If you've ever been to Denton, Texas, you know there's just something special about it.
The quirky college town (population approximately 119,000) is known for being health- and environmentally-conscious, which often leads people to stamp the city with a hipster stereotype. Well, there are also lots and lots of beards. And bikes. And beers.
GuideLive had the pleasure of exploring the area on a recent road trip and we picked out nine things that you just can't find or do anywhere else than Lil D.
Hike alongside the Goatman
Described by locals and Wikipedia as a historic bridge connecting Denton and Copper Canyon, mystery has swirled around the Old Alton Bridge since its construction in 1884. Though many cities in the United States claim to be home to the elusive "Goatman," few stories hit as hard or terrify as much as the one in Denton. But, the place itself is actually pretty nice in the daytime. There are hiking trails nearby that in broad daylight make for an exciting venture.
Be a nice person, OK?
At Harvest House near the Denton square, dozens of people assisted the owners by making furniture for the bar. And there is a lot of furniture in this huge indoor/outdoor bar and music venue. They ask politely: Don't be a jerk by messing up their hard work. It's a nice touch in a place that takes much pride in being a place by the people, for the people.
Harvest House, 331 E. Hickory St., Denton. 940-218-6148. dentonharvesthouse.com.
Show your pride by bike
Another fairly new addition to the downtown area is the Lil d bike racks, red gates shaped just like the lowercase letter 'D.' Spearheaded by We Denton Do It co-founder Glenn Farris, the bike racks add a bit of flair to a city so passionate about biking. Now if only we could get the rent-a-bike tours.
Eat with Chopsticks
A lot of people say Asian food in the U.S. is often Americanized, and while that may hold true, few restaurants Americanize in just the right way. Enter Mr. Chopsticks, a fusion restaurant with its own Denton flair. Walls lined with local art, an inviting indoor/outdoor atmosphere and more make this a must-visit on any trip to town.
Mr. Chopsticks, 1633 Scripture St., Denton. 940-382-5437. mrchopsticks.com.
Shop local artisans
This downtown shop is stocked with items made by Denton artisans, so there are plenty of Lil D-themed trinkets. But don't expect plastic snow globes or cheesy magnets. Instead snag prints of photographs or paintings of the town's landmarks; stuff bearing Denton's name, zip code or area code; embroidered art; wall hangings; pillows or super soft T-shirts priced at $20 each. My favorite: An illustration of a bespectacled man with Denton Texas inscribed on his beard. It's like a nod to the catchphrase "Keep Denton Beard," which is itself a joke on "Keep Austin Weird."
Keep Denton green
The University of North Texas isn't the only thing green about Denton. The city is known for being environmentally conscious, and the solar trash and recycling compactors around town are just one example of how it's making a difference. The bins were installed in 2012 to encourage more recycling and reduce the number of times the trash needs to be picked up, effectively cutting city costs. Talk about a win-win.
Get your craft on
While on first glance it may seem like a shop that literally sells garbage, after walking inside you will find that point 100 percent valid, but that's not a bad thing. Scrap Denton in an outlet for creative minds and a craft shop unlike any other, allowing each customer to get abstract and find the supplies they never thought they'd need.
Scrap Denton, 420 S. Bell Ave., Denton. 940-808-1611. scrapdenton.org.
A self-proclaimed collector of cameras, the owner of Denton Camera Exchange buys, sells and trades picture-takers from all eras. With the walls and shelves lined with film and lenses, this place is more of a walk-in museum than anything.
Denton Camera Exchange, 117 Piner St., Denton. 940-206-5112. dentoncameraexchange.com.
Don't forget to back into your parking spot
No one said this list was perfect. While you're in Denton, check out the new back in parking on Hickory Street. Though it may seem impractical, it's supposed to ease traffic and make the historic downtown look just a little bit better.
GuideLive staffers Tiney Ricciardi, Shannon Sutlief, Sarah Blaskovich and contributor Nicholas Friedman helped with this story.