Dallas City Guide


©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau Big Tex has presided over every Texas State Fair since 1952. See more pictures of Dallas.

Everything's bigger in the Lone Star State -- one reason the "Big D" holds a special place in the hearts of many Texans. The term's no idle homily, though: The "Big D" really is big. Surrounded by a metro area that covers 12 counties and spans nearly 9,000 square miles, Dallas lives up to its new tourism slogan, "Live Large. Think Big."

As home to the country's largest urban arts district, the city is also undergoing a downtown renaissance with $1 billion in improvements underway, all resulting in a chic new image that highlights the fine dining, cultural opportunities, and world-class shopping for which the city is known. It all goes hand-in-hand with a city that's famous for both its oil business and convention business.

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In spite of Dallas's city slicker image, however, a true Texas atmosphere is never far away. Not only is Dallas home to the month-long State Fair, but nearby Fort Worth is a cowboy capital nicknamed "The Place Where the West Begins." This city's Western heritage is seen in everything from its artwork to its shopping to its downtown nightlife.

Dallas image Gallery

The Best of Dallas

Perhaps more than any other Texas city, Dallas seems familiar even to first-time visitors. As home of the Dallas Cowboys, the city where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the hometown of the longtime Dallas television series, this destination is no stranger.

You'll find plenty of sightseeing options in Dallas, starting with the Dallas Arts District. With institutions such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Arts District is among the largest and most significant in the United States.

Dallas has long been known as an excellent shopping destination for both consumers and retailers, thanks to the Dallas Market Center, the world's largest wholesale merchandise market, and the original Neiman-Marcus department store, a true symbol of Texas wealth.

Smaller and less hurried than its neighbor to the east, Fort Worth offers a diverse array of attractions, from the Fort Worth Stockyards with its historic hotels, rodeos, and western shopping to a first-rate zoo and a cluster of excellent museums in the Cultural District.

Halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, Arlington is home of the American League's Texas Rangers baseball team and the region's theme parks, earning it the slogan "Fun Central."

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau The Dallas Museum of Art is part of the acclaimed Dallas Arts District.

Fast Facts & Info

Geography and landscape: Dallas is located on a sprawling expanse of prairie in north central Texas. Fort Worth sits 35 miles to the west of Dallas's high rises. Rolling hills break up some parts of the prairie, resulting in an elevation that ranges from 450 to 750 feet above sea level.

Although the Gulf of Mexico's waters lie more than 300 miles away, water is found throughout the metro area thanks to many rivers and lakes. Dallas is located in the headwaters of the Trinity River and is also home to the expansive White Rock Lake.

General orientation: The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area is composed of Dallas to the east and Fort Worth to the west, and these cities are divided and surrounded by an array of smaller communities that include Irving, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Plano, and more.

Downtown Dallas is a mass of highways, tucked north of Interstate 30, east of Interstate 35E, and west of US Highway 75, better known as Central Expressway; from these highways branches a grid system anchored by Main Street. Woodall Rogers Freeway divides downtown's West End and Arts District from Uptown.

Throughout this area, the soaring Reunion Tower, with its distinctive dandelion shape, is an easy-to-spot landmark even among the Dallas skyscrapers; it stands just east of Interstate 35E, not far north of the Interstate 30 intersection.

Safety: As the country's ninth largest city, Dallas has its share of big-city crime but is generally a safe destination for tourists. As with other destinations, visitors are encouraged to remain in well-lit areas at night. South Dallas is an area to be avoided at night, and even in the daytime travelers should be aware of their surroundings in this district.

Population: Nearly 1.1 million live in Dallas, and 534,694 live in Fort Worth.

Climate/weather: Weather is a hot topic in Dallas. Summer days average in the upper 90s with 100-plus degree days not uncommon and humidity levels making it feel even hotter. Air-conditioning (and sometimes a little too much air-conditioning) is a part of life here.

Late spring marks the time for the threat of severe weather in the region, with tornados likeliest in May and June. Winters are mild; January averages range from 33 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit, although ice storms and occasional snow do appear.

Like most big U.S. cities, Dallas can be difficult for tourists to navigate, especially by car. See the next section for tips and information on such public transportation options as DART.

Getting In, Getting Around Dallas

©2006 Dallas Area Rapid Transit DART bus and light rail systems can take you to and from the airport as well as around downtown.

Buy a map and stick to the right lane, and you'll be headed in the right direction in terms of getting around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The following tips should also help.

From the Airport

Here's a trivia question for your next road trip: Is the Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport located in Dallas or Fort Worth? Well, actually neither. The massive airport (with flights of four hours or less to every major city in the United States, Canada, and Mexico) is located in the community of Grapevine, located west of Dallas and north of Fort Worth.

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Dallas is also home to Love Field Airport, located within the city limits and within a few minutes' taxi ride from downtown.

Car rental: Car rental agencies at the airport make it easy to get around the metro area. From each terminal's baggage area (lower level), look for the rental car signs. Follow these outside the terminal, where a shuttle labeled "Rental Car" will transport you to the rental car center, a 10-minute ride. These complimentary shuttles leave every five minutes.

Taxi: Taxi service is readily available in each terminal at DFW International Airport. Proceed to the upper levels of each terminal and look for the uniformed Airport Ground Transportation personnel.

Taxis at Dallas Love Field are located in the upper levels across the street from the baggage claim wing of the main terminal building.

Fares from the airport to downtown Dallas cost $38; $43 if you're headed to downtown Fort Worth. The flat rate to and from the Dallas Central Business District is $40. You'll pay a $43 flat rate to and from the Fort Worth Central Business District.

Public transportation: The Dallas Area Rapid Transit or DART bus line No. 310 serves the DFW Airport's remote North parking area Monday through Friday only. DART's bus line No. 408 provides service to the remote South lot 7 days per week. DART bus line No. 309 will take travelers from Dallas Love Field to downtown Dallas. The single-ride fare costs $1.25 per person; a one-day pass (with unlimited rides) costs $2.50.

DART also operates the Trinity Railway Express (TRE), a light rail service linking DFW International Airport with locations in Dallas and Fort Worth from Monday through Saturday only. The one-way cost varies from $.50 to $2.25 per person, depending on where you get on. When TRE ends at the airport parking areas, passengers can transfer onto airport terminal shuttles.

Yellow Checker Shuttle Co.'s Airporter Service provides transportation from major Fort Worth hotels to DFW Airport. The one-way fee is $15 per person.

Driving In

Rush hour: With its myriad interstate highways, maneuvering Dallas requires a good map. The average Dallas-Fort Worth driver is delayed a total of 60-plus hours per year. Traffic can be fierce during rush hours, especially from 6:30 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6:30 pm.

