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one day in dallas

flickr/Jeff Stvan

One Day in DallasAAA editors suggest these activities for a great short vacation experience.

Morning Nab locally made garments, ceramics and jewelry in the Bishop Arts District, just southwest of downtown in Oak Cliff, the historic neighborhood where Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met, Lee Harvey Oswald was captured and 7-Eleven originated. If you're an early riser, slurp eye-opening brews at hometown coffee joint Café Brazil (611 N. Bishop Ave.). If it's a Sunday, sleep in and do brunch at Hattie's (418 N. Bishop Ave.) A sound contender for any “Best of Dallas” list, this urbane eatery with a Southern accent doles out polished versions of your favorite stick-to-your-ribs comfort foods.

After your morning cup of joe (and perhaps a few of Hattie's cornmeal griddlecakes), drive to one of the following AAA GEM attractions: the Dallas Zoo (650 S. R.L. Thornton Frwy.), Fair Park (2 mi. e. of downtown off I-30) or the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (8525 Garland Rd.). Furry fun awaits at the state's largest and oldest zoo, and Fair Park's bounty of entertaining educational facilities keeps groups busy for hours. The lush, 66-acre Dallas Arboretum encompasses more than a dozen display gardens and overlooks scenic White Rock Lake, a haven for nature-loving recreationalists.

Afternoon Now that you've explored the Dallas outskirts, check out downtown. At the heart of the city is The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (411 Elm St.), a thought-provoking exhibit space preserving a painful moment in U.S. history: the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. After investigating Dealey Plaza, most sightseers head east to pay their respects to the fallen leader at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial (on Market Street, between Main and Commerce streets), a minimalist cenotaph designed by renowned American architect Philip Johnson.

From the JFK memorial, walk a few blocks east to Main and Ervay streets and look for the red awnings outside the oldest Neiman Marcus (1618 Main St.) in operation. Window browse at the high-end retailer's flagship store or peruse paintings and other inspirational works in the Downtown Dallas Arts District. The 19-block area at Ross Avenue and St. Paul Street encompasses several cultural gems, including the Dallas Museum of Art (1717 N. Harwood St.), the Nasher Sculpture Center (2001 Flora St.) and the Crow Collection of Asian Art (2010 Flora St.).

If you chose colorful frocks over vibrant brushstrokes, enjoy an elegant lunch at Neiman Marcus' fashionable eatery, the Zodiac Restaurant (1618 Main St.). Otherwise, check out Lone Star State staple Cane Rosso (2612 Commerce St.) for pasta dishes and Neopolitan pizza, or Dragonfly (2332 Leonard St.) for New American cuisine like tuna tacos and brisket sliders.

Evening If you want to get gussied up, make reservations for The French Room (1321 Commerce St.), one of the finest gastronomic experiences this side of the Mississippi. Located in The Adolphus hotel, the lavish restaurant dazzles the eyes with ornate décor, while classic, expertly prepared recipes arouse cultivated taste buds. For a dressed-down dinner, try cozy Mia's Tex-Mex Restaurant (4322 Lemmon Ave.), a family-run eatery that tips its ten-gallon hat south of the border. A few bites of Butch's Original Brisket Tacos and you'll understand why clued-in natives perpetually pack this low-key dining room.

Attend an event at the American Airlines Center (2500 Victory Ave.). Home to the NBA Mavericks and the NHL Stars, the well-appointed arena also welcomes an array of entertainers. For pre- or post-event cocktails, the surrounding Victory Park area (a developing playground for Dallas' “in crowd”) has a handful of nightspots, though visiting VIPs like Jamie Foxx and Justin Timberlake favor the pulsing lounges of the W Dallas Victory Hotel & Residences (2440 Victory Park Ln.). If you can't get tickets for an AAC event, barhop along Greenville or McKinney avenues or mingle with laid-back Dallasites in the Knox-Henderson area, where imaginative eateries cater to bohemian bellies.

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Dallas, TX

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre

5410 LBJ Frwy. Dallas, TX 75240

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Hilton Dallas/Park Cities

5954 Luther Ln. Dallas, TX 75225

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Members save up to 15% and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hampton Inn & Suites-Frisco

3199 Parkwood Blvd. Frisco, TX 75034

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Hyatt Place Dallas-North/by the Galleria

5229 Spring Valley Rd. Dallas, TX 75254

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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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