JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH WENDY PAPPAS FROM ARLINGTON, TEXAS !
Wendy Pappas is a mom, wife, travel blogger, horticulturist, and arborist. She lives in Arlington, Texas but is from the Ozark Mountain area of Arkansas. Her love of travel developed when she was in college and did her horticulture internship in Pitlochry, Scotland. She is the person behind My Wonderful Walk which helps others with travel, hiking, and gardening tips.
Arlington is the seventh-largest city in Texas and the 50th largest city in the United States. Centrally located between Dallas and FortWorth, Arlington is named on the home of General Robert E. Lee i.e. the city of Arlington in Virginia. There Are Actually 21 Places in the US Named Arlington.
Arlington is perhaps best known for its recreational and sports attractions, the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park and the world famous baseball team called the Texas Rangers.
The University of Texas at Arlington is a public research university located in Arlington, Texas. Kalpana Chawla, an american astronaut with Indian descent is one of UTA’s most celebrated graduates who perished when the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart.
When is the best time to visit Arlington?
Anytime is great to visit Arlington. We have fun things to do all year long.
In Spring we have baseball season with The Texas Rangers, in Summer we have Hurricane Harbor water park, in Fall/Winter there’s football season with The Dallas Cowboys, and Winter also has Christmas parades, plays, and Christkindl Market. With the new Texas Live, located next to Globe Life Park (Ranger Stadium) and AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium), there are concerts, restaurants, and a central area the has a 100-ft LED HD TV that plays sports from around the world.
All of this coupled with the fact that Arlington now has the largest ESports arena in the United States, makes Arlington a great place to visit anytime.
Which is the most convenient and favored transport of Arlington?
The DFW international airport is only 15 minutes from Arlington. From the airport a taxi, Lyft or Uber is available. The best way to get around is a car.
There is also a Via. All you do is download the app and it will pick you up and take you to the Downtown area, UTA, Entertainment district, the Parks Mall, the Highlands shopping area or to the Centreport TRE Station. All of this for only $3 a ride or $10 for a week pass.
What are the top three must visit places in Arlington?
There is so much to see and do in Arlington, it is hard to narrow it down to 3 places, but I will try.
Take a tour of the AT&T Stadium. This is the world’s largest domed structure. A visitor can explore the art museum or go on the field and throw a ball around like The Dallas Cowboys. The Stadium offers tours daily when there are not other events scheduled. They offer 5 different types of tours. These tours range from an art tour, educational, VIP, self guided or Rally Days where fans can go on the field a day before a Cowboys home game and get a behind the scenes tour.
If you are looking for family fun and adventure, Six Flags Over Texas is right for you. The amusement park has almost 50 rides for all level of riders, from small children to thrill seekers. The new El Diablo ride is the world’s largest loop coaster. If you are not into rides they also host family friendly shows throughout the day along with a meet and photo opt with Looney Tunes characters. They also have local bands, events throughout the year, and tons of places to eat and shop. If you happen to go during Halloween then get ready for some frights with Fright Fest. This is my family’s favorite time to go to Six Flags. At night the park transforms into a screaming good time with frights around every corner and haunting mazes.
The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts is an outdoor concert venue. This venue has free concerts under the stars. They offer over 50 free concerts a year, in the Summer it is May 21st through July 21st and in the Fall it is August 30th through October 20th. They have a paid benefit concert once a year. The acts that have performed at the venue include Asleep at the Wheel, Brave Combo, Pentatonix, Soul Asylum, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Loggins, The Doobie Brothers, Barenaked Ladies, and The B52’s just to name a few. They also have tons of local bands.
The Levitt Pavilion attracts more than 103,000 people from 5 different countries and 24 different states. It is BYOB and food friendly, no glass containers, just bring your blanket and sit on the lawn. If you do not bring your own food and beverage don’t worry, one of Arlington’s oldest and most iconic restaurants J Gilligan’s is there serving food and drinks.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Arlington?
Very close to Arlington is Dallas and Fort Worth. These are less than 20 minutes away.
Dallas has so much to see and do.
