When I mention that I’m from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I find that people often associate my great city with one of three things: big hair, the 80s television show “Dallas”, or cowboys and horses. While I must admit this does make me giggle, that is not at all what Dallas-Fort Worth is really like. Dallas is a booming metropolis city that is a cultural and economic hub for North Texas. When you come to Dallas, expect world-class museums, mouth-watering food, and great entertainment all served up with some down-home southern hospitality. Get ready because our Dallas destination guide is going to help you discover the top attractions, best places to eat, where to stay, and how to get around in Dallas.
Top Attractions in Dallas
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The Sixth Floor Museum, located on the sixth floor of the Dallas Administration Building (formerly the Texas School Book Depository), is definitely one of the top attractions in Dallas. The destination overlooks Dealey Plaza and the grassy knoll — the very spot where Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy. The museum covers the life and death of Kennedy. Visitors can view films, photographs, documents and other artifacts covering the famous president.
Dallas Arts District
You’ve probably heard the saying, “everything is bigger in Texas.” Well, that is especially true for the Dallas Arts District. Covering more than 68 acres and 19 contiguous blocks, the Dallas Arts District is the largest in the nation.
Spend the day touring one of the world-class museums like the Dallas Museum of Art, The Crow Collection of Asian Art or the Nasher Sculpture Center. In the evening, enjoy one of the many performances offered by many arts centers such as the Winspear Opera House or the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
Dallas World Aquarium
Children and adults will enjoy a visit to the Dallas World Aquarium. Upon entering the aquarium, you are immediately engulfed by the sights and sounds of a tropical rainforest. The rainforest houses exotic birds, crocodiles and even monkeys! After winding through the rainforest, visitors can stop off in the aquarium’s bar/cafe area where a live sloth hangs freely overhead. Other attractions include manatees, penguins, exotic fish, and of course a walk-through glass tunnel of sharks.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a welcomed escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. This 66-acre botanical garden, located on the edge of White Rock Lake, boasts a gorgeous view of the Dallas skyline. Every visit to the Arboretum is unique since the flowers change with the season. Inside, visitors can view seasonal displays including the annual Pumpkin Patch, where the gardens are transformed using thousands of pumpkins.
AT&T Stadium-Home of the Dallas Cowboys
Just outside of Dallas, in the suburb of Arlington, Texas, you will find the home to the World Famous NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys. Even if you aren’t a fan of the Cowboys, you should still come and tour this incredible stadium. The stadium is the world’s largest domed structure and serves as a sporting arena, a museum, and a classroom. They offer self-guided or guided tours where visitors get the chance to see the locker rooms of the players and the cheerleaders before stepping foot on the iconic Dallas Cowboys football field.
Fort Worth Stockyards
Now here is where you will see the cowboys and horses. The historic Fort Worth Stockyards are just a short drive west of downtown Dallas but are truly a must see while visiting. Roaming around the stockyards’ brick walkways and wooden corrals before taking in the daily cattle drive will have visitors thinking they have been transported back to the old west. Get your picture taken with a Longhorn before dancing the night away at the World’s Largest Honky-Tonk, Billy Bob’s Texas.
Best Places to Eat in Dallas
Located in Uptown Dallas, Breadwinners Cafe is a trendy spot to grab a cup of coffee and a pastry, or indulge in homemade chicken and waffles. Just note these aren’t your ordinary chicken and waffles, oh no! The waffles are jalapeno bacon cheddar and they are accompanied with crispy chicken tenders, white gravy, and hot sauce!
Allgood Café in Deep Ellum
You have to try the breakfast tacos at Allgood Cafe. They are “all good”, just like the name says. My personal favorite is Kenny’s, but I love some good chorizo. If breakfast tacos aren’t your thing, then choose the Borracho Biscuit. Where else can you get a biscuit topped with gravy, sausage, eggs, and queso?
Mama’s Daughters’ Diner
Definitely a local favorite, and deserving to be on the best places to eat in Dallas, Mama’s Daughters’ Diner serves up good southern comfort food all day! With daily specials like meatloaf and chicken and dumplings and the option to get breakfast all day, there is something for everyone. Don’t leave without getting dessert. I recommend the diner made fried pies or some delicious peach cobbler.
Tillman’s Roadhouse is located in the trendy Bishop Arts District of Dallas. Tillman’s offers a variety of unique southern dishes including pecan crusted okra, beer can chicken and shrimp and grits. The highlight of a trip to Tillman’s is the tableside s’mores!
Ellen’s Southern Kitchen
Located in the historic West End district of Dallas, Ellen’s is definitely southern comfort food. (Their motto is “grits rule”.) In addition to offering brunch all day, Ellen’s serves up some incredible sandwiches, fried catfish, and chicken fried steak.
You can’t come to Texas and not eat our barbecue, and the Pecan Lodge is the place to go! Named the best barbecue in Dallas for two years now, the Pecan Lodge won’t disappoint. Their pit smoked barbecue and a yummy side will have you wishing for more!
Gourmet pies are the specialty at this little gem in the Bishop Arts District. Their Cloud Nine pie (butterscotch custard with brown sugar) will have you feeling like you’re on cloud nine! If cream pies aren’t your thing, try the Drunken Nut — a bourbon pecan pie.
Creme de la Cookie
At Creme de la Cookie you will find owner Toni Rivard and her team whipping up macaroons, cupcakes and cookies like no other. My personal favorite is the whoopie pies!
Getting Around Dallas
DART and D-Link
Dallas is linked by a system of light rail trains and city busses. Now, don’t expect the efficiency or expanse of the New York subway system, but the light rail system in dallas has come a long way, and it is expanding every year. You can pick up a map at any visitors center, most hotels, or visit their website. You can pay by the ride, or purchase a multi-day pass, whichever best suits your needs.
For an inexpensive and fun way to see Dallas, hop on the M-line trolley that runs between downtown Dallas and Uptown’s McKinney Avenue several miles north. The trolley stops at several major tourist attractions including the Dallas World Aquarium and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Rent a Car
Honestly, the easiest way to get around Dallas is to rent a car. Sure, you can find plenty to do in and around downtown Dallas, but to get a true feel for the area, you have to get out to the surrounding cities as well. Things in Texas are really spread out — because everything is bigger in Texas.
Now you know how to get around Dallas, check out some of these activities!
Places to Stay in Dallas
Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, the Joule is a gorgeous revitalized 1920 neo-Gothic building. Enjoy the hotel’s cozy rooms with luxury lines, visit the art gallery, and have some great cocktails before heading out for the evening.
The W puts you right in the center of the action in downtown Dallas, but really you might not ever want to leave the hotel. I could personally just spend my entire vacation at their Bliss Spa.
Don’t Miss Out On…
Texas State Fair
We’ve all hear the saying that everything is bigger in Texas, well that is especially true for our state fair. Boasting live performances, Big Tex, an incredible midway, and all the fried food you can possibly imagine, the Texas State Fair is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss out on. The fair takes place from the end of September to mid-October every year, so plan your visit accordingly!
Bishop Arts District
The Bishop Arts District is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Dallas. Boasting over 60 independent boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and bars, Bishop Arts is a great place to spend the day.
Another trendy neighborhood in Dallas, Deep Ellum is an arts and entertainment district. Enjoy a night out in Deep Ellum and catch some live music or find a favorite club to dance the night away. Be sure not the miss the street art in this area as well.
Things to Know About Dallas
Y’all is proper English, it means “you all”
Dallas was home to the notorious Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow A.K.A. “Bonnie and Clyde”
The first frozen margarita machine was invented in Dallas
Dallas is the 3rd largest city in Texas, and the 9th largest in the United States
The entire Statue of Liberty could fit inside AT&T (Cowboys) Stadium
The Dallas Public Library permanently displays a copy of the Declaration of Independence
‘Big Tex’, the official mascot for the Texas State Fair, stands 55 feet tall
DFW airport is larger than the island of Manhattan
As you can see, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is a prime tourist destination. With great food, and countless things to do, Dallas will have you saying ‘howdy, y’all’ in no time.
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Michelle is one half of the dynamic duo that makes up “That Texas Couple”– a travel blog for those who aim to affordably travel the world. While Michelle tackles the writing, her husband Marty captures the essence of the places they write about with his striking photography. But the pair aren’t just world travelers, they also work full time jobs as public servants. That Texas Couple brings practical tips and suggestions that will make your trip affordable while immersing you in the history, culture, food and (Michelle’s favorite) the wine of the area.