North America

Dallas Defined

Photo credit: Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau

If you are looking for a getaway that different, say Howdy to Dallas. 
Dallas is Different – and that’s with a capital D!

The ninth-largest city and part of the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States, Dallas covers approximately 343 square miles and has a population of 1,299,543. This ultra modern and sophisticated city attracts visitors from near and afar, making the area the Number One visitor and leisure destination in Texas.

And for good reason.

Dallas is centrally located and within a four-hour flight from most North American cities. DFW International Airport is the world’s third busiest airport, offering nearly 1,750 domestic and international flights per day. In addition, Dallas Love Field Airport is conveniently located 10 minutes from downtown.

Dallas was popularized in the late ‘70s and throughout the ‘80s when the TV show “Dallas” attracted an audience of millions each week to watch the ‘soap opera’ saga of the oil-wealthy Ewing family. (You can tour “Southfork”, the ranch where the family resided).

Dallas was founded in 1841 (A founding father had a vision) and was formally incorporated as a city in February 1856. The city’s prominence arose from its historical importance as a center for the oil and cotton industries, and its position along numerous railroad lines. With the advent of the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 1960s, Dallas became an east/west and north/south focal point of the interstate system with the convergence of four major interstate highways in the city, along with a fifth interstate loop around the city.

Dallas has a history of being one of the true cowboy American states, that not only today brings with it a sense of today’s worldliness but also a distinct historical overlay of Texas. It’s not hard to find something to do in Dallas; however narrowing it down to the 10 best things to do in Dallas while is not easy.

And speak of worldliness …Did you that these folks have roots in Dallas?

George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, was previously Governor of Texas. Bush and wife Laura, who was born in Midland, Texas, now reside in a suburb of Dallas. Lance Armstrong, professional road racing cyclist, was born in Plano, just 25 minutes outside of Dallas. (He was named after Lance Rentzel, a Dallas Cowboys wide receiver). Armstrong won the Tour de France seven consecutive times. Stanley Marcus, founder of high-end fashion department store Neiman-Marcus, was born in Dallas, as was singer Usher, who currently holds the title of King of R&B; Vanilla Ice, rapper, known for his “Ice, Ice, Baby” song; Nick Jonas, the Jonas Brothers Band; Aaron Spelling, multi-billion dollar television and film producer; Morgan Fairchild, film and television actress; Owen Wilson, actor; Chris Harrison, host of the TV show The Bachelor; Paige Hurd, Everybody Hates Chris and Mark Salling, actor on the television show Glee. And then there is the Dallas Cowboys, America’s football team …

Folks visit Dallas for a multitude of reasons. Dallas is a richly diverse American city – and over the years it has become a melting pot of cultures, religions and lifestyles. This important convergence of uniqueness and differences is reflected throughout the sights and sounds of the city. If you are contemplating a visit to this celebrated Texas town, you are surely going to find myriad activities to entertain you and your travelling “Paudners”.

Dallas can boast of the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation, top museums, performance halls and award-winning architectural designs, arts and culture.

In order to take it all in, you might consider ArtWalk Dallas, a well-worth-it 30-stop, 3.3-mile walking tour. Maps are available at the Public ArtWalk Dallas Web site and at various locations, including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, which is the recommended starting point for the tour.

Museums Arts and Culture

Photo credit: Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau/Tim Hursley

Old Red Museum The city’s history is long, varied, and interesting. Visitors to Dallas love to soak in the local culture, traditions, and history. One of the best places to do so is at the Old Red Museum. You can view several permanent and special exhibits that walk through the founding of Dallas to the present day, and highlight specific facets of the culture or history. The noteworthy Romanesque-styled building was originally the Dallas County Courthouse, thus the building itself played a part in the history of the mighty city.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles the life of an inspiring president and his assassination. In 1963 John F. Kennedy was shot while riding in a parade through the streets of downtown Dallas. Since then, many people have wanted to know more about the man and the tragedy. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza celebrates the life of one of the most loved American president, recounts his untimely death, and demonstrates the impact he had on the world.

One of the best fine art museums in the United States is the Dallas Museum of Art. Pieces by world renowned painters and sculptors, like Georgia O’Keeffe and Edgar Degas, are on permanent display. Special exhibits are often featured.

For art lovers, a trip to Dallas should also include a visit to the Meadows Museum. Housing the largest and most comprehensive selection of Spanish art outside of Spain, any visitor is sure to appreciate some of the Spanish Golden Age greats.

The Nasher Sculpture Center, located in the Arts District, features modern and classical works in an outdoor sculpture garden. Collector and philanthropist Raymond Nasher and his wife, Patsy, gifted Dallas with the $70 million Nasher Sculpture Center. The exhibits are 20th century pieces that range in style from abstract works by artists like Joan Miro, to realistic works by artists like Auguste Rodin.

