Dallas, 50 years after Kennedy’s assassination

(Dallas) September 4, 2013 – At the west end of downtown Dallas, Texas, is the Dealey Plaza Historic District, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Fifty years later, Dealey Plaza looks much as it did in 1963. The street signs, lights and surrounding buildings have mostly been left as they were – a contrast to the modern Dallas skyline behind the plaza.

Many visitors to the city come to take a solemn look at the place where the popular president was killed. Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, is believed to have fired the fatal shots from a sixth-floor window in the Texas School Book Depository building.  Today, the building’s Sixth Floor Museum draws 350,000 visitors a year, second only to the Alamo as the most-visited site in Texas.

There are other sites connected to the assassination, including the Hilton hotel (formerly the Texas Hotel) in Fort Worth, where the president and his wife spent the night of November 21, 1063; Parkland Memorial Hospital, where the president was rushed into a trauma room; and the Texas Theatre, where Oswald tried to hide.

The city will observe the 50th anniversary with church bells, military flyovers and readings of Kennedy’s speeches. It will also be a day of public service, with volunteers working at organizations like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Special Olympics.

Of course, there’s much more to Dallas than its connection to the slain president. Check out the Bishop Arts District’s eclectic shops, galleries and restaurants. Take in a terrific view of the city – including a bird’s eye view of Dealey Plaza – and a great meal at the rotating Wolfgang Puck restaurant, Five Sixty, at the top of Reunion Tower.

The Fair Park is worth a visit whether or not the Texas State Fair is taking place. It contains museums, the largest Ferris wheel in North America and many beautiful Art Deco structures, including the main entrance to the Cotton Bowl stadium. If you’re a fan of the television drama “Dallas” – cancelled in 1991 but revived in 2012 – exteriors were shot at Southfork Ranch, 20 miles north of Dallas, where you can take a tour and see show memorabilia.

Dallas has a multitude of places to stay, see and dine – for more ideas, talk with your travel professional.

Robbert van Bloemendaal, Blue Ribbon News special contributor and world traveler

This travel column was written by BlueRibbonNews.com special contributor Robbert van Bloemendaal, an experienced world traveler, native of Australia, an Ambassador with the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce, and president of  Travel Leaders of Rowlett.

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