Nuts-and-bolts information to plan your trip, plus a checklist of essentials to include when you pack and a list of links to local media

Planning

Entry Requirements: International travelers from 27 countries may enter the U.S without a visa through the Visa Waiver Program; however, you must have a machine-readable passport. Visitors from other countries must obtain a visa from an American embassy or consulate abroad. For more information, visit travel.state.gov/.

Security: While Dallas is generally considered a safe city, visitors should avoid South Dallas at night. As with any big city, don’t walk alone after dark and keep purses, wallets, and other valuables secure.

Time: Dallas is one hour behind U.S. eastern standard time.

Money: The currency of Dallas is the U.S. dollar. For current conversion rates go to OANDA Currency Converter: www.oanda.com/convert/classic.

Phone Calls: The area code for central Dallas is 214. The surrounding area is served by the 972 area code. When dialing from a local hotel phone, press 9 and 214 or 972 to dial local numbers.

When to Go: January tends to be a slower month, but you’ll hardly be able to tell that, as convention business is steady all year. Summer is especially warm but quite busy. Spring and fall offer milder weather.

Getting There: International flights arrive at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), 18 miles (29 kilometers) from downtown Dallas. Many hotels operate their own courtesy shuttle service. Taxis are found on the upper terminal level. Otherwise all other ground transport is found on the lower level. Dallas Love Field, near downtown Dallas, is reached by domestic flights operated by Southwest, American Eagle, and Continental Express.

Getting Around: Several interstate and freeway networks serve Dallas, and driving is on the right. Speed limits vary between 55 and 70 mph on these motorways and 30 and 40 mph on most surface streets. All rental car companies are represented at the airports and several offices can be found downtown. There is a light rail system called DART, with a main terminal downtown. DART also provides a bus system.

Checklist

Tips: Pack to sweat. It’s warm in Dallas much of the year, with temps surging even to the high 80s°F (26.6°C) in November. You’ll need to bring layers, preferably of breathable fabric like cotton. Rare is the day you’d need a wool sweater.

Passport/Visa: You need a passport if arriving from another country, as with any U.S. city.

Sunscreen: Bring sunscreen with at least 15 SPF, as days tend to be long and sunny in North Texas.

Insect Repellent: On summer evenings, mosquitoes can be a nuisance. Bring a good repellent.

Hat: Most days, a baseball cap or other sun hat is a good idea. You could even buy a cowboy hat here, if you like.

Sturdy Footwear: Bring your favorite walking shoes, although other than downtown, Fair Park and White Rock Lake, you may not walk much.

Water Bottle: You’ll want to stay hydrated, so bring a good refillable bottle. Dallas’s tap water is fine and water fountains are plentiful in most buildings.

Toiletries: Most hotels will have all the shampoo and hand lotion you need. If you find yourself short on tissues or over-the-counter allergy medicine, there are CVS and Walgreens pharmacies and any assortment of convenience stores on nearly every corner.

Web Links

Intowndallas

This clever collaborative site leads residents and visitors to the latest happenings in culture, music, art, dining, shopping, and more. www.intowndallas.org

Frontburner

D Magazine’s insider and sometimes snarky look at what’s going on at city hall, the mainstream media, major sports interests, celebrity spotting, and the newest hot spots around town. Frontburner.dmagazine.com

Pegasus News

An irreverent look at everything happening in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. It’s especially good for reading the back-story on live entertainment and dining options in the area. www.pegasusnews.com

Unfair Park

The local alternative weekly, Dallas Observer, observes, watchdogs, and editorializes on everything that moves in Dallas on this blog. blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/

Dallas News Eating, Drinking

If you want the very latest in restaurant and bar news, particularly openings and of-the-minute reports, you have to browse this blog. eats.beloblog.com

Dallas Historical Society

This site tells you how to explore Dallas’s historic sites, and it provides updated information on guided tours that bring history to life. www.dallashistory.org

Dallas Architecture

Downtown Dallas is full of cool old buildings, and this site gives you background on dozens of them. Find out who designed them, when they were built and what history has done with them. www.dallasarchitecture.info

Dallas Arts District Alliance

To gain a deeper understanding of the complex, 19-block arts district, visit this site to use its interactive map. Find out more about the free guided tour, offered the first Saturday morning of the month. http://www.thedallasartsdistrict.org/

Local Media

Dallas Morning News

Major metropolitan daily newspaper, among the oldest in the nation, can be found everywhere. Inside you’ll read daily international, national, regional, and local news, sports, weather, business, lifestyle, and entertainment coverage. www.dallasnews.com

D Magazine

A slick monthly magazine, this favorite offers coverage of politics, home and garden, business, travel, and dining. www.dmagazine.com

Dallas Observer

The alternative weekly newspaper from New Times publishing goes after stories the conservative press avoids. Good offbeat coverage of the arts, sports, dining, and nightlife. www.dallasobserver.com

Dallas Voice

The weekly paper serving the gay and lesbian community covers the arts, dining, nightlife, and politics. www.dallasvoice.com

KERA Public Radio (90.1 FM)

Offers a local talk show at 12 noon, Monday through Friday that covers news, business, and lifestyle interests in Dallas. www.kera.org

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