The skyline of Dallas reflected in the water at night
city guide

A local's guide to Dallas, Texas


Contributing writer

Planning a trip to Dallas? Here are our top picks...

Stay: Hotel Crescent Court 

Discount pass: Dallas city pass

History tour: JFK assassination and museum

Visit: Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Food tour: Secret food tour of Dallas

Dallas is a vibrant and bustling city full of so many exciting things to do. However, it is an extremely large city with a population of over 1.2 million so it is important to know what to expect before visiting. Where are the safe neighborhoods to stay? What are the best things to do? Any not-to-miss restaurants? 

Below are some of my local recommendations to ensure you have the best getaway to this big city. Just a reminder that, as with any large city, it’s important to practice everyday safety precautions when you visit - stay with a group, don’t leave valuables in plain sight, and lock your doors.

With a bit of planning and research, you are guaranteed to have a great time in this lively city! Here's what you need to know before you visit.

A yellow and white DART train in Dallas, Texas, on a sunny day

Best time to visit Dallas

When most people think of Texas, they think of constant heat and sunshine. But, the temperatures in Dallas actually fluctuate quite a bit. 

Summers are notoriously hot with constant sun and temperatures right around 100, while winter temperatures often drop down into the high 30’s and 40’s. 

If hoping to experience pleasant weather during your time in Dallas, I recommend visiting between October-November or April-May.

Getting to and around Dallas

Dallas is home to two airports that are very easily accessible. 

DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth International), the most popular airport, is actually located just outside the city in Irving, Texas. You can usually find pretty affordable flights from most other US airports. It’s a quick 20 minute drive from the airport to the city! 

Dallas Love Field isn’t quite as busy or popular and is home to Southwest, Delta, and Alaska Airlines. Although you won’t find as many flight options and they may be slightly more expensive, DAL is located right in North Dallas and very close downtown. 

Although it would be easiest to rent a car while visiting Dallas, there are plenty of public transportation options as well. In addition to a plethora of available rideshares and taxis, Dallas is also home to the country’s longest light rail system- DART. 

The light rail system spans 85 miles and has 61 stations. With this being said, you’ll likely find a station close to most of the following attractions. Schedules are available on the DART website

Reflections of buildings in downtown Dallas

Where to stay in Dallas

As stated previously, Dallas is massive. An initial search of “where to stay in Dallas” will bring you thousands of options. As a local, I recommend you narrow your search to the neighborhoods of Uptown, Downtown, and Oak Lawn.

These three neighborhoods are among the safest in the city as well as close to the best things to do and the best nightlife. Below are some recommended options for every budget. 


For first-time visitors, Downtown is a great place to stay as you are right in the middle of all the action. 


Located just North of downtown, visitors to Dallas will find great restaurants, upscale bars, and luxurious stays in Uptown. 

Oak Lawn

Oak Lawn is a vibrantly diverse community and home to one of the most LBGTQ-friendly neighborhoods in the entire country. 

The castle-like Old Red Museum and former prison in Dallas, Texas.

Best things to do in Dallas

Reunion Tower 

Immediately after arriving in Dallas, you’ll likely be curious as to what the tall disco-ball-looking building is. The Reunion Tower is a must-stop for anyone visiting Dallas for the first-time. 

After purchasing the ticket of your choice, you’ll take the elevator up almost 500 feet to the observation deck. From here, you’ll be met with epic 360 degree views of the entire city. 

Klyde Warren Park 

Klyde Warren Park is a unique urban park situated right in the middle of downtown. It covers about 5-acres and is a great place to spend a few hours in the great outdoors. 

While visiting, you can rent the free games from the game carts, play ping pong or foosball, grab a bite to eat from the food trucks, or pack a picnic to enjoy on the field. 

The park also hosts a variety of events such as yoga in the park, concerts, markets, and more. You can check out the events calendar here! 

Dallas Aquarium 

Located in the West End Historic District (just minutes from Klyde Warren Park and the Art Museum), you’ll find the Dallas World Aquarium. It’s oftentimes been voted one of the best aquariums in the entire world! 

Tickets range from $20-$30 and you can spend the day exploring the seven different exquisite exhibits while learning about the aquarium's conservation efforts.  

The exterior of the Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas

Dallas Museum of Art 

After visiting Klyde Warren Park, you can walk across the street to check out the Dallas Museum of Art. It’s always free to visit and is home to thousands of pieces of art from around the world. 

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza 

Unfortunately, Dallas is also home to where President Kennedy was assassinated. The Sixth Floor Museum helps visitors learn about the history of the Dealey Plaza as well as explore items related to the assassination. 