The Reunion Tower is 470 feet high. Visitors get a 360 degree view of Dallas, from the Geo-Deck. The Tower has interactive touch screens that will let you know about hidden gems all over the city. It will also tell you about historical landmarks, parks, and museums. When you are finished head outside for the real view of Dallas. Here visitors can walk all the way around the platform and get a true 360 view of the city. The sites are breathtaking. You can even see the AT&T Stadium.
The Sixth Floor Museum is at Dealey Plaza which is now a park and a sad park of Dallas history. As most know this is where President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot. You can stroll around the park and then visit the museum. The Museum is actually on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. The museum goes into the tiniest details of JFK’s assassination. There are over 400 photos along with video account of the tragic event. The most popular section of the building is the area that Lee Harvey Oswald actually shot from.
The Arboretum is on White Rock Lake. This makes a beautiful background for this incredible garden. The Arboretum is on 66 acres. The property was originally the home of geophysicist Everette Lee DeGolyer and his wife. The home that is still on the garden grounds is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Spanish style home is 22,000 sqft with all of the bedrooms opening to a central courtyard. The grounds were originally 44 acres, but with the addition of the Alex and Roberta Coke Camp estate, the grounds were increased to the 66 acres that they are now. There are many different gardens to see, even a children’s garden with interactive activities for kids. This is the perfect place to spend the day or catch a concert at night.
Dallas has tons of other activities including Street Art, clubs, restaurants and bars in the Iconic Deep Ellum area. Visit Museums like the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas Museum of Art, Old Red Museum, Frontiers of Flight Museum, and there are many more. Also, visit some wonderful parks, including Klyde Warren park which sits over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. At this linear park enjoy tons of food trucks, morning yoga, or just a stroll through the park.
Fort Worth also has tons to see and do.
The Stockyards is a National Historic District, it’s like stepping back in time. The Stockyards still has the original brick walkways and even the old wooden corrals. Here visitors can see an old west cattle drive with real Texas Longhorn cows. Take a guided tour and learn the history of the stockyards or if you’re brave enough take the Ghost Tour, not only learn the history of the stockyard but also the ghosts that reside here. There is also loads of places to eat, over 20 restaurants. One of the most famous is Billy Bob’s, they have bull riding and concert’s along with great food. The Stockyards also has over 40 shops and even a train that will take your to historic Grapevine Texas and back.
Downtown Fort Worth and Sundance Square is a 35 block area that is filled with shops, entertainment, and restaurants. This area has the Bass Performance Hall, which is the home of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, and the Fort Worth Opera. This area of town has restored historic buildings along with modern skyscrapers. The main feature of Sundance Square is it’s central plaza with a fountain that kids can play in and a modern waterfall. This area also has the Fort Worth Water Gardens. This area features 3 pools of water with modern waterfalls falling into the pools. It has a variety of water features. The gardens is a quiet oasis in the middle of the city.
Fort Worth also has the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Kimbell Art Museum, Modern Art Museum,and many more this is the town for museums. In fact, there are over 20 museums in Fort Worth. There is also the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Fort Worth Zoo, The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, and much more.
Grapevine Texas is also only a 20 minute drive from Arlington. Grapevine historic Main Street is my family and I’s favorite way to spend the day. It has old historic buildings, tons of shops, and restaurants. What this area of Grapevine is known for is its wineries. The Main Street has wineries all up and down the street. Visitors can go in for tastings and take some home. You will also find our favorite theater. The Palace Theater was built in the 1940’s and was saved from demolition by the Grapevine Heritage Foundation and beautifully restored to look like it did in the 1940’s. This theater plays older movies for a discount price. We loved the Alfred Hitchcock series. The theater is also a venue for weddings and other celebrations.
I said something about a train ride when talking about the Fort Worth Stockyards, this is where the vintage train takes you. It is a great way to spend the day.
This historic area of Grapevine is known as the Christmas Capital of Texas and it is a must visit around the holidays.
Grapevine also has the Grapevine Mills outlet mall, Legoland for the kids, Sea Life aquarium, Great Wolf Lodge, Bass Pro Shop, and a massive lake for summer fun.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Arlington?
Our most celebrated event is probably Light Up Arlington.
