Arts District

Plunge into 68 acres of arts, entertainment and culture. Whether you're an opera fanatic or go gaga for abstract sculpture, the Arts District (www.thedallasartsdistrict.org) has something for you.

Convention Center & Reunion Area

Come evening, if it seems like downtown Dallas is full of roaming businesspeople looking to burn off the stress of their workday but not entirely sure where to go, you're right. Everything's a short walk from either DART Rail's Convention Center Station or Union Station.

Downtown

Downtown is the epicenter of Dallas' interesting – and tragic – history, with museums that both commemorate and celebrate. It's also a growing live-work community, with scores of condos popping up and pedestrian traffic defying downtown's previous reputation for being dead after dark. There are times, however, even at midday, mid-week, when you might expect to see a tumbleweed rolling down the street.

Dallas will forever be known as the city where JFK was shot, and the sites associated with his death are among Dallas' most visited attractions. Most travelers make pilgrimages to the museums and monuments; others congregate at Dealey Plaza, eager to swap conspiracy theories.

Dallas Architecture

The Dallas skyline has long been one of the most vibrant in the USA, and it's getting more interesting all the time. Sleek contemporary designs mix with buildings inspired by French neoclassicism. Some buildings to look out for include the following:

Magnolia Petroleum Company Building The red neon Pegasus became a symbol of Dallas when it first flew atop this building in 1934. It disappeared for decades before reemerging on the newly renovated building, now a hotel, in 1999. Then it flew off again.

Bank of America Plaza The tallest building in Dallas, this 72-story modernist skyscraper is outlined each night in cool green argon tubing which plays well with all the other colored-by-night buildings downtown.

Fair Park

Created for the Texas Independence–themed 1936 Centennial Exposition, the art-deco buildings of Fair Park today contain several interesting museums. While the grounds themselves are safe, the surrounding area – particularly to the east and south – can have safety issues.

Don't miss Big Tex, the 55ft-tall icon who greets visitors to the State Fair of Texas. The current version debuted in 2013, replacing a previous Tex who burst into flames in 2012. The loss of his unctuous mug was widely mourned and he was quickly rebuilt.

West End

The convention trade and top end corporate hotels give West End a permanent 'smart-casual' air. The several blocks of rehabbed brick warehouses host an array of chain restaurants and bars; good for people staying nearby who want to avoid a cab ride. Otherwise, between trade shows the area can be pretty quiet.