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Photo courtesy of TEXRail

For those on the move during Thanksgiving, local transit authorities have issued some updates on their holiday schedules, including Trinity Metro in Fort Worth and Dallas Area Rapid Transit in Dallas.

Fort Worth first:

Trinity Metro

On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, Trinity Metro will operate regular service for TEXRail, The Dash, and Molly the Trolley.

However, if you're headed to Dallas, call Uber: The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) will not operate on Thanksgiving Day. On Friday, November 25, it'll operate on Saturday service hours.

Buses, ACCESS paratransit and the ZIPZONEs in Alliance and Southside will operate on a modified service.

On Thanksgiving Day, Trinity Railway Express and the ZIPZONEs in Mercantile and South Tarrant will not operate. The ticket sales kiosk at Fort Worth Central Station will be closed.

However, customer service will be available 8 am-5 pm at 817-215-8600.

On Friday, November 25, all services will resume regular service except for TRE, which will operate on a Saturday schedule.

The kiosk will be open 6 am-7:30 pm. Customer service will be available 5 am-10 pm at 817-215-8600.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit
DART buses, light rail trains, and Dallas streetcar services will operate on a weekend schedule on Thursday November 24, and Friday November 25.

DART and TRE holiday changes will continue until regular scheduled transit service resumes on Saturday, November 26, which will also observe Saturday hours. It being a Saturday and all.

DART Mobility Management's Paratransit Call Center will be closed Thursday-Sunday. If you need to schedule a trip by phone for any of the four days, you'll need to do so by Wednesday, November 23. (Customers can schedule, view and cancel trips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at www.DART.org/paratransit.)

On Thursday, November 24, GoLink will operate only in zones that provide Sunday service: Northwest Dallas, Inland Port, Rylie, West Dallas, North Dallas, North Central Dallas, and Park Cities. Service will be unavailable in all other zones.

On Friday, November 25, GoLink will operate only in zones that provide Saturday service: Northwest Dallas, Inland Port, Rylie, West Dallas, North Dallas, North Central Dallas, Park Cities, Cypress Waters, Central Richardson, Legacy West, North Central Plano/Chase Oaks, Rowlett, Southeast Garland, Central Irving, and Mountain Creek. Service will be unavailable in all other zones.

DART's Customer Information Center will be closed Thanksgiving Day and open Friday 8 am-5 pm. Schedule information can be found at DART.org, TrinityRailwayExpress.org or by calling 214-979-1111.

Dallas-Fort Worth airports predict holiday travel to hit pre-pandemic levels

Holiday News

Thanksgiving is next week and people are on the move. According to AAA, holiday travel is anticipated to reach nearly 98 percent of pre-pandemic volume, confirmed by major airlines and airports around Dallas-Fort Worth.

AAA says 54.6 million people will travel 50 miles or more this year, which is a 1.5 percent increase over 2021.

A spokesperson for DFW Airport says they expect approximately 2.6 million passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period — a 13-day timeframe that begins on Thursday, November 17 and ends on Tuesday, November 29.

"This is essentially a return to 2019 levels," the spokesperson says.

The busiest day during this period will be Sunday, November 27, when DFW expects about 243,800 passengers.

For domestic flights, they recommend arriving 2 hours ahead, and for international flights, 3 hours ahead.

Parking Lot Status is posted on the airport’s website, or via the DFW Airport App, where you can view how full the parking lots are.

Dallas Love Field anticipates busy weekends both before and after Thanksgiving, with the highest volume of passenger departures expected on:

• Friday, November 18
• Sunday, November 20
• Monday, November 21
• Tuesday, November 22
• Wednesday, November 23
• Saturday, November 26
• Sunday, November 27

Love Field cautions passengers to be prepared for limited garage parking and increased roadside traffic.

"Airports across the country have observed a much higher demand for parking, and forecasts anticipate terminal garages will reach capacity quickly," says a statement from Love Field.

