Dallas, the ninth largest city in the United States and the third largest in the state of Texas, is an impressive melting pot of culture and character. As the undisputed center of oil and cotton industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Dallas steadily grew to become a classic American boomtown of the new age, and is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Dallas largely fell victim to its own success extending deep into the automobile era, becoming a prime example of urban sprawl, with a downtown strangled by a spaghetti of highways, yet started to reinvent its urban self at the beginning of the 21st century.
Boasting high-end luxury hotels, innumerable fine dining spots, and one of the busiest airports in the world, Dallas maintains an upscale ethos also reflected by an affluent population, world-class museums, and a shimmering modern skyline. Its history has been marred by the infamous assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, but there is more historic and contemporary heritage to be discovered in the city.
Downtown Dallas is undergoing a slow-pace urban renewal, as well as expansion. Traditionally bound within a belt of above-ground expressways and consisting of anonymous highrise towers between parking craters, it is now rediscovering walkability, street-level retail and public transit such as the M-Line tram, operated using historic vehicles. It has also expanded northwards and merged with a part known as Uptown immediately north of it thanks to a new park developed between them, while artsy locals flock east to a low-rise neighbourhood behind the freeway known as Deep Ellum.
It is in Downtown that you will find most of Dallas' surviving historic architecture and monuments, as well as major cultural institutions, museums and art galleries. It also has multiple concentrations of restaurants and bars and a number of upscale hotels for the monied traveller to choose from.
North Dallas includes several upscale neighborhoods, north of the Park Cities and mostly south of LBJ and extends far north to Addison. It encompasses Lake Highlands, a largely residential area bordering Garland on the north and Mesquite on the east, as well as Park Cities - Highland Park and University Park - one of the wealthiest areas of the city, mostly residential, but also offer world-class shopping opportunities. University Park is home to Southern Methodist University (SMU), the Meadows Museum at SMU, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
South Dallas includes areas south of the I30 Interstate Highway and the southwestern bank of the Trinity River.
It is home to the Texas State Fairgrounds, Fair Park is open all year and is home to multiple museums. The Cotton Bowl is at Fair Park, and the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma face off on the gridiron here every year in the fall during the Texas State Fair. The Exposition Park neighborhood across from Fair Park and the DART Fair Park stop, is a little hamlet of hipster bars, clubs, and restaurants.
In its west, across the Trinity River, you will find Oak Cliff - a large low-income, mainly residential district southwest of downtown. North Oak Cliff or "Kessler Park" is another "streetcar suburb" and is home to upscale homes, from vintage 1930's bungalows, to mid-century modern, to new contemporary. The Bishop Arts District, centered on Bishop and Davis streets, is one of the City's hottest areas for new restaurants, cafes, and boutiques, drawing an eclectic crowd in which the creative class and the gay community are well-represented. North Oak Cliff is a slice of Austin in Dallas.
West Dallas refers to actually a tiny part of the Western part of Dallas right south of the Trinity River, largely a blighted area of poverty, but it does feature the one-of-a-kind Belmont Hotel, which has arguably the best views of downtown. West Dallas is easily connected to the Oak Cliff area, and is poised for re-development as part of the Trinity River Project, and the under-construction Hunt-Hill Bridge across the Trinity River, designed by famed Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava.
Some area attractions often thought of as Dallas attractions are actually located in the suburbs, notably the following:
- Addison, almost surrounded by North Dallas, has a lot of restaurants and shopping packed into its 4 square miles.
- Arlington, home to the new Cowboys Stadium, Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, and the ballpark of the Texas Rangers.
- Irving, former home of the Dallas Cowboys' Stadium, it serves as the gateway to the massive DFW airport.
- The suburbs of Carrollton and Lewisville, north along I-35E have less to offer in terms of attractions, but provide ample tourist accommodations, plenty of restaurants, and are reasonably close to any Dallas destination. The same might be said for Richardson and Plano, which lie north from Dallas along US-75.
- Grapevine has a nice historic main street area and numerous wineries.
