Football season, Fall, SourceCon. That’s a hat trick or winning trifecta, don’t you think?
If you’re preparing to come to Dallas next week or are still on the fence about whether to come to the great state of Texas, I want to give you brief local’s perspective on what Dallas is about and how to really enjoy the city while you’re here.
I mean of course SourceCon is gonna rock, but Dallas? I get it. Dallas does not come to mind as a leading vacation spot or tourist destination, meaning it is not my first choice for a relaxing week with the spouse. significant squeeze, or critters…. HOWEVER, The fact of the matter is.. Dallas is a eating, drinking, social city, therefore perfect for business meetings, conventions, and SourceCon.
It’s clean, high energy, reasonably inexpensive, easy to get around, friendly, and geared for entertaining, eating, and drinking. That’s what you do here. Learn, meet, mingle, do business, and get exposed to some pretty awesome venues, food, and culture to facilitate that.
As a fifth generation Texan who has lived in Dallas for the past twenty years, but also punched my ticket living in NYC and other places, I’ve spent more than my fair share at conventions and meetings all over the country, and I can say Dallas is a unique animal. You’re in for a treat and an easy and positive experience.
Here is the quick rundown on what you need to know so you don’t appear like a stranger in a strange land.
- No one… and I mean NO ONE calls it “Big D”…
- You will NOT see people on horses wearing starched Wranglers and cowboy hats…. that’s Fort Worth and it is a glorious time warp located 30 minutes from Dallas.
- Southfork is small, way outside of town, and not worth your time.
- AT&T Stadium aka.. Cowboys Stadium or as we call it.. “Jerryworld” is in Arlington and is actually a decent tour if you’re into football, masterful engineering, or just want to see the worlds largest TV.
- No one really goes on top of “The Ball” as it is known. There’s a nice Wolfgang Puck restaurant on top… but there are far cooler things to see.
- Y’all is the always the appropriate term when referring to more than one person. (Plural: “Y’all’s i.e… “Is that yall’s ride”?)
Now…. for what to do, where to go, and what to eat.
In all seriousness, you will be learning a ton and meeting some great people at SourceCon, so when the sessions are over and you need a break or want to get out on the town, or simply get together with your new friends, here are a few things to make the most of your time and have the best “authentic” Dallas experience. C’mon, trust me, I’m a recruiter… uh… well ok scratch that ;-).. trust me because I’m a fifth Generation Texan.
IMPORTANT: Dallas is NOT a walking city… but you can get around easily and cheaply thanks to Uber so make sure you have it downloaded and up to date. SourceCon is held downtown at the Omni and most everything I mention is a $5-7 Uber ride away.
There are two things you MUST try while you’re here that we do better than and unlike anyone in the country. BBQ and Mexican Food.
Texas BBQ is all about meat (beef specifically) and smoke. Real Texas BBQ is remarkably simple and rustic. And as luck would have it, two (2) of the top ten ranked BBQ joints in Texas are located within five minutes of the Omni where SourceCon is being held. Listen up… you CAN’T go wrong with either of these.
- Lockhart – Bishop Arts Area – 400 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208
- Pecan Lodge – Deep Ellum – 2702 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226
HELPFUL TIP – Here is how you order.. I see (foreigners … meaning non-Texans) and rookies hold up the line in wonder, awe, and confusion about what to get and how to order it. Pretend you’re at a deli and order by the 1/4 or 1/2 pound. Simple as that. If you’re a vegetarian… well… Get the cole slaw. You go for the meat. Enjoy the smoke and don’t kill it with sauce. It all comes wrapped in butcher paper and is about as unglamorous as you can imagine a pile of meat staring at you would be. but it is a church like experience. THIS is the real deal.
