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American Express -- There are offices at 8317 Preston Center Plaza (tel. 800/363-0214; Mon-Fri 9am-6pm), and at Landmark Travel Services, Two Turtle Creek Village Tower, 3838 Oak Lawn, no. 230 (tel. 214/520-9998; Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm).

Babysitters -- If your hotel doesn't offer babysitting, contact Baby Sitters of Dallas (tel. 214/692-1354; www.babysittersofdallas.com) for child-care.

Dentists -- To find a local dentist, call tel. 800/DENTIST (336-8478).

Doctors -- The Doctor Directory at St. Paul Medical Center (tel. 214/879-3099) is a physician's referral service that can direct you to an appropriate health professional or specialist.

Drugstores -- There are 24-hour Eckerd drugstores located at 10455 N. Central Expwy. at Meadow (tel. 214/369-3872), and 703 Preston Forest Center (tel. 214/363-1571). There's also Kroger, 17194 Preston Rd. at Campbell Road (tel. 972/931-9371), and Albertsons, 7007 Arapaho Rd. (tel. 972/387-8977).

Hospitals -- Major hospitals include the Baylor University Medical Center, 3500 Gaston Ave. (tel. 214/820-0111; for 24-hr. emergency, 214/820-2501); the Children's Medical Center of Dallas, 1935 Motor St. (tel. 214/456-7000); and Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, 8200 Walnut Hill Lane at Greenville Avenue (tel. 214/345-6789).

Internet Access -- The Visitor Information Office at the Old Red Courthouse (Houston, Main, and Commerce sts.) has computers with Internet access for an hourly fee. Decidedly hipper is Main Street Internet, 2656 Main St. (tel. 214/237-1121); it's got a full bar, overstuffed couches, and occasional live music.

Maps -- The Visitor Information Offices at DFW Airport and the Old Red Courthouse (at Houston, Main, and Commerce sts.) have several maps of varying detail of Dallas and the surrounding area. If that's not enough, contact MAP Dallas/Fort Worth (tel. 817/949-2225), which provides free street maps and visitor guides.

Newspapers & Magazines -- Both the Dallas Morning News "Weekend Guide" (which comes out on Fri) and the Dallas Observer, a free weekly, have plenty of current arts, entertainment, and dining information. D Magazine, a local monthly, has similar listings, as well as restaurant reviews. Dallas Voice is a free weekly serving Dallas's gay and lesbian community, with listings of upcoming events.

Police -- For a police emergency, dial tel. 911; for nonemergencies, call tel. 214/742-1519 or 972/574-4454. The main precinct headquarters is located at 334 S. Hall, in the central business district (tel. 214/670-5840).

Post Office -- The central post office, 400 N. Ervay St. (tel. 800/275-8777 or 214/760-4700), is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 5pm.

Safety -- In most areas during the day, Dallas is as safe as any big American city. You should exercise particular care, though, around Fair Park and after 7pm in downtown. Gay and lesbian travelers should exercise caution in the Oak Lawn section; even though it is the area of greatest concentration of gay residents and establishments, harassment has historically been a problem.

Taxes -- The general sales tax is 8.25%, hotel tax is 15%, and restaurant tax is 7%.

Transit Information -- For public transportation questions, call tel. 214/979-1111.

Weather -- For weather information, call tel. 214/787-1111; for current time and temperature, call tel. 214/844-6611.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.