Photos: Don't mess with Texas

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  1. Howdy

    Big Tex greets over 3 million visitors to the State Fair of Texas each year. The State Fair is held annually at Fair Park, located near downtown Dallas. (Courtesy of Fair Park) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. We'll meet by the riverside

    A project is under way to turn the banks of the Trinity River -- here reflecting the Dallas skyline -- into the nation's largest urban park. (Dallas CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Mad hatters

    An athlete competes in a bull-riding event at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, which runs April through October in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite. (Dallas CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. November 22, 1963

    The view of Dealy Plaza from the Sixth Floor Museum in the former Texas School Book Depository. The site, from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy, is dedicated to Kennedy's life and legacy. (Courtesy of the Sixth Floor Museum) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Child of blues and industry

    A center for blues and jazz early in the century, Deep Ellum had become a warehouse district by the 60s and 70s. But the artists returned, and an the area is once again a hotspot for arts and entertainment. (Courtesy of the Deep Ellum Assoc.) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Cattle call

    Cowboys move a herd of Texas longhorns along the Trinity River Bottoms. Once a major stop along the Preston Cattle Trail, the Dallas area still has a number of working ranches. (Dallas CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Downtown skyline

    An aerial view of downtown Houston. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Ballunar Festival

    The RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival is an annual ballooning event near Johnson Space Center involving a weekend of hot air ballooning, arts and crafts, live entertainment, sky-diving exhibitions and food. Aug. 25-27, 2006. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Diana Garden

    Framed by the native bayou woodlands, the Diana Garden at Bayou Bend provides a magnificent vista from the north terrace of the house. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Hermann Park

    Hermann Park, presented to the City of Houston by George Hermann in 1914, is Houston's most historically significant public green space. The park rests on 401 acres in the heart of the Museum District. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Space Center

    As the official visitors center for Johnson Space Center, this theme park for space fans features actual spacecraft, flight simulators and a guided tram tour of NASA and Mission Control. (Matthew Stockman / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Augusta Pines

    Located north of Houston in Spring, Augusta Pines Golf Club hosted the PGA Champions Tour (formerly the Seniors Tour) in 2004 and 2005. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Houston Zoo - Natural Encounters Exhibit

    The Zoo's Natural Encounters exhibit features meerkats, otters, vampire bats and other small mammals. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Museum of Fine Arts

    Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is the largest art museum in the Southwest. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers more than 51,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Galveston Beach

    Just 50 miles south of Houston, Galveston is Texas' most beautiful, entertaining & historic island. Visitors to this splendid tropical paradise are treated to 32 miles of sun-drenched beaches, direct access to four major cruise lines, miles of historic Victorian architecture, countless exciting attractions, 20 square blocks of shopping on Galveston's Historic Downtown Strand and much more.. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Kemah Boardwalk

    Kemah, on Galveston Bay, is a spectacular waterfront destination with themed restaurants, the Boardwalk Inn hotel, amusement rides, dancing fountains, mid-way games and retail shops. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Minute Maid Park

    A jewel in the crown of the majestic downtown Houston skyline, Minute Maid Park has become a welcome home for the Houston Astros and has ushered in a new era of Major League sports in the city. (Greater Houston CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Illuminated Alamo

    San Antonio and the Alamo played a critical role in the Texas Revolution - it is a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty. (San Antonio CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. The River Walk

    The World Famous San Antonio River Walk offers a variety of attractions and activities including riverboat rides, live music, hotels, museums, art galleries, shopping. (San Antonio CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Day of the Dead

    An ancient festivity that has been much transformed through the years, the Day of the Dead was intended in prehispanic Mexico to celebrate children and the dead. The holiday today is a time when Mexican families remember their dead and the continuity of life. (San Antonio CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Mission San Jose

