Mattias Janmark has called Dallas home since he joined the NHL as a rookie with the Stars during the 2015-16 season. During the past four years, the center has spent time exploring his new home, which is a bit different from his hometown of Stockholm, Sweden. He has 18 people visiting this week for the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Wednesday (2 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS). We asked the 27-year-old for some recommendations on the best places to go, eat and see in Dallas for fans coming in to attend the game.
I love having people come to visit me here in Dallas. I don't think I've had a single one come here and not love it. Most of my friends come back again after they've been here the first time, so that is saying something.
Where to start?
I guess we could start with the food because Dallas is a great food city; I don't know if everyone knows it, but the dining here is unbelievable.
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My family and friends want to try the barbecue when they come; they want that taste of Texas. I'm not a big barbecue guy myself, so I don't know the names of all the places, but you can't go wrong when getting barbecue here. It's all good because it is one of the specialties.
My family likes to go to the Deep Ellum part of the city. If you want a taste of Texas, you can find it there. When it is warm and sunny outside, there are a lot of places there, and throughout the city, with patios and you can sit outside and eat and hang out. That's important for my friends and family when they visit here during the winter, because they barely ever see the sun back home in Sweden. It's always dark there this time of year.
But it is not just barbecue when it comes to food here. There is good sushi, which I love, at places like Uchi and Nobu.
I also like Nick and Sam's, which is a good steakhouse in the Uptown section, and Al Biernat's. Pretty much anywhere you go here, it's going to be a good steak.
If you want even more food options, you can go to the suburbs. There are a couple of places I really like in Preston Hollow in North Dallas. I love to go to R+D Kitchen and True Food Kitchen for a healthier option, the not-so-Texas way. They have good organic food, and it's a great lunch spot.
But there is a ton more to do around here than just restaurants. There are so many places to go. When my family comes to visit, we try to hit up new places.
The Fort Worth Stockyards are about 30 minutes away, and it's a cool place to go if you are into the cowboy theme.
In Arlington, there is Six Flags Over Texas, the huge amusement park. That's something I usually do with friends when they come to visit. I'm not a huge roller coaster guy, but I still think it's fun because there are so many things to do there.
When my sister comes to visit, we do stuff with her two young kids. The Dallas Zoo and the Dallas World Aquarium are two of the things we really like. Plus, there are parks all around Dallas.
If it is a sunny day, it's always nice to go to one of the parks and just hang out. Maybe the best one is the Katy Trail, a walking path through Uptown. Everybody goes there for a walk or a run, and a lot of people bring their dogs. You have to go to the Katy Trail Ice House if you do the trail. Everyone is just sitting outside and relaxing there. It is the perfect place to hang out.
There's a lot of history to check out here as well. For my family, the Texas School Book Depository and the George W. Bush Presidential Center are two of the favorites.
My mom has been to visit me like eight or 10 times, and she has been to the depository like six times. She says there is always something new to see there.
I've been to the Bush museum, near Southern Methodist University, a couple of times now and it is special. They have a replica of the Oval Office and they have this thing where you can pretend to be President Bush and you have to solve a crisis. Each time you answer a question, another part of the crisis unfolds, and you have several new options until you get to the end and see what happens. That was a lot of fun.
Then there's Highland Park, about five miles north of downtown. It's a nice area with all these big houses and they have village shopping center there and some great restaurants.
I don't know how long it lasts, but they have a Christmas lights tour there where you can ride in a horse-drawn carriage at night and you get to go around and see all the houses with their crazy light displays everyone puts out for Christmas.
Closer to game time, you have to go to the Cotton Bowl, which is where they hold the Texas State Fair each October. It's going to be open on game day, and it is such a Texas thing. They have the rides there and everything else. It is a must-do when in Dallas.
But the beauty of Dallas, as a city, is that you don't have to have anything in mind. You can just go out and explore and find your own things. I love to just hop on one of the scooters that are everywhere and go riding around. It's a great city for that, and I recommend you try it.
Enjoy Dallas and enjoy the Winter Classic!