Its diverse population of Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and Anglos is reflected in the arts, restaurants, shops, hotels, sports and services that attract over fourteen million international and national visitors annually. Dallas has a cosmopolitan sophistication and a steely determination that is tempered by its warm hospitality and Old West charm. Play is just as important as work. Over six thousand restaurants with every imaginable specialty offer discerning diners a world of taste options. On any given evening there are over one hundred live performances at various venues throughout the city. Between Dallas' six professional sports teams'the Dallas Cowboys football team, the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, the Texas Rangers baseball team, the Dallas Stars hockey team, the Dallas Burn outdoor soccer team and the Dallas Sidekicks indoor soccer team plus professional rodeo, tennis and golf'there is always a sporting event to enjoy. Or burn a little of your own energy at one of the many golf courses, tennis courts, bike and jogging trails, fitness centers and parks that dot the city. If you prefer to "shop 'til you drop," Dallas has more retailers per capita than any other city in the United States.
When you visit here, be sure to rent a car. You will be driving - a lot. Many of Dallas' freeways bear two names - Highway 183 is also known as Airport Freeway, Highway 114 as John Carpenter Freeway, Highway 75 as Central Expressway, I35 as Stemmons, Northwest Highway as Loop 12, I30 as R.L. Thornton, I45 as Julius Schepps and Highway 635 as LBJ Freeway. One or more of these will get you to the numerous entertainment and business districts that make up this energetic city.
The West End Historic District is on the south end of Downtown Dallas, bounded by Ross Avenue and Market Street. This area underwent renewal in 1975 and emerged as the only entertainment, dining and music hub on this end of Downtown. Street artists, horse-drawn carriages, vintage streetlights, and live entertainment draw locals, tourists and even families to the West End. Within the West End's multi-block radius lies some of Dallas' finest dining. The Butcher Shop and The Palm serve the most superb beef this side of the Mississippi. Dick's Last Resort and Planet Hollywood double as entertainment venues and restaurants. 311 Lombardi's and Newport's provide outstanding continental cuisine. A brief walk places you in the West End Marketplace, and Dallas Alley, home to shops, galleries, games, and nightclubs. The Dallas World Aquarium delights visitors with aquatic wildlife from all over the planet. Historic landmarks are a few blocks away. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza is located in the former Texas School Book Depository, from where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot and killed President Kennedy. Dealy Plaza Park, the triple underpass and bridge, all the surrounding buildings and a portion of the rail yards north of Elm Street have been preserved as a National Historic Landmark. The John F. Kennedy Memorial located in the triangle of Main, Elm and Market Streets, resembles an open tomb and honors our fallen President. Old Red Courthouse, the 1892 former county courthouse, is home to the new Visitor Information Center, which features an Internet Café in one of the turrets. Dallas' founding father John Neely Bryan's original cabin is dwarfed by the skyscrapers towering over it. And Pioneer Plaza's forty bronze cattle meander down the hill and through the creek under the watchful eye of several bronze cowboys in the shadow of the Dallas Convention Center.
Restaurant mainstays include Monica Aca y Alla for a unique twist to Mexican food; Deep Ellum Café for new American selections; Deep Sushi for those with a penchant for raw fish; Sambuca for Mediterranean with a jazzy edge; The Angry Dog for burgers, hot dogs and beer; and Bakers Ribs for barbecue. Once the moon rises, all sorts of musical mayhem erupts in clubs like Trees, Club Clearview , The Bone, Sons of Herman Hall and Blue Cat Blues.
This is a great place to walk around and enjoy the sidewalk ambiance. Have dinner at your choice of Gloria's, a favorite for those interested in South American cuisine; Snuffer's has the best cheese fries and burgers in town; St. Martin's for a romantic dinner for two; Terelli's for Italian and jazz; the Blue Goose for swirls, margaritas and Mexican; or Cafe Izmir for a unique dining experience. Then work off those calories dancing at The Red Jacket; catching a movie at the Granada; thowing back a beer or two at Stan's Blue Note; or grabbing a live performance at Poor David's Pub. There's shopping, too. The Ole Moon has an extensive collection of handcrafted items and cards; the Silver Moon has stunning jewelry; and there's an abundance of small antique and specialty shops.
Upper Greenville has a little less character due to its more commercial background. Once you cross Mockingbird and traverse the tricky jag to get back on Greenville, you enter an area dominated by strip malls, high rises, and chain stores. The food, shopping and entertainment are still first rate, just a little less individualized. Places like Borders Books, Gershwin's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Ozona, World Market, Kosta's, and Royal Tokyo keep it interesting. There are even a few bars and clubs to whet your appetite for sports and beverages, including Ben's Half Yard House and Two Rows Restaurant and Brewery.
Several first-class hotels are available for your comfort. Hotel Crescent Court holds court in a European-style development blending hotel, business, retail and restaurants. The Spa at the Crescent offers luxurious pampering tailored to your needs. Palomino delights the eye and the palate with their Euro menu and style. Stanley Korshak is just one of the outstanding retailers nearby. The Mansion on Turtle Creek is the epitome of class and elegance in accommodations, service, dining and leisure. The Stoneleigh on Maple and the Melrose on Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs cater to creative types, suits and couples looking for romantic getaways.
