Image: Cowboys Stadium
Tony Gutierrez  /  AP
Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, hosts the Super Bowl on Feb. 6. The NFL is planning Super Bowl tours at $40 a pop.
By
updated 1/25/2011 9:53:24 AM ET 2011-01-25T14:53:24

The temperature might be 75 during the first Super Bowl week in Dallas-Fort Worth. It could be 25. Or both.

  1. Don't miss these Travel stories
    1. Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors

      With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.

    2. Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
    3. Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
    4. MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
    5. Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year

So while Super Bowl travelers are packing everything from T-shirts to wool overcoats for the area's fickle winter weather, they'll have plenty of indoor/outdoor options for their itineraries. The game takes place Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

High on the list for first-time visitors to the area is the site of John F. Kennedy's assassination in downtown Dallas. Strolling around the grass on both sides of Elm Street, where Kennedy was shot on Nov. 22, 1963, is free. There's a good chance a conspiracy theorist can point out the infamous "grassy knoll," the spot from which some witnesses say they saw gunfire.

Slideshow: Dazzling Dallas (on this page)

An admission fee will get you in to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, inside the building known as the Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald set up his perch at a corner window.

International visitors love the Southfork Ranch and the white-column home that came to symbolize the runaway TV hit "Dallas" in the 1980s. Sure enough, at least two Super Bowl parties are planned for the site in Parker, about 25 miles north of downtown.

Those who have only seen longhorn cattle on TV can watch the real thing stroll down the red bricks on Exchange Avenue at the Fort Worth Stockyards near downtown in the "city of cowboys and culture," as officials like to call it. Yes, the twice-daily "cattle drive" operates even when it's freezing. But if you'd rather stay warm, Billy Bob's is a couple of blocks over and calls itself the world's biggest honky tonk. For a buck during the day, check out the glittering disco saddle (not ball) over the dance floor and the cement squares that feature the hand prints of the late Johnny Cash and other music — mostly country — stars.

Shopping and more
For visitors who neglect to pack a coat and need one, Phillip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, "I'm sure they can find something at Neiman's or any of our shopping venues."

Click here for complete Super Bowl coverage

Aah, shopping. Arguably the No. 1 indoor sport in Dallas. Jones refers to the upscale retail store Neiman Marcus, which originated downtown and is now one of the centerpieces of the swanky NorthPark Center. Among those spotted browsing there recently was AL MVP Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.

Dallas ended up using the NBA's all-star weekend a year ago as a test run for the Super Bowl. Crowds jammed the Galleria mall in north Dallas the day before 108,713 people, the most ever to watch a basketball game, took in the all-star game at Cowboys Stadium.

The $1.3 billion home of the Dallas Cowboys with the retractable roof is in Arlington, but February is the offseason for tourism in the city halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. One of the area's best-known attractions is Six Flags over Texas, but its 50th anniversary season doesn't start until a month after the Super Bowl.

  1. Get updates
    1. Follow us on Twitter

      Find the latest updates on this story and more from @msnbc_travel.

Still, the stadium is an attraction in its own right. It has surprised officials with its ability to draw visitors for tours, on the order of 40,000 people in some months, said Jay Burress of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. The NFL is planning Super Bowl tours at $40 a pop. Space is limited, so reservations are recommended.

Burress said fans typically take stadium tours the day before Cowboys or college football games, and he expects Super Bowl visitors to do the same. The stadium "promised to be for more than just football games, and it has definitely delivered with other events and tours that are year-round drivers," Burress said.

Other highlights
Some of the other highlights in the Dallas-Fort Worth area:

  • FAIR PARK: Out-of-town football fans probably recognize the name because of the annual Texas-Oklahoma football game at the Cotton Bowl. But Fair Parkers like to remind people that the area just east of downtown Dallas is a National Historic Landmark with the world's largest collection of 1930s Art Deco exposition buildings. Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed are planning a Super Bowl party at Fair Park. The Cotton Bowl will have entertainment for three consecutive nights, culminating on the eve of the Super Bowl. A Tom Landry exhibit that chronicles the career of the Cowboys' Super Bowl-winning coach has been on display at Fair Park since the fall.
  • THE ARTS: Plenty of money has gone into expansion of the Dallas and Fort Worth arts districts in recent years. The Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center are two highlights of the area on the north end of downtown. The latest addition is the Bill Winspear Opera House, fronted by 60-foot glass walls that offer views of the lobby. Fort Worth has everything from prominent art to the rodeo, which always opens in January and gets the rare boost of Super Bowl week falling on its final week. The city landed a coup when ESPN decided to put its show at Sundance Square downtown, not far from the Bass Performance Hall, which hosts the biennial Van Cliburn international piano competition.
  • NFL EXPERIENCE: The annual Super Bowl showcase of interactive games for fans will be held Jan. 27-30 and Feb. 2-6 at the Dallas Convention Center. The cost is $25 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. Kids 2 and under get in free.
  • DEEP ELLUM: This eclectic collection of bars and restaurants just east of downtown Dallas is the heart of the city's music scene and figures to be a major gathering point throughout Super Bowl week.
  • DID WE MENTION SHOPPING? Of course we did, but there's more. Grapevine Mills mall, just north of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, is a gigantic circle of shopping popular with tourists. It's not far from Main Street in Grapevine, a collection of shops and restaurants with an old-town feel.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Dazzling Dallas