One project that has helped Dallas traffic on the interstate highways in the city was the addition of the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. You'll find the lanes clearly marked; driving in one of them requires at least two people in the car.

Rules of the road: As in most large U.S. cities, Dallas traffic can be challenging. On most beltways and expressways, stay away from the left lane unless you're prepared to drive a bit over the posted limit. Around the ubiquitous road construction projects, it pays to relax and "go with the flow" when lanes converge around construction zones.

It's always a good idea to signal your lane changes, but don't expect every car to comply. And when you approach tollbooths, try to use correct change and don't try to ask directions from the tollbooth attendant.

You'll find good signage throughout most of the region, but heavy traffic and continual name changes to roads make it smart to have a pre-planned route. Basically Interstate 20 and Interstate 30, east-west routes, connect Dallas and Fort Worth. Both cities are sliced north to south by a version of Interstate 35; Interstate 35 East runs through Dallas, while Interstate 35 West goes through Fort Worth.

Getting Around

Public transportation: Dallas has expanded its Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail system to serve Richardson, Garland, and Plano as well as downtown Fort Worth. You'll find free parking at most of the rail stations. Day passes are $2.50 for local bus and rail service or $4.50 for premium routes, including express service and connections to DFW International Airport.

For travel in downtown Dallas, the historic McKinney Avenue Trolley is a fun option. The state's only historic streetcar system is now called the "M-Line" and offers free service to Dallas's entertainment districts and the downtown Arts District, Uptown, and the West Village dining and shopping area. The line runs daily every 15 minutes during peak weekday times or every half-hour otherwise.

Taxis, on foot, or by bike: Taxis are a good option for travel within Dallas, but because of the size of the metro area, they can be an expensive choice for more distant rides. The average cost of a taxi is $1.80 per mile. Cost (and maximum number) for additional passengers varies depending on the taxi company, but expect to pay $2 for each additional passenger.

Within specific neighborhoods, walking and biking are possibilities but generally aren't practical for visiting multiple areas of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Bicyclists and pedestrians do find a good option along the Katy Trail, a work-in-progress that runs through the most densely populated portion of Dallas. The trail runs from the West End and the American Airlines Center in the south to the Southern Methodist University campus and the Mockingbird DART Station in the north.

Also under way is the downtown Trinity River Corridor. When completed, the district will be larger than New York's Central Park and will include a hike and bike trail, portions of which are already opened. The corridor follows the banks of the Trinity River downtown, adding an ecologically sensitive district to the urban landscape.

There's nothing more "Texas" than football, but sports isn't all Dallas has to offer. Visitors to this southern city will find cultural performances, great shopping, fun festivals, and more. See the next section to learn about Dallas's special events and attractions.

Dallas Special Events & Attractions

©2006 Fort Worth Convention and Visitor's Bureau Texas Stadium hosts the Dallas Cowboys, a team whose name has become synonomous with football.

With 30 percent of the region's residents born either out of the country or of parents of foreign birth, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area boasts a diversity that's reflected in its special events. Because of mild weather, spring and fall are the top months for festivals that range from the Asian Festival to the Diwali Festival. Areas such as DFW Chinatown and the Asia Trade District offer visitors cultural performances, shopping, and dining options with a uniquely Asian flair.

Thanks to its Dallas Cowboys connection (a football team actually based in Irving until 2009, when it moves to Arlington), the city is synonymous with sports action. College games also draw a serious crowd, especially to the season's three big events: the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic in January, Grambling University vs. Prairie View A&M State Fair Classic in late September or early October, and the University of Texas vs. University of Oklahoma rivalry every October, all events that pack area hotels.

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Not forgetting its Texas roots, equine sports are crowd pleasers as well. Dallas is home to the Interstate Batteries Texas Stampede rodeo every November. Mesquite's Resistol Arena hosts the Mesquite Championship Rodeo every Friday and Saturday night from April through September.

Fort Worth is home to many rodeos, too, including the Stockyards Championship Rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum, holding the title as the world's first indoor rodeo.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Special Events & Attractions in Dallas

TV viewers know Dallas from the long-running TV show, where some scenes were filmed at Southfork Ranch (3700 Hodge Dr, Parker), located not in Dallas but in nearby Parker. The ranch still welcomes visitors from around the world.

A far darker side of Dallas history is recalled downtown at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (411 Elm St), housed in the former Texas School Book Depository building from which investigations believe a gunman killed President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. 

The museum helps recall the president's life, death, and legacy through artifacts, historic films, interpretive displays, and photographs. A memory book also is available onsite to record your personal recollections of that horrible day in history, or you can read what others have written.

Dallas is synonymous with the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium (2401 E Airport Fwy, Irving), but the city is home to many types of sports. Spectators can cheer for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center® (2500 Victory Ave); the NHL's Dallas Stars at Dr. Pepper StarCenter (2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco); and the Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers at Ameriquest Field in Arlington (1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington).

For horseracing fans, Grand Prairie's Lone Star Park (1000 Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie) includes a glass-enclosed grandstand.

Car-racing buffs can head to Fort Worth's Texas Motor Speedway (3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth), the country's second-largest sports facility. NASCAR, Indy Racing League, and a variety of other racing events are held here each year.

In downtown Fort Worth lies historic Sundance Square Entertainment District (4th and Main sts), a 20-block area named for the famous Western bandit, The Sundance Kid, who, along with partner Butch Cassidy, spent time in the area. The beautiful landscaping, redbrick streets, and turn-of-the-century buildings make this district a delight for pedestrians. You'll find numerous shopping, dining, and art opportunities, too.

Just more than two miles north of downtown stands the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District (121 E Exchange Ave), once the second largest stockyard in the country with cattle pens that extended nearly one mile. Today the area is a favorite tourist stop with Western shopping, a twice-daily cattle drive, rodeos, and dining.

Fort Worth also offers a surprisingly diverse array of attractions beyond its Wild West flavor, including the first-rate Fort Worth Zoo (1989 Colonial Parkway) and the Fort Worth Water Gardens (between Houston and Commerce sts), which features enormous concrete, terraced water gardens containing a variety of foliage, trees, and spectacular water cascades and fountains.

Another favorite in the Fort Worth area is Billy Bob's Texas (2520 Rodeo Plaza), deemed the "The World's Largest Honky Tonk." The facility includes bull-riding exhibitions and live country music and dancing.

Fort Worth also hosts its share of special events. Some of the largest take place at the Will Rogers Memorial Center (3401 W Lancaster Ave). Located in the Cultural District, the center plays host to the annual Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show and events ranging from flea markets to bridal shows.

