There’s more to Dallas than Stetsons and oil. Visitors to the city enjoy a vibrant modern arts culture, stunning urban skylines, a reinvigorated blues and jazz music scene and more restaurants per head than New York. Traditional cowboy culture still exists, although you may need to venture outside of the city to find a rodeo.
The city is a major international business center, and oil is no longer king. Dallas has the third-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the United States and boasts technology, logistics, advanced services and healthcare as major industries. According to a recent online article in Forbes, Dallas is the No. 1 place to which Americans are moving.
Dallas has a reputation for unpredictable weather. Gayl Hobbs, concierge at the Omni Palace Hotel, advises visitors to pack a hat, umbrella and jacket to make sure they are prepared for anything.
Getting to and from the airport
There are 15 airports in the Dallas Metroplex area. Most international visitors arrive via Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, located about 20 miles north east of the city center. Many hotels offer courtesy airport shuttle services. Otherwise, the best option is a taxi. Ranks are available outside all five airport terminals and a ride to the Dallas Central Business District costs a flat rate of US$40.
Public transport options include free shuttle buses provided by Dallas Area Rapid Transit to link with Trinity Rail Express services to downtown Dallas Union Station. A single rail ticket valid for two hours costs US$3.50. Downtown Dallas is also served by DART bus service 408. If business will take you to office parks outside the city, consider renting a car, which can be done at the airport. Driving in Dallas is relatively easy, but beware of traffic jams at peak commute times in the morning and evening.
Getting around Dallas
Dallas is generally well served by public transport with more than 100 bus routes in the city. There is a 72-mile light rail network as well as the Trinity Rail Express network, which connects with services to neighboring counties. Use the Dallas Area Rapid Transit website’s trip planner and schedules and route maps.
Ticket options include an all-day unlimited use ticket costing US$5, a seven-day pass at US$25 or a two-hour single trip ticket at US$2.50.
Taxis and hired cars also are readily available in Dallas. Many large hotels have taxi stands, and you can order a taxi by phone from major providers. Check Yelp or other rating websites for traveler reviews of the available options.
Where to stay
For top-tier accommodation, try the Hilton Anatole, 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, 75207, Ph: 1-214-748-1200 or Dallas Marriott City Center, 650 North Pearl Street, Dallas 75201, Ph: 1-214-979-9000.
Upscale options include Omni Dallas Hotel Park West, 1590 LJB Freeway, Dallas, 75234, Ph: 1-972-869-4300 and the Inter-Continental Dallas, 15201 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, 75001, Ph: 1-972-386-6000.
Some midscale options (without food and beverage services) include Best Western Market Center, 2023 Market Center Blvd., Dallas, 75207, Ph: 1-214-741-9000; Hyatt House Dallas Uptown, 2914 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, 75201, Ph: 1-214-965-9990; and Wingate Inn Dallas Love Field Market Center, 8650 North Stemmon Freeway, Dallas, 75247, Ph: 1-214-267-8400.
Things to see and do
The Sixth Floor Museum, located on the sixth and seventh floors of the building formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository is a hugely popular museum, dedicated to chronicling the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
Visitors and residents of Dallas have been enjoying the beautiful lakeside setting of the Dallas Arboretum and Gardens since the 1930s. Its 66 acres are home to spectacular permanent collections of flowers and trees, as well as a program of outdoor music events. The 2013 concert season runs from April to October.
For a taste of cowboy culture, head to nearby Forth Worth. Visit the Fort Worth Stockyards, a popular tourist attraction with rodeos and even livestock auctions. Another popular rodeo venue is in Mesquite, about 15 minutes’ drive east of downtown Dallas. Check the calendar for rodeo dates.
Enjoy the razzmatazz of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, home of the city’s professional football team. Check the schedule for the game calendar. A stadium tour is an attraction in itself, as it’s the world’s largest domed stadium, complete with a collection of modern art.
The “big three” of the Dallas arts scene are conveniently located together in the Arts District downtown. The Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Crow Collection of Asian Art have something to offer for all artistic tastes, either in their permanent collections or special exhibitions.
Where to eat
Combine sightseeing with modern Asian cuisine at the Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. Enjoy spectacular views of the city from the 560-foot Reunion Tower. You’ll find it at 300 Reunion Blvd., Dallas, 75202, Ph: (214) 741-5560.
Dallas is a meat lover’s paradise with numerous choices of Tex-Mex and barbecue restaurants. Go downtown to Off The Bone Barbeque for succulent ribs, 1734 South Lamar St., Dallas, 75215, 214-565-9551.
For casual and cost-conscious dining, try Desperados, a family-run institution since 1976. A taco plate is around US$10. The address is 4818 Greenville Ave., Dallas, 75206, 214-363-1850.
If you prefer meat-free options, check out the hundreds of local vendors at the Dallas Farmers Market, open daily at 1010 S. Pearl Expressway, Dallas, 75201, 214-670-5879. From Tuesday to Sunday, you can get lunch in the foodies’ delight unassumingly called Shed 2.