WHEN TO GO
Let's be honest: From June through mid-September, the procession of 90-degree-plus days, with many in the 100s, is unrelenting. Get stuck in a summer heat wave, when it gets really hot, and you'll agree with General Sheridan that hell would be preferable. However, air-conditioning is so pervasive that you could be there a week without spending more than a few minutes in the heat (indeed, you should pack light sweaters or jackets for the indoor chill). The better news is that from late September through late May the climate is usually delightfully temperate. October through mid-November and April through mid-May have the most cool, dry, clear-blue days, while December through March can have sharp cold snaps. When the weather does change, it can happen in minutes, occasionally with violent storms. Also note that Dallas' hospitality can be overtaxed by large conventionscheck first.
HOW TO GET THERE
Most out-of-state visitors will enter via Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. One of the biggest and busiest airdromes on the planet, DFW can be infuriating to the uninitiated. However, if you
Most out-of-state visitors will enter via Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. One of the biggest and busiest airdromes on the planet, DFW can be infuriating to the uninitiated. However, if you've heard a lot of DFW horror stories, please note that a striking new International Terminal and a spanking new inter-terminal rail system (its predecessor was notoriously balky) should improve things. If you're flying from another Texas city or an adjacent state, you might well end up at Dallas Love Field, at the moment served only by budget-fare Southwest Airlines; you'll save some on your cab ride to Dallas locations. Amtrak's oft-overlooked Texas Eagle runs daily between San Antonio and Chicago, with thrice-weekly connections to Los Angeles from the former and daily to points east from the latter. If you're driving, the highways into Dallas are wide and fast, but the distances, even from other Texas cities (save Fort Worth, just 30 miles to the west) are long.
Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau
325 N. Saint Paul St., Suite 700
Dallas, TX 75201
Tel: 214 571 1000
Fax: 214 571 1008
Tourist Information Center
100 S. Houston St.
Dallas, TX 75202
Tel: 214 571 1300
Toll-free: 800 232 5527
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekends/Holidays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau
Tel.: 817 336 8791 or 800 433 5747
Operates three visitor centers:
Downtown Sundance Square
415 Throckmorton St.
Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
800 433 5747
817 336 8791
Stockyards National Historic District
130 E. Exchange Ave.
Monday - Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
817 624 4741
Fort Worth Cultural District
3401 W. Lancaster Ave.
Monday - Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
817 882 8588
Most sightseers will be best served by renting an automobile, which strands you in a minefield of local tax gotchas. Rent a car from DFW airport's new $150 million car rental center, and you'll gasp at the taxes and surcharges; at more than 60 percent of the base rental charge, they're the highest in the nation. You can cut that tax by two-thirds if you take a cab ride to an off-site rental location in nearby Irving; it's worth the inconvenience if you're staying awhile. Fly into Dallas Love Field, however, and your bill will be pumped back up by about 40 percent over the base rate. A cab ride from DFW to downtown is $38, but some hotels offer less expensive or free shuttle service; be sure to check. Many hotels also have complimentary shuttles that will drop you anywhere within a few miles of their front doors.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (214 979 1111; www.dart.org) is a clean, efficient, expanding system that now includes a state-of-the-art light rail running from the far northern suburbs to southern Oak Cliff; however, the city is so spread out that connecting DART bus service remains hit or miss depending on destinationand cabs are often just miss. The rail stops with the most nearby attractionsMockingbird Station, Park Lane, City Place, West End, Dallas Zoo are within a few miles of downtown. The spiffy Trinity Railway Express (Fort Worth tel.: 817 215 8600; Dallas tel.: 214 979 1111; www.trinityrailwayexpress.org; $4.50 for a day pass) runs about every 45 minutes (until 10 p.m.) from the downtown Dallas DART light-rail stop at Union Station to downtown Fort Worth (within blocks of Sundance Square) with connecting bus service to the Stockyards Historical District and Cultural District. The TRE can also get you to and from downtown Dallas or Fort Worth and DFW airport for one or two bucksan astonishing bargain.
If you're ensconced downtown or Uptown, the free McKinney Avenue Trolley (3153 Oak Grove, Dallas; tel.: 214 855 0006; fax 214 855 5250; www.mata.org), a restored early 20th-century streetcar line, runs every 15 to 25 minutes daily until 10 p.m. from the downtown Arts District through Uptown, a route that includes many of the city's best dining, shopping, and entertainment attractions. Few locals actually walk in Dallas (though many run), and only mad dogs and Englishmen will do it in the summer. But during the temperate months, walking is an underrated means of conveyance; just don't expect hell-bent local motorists to brake for pedestrians.