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Home > Blog > Two Locals Weigh in on the Best Ways to Experience Mesquite

Two Locals Weigh in on the Best Ways to Experience Mesquite

Whether you’re visiting a town for the first time or planning to stay awhile, the best way to make the most of your time there is to get to know the locals. These are the folks who know where to eat, which parks to visit, when and where to go outside, and which events are worth attending. To understand just what it is that makes Mesquite so special, we reached out to two longtime locals, Gary Baumann and Mary Jo Pickett.

Baumann, who owns Baumann Promos and is an ambassador for the local Chamber of Commerce, moved to Mesquite more than 30 years ago for its good home values and easy access to the Metroplex. Mary Jo Pickett, whose husband Stan is the mayor of Mesquite, has lived here since 1979 when she became an elementary school music teacher with Mesquite Independent School District. It’s no wonder they’ve stuck around all these years. Here are some of their suggestions for the best that Mesquite has to offer.

Best Eats in Mesquite

“We have been so lucky to have so many local restaurants flourish in the last few years,” says Pickett. She’s not kidding—there are tons of great options no matter what time of day you’re looking for a meal. Baumann and Pickett both agree that Martinez, famous for its excellent Tex-Mex, is near the top of their list when guests visit. Pickett also mentions Porch Swing, known for its southern comfort food, and Mesquite BBQ, which has been open since 1959, as top dinner choices.

Getting Outside

Mesquite’s relatively temperate climate makes it easier to get outside year-round. Sure, it gets hot in the summer, but average temperatures don’t climb into the sweltering triple digits here, as they do throughout much of Texas. Winter highs are often in the 50s and lows rarely dip below freezing. All that means you can enjoy the lovely green spaces of Mesquite most of the year.

“I have always loved both the number and variety of parks in the city,” says Baumann. Pickett is partial to walking and biking around City Lake Park—she points out that there’s also a splash pad and pool for when things heat up in the summer. For walking, biking, and jogging, Pickett also recommends the 4.2-mile Heritage Trail, which runs from the Mesquite Golf Club (a favorite of the mayor’s) to Towne Center Drive.

When to Visit

“There are just too many great things going on in our city for each season to choose!” Pickett says. It’s true; there’s no bad time to visit. Still, both Pickett and Baumann agree that the winter months are particularly nice in Mesquite. Both longtime locals specifically mention Christmas in the Park at Westlake Park as one of their favorite annual events. This extravaganza includes free carnival games for the whole family, pictures with Santa and stories with Mrs. Claus, and hot cocoa and other holiday treats galore.

“Being a northern transplant, I enjoy the mild winters and not having to shovel snow to get out of the driveway,” Baumann adds.

The warmer months are lovely in Mesquite, too. Summer kicks off with food trucks, art vendors, and fireworks at the Summer Sizzle, and the Mesquite Arts Center hosts a series of outdoor music events. Things also get cozy in the fall, when there’s a barn dance at the Opal Lawrence Historical Park and Pumpkin Fest, which includes live jousting, falconry, an archery show, trick-or-treating, and a pumpkin pie eating contest.

Best Events to Attend

There’s always something going on in Mesquite. “We are blessed to live in a city where there is always something special going on, and our community seems to love coming together both to celebrate the good things and support one another in hard times,” Pickett explains.

Baumann is partial to the annual Rodeo Parade, which honors Mesquite as the Official Rodeo Capital of Texas declared by the State Senate. Tons of community members participate in the Rodeo Parade each year; it’s a local favorite. Bands, drill teams, and cheerleaders march and perform, and people ride in the parade on homemade floats, horses, motorcycles, and classic cars. Speaking of rodeos, Pickett adds that Mesquite is home to the world-famous Mesquite Rodeo, which is housed in an air-conditioned arena that can also be used for concerts and other events.

Looking for a great way to kick off your weekend in Mesquite? “Of course, this is Texas, so Friday Night Lights is the place to be for high school football,” Pickett says. “With five high schools in Mesquite, there is always at least one local game to attend.”

There are countless reasons Baumann and Pickett have both stuck around for all these years. As both point out, it doesn’t hurt that Mesquite is very conveniently located; it’s only 15 minutes from downtown Dallas and sits at the intersection of four major highways, so you can get just about anywhere you need to be. Of course, when your town is this friendly and welcoming, why would you need to be anywhere else?

Written by Shaine Smith for Matcha in partnership with Mesquite CVB.

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