Dallas is known as the capital of glamour in the state of Texas. The state's third-largest city, it has developed a reputation for glitz and consumerism since it became the setting for the most glamorous soap opera of the 1980s, the eponymously-titled Dallas. If you love old-school Dallas, you'll be pleased to hear that this version of the city can still be found in the famous designer shops of the Galleria Mall, majestic houses of the upmarket Preston Hollow area and Downtown's glistening glass towers. The city is a haven for shopaholics and those that like an air of exclusivity, with more trendy hotels and high-end designer shops than you'll have time to explore during your visit. There's a lot more to Dallas than glitz and glamour, however, as within the well-polished exterior you'll find a deep-rooted art and culture scene. The city is home to a new Normal Foster designer opera house, the Wylie Theatre and a popular Museum of Art with a recently developed collection of contemporary art. The city is something of a cultural hub in Texas, which you can really get a sense of by visiting the old jazz and blues district at Deep Ellum and the more art-deco style Bishop Arts District. The grit of Texas is never far away in Dallas, so you'll also find plenty of rodeos and country music shows in Allen and South Dallas' Gilleys. If you're interested in learning more about American history, the city is also a great place to visit to learn more about the nation's rich heritage at one of its numerous museums. There's also a 68-acre art district, so you can familiarise yourself with up-and-coming American artists as well as see the works of your favourites. The city also boasts a wonderful calendar of festivals and cultural events including the Deep Ellum Arts Festival and Savor Dallas.
Things to Do
Dallas' origins lie with a humble farmer, John Neely Bryan, who built a hut on the banks of the Trinity River in the northeast part of Texas. Up until the Second World War, the city's economy was built on oil, grain and cotton, but it has since evolved to become a real power in finance and commerce and is most famous for its beautiful architecture.
Moments in History
A sombre yet fascinating attraction that embodies one of the most well-known moments in American history, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, is thought to be the place from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that killed popular President John F. Kennedy from the Texas School Book Depository. This infamous building is home to the Sixth Floor Museum, a tribute to Kennedy's tragically-short life, work and assassination. Here you'll find permanent exhibits about the president's legacy and influence, so you'll leave with a deeper understanding of Kennedy and his place in US history.
The best views of the city
Although it's not the tallest building in Dallas, the iconic Reunion Tower is the undisputed owner of the best views of the city. This popular attraction was completed in 1978 and features a ball sat atop five cylinder-shaped concrete poles. Standing at 560 feet tall, the tower is lit with captivating light displays at night. In 2011, the Reunion Tower was renovated and now showcases a rotating restaurant with 360-degree views across The city. There's also a GeO-Deck observation level, where you can learn more about the city's other notable landmarks and the building itself.
Works of art
The Museum of Art has a long-standing reputation as one of the nation's foremost art collections, with more than 24,000 works of art from both American and international artists. Here you'll find a wide range of art including contemporary works and ancient artefacts. Some of the highlights here include ancient Mediterranean art from Roman times and the ancient Greek and Egyptian cultures, as well as 16th to 19th-century artists such as Claude Monet and contemporary artists like Jackson Pollock.
If you'd enjoy a change from exploring the city's historic downtown area, take a short walk to the Dallas World Aquarium, a fun-filled attraction for people of all ages. There are 87,000 gallons of saltwater here housing a wide range of aquatic life including favourites such as sea turtles, stingrays and bonnet-head sharks. You won't want to miss the Orinoco Rainforest exhibit, with its free-roaming birds including toucans, Orinoco crocodiles and adorable tree sloths. If you time your visit well, you can enjoy watching the keepers feed the animals and enjoy animated displays from the aquarium's creatures.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is the city's foremost destination for enjoying natural beauty. This popular attraction is just a few minutes' walk from downtown and occupies 66 acres of land along the south-eastern shore of White Rock Lane. These world-famous gardens boast ornamental shrubs, seasonal plants and flowers, public shows and a number of educational programmes throughout the year.
Calendar of Events
Dallas' events calendar is chock-a-block with cultural events, art fairs and music festivals, so there's something for everyone.
- Deep Ellum Arts Festival. Dallas's thriving art scene is embodied by and celebrated at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, a three-day festival that takes place each April. Here you'll find hundreds of bands performing across four individual stages, food trucks and, best of all, free admission.
- Savor Dallas. This popular food festival has become a local favourite with foodies and Dallasites alike. Taking place in April each year, the festival sees local chefs participate in the International Grand Tasting, which also gives visitors an opportunity to sample the finest foods in the area.
- International Film Festival. The International Film Festival takes place in April every year and has steadily grown in status to achieve the great reputation that founder Michael Cain hoped it would achieve. This popular festival attracts A-list celebrities and up-and-coming talent alike, offering a constant stream of national and international talent.
- Dallas St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival. Taking place each year on 17th March, St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival showcases spectacular parades and fun-filled entertainment. There's an eclectic mix of family-friendly entertainment and more adult-friendly revelry, guaranteeing there's something for visitors of all ages.