loading photos...
  1. Dallas in the spotlight

    Super Bowl fans will find plenty to do in Dallas, from shopping to visiting a musuem to taking in the nightlife at the city's bars and restaurants. (Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Real-life cowboys

    A daily cattle drive takes place Jan. 19 at the stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas. The Fort Worth Stockyards on Exchange Avenue are just one of the sights football fans can see as they descend upon the Dallas-Fort Worth area for Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (LM Otero / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. The fat lady sings

    "The Dallas Opera has performed three world premieres and five American premieres," according to its website. The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is located in Dallas. (Timothy Hursley) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. They call him Country Willie

    Legendary musician Willie Nelson, seen performing last year at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, will perform ahead of Super Bowl weekend at the Palladium Ballroom. (Bob Riha / Virgin America Airlines via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The real deal

    Visitors to Dallas can enjoy real, authentic Mexican food, like the Chuychanga at Chuy's. (Chuy's) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Flagship store

    The Neiman Marcus Building, in downtown Dallas at Main and Ervay Streets, is a recorded Texas historic landmark. The building was completed in 1914. (Neiman Marcus) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Drinking, music and ... bull riding?

    "More than just a honky tonk," claims the Billy Bob's Texas website. Located in the Fort Worth Stockyards, Billy Bob's offers up meals, drinks, dance lessons, concerts and, yes, bull riding. (Billy Bob's Texas) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Cowboys Stadium

    Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will host the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6, 2011, for Super Bowl XLV. (Tony Gutierrez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Dallas Blooms

    This floral festival at the Dallas Arboretum, boasts its website, "is the largest floral festival in the southwest with over 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs." (Dallas Arboretum) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Hard rider

    Kelsi Elkins is seen riding to a time of 18.07 seconds in the Championship Barrel Race event at Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo on Jan. 29. The year 2011 marks the 115th Championship year of the event, according to its website. (Max Faulkner / The Fort Worth Star-Telegram via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Remembering JFK

    High on the list for first-time visitors to the Dallas-Fort Worth area is Dealey Plaza, nearby the site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas. An admission fee will get you in to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, inside the building known as the Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald set up his perch at a corner window. (Tony Gutierrez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Celebrating sports history

    Iconic photographs taken by Neil Leifer are on display at the Neil Leifer exhibit, titled "For the Love of the Game," at the Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery in Dallas, through March 26. (Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Big game excitement

    Annaleise Weir, left, of Dallas and Anna Bray, right, of Wylie, Texas, ice skate around a freshly added Super Bowl XLV logo at the Galleria shopping mall Jan. 24 in Dallas. (Tony Gutierrez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Blended or on the rocks?

    Dallas is home to the first frozen margarita machine, invented by Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez and inspired by a 7-Eleven Slurpee machine. (Mariano's Hacienda) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Works of art

    Northpark Mall has a "tradition of showcasing major works by world-renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Jim Dine, Jonathan Borofsky, James Rosenquist and others," according to its website. (Gary Blockley) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Who shot J.R.?

    Actor Larry Hagman poses in 2008 in front of the Southfork Ranch mansion made famous in the hit 1980s television show "Dallas" in Parker, Texas. At least two Super Bowl parties are planned for the site, about 25 miles north of downtown Dallas. (Tony Gutierrez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Thrill seekers

    The Flashback ride, foreground, and the parachute drop, background, are seen at Six Flags Over Texas, located in Arlington, Texas. (Six Flags Over Texas via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Maestro van Zweden

    Jap van Zweden, pictured at his premiere concert at the Meyerson Symphony Center in 2007, is the music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. (Dallas Symphony Orchestra via Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Art walk

    The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas "is one of the few institutions in the world devoted to the exhibition, study and preservation of modern sculpture," according to its website. The collection at NSC includes 300 sculptures, paintings and drawings. (Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A slice of history

    Self-proclaimed Kennedy fanatic Chris Mays from California takes photos of the grassy knoll in front of the former Texas School Book Depository Building, left, in Dealey Plaza, where the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy took place in Dallas. (Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Big welcome

    The State Fair of Texas at Fair Park in Dallas with inflatable 'Big Tex' at night. Big Tex stands 52-feet-tall and has been welcoming visitors to the fair since 1952. (Peter Poulides / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments