Hottest headlines of 2023
The 10 buzziest CultureMap stories that had Dallas talking in 2023
Editor's note: What was Dallas reading in 2023? We are so glad you asked. News of crane flies' arrival last spring landed atop the list. A documentary that examined Texas' next potential mega-metro captivated readers. A Dallas sub-shop institution closed, and an iconic shopping mall got demolished. But a favorite sandwich made a comeback, and a hipster rolling rink and glow-in-the-dark playground are on their way.
Here's a look back at the 10 most-read CultureMap stories from the year. By the way, you can also look back at the topdining, arts, entertainment, city life, society, and real estate stories; most memorable theater experiences; and best and worstmovies in their own lists, too.
1. Crane flies have landed ever so lightly in Dallas, which means one thing.The crane flies arrived in Dallas in March, and this year, they were here in droves. Fragile, leggy, and whisper-light, crane flies are most often found around streams and lakes. But at certain times of year, they show up in urban areas, hovering and bobbing around houses and doorways. Spring 2023 was that time.
2. New documentary explores emerging Texas mega-metro that could rival Dallas-Fort Worth. It's no secret that Austin and San Antonio are becoming some of the biggest cities in Texas, and that together, they just might rival the likes of Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston one day. In August, a new documentary called San Antonio-Austin: The Emerging Mega-Metro took a deep dive into the booming 80-mile region between the Central Texas cities. The program centered on the region's growth and the challenges that arise with such rapid expansion - issues that Dallas-Fort Worth residents know well, as the Metroplex's population continues to explode at a staggering rate.
San Antonio, Austin, and the space in between could be the state's next big mega-metro. Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash
3. Site of former Valley View Mall in Dallas meets sad unfortunate end. A once-beloved North Dallas mall met its timely ending: The former Valley View Mall at LBJ Freeway and Preston Road saw demolition begin on March 16, putting an end to nearly a decade of inept waffling.
Valley View Mall caught before decimation by photographer Justin Terveen. Courtesy photo
4. Untouched Dallas house for sale from the '50s is a wood-paneled temple. Times were tough last spring for Dallas Redfin-watchers who love '50s homes for sale that were still in original, untouched condition. But hark — there was a house for sale in East Dallas in February that had not yet been decimated by a "to the studs" update.
Front of the home at 10212 Pinecrest Dr. images.estately.net
5. Hipster '80s-style roller skating rink to wheel into Dallas Design District. In March came the news that roller skating would be wheeling in to Dallas' Design District via Ride On, a new adult-oriented rink planned at 170 Pittsburg St., at the corner of Riverfront Boulevard.
New roller skating rink Ride On with '80s colors. Courtesy rendering
6. Dallas sub shop saved by new owners closes at new location after 6 months. A ballyhooed sub shop met its untimely end in early June: Great American Hero, a onetime institution on Lemmon Avenue that had been around for nearly 50 years before undergoing a change in ownership in 2022, shuttered its relocated location at 6216 Retail Rd. after six months.
Great American Hero closed its original location, tried a new one, and didn't make it. Google Maps
7. Bennigan's Monte Cristo sandwich now served at 2 Dallas-area ghost kitchens. A once-popular Dallas-based chain was getting a revival, beginning first with baby steps. In February, Bennigan's, the Irish-pub-styled neighborhood tavern, opened two ghost kitchen operations in DFW called Bennigan's On The Fly, that were serving a concise menu of Bennigan's classics including the famed Monte Cristo sandwich. Later in the year, we rounded up all the Monte Cristos in DFW.
Bennigan's Monte Cristo: Where it all started. bennigans.com
8. Texas' first glow-in-the-dark playground to light up in Farmers Branch. Fair warning to parents: A new Dallas-area playground will have kids wanting to stay up past their bedtimes. Joya at Oran Good Park in Farmers Branch, set to open January 20, 2024, will be the first glow-in-the-dark playground in DFW and all of Texas.
Joya will be filled with interactive, LED-illuminated features Facebook/Farmers Branch Parks and Rec
9. Where to see the most spectacular Christmas lights in Dallas-Fort Worth for 2023. Dallas-Fort Worth started decking the halls before Halloween, and when places around town started flipping the switch, we rounded up the area's most dazzling Christmas light displays. Among the most popular? A sensational new drive-thru Light Park that would electrify Frisco for the 2023 holidays.
Vitruvian Lights at Vitruvian Park starts on November 18, running through January 1. Photo by Stevan Koye
10. Dallas-Fort Worth population headed toward jaw-dropping milestone by 2028. Dallas drivers, prepare to share the roads with nearly a million more people. An analysis in July predicted Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington's population could cross the 8 million threshold in the next five years, swelling to nearly 8.5 million total residents.
The Metroplex's population in the next five years could balloon to nearly 8.5 million people. Photo by Erin Hervey on Unsplash