An insider's guide: 20 reasons to visit Dallas

Dallas is a quick flight away now that American Airlines is offering direct service to the city from Sonoma County airport.

As a recent transplant to Santa Rosa from Dallas, in my opinion, the city's size is perfect for a weekend trip.

After living there for almost three years, I'll admit that nobody does barbecue, live music and a rooftop or patio bar quite like Texas. There's more oak trees than cacti. The state's longstanding obsession with cowboy boots, however, is not a myth.

Dallas is a sprawling city with eclectic neighborhoods that sometimes seem like distinct towns. (The majority were suburbs until the early 1900s.) There's plenty of museums, shopping districts and festivals to explore and an endless list of restaurants to try.

One caveat: the summer months are excruciatingly hot, so it's better to visit in the fall or spring and avoid triple-digit temps.

Check the gallery above for 20 things - some more touristy than others - to do in one of Texas' biggest cities.

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