DALLAS (Reuters) - Got 48 hours to spend in Dallas-Fort Worth? There is plenty to see and do in this metropolitan area featuring two cities with distinctly different vibes.
Rich in Texas heritage, the DFW area is the place to sample the full gamut of distinctively Texas cuisine, from chicken-fried steak, barbecue and Tex-Mex to high-end fusions like lobster or sea bass tacos.
When it comes to entertainment, there is plenty to appeal to either urban sophisticates or wannabe cowboys. The possibilities range from pro sports to cultural arts to world-class shopping to the world's largest honky tonk.
Reuter correspondent with local knowledge help visitor make the most out of short visit.
4 p.m. - Rent a car at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and make the trip to downtown Dallas.
5:30 p.m. - Have a cocktail and early dinner at Nosh, celebrated chef Avner Samuel's restaurant and bar, noted for European and Mediterranean food such as crispy duck confit or pan-roasted Alaskan halibut served with Spanish chorizo, spicy peppers and black olives.
7:30 p.m. - Love sports? Dallas has you covered. Head to the American Airlines Center (www.americanairlinescenter.com) to watch the world-champion Dallas Mavericks on the basketball court. If the Mavs are away, watch the Dallas Stars hockey team on the ice.
If sports aren't your thing, the nearby arts district has many cultural offerings. The AT&T Performing Arts Center (www.attpac.org) has multiple venues, including the sleek new Winspear Opera House, so there is almost always a concert, play or dance performance to see. Or, cross the street to the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center to see the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in concert.
11 p.m. - Take the elevator to the 33rd floor of the W Hotel in Victory Park, across the street from the American Airlines Center, for a night cap and the best view of Dallas.
9 a.m. - Dream Café in the trendy Uptown area north of downtown is a Dallas institution known for its eclectic mix of down-home and Tex-Mex breakfast selections. There are also lots of meatless options, including vegetarian sausage.
10 a.m. - The Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza(www.jfk.org) pay tribute to Dallas' most tragic event: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Examine the life and legacy of JFK at the museum and spot where the presidential motorcade passed when the shooting occurred at Dealey Plaza.
Noon - Head back to the arts district and tour the Nasher Sculpture Center (www.nashersculpturecenter.org), an architectural gem in the downtown arts district. The center houses the extensive collection of Dallas developer Raymond Nasher and his wife, Patsy. Works by artists such as Matisse, Calder and Rodin are displayed in indoor galleries and the outdoor garden.
1 p.m. - Drive a few miles north to Rafa's, an authentic Tex-Mex eatery with lots of lunch specials featuring tacos, enchiladas and fajitas. This popular local spot draws the occasional celebrity, including former President George W. Bush, a Dallas resident.
3 p.m. - Dallas is known for shopping and there is no shortage of places to explore across the city, from funky vintage shops to high-end boutiques. Highland Park Village (www.hpvillage.com) boasts stores of premiere designers such as Stella McCartney, Hermes and Dallas native Lela Rose. Be sure to stop by the flagship Neiman-Marcus store downtown at least to grab a signature chocolate-chip cookie.
8 p.m. - Get dressed up and splurge on dinner at the Mansion Restaurant in the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek ( www.rosewoodhotels.com) in Oak Lawn, north of downtown. Chef Bruno Davaillon's creations such as seared snapper and rack of lamb, have kept this Dallas institution at the top of fine dining lists for more than 30 years.
11 p.m. - On the east end of downtown is Deep Ellum, Dallas' hippest nightlife area, with dozens of clubs for listening to music and dancing. Local favorites include the Lizard Lounge and House of Blues. Or, check out PM Nightlife in the downtown Joule hotel. This artistic, underground club is the place for celebrity sightings.
10 a.m. - Check out of the hotel, load the car and head over to the Dallas Farmers Market (www.dallasfarmersmarket.org) for a light breakfast of fresh-picked fruit or a homemade pastry from one of the many stalls.
11 a.m. - Head west on Interstate 30 for a 30-minute ride to downtown Fort Worth. About halfway there, you can catch of glimpse of the new Cowboys Stadium and nearby Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Noon - Lunch at Reata Restaurant in downtown Fort Worth's Sundance Square (www.sundancesquare.com). This is a true Cowtown experience, featuring tenderloin tamales, chicken-fried steak and pan-seared, pepper-crusted tenderloin.
2 p.m. - If you visit in late January or early February, hit the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (www.fwssr.com) and catch a rodeo matinee in the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Check out the exhibit halls to pick up a cowboy hat, a pair of boots or a western belt buckle.
If you can't make the stock show, head to the Fort Worth Stockyards for a taste of the Old West. Catch a rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum or learn about Fort Worth's storied history at the Stockyards Museum. Try on a pair of handmade boots at M.L. Leddy's or head to Billy Bob's, the world's largest honky-tonk, for a longneck, a little two-stepping and some live professional bull-riding action.
Editing by Patricia Reaney