An introduction to Dallas
The classic American cowboy culture is certainly alive and well in this haven of popular US glamour. With a healthy dose of glitz and style, Dallas isn’t just about the Dallas Cowboys football team, or even the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders for that matter, but is instead a thriving cosmopolitan centre that bustles with both culture and commerce. Often regarded as a jewel of Texas, visitors will no doubt be wowed by the exciting selection of upmarket boutiques, five-star restaurants and celebrity-rich culture, all provided with that unique Texan charm.
Dallas is a temple to consumerist culture, with more malls per acre than anywhere else in the USA. Indulge your inner mall bunny with a visit to the NorthPark Center (8687 North Central Expressway) or the Galleria Dallas (13350 Dallas Parkway), before seeking out the more interesting selection of independent shops in Highland Park Village (47 Highland Park Village) and West Village (3699 McKinney Avenue). The last year has seen a rash of new designer stores opening across the city. The latest haunts of Dallas hipsters include Russian designer Kira Plastinina’s flagship US boutique LUBLU (8383 Preston Center Plaza) and preppy Kate Spade New York (3120 Knox Street).
Food & Drink
From molecular cocktail bars and modern a la carte restaurants to classic American breakfast cafés and steakhouses, Dallas straddles the full gourmet spectrum. Start the day with a pile of impossibly fluffy buttermilk pancakes at Crossroads Diner (8121 Walnut Hill Lane), or indulge in a continental brunch at French bistro Boulevardier (408 North Bishop Avenue). Off Site Kitchen (2226 Irving Boulevard) does the best sandwiches in the city – try the slow-cooked pork shoulder piled with onions and Carolina slaw. Al Biernat’s classic tony steakhouse (4217 Oak Lawn Avenue) is a popular dinner destination among Dallas celebrities; but for something lighter, try the mouth-watering seafood dishes at the glam Spoon Bar & Kitchen (8220 Westchester Drive).
Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
Held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area every year since 1896, this is the oldest rodeo show in the USA. With commercial exhibits and auctions as well as jaw-dropping displays of prowess from competing cowboys, it’s an incredible insight into Texan culture.
Texas’ answer to the Chelsea Flower Show takes over the gardens of the Dallas Arboretum in March. This spectacular annual festival features more than 300,000 spring bulbs and 20,000 flowering azaleas.
This widespread celebration of all things gourmet celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2014. Highlights of the event include displays and demonstrations by over 60 chefs, wine-tasting seminars, a Wine Stroll in the Arts District and an International Grand Tasting featuring more than 400 varieties of wine.
State Fair of Texas
Contributing an incredible $350 million to the city’s economy annually, this immensely popular summer fair has been held at Fair Park every year since 1886. Expect a huge array of attractions, including rides, auto shows, BMX displays and family events.
Dallas’ legendary Halloween party is a serious celebration of spookiness. It’s traditionally held at the Purgatory Nightclub (2208 Main Street) and features a diverse entertainment line-up, including burlesque, cirque performers, fortune tellers, live music and a costume contest.
Part legendary centre of popular culture, part technological and economic hub, Dallas has an upscale ethos that is reflected in its hotel scene. The glitziest accommodation is clustered around the Uptown area – five-star Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard) draws luxury lovers with its beautifully restored historic interior and on-site spa, while the Warwick Melrose Hotel (3015 Oak Lawn Avenue) is a long-time favourite with visiting businesspeople. A little further from the city centre, the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Dallas West (4321 Communications Drive) offers basic but reliably comfortable accommodation to travellers on a tight budget.