Many non-natives often have a hard time sizing up Dallas, and indeed, the entire Metroplex. Dallas does not fit many of the typical Texan stereotypes (Western, laid-back, casual), but it also doesn't often live up to some of the more notorious stereotypes of its own (pretentious, unfriendly, sterile). The truth is, like in many things, somewhere in between.
Dallas is a wonderful place with a great deal to offer and an immense and diverse set of attractions, food and people. From the ultra-modern and posh Uptown and Victory developments, to the old-world elegance and upper-crust attitude of Turtle Creek, to the "real life" feel of largely-suburban North Dallas, it is virtually impossible to neatly categorize Dallas beyond this: it is one of the largest cities in America, and a metro area where more and more people are choosing to work and live every year. With that in mind, you should enjoy visiting Dallas for all the same reasons why others choose to live there.
|Daily highs (°F)||54||60||68||76||83||92||96||96||88||79||66||58|
|Nightly lows (°F)||34||38||45||55||63||71||75||74||67||56||45||37|
Being in the American South, Dallas has a subtropical climate with mild winters, hot summers, and a very wet spring and fall in between. In winter and summer it can also be a very dry place, as it receives warmer, drier weather from the Mojave Desert in the west and the Great Plains in the north.
Winters are generally mild, with average highs in the 50s and 60s (10-20 °C) and average lows around the freezing mark. It does snow in Dallas a couple times a year, and there is the rare day where temperatures will not get out of the 30s (0-5 °C), but for the most part winter is just relatively dry and cool. There is, however, the danger of freezing rain and ice storms.
Spring and fall bring very pleasant temperatures, but spring is also known for its storms. With Dallas lying within Tornado Alley, springtime weather can be quite volatile and severe storms often occur. Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures often surpassing 100 °F (38 °C).
Average rainfall in Dallas is 37.1 inches (942.3 mm) per year, and average snowfall is about 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) per year.
- See also: air travel in the US
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
The sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (IATA: DFW), halfway between Dallas and Ft. Worth (and so equally inconveniently located to both), is American Airlines' largest hub as well as serving all other major domestic carriers.
Since August 2014, Dallas has a direct light rail connection from DFW Airport to downtown. To get from DFW airport to downtown Dallas, take the SkyTrain inside to Terminal A and follow the signs for the DART light rail. Then take the Orange Line to downtown, where you can transfer to any other line. Alternatively, you can take a DART bus from Terminal A in the opposite direction to CentrePort/DFW Station on the TRE and take a commuter train to downtown Dallas. Be aware, however, that the TRE runs only once an hour during most of the day.
There are various shared-ride shuttle services available. They offer door to door pickup and drop off and cost ~$30 for ~20 miles, which will get you to most places. Like all major airports in the United States, you can easily hail a cab outside of any terminal by following the signs for the taxi stand.
If driving a rental car, try to exit through the South Exit from DFW: a major highway interchange replacement is currently under construction just outside the North Exit, where road closures are currently common and unpredictable. Consider flights that arrive outside of the morning or evening rush hours.
The Love Field (IATA: DAL) is the original airport of Dallas, and the home base of America's largest low-fare operator, Southwest. Love Field was originally expected to cease serving scheduled passengers when DFW opened in the 1970s, but due to Southwest's rapid growth continued to operate and actually enjoys a continued renaissance since then, with many modernizations to its extant terminal. A number of restrictions have been placed on flights from Love Field in the past for it not to compete with DFW, but this is now a thing of the past and another airline, Virgin Atlantic (now merging with Alaska Airlines), has also built a sizeable network out of the airport. There are also some flights by Delta.
Love Field is within the city limits not far northwest of downtown. Due to the city's strategy of promoting DFW only, a direct fixed transit link has never been built to DAL, but you can take the bus Love Link 524 from Love Field to the Inwood/Love Field Station of the DART light rail on the Green Line and Orange Line. There are also various shared-ride shuttle services available. They offer door to door pickup and drop off and cost ~$30 for ~20 miles, which will get you to most places.
There are two Amtrak routes which serve Dallas/Fort Worth:
- The Texas Eagle between San Antonio and Chicago
- The Heartland Flyer between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City.
