This so-called “Mini-Austin" has got enough arts, music and cowboys to make a name all for itself. Guest blog by Margaret Ulrich of Movoto.com.
1. The Mean Green And Scrappy Aren’t Characters From Scooby Doo
Source: Mean Green Football via Facebook
In Denton, these mean victory. The Mean Green football team of The University of North Texas has won eight Lone Star Conference championships and the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl. Their intimidating mascot, an eagle named Scrappy, is an integral part of those wins.
2. The Denton Arts And Jazz Festival Is The Highlight Of The Year
Source: Flickr user silkolive
This annual celebration is free and supports rising stars and big name headliners with the proceeds of concession stands and rentals going toward local arts and music organizations.
3. Actually, Music Is Kind Of A Big Deal Here
Source: Flickr user misternaxal
UNT has so much love for the arts and music it has a performing arts center with not one, but two nicknames. The Murchison, or “The Murc” or “The Armadillo,” is the largest venue on campus and holds two performance halls to show off the talents of students and professionals alike.
4. So Much So That Louis Armstrong Probably Wished He Was In UNT’s Jazz Program
Source: North Texas Jazz | UNT Division of Jazz Studies via Facebook
Play me a beat, slow it down, and make it real smooth. Apparently the students at the University of North Texas liked the sound of that because in 1946 the school added Jazz Studies to its curriculum and became the first one in the nation to do so. To this day it is still regarded as one of the best programs in the country.
5. Don’t Miss Denton Holiday Lighting Festival
Source: Denton Holiday Lighting Festival via Facebook
Denton Square, the location of the wildly popularized Denton County Courthouse, has an annual lighting ceremony that makes this beautiful historic landmark sparkle. The building has been there since 1896 but the restoration project in 1986 was so successful that the entire area went under renovation, creating new businesses, jobs, and a bustling downtown attraction.
6. Look No Further Than Fry Street To Find UNT Students
Source: Fry Street Tavern via Facebook
Fry Street is just a general term for the nighttime debauchery at the local bars down and around that area. It is clear that the UNT students work hard and play hard because they can be seen in this habitat just about every night of the week. And the weekends. Always the weekends.
7. . . . And The Bubble Man?
Source: localwiki user PhilipNeustrom
There is a man who has a van—no more rhyming from here on out, promise—and he shoots bubbles into the air while selling homemade herbs on Fry Street. Everything about this scene is legal, but it is still so very questionable. Everyone seems to love him though.
8. The Best Sports Bar is The LABB
Source: The LABB via Facebook
It’s what every sports bar should be: a dive. It’s nothing special, but it’s the place to be for a cold one and the game. Whatever game.
9. But Finding Paschall Bar Is A Sport Unto Itself
Source: Flickr user Snap Man
It’s not on the map. Like literally, it’s not on Google Maps or anywhere for that matter. There’s not even a sign out front. The locals know it’s above Andy’s bar and it’s not exactly a roaring time. Think leather bound books and chess, with exceptionally fresh drinks and an awesome atmosphere. Definitely worth a trip just to say you found the place.
10. Historic Landmarks And Ice Cream Cones Make For A Perfect Afternoon
Source: Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain via Facebook
After a Sunday stroll around Denton Square and the Denton County Courthouse museum, stop into Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Shop. It’s a local and tourist favorite because of the real-deal hard ice cream and the old fashioned atmosphere, right down to the employees.
11. University of North Texas Alums Rock, Literally
Source: Flickr user wfuv
Every school has its greats, but come on. Producing music stars like Roy Orbison, Norah Jones, and Don Henley. You can’t have them all, UNT. But thank you for sharing them with the world.
12. The Eagles Were Named After Scrappy. Maybe.
Source: Eagles via Facebook
Legend has it that Don Henley named the insanely famous band, The Eagles, after the UNT mascot. Although it’s a wonderful tribute to his alma mater, the rumor isn’t substantiated. But there’s still hope.
13. Tex Mex Is Standard Fare But Mazatlan Is So Much More
Source: Flickr user jeffreyw
Denton has its many run-of-the-mill Tex Mex joints, but Mazatlan. Oh Mazatlan. You’re just too delicious. Don’t be turned off by the decor, it’s definitely lacking, but the tacos rancheros and carne asada? Stop. Just stop being so good.
14. It’s Definitely Not Texas Beef But Keiichi Is A Must
Source: Flickr user Mike Seachang
Going a little outside the typical Denton comfort zone, Keiichi serves up some of the best sushi this side of Japan. So make a reservation because the limited seating fills up fast.
