Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- The world’s first and largest convenience store, 7-Eleven, got its start in Dallas (1927).
- The integrated circuit computer chip (later, the microchip) was invented in Dallas (1958).
- Sixty percent of America’s paper money is printed in Fort Worth.
- The Dallas Arts District is America’s largest contiguous urban arts district, 68 acres in 19 blocks.
- Actor Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing on TV’s “Dallas,” was born in Fort Worth.
Of culture and cowboys
Dallas and Fort Worth are each large and distinct enough to field separate tourism information services, but with apologies to both, most prospective visitors tend to think of them as a single package. Besides, they do share an airport.
Neiman Marcus came to Dallas in 1907, signaling the style and heralding the shopping opportunities for which the Texas city is known, but it was the 1930 discovery of the East Texas Oil Field that reinforced the city’s course in the business world. It became the financial and technical center for much of the state’s drilling industry.
These days, Dallas, site of many corporate headquarters, attracts travelers for business and conventions. However, for leisure travelers, the rejuvenated city center holds other attractions, which include the West End Historic District, a former warehouse area and site of the original Dallas settlement, and the pedestrian-friendly Dallas Arts District, created in 2009. In addition, the city boasts a surfeit of restaurants, several entertainment districts (some artsier than others), championship sports teams and the aforementioned shopping.
The city’s darkest day was Nov. 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated there. Today, travelers can visit the Sixth Floor Museum where, investigators concluded, Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president.
The smaller Fort Worth, about 35 miles away, often gets second billing to its larger, glitzier neighbor. However, it has its own revitalized downtown, in this case, centered on Sundance Square, a 35-block commercial, residential, entertainment and retail area. High points include a well-regarded museum district and the Bass Hall performing arts center. But weekly rodeos are the city’s top sport.
Compared with Dallas, Fort Worth — which did originate as a fort — has retained more links to the Old West, epitomized by the Stockyards National Historic District, where businesses — and cattle drives staged twice daily — play to the city’s cowtown image. Also, several museums have themes that recall the era when cattle was king.
But, nowadays, the annual Forth Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, which dates from 1896, is staged in the city’s Cultural District next to some of those highly regarded museums. Not all culture is fine art and classical music!
Things to do for Venturers
- Book an aerial tour of Dallas, Fort Worth and Southfork Ranch.
- Then, pursue an interest in aviation at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum (Fort Worth), Frontiers of Flight Museum (Dallas) and Vintage Flying Museum (Fort Worth). Throw in a visit to the Museum of the American Railroad in Dallas.
- Test your stamina in the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon, or in other races on the same day in late fall. Or, jog around White Rock Lake.
- Attend the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo in winter. See other kinds of competitors at any of several DFW professional and university sports competitions.
- Make a night of it in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood, known for its dozens of live music locales, bars, eateries and comedy and theater venues. On Wednesday, take swing lessons at Sons of Hermann Hall.
- Try the stand-up paddle boarding at White Rock Lake.
Things to do for Centrics
- See a cattle drive on Exchange Avenue in Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District. Take a walking tour of the district, which includes the Cowtown Coliseum and Livestock Exchange Building.
- Start your bird-watching at the Trinity River Audubon Center, within the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest.
- Spend time in the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff, a Dallas Bohemian shopping and dining mecca in a historic neighborhood.
- In Fort Worth, tour the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility and see billions of dollars in the making.
- Tour the Sixth Floor Museum, located in a county building on Dealey Plaza and devoted to the legacy of President John F. Kennedy. The museum is in the space from which, investigators concluded, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK in 1963.
- Further to presidential history, consider the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the Southern Methodist University campus.
Things to do for Authentics
- Tour the Southfork Ranch, now an event and conference center, where “Dallas,” the famous primetime TV soap opera was filmed.
- Ride a horse-drawn carriage through Sundance Square in Fort Worth.
- Get tickets to the Dallas Symphony. Or, pursue your culture at the Dallas Museum of Art and/or the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.
- Shop at the original Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas. Or, in Fort Worth, shop for cowboy boots.
- Make time to look at the “gentler” sex in the West at National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth. Then, head to any of these, also in Fort Worth: Cattle Raisers’ Museum, Stockyards Museum, Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame.
- Attend the Texas State Fair, staged in late September through much of October, in Dallas. It is the nation’s longest-running state fair, 24 days.
For more information, consult the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.visitdallas.com and the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.fortworth.com