They say living in Texas is like living in five different countries. There are the piney woods of East Texas, the rolling beauty of the Hill Country down south, the mountains of Big Bend even further south, the desert-like West Texas, and the grassy plains of the North. Whew! After living in Dallas for the better part of the last 7 years, however, I’ve also come to believe that the same thing can be said of living here.
There are suburbs of Dallas that are new and shiny, suburbs that are old and stylish, suburbs that are inexpensive, very expensive, and everywhere in between. When the time came for us to settle down we settled on Richardson, and tried to delve into everything this small city has to offer.
Here are a few snippits of wonderful things to experience in Richardson, whether you live here or are just driving through:
1. Aboca’s Italian Grill. This fantastic little Italian eatery is tucked in a shopping center on the service road southwest of the intersection of Belt Line and 75. The restaurant is small and gets very busy during dinner hours and on the weekends, but it is definitely well worth the wait. Come for an early lunch and you’ll even catch them kneading and shaping dough for the freshly-baked bread they serve tableside all day long (yummy!). Try the canneloni and make sure you save room for tiramisu for dessert!
2. The Heights Park. Nestled at the intersection of Arapaho and Floyd Rd., Heights Park is also right next to the Heights Recreation Center and sprayground. During the summer it’s important to know that the sprayground attached to the city pool is FREE–all you have to do is tell them you will not be swimming in the large pool and they will give you a wristband. The park itself has a tire swing, triple-deck play area for the older kids, and two smaller toddler play areas. In addition, there is a sprawling sand pit, and to top it all off there is a very shallow stream at the base of the back of the park that my kids LOVE to splash and jump across.
3. Richardson Public Library. With story time for ages 6 weeks all the way up to family events, the library really has something to offer to everyone. The children’s area is large with plenty of seating and chairs – my girls’ favorite is the blue Cadillac car seat that backs up to a picture window of the fountain. The grassy area behind the library also houses a wildflower field during spring, free concerts on the green during the summer, and a large Santa’s Village in December.
4. Sweet Firefly. [See Jamie’s review here] This place is amazing and so kid-friendly it doesn’t take much convincing for our whole family to go. In addition to the homemade ice cream there are candy shoppe style sweets (bacon and maple on a stick!), and to keep the kids entertained there is a large chalkboard and bins of toys just waiting to be played with!
5. 1/2 Price Books. Now I know it’s not nearly as large as my favorite flagship 1/2 Price Books on Northwest Highway, but for quick trips I prefer my local bookstore. Located on the service road north-east of Campbell Rd. and 75.
6. Whole Foods. This place is so tiny it makes you feel like you’re in a neighborhood market in some other part of the world, and while they may not have as much stock as some of their larger siblings in the DFW area the staff more than makes up for it with personality. My favorite reason to stop in are their delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies baked fresh in the bakery; egg-free so my oldest can have them, and good enough for mom to enjoy too. [If you’re leaning towards the “health” stores Richardson also boasts a Sprouts and Natural Grocers.]
7. Cottonwood Park. It’s home to an art festival two times a year, and a pond with little ducks the rest of the year. It also boasts a pretty walking trail, and is within walking distance itself to a Whole Foods, Starbucks, Jason’s Deli, Dollar Tree, and McDonald’s. [located just west of Beltline and Coit Rd.]
Wherever you live in Dallas, it’s so important to make your city your home. You can do this by supporting local businesses, planning playdates at the parks [which can be posted on Dallas Mom Blog’s Facebook page!!] and spreading the word to those around you.
Does anyone else have favorite spots in Richardson or the area of Dallas they live in?