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Getting around Dallas

Public transport

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) authority (tel: +1 214 979 1111; www.dart.org) runs the city's public buses and trains. The urban light railway and the commuter line, which are separate lines in the south and north, combine to form a single route in the downtown area. The system operates 0400-2400.

Bus tickets must be purchased with exact change in cash. Alternatively, you can buy prepaid tickets and day passes from vending machines at the station. Day passes are available in advance online from the DART website.

DART has joined forces with the volunteer-run McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (tel: +1 214 855 0006; www.mata.org) to operate the historic M-Line Streetcar, providing free, daily transit service in Downtown and to connect Downtown with the Uptown neighbourhood.

Taxis

Taxis operate 24 hours. Recommended are Yellow Cab (tel: +1 214 426 6262) and Ambassador Cab (tel: +1 214 905 1111). A tip of 10% is expected.

Driving

Driving in downtown Dallas at the weekends is feasible for visitors, since the streets are relatively quiet. Morning and evening rush hour in the week is just the opposite and extremely frustrating.

Downtown Dallas is essentially on a north-south grid layout, although north of Pacific Avenue, the grid is skewed slightly and angled more on a northwest-southeast axis.

The most frequently used toll road in Dallas among visitors is the North Tollway, which goes from Downtown up into Collin County. You will be invoiced for tolls you are owed (these will be charged to you by your car hire company).

There are meters and parking lots all over Downtown, which can be expensive, except at weekends. Visitors should read meters carefully as timings will be enforced.

Car hire

The minimum age for hiring a car is 21, although there are often surcharges for drivers under 25 years old. All the major car hire companies are represented in Dallas, including Avis (tel: +1 214 571 9290; www.avis.com), Budget (tel: +1 214 812 2813; www.budget.com) and Hertz (tel: +1 214 979 9494; www.hertz.com).

Bicycle hire

Bikes are available for hire from Richardson Bike Mart's White Rock Lake location, 9040 Garland Road (tel: +1 214 321 0705; www.bikemart.com). Riding around the lake is wonderful in good weather.

If you're visiting Fair Park, you can make use of its small bikeshare system (https://fairparktx.bcycle.com), which has one docking station near the Fair Park DART stop and another by the Martin Luther King park entrance.

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Hotel ZaZa

As you'd expect from a hotel named for movie icon Zsa-Zsa Gabor, Hotel ZaZa specializes in luxury details – think Frette bed linen, rainforest showers and enormous swagged curtains in every suite. The building itself is an old-fashioned colonial-style affair and comes complete with a chic bar and an expensive restaurant.

Hotel Lumen

Unusually minimalist by Dallas standards, Hotel Lumen is an oasis of soothing colors and ergonomic furniture. The hotel also has a heated outdoor pool, a hosted wine reception every evening and an on-site fitness centre. Off the lobby, the Front Room is a casual-chic restaurant serving three meals daily.

The Highland Dallas

Ultra-modern and possessed of a lobby decked out with gold seating and blinging chandeliers, The Highland does Dynasty chic reworked for the 21st Century. Rooms are large and the beds supremely comfortable, while bathrooms come stocked with Diptyque toiletries.

Hyatt House Uptown

On the northern edge of downtown, the Hyatt House Uptown sits amidst a bustling business district very close to Cedar Springs and Maple, an area dense in art galleries and antiques stores, as well as dozens of good restaurants. Rooms are a businesslike affair but there is a complimentary breakfast.

Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Dallas

Just around the corner from City Hall, the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown couldn't be more central. A stone's throw from city center attractions, rooms are comfortable and clean, if fairly uninspiring. No matter – there's a pool onsite, guest parking and you get a free buffet breakfast in the morning.

W Dallas - Victory Hotel

If JR branched out into hotels, the W Dallas Victory would be it. Overlooking the sports venue of Victory Plaza, the hotel offers 252 oversized rooms and suites in categories named Wonderful, Cool Corner, Spectacular, Fabulous, Mega, Fantastic, Marvelous, Wow and Extreme Wow. There's also a great spa and onsite restaurant.