63 North Texas towns ranked. Which came out on top? Which sank to the bottom? And where does your community fall on the list?
In the late 1980s, Grapevine and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport got into it over runways, causing the airport to take a good chunk of its tax dollars and go home. “We were kind of an airport city,” says William D. Tate, who has been Grapevine’s mayor off and on over the last three decades. “That was really our future. That had changed and no longer was a viable option. We decided we had to become independent of the airport.” City officials started with Grapevine’s heritage. It's the oldest city in Tarrant County. And it had Grapevine Lake. Plenty of people came to town, yet Grapevine didn’t have a way to monetize those visits. “We decided to be a hospitality city, to be in the entertainment business as a way to attract those dollars,” Tate says. And attract they did. The city has GrapeFest, Main Street Days, and the New Vintage Wine Trail. Downtown you’ll find wine tasting rooms, restaurants, impressive public art, and the nearby Nash Farm (an 1880s homestead). The Glass Cactus might not be Denton, but it does have a respectable live music scene. The city went after and got Grapevine Mills Mall, the Bass Pro Shop, the Gaylord Texan, Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium, and the Great Wolf Lodge—all in the last 15 years.