Garage parking spots are first-come, first-serve, including valet, and the airport is encouraging alternate means of transportation including rideshares, public transportation, or family and friends. Offsite parking services at the nearby The Parking Spot are also available.

Per TSA and industry experts’ recommendations, travelers should arrive three hours before their scheduled departure time, especially if they are planning to park at the airport.

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Two pilots from Keller were among 6 dead in crash at Dallas military airshow

Airplane News

Six people died in an airplane crash at the Wings Over Dallas Airshow at Dallas Executive Airport in south Dallas on November 12, two of whom were from the city of Keller.

Len Root worked as a contract commercial pilot; and Terry Barker was an Army veteran and pilot for American Airlines for 36 years.

Barker was also a former city council member for Keller, according to Keller Mayor Armin Mizani, who said on Twitter that "I was fortunate to have him as a friend, and his guidance when it came to what was best for our residents never steered me wrong."

Other casualties included Major Curtis Rowe, a veteran pilot, who volunteered to be a crew member on the B-17, and according to Fox 4, Houston-based pilot Craig Hutain, who was flying the P-63 Kingcobra. Hutain flew for United Airlines and was planning on retiring in a few years.

Kevin “K5” Michels and Dan Ragan were the other two men who died.

Described as a chance to "re-live history," the show featured vintage World War II planes in air. The crash made national news and was photographed and recorded by a number of spectators.

The two planes that crashed were a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, and a small Bell P-63 Kingcobra. According to Airlive.net, the P-63 took a wide turn which would have prevented its pilot from seeing the B-17.

Both planes were owned by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and based in Houston. According to CNN, hundreds of spectators watched as the planes collided, then burst into a fireball on the grounds of Dallas Executive Airport.

CAF president Hank Coates said that the pilots at CAF airshows are volunteers, many airline pilots, retired airline pilots, or retired military pilots, and said the aircraft were safe and well-maintained.

The NTSB will issue a preliminary report in four to six weeks, although spokesman Michael Graham said a full investigation could take more than a year. They're urging anyone with video or pictures to send them to witness@ntsb.gov.

“They’ll actually be very critical since we don’t have any flight data recorder data or cockpit voice recorders or anything like that,” Graham said. “They’ll be very critical to analyze the collision and also tie that in with the aircraft control recordings to determine why the two aircraft collided and to determine, basically, the how and why this accident happened and then eventually, hopefully, maybe make some safety recommendations to prevent it from happening in the future."

Photo courtesy of Kodiak Robotics

IKEA to test-drive robot deliveries between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth

Trucking news

A California-based, self-driving trucking company is partnering with IKEA to pilot autonomous freight deliveries in Texas.

Kodiak Robotics and IKEA has agreed on a pilot program that will transport IKEA products seven days a week between the IKEA Distribution Center in Baytown, near Houston, and the IKEA Store in Frisco.

"We are proud to be working with Kodiak to achieve our ambitious goals of being at the forefront of innovation and building capabilities for future transportation," says Dariusz Mroczek, category area transport manager of IKEA Supply Chain Operations, in a news release. "Kodiak's technology will contribute towards our objective to put the driver in focus in the transition towards automated transportation and towards our road safety agenda."

The pilot program will flesh out Kodiak's technology, and each vehicle will have a professional safety truck driver behind the wheel to oversee the autonomous delivery.

"IKEA and Kodiak share a commitment to putting safety first," says Don Burnette, founder and CEO of Kodiak Robotics, in the release. "Together we can enhance safety, improve working conditions for drivers, and create a more sustainable freight transportation system. Adopting autonomous trucking technology can improve drivers' quality of life by focusing on the local driving jobs most prefer to do. We look forward to working with the IKEA carrier partners to bring these benefits to the IKEA supply chain."

Founded in 2018, Kodiak has been delivering freight daily in Texas since mid-2019, which includes a DFW to San Antonio route.

