City Tour - Dallas, Texas
Dallas, the prime-time soap opera that aired from 1978 to 1991, presented its namesake city as the land of big oil, big money, big hair and even bigger egos. But, the “Big D,” as Dallas is affectionately nicknamed, has a far more nuanced and easygoing nature. Sure, you can still find a few oil tycoons driving around town in luxury cars, but there are also artists, musicians, chefs and entrepreneurs.
Once a broad expanse of flat prairie, Dallas is now an international, cosmopolitan destination with towering skyscrapers and award-winning architecture. It was even voted 2014’s “Best International Skyline” by USA Today newspaper. In Dallas, you can shop in style at upscale boutiques, visit museums filled with incredible works of art and taste a heaping helping of the native cuisine – which ranges from colorful Tex-Mex to elegant meals crafted by chefs sourcing local ingredients. And, of course, you’ll want to be sure to visit the city’s marquee attractions.
Among those must-see sights is the Reunion Tower GeO-Deck, whose 470-foot-high (143 meters) observation level gives visitors 360-degree views of the city below. This iconic Dallas landmark, which unveiled a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2013, is now sporting some seriously cool hardware: interactive digital maps, touch screens to create your own GeO-Deck light show, high-definition zoom cameras that let guests peek in on various locations around town, and telescopes so powerful visitors can count the leaves on the trees several blocks away.
Opened in December 2012, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is five and a half levels of science fun featuring a 4K digital theater and 11 permanent exhibit halls filled with state-of-the-art exhibits that touch on subjects ranging from dinosaurs to DNA and everything in between. Within these high-tech halls, visitors can race a Tyrannosaurus rex, build their own robot, come face-to-face with a massive Alamosaurus skeleton, experience an earthquake, fly like a bird in a flight simulator, and journey through the solar system.
U.S. history buffs won’t want to miss The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Located on the sixth and seventh floors of the former Texas School Book Depository warehouse, the museum uses films, photographs and other artifacts to chronicle the life, death and legacy of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.
The administration of another U.S. president is chronicled at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Here, presidential documents, artifacts, including gifts from foreign heads of state, and a full-scale replica of the White House Oval Office tell the story of America’s 43rd president.
If it’s sunny – and it often is – head just south of downtown Dallas to Marsalis Park and the Dallas Zoo, the oldest and largest zoological park in Texas. The zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals, representing over 400 species from A (anteaters) to Z (zebras).
For a little more nature, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden beckons. This 66-acre (27 hectares) display garden overlooking White Rock Lake offers dynamic water features, breathtaking floral displays, and the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, whose 150 individual kid-friendly activities include The Texas Skywalk, The Moody Oasis, a Walk in the Clouds and more.
Money-saving Tip: Dallas is one of 11 U.S. destinations that offer the CityPASS program. Each Dallas CityPASS ticket booklet saves travelers more than 40 percent off combined admission to four top attractions: the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Reunion Tower GeO-Deck, a choice between the Dallas Zoo and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, and a choice between the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.