The Downtown area is traditionally defined by the highways that loop 1.3 square miles of disparate districts. Some sections are clean, well lit, and easy for pedestrians to navigate. Others are rough around the edges, blighted by empty storefronts and abandoned buildings, and populated by groups of homeless people. There are gaps between the areas, and blocks that feel forgotten.
This lack of continuity and connectivity is not lost on the people working to promote and improve Downtown Dallas. Millions of private and public dollars are being spent to revitalize the central business district, and three Downtown parks are being developed. Another park project involves building a deck on Woodall Rogers Freeway (the highway that separates the north and west side of Downtown from Uptown) and creating a five-block greenspace that will connect the Arts District to Uptown. As more people take up residence in Downtown apartments and condos, more retailers are moving in, too. Plans call for three Santiago Calatrava bridges to span the nearby Trinity River, now just an empty levee but reimagined as a recreational centerpiece.
Within the Downtown area, visitors will discover the Arts District with museums and performing arts venues and the West End Historic District, notable for its restored red-brick warehouse buildings and cluster of tourist-friendly restaurants. Downtown is home to two attractions that continually draw tourists to the area: the Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza.