Watch the party unfold at the 2014 CultureMap Stylemaker Awards

Behind the Scenes at Stylemakers

Photo by Hoyoung Lee

On October 15, the six finalists in our first-ever CultureMap Stylemaker Awards put their skills to the test for a fun fashion show at Tootsies at the Plaza at Preston Center. Prior to the presentation, attendees sipped cocktails from Herradura and Woodford Reserve; snacked on bites from Plaza restaurants such as R+D Kitchen, Taco Diner and Sprinkles; got sketches made by artist Ben Vincent; and posed for pics in the Longhorn Photo Booth.

But that was only the warm-up for the real party, which took place upstairs, when finalists Matt Alexander, David Goltl, Jenny Kirtland, Kevin Lavelle, Melissa Rountree and Maleiah Rogers presented their two looks — cocktail and Sunday brunch — which they pulled together using pieces from Plaza retailers.

Based on what they saw on the runway, judges Diana Oates, Cynthia Smoot, Yvonne Crum, Jackson, Stephanie Quadri and yours truly selected an editors’ choice winner.

Rountree, a Realtor with Dave-Perry Miller, already had the readers’ choice title locked; she received the most votes during the online poll. Rogers, the owner of Era Salon, won editors’ choice. And Goltl, studio proprietor at Design Within Reach, was honored for incorporating the most Plaza stores — including Pockets, Mal Malouf, Riffraff, Tootsies, Occhiali Modern Optics and Bachendorf’s — into his looks.

All three winners received a Plaza at Preston Center shopping spree. But guests were winners too, taking home swag from Lucky Dog Barkery, J Mclaughlin, Celebrity Cruises, Matthew Trent, City + Sky, Eva Duplan Illustrations and much more.

In this video, narrated by Oates, we go behind the scenes at the party and chat with our CultureMap Stylemaker finalists about their inspiration.

Photo by Hoyoung Lee

Finalists prove prowess during sexy Stylemaker Awards at Plaza at Preston Center

Meet the Stylemaker Winners

Hundreds of CultureMap’s most fashionable fans flooded Tootsies for the first-ever Stylemaker Awards, produced in partnership with the Plaza at Preston Center. It was there the six finalistsMatt Alexander, David Goltl, Jenny Kirtland, Kevin Lavelle, Melissa Rountree and Maleiah Rogers — showed off their styling skills during a one-of-a-kind fashion show.

To start, guests — including Imran Sheikh, Daven Tezeno, Renee Zappa, Michael Vangeli, Kim Rozell, LeeAnne Locken, Nancy Koen and Kirsten Williams mingled on the first floor of this chic hot spot to savor bites from Corner Bakery, Taco Diner, R&D Kitchen and Sprinkles and sip cocktails provided by Herradura Tequila and Woodford Reserve. They also posed for personalized sketches drawn by artist Benjamin Vincent and hammed it up with pals at the Longhorn Photo Booth. Did we mention the fall-inspired floral by Apples to Zinnias? Stunning.

Then it was time for attendees to take their seats for the fashion presentation, where CultureMap editor-in-chief Jennifer Chininis welcomed everyone and explained how the Stylemaker finalists had arrived at this point in their journey. It began with nominations from the public; from that initial group, 12 deserving semi-finalists were selected with the help of judges Cynthia Smoot of Oh So Cynthia, lady-about-town Yvonne Crum, FLUENT’s Jackson, and longtime local stylist and fashion writer Stephanie Quadri.

The public then voted in an online poll to choose the final six, and they voted again to determine the readers’ choice winner. But more on that in a minute.

For the party, the finalists were tasked with creating two looks, cocktail and Sunday brunch, with items pulled from Plaza stores. Each finalist explained their inspiration and selections before sending their models down the runway. Based on those looks — all of which appear in the slideshow above — the judges determined the editors’ choice winner. And oh what a difficult task that turned out to be.

While the judges deliberated, guests were treated to more on-trend fashions courtesy of Tootsies. In the end, the judges crowned Maleiah Rogers the 2014 Stylemaker editors’ choice winner for mixing pieces from Lublu Kira Plastinina and Tootsies to create looks reminiscent of old Hollywood glam. The Era Salon owner also did her models’ amazing ’dos.

But the awards didn’t stop there. Design Within Reach studio proprietor David Goltl — who boldly chose to style two women, including one plus-sized beauty, in menswear-inspired looks — received special honors for pulling pieces from the most Plaza stores, including Pockets, Mal Malouf, Riffraff, Tootsies, Occhiali Modern Optics and Bachendorf’s. Dave Perry-Miller Realtor Melissa Rountree proved the public was not wrong in selecting her as the readers’ choice winner: She showed an architectural black cocktail dress from Lublu and sassy purple-and-gray number complete with over-the-knee boots for brunch.

All the winners received shopping sprees to the Plaza at Preston Center.

Guests left the party with visions of fashions dancing in their heads and swag in their hands courtesy of Lucky Dog Barkery, J Mclaughlin, Celebrity Cruises, Matthew Trent, City + Sky, Eva Duplan Illustrations and much more. If you missed this soiree, you have another chance to party with us next week, at the CultureMap Social on October 22, 6-8 pm, 129 Leslie. You can buy tickets here.

Stylemaker finalists Matt Alexander, Jenny Kirtland, Maleiah Rogers, David Goltl, Melissa Rountree and Kevin Lavelle.

Photo by Hoyoung Lee
Stylemaker finalists Matt Alexander, Jenny Kirtland, Maleiah Rogers, David Goltl, Melissa Rountree and Kevin Lavelle.
Photo by Hoyoung Lee

6 supremely stylish women Dallas couldn't do without

Dallas Fashion Hall of Fame

In a city like Dallas, there is no shortage of stylish women. But these six continually impress us — not just with their attire but with their attitude, poise and influence on the fashion scene. Dallas would not be the same without them.

Photo by Hoyoung Lee
In a city like Dallas, there is no shortage of stylish women. But these six continually impress us — not just with their attire but with their attitude, poise and influence on the fashion scene. Dallas would not be the same without them. --- THE PHILANTHROPIST: Barbara Daseke Her spiky platinum ’do isn’t the only reason Barbara Daseke stands out in a crowd. Whether she’s at a black tie gala, charity luncheon or cocktail soiree — often alongside her husband, Don, who is pictured with her here — the seasoned interior designer arrives impeccably dressed. The president and founder of Barbara Elliott Interiors knows how to make an impression with her style. It’s a little risky but always appropriate. “I’ve always been drawn to fashion,” she says. “I love to put fabrics and colors together. I like unusual looks with unexpected combinations. It has always come naturally to me.” Where she shops in Dallas: Carla Martinengo, Betty Reiter, Neiman Marcus Best fashion advice she ever received: “Don’t look like you are trying too hard.” Words of wisdom: “It’s all about how you put it together. Be confident and try different things. I save my clothes and am always pulling something out from 10 or 20 years ago to go with something new!”
Photo by Daniel Potter/Dapper Magazine

Cast your vote now to determine the readers' choice CultureMap Stylemaker

Stylemaker Finalists Revealed

The votes have been tallied, and the results are in: We now have our finalists in the first-ever Culturemap Stylemaker Awards. We started with 12 fashionable men and women, and now we are down to six. Cast your vote now to help us determine the readers’ choice winner.

You can vote once a day, every day, until midnight on October 13.

We began this process by asking you, our devoted readers, to nominate those you deem our city’s arbiters of style. Then we convened a panel of judges — including yours truly and CultureMap associate editor Diana Oates, Oh So Cynthia’s Cynthia Smoot, lady-about-town Yvonne Crum, FLUENT’s Jackson, and longtime local stylist and fashion writer Stephanie Quadri — to narrow down the pool to 12 deserving semi-finalists.

Then we asked the public to help whittle our list down to six, and those finalists will show us what they’ve got at our celebration on October 15 at Tootsies. Each Stylemaker contender will put together two looks with pieces pulled from our partner, the Plaza at Plaza Center. Those looks will be showcased during a fashion show at the party, and the judges will select the editors’ choice winner based on the finalists’ styling prowess.

Meet the Stylemaker finalists (listed in alphabetical order by last name):

  • Matt Alexander, founder, Need
  • David Goltl, studio proprietor at Design Within Reach
  • Jenny Kirtland, partner, Ascot + Hart
  • Kevin Lavelle, founder, Mizzen+Main
  • Maleiah Rogers, owner, Era Salon
  • Melissa Rountree, Realtor, Dave Perry-Miller & Associates

Join us October 15 for the Stylemaker Awards announcement party, where we will reveal both the readers’ choice and editors’ choice winners while attendees enjoy bites, cocktails and the fashion show. Winners receive a Plaza at Preston Center shopping spree and their very own styled feature in a Plaza ad campaign.

There’s only room for 300 of our closets friends, so claim your spot now.

David Goltl

Photo by Daniel Potter Dapper Magazine
David Goltl
Photo by Jeremy Biggers

Meet the CultureMap Stylemaker semifinalists and cast your vote now

Meet the Stylemakers

Who are the most stylish men and women in Dallas? We intend to find out. We have partnered with the Plaza at Plaza Center to present the first-ever CultureMap Stylemaker Awards, which will culminate in a celebration on October 15 at Tootsies.

First, we asked you, our devoted readers, to nominate those you deem our city’s arbiters of style. Then we convened a panel of judges — including yours truly and CultureMap editor-in-chief Jennifer Chininis, Oh So Cynthia’s Cynthia Smoot, lady-about-town Yvonne Crum, FLUENT’s Jackson, and longtime local stylist and fashion writer Stephanie Quadri — to narrow down the pool to 12 deserving semifinalists.

It was no easy task, but after after carefully considering each and every nominee, we present a list of men and women who represent not only a diverse array of styles, but also a variety of industries. Some have made an impact on the fashion business; others have simply impressed with their ability to make a fashion statement in any circumstance.

So take a look at this list, and then cast your vote. You can vote once a day, every day, until October 1. The six top vote-getters will move into the final round to determine the readers’ choice. That person, along with editors’ choice, will be honored at the Stylemaker party on October 15.

Meet the Stylemaker semifinalists (listed in alphabetical order by last name):

Name: Matt Alexander
Occuptation: Founder, Need
Website: Neededition.com
Why Matt deserves to be a Stylemaker: The London native knew he was onto something when he started Need: Offer a small collection of hard-to-find goods online and make it easy and enjoyable for men to shop for them. Then along came customers, investors and a partnership with New York Fashion Week’s Men’s Day. Says his nominator, “He’s helped show that Dallas is as important a fashion center as NY and LA.”

Name: Merritt Beck
Occupation: Founder, The Style Scribe
Website: Thestylescribe.com
Why Merritt deserves to be a Stylemaker: In a sea of fashion bloggers, she stands out by staying true to her style and creating content that fans look forward to reading every day. Says her nominator, “Merritt is the style guru. She is my go-to fashion blogger whose posts never disappoint.”

Name: Eddie Fortuna
Occupation: Architectural designer at Omniplan Inc.
Website: His-and-her.com
Why Eddie deserves to be a Stylemaker: His creativity extends beyond his day job; he and his wife launched a website that puts a fun twist on the standard fashion blog. Also noteworthy: GQ magazine recognized his sartorial savvy. His nominator sums it up: “He’s always impeccably dressed, a complete gentleman, and carries an infectious smile and attitude with him.”

Name: David Goltl
Occupation: Studio proprietor at Design Within Reach
Website: Wifeand2kids.tumblr.com
Why David deserves to be a Stylemaker: Not only can this guy dress a room, but he can also dress himself — and inspire the other gentlemen around him to take it up a notch. As much we love the bow tie he’s sporting in the slideshow above, his best accessory has to be his smile. And he makes looking and living on trend seem effortless.

Name: Jenny Kirtland
Occupation: Partner, Ascot + Hart
Website: Ascotandhart.com
Why Jenny deserves to be a Stylemaker: The Polyphonic Spree chanteuse now has a style maven’s dream job, running her own clothing line, Ascot + Hart, with her best friend, which they launched last November. She has always marched to the beat of her own fashion drum, which is not always easy to do in Dallas.

Name: Kevin Lavelle
Occupation: Founder, Mizzen+Main
Website: Mizzenandmain.com
Why Kevin serves to be a Stylemaker: He was just trying to solve a common menswear problem: a comfortable, well-fitting, washable dress shirt that wouldn’t get drenched with sweat in the heat. The apparel industry told him he was crazy, but now his Mizzen+Main makes dress shirts and way more out of a moisture-wicking, washable, wrinkle-free material that has everyone — from athletes to executives — talking.

Name: Diamond Mahone
Occupation: Blogger and sales at TenOverSix
Website: Diamondjanae.com
Why Diamond deserves to be a Stylemaker: She dares to be different and has a knack for balancing old with new. Says her nominator, “When you see Diamond out and about on the scene, you know for a fact that her look includes many well thought-out pieces, including lots of vintage. I love that about her.” She was also recruited by The Gap for its Styled.by campaign.

Name: Michael Rodriguez
Occupation: Style/image consultant
Website: Mrstyleconsulting.com
Why Michael deserves to be a Stylemaker: He takes his job seriously, and he has a look all his own. Says his nominator, “Michael literally makes a living off of looking good. He’s always polished, professional and impeccably dressed from head to toe.”

Name: Maleiah Rogers
Occupation: Owner, Era Salon
Website: Erasalon.com
Why Maleiah deserves to be a Stylemaker: She looks fabulous wherever she goes, even while she’s styling clients in her equally fabulous salon. She can also pull off almost any look, from fun and funky to perfectly coiffed. According to her nominator, “She inspires us all to be a little more glamorous.”

Name: Melissa Rountree
Occupation: Realtor, Dave Perry-Miller & Associates
Website: Twitter.com/MelissaRountree
Why Melissa deserves to be a Stylemaker: Her style withstands the test of time, which makes sense because she spent years as an executive at both Chanel and Dior. Says her nominator, “Melissa has been a style maven her entire life. She creates a sophisticated, polished look while staying fun and on-trend.”

Name: Ariel Saldivar
Occupation: Executive director, ArtPrize Dallas
Website: Instagram.com/arielsaldivar
Why Ariel deserves to be a Stylemaker: Whether she’s at an opening reception at Goss-Michael Foundation or a major fundraiser at the Dallas Contemporary, she always dresses the part of the young, confidant champion of the arts. As you might expect from a creative — she’s a singer and jewelry designer to boot — “her look is always fresh and unexpected but never out of place,” says her nominator.

Name: Patrick Ware
Occupation: Sales, Traffic Los Angeles
Website: Twitter.com/PatrickBWare
Why Patrick deserves to be a Stylemaker: As a fixture on the men’s retail scene, he has infused countless Dallas wardrobes with contemporary, hard-to-find fashions. He doesn’t follow the trends; he sets them. And he has a passion for helping his clients find their individual style. As his nominator puts it, “Guys want to dress like him, and girls want their guys to dress like him.”

Which of these Stylemakers stands out from the rest? Cast your vote daily through October 1.

Merritt Beck

Photo courtesy of Style Scribe
Merritt Beck

Help us find the most stylish women and men in Dallas

Nominate a Stylemaker

There are some people for whom style is innate. They know just the right thing to wear, no matter the occasion. They command attention in a room, regardless of the outfit. They mix high and low with ease, prompting the rest of us to wonder, “How do they do that?”

To celebrate the most fashionable women and men in Dallas, we present the first Stylemaker Awards, sponsored by the Plaza at Preston Center. But we need your help to start the party.

From now until September 14, you can nominate your stylish female or male friends (or even yourself) by completing this submission form. From this initial group of nominees, a panel of judges — including yours truly and CultureMap associate editor Diana Oates, Oh So Cynthia’s Cynthia Smoot, lady-about-town Yvonne Crum, FLUENT’s Jackson, and longtime local stylist and fashion writer Stephanie Quadri — will select 12 to move into the first voting round.

On October 2, we will announce the six finalists from round one, and they will move into the final round of public voting to determine the readers’ choice. The editors and judges will also select a favorite.

We will throw a Stylemaker Awards announcement party at Tootsies on October 15, during which we’ll unveil the editors’ choice and readers’ choice winners, who will get a Plaza at Preston Center shopping spree and a styled feature in a Plaza ad campaign.

So if you know some people who fit this fashionable bill, nominate them now. And then please ask them how they do that.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

A peek inside the $20 million Southlake mansion going wild on social media


One of the most expensive homes in Texas is on the market for $20 million in Southlake - and it's drawing more than a little attention on social media.

And, no wonder: The opulent 31,000-square-foot mansion, at 1469 Sunshine Ln., features such over-the-top amenities as a full-size basketball court, bowling alley, batting cage, movie theater, and "indoor glass-enclosed" trampoline.

The transitional Mediterranean estate hit the market in December for a whopping $19.99 million. A January 30 post on the Zillow Gone Wild Facebook page called it "the most Southlake, TX home we’ve ever seen," and made it instantly social media-famous. Thousands of people have chimed in to comment.

Seated on 3.6 acres and boasting 31,234 square feet, the home was built in 2016 and features - at first glance - all the "normal" nice things that a nice mansion has: seven bedrooms, six full bathrooms and four half-baths, an open floor plan, smart home technology, and plenty of natural light to experience Texas sunsets.

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

The mansion at 1469 Sunshine Ln., Southlake, is on the market for $20 million.

Then the listing gets to the part about it being “an entertainer’s paradise,” and that's where things get wild. The home can accommodate multiple athletic activities, has designated yoga and beauty rooms, a spa, wine room, and nine attached garage spaces.