"Dallas will be our home base for testing and operations for the foreseeable future," Burnette said in 2019. "Kodiak plans to continue refining and testing its trucks until the last truck-involved accident happens on public roads."

The company picked Texas for its truck tests, in part, because of the "warm welcome" extended by Gov. Greg Abbott, TxDOT, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and other segments of the public sector, Burnette told InnovationMap.

In addition, Burnette says, Kodiak chose Texas "because of its great people, freight-rich economy, reasonable regulatory structure, and robust infrastructure."

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This article originally ran on our sister site InnovationMap.

Trinity Metro

Trinity Metro to give Fort Worth free rides on its cushy on-demand service

Transit News

The transit agency that services Fort Worth is dying to give out free rides: Trinity Metro is offering freebies over the next few weeks on its on-demand shared ride service, ZIPZONE.

ZIPZONE, which is vexingly all-caps (why can't it be Zipzone?), is a rideshare program like Uber or Lyft, but instead of a varying price, you pay a flat $3 per ride.

However, rides are available only in their five designated zones including Southside, Mercantile, Southeast, and South Tarrant.

Trinity Metro debuted the service in July 2019, and expanded it in June to the Southeast and the Southside, making connections to TCU, the West 7th District including Crockett Row and Montgomery Plaza, the Medical District, and Magnolia Avenue.

The vehicles used are black shuttle-style vans that seat up to 14.

Ridership is perhaps not where they'd like it to be, so they're offering the following promotions:

New riders in any of the five ZIPZONE service zones can get their first two rides free this fall by using the promo code FTWWEB.

All riders can get unlimited free rides in the Southeast ZIPZONE through November 30.

All riders can get a free ride to Tarrant County voting sites from October 24-November 4 and on November 8.

Since launching the original Mercantile ZIPZONE, they've provided nearly 90,000 rides to residents, workers, students, and visitors in the Fort Worth area.

Some of the essential and leisure destinations in Tarrant County that ZIPZONE hits include The Fort Worth Botanical Garden, TCU, and Texas Wesleyan University (in the Southside ZIPZONE); The Golf Club at Fossil Creek and TEXRail’s Mercantile Center Station (in the Mercantile ZIPZONE); TX Whiskey Ranch and big-box store shopping (in the Southeast ZIPZONE); Gateway Station and Tarrant County College campuses (South Tarrant ZIPZONE).

Anyone in the service zones can book a shared ride via the ZIPZONE app or by calling 817-215-8600. ZIPZONE is powered by Via, whose algorithms direct passengers to a nearby “virtual bus stop” within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off.

For more information, visit https://ridetrinitymetro.org/rider-services/zipzone.

Uniquely charitable concession store to open at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

Airport News

There's a new store opening at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport that'll have a nonprofit component. Called The Bridge News and Convenience, it'll be an airport concession that not only sells souvenirs and items to travelers, it'll also create jobs, fund services, and improve community for local homelessness nonprofits.

The store is a partnership between The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center in Dallas and Presbyterian Night Shelter's Upspire in Fort Worth with R.S. Harris LLC and Gideon Toal Management. According to a release, it'll open in spring 2023.

Throughout the seven-year contract, five percent revenue shared by The Bridge and Presbyterian Night Shelter is expected to generate an estimated $200,000 for The Bridge.

A licensing fee for use of The Bridge brand will fund the homeless recovery support network in the Dallas area to help people get back on their feet.

Upspire, a Fort Worth-based Presbyterian Night Shelter Enterprise will provide staff through its workforce program that helps individuals facing barriers to employment.

In a statement, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson says that this creative partnership will give a boost to one of the city’s most important homelessness services centers.

"I hope this concept serves as a model for how we can help move Dallas forward while helping us serve the most vulnerable people in our city, and I look forward to shopping there before my flights out of the second-busiest airport in the world, DFW International Airport," Johnson says.

