Everything you associate with Texas can be found in Dallas – Fort Worth. This is where you come to see the Dallas Cowboys play and the Fort Worth cowboys rope – where big hats, big hair and big horns are the norm. But stereotypes are just the tip of the DFW iceberg: The Metroplex is a hotbed of history, art, sports and family-centric exploits. The problem is that all of these enticements can be found in both cities, so determining where to allocate your time can get tricky.
So plan an even 50-50 split: Though the 32-mile trek may seem like too much of a stretch, you would be remiss to confine yourself to only half of Dallas – Fort Worth. If you're interested in history, you can start your visit off at the Fort Worth Stockyards before touring Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum in downtown Dallas. Meanwhile, art buffs can divvy up their time between Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art. And if you've brought the kids along, devote some time to both the Fort Worth Zoo and the Dallas World Aquarium. (While you're at it, stop in at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.)
The best time to visit Dallas – Fort Worth is between September and November, when the temperatures aren't overwhelmingly hot, the tourist traffic has died down and the Texas State Fair is in full swing. Keep in mind: The Cowboys football season can drive hotel prices up, especially in the Metroplex areas. Avoid inflated prices by taking a look at the team's home game schedule. The months between March and May are equally comfortable temperature-wise, and blooming flowers further sweeten the season. Despite temperatures in the 90s and high humidity levels, summer marks Dallas – Fort Worth's high season, so expect hotel costs to climb. You will find deals between December and February, but don't expect exceptionally warm weather. The DFW area experiences all four seasons, with wintertime highs resting in the 50s and low 60s.
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
Although both Dallas and Fort Worth are home to high-end art and cultural districts, the Metroplex has not forgotten its Wild West heritage. Cowboy hats and boots are not uncommon here, and cattle drives still take place in Fort Worth on a daily basis. Meanwhile, reminders of the civil rights era linger in downtown Dallas, particularly around downtown's Dealey Plaza.
But don't assume DFW's completely caught in the past – in fact, the opposite is true. You'll find a thriving arts scene here comprising everything from world-class art museums like the Kimbell Art Museum and the Nasher Sculpture Center to the jazz, rock and blues clubs of Deep Ellum. You'll also find a larger-than-life shopping scene here with a variety of places to give your credit card a workout, from big-name department stores to bohemian shops.
No discussion of DFW culture would be complete without addressing locals' love for America's Team: the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys (and their ever-popular cheerleaders) are a popular topic of conversation here. Join in the fun at AT&T Stadium or mingle with fellow fans at one of the cities' many sports bars.
One thing is for sure: You definitely won't go hungry in Dallas or Fort Worth. With big business comes big appetites, and this city knows how to satisfy them.
The DFW Metroplex is known for red meat and Tex-Mex. For a prime cut, head to Al Biernat's on the northeast edge of Dallas' Oak Lawn district. You'll spend a pretty penny to eat here, but avid foodies swear the steak is worth the price. If you're craving an elevated take on tacos, diners and critics recommend you try Revolver Taco Lounge. It's pricier than your average taco joint, but diners say the unique offerings (like tender octopus carnitas with fried leeks) are worth the cost. For a no-frills experience, consider Trompo, which earns rave reviews for its simple street-style tacos.
If you want to expand your palette beyond steak and tacos, Dallas has you covered there, too. Thanks to the metro area's large immigrant population (nearly 5 million), the city offers a varied roster of dining styles reflective of its multicultural residents. You can find most everything your stomach desires, from Mediterranean cuisine to Latin American favorites. For fresh sushi, try Yutaka Sushi Bistro in Uptown, or sample the casual French fare at Boulevardier.
But don't worry: Old-fashioned chili and chicken-fried steak are still staple dishes at many of Dallas and Fort Worth's restaurants. To sink your teeth into some authentic barbecue, try Heim Barbecue in Fort Worth or Cattleack Barbeque and Pecan Lodge in Dallas.
Although Dallas and Fort Worth are both safe places for tourists, you should exercise caution as you would in any other large metro area. Don't walk alone at night and avoid dimly lit areas. Although gun control laws are less strict in Texas than they are in other parts of the country, 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. Drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen regularly. A hat is another good idea.
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 crisscross 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 flights from Delta, American and Southwest, 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.See details for Getting Around
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