The museum is open Wednesdays-Sundays and tickets start at $14.

Museum of Illusions 

If looking for a fun and unique stop while exploring Downtown Dallas. Although small, the museum is jam-packed with dozens of illusions, puzzles, and interactive exhibits

Deep Ellum Murals 

Although I would no longer recommend visiting the Deep Ellum neighborhood at night due to the uptick in crime, it’s an eclectic spot to visit during the day. 

Let’s Roam has a fun self-guided scavenger hunt that will lead you to all of the best Deep Ellum art. After your scavenger hunt, you can check out the boutiques or grab a bite to eat for lunch! Harlowe MXM is a great brunch option! 

The striking architecture of the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas

Katy Trail 

Located right in Uptown, the Katy Trail is a 3.5 mile paved trail right through the city! It’s a great place for a walk, rollerblade or bike ride! You’ll also find the fun Katy Trail Icehosue along the trail where you can stop for some delicious BBQ or an ice cold margarita! 

Perot Museum 

The Perot Museum is fun for all ages. The museum has 11 permanent exhibits with hundreds of hands-on learning experiences. You’ll learn everything from the science behind different sports to natural disasters to ancient dinosaurs. 

Fort Worth Stockyards and Rodeo

Okay, this one isn’t right in Dallas, but it's a quintessential Texas stop. Just 45 minutes from downtown Dallas, you’ll be transported to a whole different world. You’ll no longer feel as though you are in a massive city, but rather a historic western town complete with horses, cowboys, and long-horn bulls. 

During your visit to the Stockyards, you can watch the daily cattle drive (every day at 11 and 4), shop for some new cowboy boots, ride a bull, go horseback riding, or catch the world-famous rodeo every Friday and Saturday night. 

Food trucks and tables under trees at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas.

Where to eat in Dallas

Best Upscale dining in Dallas

  • Nick and Sam’s: An upscale steakhouse that prides themselves on giving guests the best experience. Try their famous 7-layer cake or fancy cotton candy! 

  • Ocean Prime: Enjoy a delicious steak or seafood dish while you bask in the luxurious ambiance. 

Unique restaurants in Dallas

  • Magic Time Machine: After stepping into the Magic Time Machine restaurant, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a fairytale. From the themed decor to the costumed employees, it will surely be a magical meal!   

  • XOXO Dining Room: XOXO Dining Room is the perfect place to stop if visiting Dallas during a girls trip! Even the outside is painted pink! 

  • Punchbowl Social: If looking for more than just dinner, Punchbowl Social is for you. With giant table games, karaoke rooms, an arcade, and bowling available you can eat and play! 

Outdoor dining in Dallas

  • The TruckYard: The Truck Yard is known as Dallas’ adult playground featuring daily live music, a treehouse, and a variety of rotating food trucks.

  • Katy Trail Ice House: This may be one of the most popular restaurants in all of Dallas, but for good reason. The Katy Trail Ice is home to some of the most delicious BBQ in all of Dallas. But get there early as they usually sell out each day! 

  • Poco Fiasco: A new Uptown gem serving martinis and upscale pizza. There’s a beautiful garden-style patio to enjoy your dinner! 

People eating at restaurants along a boardwalk with fairy lights

Nightlife in Dallas, TX

  • Happiest Hour: Located in Uptown, Happiest Hour has a large outdoor patio with yard games and outdoor bars + indoor seating and a rooftop club. There are sometimes concerts and other events held here. 

  • Cowboys Red River: Cowboys Red River is located about 10 miles north of downtown and is the city's best country dance club. With live music, a large dance floor, and affordable drinks, it’s a great place to spend the night. 

  • The Rustic: The Rustic is an Uptown gem with a large outdoor patio and a calendar full of live music! 

  • Hyenas Comedy Club: For a night of laughter, check out the open-mic nights and shows at Hyena’s Comedy Club! 

  • Gallery Rooftop Lounge: If you are looking for a more upscale night out on the town, visit Gallery Rooftop for specialty cocktails, an infinity pool, and amazing views of downtown Dallas! 

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Author - Jordan

Jordan is a former elementary teacher turned freelance travel writer and the founder and editor of the USA travel blog, The Homebody Tourist. She is an avid planner, road-tripper, dog-lover, hiker, and adventurer. Jordan strives to plan and share adventurous USA road trips, weekend getaways, and dog-friendly itineraries that are jam-packed with all of the best things to do with (or without) your furry best friend! 

Last Updated 28 January 2024

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