Dallas, Texas is known for many things. Architecture is generally not one of them. More attention has been paid to the architecture of the sprawling Metroplex in recent years, however.

Dallas, a town that boomed in the 1970s, is full of ranch style houses from this period mixed with some teardowns turned McMansions. Some older craftsman style homes are still present in neighborhoods such as Oak Cliff and some original Tudor style homes have been preserved on the M streets.

The development of the Winspear Opera House, which opened in 2009, prompted more discussion about the city's architecture and development than at any other time in recent past. The Winspear has a very modern design. The design of the Opera house was controversial, but it was one of a few new spaces of the Dallas Arts complex. The Wyly Theatre and Annette Strauss Artist Square are also unique in design and were developed at roughly the same time as the Winspear. Private tours of the Winspear and Wyly theatre are sometimes offered and are well worth experiencing, as you will learn the history of the buildings and reason for their unique designs.

Now, there are also architecture tours of downtown Dallas. Tours are sponsored by The Dallas Center for Architecture in partnership with the Dallas Arts District. Tours are offered for 90 minutes on the first and third Saturdays of every month for $10 per person, rain or shine. Reservations must be made in advance. Tours include information and sights from the 1890s to present day Dallas. You can expect to learn about the Adolphus Hotel, the Magnolia building, the Statler Hilton, and the Wilson Building. You'll also get the whole history of the area and a general understanding of the building design.

If you prefer a little people watching with your architecture tour, there is one annual event that Dallas natives particularly enjoy. The Swiss Avenue Home Tour is held every year the weekend of Mother's Day. It's a cultural experience, and it is a uniquely Dallas thing to do for couples on a budget. Tickets usually run about $20 per person. This Dallas tradition typically involves seeing several early 20th century homes and their updated interiors, in addition to the interior of one of the most historic churches in the area. It makes for a fun day of exploring the magic that is old Dallas.

The bi-annual Dallas Architecture Tour put on by Preservation Dallas is another fun way to experience some of what Dallas architecture has to offer. General tour tickets are $50 to see five houses. For an additional $50, you can pop into the party at the patron party house. The patron party house for the upcoming fall 2016 tour is the esteemed Hess House on Turtle Creek. This tour is almost as much about socializing as it is architecture, which adds to the uniqueness of the tour.

Whether a general public tour downtown, a Mother's Day stroll down Swiss Avenue, or a livelier atmosphere with a patron ticket, Dallas architecture tours are a unique way to get to know the city and its rich past.