From art festivals and museums to a symphony and Broadway shows, the Dallas Arts District is a sheer delight for visitors looking for a bit of culture during their trip. See the next section for more information on the arts and culture scene in Dallas.

Dallas Arts & Culture

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau Located in Fort Worth's Cultural District, the Kimbell Art Museum is known as "America's best small museum."

Dallas has become a center of culture. With institutions such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Arts District is among the most significant in the United States.

Highbrow visual and performing arts are just one aspect of the city's art scene, however. Smaller galleries and affordable art festivals play an important role as well. Uptown Dallas is home to a growing number of small galleries, most within walking distance of each other, and many galleries have extended hours the first Friday of every month.

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Several arts-based festivals are held each year. The fairly new Dallas City Arts Festival, held in the Arts District each June, features fine art displays and multicultural performances and is growing in popularity.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Arts & Culture in Dallas

The well-known Dallas Museum of Art (1717 North Harwood St), founded in 1903, is home to an expansive collection of ancient American, African, Indonesian, and contemporary art ranging from Renoir and van Gogh to O'Keefe and Wyeth. The museum is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District.

Other neighbors include the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (2301 Flora St), which serves as the permanent home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

You can also visit the Margaret and Trammell Crow Collection of Asian Art (2010 Flora St) or the Nasher Sculpture Center (2001 Flora St), the world's first museum focusing on modern and contemporary sculpture housed both indoors and out.

Fort Worth's own Cultural District is another favorite with art lovers. The district houses five top museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum (3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth), often called "America's best small museum" and boasts one of the largest collections of Asian art in the Southwest and a survey collection that ranges from Rembrandt to Picasso.

The Amon Carter Museum (7501 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth) has grown to almost 240,000 objects focusing on many types of 19th- and 20th-century American art. Two rooms are devoted to Russell and Remington; other collection areas include works by Winslow Homer, Eliot Porter, and Thomas Eakins as well as a strong collection on American photography, started when Dorothea Lange offered the museum her studies of Charles M. Russell.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (3200 Darnell St, Fort Worth) holds the title as the oldest art museum in Texas, founded in 1892, and is noted for its collection of works by Picasso, Pollock, Lichtenstein, and others.

The performing arts also play a vital role in both Dallas and Fort Worth. The Dallas Music Hall (909 1st Ave) is located at Fair Park and is home to both the Dallas Opera and the Texas Ballet Theatre. The hall is an attraction in itself, dating back to 1925 and filled with Moorish touches, all in a Spanish Baroque-style structure.

In Fort Worth, the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall (525 Commerce St) is one of Texas's most notable concert halls. Along with traveling shows, the hall is the permanent home of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and Cliburn Concerts.

Fort Worth is also home of the Casa Manana Theatre (3101 W Lancaster). The theater offers self-produced shows featuring both local and Broadway talent.

Dallas showcases a variety of architectural styles, designed by a variety of famous architects. Learn more about the architecture and landmarks of Dallas in the next section.

Dallas Architecture & Landmarks

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau Be sure to ride up to the top of Reunion Tower during your Dallas visit.

As a booming corporate capital, Dallas has long been a showcase for important architecture, starting with the construction of the Old Red Courthouse in the late 1800s that signaled the creation of a justice system to move beyond the area's Wild West days.

In 1912, the city's Adolphus Hotel, with its ornate Edwardian Baroque style, would capture the attention of Dallas visitors just as it continues to do today.

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The 1930s brought Art Deco architecture to Dallas, and today the city is home to Fair Park (1300 Robert B. Cullum Blvd). Its 277 acres of the country's largest collection of 1930s Art Deco architecture at one site and a favorite spot for visitors to stroll from museum to museum and admire the stylish exteriors.

Along with architectural styles, Dallas also showcases the works of some of the country's best-known architectural names: Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, and Philip Johnson, each creating unique facilities.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Architecture & Landmarks in Dallas

A 68-second ride sweeps you up 55 stories to the top of the symbol of Dallas: the soaring Reunion Tower (300 Reunion Blvd), a column topped by a geodesic and glass dome complete with an observation tower, restaurant, and lounge. Although one of the most recognized landmarks in the metro area, it's joined by a host of other notable buildings ranging from historic to modern.

The internationally known I.M. Pei, famous for his addition of the Louvre's pyramid, has created several projects in downtown Dallas. One of the most notable is the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (2301 Flora St), built in 1989 as the permanent home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The building is the only symphony center designed by Pei.

The architect's Dallas City Hall (1500 Marilla St), noteworthy for its cantilevered facade, is a modern landmark. Another Pei landmark is downtown's Fountain Place (1445 Ross Ave), a green glass tower that rises from a base of waterfalls and fountains, considered to be one of the world's most complex computer-driven water spray works.

Other must-see places in the area include the Kalita Humphreys Theater (3636 Turtle Creek) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of only three theaters designed by the famous architect.

Philip Johnson's work also plays a prominent role in the area, from Dallas's peaceful Thanks-Giving Square (1627 Pacific Ave), known for its cascading fountains and interfaith chapel inspired by an Iraqi minaret, to Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum (7501 Camp Bowie Blvd) and the Fort Worth Water Gardens (1502 Commerce St), a cascade of water down terraced steps.

Shopping in Dallas is truly an experience. Visitors can explore mega malls, flea markets, specialty boutiques, and more. See the next page for shopping tips.

Dallas Shopping

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau NorthPark Center offers such high-end shops as Tiffany and Neiman Marcus.

Shopping is more than an activity in Dallas; it's almost elevated to sport status. In spite of fierce competition from Houston and San Antonio, the Big D remains the capital of Texas's shopping scene, with mega malls as well as specialty shopping.

The city draws both consumers and retailers, thanks to the Dallas Market Center, the world's largest wholesale merchandise market, and the original Neiman-Marcus Department Store, a true symbol of Texas wealth.

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Fort Worth also tempts shoppers with malls and specialty shopping, especially for Western wear, while Grand Prairie is home to Traders Village, one of the area's largest flea markets, open every weekend.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Shopping in Dallas

Several Dallas malls draw travelers, including NorthPark Center (8687 N Central Expressway), fresh off a $170 million expansion and renovation and tempting with its day spa and high-end shops like Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co.

Highland Park Village (Mockingbird Lane and Preston Road) is still ultra elegant with boutiques featuring everything from Chanel to Jimmy Choo. The chi-chi Dallas Galleria (Interstate 635 LBJ at Dallas North Tollway) is known for its sculpture and high-end stores.

