Dallas (population 1,232,940) prospered and declined at different times compared to most other major U.S. cities, and its downtown buildings reflect these fluctuations. In the course of one city block you’ll find everything from late-19th century commercial structures to Classical Revival buildings to art deco office towers to 1950s modern architecture. Many of Dallas’s significant historical events occurred in the mid-20th century, evident in the locales associated with John F. Kennedy’s assassination and in Fair Park’s  stunning edifices.
Downtown Dallas’s first transformation occurred in the late 1800s when the city became an increasingly important financial center. Intersecting railroads brought business to and from the city, and Dallas’s cotton exchange and agricultural equipment manufacturers added to the city’s growth.
The city’s distinctive historic architecture is displayed in its buildings from the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, which brought more than 50 new art deco structures to Fair Park as well as world-renowned science exhibits, music, and attractions for millions of visitors to experience. Dallas also has the distinction of introducing the convenience store to suburban America, with the Oak Cliff area south of downtown spawning the 7-Eleven chain (it offered milk and eggs on Sundays and evenings, when most grocery stores were closed).
Above all, the city is remembered as the site of John F. Kennedy’s shocking assassination on November 22, 1963, when shots were fired at the president’s motorcade in Dealey Plaza. The ramifications of the fatal gunshots would last for decades, as politicians and citizens deliberated over details while forming and debunking countless assassination conspiracy theories. Add to that the Dallas Cowboys  (don’t forget the cheerleaders) and the famous Dallas TV show  and the result is a fascinatingly diverse Southern city that Texas is proud to call its own.
Dallas is served by the enormous Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (972/574-8888, www.dfwairport.com ) and the smaller Dallas Love Field (214/670-6080).
Downtown Dallas is accessible from the DFW airport via DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) and on the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) train Monday through Saturday. To take the TRE, purchase tickets (roughly $3–5) from a vending machine on the train platform.
Cabs are a reliable way to get from the airport to a Metroplex destination, but it will cost at least $30 for the service. Another more-affordable option (averaging around $20) is the Super Shuttle (817/329-2000, www.supershuttle.com ), available from DFW airport at all hours but occasionally sluggish depending on the number of passengers along for the ride and their destinations. In addition, many airport-area hotels offer pick-up and drop-off services.
Dallas Love Field is more centrally located but is limited in flight options since only Southwest Airlines and one regional airline currently serve it. Love Field is about seven miles northwest of downtown and local transportation is offered by taxi (approximately $13 to downtown) and the Super Shuttle.
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (214/979-1111, www.DART.org ) offers public transportation in and among 13 Dallas-area communities with rail, bus, and rideshare services. In addition to its airport line, DART provides service to Fort Worth  via the TRE (917/215-8600 or www.the-t.com ).