This free event takes place on July 3rd, in the downtown area of Arlington. This event has 3 stages with live music, one is a kids entertainment stage in the Boomtown Kids area. This area has tons of kid friendly activities including bounce houses, an obstacle course, a petting zoo, face painting, food trucks and much more. All the downtown restaurants are open along with food trucks or you can bring your own food and drinks. Beer and wine are welcome just not in glass containers. There are also carnival games leading up to a massive firework show. This event has over 50,000 attendees. It is a great free event that is fun for the whole family.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Arlington? Is it a vegetarian friendly city?
We have 4 restaurants that was featured in Diners, Drive-ins, Dives. They are great, Chop House Burger is an excellent place to grab a burger, Jamaica Gates Caribbean Cuisine, Taste of Europe which has Mediterranean German food, and my favorite Prince Lebanese Grill. Prince has the best hummus I have ever had, they are vegetarian friendly as I am a vegetarian and they has tons of options.
Other local favorites is Fork in the Road, they have mac and cheese they call Crackaroni, it is literally the best mac and cheese I have ever had. They use truffle oil in the recipe and you can add jalapenos or meat.
One of our oldest and most iconic is J. Gilligans. It has been in Arlington since 1979 and has been featured on The Day Tripped, Travel Channel, Food Network, among many other shows. They are most known for their Irish Nachos. The Irish Nachos feature hand cut potatoes with Wisconsin cheese, loaded with anything you want, from ground beef to tomatoes, jalapenos, and sour cream. They are delicious and a must have.
We also have tons of other local eateries including Urban Alchemy where you can get a cappuccino or glass of wine along with gourmet food. Tipsy Oak, go here for unbelievable poutine. The Grease Monkey for burgers and drinks, they have a band on the weekends. Twisted Root for local made root beer. Plus so much more.
Where to head for shopping in Arlington?
We have the Parks Mall which features all the popular shops along with an ice skating rink and merry-go-round. This mall also has an AMC theater and Cheesecake Factory.
Another popular area for shopping is the Arlington Highlands. This outdoor area features popular shops along with local shops and restaurants. It also has a beautiful landscaped creek going through the middle of the shopping center.
If you are looking for antiques go to the Cooper Street Antique Mall. This 53,000 square foot shopping center is the largest antique mall in Arlington. It even has a cute tea room.
Which is the local craft or souvenir of your city?
In Arlington, souvenirs tend to be sports related. Get a Rangers or Cowboys jersey or any memorabilia relating to the sports teams. Six Flags memorabilia is also very popular.
Which are the best streets in Arlington worthy of taking a stroll on?
The Downtown Area is great for taking a stroll. We have a new central library with an innovation center, which has a makerspace, and it even has a 3D printer.
The Levitt Pavilion is downtown along with restaurants, breweries, and Free Play. Free Play has retro arcade games, just come in and pay one price to play all day long. This place has all our favorite arcade games from, pinball to pacman, in fact there are over 130 retro arcade games.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of the city?
I think one of the best views of the city can be seen from Globe Life Park aka Rangers Stadium. The view from the top of the stadium is fantastic.
Do you suggest any shows on music, culture or art performed by the locals? Where can one spot street art in Arlington?
We have wonderful street art on some of our downtown buildings. We have a sculpture trail in Richard Greene Park between the 2 stadiums.
We also have Caelum Moor Park. This park features 5 giant granite sculptures. Norman Hines was commissioned in 1984 by Jane Mathes Kelton. They were at the headwaters of Johnson Creek along I20 in South Arlington until 1997. They were then donated to the City and put in storage until the development of Richard Greene Linear Park. The sculpture were moved to their current location in 2009, in Arlington’s entertainment district.
The entertainment district includes the Cowboy’s Stadium and Ranger’s Stadium, Texas Live, the Arlington Convention Center, Live by Loews Hotel, Six Flags, Hurricane Harbor, plus loads more.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Arlington?
For Transport : I would definitely recommend the Via Rideshare app
For Food : Try Grubhub or Opentable.
Do you want to give any suggestion/tip to tourists coming to Arlington?
Arlington is a very fun city to visit. Most of the main attractions are in one area so it is easy to get around. Visitors can walk around all of the entertainment district.
If going from Six Flag to the stadium definitely walk through Caelum Moor/ Richard Greene Linear Park and see the sculptures and the beautiful pond.
Downtown is also an easy walk, visitors have many places they can park. There is a parking garage along with lots of street parking. I recommend parking the vehicle and taking a stroll.