The Dallas Cowboys are now in full swing in their season and football fans should be thinking ahead and planning a trip to the SuperBowl February 2011 at the incredible Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX, between Dallas and Fort Worth. The new stadium is the largest enclosed domed building in the world and seats 80,000 fans, with extra party tickets available in the end zone up high for standing room. The $1.2 billion dollar structure was funded by the city of Arlington at $365 million, and the balance is funded by Jerry Jones and the Cowboys.
Our stadium tour was fascinating, and we got to go onto the field for a photo in the star! We toured the dressing rooms of the team and the Cheerleaders, the beautiful suites (which can accommodate about 6,000 total) and even Jerry Jones’ private box for his family and friends. Every seat in the amazing stadium has a good view, and it is truly thrilling to see a game there.
Perhaps the most stunning part of the stadium is the largest video board in the world, 160 feet by 72 feet (as tall as a seven story building!) This dominates the stadium and even during an exciting play your eyes can’t help but leave the live action and wander upward to the huge projection of the play and re-play and close-ups of the various participants (including cheerleaders!!) The enormous video board is known fondly as Jerry’s Indulgence, and when the dome is open, planes and helicopters overhead can still see the Cowboy Star because it is repeated on the flat surface on the top of the screen.
Cowboy Games are far from the only events in this impressive stadium. It is a popular venue for concerts, parties, conventions, and has even seen some weddings take place on the star in the field! Anyway, you can rent party spaces in the various areas of the many food and drink clubs around the stadium. Of course, for the SuperBowl the NFL will take over the stadium. But during the same month of February 2011 the green turf will be cleared away and dirt hauled in for two big events: the Monster Truck Rally and the Bull Riding Contest!
This multi-purpose stadium will certainly bring millions of visitors to Arlington year-round. And that is precisely why you need to know more about the metroplex, especially Fort Worth. Just a few minutes from the stadium you can escape the mob of fans and enjoy the amazing tourist attractions in the town known as the entrance to the West. Fort Worth has preserved an area where the real cowboys of the Old West enjoyed relaxing from enormous cattle drives from Mexico to Kansas. The Stockyards National Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places and perhaps one of the most interesting of all. This is where meat packing plants were located and live cattle auctions attracted buyers from all over the expanding United States in the 1800’s through mid 20th Century. And cattle auctions by video still take place here today. But you will want to see the real live cattle drives which take place daily at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., with real long-horn steers driven by real cowboys (and cowgirls) on horseback.
You’ll find an interesting Cowboy Museum, a fun maze to navigate, a mechanical bull to ride, and the most unusual shopping anywhere in unique stores in the restored wooden buildings which housed saloons and flop-houses for cowboys who had been on the trail for weeks. The cobblestone streets are still used today. You can find the best cowboy souvenirs and Western wear of any place in the world, from children trinkets to expensive, handmade boots and unique clothing.
This is perhaps our favorite place to stay and play, and we keep returning to it year after year because we love Fort Worth. The Stockyards offer excellent restaurants and bars. Among our favorites for a truly cowboy lunch and atmosphere is The Love Shack, where you can eat most any time of day or night and hear live cowboy music. Tim Love, who has been awarded some of the most coveted chef awards of all time, also owns the Lonesome Dove Restaurant just around the corner. You would never guess from its facade that inside it is exquisite, elegant dining and fabulous food!
Another favorite is H3 Ranch Restaurant and bar in the famous and historic Stockyards Hotel on East Exchange Ave. in the heart of the StockYard area. H3 Ranch Restaurant has delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinner: fine dining in casual, western style. Their margaritas are the absolute BEST and most unusual (with green peppers!)
The newest hotel in the Stockyards is the perfect place to stay: The Hyatt Place Historic Fort Worth Stockyards Hotel has large suites in ultra modern design with free high-speed wireless Internet, large flat-screen TV’s and good breakfast to head you on your way for the day. The reception area is unique in that it looks like the old western hotels but has a great coffee/drink bar where you can get yummy snacks of many varieties and a large eating area where you can order light meals or big breakfasts and eat at tables or around the large fireplace or in a comfy corner while you watch TV. It provides a cozy and inviting gathering place when you are getting ready for your day or recovering from sight-seeing. The service at the hotel is excellent. It is definitely a perfect place to stay for your Cowboys Stadium events or for any fun in the Arlington and Fort Worth area. We found staying in Fort Worth, particularly in the Stockyards area, to be a quick and easy drive to and from the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Ranger Stadium, and the attractions in Arlington and Grand Praire area.
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