* My pick at both places… Order a 1/2 pound of brisket and 1 sausage. You can also order a rib. Chicken is good… but you’re there for the beef. Get a beer (Lakewood or Revolver – Dallas Beers) or a Deep Eddy Vodka (Austin) * Lockhart is walking distance from my office and yes I hit it weekly and even video my FAQ & BBQ Segments at these joints so sign up for my updates you will get some learning and BBQ tips too 😉
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Growing up in West Texas, Mexican Food is my first love and I genuinely believe that “migas” and “breakfast tacos” are likely what God has for breakfast. I’ll bet you didn’t know there are 3 types of Mexican Food, Tex Mex, Street Taco and Mexico City Style. And if you say, What about Taco Bell?… we will personally escort you back to the airport immediately.
Here are my top three picks for each type… Depending on the experience you want.. you can’t go wrong.
- Tex Mex – Mi Cocina – Uptown Village – (Sit down) – 3699 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204 Traditional Enchiladas, Fajitas, etc… greasy, cheesy, heavy goodness that you will need a nap after. Get a Mambo Taxi Margarita… You will lose the ability to speak after 3.
- Taco Diner – (Sit Down) – 3699 McKinney Ave #307, Dallas, TX 75204 – Mi Cocina’s sister restaurant across the way. Lighter, Fish Tacos, more traditional real Mexico fresher fare. *They serve Mambo Taxi Margaritas here too!
- El Taqueria El Si Hay – (No web site.. google it though) – 601 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208 – This is a legitimate street taco shack! $1.40 tacos that you wait in line for and it helps if you can channel your High School Spanish. Get Beef or Chicken. All they are is meat, cilantro, onions on a tortilla and they have lime and green hot sauce that will light you up. It is a dump in the middle of the growing Bishop Arts area that is rumored to pay more sales tax per square foot than any other restaurant in Dallas. At night, the old man making “Elotes” is there and that is an amazing experience too. (Corn, cheese, cream, hot sauce) * It is up the street from Lockhart BBQ
- Velvet Taco – com -3012 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206 – Yes, that is the actual name.. Located at the corner of Knox Henderson Area) it is an awesome creative casual take on street tacos, meaning you can get one with hibiscus tortilla and indian style chicken or catfish. Pretty awesome. Get the tots and the elotes.
- Cedars Social -1326 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215 – A cool restaurant / craft cocktail joint with great food and creative high end drinks. Good place to take a group and get some drinks in a 70’s lounge vibe. VERY close to the Omni.
- NYLO Hotel Southside – 1325 South Lamar St., Dallas, TX 75215 – Across from Cedars social and less than 1/2 mi. from the Omni is the NYLO Hotel. On top they have the Soda Bar, which is nothing special as for drinks.. BUT the view. SPECTACULAR! (I live across the street, come say howdy)
Last year, USA TODAY, said that Dallas has the #1 skyline in the world. Uh… The WORLD? Well, still, it is pretty cool at night. The best views are from the NYLO mentioned earlier, but THE BEST is from the trinity Groves area by the base of the bridge. Trinity Groves is a developing arts and restaurant area just outside of downtown do there are plenty of choices for eating, drinking and there is a cake shop there too that sells by the slice for desert.
Trinity Groves. Big white bridge. Best view of the skyline.
The OMNI at night. – Yeah your hotel has become a pretty neat addition to the Dallas skyline, but you can’t tell during the day. At night they light it up a variety of colors, some pulsating and wavy and can display messages on it. When the Rolling Stones where here a few months ago, the entire building was a giant pair of lips that you could see across the skyline. It’s a little Vegas, borderline tacky… and really kinda cool especially when you see it from the Trinity Groves side.
If you feel the need for some culture (I’m not just plugging the local museum, I happen to paint and know my stuff and can tell… you we have a great art museum at the Dallas Museum of Art and next to it is the Nasher Sculpture Muesuem. But the Perot Science Museum is fantastic if you are a science buff or have kids with you. Very natural history oriented… and they have a huge geology, oil production section and last time I went they even had an homage to fracking.. We are in Texas after all.
Whew… that should get you going. Now get to packing. SourceCon will be a great trip and experience for you whether your in or out of session. If you haven’t registered, do it now! Enjoy it y’all.