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Dallas is a city of Southern hospitality, cosmopolitan flair, Old West charm and modern sophistication. Dallas offers a wealth of culture and attractions. The Dallas Arts, District, largest of its kind in the U.S. offers all the types of art you could want. Dallas attractions include exciting amusement parks to natural parks and museums. Dallas has a never ending array of things to see and do. There is an outstanding collection of world-class museums, arts, amusement parks, professional sports, fine dining, and outstanding night clubs all in one place.
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Overview

Introduction

With Dallas' concentration of technology companies, corporate headquarters and wholesale trade markets, the nation's ninth-largest city is a Texas metropolis devoted to business. Residents of Dallas, Texas, seem to enjoy spending money with the same passion with which they earn it. The result is a mercantile mecca that appeals to visitors: The metropolitan area of Dallas affords shopping opportunities that rival those in New York City.

Dallas is also known for the arts; spanning 19 city blocks in the heart of downtown, the Dallas Arts District is the largest urban cultural district in the country. The AT&T Performing Arts Center, a multivenue center for music, opera, theater and dance, is the most significant performing arts complex built since the Lincoln Center in New York.

The city of Dallas, along with Fort Worth, its neighbor about 35 mi/56 km to the west, anchors a vast, 12-county area of north-central Texas that is home to more than 6 million people. It's a fast-growing region that's become an oasis for entrepreneurs and a fertile ground for young singles and families alike.

Dallas sightseeing offers a pleasant mix of the old and the new. The urban high-rises in downtown Dallas are balanced by comfortable family suburbs just minutes away from the hubbub. Residents are generally congenial and welcoming to Dallas visitors, and as with other Texans, Dallasites are proud of their ability to do things the Texas way—big.

Must See or Do

Sights—Views of the flashy downtown skyline from Reunion Tower; The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza; the hip Victory Park, home to the American Airlines Center and the W Hotel; the white steel Margaret Hunt Hill suspension bridge; Fair Park with the country's largest collection of art-deco architecture; the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff, a Bohemian shopping and dining mecca in a historic neighborhood.

Museums—The Dallas Museum of Art; Perot Museum of Nature & Science; the cluster of museums at Fair Park; Nasher Sculpture Center; the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which includes a museum and library; the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

Memorable Meals—Inspired Italian risottos and housemade pastas at Lucia; cheeseburgers, seasoned fries and handspun shakes at Burger House; barbecue at Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse; prime steaks and coconut cream pie at Al Biernat's.

Late Night—Club-hopping in Deep Ellum or along Greenville Avenue; listening to jazz at Sambuca; honky-tonking at Gilley's.

Walks—The West End Historic District; Swiss Avenue, a boulevard lined with historic mansions; the jogging and bicycling path around White Rock Lake, which provides outstanding views of the city skyline; the nature trail at the Trinity River Audobon Center.

Especially for Kids—The rides and other attractions at Six Flags Over Texas amusement park and Hurricane Harbor water park in suburban Arlington; the IMAX theater and interactive exhibits at the Perot Museum of Nature & Science; animals at the Dallas Zoo; underwater life at Dallas World Aquarium; the creative seasonal displays at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden; the dirt-stomping Mesquite Championship Rodeo.

Geography

Dallas sprawls across the northern Texas plain, and its suburbs sprawl even farther. Loop Interstate 635 (also called the LBJ Freeway), I-20, I-30, I-35 and the President George Bush Turnpike are a few of the major highways that connect the various suburbs in and around Dallas. From the busy North Central Expressway to the congested Dallas North Tollway, driving around Dallas County presents challenges during rush hours, but it is worth the effort for the exciting sights and activities offered.

Such top attractions as The Sixth Floor Museum, the West End Historic District, the Arts District and the original Neiman Marcus department store are downtown, the area that sits between I-35 and I-45, north of I-30. The lovely residential areas known as the Park Cities lie north of downtown, and Deep Ellum, with its lively entertainment scene, is east of the city center. Uptown is a trendy arts and shopping area northwest of downtown. North Dallas, along the northern rim of the LBJ Freeway, is home to the Galleria shopping mall. Plano and Frisco, with their myriad shopping offerings, are northern suburbs with booming populations.

Dallas sits at the eastern edge of the "Metroplex," as it is sometimes called. On the western edge is Fort Worth. The 35 mi/56 km in between are filled with densely populated cities and towns with unrecognizable boundaries, stretched along two east-west interstate highways, I-20 and I-30. In the middle of the Metroplex lies Arlington, a sizable city in its own right. Irving occupies the land between Dallas and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

History

Dallas has its southern charms, but the city's history is rooted in the spirit of the Old West—the city is full of examples of pioneers whose old-fashioned hard work created the aggressive entrepreneurial atmosphere that still exists today. In 1839, John Neely Bryan visited northern Texas where the three forks of the Trinity River intersect. The site seemed destined to be a place where trade and travel would converge—it was also on the route of the planned Preston Trail (now Preston Road), a trail that was intended to join the east and west halves of Texas.

Bryan, considered the founder of Dallas, began luring settlers from other nearby colonies. As the postmaster and owner of the general store, he was basically the heart of the burgeoning little town. In 1845, 29 of the 32 eligible voters cast their ballots to become part of the U.S. After it was incorporated as a city in 1856, more settlers arrived—including some from La Reunion colony, a Utopian community of French immigrants originally established in 1855. These residents brought an appreciation of culture to the fledgling city that defines it to this day.

Following the Civil War, the westward migration of the country's citizens led to a huge boom in commerce. Many pioneers who stopped in Dallas to restock their supplies wound up staying. By the beginning of the 20th century, Dallas was firmly established as a major city and business center. A regional Federal Reserve Bank opened there, along with Southern Methodist University. In the 1930s, the city's reputation as a financial center made it an anchor for the blossoming oil fields in West Texas. Love Field became an important air-traffic hub, especially during both World Wars.

Dallas has continued to attract attention. The most infamous moment in the city's history was the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Nearly two decades later, the city achieved a different kind of notoriety with the international success of the flamboyant prime-time soap opera Dallas. The city continues to make headlines today—as much for its renowned performing-arts organizations as for its championship sports teams.

Potpourri

Wild West outlaw Frank James once sold sewing machines in downtown Dallas.

The automatic traffic signal made its U.S. debut in Dallas in 1927.

The movies Silkwood, The Karate Kid, RoboCop, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Any Given Sunday, Dr. T and the Women, Serving Sara, Spy Kids 2, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Texas: The Big Picture, The Return and The Tree of Life were all filmed in Dallas County. Portions of television's Friday Night Lights were shot there, too.

The chicken fajita, the frozen margarita and the margarita machine—all Tex-Mex staples—are said to have been invented in Dallas.

Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City and more shopping centers per capita than any other U.S. city.

Dallas boasts the world's first convenience store, which opened in the Oak Cliff neighborhood in 1927. It became known as 7-Eleven (named for its hours of operation).

The Highland Park Village, developed in 1931, is considered the nation's first planned shopping center.


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