    Mission San Jose was founded in 1720 by the famed Father Antonio Margil de Jesús, a prominent Franciscan missionary in early Texas. It was built on the banks of the San Antonio river several miles to the south of the earlier mission, San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo). Mission San Jose is an active parish. Visitors are welcome to attend mass on Sundays. (San Antonio CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. The Witte Museum

    The Witte Museum is San Antonio 's premiere museum featuring scientific and historical exhibits for the whole family. The H-E-B Science Treehouse offers four levels of fun and experimentation with Energy, Air Power, Simple Machines, Eco-Science, Weather, and Sound Waves. (San Antonio CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. McNay Art Museum

    Housed in what was the home of the late Marion Koogler McNay, the McNay Art Museum was the first modern art museum in Texas. Founded in 1950, the McNay focuses primarily on 19th- and 20th- century European and American art, and opened to the public four years later. It's collection of prints and drawings is one of the finest in the Southwest. (San Antonio CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Little Flower Shrine

    This Roman Catholic Church, is dedicated to Ste. Thérèse de Lisieux of the Child Jesus, and bears her nickname, 'The Little Flower' of Jesus. It is distinguished as one of only a handful of church buildings in North America (and one of only three in the state of Texas) bearing the papal designation of 'basilica' - a treasury of art, master craftsmanship and relics. (San Antonio CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. The Torch of Friendship

    Urban monumental sculptor Sebastian was commissioned by the Association of Mexican Entrepreneurs of San Antonio to create this 50-ton red steel structure. Created in Mexico, it was shipped to San Antonio in six pieces and was presented to the City of San Antonio as a gift from the Association. (San Antonio CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 5/8/2006 12:23:05 PM ET 2006-05-08T16:23:05

In Big D, shopping isn't merely a mundane chore necessary to outfit yourself, your kids, and your home. Shopping is a sport and a pastime, a social activity and entertainment. Dallasites don't pull on sweats and go incognito to the mall; they get dolled up and strut their stuff. Having grown up in North Dallas, I know all too well that locals are world-class shoppers.

NATIVE TO THE BIG D

Neiman Marcus (which my father-in-law loves to call "Needless Mark-ups"), established in 1907, is a local institution; its annual holiday catalog has become part of pop culture (a once-a-year opportunity to order "His & Her Mummies" or perhaps your own personal $20-million submarine). Beyond those attention-grabbing stunts, Neiman Marcus remains one of the classiest high-end retail stores around, and its downtown flagship store has a chic retro look that is suddenly very hip today. It's not to be missed, even if you can't fritter away your rent money on a pair of Manolo Blahniks. The downtown store at 1618 Main at Ervay Street (tel. 214/741-6911) is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5:30pm; stores in the NorthPark and Prestonwood malls are open on Sunday. Another department store where customers are dripping in diamonds and their drivers wait outside to gather the bags is Stanley Korshak, in the Crescent Court hotel (suite 500) on McKinney Avenue between Maple and Pearl (tel. 214/871-3600).

Dallas is an especially good place to pick up Western wear -- boots, hats, shirts, and belts -- whether you want to look the part of a real cowboy or prefer the more adorned "drugstore cowboy" look. Boots of all leathers and exotic skins, both machine- and handmade, from Texas boot companies (Justin, Tony Lama, Nocona) are good deals in Dallas. You can even order custom-made boots if you've got a grand or so to burn. Compare pricing at any of the following, all of which have excellent selections, and be sure to ask about proper boot fit: Boot Town, 5909 Belt Line Rd. at Preston (tel. 972/385-3052), or 2821 LBJ Fwy. at Josey Lane (tel. 972/243-1151); Wild Bill's, West End MarketPlace, 3rd floor (tel. 214/954-1050); Cavender's Boot City, 5539 LBJ Fwy. (tel. 972/239-1375); and Western Warehouse, 2475 Stemmons Fwy. (tel. 214/634-2668), or 10838 N. Central Expwy. at Meadows (tel. 214/891-0888).