From Fort Worth, you can reach Dallas via either the Texas Eagle or the TRE Trinity Rail Express commuter rail line that runs from downtown Fort Worth to Dallas with stops at DFW International and Irving.
Amtrak is a relatively slow way to travel. Arriving from Houston involves a train change of five or more hours in San Antonio. However, Amtrak offers views and legroom that you can't get while flying and a unique laid back experience that you can't get while driving. If you want to meet people, taking the train is one of the best ways to do it. That being said, if you're short on time, flying might be a better option.
To get to Dallas from Oklahoma, take I-35 or US 75 south. To get here from Houston, it's ~250 miles north on I-45 (which turns into US 75). To get here from Austin, take I-35 North. To get here from Louisiana, take I-20 west. Dallas is the junction-point for most cities within a 200-300 mile radius, with good road service to and from. Any map of the United States should have enough information to get you into Dallas with no problems.
However, once you are here, watch out for traffic. Traffic tends to go towards the city centers in the morning, and away from the city centers in the evening. Major choke points are 75 South in the morning (what takes 20 minutes with no traffic, ends up taking 1–2 hours with traffic). I-635 near US-75 is also usually a mess since I-635 (being the beltway that runs all around Dallas) is an often-traveled road. Also watch out for I-35E southbound in the mornings. Roadway construction is also a common occurrence in Dallas and should be budgeted for. The farthest eastern end of the George Bush Turnpike (SH-190), many portions of SH-121, and the central portion of IH-635 are, as of July 2011, either beginning or are currently under major construction.
- US-75 is also called "Central" or "Central Expressway", and turns into I-45 just south of Downtown
- I-635 is sometimes called LBJ, which stands for Lyndon B Johnson.
- There are two branches of I-35. I-35 splits into I-35W at Denton (30 miles north of Dallas) through Fort Worth to Hillsboro (50 miles south of Dallas), and I-35E that runs from Denton through Dallas to Hillsboro. After I-35W and I-35E reach Hillsboro, they simply rejoin as I-35.
- Greyhound. Bus stop is near the center of downtown at 205 S. Lamar.
- Buses also run to and from Shreveport on the weekends, which is sponsored by the casinos. This is more for the locals to go and get their gambling fixes, but ask around if you're interested.
- Megabus. Service from Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Memphis, and Little Rock. Bus stop is located at the DART East Transfer Center, 330 N Olive St. Fares from $1 and up.
- El Expreso. Mexican trans-border bus line, also serves destinations throughout southeastern United States. Bus stop is located at 1050 N. Westmoreland #124 in Dallas.
- Autobus Americanos. Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico. Bus stop is located at 627 N Westmoreland St in Dallas.
- Turimex Internacional. Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico. Bus stop is located at 501 E. Jefferson Blvd in Dallas.
- Omnibus Mexicanos. Mexican trans-border bus line with services to various points in Mexico. Bus stop is located at 201 E. Jefferson Blvd in Dallas.
The simplest and most reliable way to get around Dallas is by car. Public transportation, known as Dallas Area Rapid Transit or DART, has an extensive light rail network and system of buses. The light rail hits many tourist destinations in the downtown area, but generally works best for commuters. Buses will get you almost anywhere but will usually require multiple transfers and are a slow way to travel. You can get an excellent trip plan by visiting the DART website or by calling their information phone number (214-979-1111). Tickets consist of either one-way tickets ($1.75 and up) or day passes ($5 at light rail stations) and are generally collected on the honor system; we recommend the day pass because it will probably take you a lot of buses to get where you need to go. Most buses and the entire light rail have service from around 5AM to midnight. There are no after-hours buses. Bus drivers will check tickets upon boarding; light rail trains have infrequent random checks that occur most often during rush hour.
The bus system, not unlike in many large cities, can be quite confusing and trying to get to points downtown may involve a long walk due to one-way streets. The Texas culture and the urban sprawl of the DFW metroplex encourage the use of cars and locals will generally be unable to help you use public transportation. The light rail system consists of four lines, is simple to navigate, and connects to several suburban areas. Car rentals are the most convenient for transportation for visitors, with local companies offering better prices but national chains offering more convenient return policies and locations.
