Dallas Travel Guide

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Dallas Travel Guide

Dallas Local History

In 1839 John Neely Bryan first visited the spot, that would one day become Dallas, in search of a possible trading post to serve Indians and settlers. He returned to Arkansas to settle his affairs and during his absence a treaty was signed, removing all Indians from North Texas. On his return, November 1841, he found the Indians (half of his customers!) to be gone. Bryan changed his trading post idea to that of a permanent community and invited nearby settlers to come and settle in his proposed town. John Beeman arrived in 1842 and planted the first corn. Other families soon followed. In 1843 the first doctor arrived at the settlement and, in 1845, the first lawyer.

In 1845, after the first election, Dallas became part of Texas and got recognition as a town in 1856, with Samuel Pryor elected as the first mayor. The town grew steadily, but also went through some tumultuous times. Slave trade was introduced and Dallas prepared itself for war. Slaves gained freedom on June 19, 1865, and after World War I many African Americans came to Dallas. The city remained prosperous compared to other Southern towns. The influx of African Americans into Dallas caused many whites to become fearful, and the Ku Klux Klan appeared in 1868.

The Trinity River flooded its banks regularly during 1844, 1866, 1871 and 1890. But the most disastrous flood was in 1908. Five people died, four thousand people were left homeless, and property damages were extensive. World War I gave way to the Great Depression and by 1931 more than 18,000 people were unemployed. Dallas did not suffer as much as other cities during that time because of the discovery of oil. It became the financial center of oil fields in East Texas.

November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated near the spot where John Neely Bryan had first settled. In 1970, the Kennedy Memorial was erected, and in 1989, the Sixth Floor Museum opened.

Dallas Attractions

Dallas Shopping

In Dallas, shopping is a sport and a pastime, a social activity and entertainment. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau likes to tout that there are more shopping opportunities per capita in Dallas than any other city in the United States. If you are a shopper, you have your work cut out for you. There is no state income tax, but there is a state sales tax, and it is one of the highest in the country: 8,25%..

Greenville Avenue - Home to a dizzying array of funky shops, including antiques dealers and vintage clothing stores. The Avenue gets funkier the farther south you travel. Lower Greenville is home to plenty of bars and restaurants that make great pit stops..

Neiman Marcus - Native to Dallas and established in 1907. It is one the classiest high-end retail stores around and has a chic retro look. You will find anything concerning western wear here and it is not to be missed. 1618 Main at Ervay Street. Tel: 214/741-6911..

Dallas Farmers Market - Spread out over 12 acres, just south of downtown Dallas, it is one of the nation's largest open-air produce markets. Farmers from around the area sell directly to the consumer. Open daily from 7am to 6pm. 1010 S. Pearl Expressway. Tel: 214/939-2808..

North Park Center - The most traditional mall that has 160 shops and major anchor stores, including Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's, and Nordstrom. It also has a rotating display of owner, Ray Nasher's fabulous sculpture collection of modern masters throughout the mall. Northwest Highway/Loop 12 at I-75. Tel: 214/363-7441..

Half Price Books Records & Magazines - This sprawling store has a massive selection of books, including art books, coffee-table books, books on tape, and language books. It blows away almost any new bookstore and everything comes at half price or less. This is the place to load up. 5915 E. Northwest Hwy. Tel: 214/363-8374.

Dallas Activities

The Dallas World Aquarium - This aquarium is a good place to hide out from the sun downtown. The children will enjoy communing with stingrays, sea turtles, sharks and reef fish. A sure favourite is "Orinoco - Secrets of the River", an immersion into the tropical rainforest of Venezuela. This area is teeming with Peruvian squirrel monkeys, endangered Orinoco crocodiles, jaguars, and soft-billed toucans. There is a restaurant and a cafe on the premises to still hungry tummies. Admission: $11 adults, $8.66 children ages 3 to 12. 1801 North Griffin St. Tel: 214/720-2224..

The Science Place & Planetarium/IMAX Theater - A great place to entertain the kids with more than 300 hands-on science exhibits. They can amaze themselves by lifting a half-ton with one hand or playing with electricity. The Planetarium features stargazers shows Monday through Saturday and houses the massive domed IMAX theater. 1313 2nd Ave. Tel: 214/428-5555..