For all its mall offerings, however, the city also offers many trendy options including West Village (3699 McKinney Ave) in Uptown Dallas, known for shops ranging from Ann Taylor Loft to the edgy Cowboy Cool. Another option is Knox-Henderson District (North Central Expressway between Knox and Henderson sts), named for two streets near the Southwest Methodist University campus. Along with its dining options, the district is known for furniture stores like Crate & Barrel and antiques galleries, many located behind 1920s storefronts.

For retailers, the Dallas Market Center (2100 Stemmons Fwy) is a world onto itself. The market is the world's largest for wholesale shopping and hosts more than 50 markets a year showcasing home furnishings, gifts, fashion accessories, Western apparel, and more.

No matter what your nighttime pleasure, you'll find it in the Big D. Go to the next page to learn about some of the best nightlife and entertainment options.

Dallas Nightlife & Entertainment

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau If blues is your bag, head to Deep Ellum for live music until 2 am.

As the iconic Lone Star anthem declares, "The stars at night are big and bright/Deep in the heart of Texas," and their celestial glow illuminates the way, as revelers roam the various districts of the Big D each evening.

When the chic boutiques and antique shops of the Knox-Henderson District close their doors for the day, the neighborhood pubs and upscale restaurants get ready for a deluge of customers. Meanwhile at Mockingbird Station, the "in" crowd indulges themselves with iced lattes and espressos as they enjoy a late-night showing of the latest foreign release or indie flick at Angelika Film Center, an eight-screen arthouse.

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After an afternoon spent touring The Sixth Floor Museum and the Dallas World Aquarium, visitors watch the sun go down as they travel through the streets of the historic West End District in a horse-drawn carriage before embarking on an epicurean adventure at one of the area's upscale restaurants. In the heart of Deep Ellum, the mournful tone of a blues trumpet wails until the city shuts down at 2 am.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Nightlife & Entertainment in Dallas

Texas tunesmiths perfect their craft at Poor David's Pub (1313 South Lamar St), a haven for the music connoisseur looking to discover artists on the rise.

The preferred hangout for the football fanatic, Frankie's Sports Bar and Grill (3227 McKinney Ave) is where you can root for your favorite team in front of 26 screens or cheer on your friends as they belt out a tune every Wednesday during karaoke night.

After watching the latest arthouse offering at the Angelika Film Center, movie buffs flock to Trinity Hall Irish Pub and Restaurant (5321 E Mockingbird Lane), a family-friendly watering hole where spirited conversations are served along with the spirits on tap. The city's sole establishment to feature live music from the Emerald Isle, this cozy retreat offers a heart-felt "failte" to all who enter.

The city's most unique drink is served at the Absinthe Lounge (1409 South Lamar, Suite 008), an uber-hip hideaway where a legal, Americanized version of The Green Fairy flows freely as riffs from a jazz band drift through the venue.

For those who want to enjoy comedy without cringing, the rapid-fire farce served up by the improv performers at Comedy Sportz DFW (603 Munger Ave) offers clean chuckles for every age group as two teams vie for laughs and audience members judge their jesting.

Order Mamma's Skinny Enchiladas covered with ranchero sauce and melted cheese at Don Pablo's (10333 Technology Blvd E), a tried-and-true Mexican food chain, before enjoying the latest Tinseltown flick at The Grand 24 (10110 Technology Blvd East), a Dallas megaplex with stadium seating that at one time held the distinction of being the world's largest movie house. 

Since 1981, more than 15 million country and western lovers have Texas Two-Stepped across the dance floor, sung along with their favorite band in concert, or marveled at the bravado of professional bull riders at Billy Bob's Texas (2520 Rodeo Plaza), a must-see for Cowtown visitors. Don't know the difference between the Tush Push and the Electric Slide? Sign up for free dance lessons, held every Monday and Thursday evening.

After a night of two-steppin', you may need to spend the next day relaxin'. Check out the following section for suggestions on how to unwind in Dallas.

Relaxing & Unwinding in Dallas

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau Explore Dallas' urban oasis -- White Rock Lake -- during your visit.

The Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth metro area is a beehive of corporate activity, but all that wheelin' and dealin' calls for some serious relaxation options now and then.

For some, that takes the form of a lazy stroll with some Uptown window-shopping. For others, it means a jog around White Rock Lake, considered the city's urban oasis, or, for the less energetic, an afternoon of bird-watching or sailing on the lake waters. Regardless of weather conditions, the atmosphere is oh-so relaxing at Dallas's top-of-the-line spas, where pampering treatments re-energize tired bodies.

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Insider's Guide:

The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Dallas

White Rock Lake (8200 Garland Rd) is a focal point for East Dallas, a place to enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon relaxing in whatever form you see fit: playing with your dog at the Dog Park, fishing for bass or crappie, or just enjoying the 9.5 miles of shoreline.

Near Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Grapevine Lake (110 Fairway Dr) is tops for windsurfing and sailing, as well as fishing for largemouth bass.

There's no shortage of spas in the area; top hotels like the Mobil Four-Star Crescent Court (400 Crescent Court) and Irving's Mobil Four-Star Four Seasons at Las Colinas (4150 North MacArthur Blvd, Irving) are top choices for locals and visitors alike. NorthPark Center's Estee Lauder (8687 N Central Expressway) rejuvenates with plenty of facials and other beauty treatments as does the mall's Spa Nordstrom, well-known for its aromatherapy treatments.

Peaceful garden walks also rank as top relaxation options in the metro area. The Dallas Arboretum Gardens (8525 Garland Rd) is considered one of the nation's best with acres of formal displays and views of White Rock Lake.

The expansive Fort Worth Botanic Gardens (3220 Botanic Garden Blvd) is a tranquil retreat, so stroll among the koi-filled ponds of the Japanese Garden. And if an 18-hole stroll is your idea of relaxation, you'll find several good options in the region, including Dallas Cowboys Golf Club (1600 Fairway Dr), the course of America's Team.

Learn about the many organized tour options in Dallas on the next page.

Dallas Organized Tours Overview

©2006 Fort Worth Convention and Visitor's Bureau Take a guided tour to learn interesting facts about the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Art lovers enjoy Dallas's free Arts District Stroll, held on the first Saturday of the month, meeting at the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art.

Romantics favor the monthly "Dine-A-Round" aboard Dallas's McKinney Avenue Trolley. It takes up to 30 couples to three different restaurants for appetizers, entrees, and dessert, serving wine on the trolley between stops.

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A unique way to tour the western portion of the metro area is aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad (709 S Main St, Grapevine), which runs from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards from April through Labor Day.