Since August 2014, Dallas has a direct light rail connection from DFW Airport to downtown. To get from DFW airport to downtown Dallas, take the SkyTrain inside to Terminal A and follow the signs for the DART light rail. Then take the Orange Line to downtown, where you can transfer to any other line. Alternatively, you can take a DART bus from Terminal A in the opposite direction to CentrePort/DFW Station on the TRE and take a commuter train to downtown Dallas. Be aware, however, that the TRE runs only once an hour during most of the day. Like all major airports in the United States, you can easily hail a cab outside of any terminal by following the signs for the taxi stand.
Outside of Dallas
- Dallas Cowboys. Dallas' famous football team, plays at AT&T Stadium, a short ways west of Dallas in Arlington
- Texas Rangers. They are from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, specifically in the city of Arlington. Dallas' professional baseball team is the 2010 American League Champions.
- FC Dallas. Major League Soccer team that plays at Toyota Stadium in the northern suburb of Frisco.
- Dallas Wings. WNBA (women's basketball) team that moved to the Metroplex in 2016. The Wings had been the Tulsa Shock from 2010 to 2015, and the Detroit Shock before that. They play home games at College Park Center on the UT Arlington campus.
- White Rock Lake. Escape the city bustle for a stroll at this large park in East Dallas. This is really a beautiful getaway, but locals would tell you to avoid driving around here at night—ghosts haunt these waters.
- Golf - There are a lot of wonderful courses in the Dallas area. The city boasts five municipal courses with reasonable greens fees. Of these, Tenison Highlands in East Dallas and Cedar Crest in South Dallas offer the best test of golf, and can be the most crowded, especially on weekends. There are any number of terrific daily-fee public courses in the D/FW area as well, particularly in the cities of Irving, Grapevine, Lewisville, and The Colony
Shopping is big in Dallas. In days of yore, folks would come from all over the country to shop in Dallas' exclusive shops.
- Popular shopping malls include the Galleria in North Dallas, NorthPark Mall, and the West Village in Uptown, among others. A bit further afield is Grapevine Mills in nearby Grapevine. Amazing malls can also be found in Plano and other suburbs.
- Half-Price Books. Used bookstore chain headquartered in Dallas, offering secondhand books, music and video, with offerings varying by location. The flagship store is in East Dallas, with one other Dallas store and nine more in the Metroplex area.
- Neiman Marcus was founded in Dallas, supplying dresses and diamonds to debutantes and family scions. The downtown flagship store remains a popular destination for visitors and locals alike, and the NorthPark Mall location is the chain's most successful location.
Areas with high concentrations of restaurants include the following:
- Beltline Road through Addison and North Dallas, just north of I-635, has perhaps the most restaurants per-capita in the U.S. If there is a type of food you like then you can probably find it there.
- Greenville Avenue running north to south in East Dallas, has many restaurants along its length, particularly in Lower Greenville.
- Knox and Henderson streets (the "Knox/Henderson" neighborhood), off US-75 Uptown have many laid-back, stylish restaurants.
- McKinney Avenue, is the heart of Uptown, with a wide variety of quality establishments.
- The West End in the northwest part of Downtown has a good mix of original local restaurants and successful chain establishments.
Dallas has a good number of its own chain restaurants which have become quite successful in the area, offering unique local flavors.
- Spring Creek Barbeque. Spring Creek Barbeque has 15 Texas style restaurants across the North Texas area. The menu is very simple. Beef, ham sausage, turkey, chicken, and ribs are available for entrees (you can have combinations also). Side items available are corn, beans, potato salad, cole slaw, and baked potatoes. In addition, fresh homemade bread rolls are served with each dish and more are delivered to your table during each meal. Even with large servings, the most expensive menu is only about $10 so all of the dishes are available at a reasonable price.