Age of Steam Railroad Museum - Dallas' oldest surviving train depot is sure to feed the impulses in visitors of all ages. The museum 's collection includes 28 locomotives, steam-era Pullman passenger cars and "Big Boy", the world's largest steam locomotive. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children. 1105 Washington St. Tel: 214.428-0101..

The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park - Has a small but diverse collection of marine life. It features some of the weirder aquatic specimens your kids will have lain eyes on, including upside-down jellyfish, four-eyed fish and walking fish. The newest and largest addition is the Amazon Flooded Forest, a tank containing 30 species from the Amazon River. The aquarium is open daily and admission is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children ages 3 to 11. 1300 Cullum Blvd. Tel: 214/670-8443.

Dallas Parks & Gardens

The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden - This area is a welcome oasis just 15 minutes from downtown Dallas. Nearly 70-acres of well planted and groomed gardens and natural woodlands, interspersed with a handful of historic residents. One of the nation's largest collections of azaleas is featured in the Jonsson Colour Garden. October and November are the best times to visit as almost everything is in bloom. An hour is probably enough time to see most of the gardens and Palmer Fern Deli offers a secluded, shady spot where you can linger and relax. Admission: $6 adults, $3 children ages 6 to 12. 8617 Garland Rd. (Tex. 78). Tel: 214/327-8263.

Fair Park - Is a classic conglomeration of Art Deco buildings and spacious grounds. The 277-acre grounds include several museums and sporting facilities like the State Fair Coliseum, Cotton Bowl and Starplex Amphitheater (one of the city's top concert venues). Two major areas are the Esplanade and the Lagoon. There is much to do and much to see at Fair Park, so you might have to pick and choose. Some of the highlights are The Women's Museum, Hall of State, The African-American Museum and the Age of Steam Railroad Museum. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its architecture, Fair Park is an attraction all year-round. Especially so during the annual State Fair of Texas (last weekend in Sept and first 3 weeks of Oct). 3809 Grand Ave. Tel: 214/670-8400.

Old City Park - Dallas' Old West heritage on display in this downtown 13-acre park. The complex re-creates a late-19th-century village, complete with Old West standards like a train-depot, general store, church, schoolhouse, bank and law offices. All have been transported from their original locations in and around Dallas. Guided tours escort visitors inside several of the buildings. Brent Place, a rather good restaurant, occupies an 1876 "farmhouse" and serves traditional lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 3pm. Visitors are also allowed to picnic on the grounds. Admission: $7 adults, $4 children ages 3 to 12. 1717 Gano St. Tel: 214/421-5141.

Dallas Restaurants and Bars

When planning your adventure to Dallas, remember to come hungry. Dallas cuisine offers the best of more than 20 nationalities, including mixtures of Native-American, Spanish, Mexican, African, German, and good old-fashioned Southern home cooking. They're all uniquely Texan, since through the generations they've been flavoured with Texas charm. Barbecue, sometimes referred to as BBQ, is a staple of the true Texan's menu., you can get your share of amateur and professionally prepared barbecue ribs, brisket, sausage, chicken and a lot more.

Chili. Whether it's mild, hot or three-alarm, chili is Texas. In fact, chili is the official state dish. But, there are as many variations of it as there are Texans. The definition of "real" chili depends on the interpreter's taste buds. Down Home Cooking' is everything else. A blend of American fare, cowboy recipes, German cuisine and just plain food, it's the rest of the dishes made famous in Dallas. Recipes include stews, casseroles, breads and pies.

Dallas Restaurants

Bob's Steak & Chop House - Ranked one of the top steakhouses in the country. Bob Sambol serves monster portions of wet-aged, corn-fed Midwestern prime beef and sirloin fillets. They come accompanied by "smashed" potatoes, bits of chopped onion and a honey-glazed whole carrot. Other entrees worth considering include a perfect rack of lamb, veal chop, and lobster. Their chophouse salad is splendid and the atmosphere is a bit homier than other big-time steakhouses. Main courses $20 - $49 and reservations are required. 4300 Lemmon St. Tel: 214/528-9446.

