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flickr/Anthony Roderman

America's StadiumBy Maria White

When a grass-stained footballer cradling a pigskin digs his cleats into the end zone, it's a magical event—unless of course you're on the opposing team. Magnifying both the sweetest of victories and the most devastating defeats, mammoth AT&T Stadium in Arlington delivers gridiron excitement, amped up to the nth degree.

The dazzling, state-of-the-art arena is one of the world's largest domed structures, a fitting home for one of the National Football League's most valuable and enthralling franchises. The Lone Star State's long list of heroes ropes in tough frontiersmen and fiery politicians, and many a Dallas Cowboy also is ranked among this larger-than-life lot. For rabid North Texas sports buffs especially, the utterance of such names as Aikman, Meredith, Smith and Staubach unleashes a deluge of adoration for each of these seemingly superhuman athletes. On a national scale, the Cowboys' abundance of ratings-grabbing TV appearances earned them the enduring nickname “America's Team” over 3 decades ago, most likely infuriating hard-core rivals like the San Francisco 49ers.

Construction of AT&T Stadium began in 2006, and the media buzz surrounding the five-time Super Bowl champs has only mounted since its completion in 2009. Polarizing team owner Jerry Jones asserts he built the $1 billion-plus palace for the fans. Still, while standing-room-only “party passes” can be scooped up for just $29, it's all about the Benjamins for those who want to watch the ‘Boys in blue and silver-grey from a premium seat. Even more luxurious digs, like Hall of Fame level suites, 21 rows from the field, likewise cost a pretty penny—not to mention the pricey concessions, though, truth be told, the vendors here don't dole out your typical stale stadium fare. Instead, event goers chow down on everything from Kobe beef patties to vegetarian nachos topped with sweet corn and guacamole.

All things considered, this scrimmaging showplace with a penchant for tailgaters bears a modern, open architectural design that promises great views for all ticketholders—not an easy feat in a venue that can accommodate 100,000. Plus, the stadium's center-hung, 72-by-160-foot video board guarantees no one in the house will miss a single play. The behemoth, world record-holding LED display gives every spectator sideline views of the action on the field. With this monster suspended above throngs of bellowing Cowboys fanatics, the thrill of a touchdown doesn't end once the ref blows the whistle. And, to the chagrin of clumsy players, fumbles are replayed again and again on the big screen, too—in high-def, naturally.

On Feb. 6, 2011, the gleaming Arlington venue hosted the annual championship game between the AFC and NFC champs, a first for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The nation's 43rd president (and Texas' 46th governor), George W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were among the attendees of Super Bowl XLV, which, regrettably for Dallas Cowboys fans, pitted the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers.

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Dallas, TX

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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Travel Information

City Population

1,232,940

Elevation

420 ft.

Sales Tax

Municipalities may impose additional rates of up to 2 percent on the statewide 6.25 percent sales tax. Sales tax in the city of Dallas is 8.25 percent; rates vary in the suburbs. The hotel occupancy tax is 13 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(214) 744-4444

Time and Temperature

(817) 844-6611

Hospitals

Baylor University Medical Center, (214) 802-0111 or (800) 422-9567; Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake, (214) 324-6100; Medical City Dallas Hospital, (972) 566-7000; Methodist Dallas Medical Center, (214) 947-8181; UT Southwestern University Hospital–St. Paul, (214) 645-5555.

Visitor Information

325 N. St. Paul St. Dallas, TX 75201. Phone:(214)571-1000 or (800)232-5527

Air Travel

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Rental Cars

Hertz, (972) 453-4600 or (800) 654-3131, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

Amtrak's Union Station is at 400 S. Houston St. For train schedule and ticket information, phone (214) 653-1101 or (800) 872-7245.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus station, (214) 849-6831 or (800) 231-2222, is at 205 S. Lamar St.; five other bus lines depart from this address.

Taxis

Taxis are metered. The initial charge is $2.25 plus $1.80 for the first mile. Rates are then $1.80 for each additional mile, and $2 for each additional passenger. Taxis leaving from the airport charge an additional $5 departure fee. Yellow Cab, (214) 426-6262, is the main company serving the area.

Public Transportation

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (DART) provides light-rail and bus service in the area. Two-hour passes are $2.50 for local routes and $3.50 for system routes including all DART buses and trains. Day passes are $5 for local routes and $7 for system routes. A 7-day pass is available. Exact change is required. Phone (214) 979-1111.

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