Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

The Texas Trifecta Makes a Comeback

The Texas Trifecta Makes a Comeback


Remember this post? A hurricane kind of happened right after and suddenly joking about anything to do with Texas wasn't funny, because a city that's home to me was underwater, and I was sad for a lot of people I love, and I didn't feel like writing it anymore, so I didn't.

But it crossed my mind this weekend and I thought, what the heck. Let's bring it back.

As a quick refresher for those of you who just do not have the time to click that link: I'm taking advantage of the fact that I've lived in all three major Texas cities now and ranking them in various categories. It is very objective and journalistic.

Originally, I planned on dedicating a post to each category I came up with. But since I clearly haven't stuck to the original plan, let's throw that format out the window as well and just do all the rankings now!


  1. Dallas. Big D, I gotta hand you this one. Your skyline is magical and very classy. There are few things I enjoy more about Dallas than driving downtown at night and seeing the city sparkling outside my windows.

  2. Austin. Because it's pretty, but probably more so because it's mine. In reality, it's mostly unfamiliar and/or a jumble of cranes these days, but I feel a wistful little twinge in my soul any time I see Austin's buildings — especially at that magic evening hour when it's not quite dark, but their lights are all already on. (Side story: my senior prom was on a boat on Town Lake, right underneath the best stretch of city; and at this exact point of the night, my friend James brought our dance to an absolute halt, dug my phone out of his pocket, turned me around, pointed at the skyline, and said, "I figured you were going to want to stop to take a photo of that, right?")

  3. Houston. The thing about Houston is that it's so sprawling, I don't feel like it has a real, defined skyline. The other thing about Houston is that it's just generally not aesthetically pleasing. Sorry Houston. You take the L on this one.


  1. Austin. This is a landslide win not up for debate. Trees, greenery, some semblance of elevation. Creeks and rivers and slabs of limestone. Hill country forever, man.

  2. Dallas. I like open space, so I can dig the rolling plains kind of feel up here.

  3. Houston. Bayou came after the fall.


  1. Dallas. Living in Dallas puts me about four hours closer (and a verifiable day's drive) from a lot of wonderful places. As someone who gets cagey easily and really loves road trips, there's something very comforting about that.

  2. Houston? Houston is also relatively close to a border of Texas. Unfortunately, that border is to Louisiana, which is a terrible place. The deep south in general, actually, is just not my jam. (Sorry and bless y'all's hearts or whatever.) But it is something.

  3. Austin? Austin is just hours in middle of Texas on every direction, but it is further west than Houston, and I like west more than east, so I don't know. Maybe we call this a tie?


  1. Houston. You have never met a fan base so loyal. They know they suck, and they still out here rooting. Also, with the occasional exception of the Rockets, their teams are likable.

  2. Austin. All Austin has, actually, is the University of Texas, and UT football has had like ten rebuilding years in a row now. Austin doesn't actually qualify for this category. But you know what? I'm still ranking it higher than Dallas, because

  3. Dallas. Other than the Stars, who don't count because there's no other option in the state, I loathe Dallas sports franchises. Dallas, your teams are not that good. There, I said it. You are all astoundingly pretentious about your astoundingly average teams. People keep trying to tell me that since I currently live in Dallas I either need or am doomed to become a Dallas sports fan. LOL. I will never become a Dallas sports fan. I am willing to die on this hill, and if I do, I want something about how rooting for the Mavericks reflects poorly on your character chiseled into my gravestone.


Here we have arrived at an impossible category, because here's the deal: all three of these cities have amazing food, and each offers something that could potentially edge out the others depending on your taste. Here's what's unique about each:

  • Austin — healthy. Unsurprisingly, you can find exceptionally delicious, healthy food of basically any kind in the ATX. For cheap. Quickly. Just about anywhere. And no one will bat an eyelash at any dietary restrictions, chosen or required. My best friend's and my go-to meeting spot was a vegan restaurant on South First that I crave with a vengeance on a regular basis. I dearly miss this aspect of the city. Also, Austin tacos are better than anywhere else's tacos. I will stand by this.

  • Houston — seafood! If you're not a seafood/sushi person, this won't matter to you, necessarily; but I adore it, and with its proximity to the ocean, Houston does fish better than any other major Texas city for that reason. And as the most ethnically diverse city in the states, you can find an authentic version of any cuisine your heart desires in H-Town. Be blessed, my friends.

  • Dallas — boujee. Like most things Dallas, the food scene is very trendy; and as someone with a creative bent, I love that most great meals in the city are accompanied by a great aesthetic experience. Plus, Dallas brunches so hard. I'm here for it.


  1. Houston. If you know you know. Houston is a good time, man. I love this city's personality. It needs its own blog post, honestly.

  2. Austin. Austin, I love you, but you're not that weird anymore. You've still got some of your old laid-back crunchiness, and I love it, but at the end of the day, too many people have moved in and ruined it. I know that was kind of inevitable, but it's still a lil sad, you know?

  3. Dallas. I recently told someone that I feel like, since moving to Dallas, I keep getting invited to things where I show up dressed and ready for that thing, only to find that it is like, the uncomfortable heels and people drinking martinis version of that thing. Does that make sense? Probably not, but it's the truth.

Anyway, there you have it: more stream-of-consciousness rankings of Texas cities. Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

A New Thing

A New Thing

Weekend Roundup: Dec. 9

Weekend Roundup: Dec. 9