- Cristina's. Several DFW locations. Lunch specials are very reasonably priced. Service across all of the family owned and operated locations is blindingly fast no matter the location. The chips and salsa are arguably some of the freshest and best in the Metroplex. A unique signature menu item is the "Queso Flameado" where the server melts cheese by fire tableside and then wraps the gooey cheesey goodness in several freshly made tortillas.
Main Street in Downtown has seen major improvements over the last few months, with plenty of places to eat and to play. Highly Recommended. Don't forget to stop by the City Tavern for a longneck or two.
The area bound by Haskell on the north, Woodall Rogers Freeway on the south, Turtle Creek on the west and Central Expressway on the east is where Dallas' beautiful people go to see and be seen. Trendy to the nth degree, this neighborhood contains very upscale fashionable clubs. Some of the hottest clubs, Medici, the Candleroom, and Sense are private. If you want to check out one of these places be sure to go with someone that is a member or have a concierge call ahead for you. Wish and Republic are also cool nightspots, with no membership required. No shorts, jeans, team jerseys, tennis shoes, or flip-flops.
- West End - This is an attractive enough historic neighborhood with buildings in a turn-of-the-century redbrick vernacular—the notorious Book Depository is one of them—in the northwest quadrant of downtown. The area is mostly popular with suburbanites and tourists out for dinner and a quick stroll around the neighborhood but has a number of bars as well.
- Deep Ellum is a district of bars, dance clubs, music venues and tattoo shops. located just east of downtown on Main, Elm and Commerce streets. It is a hipster haven for young people and a weekend destination for music lovers of all ages. Lately, it has been stigmatized by a purported "crime wave," be sure to go in groups if you go on a weeknight.
- Uptown and McKinney Ave - This is where Dallas' beautiful people go to see and be seen. Trendy to the nth degree, this neighborhood contains very upscale fashionable clubs.
- Lower Greenville has many older drinking establishments.
- Downtown is home to a burgeoning nightlife district and upscale restaurants
- Addison has some famous drinking spots tucked in amongst its many restaurants, notably The Flying Saucer.
If you are so inclined, Dallas has an overabundance of "Gentlemen's Clubs." Most of these places are nice and safe, and usually located off the Highway 35 and Northwest Highway area. Bring cash along or go to an ATM beforehand—if using a credit card, you have to sign the tabs in triplicate with a photocopy of your ID. One can have a good time for $100–$200 at all the clubs, but if you want to spend more, the ladies will certainly help you do so. Here is a list of some of the clubs starting with the nicest ones.
- The Lodge - Has a safari motif inside and actually has good food too.
- The Men's Club - A nice club with pretty girls. The best night is Thursday.
- Silver City - Good club.
- Baby Doll's - An enormous club that sells more alcohol than any other bar in Texas. Has pretty decent priced drinks for a gentlemen's club.
- Million Dollar Saloon - A lot of history behind this place. Really the first of its kind in Dallas or all of Texas.
- The Clubhouse - Owned and operated by surviving members of Pantera; Frequented by all walks of life in Dallas; BYOB; Full frontal
If you're looking to fill a mini-fridge or cooler with your own beverages a bit of planning might be required. Alcohol is only sold in certain parts of the city and in certain suburbs so getting to a liquor store can involve some travel. Also, Texas' liquor laws specify that any store that sells liquor cannot open on Sunday nor stay open after 9PM any other day. Stores that sell beer and wine cannot sell either from 12AM to 12PM on Sunday. A smartphone app that locates liquor stores is very useful as many of those stores in the Dallas area tend to be well inside neighborhoods as opposed to along highways, and hotel desk staff can tell you if you're in a 'wet' or 'dry' area of Dallas. Liquor stores can become quite crowded after 8PM (especially on Saturday) and remember to be extra-alert after dark. In 'wet' areas beer and wine is easily and safely available at grocery stores.
The Dallas Observer is the local alternative weekly. You can pick up a free copy at many places around town. It is full of useful information on Dallas nightlife and its music-scene offerings.
- Individual listings can be found in Dallas's district articles
Some travelers may find it more convenient to stay in Irving closer the DFW airport, in Arlington near the amusement parks, or in one of the northern suburbs such as Lewisville, Carrollton, Plano, or Richardson.
