North of downtown Dallas, you’ll find the stately suburbs University Park and Highland Park. Together they compose the Park Cities, which offer manicured neighborhoods, superb amenities and outstanding schools. University Park resident Andrea King calls it a “sweet spot” for families. She and husband Troy, who works in analyst relations for AT&T, are parents to Sheridan and Kendall, 10, and Lucy, 7. Mom is director of development for To Be Like Me, a disability awareness program.
Favorite family restaurant After a family vote, we landed on Bandito’s. We all like the chips and salsa, my husband loves the frosted beer mugs, I like the margaritas and my kids love the beans—everyone wins! It’s also a great spot to run into our neighbors and friends in a fun, casual setting.
Bandito’s Tex Mex Cantina // 6615 Snider Plaza, University Park
Best park The Park Cities area has a lot of parks, but our most frequented is Burleson Park. It’s easy for us to walk to with our kids, and it has a playground, walking loop and a big open field.
Burleson Park // 3000 University Blvd., University Park
Favorite family outing Our family most enjoys being with our friends in our own backyards and homes. Whether my husband is smoking his own brisket or we just order a bunch of pizza from Mimi’s, spending down time with friends is the best family outing.
Mimi’s Pizzeria – Park Cities // 6807 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas
For a night out Highland Park Village has some great spots to grab a drink and people watch, and we love Highland Park Village Theater. My husband and I love the rooftop bar at HG Sply Co. on Lower Greenville too!
Self-care spot I enjoy a good discussion with a group of women at my church, Highland Park Presbyterian. Talking with other women about their lives and how we can all support one another makes me walk away feeling recharged and ready to take on the world—or at least the next task that day.
Highland Park Presbyterian Church // 3821 University Blvd., Dallas
Go-to for getting active Family bike rides have become an almost-everyday occurrence since our youngest recently learned to ride (yay!). We enjoy riding around the neighborhood or the SMU campus.
For cooling off Normally, we go to the Holmes Aquatic Center to beat the heat. My kids love swimming with their friends, going down the slide and especially Wibit Wednesdays for fun on a big inflatable course! A big summer treat is getting ice cream at our favorite spot: Howdy Homemade. They make you smile all the way around there.
How they give back For the past two years, I have been working with two incredible women—Hollis Owens and Toya Harris—to create To Be Like Me. We are a disability awareness education program to break down barriers and foster compassion. Our current program focuses on late elementary students and provides a “field trip” experience.
Students meet, interact with and learn from our wonderful leaders, who have a disability or difference themselves. It has been a gift to watch this organization come to fruition, and I look forward to continuing that work with Hollis, Toya and our incredible team of leaders.
I am also very involved with my children’s schools and have been an active member of our PTA. Next year, I loo k forward to being a part of the Leadership Team for HPISD’s newest elementary school, Boone Elementary. As the 2020-21 president elect, I am excited to help support Boone and all the students and families there.
Our whole family also volunteers as part of the “Welcome Team” at our church, Highland Park Presbyterian. My husband and I are also both deacons at HPPres, so we work with that ministry to support other members of our church community.
How she found her mom squad I met most of my local mom friends through my children’s school and through church. It’s also always fun randomly meeting someone at a local park or restaurant and becoming friends.
Why the Park Cities are great for families Our neighborhood has an incredible focus on supporting the children and schools, which makes it a sweet spot to raise a family. I also think our city officials work hard to provide quality services, from beautiful parks to great public safety.
Photo courtesy of David Alpuche.