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The Big D has a certain reputation thanks to a long-running nighttime soap opera that starred Larry Hagman as a wily oil-tycoon called JR Ewing. Dallas showed the world a vision of a flashy, wealthy, larger than life megopolis as sophisticated and cosmopolitan as it was rooted in its wild western American heritage. In many ways that's just what this great city is.

Visitors to Dallas can find shopping opportunities galore. The first Neiman Marcus is still in operation and is considered a landmark. The Northpark Mall, Highland Park and West Village shopping centers can exhaust even the hardiest shopoholics.

The impressive Arts District is home to Dallas' cultural art venues. The Symphony Center is located in the Arts District, as is the Dallas Museum of Art, which houses a good collection of Native American art and artifacts. The Crow Museum of Asian Art has some 300 works of Indian, Chinese, Japanese and South East Asian art on display. Uptown Dallas has a fine selection of art galleries as well as upscale clubs and restaurants. The Women's' Museum examines the role women have played in human history and art.

Dallas hosts a number of festivals and large events, the largest of which is the enormous Texas State Fair in October, held annually at the Fair Park. The park also contains the Dallas Museum of Natural History, the Science Palace and the Texas Discovery Gardens. It's perfect place for a day of educational family fun. The Cotton Bowl Stadium located in the Fair Park as well.

Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in Dallas, so be ready to raise your margarita and toast the defeat of Napoleon III at the 1862 battle of Puebla. March is the time for Irish eyes to start smiling at the North Texas Irish Fest.

Sports fanatics will have nothing to complain about in Dallas. This city has all its bases covered in the professional sports department. With Cowboys football, Mavericks basketball, major league baseball, arena football, hockey, and soccer teams calling Dallas home, there's almost always a game to watch somewhere.

The Dallas Zoo is a nice place for the proverbial “children of all ages” to see an excellent endangered Tiger exhibit. The Dallas World Aquarium is even better; go for the fish, stay for the wonderful Rainforest Exhibit, replete with Howler Monkeys.

Dallas has an extremely happening music scene. Want Jazz? Try Sambuca down in the ultra-hip Deep Ellum district. How about a little hometown flavor? The Gypsy Tea Room books hometown heroes as well as headliners. Muddy Waters will fix you up for blues and rockabilly, but if you want blues with a capital B, then there's no substitute for R.L. Griffith's Blues Palace #2.

If clubbing is on your itinerary there are no shortage of options. Frat rats and crazy coeds should feel right at home at the Green Elephant. The artfully run-down Club Clearview may not live up to its name, but it does live up to its reputation. It's been providing live music and phat beats for decades. If you're after something slicker, faster and sexier then it's hard to top the Lizard Lounge, a venue that often features some of the country's best DJ's.

Visitors looking for a quality watering hole have just as many choices. The Dubliner is an Irish style pub where Guinness lovers can wet their whistles. The atmosphere is top-notch in the Inwood Bar, which is located inside the old art house theater. Anyone who wants to knock back a few vodka martinis at one of Dallas' coolest hotspots should get in line at Deep Ellum's Club Dada.

Gay and Lesbian visitors to Dallas will find some great places on Center Springs Rd. Hunky's is the city's premier gay burger joint. For dancing and drinks gay boys and girls should check out JR's and Sue Ellen's respectively, conveniently located across the road from each other.

With somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 restaurants in Dallas, there's no excuse not to go hungry in Dallas Texas. Aurora prepares American food with French techniques that result in Franco-Texan delicacies. The Blue Goose Cantina's Mexican dishes are sure to satisfy. For a good slice of pizza it's hard to beat Campisi's Egyptian out on East Mockingbird. If you've got the prerequisite deepness of pocket, then the French Room at the Adolphus Hotel serves world class Cuisine.

The classically elegant Adolphus Hotel is on the higher end of the accommodations spectrum, but visitors of all income levels can find places to stay in Dallas. The Hotel Lawrence in downtown Dallas may not have the biggest rooms, but it's comfortable and the view is great. Traveler on a budget won't be unhappy with the Welcome Inn or any of the many affordable chains in the area.

Most travelers who fly into Dallas do so through the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, though many find the smaller Lovefield Airport much easier to deal with.

The DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) provides excellent public transportation in the form of trolleys, buses and light-rail trains. Those interested in the assassination of President Kennedy, which occurred in Dallas in 1963, can take any one of a number of tours care of the Dallas Historical Society, which include visits to the Kennedy Memorial and the 6th Floor Museum. One of Dallas' biggest attractions is the South Fork where the televisions show Dallas was filmed.