The African American Museum is wonderful place that celebrates African American culture. Visitors can study African art and follow African American folk culture, art, and history from the 1800s to today. The museum is easily laid out for visitors who do not usually go to museums. As the only museum of its kind in the southwest region, the museum offers a rare and deep exploration of African American culture.

A trip to the Dallas Holocaust Museum is a solemn but strengthening experience. Dedicated to improving humanity, the museum fulfills its mission by teaching against prejudice, hate, and indifference. Visitors learn about one of the most important events in the modern era, the extermination of Jews and other groups viewed negatively in Hitler’s Germany. The museum strives to teach that by learning about the mistakes of the past, people can make the future better.

Frontiers of Flight Museum Take a flight thru time. The museum describes the dawn of the aviation age, detailing the invention of the first airplanes. People can study over 200 airplane models and hundreds of engines, uniforms, decorations, and parts. Historical events and local history are integrated into the museum. The Museum is located at the Dallas Love Field Airport, giving visitors the opportunity to watch planes take flight and return to the ground. Adults and children are typically enthralled by being up close …

Museum of the American Railroad The railroad was a critical means of development in the United States. Through the use of the railroad and the locomotive train, settlers were able to develop communities and the resources in the western part of the country. The Museum of the American Railroad conveys the story. Steam locomotives are prominently featured exhibits. Visitors can explore over 30 pieces of railroad equipment, including different types of locomotives, cabooses, and small artifacts.

The Museum of Nature and Science is a reminder to all visitors of the wonders and beauty of the world. As a haven for exploration and discovery, the museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about and interact with nature and science.

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra traces its origins to a concert given by a group of forty musicians in 1900 with conductor Hans Kreissig. In 2007, Jaap van Zweden was named the DSO’s 15th music director. A nice night out. A classy affair …

But I’m travelling with the kids!

In Dallas, that’s a “Good Thing”.

You can take the kids to the Dallas Zoo. The engaging complex, home to a variety of wildlife, features exhibits like “Giants of the Savannah,” “Primate Place” and “Snout Route”. There’s a children’s petting zoo for the little ones, as well as a fabulous carousel. In addition, the “Wilds of Africa” exhibit contains some 80 species of African animals. The facility in total houses approximately 8000 animals representing some 380 different species. The next day, plan to visit the Dallas World Aquarium. This fantastically fun, one-of-a-kind zoological park features such incredible highlights as free-roaming New World monkeys, rare Antillean manatees, majestic jaguars, frolicsome otters, car-sized catfish, a 400,000-gallon shark tank and heartwarming sloth and penguin feedings. But for a real taste of Texas, and if you are in Dallas between June and August, the Mesquite Championship Rodeo takes place in 5300-seat, air-conditioned Resistol Arena. More than 200,000 visitors show up to experience championship rodeo events, including bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bronc riding, and barrel racing.

Get in the Game

Photo credit: Dallas Convention & Bureau Center/American Airlines Center

Dallas is one of the best cities in the country for those that appreciate a good game.

America’s favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys, just moved into a new home, and it’s definitely a Texas thing. The new Cowboy’s Stadium is famous in its own right. The record breaking stadium is situated in the Dallas suburb of Arlington and holds up to 111,000 fans. Or you can pass the afternoon watching the Texas Rangers play ball at Rangers Ballpark. If you prefer something just a bit quicker of pace, get yourself tickets to watch the Dallas Mavericks play at the American Airlines Center. The Center itself is enough to impress basketball fans. Dallas can also boast of two other professional soccer and hockey teams. While most people may think hockey is a northern sport, Dallas does have the Dallas Stars, who play at the American Airlines center. The FC Dallas soccer team is based north of Dallas in the suburb of Frisco.

Tip: if you are travelling with the kids, be sure to visit Top Golf.

In 1841, John Neely Bryan laid claim to this area and built a single log cabin. He envisioned a commerce center that capitalized on the expanse of land and its river. With the arrival of the railroad in the mid-1870s, Dallas became a thriving business town and market center.

Neiman Marcus was founded here in 1907, and today Dallas boasts more shopping centers per capita than any other U.S. city and is where one will find Highland Park Village, America’s oldest shopping center. Other well-known shopping centers include Galleria Dallas, North Park Center, West Village and Mockingbird Station.

There are more than 12 entertainment districts within a short distance of downtown, each offering its own mixture of arts, culture, shopping, dining and fun: Dallas Arts District, Fair Park, Deep Ellum, Main Street, Greenville Avenue, Knox-Henderson, Uptown, West Village, West End, Oaklawn, Mockingbird Station and the Bishop Arts District.

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit System provides service to shopping and entertainment in Dallas, Garland, Plano and Richardson. The Trinity River Express commuter line links DART customers to DFW International Airport and downtown Fort Worth.

So, if a trip to Dallas is in the cards, the folks in this wonderful city are waiting to say “Howdy”.

All content © 2011-2018 Great World Getaways unless otherwise noted