Very fancy Western wear can be found at Cowboy Cool, in the West Village at 3699 McKinney Ave. (tel. 214/521-4500); it's the place to go if you want to drop $500 on a Western shirt or a grand on a pair of boots. Vintage Western clothing can be a bit hard to come by. Ahab Bowen, 2614 Boll St. (tel. 214/720-1874), occasionally stocks vintage Western shirts, along with one of Dallas's best selection of other carefully chosen items for both men and women. Another cool vintage shop is Artfunkles Vintage Boutique, in the West Village at 3699 McKinney Ave., Suite C311 (tel. 214/526-5195). Ragwear, 200 Greenville (tel. 214/827-4163), is a laid-back vintage store that stocks collectible Western shirts at $100 and up, as well as more pedestrian models. (If you're headed to Fort Worth, there are several excellent Western wear stores clustered around the Stockyards.) Fancy gift items for the upscale cowboy -- sterling silver money clips, Michel Jordi wrist watches and belt buckles with longhorns and state-of-Texas and cowboy insignias, and the like -- can be had for a price at Bohlin, 5440 Harvest Hill, Suite 172 (tel. 972/960-0335).

Dallas Farmers Market, 1010 S. Pearl Expwy. (tel. 214/939-2808), spread over 12 acres just south of downtown Dallas, is one of the nation's largest open-air produce markets. First opened in 1941, it looks across at the glittering Dallas skyline. Farmers from around the area sell directly to the consumer. The market is open daily from 7am to 6pm.

THEY GROW 'EM BIG IN TEXAS, MALLS THAT IS

It would be impossible to cover Dallas's dozens of major shopping malls here -- and more difficult still to hit them all on your visit to Dallas. A few of the best are the following, both for the number and quality of stores and their general ambience:

NorthPark Center, Northwest Highway/Loop 12 at I-75 (tel. 214/363-7441), is the most traditional mall and, to my mind, the most elegant. NorthPark has 160 shops and major anchor stores (including Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's, and Nordstrom), as well as natural lighting and best of all, a rotating display of owner Ray Nasher's fabulous sculpture collection of modern masters throughout the mall. NorthPark is undergoing construction that will double its size and make it the largest mall in the Metroplex. And you can bet, for once, that it will be done in very good taste. Not a mall, but not far from NorthPark, is one of my favorite shopping stops in Dallas: the sprawling flagship store Half Price Books Records & Magazines at 5915 E. Northwest Hwy., just east of Central Expressway (tel. 214/363-8374). The massive selection of books -- including art and architecture books, coffee-table books, books on tape, and language books -- blows away almost any new bookstore, and everything at half-price or less. It's a place to load up.

The Galleria, LBJ Freeway and Dallas Parkway North (tel. 972/702-7100), is a huge mall with a light-filled atrium (said to mimic the original Galleria in Milan, Italy). It attracts some of Dallas's most sophisticated shoppers to Macy's, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Versace, Cartier, and Hugo Boss. You'll also find an ice-skating rink, a Westin Hotel, and a host of restaurants -- but many people seem to come just to stroll.

Highland Park Village, Mockingbird Lane at Preston Road (tel. 214/559-2740), is as close as you'll get to Beverly Hills's Rodeo Drive in Dallas. This ultrachic corner of high-end shopping in the midst of Dallas's most exclusive neighborhood was built in the 1930s -- it was reportedly the first shopping mall in the U.S. -- and sports an eclectic mix of today's most fashionable boutiques (such as Calvin Klein, Prada, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, and Hermès). Shops aren't enclosed like a traditional suburban American mall; rather, they face inward for a more enjoyable (or shall we say, European) shopping experience.

For more on what to see and do in Dallas, visit our complete guide online at www.frommers.com/destinations/dallas.

Frommer’s is America’s bestselling travel guide series. Visit Frommers.com to find great deals, get information on over 3,500 destinations, and book your trip. © 2006 Wiley Publishing, Inc. Republication or redistribution of Frommer's content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Wiley.

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