What's Doing In Dallas

Deep in the heart of Texas sprawls the city of Dallas, beckoning visitors to enjoy its big-business atmosphere and laid-back attitude. As the country's second most popular choice for conventions and meetings, Dallas has much to offer: more restaurants per person than New York City; more shopping space per shopper than any other city; and the least dense population of any major metropolitan area in the world.

Dallas was settled in 1841 when Tennessee lawyer John Neely Bryan established a trading post on the banks of the Trinity River. He envisioned that the area would become a center of activity, with steamboats carrying goods up the river from the Gulf of Mexico. Dallas has become the eighth largest city in the United States.

So as you marvel at the Dallas Convention Center - one of the nation's largest - during Waste Expo '94, be sure to explore this unique city of contrasts: briefcases and boots; culture and cowboys; sophistication and space.

Must-Sees The Financial Center, in the heart of downtown Dallas, is home to the city's major buildings, ranging from the Magnolia, constructed in 1921 and topped by the landmark red neon Pegasus, to the 72-story NationsBank Plaza, outlined at night with more than two miles of green argon. The area has more than three miles of walkways with many shops and restaurants.

In the Dallas Arts District, visit the Dallas Museum of Art, where you can take in an exhibit called "The American West: Legendary Artists of the Frontier," and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Historic electric trolleys connect the Arts District with the colorful McKinney Avenue area and its unique shops and eateries.

The West End Historic District, downtown, will transport you back in time with its quaint street lamps, red-brick streets and horse-drawn carriages. Many shops, restaurants and nightclubs line the streets. The Sixth Floor (214-653-6666), a memorial that examines the life, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, is located in the former Texas School Book Depository.

In an artsy mood? Deep Ellum is a converted warehouse district east of downtown with restaurants, art galleries, music clubs and unique shops from Left Brain/Right Brain, a toy store for grownups, to Blues Suede Shoe, which sells secondhand cowboy boots. Don't miss the handmade cheeses right off the production line at Mozzarella Company.

At the Dallas Farmers Market (214-748-2082), the nation's largest urban market, four blocks are filled with gardeners and farmers selling every fruit, vegetable, flower and plant under the sun, seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

Dallas will celebrate its rich Mexican heritage with several Cinco De Mayo festivals between May 1 and 5. Call 214-670-8400 for more information.

Just For Fun Aside from the shops in each of Dallas' unique districts, serious shoppers should visit the oversized but shopper-friendly Galleria (214-702-7100), West End MarketPlace (214-954-4350) and North Park Center (214-363-7441).

Heading south from downtown, you'll hit Old City Park (214-421-5141), which was established in 1876. You'll feel as if you've stepped into history as you browse through peaceful streets filled with restored buildings from 1840 to 1900, including antebellum mansions and log cabins and, to complete the town, a train depot, school, church and hotel.

Fair Park, which will host the World Cup soccer games this summer, boasts eight museums, including the Age of Steam Railroad Museum and the Dallas Aquarium, and the Texas Star Ferris wheel, the largest in the United States. Call the information line for the week's happenings (214-890-2911).

The Frontiers of Flight Museum (214-350-1651), on the upper level of the Love Field airport, contains artifacts, scale models, photographs and memorabilia describing the history of flight.

Of course, Dallas conjures images of - or at least the theme song from - the long-running evening soap, "Dallas." You probably won't see J.R., but you can visit Southfork Ranch (214-442-7800), home of the Ewing clan, which is just north of the city.

For a real ranch experience, make reservations to ride horses at Texas Lil's Diamond A Ranch (800-LIL-VILL) or at Wagon Wheel Ranch (214-462-0894).

If you arrive early for Waste Expo and want a taste of the West, consider going to the Mesquite Championship Rodeo (214-222-BULL), which showcases pro rodeo action every Friday and Saturday.

Though it's the off-season, Texas Stadium (214-438-7676), where the Dallas Cowboys play, offers tours of the locker room and field where professional football stars have made history.

After Hours After a long day at Waste Expo, take the McKinney Avenue trolley to the Hard Rock Cafe (214-855-0007), where you'll find a great view of the Dallas skyline on the outdoor terrace, check out rock 'n roll memorabilia, listen to great music and enjoy cocktails or dinner.

You can't leave Dallas without tasting authentic Mexican food. Try Tijuana Johnny's (214-871-2281), next door to the Hard Rock, which has a shady patio, 25 brands of Tequila and a festive atmosphere.

Tchoupitoulas (214-953-3083) on McKinney Avenue will stuff you with southern Louisiana specialties and "the best gumbo in Texas."

A popular spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner is Kathleen's Art Cafe (214-691-2355), where young artists' work is displayed for sale and where bistro food is made fresh daily.

The Q Grill in Lakewood (214-821-5328), next to the Lakewood Theater, prepares imaginative American fare served on a decorative patio - one of the best ways to enjoy the city's mild spring climate.

The casual Outback Pub (214-761-9355) offers steak, burgers, chicken and shrimp with an Australian accent.

Peggy Sue BBQ (214-987-9188) serves southern fried pies and spicy, rich Texas barbecue temptations.

If fine dining interests you, feast on Northern Italian cuisine at Capriccio (214-871-2004), located on McKinney Avenue at Fairmount, or Ruggeri's Ristorante (214-871-7377) on Routh Street.

Japanese government officials reportedly recommend Royal Tokyo (214-368-3304) on Greenville Avenue, where fresh fish is flown in daily and hibachi chefs prepare meals at your table.

There are several hotspots around town if you're in the mood to experience Dallas' night life. For one cover charge, you can check out all nine nightclubs with five live, diverse bands in Dallas Alley, located at the West End MarketPlace (214-988-9378).

You can choose your own entertainment at Dave and Buster's (214-353-0649), catch a rising comedian's act at The Improvisation Dallas (214-750-5868) or practice line dancing at Stampede (214-701-8081).

Whether you're a Dallas-visiting veteran or this is your first trip, take time to enjoy as many of this big city's pleasures as you can.