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A Traveling Insider’s Guide To Dallas

From where to find the most delicious local fare to when to visit, our expert travel guide will help you plan your next Dallas getaway. | By Paul Oswell | June 10, 2022

Dallas is the archetypal Texan city: affluent, sprawling and with an impressively modern skyline. It’s also home to exciting art, huge green spaces and, of course, lots of chances to sample the state’s famous barbecue. Combine this with an intriguing political history and you have one of the country’s most fascinating cities. Here’s how to make the most of your Dallas getaway:

  • Go big: Marvel at downtown’s huge skyscrapers or attend a packed-out sports stadium — everything is bigger in the Lone Star State

  • Learn the city’s history: Explore historical landmarks like the century-old warehouses of the West End historic district and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

  • Admire art: Find inspiration at Institutions such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center

Man in gray t-shirt eating ribs at a restaurant. 
Sink your teeth into juicy and tender Texas-style barbecue.

Why visit Dallas?

Even though it’s not the capital (that honor goes to its trendy neighbor, Austin), Dallas is probably the first city that people think of when they think of Texas. It’s an urban city that is constantly regenerating, and the city regularly invests in beautiful art spaces. First-time visitors might expect it to be a city that’s set in its ways, but Dallas is dynamic — the city’s West End neighborhood is alive with nightlife and Deep Ellum has numerous hip restaurants.

It’s true that the city is shaped by concrete and steel, but it also has large green spaces and one of the country’s biggest municipal park systems, with almost 400 parks spanning more than 23,000 acres. Some of these urban oases are particularly beautiful and accessible, from Klyde Warren Park with its quirky playground and food trucks, to the outdoor activities and kayaking happening in White Rock Lake Park.

The culinary scene in Dallas does feature Texan barbecue, of course, but its delights stretch well beyond that. There’s a healthy array of Tex-Mex, the local twist on Mexican cuisine, as well as a varied international food movement. From Michelin-quality dining rooms to taco stands that in-the-know foodies hunt down, Dallas has you covered.

All about life on display? The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is an architectural wonder and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is a fascinating look at one of history’s most dramatic moments. Art museums abound, from the antiquities of the Crow Museum of Asian Art to the avant garde exhibits of the Dallas Contemporary.

Bring an appetite for history, culture and exciting menus, and you won’t leave disappointed.

Young smiling couple after having a ride at a state fair.
Take a ride on the Ferris wheel or enjoy the bumper cars at the state fair.

When is the best time for your trip to Dallas?

Spring and fall are by far the best seasons to visit Texas. Its general climate is humid and subtropical, and though tourist traffic spikes during the muggy summer months, the most pleasant days are between September and November.

That said, the football season does drive hotel room prices up at this time, as does the State Fair of Texas, which runs for almost a month from the end of September. During summer, temperatures reach up into the 90s Fahrenheit (around 35 degrees Celsius) and there are elevated levels of humidity, so factor that in if you’re traveling from June to August.

Dallas does experiences all four seasons, though, with cold winds and dropping temperatures over the winter. Hotel prices during these times are lower, but don’t expect many warm days. March through to May is as delightful as the fall, and the blooming plant life in the city’s parks adds to the levels of attraction.

Dallas public transportation streetcar at night.
Jump on public transport to easily get around this sprawling city.

Getting to and around Dallas

The city is served by two main airports, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Dallas Love Field (DAL). DFW is around 20 miles northwest of downtown, and DAL is around 7n miles north. Both airports are served by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), and for a city that loves its automobiles, Dallas has a robust and well-loved public transport system.

DART operates frequent, city-wide buses and an impressively extensive light-rail system that connects downtown with the city’s many suburbs and outlying neighborhoods. You can buy tickets on buses, from vending machines at rail stops or via the GoPass app. Local and regional day passes are available. If you rent or bring a bike, it’s best to keep your exploration to the parks, as the city isn’t particularly bike-friendly, especially if you’re not familiar with the layout. Parks such as White Rock Lake have extensive bike routes for visitors to enjoy.

Whether you’re exploring the city by bus, car or foot (not recommended unless you REALLY want to get your steps in), Dallas is a modern metropolis that promises excellent eats, avant-garde art and stunning skylines just waiting to be discovered.

Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer and has reported from all seven continents for dozens of internationally known publications. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small” and the editor of an online travel magazine.

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