The Bridge Travel Essentials store in DFW airport will be an 800-square-foot storefront, showcasing the region by highlighting partnerships with local markets and up-and-coming businesses. Merchandise will include travel and souvenir needs, grab and go snacks, personal care items, and local memorabilia.

The Bridge president and CEO Dr. David Woody, III says that this has been in the works for nearly two years.

"The Bridge Travel Essential Store in Terminal A at DFW Airport will provide a medium for communicating The Bridge brand and marvelous social impact model of homeless recovery to literally the world, while also establishing a revenue stream to help offset operating expenses through the partnership with Gideon Toal Management and R.S. Harris LLC," Woody says. "We look forward to pursuing opportunities to grow this unique business, social entrepreneurship, and revenue building model, while continuing work with The Bridge Guests, and facilitating their recovery from homelessness.”

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'Lightscape' shines bright in this week's 5 most popular Fort Worth stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. What to expect at 'Lightscape,' Fort Worth's new walk-thru winter wonderland. Fort Worth’s most Instagrammable new holiday lights display is best enjoyed without clinging to a phone. “Lightscape,” which made its North Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Friday, November 18, walks visitors through a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in DFW.

2. Hoffbrau Steak fires up the grill for new location in Grapevine. A longtime steakhouse is coming to Grapevine: Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House, a small family-owned and -operated chain that's been in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 40 years, will open a location November 28 at 700 W. State Hwy 114, previously home to a Brick House Tavern & Tap, which closed during the pandemic.

3. Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan. Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala - held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards - leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."

4. Divine doughnuts and tempting tamales top this Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth has tidbits about doughnuts, Cajun food, vegan tamales, and gourmet ice cream, culled from press releases, social media, and the occasional hot tip. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

5. Here comes Santa House, back to Grapevine for a very charitable 2022 Christmas season. After taking a much-needed break last year, Louie Murillo and his family are once again decking their halls, yard, and rooftop to bring back the Grapevine Santa House — a smash hit during the 2020 holiday season. The half-acre property is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of more than 1,000 Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program.

Texas parks beckon throughout 2022 holidays with festive events and peaceful escapes

If roasting ‘smores and hiking in the great outdoors sounds fun, pack up your family and visit one of Texas’ state parks this holiday season.

Texas state parks and historic sites are ringing in the holidays with a number of festive events. There are drive-thru light tours, special holiday hikes, arts and crafts for the kiddos, and more.

Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit an individual park's website before you head out. And check the Holidays in the Parks page for many more fun options, pricing information, and more information.

Dallas-Fort Worth-area parks

Tyler State Park
Avoid the Black Friday madness with the 15th annual “Walk-off the Bird” Bird Walk, a 2.1-mile walk by the lakeshore at 9 am November 25. Bring your binoculars to relax and enjoy the bird life of the East Texas Pineywoods. At 2 pm the same day, enjoy a Fall in the Savannah fall foliage hike. Enjoy Reading Ranger Campfire Stories around a cozy campfire at 3 pm December 3. Head back December 9-10 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through the Lakeview and Big Pine campgrounds to take in campers' elaborately decorated sites and take a Winter Wonderland Hike.

Lake Tawakoni State Park
Drive through or stay at the park and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of camping free during your stay. There will be a decorating contest, complete with awards, as well as a reading of The Night before Christmas — all part of Twinkle Tour 2022, 5-8 pm December 3.

Daingerfield State Park
Drive through the park lit up like Santa Land during the 10th annual Christmas in the Park drive thru lights tour December 14-17 (times vary). Marvel at the decorated campsites and lights, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while waiting for a chance to visit with Santa.

Eisenhower State Park
Help those in need and spread holiday cheer — and as a bonus, get free entry to the park — by bringing one unwrapped donation item to the park’s Holiday Donation Drive from November 25 to December 19. Come back December 9-10 to visit the Light Up the Park drive-thru lights event, featuring milk and cookies with Santa. This year, the park is taking unwrapped toys to donate instead of collecting entrance fees for the event.

