is only a list. It is not intended for serious consumption. Dallas was not harmed in the making of this list.
You’ll learn that the real cowboys are the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite the stereotype, Dallas really doesn’t have many cowboy hats, belt buckles, and chaps wandering around. You have to go to Fort Worth for that. That said, if you don’t call yourself a Dallas Cowboys football fan, you might as well go back home.
You’ll finally understand what the “Who Shot J.R.” Southfork Ranch buzz is all about.
The (other) famous white house was the star of that ’80s show Dallas that your parents watched, and the remake by the same name that you maybe watched on TNT. Maybe not.
You will use brunch as a verb.
Yes, on the weekends, you brunch — or #brunchsohard. It’s a mandatory social thing, and after all the brunch-y see and be seen action, you may or may not actually get around to eating the food. You will drink a lot of mimosas, though.
Everyone will give you a hug.
If you’re not a hugger, the struggle will be real for you. Yes, even people you just met — from business meetings to the bar — will be “huggers.” You will eventually perfect the faux side hug that’s basically the equivalent of an air kiss. All style, no substance.
90 degrees will feel like a cold front.
When the blistering sauna of summer temps is on its nth day of 110-plus degrees, you’ll be ready to pull out the parka when the mercury goes back down to a chill 90. Heck, you may even hang out outside — with a popsicle that won’t melt immediately — or go for a run. Because, it’s only 90 degrees.
You’ll become an indoors-y type.
Being outdoors really does mean a good patio here. We hate to break it to you, but in the absence of mountains, oceans, forests, and trees at your doorstep, it’s hard to get motivated to really embrace the great outdoors. Sure, you can find some parks and hiking trails and, of course, White Rock Lake. But, you’ll probably hibernate inside or, at the very most, find that patio or deck for brunch instead. Plus, the summers are no joke.
The A/C is summer’s hottest accessory.
Speaking of those summers, you won’t appreciate anything so much as your air conditioner. Wait until it breaks, and you’ll see why you’d trade all your Louboutins for a shot of cold air.
You’ll learn that everyone is a reality TV show star or almost-star.
We're going on Season 3 of Real Housewives of Dallas. Enough said. You might even see them filming around town. You’ll probably also see The Bachelor Jake Pavelka wandering around — maybe single, maybe attached… who really knows. You might even see The Bachelorette beauty Rachel Lindsay with her main squeeze. We won’t even begin to list the number of Bravo Top Chefs, Food Network famers, and singing competition contestants from around these parts. What can we say, Dallas loves its 15 minutes of fame.
Going north of 635 is unthinkable for many hardcore Dallasites.
Even though the world is an oyster of possibilities with so many restaurants, shopping, and entertainment complexes springing up in Plano, Frisco, and beyond, perish the thought of traversing past 635 a.k.a LBJ Freeway. It is pretty much a non-negotiable for many Dallas o.g. dwellers.
You’ll learn Dallas is a very small world.
It's a small world after all... especially here. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex may be a big, spread-out city with suburbs galore, but those in the Uptown and Downtown areas of the Big D learn very quickly that they are in fact living in a very tight bubble. You’ll run into people you know, people you work with, people you’ve dated, people your friends have dated, people you’ve swiped left on. All of this small world-ness can be good or not-so-good. Or, just awkward.
Valet parking will become your new best friend — so will Uber.
If you like to self-park, you’ll learn very quickly that it’s not an option. The parking lot can be 10 feet from the place you’re going — with tons of empty spaces to be had — and you’ll still wait in the valet line. So close, but so far away. You'll eventually just Uber, because it's easier.
Guac and chips will become a staple — really, anything Tex-Mex.
If you’re not having a love affair with guacamole and chips, you’re going to feel very left out. Dallasites are made of tortillas and tamales with margaritas running through their veins — and the sheer number of Tex-Mex hotspots is testament to that fact.
You’ll forget how to drive in the ice and snow.
Once in a blue moon, an arctic blast hits the metroplex — meaning, a couple of snowflakes touch down with flurries spotted in the distance. The entire city will shut down, which is good news if you want a day off and bad news if you want to keep your snow-and-ice driving skills.
There are a lot of $30,000 millionaires.
The trick is to learn the difference between the faux ones and the for-real ones. And, no, you cannot judge them by the flashiness of their cars (or suits).
You’ll need a car.
