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CityTips Guide to Dallas

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Dallas is a sophisticated, hospitable, and determined city. Dallas means big business but play is equally important. Dining, shopping, music, the arts, sports, and outdoor activities are as important a part of Dallas' identity as closing that big deal.

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Local Overview

Dallas is home to more than a million people, with more moving here every day. The ninth largest city in the United States, Dallas is known as the Southwest's leading business and financial center and as the number one visitor destination in Texas. Big business is a big deal in this city, evident in the increasing number of companies that relocate to Dallas each year. With more shopping centers per capita than any other major city nationwide and four times more restaurants per person than New York City, Dallas is the place to be whether you're doing business, shopping, eating or touring the sites.

Downtown Dallas

Since its inception as a small trading post in 1841, Dallas has grown to include a vast array of hotels, shops, restaurants and other businesses, all the while speckled with historic buildings and museums, too. An area at the north end of downtown, deemed the Dallas Arts District, includes the Dallas Museum of Art and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, whose center stage is home to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and an array of other performers throughout the year. For upscale shopping, peruse the Plaza of the Americas, where a 15-story atrium complete with palm trees surrounds the shopping area.

West End

Formerly a warehouse district, the West End MarketPlace is known today for its entertainment offerings and unique shopping venues, as well as for its street entertainers, outdoor ice-skating rink and vintage street lights. The upscale Hotel Adolphus, built in 1912, offers you a stay surrounded by elegance, evident in the fine lobby and luxurious guest rooms. A variety of eateries and nightclubs make this district one of the liveliest places to be on Friday and Saturday nights. The Palm features a Texas-style menu with a touch of class, while Y.O. Ranch is well known for its Tex-Mex cuisine. The West End is also an excellent place to experience Texas History—visit Dealey Plaza, Old Red Courthouse and the Sixth Floor Museum.

Deep Ellum

Head three blocks east of downtown and you're at the "deep end of Elm Street," where turn-of-the-century African-American life and culture used to thrive with great blues and jazz artists. Today, the district's sassy shops, eclectic restaurants and loft apartments form the cornerstone of a unique experience. Clubs in Deep Ellum feature the most current music from folk, blues and jazz to reggae, alternative and rock. Visit one of the oldest clubs in Deep Ellum, Club Dada, where you'll always find a variety of music in the mix, or Trees, which attracts locals and business travelers alike with its cutting-edge live rock.

McKinney Avenue/Uptown

Heading north from downtown, you'll find yourself atop the red brick streets of McKinney Avenue, which is lined with fine restaurants and antique shops, many housed in renovated historic homes. Connect to downtown via the volunteer-operated McKinney Avenue Trolley, which consists of restored streetcars dating as far back as 1906 and is dedicated to preserving the history of electric railways. The area's four-star boutique-style Hotel St. Germain is tucked amidst the busy city, providing an oasis for business travelers.

Greenville Avenue

The region south of Mockingbird Lane is known as Lower Greenville Avenue popular with Southern Methodist University students and one of the oldest entertainment districts in Dallas. As you head north of Mockingbird Lane to Upper Greenville Avenue, things get newer and more commercial, and you will find both casual and elegant establishments as well as cutting-edge nightlife. Casual is the word at Daddy Jack's Wood Grill, which features red-and-white checkered tablecloths and serves great seafood at affordable prices. If you're in the mood for romance, try The Grape, where you can always find something new, as the menu changes bimonthly. Multicultural restaurants abound in Greenville, as do antique shops and neighborhood pubs.

North Dallas

If Texas is known for doing things big, then North Dallas is a prime example, as it is home to big houses, big shopping centers and some of the finest stores, boutiques and restaurants in the area. As Dallas continues to grow, more residents are heading north into the suburbs of Plano, Richardson and Frisco, one of the nation's fastest-growing cities.

With more square footage of shopping than Los Angeles or New York, you're likely to run out of money before you run out of places to shop in Texas. Visit Stonebriar Center in Frisco, where you'll find more than just shopping—this entertainment center also houses a 24-screen movie theater and plenty of quality restaurants.

In Plano, the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a quiet respite with native Texas trees, the perfect locale for an afternoon family picnic. For antique shops and artsy places in general, take a day trip to Historic Downtown Plano, where you'll find red brick streets lined with antique malls, specialty gift shops, boutiques and fine eateries.

Irving/Las Colinas

Whether you're in town for one day or one week, Irving serves as an excellent location minutes from DFW International Airport, centrally poised between Dallas and Fort Worth. This carefree community, named after American author Washington Irving, offers convenient access to numerous shopping venues, restaurants and theaters—all the best the Dallas Metroplex has to offer. Recreation thrives at The Movie Studios at Las Colinas, home to major motion picture, television and commercial productions. Visit the Mustangs of Las Colinas, nine larger-than-life bronze mustangs and the largest equestrian sculpture in the world.

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