Dallas

Dallas, the ninth largest city in the United States and the third largest in the state of Texas, is an impressive melting pot of culture and character. As the undisputed center of oil and cotton industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Dallas steadily grew to become a classic American boomtown of the new age, and is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.

Boasting high-end luxury hotels, innumerable fine dining spots, and one of the busiest airports in the world, Dallas maintains an upscale ethos also reflected by an affluent population, world-class museums, and a shimmering modern skyline. Although its history has unfortunately been marred by the infamous assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Dallas has reinvented itself in the eyes of the world; many big businesses find their home in Dallas, and the city is an international hub for commerce and trade.

Dallas is known for its abundance of malls and shopping has been woven tightly into the city's cultural fabric.

Districts

Center

Northeast

Northwest

South and West

Suburbs

Some area attractions often thought of as Dallas attractions are actually located in the suburbs, notably the following:

Understand

Many non-natives often have a hard time sizing up Dallas, and indeed, the entire Metroplex. Dallas does not fit many of the typical Texan stereotypes (Western, laid-back, casual), but it also doesn't often live up to some of the more notorious stereotypes of its own (pretentious, unfriendly, sterile). The truth is, like in many things, somewhere in between.

Dallas is a wonderful place with a great deal to offer and an immense and diverse set of attractions, food and people. From the ultra-modern and posh Uptown and Victory developments, to the old-world elegance and upper-crust attitude of Turtle Creek, to the "real life" feel of largely-suburban North Dallas, it is virtually impossible to neatly categorize Dallas beyond this: it is one of the largest cities in America, and a metro area where more and more people are choosing to work and live every year. With that in mind, you should enjoy visiting Dallas for all the same reasons why others choose to live there.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°F) 54 60 68 76 83 92 96 96 88 79 66 58
Nightly lows (°F) 34 38 45 55 63 71 75 74 67 56 45 37
Precipitation (in) 1.9 2.2 2.6 3.8 5 2.9 2.2 2 3 3.5 2.2 1.9

Being in the American South, Dallas has a subtropical climate with mild winters, hot summers, and a very wet spring and fall in between. In winter and summer it can also be a very dry place, as it receives warmer, drier weather from the Mojave Desert in the west and the Great Plains in the north.

Winters are generally mild, with average highs in the 50s and 60s (10-20 °C) and average lows around the freezing mark. It does snow in Dallas a couple times a year, and there is the rare day where temperatures will not get out of the 30s (0-5 °C), but for the most part winter is just relatively dry and cool. There is, however, the danger of freezing rain and ice storms.

Spring and fall bring very pleasant temperatures, but spring is also known for its storms. With Dallas lying within Tornado Alley, springtime weather can be quite volatile and severe storms often occur. Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures often surpassing 100 °F (38 °C).

Average rainfall in Dallas is 37.1 inches (942.3 mm) per year, and average snowfall is about 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) per year.

Get in

By plane

See also: air travel in the US

The Dallas/Fort Worth area is served by two major airports. In addition, Addison Airport (IATA: ADS, FAA LID: ADS), a public airport located in the town of Addison, has various charter flights.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

The sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (IATA: DFW), halfway between Dallas and Ft. Worth (and so equally inconveniently located to both), is American Airlines' largest hub as well as serving all other major domestic carriers.

Since August 2014, Dallas has a direct light rail connection from DFW Airport to downtown. To get from DFW airport to downtown Dallas, take the SkyTrain inside to Terminal A and follow the signs for the DART light rail. Then take the Orange Line to downtown, where you can transfer to any other line. Alternatively, you can take a DART bus from Terminal A in the opposite direction to CentrePort/DFW Station on the TRE and take a commuter train to downtown Dallas. Be aware, however, that the TRE runs only once an hour during most of the day. Like all major airports in the United States, you can easily hail a cab outside of any terminal by following the signs for the taxi stand.

There are various shared-ride shuttle services available. They offer door to door pickup and drop off and cost ~$30 for ~20 miles, which will get you to most places.

If driving a rental car, try to exit through the South Exit from DFW: a major highway interchange replacement is currently under construction just outside the North Exit, where road closures are currently common and unpredictable. Consider flights that arrive outside of the morning or evening rush hours.

