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Wanderlust: Dallas

The following is a guest post by my dear friend and former college roommate, Rachel Johnson. She’s the Director of Project Development for the Touch A Life Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of exploited and trafficked children in West Africa and Southeast Asia. She lives in Dallas, TX—hence her expertise on the city—and can be found blogging at Through Painted Deserts.

I was anxious to move to Dallas from Los Angeles when the opportunity presented itself nearly four years ago—I had never set foot in the Lone Star State. Was it everything it was cracked up to be? And, specifically, was Dallas a place I could call home? Looking back now, I know God had a very intentional plan for me and my life, and that the amazing city of Dallas was meant to play an integral role in who I became and what I pursued.

This town has become one of my most favorites in the world, and here are a few reasons why:

White Rock Lake
I have a serious affinity for White Rock Lake, a beautiful body of water surrounded by 10 miles of biking and running paths. It is the perfect place for a jog, a romantic picnic (which was just the setting when my fiancé proposed to me there a few weeks ago!), an afternoon stand-up paddleboarding adventure, or a walk with your furry friend.

Good 2 Go Taco
It seems that a new taco spot opens up in Dallas every single day, making it so hard to choose where to go for my next fix. Seriously, there are too many great choices—Velvet Taco, Urban Taco, Taco Joint, Rusty Taco…the list goes on and on. But Good 2 Go Taco was the first of its kind to steal my heart, and it’s the perfect place to go for breakfast or lunch when you’re visiting the Big D. The combinations are incredible (think scrambled eggs paired with goat cheese, spinach, and honey-chile bacon, or sweet potatoes drizzled in honey butter and served with spicy chorizo, all wrapped up in your choice of a corn or flour tortilla), the coffee is divine, and the venue is low-key and relaxing.

Bishop Arts District
The Bishop Arts District has truly unfolded since I moved here in 2009. What was once a quiet neighborhood is now a lovely, bustling part of town, full of creativity and great food and excellent people watching. This darling area, located in Oak Cliff, is a great place to peruse on a sunny afternoon. The streets are lined with wonderful restaurants (I love Oddfellows), fun shops (We Are 1976 is a favorite), and cute places to duck into for a sweet treat (I adore Emporium Pies and Dude, Sweet Chocolate).

Mudsmith Coffee
Mudsmith’s coffee could easily stand on its own (the shop serves the delicious Fourbarrel variety) but when the owners decided to sell locally brewed beer (fresh from the tap!) and wine at the store as well, they were really onto something. Pick up a freshly baked pastry (sometimes Hypnotic Donuts makes a tasty appearance on Mudsmith’s menu), select the beverage of your choice, and settle in with a good book. Mudsmith’s décor has a ranch-style flair, complete with enormous vaulted ceilings, worn leather chairs, and a variety of taxidermied treasures, so you’re sure to feel transported to a place of comfort.

The Sixth Floor Museum
While Dallas has so many incredible cultural spots to visit (I absolutely love the Nasher Sculpture Center, and I can’t wait to check out the Perot Museum of Nature and Science), I think The Sixth Floor Museum tops my list. This building is located in the warehouse formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository, the very spot from where Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with shooting and assassinating President John F. Kennedy. The fascinating exhibit chronicles JFK’s legacy in the White House leading up to his murder and the various theories associated with the reason for his death. The museum is open daily, and the $16 admission price includes a super informative audio tour that really enhances the overall experience.

Mi Cocina
No post about Dallas would be complete without a shout-out to some culinary Tex-Mex goodness. Like with the taco conundrum, there are plenty of fantastic Mexican restaurants in town, making it difficult to choose where to go on a given night, but I always ultimately find myself craving Mi Cocina’s chicken fajitas, chips with queso, and Mambo Taxis (a genius combination of a frozen margarita + sangria—I always order mine with plenty of salt on the rim for an extra kick). Really, there’s no meal better than that.

Have you been to Dallas? Where are some of your favorite spots?

Top image via Google search (graphics added by me); other images provided by Rachel.

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