North America > United States of America > Texas > Prairies and Lakes > Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex
The Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex is a large area in the Prairies and Lakes region of Texas. With an estimated 2015 population of 7.1 million, it is the most populous metropolitan area in Texas and the South and the fourth most populous in the United States. Anchored on the east by the city of Dallas and on the west by Fort Worth, the Metroplex offers an entertaining array of Texana featuring everything from modern skyscrapers to old-fashioned cattle yards and everything in between. It is the home to many corporations, almost a dozen professional sports teams, a wide variety of nightlife, and a burgeoning arts community. The Metroplex is also the location of two award-winning zoos, a world-class aquarium, and several historically significant locations and museums.
- 1 Dallas — The tenth largest city in the United States.
- 2 Addison — The self-proclaimed "Restaurant Capital of Texas", on the north edge of Dallas.
- 3 Carrollton — Contains plenty of restaurants, a large Korean population, and several fantastic Asian shops and restaurants.
- 4 Coppell
- 5 Duncanville
- 6 Forney — The "Antique Capital of Texas"
- 7 Frisco — home to the National Videogame Museum, the FC Dallas professional soccer club, and a growing number of other attractions.
- 8 Garland
- 9 Lewisville
- 10 Mesquite — Mesquite Rodeo
- 11 Plano — north of Dallas along US-75, it is rapidly becoming a national business center. Very affluent and very suburban.
- 12 Richardson — Home to Dallas-Fort Worth's largest Chinatown and an impressive number of multinational corporations, including those along the "Telecom Corridor".
- 13 Rockwall
- 14 The Colony
Fort Worth area
- 15 Fort Worth - "Where the West Begins", Billy Bob's Texas (the world's largest honky-tonk), Texas NASCAR Motorspeedway, Cowtown BMX, Fort Worth Herd (twice-daily cattle drive), Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth Stockyards!
- 16 Mansfield
- 17 Arlington — Home of Six Flags over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, the Texas Rangers, and the Dallas Cowboys.
- 18 Bedford — along with neighboring cities Hurst and Euless, known for its large selection of chain restaurants and suburban entertainment and shopping options.
- 19 Grand Prairie — located in the center of the Metroplex with something for everyone: horse racing, shopping, outdoor recreation, museums and a variety of restaurants.
- 20 Grapevine — Has a nice historic main street area, numerous wineries, Lake Grapevine, and a large outlet mall. At the north entrance to DFW International Airport.
- 21 Irving — includes the large, upscale Los Colinas development and urban center. Gateway to the massive DFW airport.
- 22 Southlake
Dallas/Fort Worth occupies a vast area of North Central Texas. Unlike the densely populated metro areas in the northern U.S., the Metroplex encompasses 9,286 square miles (24,100 km²), making it larger in land area than the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.
Unlike Minneapolis/St. Paul and other twin cities, Dallas/Fort Worth has an odd rivalry, bordering on childish contempt towards residents of Dallas from the people of Fort Worth and its surrounding suburbs. Don't be surprised if you see bumper stickers that read, "If I die in Dallas, bury my body in Fort Worth". The cities are surprisingly different, in that Dallas has a relatively more progressive and metropolitan feel, and Fort Worth has more of a staunch conservative and religious attitude. Depending on who you meet and where you stay, the difference in politics can be as notable as the differences between California and Mississippi. Locals are fond of saying, "The software companies and science museums are in Dallas and the mega-churches and honky-tonks are in Fort Worth."
There is a very large population of Indian-Americans (from India, not American Indians) in the area, especially in Irving. You can find really great Indian cuisine, markets, theaters and clothing stores. There's even a Diwali festival every year. See the website for times and location.
The Dallas area is also home to a large number of immigrants from East Asia, most residing in the northern suburbs of Richardson, Plano, and Garland. When in this area, you will likely always be within 5-10 minutes of an Asian supermarket or grocery store.
Understand that money and power are flaunted in the DFW area more so than in other parts of the United States. The wealthy elite may not dress any different from common residents, but they will establish their rank in DFW society by owning extremely expensive vehicles and unbelievably huge houses. When driving around suburbs like Frisco or McKinney, you'll see several residents driving high end Italian sports cars, huge Cadillac SUV's or other expensive imports. So if you're in the mood and you have the means, don't be shy and go ahead and rent an expensive sports car and drive around like you're the cock-of-the-walk! Flaunt it like tomorrow isn't coming!