While at the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, you can also take a guided talking tour, offered daily. The tours include stops at Cattlemen's Catwalk for a view of the cattle pens; the Cowtown Coliseum that's home to the world's first indoor rodeo, Mule Alley, which was once called the world's finest stables; and Billy Bob's Texas, still holding the record as the world's biggest honky tonk.

The Dallas area features the only Mobil Five-Star hotel in Texas: The Mansion on Turtle Creek. Find out about this luxury destination and other lodging options on the next page.

Dallas Hotels Guide

©2006 Rosewood Hotel and Resorts The Mansion on Turtle Creek offers the ultimate in luxury.

Thanks to its booming corporate and convention business, metropolitan Dallas has almost more hotels than New York City. You'll find many high-rise luxury options, including Texas's only Mobil Five-Star hotel: The Mansion on Turtle Creek (2821 Turtle Creek Blvd), an Italian Renaissance-style mansion.

When Hollywood visits Dallas, one preferred accommodation is the chic Mobil Three-Star Hotel ZaZa (2332 Leonard St) in the swank Uptown District, also home to the romantic favorite, Mobil Three-Star Hotel St. Germain (2516 Maple Ave).

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Beyond Dallas but within the metro area, accommodation options include the historic Mobil Two-Star Stockyards Hotel (109 E. Exchange Ave) in Fort Worth, swaggering with an Old West atmosphere. A Texas theme is central at Grapevine's Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center (1501 Gaylord Trail; Grapevine), from its nine-story oil derrick to mission square.

Remember to take into account room tax in your accommodations budget; in Dallas, the hotel tax is 15 percent.

Food in Dallas is not just all about barbecue. Visitors can experience everything from Asian fusion to Southwestern cuisine. Learn more in the restaurants guide on the next page.

Dallas Restaurants Guide

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau Barbecue is an institution in Texas. Be sure to experience it at least once during your visit to Dallas.

At the mention of Texas dining, you might picture chicken fried steak or barbecue. Dallas has all that but a whole lot more. In fact, the Big D boasts four times more restaurants per person than New York City.

The Texas-sized selection ranges from Asian fusion to Southwestern to French and everything in between. But remember, no matter where you choose to dine, the average tipping rate is 15 percent.

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Best bets include sampling the fusion called "New Millennium Southwestern Cuisine" at the Mobil Four-Star Stephan Pyles (1807 Ross Ave), the first eatery named for the notable chef. Try the pumpkin soup, foie gras stuffed ground sirloin, and banana brioche pudding.

A spectacular view -- both of the city and the veritable art gallery that surrounds diners -- shares the spotlight with dishes like venison loin and prosciutto wrapped chicken breast at the Mobil Four-Star Nana's (2201 Stemmons), located on the 27th floor of the Mobil Three-Star Hilton Anatole.

Of course, no Texas dining experience could be complete without at least sampling the state's legendary barbecue. Dallas has its fair share of top contenders, including Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse. The popular eatery has many locations throughout the area, but for a true Dallas experience, head to the original location at 2202 Inwood. You'll enjoy your sliced brisket and sausage sitting at old school desks in the always-packed restaurant.

Beyond Dallas, Arlington's Mobil Three-Star Cacharel Restaurant (2221 E Lamar Blvd, Brookhollow Tower Two, Arlington) consistently receives fine dining raves. The Country French eatery offers panoramic views from its ninth floor perch, matched by lofty dishes such as swordfish piccata and grilled veal loin steak.

In Fort Worth, Cattlemen's Steak House (2458 North Main St) has been pleasing diners since 1947. Located in the historic Stockyards next to Billy Bob's Texas, the restaurant is, quite predictably, known for its grilled steaks, especially the 16-ounce Texas T-Bone and the 24-ounce Cattlemen's Porterhouse.

There's more than beef and barbecue in Fort Worth, however. One of the area's top French restaurants, Escargot (3427 W Seventh St in Chicotsky's Center) lures diners with dishes like salmon Wellington topped with chopped mushrooms and pan-seared sea bass.

Mobil One-Star Ziziki's (4514 Travis St, Dallas) is the place to go for the very best Greek food, like rack of lamb or Greek Island Chicken, and champagne/mimosas while sitting in a lovely courtyard.

At the Oceanaire Seafood Room (13340 Dallas Pkwy), choose from more than 25 varieties of fresh fish flown in daily from around the world as you sit in a room that looks like a 1930s era ocean liner. While you wait for your main meal, you can nibble at the oyster bar.

Terilli's Restaurant and Jazz Bar (2815 Greenville Ave) is the place for northern/southern Italian cuisine, like veal or chicken sauteed in garlic butter, and their signature Italian nachos, consisting of pizza dough topped with red sauce, different cheeses, and your favorite meat topping.

Before you book your trip to Dallas, check out the suggested itineraries on the next page to help you plan your days.

Suggested Itineraries for Visiting Dallas

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau The Dallas Museum of Art includes such notable works as Frederic Church's "The Icebergs."

From incredible art museums to honky tonk haunts, there are an amazing number of things to do in Dallas. Visitors can learn about the JFK assassination at The Sixth Floor Museum or enjoy the historic architecture of the Old Red Courthouse. No matter what your agenda, Dallas will live up to your expectations. Below, we have put together suggested itineraries in various areas of intestest; read them for help in planning your trip to Dallas.

Special Events & Attractions in Dallas

Special Events & Attractions in Dallas

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Dallas has a wide range of special events and attractions, from Fort Worth's Stockyards National Historic District to tours of Southfork Ranch, the home featured in TV show Dallas. Here are some suggestions for taking in the must-see attractions in Dallas:

1 day: Visit Dallas's best-known site, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (411 Elm St), housed in the former Texas School Book Depository from which Lee Harvey Oswald took a fatal shot at John F. Kennedy. Exhibits include still photos showing the motorcade's approach to Dealey Plaza.

Nearby is the corner window, the vantage point from which the assassin allegedly shot the president. Today the corner is recreated to look as it did when investigators discovered it, with cardboard boxes used to store schoolbooks pushed to create a hiding place in the southeast corner.

You can't leave the metro area without experiencing some Western culture, so mosey over to Fort Worth's Stockyards National Historic District (121 E Exchange Ave). Do some western shopping, and belly up to the bar at the White Elephant Saloon (106 E Exchange Ave). Then do some boot scootin' at Billy Bob's Texas (2520 Rodeo Plaza) and maybe even catch a rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum (121 E Exchange Ave).

