If you live or work in Dallas or Fort Worth, you probably drive past Arlington without stopping.
But if you take a drive down Cooper Street, you’ll see there’s more to Arlington than roller coasters and JerryWorld. There's a small canyon up north, oodles of good eateries between the interstates, and a brewery in the middle of town. Here are eight hidden gems in Arlington you don't want to miss.
Explore Crystal Canyon Natural Area
Have you heard of it? This little spot is home to rocks, minerals and even a few fossils along the park's half-mile hiking trail. A few signs explain the geological diversity of this preserved area, but signage is kept to a minimum to give visitors an off-the-grid experience. Streams rise and fall throughout the year, so check out this scenic spot more than once for a completely different view.
1000 Brown Blvd., Arlington. Check the website for details.
Eat authentic cuisine at Jamaica Gates
Chef Barbara Renfro dishes up Jamaican fare like no one else in the region can. Fried plantains, marinated oxtails and curries give locals plenty of reasons to come back throughout the week. Or, go on Fridays and Saturdays, when there's often a live band.
1020 W. Arkansas Ln., Arlington. Check our listing for details.
Stop in for sweets at Sugar Bee
Brides go bonkers for cakes from Sugar Bee Sweets, but the citizens of Arlington visit this little shop for other delights. Stop by and try cake balls in flavors such as salted caramel or mint chocolate chip, or cop some macarons to go. Pies, mini pies and pie pops are also available in the shop, along with an assortment of adorable gifts such as scented soaps and candles, handbags and hilarious cards. The shop also offers classes on calligraphy and watercolor painting for aspiring artists.
2410 W. Abram St., Suite 126, Arlington. Check the website for details.
See if Guy Fieri was right about Prince Lebanese Grill
Guy Fieri took his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to Arlington, and that's when many of us discovered Prince Lebanese Grill. Feast on Middle Eastern eats like falafel, tabbouleh, shawarma and other savory favorites. The baklava is a favorite -- especially the pistachio baklava, when available. (Skip to 1:48 in the video above.)
502 W. Randol Mill Rd., Arlington. Check our listing for details.
Climb up, up, up at Dyno-Rock
If you’ve got time to kill and an aversion to sitting still, climb and belay at Dyno-Rock. If you’ve never rock climbed or tried an indoor wall, take the Climbing 101 class, which costs $35 for one hour of instruction in the technical movements of climbing. Entry to the gym costs $12, but for $20, you can get a day pass, a harness rental, shoes and a chalk bag. The facility is open every day, but hours of operation change daily. (See more climbing spots around D-FW.)
608 E. Front St., Arlington. Check our listing for details.
Knock back a cold one at Division Brewing
As the first local craft brewery to open in Arlington, Division Brewing became a fast favorite with residents. The warehouse-turned-brewery-and-taproom offers 3,100 square feet of what the owners call "beer church" to be enjoyed for mingling, games and musical acts on occasion. If you're a dark beer lover, try the X-mas Porter. If you're a big fan of big hoppy beers, go for the FrankenFroth.
506 E. Main St., Arlington. Check our listing for details.
Look up at the Planetarium at UTA
See the stars align on a 60-foot dome screen. The Planetarium at the University of Texas at Arlington offers a rotating schedule of stargazing sessions combined with pre-recorded screenings of starry skies to let all us wannabe astronauts indulge in the mysteries of the universe. If you're a classic rock fan, catch the Pink Floyd show, which features the band's music and celestial themes.
700 Planetarium Pl., Arlington. Check the website for more details.
Learn to dance at Gloria's Latin Cuisine
Gloria's is known for its solid happy hour specials and fun dinner atmosphere, but only a few locations offer a fiery hot salsa scene on the weekends. The salsa scene heats up at the Gloria’s location in Arlington every Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The bar charges a $10 cover after 10 p.m. and the dress code is strictly enforced. Move your hips to the dance floor or watch as a wallflower. Either way, you're sure to have a sultry experience.
3901 Arlington Highlands Blvd., Suite 137. Arlington. Check our listing for details.