Go out with a group at night and valet your car so that you don't have to walk far at the end of the night. If you are downtown after dark, there is a fairly large number of homeless people in the area. Uptown and North Dallas are generally safe after dark, but South Side is generally a little bit rougher around the edges than the north sides. Also, avoid driving on the highways on the weekends after 2AM as it can be unnerving with all the bars and clubs kicking everyone out at that time, so most of the drivers have been drinking and are in a hurry to get home. Cafe Brazil, with multiple locations, is a 24-hour restaurant that has decent food, much better than Denny's or IHOP, and is a good place to wait out the rush or if you're just hungry late at night.
If you are Downtown during the night hours, it is strongly suggested that avoid the Government District, particularly near City Hall. This place is not dangerous in itself, but there are a lot of homeless people running about. Stick to the West End.
In the South Dallas area (South Oak Cliff and Pleasant Grove), try to avoid anywhere south of the Trinity River, with the exception of far North Oak Cliff and the Bishop Arts District. South Dallas is mostly low-income, high-crime residential area that should not be ventured into, especially at night. There is also nothing to see here except the Texas Theater, where Lee Harvey Oswald was captured, which is safe to see during the day.
In the unlikely event that you fall victim to identity theft while visiting Dallas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates a major field office in Dallas.
It is best to avoid dawdling about in South Dallas at night—know where you are going and stay there. It is safer generally during the State Fair of Texas, but avoid wandering too far away. Fair Park is also safe and tourist-friendly during the daytime; however, it is closed during night hours.
- Dallas Central Library, 1515 Young St, ☎ .
- Kadampa Meditation Center Texas , Tel: 817-303-2700, . Offers relaxation meditations and meditation classes to increase inner peace at 4 locations in Dallas.
- Belgium (Honorary), 1308 Dandury Dr, Mansfield, ☎ .
- Mexico, 8855 Stemmons Fwy, ☎ , fax: .
- Royal Danish Consulate, 2100 McKinney Ave, Ste 700, Tel: +1 214-661-8399. Fax. +1 214-661-8036.
- Royal Norwegian Consulate, 4605 Live Oak St, Tel: +1 214-826-5231.
- Head to Arlington for a day of fun at Six Flags Over Texas or Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, the best waterpark in the area. Don't forget the sunblock.
- Denton, half an hour north on I-35E, has a charming historic town square, and an off-the-cuff nightlife scene driven by the city's disproportionately large number of musicians.
- Joe Pool Lake lies to the southwest of the city, 4 miles past Grand Prairie. There are two popular parks to camp at along the shoreline, including Cedar Hill State Park and Loyd Park. The most popular day use park on Joe Pool Lake is Lynn Creek Park.
- Lake Texoma is a popular spot an hour's drive north on US-75, on the border with Oklahoma.
- Rodeo. Go to Mesquite see a rodeo show at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo.
- Sandy Lake Amusement Park, 1800 Sandy Lake Rd, ☎ . A Carrollton institution for over 40 years, Sandy Lake Amusement Park offers rides, games, family fun, picnic areas and sightseeing.
- Southfork Ranch, 3700 Hogge Rd, ☎ . Parker. The ranch made famous by the TV series "Dallas". An easy day trip from Dallas. Tours run 364 days a year (except 25 Dec).
- Waco, an hour south on I-35, has a number of attractions including the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.
|Routes through Dallas|
|St. Louis ← Longview ←||NE SW||→ Fort Worth → San Antonio|
|Fort Worth ← Arlington ←||W E||→ Tyler → Shreveport|
|Fort Worth ← Grand Prairie ←||W E||→ Mesquite → Texarkana|
|Oklahoma City ← Carrollton ←||N S||→ Waxahachie → Waco|
|END ←||N S||→ Corsicana → Houston|
|Texarkana ← Mesquite ←||N S||→ Jct → Glen Rose → San Angelo|
|Tulsa ← Richardson ←||N E||→ END|
|END ←||W E||→ Mesquite → Shreveport|