The Stockyards are also home to Riscky's Barbeque (140 E Exchange Ave), founded by a Polish immigrant who worked in the stockyards for $9 a week back in 1911. Joe Riscky went on to start several barbecue restaurants in Fort Worth before returning to the stockyards as an entrepreneur. Today the family carries on the tradition with sliced beef brisket and even barbecued bologna as well as Texas favorites like chicken fried steak and burgers.

Twice a day, at 11:30 am and 4 pm, you can experience the Fort Worth Herd, the world's only daily cattle drive. Cowboys drive the longhorns along the streets of the Stockyards, a must-see event.

2 days: Even if it's not time for the State Fair of Texas, you'll find plenty of reasons to spend a morning in Fair Park (1300 Robert B. Cullum Blvd), which includes 277 acres of landscaped acres and cultural facilities, making it the city's largest cultural center.

With a minimum of driving, you can pick a museum to fit your interest. You can view murals, statues, and changing exhibits at the Texas Hall of State (3939 Grand Ave) or more than 375 species of marine, freshwater, and tropical fish and reptiles at the Dallas World Aquarium (1462 First Ave).

Spend an afternoon at Fort Worth's Cultural District, home of the Kimbell Art Museum (3333 Camp Bowie Blvd), considered one of the world's finest small public art museums; the expansive Fort Worth Botanic Gardens (3220 Botanic Garden Blvd) with its peaceful Japanese Garden; and the Fort Worth Zoo (1989 Colonial Parkway), housing both Texas and exotic species.

Break up your afternoon with a lunch of spinach pesto pasta or pecan encrusted chicken at the Botanic Gardens' Garden Restaurant, open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday offering a popular brunch.

3 days: Spend a day concentrating on fun. Depending on the season, opt for a day at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington (intersection of Interstate 30 and Hwy 360 or the Angus Wynne Jr. Fwy) and cool off at the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor.

Even if it's not football season, you can still check out the Dallas Cowboys with a guided stadium tour in Irving (soon in a few years to Arlington). Tours of Texas Stadium (2401 E Airport Fwy, Irving) take place on the hour from 10am to 4pm Monday thru Saturday and 11am to 3pm Sunday.

Near the stadium, you'll find Webb's Bar and Grill (2224 E Airport Fwy, Irving). The bar hosts post-game parties but is popular anytime for burgers and home cooking like grilled pork chops.

Of course, an extended visit in the Dallas metro area has to include a stop at Southfork Ranch (3700 Hodge Dr), located about half-hour north of Dallas in Parker. Tours include the "Ewing" house and the "Dallas Legends" exhibit, which has the gun that shot J.R., Lucy's wedding dress, and other props from the popular show.

Arts & Culture in Dallas

Arts & Culture in Dallas

Dallas is truly an art-lovers dream. Check out the suggested itineraries below to help you fit in as many museums as possible.

1 day: The Dallas Art District can easily fill a day (and much more). Begin your day at the Dallas Museum of Art (1717 North Harwood St). Try to avoid the first Tuesday of the month when admission is free and crowds can be fierce. Some of the museum's best-known works include Frederic Church's "The Icebergs" and sculptor James Earl Fasier's "End of the Trail."

When it's time for a break, grab a curried chicken wrap at the casual (and family-friendly) Atrium Cafe or opt for the trendsetting Mobil Three-Star Seventeen Seventeen Restaurant, known for such dishes as tempura shrimp and beef tenderloin.

Near the Dallas Museum of Art, stroll to the Nasher Sculpture Center (2001 Flora St), the world's first museum focusing on modern and contemporary sculpture, housed both indoors and out.

More sculpture can be seen at the Trammell Crow European Sculpture Garden (2010 Flora St), part of the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, showcasing a permanent collection from China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia, and the country's largest collection of jade.

2 days: Today, branch out to Fort Worth's Cultural Center, home to three art museums as well as the city's largest concentration of art galleries.

Start your visit at the Kimbell Art Museum (3333 Camp Bowie Blvd), known not only for its survey collection but also for its modern building. Along with top names like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Picasso, you'll find one of the largest collections of Asian art in the Southwest.

Next, check out the collection at the Amon Carter Museum (7501 Camp Bowie Blvd), featuring a collection of 19th- and 20th-century American art, sections devoted to Western artists Russell and Remington, and works by Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins.

Don't miss the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (3200 Darnell St, Fort Worth), the oldest art museum in Texas. Founded in 1892, it houses a collection of works by Picasso, Pollock, Lichtenstein, and others. At the museum, grab some lunch at Cafe Modern, known for its seasonal menu with dishes like jerk pork tenderloin and King Ranch chicken casserole.

Before you leave the Cultural District, save time to visit the area's art galleries. Both Texas artists and nationally known names are represented at William Campbell Contemporary Art Gallery (4935 Byers Ave) or visit the Galerie Kornye West (1601 Clover Lane), specializing in 19th- and 20th-century fine art.

Downtown Fort Worth holds another local treasure: the Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art (309 Main St). After closing for a year for a renovation and expansion, the Sundance Square museum continues to show the works of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell and pieces by several other Western artists.

3 days: Begin at the quiet Meadows Museum (5900 Bishop Blvd), located on oak-shaded streets on the campus of Southwest Methodist University. Madrid's Prado inspired the interior of this facility, and it highlights Spanish art, beginning with medieval and Renaissance paintings and continuing through Picasso.

From the campus, head to the art galleries of Uptown Dallas (area bounded by US 75 or Central Expressway, Blackburn St, Turtle Creek Blvd, and Woodall Rodgers Fwy). Art and antiques are the focal point of many galleries, including Gallery 2520 (2520 Fairmount St), showcasing the work of Dallas contemporary artists, and David Dike Fine Art (2613 Fairmount St), tempting serious shoppers with late 19th-century and early 20th-century European and American oil paintings.

You can stop for dinner at the Mobil Three-Star Capital Grille (500 Crescent Ct). Located in the Crescent Shops and Galleries, the elegant restaurant is known for its dry-aged steaks and seafood, including fresh lobster. A top choice is the dry-aged sirloin with caramelized shallots.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Architecture & Landmarks in Dallas

From Art Deco delights to Spanish-style treasures, you'll find plenty of must-see architecture and landmarks in Dallas. The following itineraries highlight some of the best spots.

1 day: The early morning hours are a good time to start a visit at Fair Park (1300 Robert B. Cullum Blvd), the National Historic landmark that's chock full of Art Deco allure. Built to host the 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition and now home to the State Fair of Texas in late September and October, many of the park's buildings showcase an Art Deco style.

One of the most notable buildings is the Hall of State (3939 Grand Ave). When it was built, it was the most expensive building per square foot ever constructed in Texas. Look for the bas relief carvings portraying soldiers, as well as the dramatic entrance.