Cleburne State Park
Enjoy Pancakes With Santa and make pinecone bird feeders 9-11 a.m. December 10.

Cedar Hill State Park
Walk off your Thanksgiving Day meal and explore nature in the cool fall air during the three-mile Thanksgiving Nature Walk 7:30-9 a.m. November 26. Search for birds taking their winter break at the park during their Winter Birding Walk, which takes place 7:30-8:30 am December 13. Explore Christmas on Penn Farm on December 17: Learn about the history and pioneers of the Penn Family and the farm they built 150 years ago.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas, cowboy style, at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas, December 3. Park ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around a campfire at the Lone Star Amphitheater for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems.

Dinosaur Valley State Park
In partnership with Toys for Tots, the park is hosting Christmas in the Valley, a full day of ranger-led events, programs, family friendly activities, arts and crafts, food and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for free admission for the whole family. The event takes place 1-4 pm. December 17.

Austin/San Antonio-area parks

Bastrop State Park
The park’s annual Gobble Till You Wobble hike November 25 has been canceled due to predicted rains. However, you can still follow ornaments with clues through the park every day in December during the annual Fa La La Through The Forest Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the Lost Pines Christmas Parade, a collaborative event with Bastrop and Buescher Parks, at 6 pm December 10. Tour the inside of the historic Refectory and see how the Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated Christmas away from home during A Lost Pines CCC Christmas 9 a.m. to noon December 17.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
Attend Deck the Halls, 10 am. to 3 pm November 26 to explore how early Texans at the Sauer-Beckmann Farm got ready for the holidays by stringing popcorn and decorating cookies to hang on their Christmas tree; learn how to make wreaths out of local cedar and dip candles as the farm staff get ready for das Weihnachten (Christmas). Return to the park at 5:30 pm December 18 for the 53rd Annual Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson.

Garner State Park
Join the Buffalo Soldiers program and friends as they stop into Garner State Park before leaving for Christmas break during the Marching Towards Christmas event 10 am to 2 pm December 10. Christmas activities will include hand-dipped candles, frontier Christmas painting, Christmas-themed hard tack in Dutch ovens, and stories of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Buescher State Park
Take a Giving Thanks Guided Hike and learn how the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park from 3-4 pm November 26. On the Fa La La in the Forest Scavenger Hunt, you can follow ornaments with clues through the park to secure a prize at the end, December 1 to January 1. Enjoy the Smithville Festival of Lights and Lighted Parade, a collaborative effort between Buescher and Bastrop parks, on December 3.

Hill Country State Natural Area
See how art, history and state parks are connected; learn some basic watercolor techniques and paint a card or two to take home during the Watercolor Christmas Cards event 2:30-4 p.m. December 3. Come back for Horses in History & Ornament Craft from 2:30-4 pm. December 22 and learn how horses played important roles in the lives of vaqueros, native people, ranchers and more. Then, play a round of horseshoes and paint a horse ornament to take with you.

South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, 2 to 5 pm December 3, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to live entertainment, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa's visit while taking in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House that now serves as Park Headquarters.

Houston and Gulf Coast-area parks

Brazos Bend State Park
Holiday in the Park is an all-day affair on December 10. Events include a self-guided "Elf Hike," Christmas crafts, "Pup Parade," s'mores, and more.

Goose Island State Park
See the park in lights, enjoy holiday activities, and camp for free when you decorate your campsite during Christmas in the Park on December 17. Guests are invited to "Santa's Village" at the CCC Recreation Hall for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire, and to drop off letters to Santa in the North Pole Mailbox.

Lake Livingston State Park
Learn about your favorite Thanksgiving food (the turkey) during Campfire Turkey Talk on November 26. Rangers will cover the history of Thanksgiving, the habits and behaviors of wild turkeys, and share interesting facts about turkeys, including how it nearly became our national bird.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Get in the holiday spirit with the second annual Holiday Light Drive Thru 6-9 pm December 10. Visitors can enter the park for a drive through the lighted areas of Javelina and Opossum Bend camping loops, plus the Old Pavilion.

