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candace emerson and her family

Why Candace Emerson Loves Living in Irving

from family outings to the best places to cool off in the summer   

Mom of two girls (Everette, 7, and Cecilia, 2) and marketing and community relations director for the Las Colinas Association Candace Emerson is raising her family in the Valley Ranch area of Irving with her husband Wayne. She shares her family’s favorite places to go and things to do. Check it out!

Courtesy The Ranch

Favorite family restaurant: The Ranch at Las Colinas has a fantastic pet and kid-friendly patio with live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The menu is all local to Texas and the cocktails are exceptional. Our go-to’s are The Ranch Old Fashioned and Cadillac Margarita. It’s a laid-back place with upscale service and quality. 857 W. John Carpenter Fwy., Irving; 972/506-7262

Favorite local green space: The Campion Trail is the perfect spot to let girls ride their bikes and scooters. It’s 7 miles long and runs along the Trinity River so there’s plenty of nature to enjoy. You’re never going to experience the same trip twice. 972/721-2501

Courtesy City of Irving

Favorite family outing: The Gables Water Street development and Mandalay Canal in Las Colinas are the perfect destinations for summer days. We start off with lunch on Water Street at Hugo’s Invitados or Cork & Pig Tavern, and then walk it off around the canal enjoying the waterside views. If we’re feeling adventurous, we’ll rent a paddle board or kayak to ride through the canal and into Lake Carolyn. Gables Water Street, 5720 N. O’Connor Blvd., Irving; 972/945-6490; Mandalay Canal Walk, 215 Mandalay Canal, Irving; 972/556-0625; Hugo’s Invitados, 5420 N. O’Connor Blvd., Suite 160, Irving; 214/496-0590; Cork & Pig Tavern, 5224 N. O’Connor Blvd., Irving; 972/364-7412; Lake Carolyn, 850 E. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving; 972/556-0625

Go-to date night spots: Pre-pandemic, we spent date night enjoying a fabulous dinner at Mexican Sugar in Las Colinas. Between the ambiance, margaritas and services, it’s an experience every time. After dinner, we try and catch a movie down the road at our local Alamo Drafthouse. Mexican Sugar, 3215 Regent Blvd., Irving; 469/313-1300; Alamo Drafthouse, 320 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving; 469/713-3424

For self-care: When you really need to unwind and indulge, you cannot go wrong with the spa at Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas. The massages are worth every penny. 4150 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving; 972/717-0700

Get active: Walking is my go-to relaxation activity and I could not live in a more perfect place for it. Valley Ranch is lined with walking trails and canals. There are multiple places you can’t even reach in the area by car. This leaves it feeling so safe and secluded.

Cool off: Our summer ice cream shop staples are Creamistry in Las Colinas or Let’s Roll Ice Cream in Valley Ranch. Creamistry, 5250 N. O’Connor Blvd., Suite 140, Irving; 972/629-9474; Let’s Roll Ice Cream, 8150 N. MacArthur Blvd., Suite 168, Irving; 214/238-2325

Give back: We contribute to our community through the institutions that support our kids. This allows us to demonstrate service to our children while spending time with them. Wayne coaches Everette’s soccer team while I divide my time volunteering at both Everette and Cecilia’s schools.

Why Irving is a great place to raise a family: For us, Las Colinas-Valley Ranch has been the perfect place to raise our family these past five years. With its central location, we are literally 20 minutes away from almost anything in the Dallas area. With Las Colinas’ bustling urban center right next door to Valley Ranch’s residential retreat, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Find your tribe: Getting involved in my girl’s activities and school has been the best way for me to make connections with other moms.

Featured photo courtesy of Dani Pruett Photography.