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DFW is a sports fan's fantasy land

Posted 5:10pm on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010

If you're a sports nuts, DFW is the ultimate asylum. It's home to America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys, and their staggering $1.2 billion stadium. Within the past few years, we've hosted two World Series, the NBA Championship and NBA All-Star Game, and Super Bowl XLV, and soon the NCAA Final Four will take center stage. We also happen to be the center of the bowling universe (more on that later). Throw in MLB's Texas Rangers. the NHL's Dallas Stars and the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and your visitors will think they've died and gone to Jock Heaven.

Stay: The Gaylord Texan (1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine; 817-778-1000) a huge resort overlooking Lake Grapevine, is the official hotel of the Cowboys (it's also where they crash the night before home games). Only a few minutes from D/FW Airport, more importantly, the Gaylord Texan provides round-trip shuttles to the stadium.

Play: The Gaylord is also right next to Cowboys Golf Club (1600 Fairway Drive, Grapevine; 817-481-7277), probably the nicest public course in DFW. It'll cost ya (almost $200 for a play-all-day package), but if your visitors are serious golfers, you won't want to miss it. You might even bump into Emmitt Smith; let the NFL's all-time leading rusher play through. For more moderately priced but still great golf, try WaterChase Golf Club in Fort Worth (8951 Creek Run Road; 817-861-4653) or Texas Star in Euless (1400 Texas Star Parkway; 817-685-7888).

Nosh and drink: The only thing that DFW has more of than big-time sports, is big-time sports bars. If you want luxury, try the Texan Station Sports Bar & Grill at the Gaylord. It's got a 30-foot tall, 52-foot-wide crystal-clear screen and overstuffed leather recliners. But if wings and pretty things are more your speed, check out Grapevine's "Breastaurant Row," which includes Bone Daddy's (1720 William D. Tate Ave., Grapevine; 817-251-0835), Hooters and Big Racks BBQ and Sports Grill. If you want a more old-school sports bar vibe, try Bobby V's (4301 S. Bowen Road, Arlington; 817-467-9922), named for the former Rangers manager. It has a boxing ring in the center of the restaurant, and the wings are a knockout. Frankie's is the best sports bar in downtown Fort Worth, with wall-to-wall TVs and terrific food. Try the Walter Payton wings!. Boomer Jack's has 11 locations in DFW, including one with a great, big patio not far from AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Too many other places to mention, but check out our list of Best Damn Sports Bars in DFW. for more options.

Shop: Rally House Texas (4000 Five Points Blvd, Suite 141, Arlington Highlands; 817-468-3883) is one-stop shopping for souvenirs from all the Texas teams, college and pro. Get your Texas Rangers T-shirts here. Or a TCU jersey or Longhorns jersey or a Mavs jersey. You get the idea. The Cowboys and Rangers have shops in downtown Fort Worth, right on Main Street.

Dine: If you want to dig into one of the best steaks in DFW, Pappas Steakhouse (10477 Lombardy Lane, Dallas; 214-366-2000) will deliver. Just ask Dez Bryant, who famously picked up the $54,896 tab for his teammates there when he was a rookie. In Fort Worth, if you're in the mood for a burger, try Dutch's (3009 S. University Drive, Fort Worth; 817-927-5522). It's named for legendary TCU football coach Dutch Meyer and also happens to serve one of the best bacon bleu cheese burgers we've ever tasted.

Attractions: AT&T Stadium is a bigger draw than the Dallas Cowboys themselves, so don't miss the popular VIP guided stadium tour ($27.50), which takes you inside the locker rooms and the fanciest suites. You can even stand on the star. Globe Life Park, home of two-time American League champions the Texas Rangers, is right next door and also offers tours for much less ($14). So does Texas Motor Speedway ($8), which just unveiled "Big Hoss," the largest TV screen in the world. But for a one-of-a-kind experience, check out the International Bowling Hall of Fame (621 Six Flags Drive, Arlington; 817-385-8215).

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