Dallas is a city that rewards, welcomes, and entertains almost everyone who visits.
There are few better places in America for sport lovers. If you love the NFL, watching the Cowboys is a must. But if you want to see something truly spectacular, Dallas is one of the few destinations where you can go to experience an authentic Rodeo.
It’s also a place to have a great night out. Dine on gourmet tacos and enchiladas at Desperados, Avila’s, or Herrera’s before heading for cocktails at popular spots like Windmill Lounge or the Porch.
Add in more shopping malls than any other American city, an easy to navigate road network, and plenty of accommodation options, and you’ve got one of the hidden gems of American travel.
The Cowboys might not be everyone’s favorite team, but they usually put on a good show. Head to the AT&T Stadium to watch the five-time Superbowl winners in the NFC East.
Dallas is up there with New York and LA as a shopping destination, and in Dallas, shopping is all about hitting the malls. In fact, Dallas has the highest number of malls per capita in the country, including the luxury surroundings of Highland Park Village or the NorthPark Center, which also hosts the city’s major art gallery.
Summertime in Dallas is Rodeo time. Between April and September, visitors can head to Mesquite Championship Rodeo or Plan Midnight Rodeo to watch the best cowboys in the business catch steers and ride bucking broncos.
Texan food is legendary and Dallas is the place to go for Tex-Mex dishes. Whether it’s the tacos at Gonzales, the nachos and salsa at Urban Rio, or the enchiladas at Herrera’s, the city is bursting with superb Mexican-influenced restaurants.
Dallas’ main historical attraction is probably Deeley Plaza, the site of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, but there’s more to the town’s history than that single shot. There are also pre-Civil War churches and homes at the Dallas Heritage Village and the beautiful 19th-century cathedral to explore.
Football is massive in Dallas, and the Cowboys are worth catching if there’s a game on during your stay. However, they aren’t the only games in town. If you visit during the State Fair, don’t miss the State Fair Classic between Grambling State University Tigers and the Prairie View A&M University Panthers.
The State Fair isn’t only about football. Held in September and October, it’s a venue for amusement parks, Oktoberfest celebrations, auto shows, pig races, BMX contests, and plenty of high-calorie but delicious food like deep-fried Twinkies or chicken fried bacon.
Rodeo is one of the great sporting spectacles of American life, and you can catch a rodeo between April and September. Join the fun at Mesquite Rodeo or Stockyards Rodeo for a lesson in how to lasso steers or ride broncos.
Dallas has some superb golf courses within the city limits and the weather is usually perfect for a round. Try Tenison Highlands or Cedar Crest for a testing round in beautiful surroundings.
Sandy lake has been entertaining the people of Dallas for decades and it’s a great place for families to go. Ride miniature trains, cool off in the pool, play some mini-golf, or relax in a paddle boat on Sandy Lake.
If you want to see the rodeo, you’ll need to visit between April and September, but time your vacation towards the start of the season for the most enjoyable weather. Summer in Dallas can be uncomfortably hot and humid, so late spring and fall are good times to go. The Cowboys NFL team plays from September to January, so a vacation during the regular season makes sense for football fans.
The majority of visitors to Dallas will arrive at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Upon arrival, you can get into town via the Orange DART train line (from Terminal A). There are also free shuttle buses to CentrePort/DFW Airport Station on the Trinity Railway Express. However, a more convenient option might be to join one of the shared ride services at the terminal, which will take you to most hotels in the city for between $20 and $30.
Dallas is served by two Amtrak trains. The Texas Eagle links the city to Chicago via San Antonio, while the Heartland Flyer travels to Oklahoma City. The Amtrak terminal is Union Station, located at 400 S Houston St.
Coming from the north, the best driving route is I-35, which also approaches Dallas from destinations to the south such as Austin. If you are driving from Houston, take I-45, or I-20 from cities in Lousiana. It’s best to avoid entering or leaving Dallas in rush hour period, and beware of using toll roads - you won’t see any toll booths, as all tolls are collected electronically.
