Why y’all should visit Dallas

Dallas is a sprawling, diverse, sunshiny city ripe for family travel. Score a direct flight from Chicago to this big, low-key locale and see what’s hot with a CityPASS, which provides tickets to the top four Dallas attractions for more than 40 percent off (plus you can skip the lines!).

Start your visit at the fabulous, free Klyde Warren Park. Tucked between Uptown and Downtown Dallas, this gem is bustling and full of life. The Children’s Park is a busy place for spinning, climbing and running around.

You’ll notice the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for its astonishing architecture—the glass escalator makes for amazing views of the city. The most memorable part of this museum is the Sports Hall, where you can run a race against a digital competitor (from a T.rex to an Olympian).

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Gardens is a place of beauty and tranquility. The Dallas Zoo has a giraffe feeding area and a tram that brings you up close to the animals.

What would a visit to Texas be without a rodeo? The Fort Worth Stockyards provide for an interesting, all-day experience of seeing a cattle drive, strolling the boot shops and candy stores, and taking in a kid-friendly rodeo. Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show is whip-cracking, gun-shooting fun (for those that don’t mind loud noises). While it was our first rodeo, you wouldn’t have guessed it from the way our 7-year-old rode the mechanical bull (rides are offered just down the street from the coliseum).

If you’re adrenaline junkies or just longing for the theme park experience, Six Flags Over Texas is open most of the year. Kitschy kids rides like Boot Scootin’ and El Sombrero are fun for the family. Put on your big kid pants to try Texas SkyScreamer, the tallest swing ride in the world, and snag a bird’s-eye view of Dallas and Fort Worth (if your eyes are open).

You’ll also notice the letters B and G all over the city. Stand in the middle, making the i, for a BIG Instagram hit!

For mouthwatering BBQ and tacos, Dallas is the place. Don’t be surprised if there’s a line outside Hard Eight BBQ. Their brisket and chicken poppers are to die for. Lockhart Smokehouse is another great choice, serving smoked meats on butcher paper.

Velvet Taco is an urban taco joint out of Texas, with a Chicago State Street location. So if you fall in love with their Shrimp and Grits, Nashville Hot Tofu or any other non-typical tacos, you can satisfy your craving in the Windy City when you get home.

If you’re fixin’ for a burger, Off-Site Kitchen in Trinity Grove is the place to go. They also have impressive sandwich offerings and plenty of table games outside. The Happiest Hour is a perfect place to lounge outside and enjoy creative cocktails with a downtown view.

Hilton Anatole is a huge hotel with a vast Asian art collection, outside sculpture garden and new, outdoor JadeWaters pool complex, with slides, cabanas and a lazy river. It’s a nice, central place to catch some zzz’s.

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