I Live in Uptown Dallas – Here’s Why
I had just graduated from Northwestern University with an MBA and after a few months already had several job offers. One was in nearby Chicago, one in New York City and a very promising opportunity in Dallas, Texas. Each company had me fly out for a few days for final interviews and to survey the areas to which I would be potentially relocating, so I had a big decision to make. Having spent four years surviving Illinois winters, I wasn’t too keen on living in Chicago and New York City was just too expensive. I went to the first two interviews anyway, had a look around and found several good points about each location, but neither place seemed to have many people my age. My third and last interview was in Dallas, with the Deloitte Dallas firm. The following is the story of my experience transitioning from college to my new career, and how I came to my decision to live in Uptown Dallas.
KATY TRAIL Dallas
Deloitte had put me up in a hotel near their offices in the Texas Commerce Tower in downtown Dallas and given me a 3 day pass to the DART Rail. The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to get around downtown, but that there wasn’t much there besides office buildings. During my visit to Deloitte, I was shown around the office and introduced to some of the people I would be working with. Everyone in the department was in their mid-twenties and very friendly. “So what is there to do in downtown Dallas?” I asked. “Uptown Dallas!” three of them said in unison, and laughed. Kate, who had been my host at Deloitte offered to show me something and we went to the window facing north. “That is the Woodall Rogers Freeway. Just on the other side of that is Uptown Dallas. We’ll take the DART Rail over where there is a free Trolley that links everything together. We can go to lunch and see Uptown Dallas, if you like!” So Kate and I went to lunch. We took the McKinney Avenue Trolley but didn’t get off right away. “Let’s take a quick tour. I want to show you some of the highlights,” Kate said. She showed me where she lived, in the West Village. It reminded me of the campus shops around Northwestern, only a lot more polished. There was tons of shopping and lots of people walking, many with dogs. Then the Trolley headed back south. “Let’s get off here. I’ll show you the Katy Trail and we can walk to lunch from here.”
Kate and I got off the Trolley and walked up a flight of stairs to the Katy Trail. “This is where I run in the evenings. A lot of us at the office run or cycle. This is the place to do it.” It was beautiful. Lots of trees, and the path was plenty wide for cycling and inline skating. I run, too and noticed an asphalt trail alongside the concrete trail, specifically for runners. “Nice,” I said.
We walked along the Katy Trail for a few minutes, talking and people watching. “Here we are,” said Kate. We had stopped at the Company Café. “The food here is great. I’m vegan so I eat here a lot, but there is other stuff on the menu, too,” she said. “Next door is the Katy Trail Ice House. They put free waters out for the runners and cyclists. It’s where I met my boyfriend, Josh” and she smiled. “He works for Bain & Company, not far from here. He has a loft at Mondrian, where we got off the DART Rail.” I was beginning to see just how social everyone here is, and how there seemed to be so many things within walking distance or a short Trolley ride. I loved it. This could definitely be my kind of place.
Kate and I finished lunch and still had plenty of time before we needed to be back at Deloitte. We hopped back on the vintage Trolley and rode the whole length of McKinney Avenue. “THIS is where the nightlife is,” said Kate, emphatically. We passed restaurant after restaurant with outdoor patios, and I could see lots of people meeting up for lunch, most of them on foot. “We’re all meeting tonight at the MAC, you should come!” “The MAC?” I asked. “The McKinney Avenue Tavern. It’s owned by Big Al Mack, you know, from the morning radio show?” Kate pointed out the window and sure enough, there it was. “Nothing really happens downtown after five o’clock, anyway,” said Kate with an exasperated look on her face. I laughed. “I’ll be there!” I said.
I met with Kate, Josh and four other people from Deloitte that night at the MAC. Kate was right about McKinney Avenue coming to life at night. Everything was well lit, lots of people were walking and laughing, meeting up for dinner and drinks after work, just like us. We ran into more of Kate’s friends, a couple from KPMG and a few more from Ernst & Young. We finished dinner and stayed for drinks; everyone had a blast. “If you want to see something really fantastic, come with us. I want you to see a view you will remember.” Kate, Josh and I bid good-night to the others and hopped back on the Trolley to Josh’s Cityplace apartment. The concierge greeted us as we passed through the gorgeous lobby. Up to the top floor we went. I had never seen the Dallas skyline at night, so I was excited. Josh dimmed the lights and said “Ready?” “Ready,” I said and he opened the blinds. It took my breath away. I could see the entire skyline, including Reunion Tower, the green outline of the Bank of America Plaza and the flying red horse on top of the Magnolia hotel. “Wow,” was all I could say. Kate and Josh just laughed. “Told you,” Kate said.
Life is Convenient in Uptown Dallas
My experience in Dallas was by far the most memorable out of all the cities I had been to. After seeing everything there is to offer in nearby Uptown Dallas, taking the job at Deloitte Dallas was an easy decision. I had never seen another area so geared toward young professionals just like me; fresh out of college, with a promising career, looking for a high energy atmosphere in which to live, work and socialize and all within walking distance of each other. The Katy Trail would be a great place to run every day, and I could get to and from downtown to Uptown Dallas easily by using the free Trolley (and not having to pay $150 a month to park downtown was a perk!). I had found my new home and was very happy with my decision. Making friends had already proven to be easy, and the residences and nightlife in Uptown Dallas just couldn’t compare with any of the other areas I had seen in Chicago or New York. I could definitely see that the transition from college to my new career would be much easier than I had anticipated, especially here in Dallas. Everything I could possibly need was within reach from Uptown Dallas. I flew back to Illinois to make arrangements to move, still remembering the spectacular view from that night with my new friends, Kate and Josh.