It's a popular misconception about the DFW area that the only music enjoyed 'round these parts is of the country (and Western!) variety. Not so -- just look at the exports from the last decade alone: Norah Jones, the Polyphonic Spree, Neon Indian and the Toadies have all moved from North Texas onto the national and international stage. Even though the stars aren't home too often, there are still plenty of places in Fort Worth and Dallas to soak up a bit of that Lone Star sound.
Stay: Although Austin is the one Texas city with artistic cachet and the hotels to match (try as you might, you won't find anything like the Hotel San Jose here), there are still sleek, chic places to hang your hat while you are in town. In Fort Worth, the Ashton Hotel (610 Main St.; 817-332-0110) is favored by those who perform at Bass Hall (Rufus Wainwright was spotted hanging out in the lobby before his Bass Hall gig last year), while the Omni is also a good base of operations. In Dallas, the Belmont Hotel (901 Fort Worth Ave.; 214-393-2300) hosts a weekly music series on its patio, which affords a stunning view of downtown. Hotel ZaZa (2332 Leonard St.; 214-468-8399), although pricey, is also favored by touring acts, and the Palomar (5300 E. Mockingbird Lane; 214-520-7969) is situated just a few miles from one of the city's great venues, the Granada Theater (3524 Greenville Ave.; 214-824-9933).
Dine: A quick bite at Fort Worth institution Fuzzy's Taco Shop (2917 W. Berry St.; 817-924-7943) will provide fuel for a trip to Record Town (more on that below), with a relaxed dinner at either Ellerbe Fine Foods (1501 W. Magnolia Ave.; 817-926-3663) or the low-key yet tasty Magnolia Motor Lounge (3005 Morton St.; 817-332-3344). Both dinner spots are mere steps away from live music -- The Chat Room Pub (1263 W. Magnolia Ave.; 817-922-8319), which hosts occasional shows, is near Ellerbe, while Magnolia isn't too far from The Pour House (2725 W. Seventh St.; 817-335-2575) and Lola's Saloon Sixth (2736 W. Sixth St.; 817-877-0666), both of which host live music every weekend night. Dallas has lots of muso-friendly dining options -- many local performers swear by the grub at All Good Cafe in Deep Ellum (2934 Main St.; 214-742-5362) -- while Smoke (901 Fort Worth Ave.; 214-393-4141), near the Belmont Hotel, is another popular stop.
Shop: It's safe to assume your visiting music lover isn't dying to visit Guitar Center, but would rather peruse the racks at your neighborhood record store. Fort Worth's packing a pair of great shops: Record Town (3025 S. University Drive; 817-926-1331) where T Bone Burnett and the late Stephen Bruton would obsess over rare albums, and the newer Doc's Records & Vintage (2111 Montgomery St.; 817-732-5455), which specializes in the more Spin-approved LPs and CDs. In Dallas, a must-visit is Good Records (1808 Greenville Ave.; 214-752-4663), an inviting, hip hangout for local musicians and a trove of cutting-edge goodies.
Nightlife: If it's live local music you're after, there's no shortage of venues large and small in nearly every corner of the Metroplex. The truly local acts tend to gravitate to the clubs, like Lola's Saloon Sixth or in Fort Worth, or the Double Wide(3510 Commerce St.; 214-887-6510) in Dallas. The larger, national touring acts hit up spaces like Dallas' Granada Theater and House of Blues (2200 N. Lamar St.; 214-978-2583), and Fort Worth's Bass Hall (525 Commerce St.; 817-212-4280). Other go-to spots include the Kessler Theater (1230 W. Davis St.; 214-484-1217) in Oak Cliff and the Scat Jazz Lounge in downtown Fort Worth (111 W. Fourth St., No. 11; 817-870-9100).