Top Tips for Visiting Dallas / Fort Worth
Featured destinations: The South USA, Fort Worth, Dallas
Published 03 November 2016
If you’re planning on visiting Dallas or Fort Worth, firstly get ready to love it! Secondly, don’t visit one without visiting the other. Dallas and Fort Worth are two separate cities, but with only a 40-minute drive between them – not to mention a shared airport and the mammoth AT&T Stadium – it’d be remiss to not explore both. In my experience, each one offers something unique that you won't want to miss.
Stay in Fort Worth
Before I booked my trip to Dallas / Fort Worth one of our Experts recommended I stay in Fort Worth. And rightly so. Where Dallas feels like a modern city, Fort Worth is a charming country town where you can get a glimpse of life in the South, complete with a historic cowboy district, cultural district and even the Texas Motor Speedway.
I stayed at the Omni Fort Worth which is included in our Texas holiday range, including the Texas Highlights itinerary. In true Texan style the hotel is big. The beds, even bigger! There’s also a heated outdoor pool with poolside bar and outdoor Jacuzzi. Plus the free, vintage 'Molly the Trolley' stops just outside the hotel, so getting around is easy.
See Dallas by Segway
Dallas is spread out and flat, with wide-open streets and not too much foot traffic outside of peak hours. All of these elements mean it’s a perfect city to see by Segway. Before you laugh, I know what you’re thinking. I too was a Segway sceptic. That is, until I stepped up onto one and zoomed off.
I only had two days in Dallas so spending one morning getting to know the city by Segway seemed like a sensible way to make the most of my time. I thought this however, having never ridden a Segway. Nervously stepping onto the electric contraption I second guessed my plan for the day. With helmet on and tour guide in front of me though, it was too late to back down. I leaned forward slightly and whizzed forward. I sat back, and I stopped. It was that easy. After a short supervised practise, I was ready to glide around the city’s tourist attractions and learn more about Dallas from our guide. By the time the tour finished, I was completely hooked.
Experience cowboy culture at the Stockyards in Fort Worth
For the Texas of cowboys, big trucks and bigger steaks, you’ll find it at the Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth. Once an area where livestock were sold and shipped via railroad, the Stockyards today still hold onto this cowboy heritage via a twice daily cattle drive, an indoor rodeo and plenty of cowboy-style shops, restaurants and bars.
The area is even home to the world’s largest Honky Tonk in Billy Bob’s Texas which, on any given Friday or Saturday night, hosts an array of live country and rock’n'roll bands as well as free line dancing and bull-riding competitions – and I'm not talking about the mechanical kind!
Don’t skip the museums in Dallas
Dallas might be better known for its big white hats and barbecue, but much to my surprise it’s also home to an impressive amount of museums and art galleries. If you only have time to visit one, I highly recommend The Sixth Floor Museum where you can learn more about the assassination of John F Kennedy, which took place in Dallas in 1963. The museum is even located in what was once the school book depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK.
I’ll admit, I was slightly sceptical as to how a museum dedicated to such a morbid event in history could be enjoyable to visit. Much to my surprise though, it was utterly compelling with the free audio guide contextualising the time of history in pop culture and offering insight into the tragic event, how it was reported and the conspiracy theories that followed. There’s a lot to see and it can get quite busy, so I recommend allocating a few hours to make the most of it.
If you have more time to spare, you can take your pick from any number of world-class museums based on your interests. Highlights include the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Frontiers of Flight Museum (American Airlines is based in Dallas) and the African American Museum.
Catch some live music in Deep Ellum
If you’re looking for the place to go to eat, drink and see live music, Deep Ellum is it. Dallas’s answer to Shoreditch, Deep Ellum is a trendy neighbourhood featuring street art, tattoo parlours, theatres, breweries and an array of amazing boutiques, restaurants and bars.
For food, Pecan Lodge is commonly regarded as serving the best barbecue in Dallas, while Twisted Root is a popular haunt for burgers. After you’ve explored and enjoyed a bite to eat, be sure to hit up the bars along Main Street where each venue will have different live music acts performing, covering a range of genres from blues to metal.
Don’t miss Sunday brunch in uptown Dallas
You won't be in Dallas long before you realise this city loves to eat. You’ll find everything from gourmet Southern food to authentic Mexican and every fast-food chain possible here. There’s certainly no shortage of dishes and restaurants to try, but if your visit coincides with a Sunday I highly recommend making it to brunch uptown.
Brunch in Dallas is a big deal and interestingly it involves dishes you wouldn’t normally associate with brunch, like fried chicken, grits, tacos and the confusingly-named chicken-fried steak which is actually deep-fried steak. There are plenty of places to try but I can personally attest to The Rustic which is a huge restaurant featuring an outdoor dining area complete with, in true Dallas style, live music all day.