With all of the new Denton transplants that a new school year brings, we thought it may be a good idea to ask folks who have lived here for a few years on advice for how to best live in Denton. You didn't ask for this advice, but you're getting it anyway. That's a life lesson right there. It's pretty wide-ranging in both the advice given and the people from whom you are receiving it - there's something for everyone in here. Even you.
Find your place -- your coffee shop, your bar, your front porch -- and go there. Go there a bunch. Invest in those people, talk to them. Denton is full of crazies worth getting to know.
- Thomas Paessler, Bartender at Paschall Bar and musician
Get involved on campus. Like music? Form a band with your dorm mates. You'll be friends forever. Like BBQ? Old House BBQ has $2 brisket sandwiches on Mondays. Go to every live venue, house and impromptu show you can. Music is what fuels this town, fuel yourself with it's creative juices. Don't forget about your family. Without them you would be broke and lonely. Most of all, love Denton and learn to love UNT, each will give you the best memories you'll ever experience.
- Danielle Longueville
In order to truly enjoy Denton, you kinda have to buy into it 100%. That means, going to city-sponsored events, getting involved with a few programs/organizations, listening to local music, and even doing literal research to find out what is happening. Denton is not the type of town in which you can just walk on down to the square and always find something going on that will enjoy. In fact, often times you may feel like there's not much to do, but if you get involved in a specific scene and do a little research, you'll find that there's often tons of stuff going on you just have to know where. And it's that research/work that you performed that will make it all the better. You will have taken ownership of your involvement and you'll feel much more of a connection to the town. In fact, you may even end up starting something, yourself!
- Will Milne, Teacher, Photographer, Co-owner of We Denton Do It
What makes Denton fantastically unique is its people and the community they've created, so jump on in there! If you're a musician, hit up the multiple open mic nights that happen weekly -- you're bound to find at least person that thinks you're rad and wants to jam. Like arts and crafts? Volunteer at SCRAP (a not-for-profit thrift store for arts and crafts supplies--- yes, it's awesome), or sell your handmade wares at the Denton Community Market on Saturdays. Still aren't sure where you fit? Ask your waiter about their favorite downtown store, or ask a shop owner about their favorite watering hole - Dentonites love Denton and want to help you get the most out of your time here. But of course, you're already off to a great start because you found We Denton Do It! Welcome to Denton, y'all!
- Rachel Aughtry, co-owner of The Dime Store
Behind one of the walls in city council chambers is a bathroom that used to belong to the mayor. The only people who have access to it are those who sit up on the dais. Unfortunately, the seat is usually up because there isn't enough female leadership at City Hall. You can help change that by volunteering on a council-appointed committee like the Parks or Library Boards. Sign up here.
- Amber Briggle, Owner of Soma Massage
Ride a bike or walk whenever possible. While this has good merits for being environmentally conscious, that is not why. When you become a cyclist or a pedestrian you have the time to look around and take a little more notice of the small details that make this wacky little place so dang awesome. All of a sudden you aren't just speeding down Carroll, you're taking walk through a beautiful historic neighborhood towards a town center and peeking into the newest coffee joint. You may not have even noticed that those things existed if you were in your car focused on finding parking and talking to Siri. I spent my first two years in Denton without a car which totally instilled a love to slowing down and exploring this crazy city I've now called home for a decade.
- Alyssa Stevenson, Teacher, Co-owner of We Denton Do It
To anyone wanting to get a “feel” for Denton in a short amount of time, here’s what I suggest: Our town is most famous for its beautiful courthouse and surrounding square. Highlights of this walking tour would be allowing at least an hour perusing the huge collection at Recycled Books and Records on the corner of Locust and Oak Street. For a lunch or afternoon treat, I suggest Beth Marie’s Ice Cream Parlor or The Chestnut Tree. The courthouse is home to a museum highlighting events and artifacts from Denton County dating from the early 1800’s. The museum hours are Monday - Friday 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM and Saturday 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Continuing around the Square are numerous other interesting shops including an antiques shop, jewelry store, two mini malls that are indoor flea markets, and several other restaurants. All these activities would occupy at least a day. If further exploration were possible, that would be another list for another day.
- Judy Smith, owner of Rose Costumes
I once photographed a graduating senior at the historic courthouse once who'd never actually been downtown during the four years he attended UNT! I couldn't believe it. The best advice I could give someone new to Denton would be to check out the downtown square, enjoy the great shops like Atomic Candy, More Fun Comics & Games, and grab a cup of something delicious at Jupiter House. While you're there take a look at the flyers posted in the windows of the shops on the square - most venues and bands will have posters up advertising their upcoming shows & festivals, and this is a great way to get exposed to Denton music and culture.
- Ed Steele, local photographer
On especially hot days, in the middle of the afternoon when the heat is most oppressive, I drive 20 minutes north to Lake Ray Roberts State Park, Isle DuBois Unit, park somewhere in the Deer Ridge camping section, walk down to the loneliest stretch of beach I can find, carrying with me, of course, my cold beverage of choice for that particular day. I wade out to about two feet of water and sit down and stare at the woods and the water. You’d be surprised by how many really cool things you see.
- Dan Mojica of Dan's Silver Leaf