Other features include:

  • Chef’s kitchen
  • Elevator
  • Gym
  • Game room
  • Two guest suites with a private entry
  • Turfed backyard

Elsewhere on the grounds is the perfect solution to enduring the hot Texas summers – two climate-controlled saltwater pools and hot tubs with a hidden waterslide, jumping rock, and diving board. The outdoor space is completed by an enclosed heated terrace, outdoor living area, and kitchen.

Zillow Gone Wild commenters have, predictably, expressed their awe or disdain for the extravagant manse. One commenter said they could imagine fictional mafia boss Tony Soprano “walking down that driveway in his bathrobe to get the paper,” after looking through the listing’s photos.

“This is the first mansion where I’m like, yep. I’d buy this if I was rich,” another admirer said.

A more sarcastic commenter wrote, “I’m sorry, but only one lane for bowling? I’m out.”

Critics were quick to call out the home’s opulence while others in the state struggle with homelessness or financial stability. “This kind of wealth actually makes me sick to my stomach. There’s so much better that could’ve been done with all this money,” one critic commented.

Others focused on guessing who the mansion belonged to. Southlake, after all, is home to plenty of celebrities and professional athletes.

Some guesses landed on a former baseball player’s home. “Serious question, is this A-Rod’s former house? It looks familiar, and he did play for the Rangers,” asked a curious viewer.

Other commenters believed the home belonged to a former Los Angeles Lakers player, after witnessing the signature gold and purple colors decorating the walls of the basketball court.

While Douglas Elliman listing agent Breah Brown said the owners wish to remain private (one might imagine the security concerns when a house goes viral on social media), she revealed they constructed the home themselves and are behind all aspects of the design and customization.

As for the next owners ... they can brag that they live in one of the top 10 most expensive homes in Texas in the richest city in the state.

These Mardi Gras pastries in Dallas beat regular King Cake by a mile

Pastry News

Mardi Gras in 2023 is February 21, and that means king cake, the flashy seasonal treat that has been a New Orleans tradition since 1870.

With its proximity to Louisiana, Dallas has always had a bounty of king cake options from which to choose, everywhere from supermarkets to local bakeries. Whether any of those king cake options are any good is another topic.

The baby is a cute schtick. King Cakes come with a little toy plastic baby that gets baked into the dough and whoever gets it and doesn't choke on it supposedly has good luck. There's that.

But the cake itself .... NewOrleans.com says that a prototypical king cake is somewhere between cinnamon roll and coffeecake, and is "frequently packed with fruit fillings and decadent cream cheeses."

Hm. That might be true in New Orleans — but Dallas king cakes always seem dry and bready, with the trademark garishly colored sugar that's so crunchy, it hurts your teeth.

It's almost as awful as kolaches.

Fortunately, Dallas has some creative king cake spinoffs that celebrate the spirit of king cake without forcing you to actually eat king cake.

Here are five:

la madeleine king cake danish King Cake Danish from La MadeleineLa Madeleine

Mardi Gras Danish at La Madeleine. The French bakery chain first introduced this seasonal pastry in 2019. It's described as a flaky Danish with a strawberry & cream cheese filling, topped with a fondant glaze and dusted with purple, yellow, & green sugar. It's basically croissant dough, fashioned into a Danish-like round shape, similar to their other Danish offerings such as lemon-blueberry Danish and ham & Swiss cheese Danish. $3.99, and it'll be available through March 7.

Overeasy king cake cupcakes King Cake cupcakes from Overeasy, festively iced.Overeasy

King Cake Cupcakes at Overeasy. The breakfast-and-lunch spot at the Statler Dallas hotel is doing special, house-made King Cake Cupcakes, featuring a vanilla cupcake topped with a colorful vanilla creme swirl rendered in the signature colors, and topped with a plastic baby. But you'll have to be quick because these are available for one day and one day only: on Mardi Gras day itself, February 21. You can enjoy them at the restaurant or get them to-go. The cupcakes are $2.99 each, $13.99 for a half-dozen, or $22.99 for a dozen. Best to order ahead of time by calling 469-320-8998.

Empire king cake Empire Baking Co King Cake is filled with cinnamon and pecans.Empire Baking Co.