Galleries and shopping abound in and around the Quadrangle. You'll need to work out at the Uptown Athletic Club so you'll be able to carry all your bags of treasure. Legacy Trading Company carries an assortment of fashion for the home and your person. Ahab Bowen offers hip, vintage clothing. The Craft Guild displays an assortment of handcrafted art. The Mood Spa soothes your frazzled nerves with customized services.
Dining in Uptown runs the gamut from ultra-classy to down-home casual. The Old Warsaw and Hotel St. Germain offer Old World dining elegance. Cork specializes in wine, cheeses and appetizers from all over the world. Avanti offers tantalizing Italian plus a moonlight breakfast with live jazz Thursday through Saturday from midnight to 4am. Breadwinners is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Jennivine's offers an intimate setting for lunch or dinner. The Dream Cafe is dedicated to delectable, wholesome, organic dishes. Orleans offers flavorful pasta, pizza and salads. Rooster puts a new American twist on Southern cooking.
The Arts District
The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center is, in itself, a work of art designed by internationally renown architect I.M. Pei. The Meyerson is the permanent home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the site most often chosen by visiting artists in which to perform. The Meyerson's Eugene McDermott Concert Hall has extraordinary sound/tuning features created by master acoustician Russell Johnson.
The Trammel and Margaret Crow Museum of Asian Art displays the Crows' extensive collection of Asian art in a reflective, serene setting.
Regional theater enthralls audiences at the Arts District Theater, home to experimental and local playwright productions; the acclaimed Dallas Theater Center, one of the country's premier theater companies; or Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek. When only Nature's art will do, nearby parks include Thanksgiving Square, Fountain Square, and Old City Park.
Fair Park is a great place to relax, have fun and expand your mind. The wide and smooth sidewalks are favorites of rollerbladers and skateboarders, so be alert. The grounds are well-manicured, and the fountains are beautiful. Make it a point to visit.
Highland Park/Preston Road
Highland Park Village, Dallas' first shopping village (built in 1907 by J.S. Armstrong), is still a hub of social, shopping and dining activity. The AMC Highland Park Village Theatre is a small multiplex showing first-run movies. Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren Polo, Ann Taylor, and Harold's are just a few of the upper-crust retail shops from which you may choose. Cafe Pacific, Patrizzio's and Mi Cocina offer exceptional seafood, pasta and Tex-Mex, respectively. There is even valet parking for shoppers, just watch for the signs.
Southern Methodist University is Dallas' oldest and one of its most prestigious colleges, serving a large, culturally diverse student body. The Meadows Museum is on campus and displays one of the finest collections of Spanish paintings in the world outside of Spain. McFarlin Auditorium is a well-known venue for live entertainment, lectures and events.
Preston Center, located further north on Preston near Northwest Highway, was developed in the 1930s and is home to an eclectic mix of fine boutiques, retail stores and restaurants. Houston's, California Pizza Kitchen and Corner Bakery offer a respite from hours of intense shopping. Tootsie's has extraordinary women's fashions. The Storehouse offers a wide selection of home furnishings. Bath and Body Works carries products to scent, beautify and pamper your self and your home.
Northpark is a little farther up the road off of Northwest Highway and Central Expressway. This handsome indoor shopping village is beautifully landscaped and meticulously designed. It is one of Dallas' most popular shopping malls with Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Foley's, and soon, Nordstrom's as anchor tenants to complement a plethora of smaller, equally upscale shops. Maggioni's, The Cheesecake Factory and La Madeliene offer a respite from hours of intense shopping.
Swiss Avenue/East Dallas
Lakewood, several blocks northeast of Swiss Avenue, has many fine examples of Tudor, French Eclectic and Spanish Eclectic-style homes, especially along Lakewood Boulevard. Wonderful neighborhood shopping centers house the Lakewood Theatre, a 60+ year old art deco theater open for movies, events and parties; La Dolce Vita, a delightful restaurant specializing in new American food; and Matt's Rancho Martinez, a Dallas favorite for Tex-Mex extraordinaire.
White Rock Lake, created in 1912, is one of Dallas' premier recreation areas, offering hiking/biking trails, picnic areas, sailing, playgrounds and recreation sites. Bath House Cultural Center houses events, exhibitions, receptions and parties. Large, stately homes line the winding road that borders White Rock along Lawther Drive. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, overlooking a portion of White Rock Lake, feature spectacular seasonal floral displays and year-round gardens. The Arboretum is a wonderful place to have a picnic, take pictures and enjoy nature. It is one of the most desirable spots for weddings, receptions and parties. The DeGolyer House is a 1939 Mexcian hacienda-style home used as a museum and event site.
On the east side of Central, Henderson Street's distinctive character is reflected in its unique residential and business mix. The Nest has eclectic, hand-crafted gifts. Urban Home offers upscale furniture and interior design. Numerous antique stores and galleries are clustered together to enhance your shopping experience. Just a block or two further down, Mariposa specializes in Hispanic decorative accessories; The Old Monk serves food and home-brewed beer; Emeralds to Coconuts highlights fashionable but comfortable women's fashions and accessories; and Ironworks, a working art studio, offers custom-made iron pieces.
Hotels abound in Addison/North Dallas. You have your choice of several elite hotels including the Westin Hotel located in the Galleria, the Doubletree at Lincoln Center, the 133, Hotel Inter-Continental, and the Marriott Quorum.
The Galleria is the grand dame of shopping malls in this area with Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Marshall Fields, Nordstrom, Tiffany's, Gucci and William Sonoma just to name a few of their high-profile tenants. Dining is concentrated around the lovely ice rink located in the center of the Galleria. Your choices include Nicola's for Italian, Mi Cocina for Tex-Mex, La Madeleine for French and American cuisine, and Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse for barbecue.
Dining is a culinary adventure and no matter what you're hungery for, Irving has it. Harvey's Barbecue Pit is an Irving legend. Empress of China has three locations and impeccable Chinese food. Mustang Café has a breathtaking view of Mustang Square in Las Colinas and an equally breathtaking eclectic American grill menu. Joe's Coffee Shop is a locals' hangout that may have originated the "power" breakfast. Café Cipriani serves fine Italian cuisine in an elegant setting. Jinbeh allows you to choose between Japanese Hibachi cooking or sushi. Via Real provides upscale Tex-Mex. Cool River Cafe draws crowds as much for the people watching as it does for their steak and seafood. Ruen Thai's original Thai recipes are mouthwatering good. Rainforest Café combines a fun, jungle-like dining and shopping experience in one.
You're close to the action, too. The Irving Arts Center includes two galleries and two theater/concert auditoriums for year-round exhibits and live performances by groups including the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Stage and Irving Ballet Company. The magnificient Flower Clock in Las Colinas is sure to catch your eye as you drive to Williams Square to see the Mustangs of Las Colinas - a gorgeous, realistic sculpture of a herd of bronze mustangs galloping across a stream. While you're in Las Colinas, be sure to experience the European ambiance of the Mandalay Canal Walk. Hop into your car to find Campion Trails, a nature preserve on the shores of the Trinity River's Elm and West Forks where you can jog, hike, bicycle or rollerblade. Just up the road is the Studios at Las Colinas for movie buffs and Las Colinas Equestrian Center & Polo Club for horse enthusiasts. There's public skating and junior hockey at the Dr. Pepper Star Center Ice Arena, home of the NHL Stanley Cup Winner, the Dallas Stars. Tour Texas Stadium to get an inside view of the home of the five-time world champion Dallas Cowboys. Shop at Irving Mall or Grapevine Mills, the largest retail and entertainment mall in Texas.
History of DallasNoted Texas historian T.R. Fehrenbach once said, "We chose the land; we took it; we made it bear fruit." John Neely Bryan had a vision in 1841 to make a dusty river crossing with plenty of land, Indians with whom to trade goods and the river to bear fruit as a thriving inland port called Dallas. He left behind his native Tennessee, laid claim to over 600 acres and built his one-room cabin, which stood as a beacon on that lone prairie, much like a lighthouse on the ocean's edge, calling others to a new home.
Unfortunately, Bryan's dream of navigating the Trinity River for trade from Dallas to the Gulf of Mexico ran aground. Over twenty years later, in 1868, a steamboat reached Dallas from Galveston but, since the voyage took more than a year, there was little cause to celebrate. And few people to celebrate with, for Bryan's dream of a thriving settlement languished until after the Civil War.
But it was John Neely Bryan who first planted the seeds of Dallas' "can do" spirit. He never gave up on his dream and, in 1872'through the sheer force of his personality, his tenacity, and a few strategically given gifts'the Texas Central Railroad diverted its tracks to Dallas. Shortly thereafter, the Texas Pacific Railroad arrived and a railhead was born. Dallas was well on its way to becoming the thriving inland port of Bryan's dream.
The early 1900s brought tremendous growth to Dallas. First, the city became a regional banking center for North Texas cotton farmers who comprised one of the world's largest inland cotton markets. Many insurance companies arrived and established their headquarters in Dallas, enhancing its role in the financial world. Neiman Marcus built its landmark store downtown in 1907, bringing fashion and elegance to the growing metropolis. Although oil was the real catalyst for Dallas' wealth and prestige, Dallas has never had an actual working oil well in the county. But its role as the financial and technical hub for the black gold's drilling industry paved the way for real estate development, cattle, healthcare, commerce and industry to divert their tracks to Dallas as well.
Bryan's "can do" spirit spread like wild fire and infused the hearts and minds of other pioneers who were instrumental in bringing Dallas the Federal Reserve Bank, the Texas Centennial Exposition, and eventually, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Larger than the entire island of Manhattan, DFW International Airport's opening in 1973, over 130 years after John Neely Bryan "chose the land," is a testament to his dream of making Dallas bear fruit as a thriving inland port.
John Neely Bryan's one-room cabin may now stand in the shadow of towering buildings in the heart of downtown Dallas but it continues to be a beacon calling entrepreneurs, adventurers and other spirited individuals home.
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