Dallas is served by a wide variety of bus operators. The major company is Greyhound, which runs buses from all over the U.S. into 205 S. Lamar. Shofur is a luxury operator that serves Texan cities, Vonlane, also offers comfortable services to and from Texan destinations while Megabus runs buses from Memphis and Little Rock. It might also be a good idea to check out Shuttle Wizard, who provide handy shuttle routes within the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Dallas is a big place with a wide variety of accommodation options, from budget motels and hostels to big luxury hotels in the city center. If you need to be Downtown, Dallas Irving Backpackers is an affordable hostel, while up-market options include the Magnolia (which you’ll find by looking for a red Pegasus figure on the roof) and the Hotel Crescent Court, which has a spa facility. The Warwick Melrose is a good option in Oak Lawn, while NYLO is a good choice in South Dallas.
Downtown – Dallas’ Downtown district used to be unwelcoming and sterile, but it’s been redeveloped in recent years and is now a thriving pedestrian area with great bars, restaurants, and cultural attractions like the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas World Aquarium. There are luxury retail stores like Neiman Marcus and great restaurants like Jimmy's Food Store, the best Italian deli in town.
Oak Lawn – Just north of Downtown, Oak Lawn is a nightlife hub. It’s the place to go for high-quality, affordable eats at places like the 1950s-inspired Hunky's Hamburgers, and it’s also the clubbing center of the city. Head to Cedar Springs bars like JR's Bar and Grille or Mickey’s for music, cocktails, and a warm welcome.
South Dallas – Home to the Texas Fairgrounds (venue for the Texas State Fair in September), South Dallas is down to earth and full of places to eat, drink, and sleep. Wingfield's make great burgers, while Paleteria Las Azteca is a great place to go for cheap but satisfying Mexican food. Exposition Park is also a major clubbing and socializing center, right next to Fair Park.
Public transit in Dallas is provided by DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit), which runs plenty of buses and light rail connections to all parts of the city. The best way to pay for tickets is by purchasing two-hour passes for $2.50 or day passes for $5. Be aware that trains can become a lot less frequent outside rush hour, and also plan your bus journeys carefully, as they tend to require multiple transfers.
Dallas doesn’t allow passengers to hail cabs on the street, so you have to travel to city center taxi ranks or book cabs by phone or online. The initial fare is $2.25, then $1.80 per mile after that, and there’s also a $2 fee for each extra passenger. Uber costs $1 for the base fare, and then $0.85 per mile, so it generally works out much cheaper.
Dallas is designed for drivers, with plenty of gas stations and a simple road network. The major problem is traffic. Avoid driving into or out of the city during morning and evening rush hours. Otherwise, drivers should find it an easy city to navigate.
Dallas is one of America’s great shopping cities, and everything is based around the massive number of malls. Head to NorthPark Mall in Uptown for designer labels like Maurices, Buckle, and Hot Topic or visit Grapevine Mills where stores include Niketown, J.C. Penney, and Forever 21.
Supermarkets in the Dallas area include Walmart, Kroger, Fiesta Mart, and Albertson’s, so finding places to shop isn’t hard. Another great place to purchase groceries is Dallas Farmers’ Market. Located close to Downtown on S. Harwood Street, the Farmers’ Market sells hot food, vegetables, flowers, coffee, and even runs cookery classes. Food is fairly cheap in the city, with 12 eggs costing just under $3.
Dallas is a fantastic city for gourmet food fans and people who want good food on a tight budget. The best burgers are to be found at Maple & Motor and Rodeo Goat. There are great Tex Mex restaurants everywhere, but a couple of the best are Tacos la Banqueta and Doña Lencha. Try Lucia for fine Italian food, Nobu for sushi, and Off the Bone Barbecue for authentic American meat feasts. Meals should cost around $20 at mid-range places (maybe less) and not much more than $40 at high-end restaurants.