West Texas and the Panhandle-area parks

Franklin Mountains State Park
Pack your Thanksgiving leftovers and hike 1.5 miles up to Aztec Caves during the park’s Turkey Trot at 11 am November 25. On December 3, make ornaments and holiday cards with recycled materials as part of the Art in the Parks series. During Cookies and Cocoa, you can decorate and take home your own Christmas treat while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate 2-4 pm December 23. Come back on Christmas Eve for a guided, two-mile Santa Hike at 11 am.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Bring your family out for Home for the Holidays guided family hike on December 10 and moderate hike on 17.

San Angelo State Park
Enjoy a drive-thru tour of lights and optional pictures with Santa and Smokey Bear during Holly-Days in the Park 6-8 pm December 10.

Affluent Fort Worth neighbor leads list of lavish holiday spending budgets in U.S.

Santa Baby

As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, holiday shopping budgets are in the spotlight, and a study from WalletHub lists Flower Mound as one of the top cities where Santa doesn't need a whole lot of help.

According to the personal finance website, the average holiday budget in Flower Mound is $3,531 per person, the third highest in the nation.

The town's 2021 population of 77,243 (per the U.S. Census) boasts a median income $139,703 and earlier this year was named by Ventured.com as the richest city in Texas.

In spite of an increase over last year's gift list totals, Flower Mound dropped to the third spot after being ranked No. 1 last year with a budget of $3,427. Newton, Massachusetts (budget $4,233) and Palo Alto, California (budget $3,920) edged out the Texas city this year.

Flower Mound was the only Texas city in the top 10, but there's plenty of holiday cheer to be found in the report, and not just for Flower Mound Santa fans.

Each year, WalletHub calculates the maximum holiday budget for over 550 U.S. cities "to help consumers avoid post-holiday regret," the website says. The study factors in income, age of the population, and other financial indicators such as debt-to-income ratio, monthly-income-to monthly-expenses ratio and savings-to-monthly-expenses ratio.

Despite nationwide focus on inflation strains, holiday spending is expected to be healthy, and higher than last year.

"The seeming social upheaval in recent times may lead households to spend more in an attempt to take some control of the environment which they can control," says Robert Wright, University of Illinois, Springfield professor emeritus who was among five experts consulted for advice about holiday shopping.

This could be good news if your Christmas wishes are on local shopping lists. Eight other North Texas cities landed in this year's top 100 heftiest holiday budgets:

  • Allen, No. 17 , $2,670
  • Frisco, No. 37, $2,150
  • McKinney, No. 45, $2,070
  • Plano, No. 50, $1,999
  • Carrollton, No. 55, $1,837
  • Richardson, No. 58, $1,823
  • North Richland Hills, No. 81, $1,658
  • Lewisville, No. 90, $1,630

Fort Worth landed at No. 366 with a budget of $890, while Dallas landed at No. 401 out of 558 cities with an average holiday budget of $845.

Elsewhere in Texas, spending in the Austin area won't be ho-hum with the Capitol City's budget of $1,705 ranked at No. 78. Two Austin suburbs, Cedar Park (budget $2,855) and League City (budget $2,541) ranked 14 and 20, respectively.

Santa's bag could be a mixed bag in the Houston area with three suburbs in the top 100, but the urban center falling behind:

  • Sugar Land, No. 15, $2,793
  • Pearland, No. 36, $2,172
  • The Woodlands, No. 71, $1,733
  • Houston, No. 366, $890

Things don't look too jolly for San Antonio, ranked at No. 431 with an average budget of $803 or Pharr, which was the lowest ranked city in Texas.

At No. 553 with a budget of $487, the Rio Grande Valley city came in just a few spots ahead of last place Hartford, Connecticut, with a budget of only $211.