Love Field

Love Field (IATA: DAL). Love Field is within the city limits not far northwest of downtown, and its longstanding flight restrictions ended in October 2014. Its is a focus city for Southwest Airlines.

You can take Love Link 524 from Love Field to the Inwood/Love Field Station of the DART light rail on the Green Line and Orange Line.

There are various shared-ride shuttle services available. They offer door to door pickup and drop off and cost ~$30 for ~20 miles, which will get you to most places.

By train

There are two Amtrak routes which serve Dallas/Fort Worth:

From Fort Worth, you can reach Dallas via either the Texas Eagle or the TRE Trinity Rail Express commuter rail line that runs from downtown Fort Worth to Dallas with stops at DFW International and Irving.

Amtrak is a relatively slow way to travel. Arriving from Houston involves a train change of five or more hours in San Antonio. However, Amtrak offers views and legroom that you can't get while flying and a unique laid back experience that you can't get while driving. If you want to meet people, taking the train is one of the best ways to do it. That being said, if you're short on time, flying might be a better option.

By car

To get to Dallas from Oklahoma, take I-35 or US 75 south. To get here from Houston, it's ~250 miles north on I-45 (which turns into US 75). To get here from Austin, take I-35 North. To get here from Louisiana, take I-20 west. Dallas is the junction-point for most cities within a 200-300 mile radius, with good road service to and from. Any map of the United States should have enough information to get you into Dallas with no problems.

However, once you are here, watch out for traffic. Traffic tends to go towards the city centers in the morning, and away from the city centers in the evening. Major choke points are 75 South in the morning (what takes 20 minutes with no traffic, ends up taking 1–2 hours with traffic). I-635 near US-75 is also usually a mess since I-635 (being the beltway that runs all around Dallas) is an often-traveled road. Also watch out for I-35E southbound in the mornings. Roadway construction is also a common occurrence in Dallas and should be budgeted for. The farthest eastern end of the George Bush Turnpike (SH-190), many portions of SH-121, and the central portion of IH-635 are, as of July 2011, either beginning or are currently under major construction.

By bus

Get around

Reunion Tower and the Trinity Railway Express

The simplest and most reliable way to get around Dallas is by car. Public transportation, known as Dallas Area Rapid Transit or DART, has an extensive light rail network and system of buses. The light rail hits many tourist destinations in the downtown area, but generally works best for commuters. Buses will get you almost anywhere but will usually require multiple transfers and are a slow way to travel. You can get an excellent trip plan by visiting the DART website or by calling their information phone number (214-979-1111). Tickets consist of either one-way tickets ($1.75 and up) or day passes ($5 at light rail stations) and are generally collected on the honor system; we recommend the day pass because it will probably take you a lot of buses to get where you need to go. Most buses and the entire light rail have service from around 5AM to midnight. There are no after-hours buses. Bus drivers will check tickets upon boarding; light rail trains have infrequent random checks that occur most often during rush hour.

The bus system, not unlike in many large cities, can be quite confusing and trying to get to points downtown may involve a long walk due to one-way streets. The Texas culture and the urban sprawl of the DFW metroplex encourage the use of cars and locals will generally be unable to help you use public transportation. The light rail system consists of four lines, is simple to navigate, and connects to several suburban areas. Car rentals are the most convenient for transportation for visitors, with local companies offering better prices but national chains offering more convenient return policies and locations.

Since August 2014, Dallas has a direct light rail connection from DFW Airport to downtown. To get from DFW airport to downtown Dallas, take the SkyTrain inside to Terminal A and follow the signs for the DART light rail. Then take the Orange Line to downtown, where you can transfer to any other line. Alternatively, you can take a DART bus from Terminal A in the opposite direction to CentrePort/DFW Station on the TRE and take a commuter train to downtown Dallas. Be aware, however, that the TRE runs only once an hour during most of the day. Like all major airports in the United States, you can easily hail a cab outside of any terminal by following the signs for the taxi stand.

See

Museums

Parks and Animals

Venues

Outside of Dallas

Do

Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas

Learn

Buy

Shopping is big in Dallas. In days of yore, folks would come from all over the country to shop in Dallas' exclusive shops.

Eat

Areas with high concentrations of restaurants include the following:

Dallas has a good number of its own chain restaurants which have become quite successful in the area, offering unique local flavors.

