The year 1841 marks the beginning of the history of modern-day Arlington by virtue of the setup of a trading post. Back then, Texas had for five years been an independent Republic and in many regards found itself in the middle of a time of change and development. The region in the Northeast of the young Republic, which only shortly before had been fortified against Indian raids, drew many settlers looking for a fresh start with its fertile soils and good climatic conditions and thus, in a short time, a number of farms had been built up around the trading post. When the rail connection by the Texas and Pacific Railway opened in 1876, the interest in the town grew further and only a little later, in 1884, Arlington had reached city status. In 1920, already about 3000 people loved here and Arlington slowly but continuously grew further to a population of almost 8000 in the 1950s. However, when industrial assembly came to town in the boom years (General Motors opened a plant here in 1954) the city changed virtually overnight. In 1970, what had been a population of 8000 had grown to 91,000, ten years later the number was at 160,000 and at more than 260,000 in 1990. Little by little, Arlington grew to be a major city not only by means of its population numbers, although some developments couldn’t quite keep pace with the rapid growth - for example, the city does not have a public transportation system to this day.
Since Arlington had its most significant development phase in the second half of the 20th century, the city is well adjusted to individual car traffic. It is easily accessible via highways and the two Interstates I-20 and I-30; the international airport of Dallas-Fort Worth is located in some 20 minutes’ distance. The disadvantages that come with lots of automobile traffic however cannot be denied either; the Metroplex is among the regions with the highest level of air pollution in the country.
Arlington, sister city of the German city of Bad Königshofen, puts great emphasis on being a sports town. This was true even before the eyes of the world witnessed the NBA All-Star-Game in 2010, the Superbowl in 2011 and the College Basketball finals in 2014. Since 1972, Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers team of Major League Baseball. They play their home games at Rangers Ballpark, a state-of-the-art stadium built in 1994 in whose architecture many elements of vintage baseball stadiums from all over the country have been used. The arena, located at Ballpark Way can be visited in guided tours outside of game times. In 2009, the Dallas Cowboys football team, one of the country’s most popular franchises, followed the Rangers to Arlington and moved into their new facility, AT&T Stadium, formerly known as Cowboys Stadium.
By its size - AT&T Stadium has a capacity for more than 100,000 fans - and its accouterments, the arena set new benchmarks for sports stadiums worldwide. It is frequently used for events other than sports, for example rock concerts. Those attending one of the stadium tours will also get a good view of one the largest HD video walls in the world suspended from the roof, which is actually larger than a basketball field. Für die Besucher, die schwere Kugeln gegenüber Bällen bevorzugen, sei dagegen der Besuch des International Bowling Museums mit dazugehörender Hall of Fame am Six Flag Drive empfohlen.
Sports are also a vital part of the offering of University of Texas at Arlington, which of course also has a wide-ranged academic program. More than 32,000 students are enrolled here and that not only makes the university an important economic factor, but a significant part of city life as a whole. The university’s central campus is located in Downtown. In the Fine Arts Building at South Cooper Street, there is an art gallery with altering exhibitions, which offers free admission to visitors.
Among Arlington’s attractions are no less than two amusement parks. For one, the oldest park of the Six Flags chain is located here, Six Flags over Texas, opened in 1961. The park is open March through December and has more than 50 attractions, among them being 13 rollercoasters. The name of the institution refers to the flags of six nations that once flew over Texas in history as signs of the six ruling country. In recent years, Six Flags over Texas has increasingly put emphasis on being an attraction for the whole family. Annually in September, Texan heritage is celebrated in the park with a Best of Texas Festival.
2201 Road to Six Flags. Open daily from 10 a.m. in the season.
The city’s second amusement park is Hurricane Harbor, which belongs to the Six Flags chain as well. It is a waterpark which has once belonged to the Wet ‘n’ Wild group. Several pools and slides are waiting for visitors during the season which lasts from early June through the end of September. There are sometimes special events taking place at the park.
900 East Randol Mill Road. Open daily from 10:30 a.m. in the season.
Also about water, but with a somewhat smaller entertainment factor, is the River Legacy Living Science Center in the Northern part of the city. At the banks of the Trinity River, there are a number of picnic grounds as well as hiking and biking paths with good opportunities for birdwatching. The Science Center itself teaches about the habitat along the river. Back in Downtown, the Arlington Museum of Art at West Main Street is worth visiting, especially so since the admission is free, although donations are welcome. There are altering exhibitions on display, additionally workshops are being held and an annual art auction.