You live and learn, right? Like any city, there’s an art to living in Dallas—particularly when it comes to avoiding lines, traffic and parking at all costs. Here are the mistakes every local has made once or twice…even if we’d never admit it.

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Universal

Never Trust the Highway During Rush Hour

Getting on Highway 75 or the Dallas North Tollway anytime between 7 and 8 a.m. and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. is the best way to say goodbye to two hours of your life. Side streets (and whenever possible, off-hours) are the answer, people.

nfl
NFL

Beware Getting Too Invested in Sports

Sure, we bleed blue and white—but it doesn’t take too many seasons of being a Cowboys fan to know that they’re best loved from a distance. (Because loving them with all your heart and soul has proved to be pretty darn crushing come playoff time.)

clueless
Paramount Pictures

Spring for Valet at NorthPark Center

You’d think such a massive lot would mean parking is an easy task, but no. Coughing up the 10 bucks for valet is definitely worth it—especially if it means you’ll be in front of a café au lait at La Duni faster.

parks and rec
NBC

Big Garbage Day Is a Lifesaver

Don’t hire a company to pick up that old sofa—and definitely don’t haul it to the dump yourself. (Life is far too short.) One of the best things about the City of Dallas garbage crew is that they will haul away your big junk for free on your assigned day.

humidity
NBC

Always Prepare for Humidity

We’re not in Houston, but that doesn’t mean we’re safe from the swelter that descends upon Texas from May to September—and we know this because we’ve shown up at enough events with our once-styled hair gone completely flat…or frizzy. (Thankfully, we’ve since discovered the wonder of humidity shield spray.)

how i met your mother
CBS

Never Go to Pecan Lodge Hungry

Ah, yes, the anguished cry of a first timer when they show up starving, only to realize the line is out the door. Worse yet, when the ’cue is gone, the kitchen closes. Barbecue is too important to leave to chance—which is why we always place a to-go order and then eat it on the patio or at the bar.

new girl
FOX

Finding Someone to Watch Your Kid is a Nightmare

What, you thought you’d wait until after your kid was born to find someone to watch her? (Cue laughter.) Parents realize all too quickly that finding childcare in this town is a complete circus. And if you want to send your child to a “top day care,” you’d better be prepared to spend the night outside waiting in line…even if you’ve already been on a wait list for years.

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Logo

Dallas Can Be Very, Very Small

We may be a city of over a million, but somehow there’s still a 90 percent chance you’ll run into your spin instructor when you’re on your way into Top Pot Doughnuts.

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