The ever-increasing Hispanic population has made Spanish the second language of DFW. The rapid influx of highly educated Indians and their Desi brethren have given DFW somewhat of third and fourth languages, Hindi and Punjabi. Although there are several dialects in India, most expats are from the south and will most likely speak perfect English, but you may run into an occasional Punjabi who may not speak English yet. Of course, the ubiquitous Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean and miscellaneous are spoken in DFW as well.
A word of caution. Not every Hispanic speaks Spanish and not every Desi can speak (insert one of hundreds of languages spoken in India). It's not considered rude to walk up to a Hispanic looking person and try to converse in Spanish. You might get some odd looks, however, as most Hispanics are third, fourth and fifth generation American and grew up speaking English only. This is becoming true with the local Desis since most of them are second and third generation. But if you meet a person of Indian descent and they have the accent and do the characteristic head bobble while swinging their hand, you may be able to strike up a conversation in their native tongue provided you can speak (insert one of hundreds of languages spoken in India).
The Metroplex is served by several airports. The largest one is the vast and perpetually busy 1 Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW IATA) (colloquially known as "DFW Airport" or simply "DFW"), which offers flights to and from essentially anywhere in the world. Keep in mind that with the high traffic, delays are common, so plan well ahead and allow extra time for contingencies.
Those wishing to avoid the headache of DFW Airport might fly into the smaller 2 Dallas Love Field (DAL IATA) which is located minutes north of Downtown Dallas. The schedule is not as varied as that of DFW, but it is far more simply laid out and navigable, and since its renovation feels more spacious and comfortable than most of DFW.
Love Field had been expected to cease serving scheduled passengers when DFW opened in the 1970s, but never did thanks to Southwest's continuous rapid growth since then. In addition to Southwest, Alaska Airlines, Delta, and Virgin America have a limited number of hub flights here.
For those traveling by bus, Greyhound operates large terminals in both Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as smaller satellite terminals in the surrounding suburbs. Be aware, however, that the Downtown Dallas station has long been known by locals as a trouble spot and tends to attract transients and vagrants. Panhandling is a common occurrence and while the perpetrators are rarely violent, a high level of vigilance is strongly recommended for anyone who may pass through the terminal. Megabus offers non-stop service to either Grand Prairie or Downtown Dallas from a number of cities in Texas and beyond.
The Metroplex is quite easily accessed by automobile. Interstate Highway 30 bisects the area west to east, and there are two branches of Interstate 35 that run north-south; I-35W through Fort Worth and I-35E through Dallas. In addition, Dallas is served by Interstate 45, which connects the area to Houston. The Metroplex is also served by several large US Highways and another score of Texas State highways.
Dallas and Fort Worth are served by Amtrak, with the Texas Eagle and Heartland Flier stopping in the area. The Texas Eagle runs from San Antonio to Chicago daily with stops in both Fort Worth and Dallas. The Heartland Flier runs from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth daily.
- See Rail travel in the United States for more information.
DART or Dallas Area Rapid Transit, operates a light rail system in the Dallas side of the Metroplex, connecting Downtown to the suburbs. DART also operates a commuter rail service to Denton, and the Trinity Railway Express to Fort Worth. Both DART and the FWTA [dead link] (Fort Worth Transportation Authority) also operate bus networks in their respective cities.
Most areas are not bicycle friendly and are extremely dangerous to anyone on two wheels! There are a few recreational bike trails in affluent areas, but that's pretty much it. Unless you know your way around and are a seasoned cyclist, seeing the DFW area on a bike is not recommended.
The Metroplex is notorious for its traffic congestion, so a traveler unfamiliar with the area should leave a significant time for error in learning the area. The worst times to be on the freeways in the D/FW area are the rush hour times, generally between 6-9AM and 4-7PM. Traffic on the weekends is usually fairly pain-free, but it does not take much to cause a significant backup. Pay close attention to local television and radio for backup information.
For those new to the Metroplex, the elaborate highway system can be a bit confusing. Fortunately, the DFW area has long had a tradition of naming numbered highways, e.g. U.S. Highway 75 as Central Expressway. The following is a fairly comprehensive list of the numbered freeways in the Metroplex and their corresponding names.
- Interstate 20: Though officially named the "Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway", or "LBJ", I-20 in Dallas is usually referred to as just "I-20", or simply "20".
- Interstate 30: IH30 is known as the Tom Landry Freeway from the Tarrant County line until its interchange with IH35E in Downtown Dallas (known colloquially as the "Dallas Mixmaster"), where it becomes known as the East R.L. Thornton Freeway. Travelers must take note that south of the Mixmaster, IH35E is known as the South R.L. Thornton Freeway, a fact that may cause a bit of confusion.
- Interstate 35E: North of the interchange with IH30 downtown, IH35E is known as the Stemmons Freeway.
- Interstate 45: IH45 is known as the Julius Schepps Freeway.
- Interstate 635: IH635, which forms a 3/4 loop around the city of Dallas, is known as the Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, which is often shortened to the "LBJ Freeway" or simply "LBJ".
- U.S. Highway 67: US 67 is known as the Marvin D. Love Freeway.
- U.S. Highway 75: US 75 is known as Central Expressway.
- U.S. Highway 80: US 80 is known simply as "Highway 80".
- U.S. Highway 175: US 175 is known as the C.F. Hawn Freeway.
- Texas State Highway Loop 12: Loop 12 is alternately known as Walton Walker Boulevard, Northwest Highway, Ledbetter Drive, Military Parkway and Kiest Boulevard. The stretch known as Walton Walker Boulevard is the only segment that is a limited access freeway.
- Texas State Highway 114: SH114 is known as the John Carpenter Freeway.
- Texas State Highway 183: SH183 is known as the Airport Freeway.
- Texas State Highway 310: While not a true limited access freeway, SH310 is known as the S.M. Wright Freeway.
- Texas State Highway Spur 366: Spur 366 is known as the Woodall Rogers Freeway.
The Dallas area is also served by two tollways: the Dallas North Tollway (colloquially known simply as "the Tollway") and the President George Bush Turnpike (generally referred to as "George Bush" or "the Turnpike"). These two tollways can sometimes provide a welcome respite from Dallas' famously bad traffic, though at other times they are just as bad as the rest.
Most residents of north Fort Worth still drive huge trucks and SUV's, and they drive them extremely fast and recklessly. So driving around in an economy sized vehicle, especially something like a Smart Car, is somewhat dangerous. If you rent a vehicle and plan to drive in north Fort Worth, it's best to rent something big. If you're on a limited budget and can only rent a small vehicle, look out for Texas road rage. Small cars in north Fort Worth are considered by some residents to be an affront to the American Way - some will call you a "socialist" if you drive anything smaller than a full-size pick-up.
- Interstate 20: In Arlington, IH20 is known as the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, and in Fort Worth IH20 is usually referred to as just "IH20", or simply "20".
- Interstate 30: In Fort Worth, IH30 is known simply as the East Freeway or the West Freeway, with the line of demarcation being downtown. In Arlington and points east, it is known as the Tom Landry Freeway.
- Interstate 35W: IH35W is simply known as the North Freeway or the South Freeway with the line of demarcation being downtown.
- Interstate 820: IH820 is known as Loop 820 or the Loop, more specifically by the area of town it runs through. Thusly, a driver traveling north along the section of freeway on the eastern side of Fort Worth would be described as "traveling northbound on East Loop 820". Beware of the infamous 820 Bottleneck - the stretch of I-820 between Highway 121 and US 287. Population growth and inadequate planning has made this part of the interstate a horrendous bottleneck. Traffic is backed up for miles at all times of day and days of the week.
- U.S. Highway 287: On the southeastern side of Fort Worth, US 287 is known as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway.
- Texas State Highway 114: In Grapevine and Southlake, SH114 is known as Northwest Parkway.
- Texas State Highway 121 and Texas State Highway 183: A long stretch of SH183 co-signed with SH121 is known as the Airport Freeway.
- Texas State Highway 360: In Arlington SH360 is alternately known as Watson Road and the Angus Wynne Freeway, but is generally just referred to as "360".
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 1:40PM local time; it lasts 4 min in downtown Dallas and 2 min in Fort Worth. Chances of a clear sky are 40%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico to enter the US at Del Rio then through Texas into Arkansas.
