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Lani Taylor and family in Arlington

Why Lani Taylor Loves Arlington

from jumping on roller coasters to giving back

Arlington calls itself “The American Dream City.” And Lani Taylor can’t disagree: Arlington has been a great place for her family to call home. She and husband Ryan, a field supervisor in the oil and gas industry, are raising their daughter Aryana Skye, 8, and son Ryan Kai, 6, in the city’s Viridian neighborhood. Taylor, the executive assistant for Tarrant County’s administrator, says her family loves their community’s diversity, amenities and friendly neighbors. An American dream, indeed. 

Favorite family restaurant Halo Hawaiian BBQ and Jamaica Gates are our favorite family restaurants, because cultural foods bring us comfort. I am Samoan, and my husband is Guyanese. Neither of us has family who live locally, so when we crave our moms’ homecooked meals, Halo and Jamaica Gates are the closest we can get. Our kids love the short ribs and barbecue chicken from Halo and curry chicken and plantains from Jamaica Gates. 

Halo Hawaiian BBQ // 2613 West Park Row Drive, Arlington 
Jamaica Gates // 1020 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington

Best park We enjoy Overlook Park in Viridian, because the lake view is beautiful and there’s plenty of space for my kids to run around or build sandcastles. It’s a great place to relax or enjoy a picnic. 

Overlook Park at Viridian // 1210 Viridian Park Lane, Arlington; Search on Facebook

Favorite family outing Our favorite family outings are right in our neighborhood. Whether it’s walking around the neighborhood or hanging out lakeside at Overlook Park, we enjoy being outside. A fun indoor place is Elzie Odom Athletic Center. There’s basketball, roller skating, rock climbing and a fitness center for everyone to enjoy.  

Viridian // N. Collins Street & Blue Lake Boulevard, Arlington
Elzie Odom Athletic Center // 1601 NE Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington

For a night out  Studio Movie Grill or Six Flags. My husband and I love to watch movies and eat. Studio Movie Grill is the perfect place away from our couch to do that. We also enjoy roller coasters, so we jump at any chance we get to go to Six Flags without the kids and ride all the big rides as many times as we want. We are big kids! 

Studio Movie Grill // 452 Lincoln Square, Arlington (more DFW locations) 
Six Flags Over Texas // 2201 E. Road to Six Flags St., Arlington 

Self-care spot  Self-care for me is picking up my favorite Starbucks drinkiced white mocha or java chip frapand going to the nail salon for a full mani-pedi spa day. I don’t have a favorite salon, I like to try different salons for the nail polish variety and experience.    

Go-to for getting active We enjoy Urban Air and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy’s address is in Euless, but it’s five minutes from our house. During the pandemic, our favorite way to get active is to go for walks or work out in our garage. My husband creates a workout program for all of us to follow 

Urban Air Adventure Park // 1303 N. Collins St., Arlington (more DFW locations) 
Sloth Brazilian Jiu Jitsu // 218 N. Main St., Euless 

For cooling off  Our community pool or beach area is my go-to place to cool off in the summer. I also like to go to Zero Degrees for a spicy watermelon slush or mangonada. 

Zero Degrees // 1807 N. Collins St., Arlington (more DFW locations) 

How they give back  I volunteer at Viridian Elementary as a member of the PTA, and my family donates books, toys and clothes to local churches and shelters—including Mission Arlington. We also participate in park cleanups, organized by our community and through my daughter’s Girl Scouts troop, to help keep those areas clean for our kids to play in. 

Mission Arlington // 210 W. South St., Arlington 

How she found her mom squad  I found my local mom friends through playdates requested by my kids. My mom friends are the best. They’re supportive, and we bond over the highs and lows of mothering our beautiful babies. 

Why Arlington is great for families  Arlington is a melting pot, and for my husband and me, diversity is important for raising our kids. Their school offers Spanish immersion and world languages, and our daughter is flourishing. It’s an amazing experience, and we’re happy to be able to provide that for our kids. 

Photo courtesy of Redmond Wortham.