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DALLAS TEXAS — WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN DFW

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Whether you visit Dallas for a convention, meeting or a vacation, you'll find new hotels, restaurants, attractions and entertainment.

Sculpture and waterfall by Dallas Museum of Art
Sculpture and waterfall by Dallas Museum of Art
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

"Dallas is in the midst of an urban renaissance," says Phillip Jones, President and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau. More than $14 billion dollars of new developments will supplement the existing accommodations, restaurants, malls, museums convention center and nightlife over the next four to five years.

Arts District

"Dallas has the largest urban arts district in the U.S.A.," explains Jones. Located in downtown Dallas, it encompasses 13 cultural institutions in 19 city blocks.

Dallas Museum of Art boasts 23,000 works of art. Nasher Sculpture Center displays, researches and preserves modern sculptures. Visitors have free admission to the Crow Collection of Asian Art. All of these art galleries are within walking distance of each other and the theaters in the Dallas Arts District.

Free tours

The $338-million Dallas Center for the Performing Arts includes the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, Dee and Charles Wyly Theater, Annette Strauss Artist Square, City Performance Hall and Performance Park.

John F. Kennedy Memorial, where JFK was assassinated in 1963 and former Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza
John F. Kennedy Memorial, where JFK was assassinated in 1963, and former Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The best way to for visitors to orient themselves to the cultural venues in Dallas is on the free Arts District Stroll on Saturday mornings. They learn that The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performs at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

The Texas Ballet Theater is the one of the largest performing professional dance companies in the state. And Grammy-winning Norah Jones is a grad of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts, which reopened after a $55-million renovation.

President Kennedy Memorial

In the West End, the John F. Kennedy Memorial marks the site where JFK was assassinated in 1963. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, in the former Texas School Book Depository, houses JFK memorabilia.

Dallas architecture is a study in contrasts, from mirror-windowed skyscrapers and arts venues designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects to historic buildings in Dallas Heritage Village.

Located south of downtown Dallas, in Old City Park, the 13-acre living history museum depicts life in Dallas and North Central Texas from 1840 to 1910. Buildings include a saloon, general store, print shop, bank, church, school, farmstead, log homes and the George House, a Queen-Anne-style home, built in 1900.

The George House in Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park
The George House in Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Trinity River

According to Phillip Jones, the Trinity River area is undergoing an "amazing transformation." Trinity River is the site where, in 1839, pioneer John Neely Bryan decided to settle and establish the city of Dallas.

The project includes three signature bridges, designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, along with two lakes (separated by a two-mile long island) and a river. The Great Trinity Forest, which is larger than New York City's Central Park, has hiking and biking trails.

With the height of a 40-story building and a 1,200-foot cable stay bridge span, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the first of the three Trinity River suspension bridges, is an international icon for Dallas. The $2 billion Trinity River Corridor Project is a natural oasis in the heart of Dallas.

Trinity River Audubon Center is located just eight minutes from downtown Dallas. The 120-acre urban nature center offers birdwatching, school field trips, nature walks and other ecotourism activities.

Tax-free shopping

NorthPark Center draws crowds with more than 235 stores and restaurants, an art collection and a garden. Galleria Dallas also has more than 200 stores, as well as an indoor ice skating rink.

Neiman Marcus, which has its flagship store in downtown Dallas, is where Sarah Palin bought her wardrobe after the Republican Party selected her for their vice-presidential candidate in 2008.

Other places to shop in Dallas include Barney's (couture fashions), Highland Park Village (high-end boutiques), the Bishop Arts District (vintage clothing and upscale boutiques), West Village (specialty shops) and Mockingbird Station (trendy clothing and one-of-a-kind fashion stores).

Shoppers can enjoy tax-free shopping in Dallas. To receive their refunds of Texas sales tax, they must show their passports, original receipts from participating stores and flight information within 30 days of leaving the USA.

Dallas Convention Center and US flags
Dallas Convention Center and US flags
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Where to stay

Dallas has many four- and five-star hotels, including The Joule, Dallas, located in the Main Street District, Hilton Anatole, located in the Business Corridor, The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, located in the Uptown District, and the Hyatt Regency, located in the Dallas Convention Center District.

Accommodations include the W Dallas Victory Hotel, the Valencia Hotel in Park Lane, opposite NorthPark Center and Starwood Hotels aloft Downtown Dallas, near the Dallas Convention Center. Several hotels are newly renovated: The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa, Sheraton Dallas and Renaissance Dallas.

A 1,000-room hotel is attached to the Dallas Convention Center. DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) connects the convention center to nearly 4,000 hotel rooms.

Texas longhorn at Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth
Texas longhorn at Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

How to get to Fort Worth

Forty-five miles of light rail lines include expansions to Fair Park and the Cotton Bowl region. There is a DART station in Dallas Love Field Airport. DFW International Airport now has a DART station. DART will double in size with a $3.3 billion expansion.

The TRE (Trinity Rail Express) brings visitors from downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth, Texas, in only 30 minutes. It's the ideal way to visit DFW attractions like The Stockyards National Historic District and Billy Bob's Texas, the largest honky-tonk in the world.

Where to eat

The population of Dallas is 4.2 million. Because residents are multicultural, ethnic restaurants, from Afghani and Brazilian to Thai and Turkish, add diversity to the always-popular steak and barbecue restaurants.

Visitors can also splurge on upscale dining at restaurants like The French Room at The Adolphus, Fearing's in the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, and the Stephan Pyles restaurant at Museum Tower in the Dallas Arts District.

Reunion Tower
Reunion Tower
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The $3 billion Victory Park development, in northwest Dallas, boasts several restaurants, including N9NE Steakhouse, Medina Oven & Bar and Luna de Noche. The Screen Door, Tei An, Dali, Jorge's & Fedora restaurants highlight the One Arts Plaza development on the east side of the Dallas Arts District. Joule Hotel features a Charlie Palmer restaurant in downtown Dallas.

Wolfgang Puck has a fine-dining restaurant on top of the 50-story Reunion Tower, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.

Woodall Rogers Park

A $100 million project put a deck over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, between Pearl Street and St. Paul Street. The 5.2-acre area connects downtown Dallas with uptown and the Dallas Arts District.

Woodall Rodgers Park includes an outdoor stage, with lawn seating for 3,300 people, a dog park, a kids' playground and a glass water sculpture.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau: www.visitdallas.com

More things to see and do in Texas:

San Antonio Texas - What to See and Do

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