While you're in downtown Dallas, visit the I.M. Pei-designed Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (2301 Flora St). The notable building offers free tours on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 1 pm. Pei described the building as a combination of overlapping geometric forms. It starts with a rectangle set at an angle within a square and is enveloped by segments of circles.

As the day draws to a close, catch an elevator up Reunion Tower (300 Reunion Blvd East) for a birds-eye view of the metro area and either a drink at the Dome cocktail lounge or an elegant dinner at Antares, rotating one revolution every 55 minutes.

2 days: Western history stands side by side with modern history in Fort Worth. Start your visit at the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District (121 E Exchange Ave). Here a symbol of the stockyards (and of Fort Worth) is the Livestock Exchange Building (131 East Exchange Ave), constructed in 1902 and for decades was used as offices of the stockyards. The Swift and Armour plants once covered acres here, shipping beef around the country. Today the Spanish-style building is used for offices and is also home to the small Stockyards Museum, tracing the history of the district.

Wander among the historic streets of the district, making a stop at the Mobil Two-Star Stockyards Hotel (109 E Exchange Ave), celebrating nearly a century in Fort Worth and boasting a Western atmosphere. Saddle up -- literally -- on a hotel barstool topped with a saddle, or mosey over to the city's best known Mexican restaurant, Joe T. Garcia's, known to locals as Joe T's (2201 N Commerce St), located just a few blocks away and known for its frosty margaritas and enchiladas.

Further downtown, history and culture meet in the Sundance Square (area southwest of N Main St between Belnap and 6th sts), named for frequent visitor the Sundance Kid (partner of Butch Cassidy). You can't miss the Jett Building (400 Main St), constructed in 1907, which boasts an enormous Chisholm Trail mural by Richard portraying the Fort Worth stretch of the Chisholm Trail cattle drives.

Sundance Square is also home to one of the city's architectural gems, the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall (525 Commerce St). Completed in 1998 and designed by David M. Schwarz, the massive concert hall encompasses an entire city block. At the entrance to the hall, you'll see two 48-foot-tall limestone angels sculpted by Marton Varo. The artwork has become a symbol of the region's growing cultural offerings.

3 days: Near Fair Park you'll find Old City Park, a reminder that, for all its modern high-rises, Dallas is deeply rooted in history. Take a look back at the city's early days at the Old City Park Museum (1717 Gano St). The 13-acre park/museum, located just south of downtown, is filled with restored buildings, including a working farm that dates as far back as 1840. Costumed docents carry on chores and offer a peek back to the city's early days.

In downtown Dallas, the Old Red Courthouse (100 S Houston St), is presently under renovation, bringing the landmark back to its historic look. The renovated building will be home to the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture, completing a project begun in 2001. The courthouse is located downtown on a block formed by Houston Street, Main Street, Commerce Street, and the JFK Memorial Plaza.

Further east on Commerce Street, you can end your day at the Mobil Four-Star Adolphus Hotel (1321 Commerce St). The antique-filled 1912 hotel contains an eclectic mix of treasures ranging from early Flemish tapestries to a Victorian Steinway (once owned by the Guggenheims, no less). Dining at the hotel's Mobil Four-Star French Room Restaurant showcases both culinary and architectural masterpieces, including fresco-covered ceilings and hand-blown chandeliers.

Shopping in Dallas

Be sure to wear your most comfy cowboy boots while shopping in Dallas -- you'll have lots of ground to cover. The suggested itineraries below will help narrow down the field.

1 day: There's no better place to start a Dallas shopping excursion than the iconic Neiman Marcus store (1618 Main St). The posh store has a retro feel and is oh-so elegant a place to put on your best duds (and diamonds) and shop for the latest designer looks.

When it's time for lunch, the in-place to go is the store's Zodiac, where meals begin with the Neiman Marcus tradition of hot chicken consomme, popovers, and strawberry butter. Reservations are suggested.

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau The flagship Neiman Marcus store is located in Dallas and features a hot dining spot (Zodiac) to boot.

After lunch, it's time to hit the mall with a start at the always-elegant Highland Park Village (Mockingbird Ln and Preston Rd). Valet parking is complimentary, all the better to free up your time for perusing the latest scarves from Hermes or must-have dinnerware at Williams-Sonoma.

Save some time (and money) for one more mall stop, though: NorthPark Center (8687 N Central Expressway) is the state's largest and a pleasant visitor experience even for non-shoppers. Watch for the mall's trademark sculpture displays, which have featured names from Andy Warhol to Frank Stella. Shoppers have another chance to visit a Neiman Marcus as well as international names like Burberry and David Yurman. If all this shopping leaves you tired, pop in one of the spas at Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom.

2 days: Western shopping is the name of the game in downtown Fort Worth, home to Fincher's White Front Western Wear (115 E Exchange Ave in the Stockyards District). Since 1902, this shop has outfitted cowboys with everything from hats to belt buckles.

Also in the Stockyards District, you can take home boots, or even a saddle, over at ML Boots and Saddlery (2455 N Main St). Boots range as far as ostrich and stingray and are accompanied by western wear that's designed for everything from cocktail parties to calf roping.

While you're on the western side of the metro area, stop by Grapevine Mills (3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine). The largest value retail and entertainment mall in the Southwest includes 15 anchor stores, more than 200 specialty shops, and the AMC Grapevine Mills 30 Theatres.

After your shopping day is done, head to downtown Grapevine's Main Street Blues Room (814 S Main St) to celebrate your shopping success with a grilled ribeye topped with bacon molasses butter or sauteed striped bass with a tomato-pecan relish, all accompanied by live jazz or blues.

3 days: Bargain hunters won't want to miss Grand Prairie's Traders Village (2602 Mayfield Rd), a 3,500-vendor flea market held every Saturday and Sunday. The state's largest flea market includes everything from comic books to ceramics, jewelry to junk.

A market atmosphere also prevails at the Dallas Farmers Market (1010 South Pearl St). Open-air sheds feature everything from produce to potted plants, plus the International Market showcases the work of artisans from around the United States and Mexico. Saturday shoppers can also take part in a cooking class featuring a local chef.

Bargain hunters shouldn't miss the Dallas-based Half Price Books (5915 E Northwest Hwy), which started in 1972 in a converted Laundromat and has now grown to multiple stores, but this one is the flagship store.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Nightlife & Entertainment in Dallas

While a honky tonk bar may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Dallas nightlife, there are dozens of other options to suit all desires. Check out the itineraries below for some of the best of the best.