- The Sixth Floor Exhibit and Museum. Located in the Texas Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F Kennedy on November 23, 1963. Take the complete tour of the assassination site of the President 50 years ago. Located Downtown Dallas in the West End District at 400 Elm St @ Houston St. 9AM to 5PM 364 days a year except Christmas Day.
The many man-made lakes around Dallas and Fort Worth provide most of the region's drinking water, flood protection, and recreational opportunities of its over 6 million residents. Fishing, swimming, and boating are especially popular during the scorching hot summer months, with the many state and city parks on the shores particularly crowded on the weekends from July to September. Some of the larger lakes like Lake Lewisville and Joe Pool Lake become so crowded with boaters that fishing becomes difficult. So, it is better to fish on quieter lakes like Lake Ray Roberts or Lake Worth. However, due to its proximity to current or former military bases, fish from Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake should not be eaten. While most of the lakes are perfectly safe to swim, be careful of boaters on busy days. Also, due to the muddy river bottoms, most lakes have little visibility and are not ideal for scuba-diving.
The Dallas/Fort Worth area is home to many sports teams.
Major league teams include the Dallas Cowboys (NFL/American football), Texas Rangers (MLB/baseball), and Dallas Wings (WNBA/women's basketball) in Arlington, the Dallas Stars (NHL/ice hockey) and Dallas Mavericks (NBA/basketball) in Dallas, and FC Dallas (MLS/soccer) in Frisco.
Minor league teams include the Frisco RoughRiders in Frisco.
College sports teams with large followings include the SMU Mustangs (Southern Methodist University) in North Dallas, TCU Horned Frogs (Texas Christian University) in Fort Worth, UT Arlington Mavericks (University of Texas at Arlington) in Arlington, and North Texas Mean Green (University of North Texas) in Denton.
If you're a hockey player yourself, be sure to participate in a drop-in game at one of several ice rinks in town. Remember to bring your gear! There's ice time all year round.
- Dr Pepper Star Center - branches in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Valley Ranch, Euless (CAUTION: location is near IH-820 Bottleneck), Farmers Branch.
- Richardson Ice Training Center
- Polar Ice House Grapevine
- Ice at the Parks Arlington
- Galleria Ice Skating Center (Small pleasure rink, no hockey)
- Nytex Sports Centre (in North Richland Hills)
A Diwali Festival is held every year in the fall.
The Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the United States.
As with any large metropolitan area, The DFW Metroplex has its share of "street crime." Safer areas include the more affluent areas including parts of west Fort Worth, most of Arlington, the northern suburbs, and the Park Cities of North Dallas. Areas that warrant some extra caution include South Dallas, parts of downtown Dallas, the areas close to Fair Park, as well as the East and Southeast parts of Fort Worth. Dallas, Fort Worth, and some other cities have interactive crime maps on their web sites.
- The Dallas Morning News. The main daily for Dallas and covers the eastern parts of the Metroplex.
- The Star-Telegram. The main daily for Fort Worth and covers the western parts of the Metroplex.
- The Dallas Observer. Free alternative newspaper with lots of muck-racking journalism, party photos, event listings, and ads for local strip clubs.
- Dallas Business Journal. Business news source for North Texas
- FunAsiA 104.9 FM. America's first Desi radio station
Local News Stations:
A huge portion of news broadcasts are reserved for local sports (Cowboys, Rangers and Mark Cuban's very own basketball team). The latter part of broadcasts are lengthy weather reports. Even though the local weather is usually hot and humid and there is really no need to provide any update, the local meteorologists spend a lot of time describing the intricacies of Doppler, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and other weather related terms over and over, again and again.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area lies roughly near the border between the forested eastern United States and the open prairie of the American plains, with areas east of Dallas being much more heavily forested than those west of Fort Worth.
The area immediately west, northwest, and south of the metroplex is referred to as the Cross Timbers. Listed below are some of the main attractions:
- Denton home to a large music scene. North on I-35 (E and W merge here).
- Weatherford is known for its rodeos and western culture.
- Glen Rose home to Dinosaur Valley State Park.
- Granbury a nice scenic retirement community.
While the area south, east, and north east of the metroplex is referred to as the Blackland Prairie. A list of the main attractions:
- Waco home to Baylor University and some good museums.
- McKinney has a vibrant historic downtown.
- Sherman north on US-75.
- Hillsboro known for its popular outlet mall, South on I-35 (E and W merge here)
- Corsicana south on I-45.