Main Street in Downtown has seen major improvements over the last few months, with plenty of places to eat and to play. Highly Recommended. Don't forget to stop by the City Tavern for a longneck or two.

Drink

Neighborhoods

Gentlemen's Clubs

If you are so inclined, Dallas has an overabundance of "Gentlemen's Clubs." Most of these places are nice and safe, and usually located off the Highway 35 and Northwest Highway area. Bring cash along or go to an ATM beforehand—if using a credit card, you have to sign the tabs in triplicate with a photocopy of your ID. One can have a good time for $100–$200 at all the clubs, but if you want to spend more, the ladies will certainly help you do so. Here is a list of some of the clubs starting with the nicest ones.

Beer/Wine/Liquor Stores

If you're looking to fill a mini-fridge or cooler with your own beverages a bit of planning might be required. Alcohol is only sold in certain parts of the city and in certain suburbs so getting to a liquor store can involve some travel. Also, Texas' liquor laws specify that any store that sells liquor cannot open on Sunday nor stay open after 9PM any other day. Stores that sell beer and wine cannot sell either from 12AM to 12PM on Sunday. A smartphone app that locates liquor stores is very useful as many of those stores in the Dallas area tend to be well inside neighborhoods as opposed to along highways, and hotel desk staff can tell you if you're in a 'wet' or 'dry' area of Dallas. Liquor stores can become quite crowded after 8PM (especially on Saturday) and remember to be extra-alert after dark. In 'wet' areas beer and wine is easily and safely available at grocery stores.

Additional Resources

The Dallas Observer is the local alternative weekly. You can pick up a free copy at many places around town. It is full of useful information on Dallas nightlife and its music-scene offerings.

Sleep

Individual listings can be found in Dallas's district articles

The heaviest concentrations of hotels can be found in North Dallas along I-635 and North Central Expressway and in Northwest Dallas along I-35E, while Downtown offers more high-end accommodations.

Some travelers may find it more convenient to stay in Irving closer the DFW airport, in Arlington near the amusement parks, or in one of the northern suburbs such as Lewisville, Carrollton, Plano, or Richardson.

Stay safe

Go out with a group at night and valet your car so that you don't have to walk far at the end of the night. If you are downtown after dark, there is a fairly large number of homeless people in the area. Uptown and North Dallas are generally safe after dark, but South Side is generally a little bit rougher around the edges than the north sides. Also, avoid driving on the highways on the weekends after 2AM as it can be unnerving with all the bars and clubs kicking everyone out at that time, so most of the drivers have been drinking and are in a hurry to get home. Cafe Brazil, with multiple locations, is a 24-hour restaurant that has decent food, much better than Denny's or IHOP, and is a good place to wait out the rush or if you're just hungry late at night.

If you are Downtown during the night hours, it is strongly suggested that avoid the Government District, particularly near City Hall. This place is not dangerous in itself, but there are a lot of homeless people running about. Stick to the West End.

In the South Dallas area (South Oak Cliff and Pleasant Grove), try to avoid anywhere south of the Trinity River, with the exception of far North Oak Cliff and the Bishop Arts District. South Dallas is mostly low-income, high-crime residential area that should not be ventured into, especially at night. There is also nothing to see here except the Texas Theater, where Lee Harvey Oswald was captured, which is safe to see during the day.

In the unlikely event that you fall victim to identity theft while visiting Dallas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates a major field office in Dallas.

It is best to avoid dawdling about in South Dallas at night—know where you are going and stay there. It is safer generally during the State Fair of Texas, but avoid wandering too far away. Fair Park is also safe and tourist-friendly during the daytime; however, it is closed during night hours.

Connect

Cope

Consulates

Go next

Routes through Dallas

St. Louis Longview  NE  SW  Fort Worth San Antonio
Fort Worth Arlington  W  E  Tyler Shreveport
Fort Worth Grand Prairie  W  E  Mesquite Texarkana
Oklahoma City Carrollton  N  S  Waxahachie Waco
END  N  S  Corsicana Houston
Texarkana Mesquite  N  S  Jct Glen Rose San Angelo
Tulsa Richardson  N  E  END
END  W  E  Mesquite Shreveport


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 11, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.