If Dallas was a Texas Longhorn, it would be a particularly fine specimen of a beast.

The dual horns of the Bishops Arts District and Deep Ellum drive a fearsome reputation in the contrasting worlds of fine art & wonky nightlife, whilst the prolific and bulging attractions of Downtown Dallas hint at juicy, juicy steaks coming soon…

And indeed, Dallas steaks are top notch.

This multi-faceted city is full of a great cuts, surprising spaces, and buzzing history. In my MYSTERIOUSLY MEATY backpacking Dallas travel guide, I am going to herd you (haha) through all things Dallas, and impart as much of my own experience as I can…

Let’s check out Dallas, TX!

Fountain on the Katy Trail in Dallas
Are we talking about the same Dallas?

Why Visit Dallas?

Dallas is a clean-cut vision of modern Texas. Even if you’re backpacking the USA and specifically seeking old Texan trouble, you should pause your search for a gun-happy cowboy long enough to ingest the sites and sounds of Dallas. It’s worth it.

While it isn’t a super backpacker-friendly city, there is an abundance of steak, a nightlife which could maintain Lindsey Lohan’s attention for longer than 8 minutes, and a compilation of some of the best things to do in all Texas. This makes it an excellent place to spend a few days!

Dallas cityscape skyline

Dallas is home to two separate arts districts, a sophisticated collection of museums, and of course, a grassy knoll. It has a crazy collection of districts which can have surprising characters, and it loves to line dance. It is also pleasingly inexpensive…

The other thing about Dallas is that it has a little Texan sister, in the form of Fort Worth (which you should include in your Texan road trip too). If you’re after some real Texan cuisine and nightlife, it pays to head over for a saucy day trip or something. Dallas is a constant and pleasant surprise to all who visit (okay, some of you might be uber-winy).

What Are the Major Attractions in Dallas?

Dallas, especially Downtown Dallas, is rammed with an excellent array of attractions to impress and intrigue visitors. If you take down some of these top places to visit, your stay in Dallas (at the very least) won’t be boring…

On top of the individual attractions I’ve listed below, you’ll want to explore the delights of Downtown Dallas, the Bishop Arts District, the Dallas Arts District, Deep Ellum, and Uptown.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Dallas Texas
The Margeret Hunt Hill Bridge is pretty nice, but I wouldn’t take a picnic there

These bad boys are the reason Dallas far outranks Austin

  • The Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza: Get acquainted with the assassination of JFK and downtown Dallas at these must-visit locations.
  • Reunion Tower: Boasting the most impressive views of a backpacking Dallas trip, ride it to the top!
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science: If you’re looking for a place to entertain the kids, this hands-on museum will definitely pin them down (and help you escape the heat)
  • Klyde Warren Park: If you want a place to be on sunny days, this downtown delight will keep you in excellent spirits…
  • Highland Park Village: The upper tier of Dallas shopping, this high-class shopping centre is a must for casual spenders…
  • White Rock Lake and Park: Located 5 miles north of Dallas, this nature haven is an excellent escape from the hustle of the city.

Travelling to Dallas? Then plan yo’ trip the smart way!

With a Dallas City Pass, you can experience the best of Dallas at the CHEAPEST prices. Discounts, attractions, tickets, and even public transport are all standards in any good city pass – be sure invest now and save them $$$ when you arrive!

Buy Your Pass NOW!

How Long Should I Spend in Dallas?

You could get away with spending only 2 or 3 nights in Dallas. Even if you make time to go to Fort Worth (the more Texan side of the city), you can still experience most of what the city has to offer in a relatively short period of time.

That said, if you’re planning on heading into Deep Ellum for a raucous evening or attending a performance at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, you can easily rack up 4 or 5 days in town to fully explore everything.

Airbnb Dallas
You don’t want to miss anything, do you…?

My advice: plan your time backpacking Dallas a little more carefully, because your time is precious, and the best of Dallas is often brought out by a little forethought!

A note on terminology: the word Metroplex refers to the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area via the terms “metropolitan” and “complex.” In reality, this region is absolutely enormous and encompasses many surrounding cities and towns. We’re going to be using the term Metroplex often when talking about the general urban area.

A Sample 3-Day Itinerary for Dallas

Let us now foray into the realm of travel preparation, and attempt to flesh out a rough 3-day Dallas itinerary (to get those cogs whirring). As you may notice, I am a great lover of itinerary planning…

Day 1 in Dallas: West End – Downtown

Backpacking Dallas Day 1
1.Arts District, 2.Saint Ann Restaurant, 3.Downtown, 4.West End, 5.Dallas Floodway

Let’s start off in the impressive Arts District, where the majority of Dallas’ cultural centres and museums are. This neighbourhood is a testament to Dallas’ cosmopolitan drive and many of the museums here are comparable to those in Philadelphia or Seattle.

The Dallas Museum of Art is the most well-known of the bunch for many reasons:

a) it’s one of the largest museums in the US b) its collections are amazing and c) it’s totally free. You should definitely allocate a portion of your day to this museum.

Nearby institutions include the Crow Museum of Asian Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Perot Science and Nature Museum, and the Dallas Meyerson Symphony Building. Klyde Warren Park is also notable, which is a good place to take a break.

If you want to see one of Dallas’ great hidden gems, head to the Saint Ann Restaurant to see their personal Japanese gallery. It’s one of the greatest collections of samurai artefacts known outside Japan.

Let’s shoot south for the Downtown area. There’s not a whole lot here, besides staring at skyscrapers, but you’ll have the chance to see some very iconic points of interest.

