Dallas - Fort Worth Neighborhoods & Towns
Formerly two separate cities, Dallas and Fort Worth have been joined by urban sprawl. The cities are now connected by 30 miles of suburbs, as well as the Trinity Railway Express light-rail system. Although they now technically form one city, Dallas and Ft. Worth couldn't be any more different. While the Big D is known for its modern architecture and emphasis on big business, Ft. Worth holds fast to its historical Wild West identity.
Dallas is the ninth largest city in the United States, a status which experts say invokes pride among its approximately one million residents. The Big D is a major hub for big business, fine dining, spectator sports and high-end shopping. The city is also home to a thriving art scene.
Downtown Dallas is home to the city's business district, as well as some of the Metroplex's finest hotels. Most of Dallas' main attractions are located in this area, including the Plaza of the Americas, a high-end shopping area. The northern part of downtown -- known as the Dallas Arts District -- is the epicenter of the arts, home numerous museums and performing arts venues, such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Meyerson Symphony Center and the Bass Concert Hall. The area also appeals to families, since its home to the Dallas World Aquarium.
Home to plenty of hotels, restaurants and bars, the West End Historic District is one of the oldest parts of the city. The West End is where visitors will find the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, as well as the Old Red Courthouse. West End is also known for its luxurious hotels and traditional Texan restaurants featuring menus offering hearty steaks and spicy Tex-Mex.
The city's trendy shopping and nightlife districts are located nearby downtown Dallas in Deep Ellum (or Deep "Elm" with a southern drawl). This area offers a mix of bohemian restaurants, vintage clothing stores and bars of all kinds. Deep Ellum is a popular area for travelers looking to spend a night out on the town. With a smorgasbord of blues, rock and disco clubs, bars and honky-tonks, this district has no shortage of options.
Uptown & Highland Park
For a taste of the ritzier side of Dallas, spend a day in Uptown or Highland Park, two of the city's premier residential areas. Uptown is characterized by chic, modern condos and trendy shops, while Highland Park is one of America's wealthiest residential districts, home to Southern Methodist University and future home of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
If there's one neighborhood -- aside from Downtown Dallas -- which lives up to the city's Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, Dallas larger-than-life reputation, it's North Dallas. Experts say that Dallas has more square footage of shopping than either New York or Los Angeles, and North Dallas is home to some of the best of it. Greenville Avenue -- located north of Southern Methodist University -- is a popular nightlife area due to its wide array of bars and clubs.
Sitting approximately 30 miles west of Dallas, the city of Fort Worth has been known since its founding as "Where the West Begins." The city holds tight to its identity, showcasing historical architecture, cowboy attire and cattle drives. Fort Worth is smaller than Dallas and consists of four different areas: downtown, the Stockyards, the Cultural District and the Medical District. The Trinity River, which runs through central Fort Worth, is a popular walking and biking spot.
The downtown area of Fort Worth is home to much of the city's business community, as well as Sundance Square, named for Butch Cassidy's sidekick, the Sundance Kid. This is where many business-type accommodations, restaurants, bars and theaters are located. Most of the surrounding buildings have been refurbished to resemble turn-of-the-century architecture, and many of the attractions highlight the city's Wild West history. Downtown is also home to the Fort Worth Water Gardens, a park featuring numerous lakes and waterfalls.
North of downtown is the tourist-heavy Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, which is described by experts as a living museum showcasing life in the Old West. Visitors can experience daily cattle drives down Exchange Avenue, attend rodeos and Wild West shows and purchase cowboy hats and boots. The Stockyards main attraction is the Stockyards Station, home to several shops and restaurants, an amusement park and Wild West entertainment, including living history tours and shootouts. The Stockyards is also an active nightlife area featuring several popular hotspots, such as Billy Bob's Texas and the White Elephant Saloon.
The Cultural District
Sitting to west of downtown is the Cultural District, home to several top-notch museums, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and the Fort Worth Zoo. Travel writers highly recommend the Cultural District for art lovers. The area houses the majority of the city's art museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Experts also recommend the Amon Carter Museum, which showcases 20th-century American artists like Frederic Remington.
The suburbs separating Dallas and Ft. Worth -- primarily residential and known as "the Metroplex" -- are also home to several worthwhile attractions. The Trinity Railway Express makes it easy to commute from either city to the Metroplex's suburban neighborhoods.
Sitting in between Dallas and Fort Worth, less than a mile east of the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, is the suburb of Irving/Las Colinas, once home to the Dallas Cowboys' Texas Stadium. Experts describe this area as a carefree community and home to some of the finest restaurants, shopping venues and theater that the Metroplex has to offer. Another popular attraction is the Mustangs of Las Colinas, the largest equestrian sculpture in the world.
Located south of Irving, the suburb of Arlington caters particularly to families. Parents can keep the kids entertained for days at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park and the adjoining Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park. Sports fans should also take some time to venture out to Arlington, which is now home to the Dallas Cowboys bigger and better Cowboys Stadium. The Ballpark in Arlington, where the Texas Rangers play, is another sporty hotspot.
Although Dallas and Fort Worth are considered to be safe, experts recommend exercising caution as you would in any other big city. Don't walk alone at night, and avoid dimly lit areas. If you're headed out for a night on the town, TripAdvisor recommends trying "McKinney Ave near Lemmon for better nightlife, without the crime of Deep Ellum and the West End." In Fort Worth, most tourist areas are well lit, and police officers are almost always on patrol.
Although gun control laws are less strict in Texas than they are in other parts of the country, experts stress that tourists are generally not the targets of gun-related violence.
Those who are not used to Texas' climate should take precautions against heat stroke, the symptoms of which generally include headache, dizziness, fatigue and sometimes nausea. Make sure to drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen on a routine basis.