Destination Guide: Dallas

Destination Guide: Dallas

A Dallas trip is an opportunity to explore a thriving cosmopolitan city with excellent shopping, museums, arts, and nightlife — all within easy reach of ranches, horseback riding, and historical landmarks. Here, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Dallas travel, including how to get there, what to eat, and some special off-the-beaten-track attractions.

The Basics

With a population of over 1.2 billion, Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The city is in the Central Time Zone (one hour behind New York’s Eastern Daylight Time) and is 300 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.

Dallas is a popular tourist destination, with 22.5 million visitors making a Dallas trip every year.

When to go

Summer is the high season in Dallas and sees the highest hotel rates. Summer weather can make Dallas travel uncomfortable, as temperatures regularly soar over 90℉ with high humidity. September through November and March through May are better times to visit Dallas, with fewer crowds and more comfortable weather. December through February is the off-season, with colder temperatures but a chance to score better hotel deals.

Airport Options

The Dallas/Fort Worth International and Dallas Love Field are the most-used airports in Dallas, Texas. Of the two, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is by far the larger, being the second-busiest airport in the world for passenger travel. DFW is approximately 50 minutes from Dallas by car, or you can take the DART Light Rail from the airport to downtown Dallas. Shared-ride SuperShuttles, taxis, and hotel shuttle buses are also available.

How far is Dallas Love Field from the DFL? The smaller airport is a 30-minute drive from DFL and only 15 minutes from Dallas. Like DFW, Dallas Love Field offers DART Light Rail and SuperShuttle runs.

Where to Stay in Dallas/Fort Worth

If you want quick access to downtown attractions, restaurants, and nightlight, accommodations in the downtown Dallas core are convenient but the most expensive option. Travelers who want a more informal Texas experience will enjoy staying in the more laid-back (and cheaper) Fort Worth, an hour's drive from downtown Dallas.

Why Do People Travel to Dallas, Texas?

Dallas is known for the Dallas Arboretum, the George W. Bush Presidential Library, and the annual State Fair of Texas. These attractions are well worth taking in, but you can find other, less-known things to do in Dallas. Next time you take a Dallas trip, check out some of these gems:

  • The Fort Worth Water Gardens is a hidden oasis of three water structures close to the Fort Worth Convention Center.
  • The Grapevine Lake Firework Show happens every Friday at 9:30 p.m. from May to August. 
  • Infamous bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde are buried at Crown Hill Memorial Park and Western Heights Cemetery, respectively.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing is one of only two money-printing facilities in the U.S.A. Located in Fort Worth, the Bureau offers free tours on weekends. 
  • The Marie Gabrielle Restaurant and Gardens is the perfect spot for an afternoon stroll, a romantic meal,  or a chess game with the garden’s giant chess board. 
  • Looking for things to do in Dallas in the downtown core? The Crow Collection of Asian Art is a free exhibit featuring ancient and modern art from Asian countries.
  • Nature lovers shouldn't miss the Trinity River Audubon Nature Center during their Dallas trip, where they can explore the fascinating ecology of the Trinity River through nature trails and interactive exhibits.

The Texas Horse Park at River Ranch offers one-hour guided trail rides and an ideal family-friendly Dallas travel destination.

How to get around Dallas

Dallas is a very car-friendly city, and a rental car is a great option if you’re planning day trips outside the city. If you're limiting your Dallas travel to Dallas and Fort Worth, you may prefer to use the city’s excellent transit system. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit system, or DART, is a bus and light rail system connecting downtown Dallas to Fort Worth and the surrounding suburbs. You can purchase either single-use or day pass tickets.

The McKinney Avenue Trolley is one of the most popular ways to see Dallas. Also known as the M-Line, the McKinney Avenue Trolley system’s vintage trolleys stop at many of the more popular things to do in Dallas, including the Dallas Museum of Art, The Crow Museum, and Klyde Warren Park. The M-Line is a non-profit organization; trolley rides are free, with the option of making a small donation.

Where and What to Eat

Lovers of Tex-Mex and BBQ will find plenty of fun places to eat in Dallas. The Dallas/Fort Worth area has innumerable food trucks, casual restaurants, and fine dining establishments. Here’s a sampling of some of the best food in Dallas:

  • Mi Dia from Scratch blends traditional Mexican, Santa Fe, and Tex-Mex flavors to create new and exciting food. Located in Grapevine, Plano and Flower Mound, Mi Dia from Scratch was voted Top Ten Tex-Mex by USA Today. 
  • Pecan Lodge is a downtown eatery located at 2702 Main Street, Dallas, and offers a menu packed with BBQ and delectable smoked meats. 
  • Rodeo Goatdefinitely ranks among the most fun places to eat in Dallas and boasts an impressive burger menu. You can find them at 1926 Market Center Blvd., Dallas. 
  • Street’s Fine Chicken at 3857 Cedar Springs Rd offers casual dining and a chance to sample some of Dallas's best chicken fried steak. 
  • The Mansion Restaurant offers contemporary American cuisine made with the freshest local ingredients for one of Dallas's best fine dining experiences. 

Dallas and Fort Worth offer more to see and do than even an expert traveler can pack into a single trip. No wonder some people make multiple Dallas trips, returning to the Big D year after year. Dallas offers a unique blend of sophistication and Texas charm you’ll find nowhere else and ranks high among our top travel destinations.

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