Roll Bama Roll's Guide to Arlington, Texas

You have to admit, Jerry Jones showed remarkable restraint not having this built in the shape of a penis. Mandatory Credit: kleph -US KLEPHWIRE

As we are all aware, our beloved Alabama Crimson Tide will head to Arlington, Texas this week to face off against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Inevitably, more than a few of our fellow fans will follow to see the "Cowboys Stadium Classic" in person.

Now while the Bama faithful are well-represented in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, the majority of the fanbase may not be familiar with the region and this city in particular. Luckily, no less than two members of the RBR junta have resided in Arlington itself at some point in the past and boast a reasonable familiarity with the environs. Last week I returned to the city to create this guide for you all.

If you are going to go to the game on Saturday you will become intimately familiar with Jerry Jones' $1.3 billion pleasure dome soon enough. So we'll skip over any examination of it for this guide. Instead, let's take a look at the array of sights and attractions that make Arlington stand out as a destination amid the rest of what the so-called "Metroplex" has to offer.

Sports Venues

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Rangers Ballpark in Arlington opened in 1994 as part of the "retro park" movement that dominated baseball stadium construction at the time. As the sport's most hapless team for most of their history up to that point, making up an earlier era of success out of whole cloth was about the only option the "Strangers" had left. A lot of the locals still have a bit of nostalgia for the old Arlington Stadium which was demolished in 1993 although they tend to refer to it today as "the place Nolan Ryan beat the crap out of Robin Ventura that one time."

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The city's other notable open-air sports venue is Maverick Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas, Arlington. This delightful 12,000-capacity venue opened in 1980 and just two years later the school's football team demoted to Division II. The program was discontinued in 1985 due to a gaping financial shortfall and monumental fan apathy (during the team's final season average fan attendance was less than half the stadium's regular capacity despite the fact students got in free). Today the stadium is used primarily for high school football games and track meets.

Local Landmarks

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If you find the aesthetic appeal of concrete mesmerizing, Arlington is a treat you cannot afford to miss. As a bloated suburb afloat on a sea of asphalt and sun baked concrete, the city is without peer. Moreover the lack of public transportation (it's the largest city in the United States without any!) and an incomprehensible system of traffic signals ensures Arlington's streets are clogged with bumper-to-bumper traffic at almost all hours of the day. Thus you will have an ample amount of time to enjoy the city's aging infrastructure illuminated by the the city's distinctive patina of suburban pathos its become renowned for.

Recreational Activities

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For those fitness buffs among you, Arlington boasts a scenic running trail along Johnson Creek whose course meanders through the city. A multi-million-dollar cleanup and revitalization project in the mid-1990s enabled the city to clear out most of the abandoned shopping carts but retain the distinctive stomach-churning aroma the waterway is renowned for. As a result, the linear park the city constructed as part of that effort is almost always empty -- a possible selling point for naturalist enthusiasts. And the recent outbreak of West Nile virus has pretty much eliminated references to the creek as "malaria-infested."

Dining

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The diversity of dining options in Arlington is truly one of the city's most intriguing elements. The entertainment venues are surrounded by @DadBoner-approved chain restaurants that ensure you never need try anything remotely unusual or interesting. Yet Arlington has some good food if you are willing to go off the beaten path and our friends at Barking Carnival have come up with a comprehensive list of eateries. As for our recommendation, the Pitt Grill across from Cowboys Stadium on Collins Street is your go-to destination for defeating that hangover with southern-style greasy spoon fare. And, yes, they serve grits.

Shopping

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For fans of big-box stores and mega-malls, there are several options available for you to take advantage of during your stay in Arlington. For those wanting more of the local experience there are an almost inexhaustible number of strip malls catering to the adventurous tourist. By city ordinance each of these must contain at least two of the following: a "cash for gold" emporium, a mom-and-pop beauty shop or a payday loan office.

Fun Fact: Arlington is home to more tattoo parlors per square mile than any place in the United States.*

Nightlife

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The Arlington area offers a number of entertainment options if you find yourself so inclined after the game. For the khaki-pants crowd there are a hive of bars near the stadium to rock out to Jimmy Buffett into the wee hours. Cross the 360 and you randy young gentlemen will find a wide assortment of seedy strip clubs sure to lead to misadventures you'll regret for years afterward. And for you folks who find the atmosphere of Egan's in T-town more your speed, our favorite grotty college bar was J.R. Bentley's on Abram Street. The smell of cigarette smoke and spilled beer will make you feel right at home.

*completely made up but certainly plausible.

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