Brioche King Cakes at Empire Baking Co. Dallas' premiere bakery is doing King Cakes for the first time. It being Empire, it's not like the others. They use a brioche dough into which they roll layers of cinnamon, chopped pecans, and a brown-butter glaze — almost (OK, exactly) like a giant cinnamon roll. It's then iced and dusted with sugar, but with a ratio of more icing and less sugar than the usual King Cake. They're selling them at both their Inwood Village and SMU locations on Fridays-Saturdays through February 19, then on Monday, February 20 and Tuesday, February 21. $35.

humble pie king cake It's a pie version of King Cake by Humble Pie.Humble Pie

King Cake Pie at Humble: Simply Good Pies. As this East Dallas pie shop notes, "We are a pie shop, so it made no sense to make a king cake." Instead they do this "Bon Temps" King Cake pie version, filling their flaky pie crust with a sweet-and-tart citrus chess pie with cinnamon swirl, topped with traditional icing and sugar. And of course, a baby in the center. The shop has a special connection to this item: It was the last pie they were forced to pitch after their location caught on fire in March 2022. The pies are $45 and are available for order through February 21.

Dusty Biscuits king cake Dusty Biscuits' beignet version of a king cake.Dusty Biscuits

Mardi Gras beignets at Dusty Biscuit Beignets. Fort Worth beignet shop does one of the most clever New Orleans crossover items, combining two NOLA favorites — King Cake + beignets — into one. Fluffy fried beignets get drizzled with a sweet cream cheese glaze, dusted with cinnamon sugar, then colored powdered sugar. They're such a signature that they do them year-round, and are 3 to an order for $6. During the Mardi Gras season, they also do a mini-king-cake version, using their same beignet dough, but in a traditional round, with an iridescent purple plastic baby in the center. A mini-cake is $12 and officially serves 2 to 4.

5 Texas cities visit high rankings on best family-friendly vacations list


Dallas residents looking to create lasting memories with their families don’t need to look further than their own city limits - and certainly not outside their state.

In a new report from lawn care company Lawn Love, Dallas scored No. 11 for Best Cities for Kid-Friendly Vacations, behind Houston (No. 8) and San Antonio (No. 10). Austin scored No. 29, and somehow Dallas' neighbor Fort Worth was all the way down at No. 44.

Not bad, though, considering 200 of America’s largest cities were ranked using 23 metrics, including affordability, family-friendly accommodations, attractions, transportation options, and more.

Dallas - a hotel-rich city - scored highest in the category of "staying" (No. 11). Dallas also did well in the "having fun" category (No. 14). The city ranked 21st for "getting around," and an inexplicable 53rd for "eating."

Houston, the highest rated Texas city, was classified as the third safest city for kid-friendly vacations, and earned the No. 6 spot in the category of “getting around." In the category of most amusement and theme parks, Houston ranked No. 5 in a three-way tie with San Diego, California and Denver, Colorado. Houston also tied at No. 3 with Baltimore, Maryland in the category of most children’s hospitals.

San Antonio was hot on Houston's heels, just making the top 10 with its highest ranking in "having fun" (No. 5), the highest of any Texas city. It also had a high ranking in safety (No. 8), and all its scores were above average, including the lowest ranking in "eating" (No. 97).

Austin did better than average on most metrics except affordability (No. 115 of 200). In an odd order, the city's best rankings were "getting around" or ease of transportation (No. 30), followed closely by "having fun" (No. 36).

Fort Worth lagged behind these four Texas counterparts, but still made the 78th percentile and beat cities like Killeen (the worst in Texas at No. 192). It did very well in "staying" (No. 16) and better than average in all other metrics than eating (No. 116), which sees to have dragged the overall ranking down significantly.

When planning a vacation, Christina Sharp, faculty member at MiraCosta College in California, says there are no rules that say all family members have to agree on what to do.

"Let folks carve out time for themselves and the activities they want to do and ensure that there are activities for everyone to do together," she suggests. "My 92-year-old father-in-law didn’t want to go to the beach – and that was fine. We went while he read. But we all did take walks, eat meals, and watch TV together – and it was wonderful."

Sharp also recommends families plan ahead when deciding their mode of travel, and to limit use of technology once at their destination in order to connect and bond with each other.

The full top 10 list of best US cities for kid-friendly vacations includes:

  • No. 1 New York City, New York
  • No. 2 Orlando, Florida
  • No. 3 Miami, Florida
  • No. 4 Las Vegas, Nevada
  • No. 5 Chicago, Illinois
  • No. 6 Tampa, Florida
  • No. 7 San Francisco, California
  • No. 8 Houston, Texas
  • No. 9 Los Angeles, California
  • No. 10 San Antonio, Texas

More information about Lawn Love’s report can be found at lawnlove.com.