GETTING THERE: American Airlines flies from Reagan National to Dallas and is quoting a round-trip fare of $224. AirTran flies for about $185 round trip from BWI.

GETTING AROUND: Although most visitors rent cars, Dallas has an efficient bus and light rail system. The Trinity Railway Express trains between both downtown areas cost $4.50 round trip and take about an hour each way. Info: 214-979-1111, www.dart.org.

WHERE TO STAY: In Dallas, the buzzed-about place is the boutique-style Hotel ZaZa (2332 Leonard St., 800-597-8399, www.hotelzaza.com). The bar/restaurant, Dragonfly, has a lavish decor and a fabulously decked-out clientele. Doubles start at $239 and go way up.

The Melrose (3015 Oak Lawn Ave., 800-635-7673, www.melrosehotels.com), also in Dallas, is a more traditional option. The comfortable guest rooms have wood paneling and the bathrooms are Texas-size. The Library is one of the city's snazziest cocktail bars. Doubles booked on the hotel's Web site start at $149. With a fall special, guests who book two nights at $199 per night get a third night free.

WHERE TO EAT: Abacus (4511 McKinney Ave., Dallas) offers such haute dishes as pan-seared foie gras and duck confit crepes. Dinner, the only meal served, runs about $120 for two, with wine.

Located in Deep Ellum, Dallas's nightlife center, Monica's (2914 Main St.) serves Mexican fare with a twist. Try the chili pumpkin lasagna and pink tacos made with salmon and salsa. Lunch for two, with drinks, is about $30.

The Cafe at the Nasher Sculpture Center (see below), catered by Dallas's renowned Mansion on Turtle Creek, is an interesting, airy spot for tortilla soup and other light fare. Lunch is about $15 a person.

ART VENUES:

* Fair Park, the site of 25 art-deco buildings, is two miles east of downtown Dallas and is open 24 hours a day. Admission is free for pedestrians, except during fairs and other special events.

* Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., 214-922-1200, www.dm-art.org. Admission $10.

* Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St., 214-242-5100, www.nashersculpturecenter.org. Admission $10.

* Crow Collection of Asian Art, 2010 Flora St., 214-979-6430, www.crowcollection.org. Free.

* Modern Art Museum, 3200 Darnell St., 866-824-5566, www.themodern.org. Admission $6.

* Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-332-8451, www.kimbellart.org. Admission to the permanent collection is free; rates vary for special exhibits.

* Amon Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-738-1933, www.cartermuseum.org. Admission to the permanent collection is free; rates vary for special exhibits.

INFORMATION: Dallas Visitors Center, 800-232-5527, or Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, 214-571-1301, www.visitdallas.com. Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-433-5747, www.fortworth.com.

-- Gary Lee