15. The UNT Planetarium Wins This Round Of Outer Space Vs. Deep Sea
Source: Flickr user j-dub1980
The University of North Texas’ Sky Theater is open to the public, but what sane person would miss out on viewing the night sky, the entire fully starred night sky?! Space is too cool to even discuss further.
16. And Speaking Of Our Teeny Tiny Fragile Planet, Let Us Introduce You To The Greenhouse Restaurant
Source: GreenHouse Restaurant Denton via Facebook
The Greenhouse Restaurant is a lone star (too soon?) among the many meat dominated restaurants and it’s serving up some healthier, specifically vegetarian, options. With an outdoor atmosphere and a menu with a combo to satisfy meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike, this place suits everyone’s cravings.
17. The Community Saved The Remains Of Fry Street
Source: Localwiki user Unknown
In May 2006, United Equities of Houston bought up a section of Fry Street and then proposed a plan to demolish it for a “better” use. The locals banded together and got this proposal denied, but not before many businesses, including favorite pizza place The Tomato, were evicted. The Tomato has since relocated and Fry Street has also recovered.
18. Experience The True American Sport: NASCAR
Source: Flickr user The U.S. Army
Texas Motor Speedway is a quick or moderate drive away, depending on how much is under your hood. Bring some beer and be ready for the sounds and smells of burning rubber.
19. The Best Horse Ranches In The Country Are In Denton
Source: Discover Denton via Facebook
With one of the largest amounts of horse farms in the country, Denton ranches offer sweeping landscapes and a variety of horses to admire. There are even tours to see these majestic animals, from Thoroughbreds all the way to Arabians.
20. Denton Is Part Of The Golden Triangle
Source: Google Maps
No matter how great a city is, there’s always a weekend when you just need to get away. Being part of the Golden Triangle—Denton, Dallas, and Fort Worth—makes this the best of all worlds.
21. No, You’re Not In Kansas Anymore
Source: Wikipedia user Runningonbrains
Denton is part of the area fondly referred to as “tornado alley.” But put away your ruby red slippers because for as many warnings as Denton gets, it’s about one in a million that a twister rolls through.
22. Forget About Dallas, Denton Has The Real Cowboys
Source: Wikipedia user broncobuster3
Every August, the North Texas Fair and Rodeo sets up shop for nine days of yee-hawin’ and spit-shootin’ fun. This annual event started in 1928 and they’re still celebrating Texas cowboy pride today with concerts, carnivals and cowboy boots galore.
23. But Then Again, This Is Texas And People From Denton Love Their Cowboys
Source: Wikimedia user doug_wertman
Don’t actually forget about the Dallas Cowboys because they’re basically the home team. With games being within the Triangle, its a guarantee Denton locals will be in the stands cheering.
24. They Also Love Women, And Equal Opportunities
Source: Flickr user Erin Costa
Texas Woman’s University opened in 1901 as the Girls Industrial College but later renamed as TWU. It is known to have the largest doctoral nursing program in the world and is committed to providing women with the skills they need "for the practical industries of the age." Have no fear men, enrollment opened up for you guys, too, in 1972.
25. Summertime Means Ghost Town... A Relaxing Ghost Town
Source: Flickr user Tracy Elizabeth
With highs reaching 100 degrees, and a record 113, summers don’t see much action. UNT students flee the city, leaving locals to enjoy refreshing adult beverages at the seemingly private bars downtown.
26. Lake Ray Roberts Is The Only Way To Escape The Heat
Source: Flickr user gurdonark
A little road trip and a lot of lake is the only other way to beat the heat. Lake Ray Roberts and Lake Lewisville are close enough to spend some serious time chilling out and enjoying a peaceful Denton summer.
27. “It’s Over On 288” Are Precise Directions
The 288 Loop is a stretch of highway looping around Denton that has shopping and more shopping. So, if you need anything, it’s probably over on the Loop.
28. Golden Triangle Mall Once Had The “Ugliest Sign In Texas”
Source: Golden Triangle Mall via Facebook
Over on 288 is the Golden Triangle Mall, which up until about a year ago had a sign from 1979. This isn’t one of those malls either, people actually go to it. An update was badly needed.
29. Denton's Shaking Out The “Mini” In Mini-Austin
Source: Flickr user Wayne Coyne
Denton is growing, fast. In 2011, it was the seventh-fastest growing city with a population over 100,000. Having two big-name universities and more than enough arts and entertainment to attract newcomers, this is the city where people want to be.
What do you love about living in Denton? Tell us in the comments below!