Finding Home in Old East Dallas
Finding Home in Old East DallasMy Dallas Story
“I live in an apartment on Swiss Avenue, right next to the historic district with mansions from the early 1900s…
I think Old East Dallas is a hidden gem.”
Name: Kyra Barker
Neighborhood: Old East Dallas
Company/Title: CONNECTIVE Agency, Senior Account Executive
When did you move here? Where from?
July 2019 / Eugene, Oregon
Where else have you lived?
Manhattan Beach, California, and Eugene, Oregon, where I attended the University of Oregon. I moved to Dallas after graduating with a journalism / public relations degree. You may think you know Texas, but you really don’t unless you’ve lived here! Let go of all preconceptions and just explore the state for yourself… It’s a city in Texas but it isn’t defined by the state. It’s diverse and multicultural, and more welcoming than I thought it would be.
What made you ‘Say Yes to Dallas’?
What brought us to central Texas was my boyfriend’s pursuit of a career in the aerospace industry. He grew up going to airshows and had his sights set on working for Lockheed Martin.
I was drawn to Dallas because it is such a diverse, vibrant city with so much to do. When we visited the area before the move, I just fell in love. The great weather is obviously a plus, and the restaurants are amazing.
How did you choose where to live in the Dallas Region?
I live in an apartment on Swiss Avenue, right next to the historic district with mansions from the early 1900s. It’s a fascinating area — one of Dallas’s earliest planned residential communities — where nationally renowned architects designed and built these grand estates.
I think Old East Dallas is a hidden gem. It’s in a great location, close to the CONNECTIVE Agency office, and the reasonable rent was also attractive. When I look out my window, I can see the Dallas skyline. It’s very close to the city, yet it’s still affordable.
It’s the ideal location to easily access Downtown and all the interesting surrounding neighborhoods such as Uptown, Lower Greenville, Bishop Arts and Deep Ellum.
Tell us about your city/neighborhood. What do you like best? What makes it different?
Walking Swiss Avenue is one of my favorite things. The houses have plaques in front of them that give the history of the homes and details on their residential design. It’s a lovely neighborhood to walk through.
There are some great restaurants in my neighborhood. La Victoria is one of my favorites. It’s a local family-owned Mexican restaurant with the best breakfast burritos in town, and it’s just right around the corner from me. There are also some great Thai options including Sakhuu Thai and Bangkok City Restaurant that I can walk to.
I also love Deep Ellum. Pre-COVID, I went there every other weekend. I really enjoy sitting out on the outdoor patio at Deep Ellum Brewing Company.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to move here?
You may think you know Texas, but you really don’t unless you’ve lived here! Let go of all preconceptions and just explore the state for yourself.
If you are moving to Dallas, I highly recommend living close to the city. As far as job hunting, while there are a lot of huge Fortune 500 companies that are a major draw, there are also a lot of smaller, nimble and creative startups and small businesses to consider as well.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to connect with people. In Dallas, I’ve found that people want to have a conversation with you. You don’t really get that vibe in California, especially Los Angeles. People are so busy they don’t have the time to answer your calls or questions. But in Dallas people genuinely want to help you and network with you, so don’t be shy about reaching out.
What is the one thing that you could have done to make your move easier?
If you’re moving from college, leave everything behind. Just sell it and start over anew. I moved here with three suitcases and that was it. It made my life so much easier.
How has your opinion of the Dallas Region changed since moving here?
It’s changed in a lot of ways. It’s a city in Texas but it isn’t defined by the state. It’s diverse and multicultural, and more welcoming than I thought it would be. When I moved here, I think working at CONNECTIVE was the best way for me to understand what Dallas is.
Our team is so diverse, and filled with such brilliant, kind people who are open to having conversations and value experience and ideas from other areas. I think Texas is honestly a melting pot of all the things that I love.
What would you miss most about the area if you had to leave?
I would miss a lot of things if I left. I love Dallas summers and really enjoy all the outdoor bars and restaurants the city has to offer. I would definitely miss the weather. The winters are usually mild, and the sun comes out every so often. In Oregon, we went weeks on end without sun and that definitely takes a toll on you.
I would miss the diversity of the city, the amazing food here, and so many random things to do. No matter what your passions are, you’ll be able to find a community that’s equally as passionate as you are to connect with.
Where do you go and what do you do on the weekends or days off?
I can’t get enough of plant shopping! I love Oasis Plant Shop in the Bishop Arts District. I also like to go to Lower Greenville as often as I can. I haven’t been exploring as many things as I’d like to because of the pandemic, but there are safe ways to get out with outdoor bar and restaurant options.
The Rustic is a really good restaurant with live music, farm-to-table food and craft beers.
Where do you go to experience culture?
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is on everyone’s favorite list, for me especially because one of CONNECTIVE’s clients, Signature Illumination Designs, does some of their lighting. I recently went to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science with my nephew, who just turned 4. He is crazy about dinosaurs and absolutely loved it.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is a can’t miss for visiting guests; it really put everything into perspective for me on the JFK assassination. And one spot that I haven’t had a chance to see yet but is next on my list is the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
What is your favorite outside activity, and where is your favorite place to do it?
My favorite outside activity is just sitting in the sun on a nice, hot Dallas day. I like going to Excelsior Park near my apartment.
Where do you like to shop? Why?
I did a lot of my Christmas shopping this year in the Bishop Arts District. I wanted to buy local and find unique boutique shops for one-of-a-kind gifts.
What is your passion, and how does the Dallas Region help fulfill it?
Sustainable living is a big one for me. I am also passionate about marketing. What I really like about marketing is finding unique ways to tell a brand story. Finding ways to communicate a brand’s message and get others excited about it is really interesting to me.
I’m able to blend my two passions through CONNECTIVE’s client Aquafil, a leading global nylon manufacturer with a sustainable product that’s helping to reshape the fashion and design industries. Our company values include going deep and creating positive experiences, and I believe that works both ways!
Who is your local hero? Why?
My local hero is Jacqueline Chen Valencia, partner at CONNECTIVE Agency. She is one of the first people I talked to in Dallas, and through the phone she gave me a great first impression. She was so kind, energetic and passionate about her work and where she lives, it gave me a really neat insight into what Dallas could be.
Jacqueline stayed in touch with me throughout my Dallas job search, and she genuinely seemed to care about me and my career goals, which I feel like you don’t find very often. I was attracted to CONNECTIVE as it’s a woman- and minority-owned business, with talented and authentic people deeply involved in making the community a better place along with our clients and partners.
Where do you feel most at home in the Dallas Region?
The plant shop or my apartment. After getting my own space, Dallas really feels like my home. I feel like it’s where I belong.
Do you travel often? Is it easier or harder to do here?
I haven’t been traveling much lately but it’s a great place to be for travel. You’re in the middle of country, so I can easily get to California to visit family or head to the East Coast to visit my brother in New York.
On Dallas’ job market
As far as job hunting, while there are a lot of huge Fortune 500 companies that are a major draw, there are also a lot of smaller, nimble and creative startups and small businesses to consider as well.
On the Dallas Community
In Dallas, I’ve found that people want to have a conversation with you. You don’t really get that vibe in California, especially Los Angeles… in Dallas people genuinely want to help you and network with you, so don’t be shy about reaching out.