Getting Around Dallas – Fort Worth
The best way to get around Dallas – Fort Worth is by car. Both downtown areas are laid out on a grid, making the region easy to navigate; even some of the freeways adhere to the linear plans. And getting between Dallas, Fort Worth and other Metroplex communities is made simple by the several major highways and interstates that criss-cross the region. Just be prepared for heavy traffic during rush hour and limited parking no matter the hour. If you don't plan on doing a lot of commuting between Dallas and Fort Worth, you may want to ditch the car and rely on public transit — both cities feature extensive bus services, and Dallas also boasts an efficient (albeit limited) light rail system. Meanwhile, you can rely on the Trinity Railway Express to get between Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as out to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), located about 18 miles northwest of Dallas and 22 miles northeast of Fort Worth. Getting to and from the smaller Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), which handles low-fare carriers like Southwest Airlines, won't require a car either: Sitting about 6 miles north of downtown Dallas, Love Field can be reached via light rail and bus. That said, rental cars are available at both airports as well as in both downtown areas.
|On Foot||Although you can't explore all of Dallas or Fort Worth on foot, the cities' downtown cores and tourist-centric neighborhoods are extremely walkable. When planning your itinerary, aim to group attraction sightseeing together to save yourself commuting time.|
|By Car||Driving can be frustrating, but it remains the most comfortable option — particularly when the alternative to sitting in traffic is waiting outside in the heat for the next bus. Numerous major highways and interstates weave through and around the Metroplex: I-35 E and I-35 W run north to south through Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively; I-20 and I-30 run east to west, connecting the two cities. Traffic is notoriously bad during rush hour, so stay off the highways. If you're not planning on spending a lot of time traveling between Dallas and Fort Worth (and the neighboring communities), consider holding off on renting a car until you plan on moving on to the next city. Both downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth are walkable. This will save you money on rental fees, gas and parking. If you do decide to rent a car, several rental agencies can be found in both downtown Forth Worth and downtown Dallas, as well as at the airports.
Although it has a long way to go until it can stack up to New York City's subway or Chicago's "L" train, Dallas' light rail does a decent job of connecting the city's downtown to other areas of interest, including Deep Ellum and University Park. Operated by Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the DART Rail system features four lines (Red, Orange, Green and Blue) that service 61 stations throughout the city. Trains operate from around 4:30 to 1 a.m. every day, though schedules vary by line. Meanwhile, the Trinity Railway Express connects Dallas and Fort Worth while servicing Metroplex communities and the airport. Trains run between Fort Worth's T&P Station and Dallas' Union Station Monday through Friday from around 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Saturdays, trains do not run as frequently; and on Sundays, they do not run at all.
The amount you pay to ride will depend on whether you purchase a local or regional DART pass: Local passes are valid on DART Rail and DART Buses and on TRE routes between Dallas' Union Station and DFW Airport. Regional passes are valid on all DART and TRE services, as well as The T in Fort Worth. A two-hour pass (valid for unlimited rides within two hours of the time the pass was purchased) costs $2.50 for local service and $5 for regional service. Day passes — valid from the purchase time to 3 a.m. the next day — cost $5 for local service and $10 for regional service, while a seven-day pass will cost $25 for local service or $50 for regional service.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit also operates an extensive bus system with local and express routes serving 12,500 stops throughout central Dallas and the Metroplex. Like the DART Rail, DART Buses run from around 4:30 to 1 a.m. and use DART passes as payment. If it is the first time you are using the pass, you must have the driver validate it; for all other subsequent rides, simply swipe your pass through the farebox.
Fort Worth is serviced by a separate bus system called The T, which is managed by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority and features 43 routes that service greater Fort Worth. However, visitors will only need to rely on a few routes: Bus Nos. 1 and 15 connect downtown to The Stockyards, while Nos. 2, 10 and 57 service the Cultural District, home to many of the city's museums. You can also reach the Cultural District via the No. 7, which then heads south to the Fort Worth Zoo. A one-way ride on The T will cost you $1.75 if you're on a local route and $5 if you're heading out into the 'burbs. If you plan on using The T as your primary form of transport, consider purchasing a day pass ($3.50 for local service and $10 for regional service) or a seven-day pass ($17.50 for local service and $50 for regional service). Regional service includes the use of the TRE. You can purchase one-way tickets and day passes aboard the bus; monthly passes will have to be purchased at TRE stations, at the T Administration Office (located across from the convention center in downtown Fort Worth) or at any T customer relation outlet.
For more authentic (and lest costly) means of transportation around central Dallas, hop aboard the M-Line Trolley, an old-fashioned electric streetcar that meanders from downtown to Uptown's bustling McKinney Avenue several miles north. Along the way, the trolley makes stops near several popular attractions, including the Dallas World Aquarium, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center. The trolley (also known as the McKinney Avenue Trolley) operates every day of the year starting at around 7 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends and holidays and going until around 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Best of all: Rides are free.