Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
In October of 2003, the nation's largest contiguous urban arts district unveiled its newest jewel. The Nasher Sculpture Center showcases of the world's foremost privately owned collections of modern and contemporary sculpture and art from the late 19th century to the present. It's adjoining serene sculpture garden features additional works rotating from the personal collection of developer/philanthropist Raymond Nasher. In 2005, Walking to the Sky, created by internationally renowned Jonathon Borofsky was installed in the award winning sculpture garden. Walking to the Sky features a group of seven figures of different races, ages and genders walking briskly up a stainless steel pole toward the sky.

Another entertainment district within the "Big D" is the Victory district. Here renovations have been going on and continue to go on promising Victory Park a whole new look that is guaranteed to satisfy tourists from all over. The Victory Park project began with the American-Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks (NBA) and the Dallas Stars (NHL) games, and the project is continuing to debut premier dining, shopping and living space. The 75-acre district is currently in Phase II of construction and features Dallas' first W Hotel & Residences topped-out with the ultra lounge Ghostbar, two five-story retail buildings with sliding LED screens for videos, urban residential units above street-front retailers, distinctive dining, coveted boutiques, endless entertainment and an all new WFAA-TV (ABC) television studio. An urban park, state-of-the-art office space, light-rail connection to the Dallas Convention Center and Mandarin Oriental are also slated for construction in this mixed-used development.

Another couple of the distinctive structures that Victory Park will be able to add to their collection in 2008 are The House by Stark and YOO and One Victory Park. The House by Stark and YOO is a 28-story building featuring 150 condominium residences designed by Philippe Starck and YOO, plus 25,000 sq. ft. of retail space and Dallas' first ever Licensed Oakville Grocery . One Victory Park, a 20-story office tower with approximately 455,000 sq. ft. of modern, LEED certified office space will overlook Victory's one-acre urban park and will have 10,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail space. Adding to the vibrancy of Victory Park, Victory Tower is set to complete phase III of this multi-million dollar development in 2009. Standing 43 stories high, Victory Park will feature the 120-room Mandarin Oriental, Dallas, 90 luxury residential units, 275,000 sq. ft. of office space and over 75,000 sq. ft. of retail space, along with various distinctive dining options, venues, offices and restaurants. When Phase III of construction is complete the Victory district will be one of Dallas' most impressive visitor destinations.

Downtown Dallas has been the center of the city's entertainment and leisure for a long time, and with the new developments and renovations this part of town has a whole new look to it. Energy and investment have returned to the historic Main Street core of downtown with new loft apartments and condominiums, retail and entertainment. Included is Stone Gardens. Other entertainment districts include Uptown, West Village, Deep Ellum, Knox-Henderson, Lower Greenville Avenue and the West End. Downtown Dallas' Main Street is anchored by the Neiman Marcus flagship store and the historic Adolphus and Magnolia Hotels. The exclusive boutique hotel, Hotel 1530 Main Street, is also a new development that was open to the public in the fall of 2007. This entertainment district has been revitalized over the past several years and is now alive with new entertainment options.

Over the next decade, Downtown Dallas' Trinity River and its surrounding parks and forest will be transformed into an environmentally sensitive recreation and entertainment area. One highlight is a series of three planned sculptural bridges designed by Santiago Calatrava to span the river. This new development will also be equipped with two lakes, hike and bike trails and a forest larger than New York City's Central Park. This massive re-imagination will bring new natural experiences and recreational opportunities to the city.

Throughout Dallas there have been many new lodging facilities constructed and new renovations on the current structures making it obvious that this city is preparing for increased travel and tourism. The only Ritz-Carlton in Texas made its debut in August of 2007 across from the famed Crescent Court complex in Uptown Dallas. The property will be a combination of a 218-room hotel, 70 luxury condominiums, a restaurant and a 12,000-sq. ft. spa and fitness center with an indoor swimming pool. This hotel was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. The Joule Hotel is currently transforming a historic building and a newly built 10-story building on Main Street into a luxury 125-room full-service boutique hotel with restaurant, bar and rooftop bar and grill. The hotel, designed by renowned designer Adam Tihany, made its opening in fall of 2007. Other new luxury hotels that opened recently were the Grand Hyatt Hotel at DFW International Airport (2005), and on the West end, Hotel Palomar (2006) at Mockingbird and Central.

Dallas is a mecca for shoppers. Not only is Dallas home to the internationally recognized specialty store Neiman Marcus and retail giant J C Penney, but it is also the site of Highland Park Village, America's oldest shopping center. Highland Park Village remains in pristine condition today and boasts some of the most revered boutiques and shops in the world, including Channel, Harry Winston, Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Escada and Jimmy Choo. The village also has specialty shops, local restaurants and a restored movie theater. The Galleria Dallas has just completed its multi-million dollar expansion and renovation that transformed it into one of Dallas' most dynamic shopping environments. The Galleria is an extraordinary shopping destination with more than 200 exceptional stores as well as new restaurants, seating areas, an ice-skating center and sculptures to name a few enhancements. Krimson & Klover, a newcomer to the Dallas Scene, has added an eclectic flair to the fashion landscape. The owners, who are sisters, select each season's lines with care and share valuable fashion advice with their growing list of loyal customers. The Uptown boutique is located in a charming yellow cottage and is a great resource for jeans and dresses.

More than 100 world-class retailers call NorthPark Center home. Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Tiffany's, Neiman Marcus, Nambe', Tumi and Armani Exchange all have stores at the center, and a recent $235 million expansion brought more than 235 new stores and dining establishments, including a Nordstrom, AMC 15-screen movie theater and 1.4-acre garden space and park. In fall of 2006, the third-largest Barneys New York and the first Dell store in the country opened as well. Complete with world-class artwork, the NorthPark experience is one of indulgence and delight.

In Dallas the city slogan is "Live Large, Think Big". It is obvious that here in the Big D this is a way of life. Renovations and new developments are continuing to be the talk of the town. New companies are opening up, more people are moving to Dallas and tourism is booming. With all the upgrades and brand new establishments, it is estimated that by the year 2013 Dallas will be one of the nation's premier destinations for travel and tourism. If you want to enjoy the fabulous cuisine or just stroll through the Dallas Arts District admiring the artwork, satisfaction is guaranteed. As for meeting planners, you are definitely in for a treat. Between the additional meeting space at the Convention Center and the new luxury hotels and renovated hotels, it's simple to see that Dallas is a number one choice for hosting your group. Check it out. See what Dallas has to offer. You won't be disappointed.
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