Last Updated: 7th Jun 2012
by – Alex McCarty, Tour Manager, North America
As a state, Texas is bigger than most European countries. It’s no wonder then that Dallas, with a population just over 2 million, is called ‘The Big D’.
Although it’s in the middle of a sate known for it’s cowboy hats and longhorns, visiting Dallas and you are more likely to find more people wearing loafers than cowboy boots, and three-piece suits far out number the ten-gallon hats that are more often associated with this vibrant metropolitan city.
Dallas found its niche as home and headquarters for quite a few drilling companies shortly after oil was discovered in the southeastern region of the state. Since then Fortune 500 companies including Mobil Oil, Texas Instruments, Neimann-Marcus and American Airlines have also set roots in The Big D. Ever since, Dallas has long been known as a center for the arts and culture, great shopping, excellent dining and eclectic nightlife, all without losing any of its sense of ‘southern hospitality’.
The World famous Dallas Cowboys officially play all their home football games in Irving, Texas, just a short drive from downtown. Throughout the heyday of their success in the 70s and into the 90s, the team has racked up 5 Super Bowl championships, and the title of ’America’s team’.
Texas Stadium is a storied landmark in the history of US sports, and quizzically built with a hole in its roof has given Cowboys fans the opportunity to tell anyone who will listen, ‘the Dallas Cowboys are also God’s team!’ Just as popular are the other professional sports teams representing the city: The Dallas Mavericks (NBA), The Dallas Monarchs (WNBA), the Dallas Stars (NHL) and the Texas Rangers (MLB).
Dallas is well known for its skyline, as featured in the opening credits to the popular 80’s TV drama of the same name. World renowned architect I.M. Pei (of the Louvre and Cleveland’s Rock n Roll Hall of Fame among others) is but one of the many designers to place his mark on this city.
The world’s largest bronze sculpture ‘The Cattle Drive’ sits in Freedom Plaza, adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center, the third largest in America. The city’s skyline provides the perfect backdrop for any design enthusiast. And, if they are in season, be sure not to miss the rodeo in Mesquite, a short drive outside the city, for a great taste of Texas ranching culture and a fine barbecue dinner, or the state fair of Texas, the largest in the country.
On November 22, 1963, the assassination of president John F. Kennedy brought the nation to a silent, mournful standstill. On that fateful day, the president, the governor of Texas and both their wives wove through the streets of downtown Dallas and past the Texas schoolbook depository where it is widely believed (and perhaps even more widely disbelieved) the fatal shot rang out.
Be sure to visit the Sixth Floor Museum to view exhibits dedicated to life of a popular American president cut down in the prime of his life. And if you have the time, indulge a few alternative answers as to why and how at the Conspiracy Museum on the adjacent block.
The West End in downtown Dallas is the center of cuisine in the city, providing a wide range of choices, everything from fine dining to come as you are. For great barbecued ribs go to Sonny’s, for a fancy steak visit Landry’s and for good burgers and hot wings you can’t go wrong with the world’s largest Hooters, all located in the West End.
There are two areas of town with a high concentration of great bars, pubs and nightclubs in the city, where most young professionals and university-aged students hang out.
Deep Ellum is a region of town surrounding a main thoroughfare called Elm Street, lined with venues featuring live bands playing blues, rock and jazz, and DJ’s spinning house, hip hop and Top 40 music. Lower Greenville is the other part of town where you’ll find bar after bar filled to the brim with drink specials, pool tables and outdoor patios. If a quieter night is what you’re looking for, take the elevator to the top of the Reunion Tower, a revolving lounge offering 360-degree views of the city, for cocktails and dessert.