The "Big D," as Dallas is called, is a glittering city of skyscrapers in the flat Texas prairie. The city offers the quintessential Lone Star experience to those who want it -- barbecue and steaks, cowboy boots and live country music at Gilley's. However, Dallas is not stuck in the past. The city practically invented high-end department store shopping with Neiman Marcus, and an impressively sized Arts District. Head to Dallas to see the Texas you read about as a kid, but be prepared for a grown-up surprise.
Things to Do
In a state known for cowboys and oilrigs, Dallas is a balance of cultural riches and big business. Head to the nation's largest Arts District to take in the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center. The Dallas County Historical Plaza brings visitors face-to-face with the city's history, and the John Neely Bryan Cabin recreates the settlement that became Dallas. Across the street the John F. Kennedy Memorial recounts a darker chapter: the assassination of America's 35th President.
In Dallas, shopping isn't merely a means of replacing your worn-out duds; it's a sport. Take your can-do spirit and a full wallet to the original Neiman Marcus store downtown, where the newest shoes and clothing are displayed in the original 1960s building. As long as you're in Texas, you might as well invest in a good pair of cowboy boots. Wild Bill's and Western Warehouse sell boots as well as hats, belts and Western shirts.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Dallas' Arts District hosts the best of the city's performing arts at Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center and Winspear Opera House. But Dallas kicks up its heels -- or, rather, its cowboy boots -- at Gilley's Dallas. This legendary honky-tonk institution features country music headliners, lots of beer and more than 90,000 square feet of boot-scootin' dance floor space.
Restaurants and Dining
Texas is a meat-lover's paradise. Dig into the city's best steaks at Bob's Steak & Chop House. Waiters serve monster-sized cuts of prime rib and sirloin with smashed potatoes in a dining room of dark mahogany and white table linens. Locals like to argue about which Dallas barbecue joint serves the best ribs and brisket, but Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse has clearly done something right. Since 1910, this humble restaurant has left satisfied diners licking their fingers and coming back for more.