Javier's Gourmet Mexicano - For the last 25 years, Javier's has been the top spot in Dallas for authentic, gourmet Mexico City cooking. They serve exquisitely prepared grilled fish and meat dishes and is famous for its black-bean soup. The barra de Navidado, shrimp in diablo sauce flavoured with coffee and orange juice, needs special mention. There is three bars, one of which is a fancy cigar bar where you can sip top-shelf margaritas and primo tequilas while having a good cigar. Main courses $17 to $25. Reservation are recommended. 4912 Cole Ave. Tel: 214/521-4211.

The Mansion on Turtle Creek - The Mansion is highly glamorous all the way (in the way the old TV soap Dallas was). Celebrity chef Dean Faring serves wildly creative Southwestern dishes in a rich, elegant setting. Starters include the signature tortilla soup and lobster tacos. For main courses, try the Broken Arrow ranch antelope with homemade mango Worcestershire glaze on guizo rabbit, morels, and tomatillos. The wine list is exceptional, the prix-fixe lunch a bargain and Sunday brunch ($38) a Texas favourite. Main courses $26 to $55. Reservations are required and keep in mind that you are expected to attire yourself for a mansion. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. Tel: 214/599-2100.

Dallas Bars & Clubs

Club Clearview - Offers an eclectic mix of dance-oriented and live bands, everything from swing to techno to blues. Just the place to burn up the dance floor. 2803 Main St. Tel: 214/939-0077.

Lizard Lounge - The city's best dance club. Trendy and slightly seedy, it trades in percolating dance beats and a hot crowd. Sunday night is Goth Night. 2424 Swiss Ave. Tel: 214/826-4768.

Greenville Bar & Grill - Has been cool since 1933. The crowd, mostly folks intent on resisting the big 4-0, come for rock, country, and blues nightly. It is also a good spot for a casual meal. 2821 Lower Greenville Ave. Tel: 214/823-6691.

The Old Monk - A dark, handsome bar with an excellent selection of Belgian beers, single malts, and great pub grub (go with the Belgian mussels with fries and spicy mayo). 2847 N. Henderson. Tel: 214/821-1880.

Balcony Club - A relaxed and popular place near the historic Lakewood Theater, with live Jazz Thursday through Saturday. 1825 Abrams at La Vista. Tel: 214/826-8104.

Dallas children's activities

The Dallas World Aquarium - This aquarium is a good place to hide out from the sun downtown. The children will enjoy communing with stingrays, sea turtles, sharks and reef fish. A sure favourite is "Orinoco - Secrets of the River", an immersion into the tropical rainforest of Venezuela. This area is teeming with Peruvian squirrel monkeys, endangered Orinoco crocodiles, jaguars, and soft-billed toucans. There is a restaurant and a cafe on the premises to still hungry tummies. Admission: $11 adults, $8.66 children ages 3 to 12. 1801 North Griffin St. Tel: 214/720-2224..

The Science Place & Planetarium/IMAX Theater - A great place to entertain the kids with more than 300 hands-on science exhibits. They can amaze themselves by lifting a half-ton with one hand or playing with electricity. The Planetarium features stargazers shows Monday through Saturday and houses the massive domed IMAX theater. 1313 2nd Ave. Tel: 214/428-5555..

Age of Steam Railroad Museum - Dallas' oldest surviving train depot is sure to feed the impulses in visitors of all ages. The museum 's collection includes 28 locomotives, steam-era Pullman passenger cars and "Big Boy", the world's largest steam locomotive. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children. 1105 Washington St. Tel: 214.428-0101..

The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park - Has a small but diverse collection of marine life. It features some of the weirder aquatic specimens your kids will have lain eyes on, including upside-down jellyfish, four-eyed fish and walking fish. The newest and largest addition is the Amazon Flooded Forest, a tank containing 30 species from the Amazon River. The aquarium is open daily and admission is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children ages 3 to 11. 1300 Cullum Blvd. Tel: 214/670-8443.

Useful Dallas Links

Dallas Fort Worth-Travel Guide Best Family Attractions
Dallas Fort Worth Travel Guide brings you DFW metroplex major attractions, great local restaurants, and best hotels. also show you the best way to get around and enjoy the dallas/ fort worth area

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