Despite DART’s best efforts, there’s really no public transportation to speak of that will effectively get you from point A to point B, C, and D — and Dallas is really spread out, anyway. You’ll be driving unless you live a very sheltered life and don’t ever go anywhere.
You’ll have a love-hate relationship with Texas-OU weekend.
One of the longest running Dallas (and Texas) traditions is the Red River Showdown when the Texas-OU college football teams face off at the Cotton Bowl in October. It's been happening since 1900, so there's no going back now. The city will be a sea of burnt orange (Longhorn) and red (Boomer Sooner) team colors everywhere you turn. All the bars will be packed with fans. You can pretend you care which team wins.
You’ll get your art on.
Dallas is home to the largest contiguous urban arts district in the United States, making it easy to scope out everything from paintings and sculpture, to symphonies, theater shows, and other live performances along with block parties and events.
You’ll find out that people are pretty... really pretty.
Dallas is chock-full of all the pretties and hot young — and young-ish — things. Yes, we said it. You were already thinking it anyway.
You’ll start using y’all, even though you swore you never would.
The first time you say it, you might throw up in your mouth a little bit. It’s okay, it gets better. And, really, let’s face it — it’s so much easier than using proper English.
Fried food will take on all new meaning when you go to the State Fair of Texas (and you will go).
French fries are so last century. Thanks to the State Fair of Texas, everything from bacon, to beer, to bubblegum gets deep fried, refried, and fried again with new flash-in-the-pan faves (and flops) every year. You may say you're going to the fair for the Ferris wheel and Big Tex, but we know it's the Deep Fried Bodacious Bacon Bombs that are really calling your name.
You’ll Instagram a photo with the B & G letters.
Because everything’s bigger in Dallas including these larger-than-life B & Gs that are placed all over the city. You have to do it for the ’gram. Because you’re in Dallas now.
You’ll do anything to stay cool during the endless summer — literally.
If you venture outside, you’ll engage in anything from organized water balloon fights, to pool clubs with the kitschy unicorn and swan floats, to running through fountains. It’s all about chilling out — and looking damn good while doing it.
You’ll develop a love for BBQ.
The smoky wonderland of flavors is a mainstay in the Lone Star State — including Dallas. After all, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was founded in Dallas, way back in 1941. Now, the hottest kids on the butcher block are the independent smoke shops that send out their secret sauces and rubs on everything from ribs, to brisket, and burnt ends. If you’re not into ’cue, just don’t tell anyone. Really.
You’ll be proud of the pretty skyline.
Daytime views are fine, but what you’ll really learn is that Dallas shines most brightly when the sun goes down, and the skyline gets lit with a compelling mix of shapes, colors, and landmarks. You’ll probably even find an opportunity to take a photo with it.
"Keeping up with the Joneses" has a double meaning.
The grass is always greener on the Cowboys football turf. And, you will feel compelled to not only keep up appearances, but us keep up with Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys empire — and all the latest news and scores — even if you couldn't care less.
You will finally understand what split-personality weather really means.
Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change.” It’s true. From sunny skies to scary storms, the forecast can flip in an instant. Bring the rain boots.
You will miss the seasons.
Okay, so it’s not as season-less as some other places. But, the summers can seem endless at times, with precious little time for spring and fall. And, if you do like a white Christmas, you will probably have to go somewhere else to build a legit snowman.
You will pay to take an elevator up to the ball in the sky.
Reunion Tower may be one of most tourist-y things you can do in Dallas. But since you live here now, you will feel compelled to pay the admission price and experience it yourself. Cliché or not, the 360-degree views from the GeO-Deck, perched high in the sky, are pretty amazing.
You’ll drink a lot of margaritas.
As the “unofficial” drink of Dallas, the margarita is everyone’s order. The frozen margarita machine was even invented here in 1971 by restaurateur Mariano Martinez. For the best margs around, the city has a Margarita Mile app for that — to toast the many places slinging the cocktail in all its frosty, frozen, salt-rimmed, and spiked variations.
Tacos will become your love language.
Because, they are so delicious. And, in Dallas, they are eaten morning, noon, and night — oh, and after midnight, too... hello, Velvet Taco. Because, tacos are the bomb, and they are included on almost any restaurant's menu in the city.
You’ll learn you’re not the only one.
More and more transplants from other cities have made Dallas their second (or third, or fourth) home. The rarer types are the born-and bred Dallasites. We’re a vanishing breed.