1 day: If nightlife in the Dallas metro area means boot-scootin' to you, two big names stand out: Gilley's Dallas and Fort Worth's Billy Bob's Texas. Travelers can fulfill their "Urban Cowboy" fantasies every Friday and Saturday night on the 10,000-square-foot dance floor at Gilley's Dallas (1135 South Lamar), a honky tonk heaven that rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the original Pasadena, Texas, structure, which was destroyed in a fire in 1989. Courageous cowpokes can test their mettle on "El Toro," the actual mechanical bull that John Travolta and Debra Winger rode into cinematic history, or enjoy performances from top country and western, rock, and Tejano recording artists.

Over on the western side of the area, get a feel for the Old West at Los Vaqueros Restaurant (2629 N Main St), which serves such Mexican food staples as chimichangas, Steak Ranchera, and Tacos Al Carbon in a renovated 1915 packinghouse.

After eating, burn off those calories on the dance floor at nearby Billy Bob's Texas (2520 Rodeo Plaza), a 127,000-square-foot Fort Worth wonderland dubbed "The World's Largest Honky Tonk." Here 2,000-pound bucking bulls meet their match in pro bull riding exhibitions, top country crooners take to the stage, and the stomp of cowboy boots sound like a stampede on the dance floor of this former open-air barn. 

2 days: In days gone by, the haunting melodies of such blues legends as Blind Lemon Jefferson and "T-Bone" Walker echoed throughout the streets of the Deep Ellum District, and today their spirits seem to linger at the club that pays homage to the area's rich musical heritage, Deep Ellum Blues (2612 Main St).

Follow the bohemian beat to Art Bar (2803 Main St), which offers a feast for the eyes to patrons who peruse the ever-changing displays of artwork on the walls as local musicians play an eclectic mix of styles and poets bear their souls at an open mike.

Nearby, the Gypsy Tea Room (2548 Elm St) showcases both local talent and touring national acts.

Sample South of the border and Tex-Mex treats at the Mobil Two-Star Monica's Aca y Alla (2914 Main St), where plates of cheese enchiladas smothered in chili con carne, onions and cheese, or shrimp fajitas served with side orders of rice and pinto beans, are ordered by patrons who are serenaded by a Latin jazz band each weekend.

3 days: Dia de los Muertos figurines and colorful Talavera dinnerware adorn the shelves at La Mariposa (2813 North Henderson Ave), just one of the myriad specialty stores and antique shops the dot the Knox-Henderson District.

At the end of the shopping day, drink a toast to your purchasing prowess at the Barley House (5612 Yale Blvd), a bar and restaurant where beer is revered every night of the week, or order a draft of imported Belgium beer to wash down the award-winning pub grub at the Old Monk (2847 North Henderson Ave).

For an authentic taste of the Lone State, the Mobil Two-Star Primo's Bar & Grille (3309 McKinney Ave) tempts the tastebuds with such Tex-Mex treats as chalupas, chimichangas, and chile relleno, all prepared from recipes held dear by the two cousins who operate the Uptown eatery. Continue the celebration of Latin culture at Club Babalu (2910 McKinney Ave), a nighttime hot spot that pulsates with the rhythms of salsa, merengue, and rock en espanol.

Following a day seriously contemplating the masterpieces displayed at the Dallas Museum of Art, have your funny bone tickled at Ad-Libs Improvisational Comedy Theater (2613 Ross Ave), located in the Arts District.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Relaxing & Unwinding in Dallas

Hang up your cowboy boots and take a moment to unwind in Dallas. Here are some suggestions:

1 day: Start your day with a lazy stroll along the banks of White Rock Lake (8200 Garland Rd), have a picnic on the lakeshores, and enjoy some people- or bird-watching.

Stroll to the Dallas Arboretum (8525 Garland Rd) for an afternoon of flower gazing in one of the country's foremost floral gardens, and drop by the arboretum's 1.8-acre formal "A Woman's Garden," notable for its reflecting pool and view beyond to White Rock Lake.

Wrap up your lazy day with a massage at the Mobil Three-Star Spa at Crescent Court (400 Crescent Ct), followed by a luxurious Crescent Herbal Bath, soaking in botanicals like wildflower to ease your aching muscles and pine to invigorate you once again.

©2006 Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau The Dallas Arboretum is a beautiful, relaxing outlet. Be sure to stroll through "A Woman's Garden" for a view of White Rock Lake.

2 days: Head to the western portion of the metro area for a round of golf at the Grapevine Golf Course (3800 Fairway Dr), designed by Byron Nelson, or the Dallas Cowboys Golf Club (1600 Fairway Dr), the course of the football franchise known as America's Team.

Save the afternoon for wine tasting; you can sample the fruit of the Texas plains at downtown wineries like Su Vino Winery (120 South Main St) or nearby at Delaney Vineyards (2000 Champagne Blvd). If you're flying home that afternoon, you're covered as well -- one of Grapevine's wineries has locations in DFW International Airport. Look for La Bodega Winery and Tasting Room in Terminal A and D at the airport.

During the warm weather months, end your day with an evening cruise on Grapevine Lake (110 Fairway Dr) aboard the open-air Ducks, departing from Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center.

3 days: Let someone else take the wheel for a while: hop the M-Line Trolley and ride uptown for a leisurely breakfast or brunch at the Mobil Two-Star BreadWinners Restaurant (3301 McKinney Ave) with favorites like breakfast tacos and stuffed croissants.

You can window-shop at the galleries of Uptown or stroll to the Dallas Museum of Art for some serious eye candy. End the afternoon with a slow carriage ride at West End Historic District, admiring the redbrick buildings that date back to Dallas's early days. Every night, carriages pick up along Market Street by the old Marketplace; the cost is $35 for up to four passengers.

Dallas, or the Big D, may be big on the obvious "Texas things" like football, honky tonk, and barbecue, but this metropolitan city is also big on arts, architecture, and international cuisine. Come and experience Dallas -- you'll see that it's also big on fun.

©Publications International, Ltd.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

John Bigley are the authors of Texas Barbecue, Day Trips from Austin, and several other guides to the Lone Star State. The husband-wife travel-writing team edits TexasTripper.com Travel Guide and Lovetripper.com Romantic Travel Guide from its Texas home and office.

Related Links

Amon Carter Museum

Casa Manana Theatre

City of Arlington

Dallas Arboretum Gardens

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

Dallas Farmers Market

Dallas Museum of Art

Fair Park

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District

Kimbell Art Museum

Margaret and Trammell Crow Collection of Asian Art

McKinney Avenue Trolley

Meadows Museum

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Nasher Sculpture Center

Old City Park Museum

Old Red Courthouse

Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Thanks-Giving Square

Trammell Crow European Sculpture Garden