You’ll visit the Giant Eye on Elm and a couple of blocks down are Thanks-giving Square, which has a small chapel with great photo ops inside (look up!). Finally, you’ll end up in Pioneer Plaza, home to the famous Cattle Run statues.

End your day in the West End. Here, you have a couple of options. First, you can see a couple more cultural sites, including the Dealey Plaza (where JFK was assassinated), the Old Red Museum, and the Sixth Floor Museum.

Otherwise, you can head across the Commerce Bridge and the Dallas Floodway to catch some views of the city at sunset. Hope you brought a camera!

Day 2 in Dallas: Northern Dallas

Backpacking Dallas Day 2
1.McKinney Trolley, 2.Uptown, 3.Oak Lawn, 4.West Village Shopping Mall, 5.Katy Trail, 6.Highland Park Village, 7.George W. Bush Presidential Center

Let’s start back at Klyde Warren Park back in the Arts District. Very close by is the beginning of the historic McKinney Trolley. These old trams are fun to ride and, most importantly, free to use. You’ll use these primarily to be getting around Uptown.

Uptown is one of the busiest and most active neighbourhoods in Dallas. It’s a fairly new development and is touted as being the most walkable place in Dallas. Ultimately, it’s a nice place to wander around and peek into the little boutiques.

Right next to Uptown is Oak Lawn, which is the LGBT enclave of Dallas. This is one of the most eminent gay neighbourhoods in America and hosts all kinds of LGBT businesses. It hosts a great Halloween party and it goes without saying that Gay Pride here is also very exciting.

The McKinney Trolley ends just shy of Oak Lawn at the West Village Shopping Mall, which is where you’ll find the awesome Magnolia Theatre. At this point, we have a couple of choices.

The first is that we can turn around and walk back on the popular Katy Trail, which is essentially a glorified walkway. We can then grab a drink at the iconic Katy Trail Ice House – by this point, we’re very close to Downtown again.

The other option is that we continue to Highland Park Village. This area is primarily known for having the most expensive shopping in all Dallas. Not backpacker-friendly, but fun!

While I don’t much care for designer brands, there are a couple of interesting museums in the neighbourhood. These are the Spanish-themed Meadows Museum and the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which, interestingly, has a perfect recreation of the Oval Office.

Day 3 in Dallas: Fort Worth

Backpacking Dallas Day 3
1.Victory Station, 2.Water Gardens, 3.Stockyards, 4.Cultural District, 5.The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

On the final day of this backpacking Dallas travel guide, we’re going to leave the city behind and spend a day exploring its other half – Fort Worth. Fort Worth, locally referred to as Cowtown, is the more “Texan” of the two and is often praised by residents as being cheaper, friendlier, and more authentic than big-city Dallas. So let’s find out for ourselves, shall we?

Grab the TRE train from Victory Station and make the hour-long odyssey out to FW. Upon arriving, you’ll be in the middle of Fort Worth’s “Downtown” area.

Sundance Square is the city’s central plaza and it’s lined with shops and restaurants selling steaks bigger than your face.

You have to visit the nearby Water Gardens. This modern installation looks like a futuristic version of India’s Chand Baori and has even been featured in several sci-fi movies. This is a great place for photos and relaxing.

From near Sundance, you can catch a bus up to the historical Stockyards, which is ground-zero for everything cowboy in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Here, you’ll find rodeo grounds, stock shows, honky tonks, and saloons. We definitely suggest perusing the many Western-themed shops and having a drink at Billy Bob’s.

One of the best things to do in Fort Worth is to visit the Cultural District. Here you’ll find the Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum, and Modern Art Museum. You may be shocked to hear that these are among the most respected institutions of their kind in the entire country and host amazing collections. Who would’ve thought Cowboys had such good taste?

You can end the day in many ways. Trinity Park is a good place to kick back and lay on the grass. The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens are beautiful to walk through and have a wonderful Japanese section. You could also grab a beer anywhere along the Ale Trail, which is back towards Downtown.

Spending More Time in Dallas?

If you’re spending longer than 3-days in Dallas, there are quite a few additional attractions and adventures you can get your sticky paws stuck into. Not least, there are some really exceptional day trips leaving from Dallas!

Don’t forget to check out Deep Ellum if you fancy exploring the nightlife here in Dallas!

Dallas' Deep Ellum at dawn
Like forgetting to mention Deep Ellum in my itinerary, there is much, much more to explore…

Here are a couple of extra places to visit in & around Dallas. Backpacking Dallas extras…

  • Denton: Oozing small-town charm, this double-university-boasting space has a top music scene (and festival), and some great hikes nearby! Ray Roberts Lake State Park is a highlight.
  • Terrell: This railroad town is just 40 minutes from Dallas, this one is for history buffs (America’s first flight school was built here) and those interested in meeting the largest freshwater shark in existence…
  • Waco: This small town in central Texas is home to the Waco Mammoth National Monument, a collection of ancient mammoth remains. The famous Magnolia Market is located here too.
  • Tyler: In America’s rose capital, explore the 14-acre rose garden (with over 38,000 rose bushes) and check out Tyler State Park. There are lots of museums to keep the history fans alert too!
  • Jefferson: Just 2.5 hours from Dallas, this pre-civil war town is home to quaint streets and historic landmarks.
The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Grab an eSIM!

Top Things to Do in Dallas

Dallas has a surprising, pleasant and excitingly eventive range of things to do. From the galleries of the Dallas Arts District to the indie and vibrant nightlife of Deep Ellum, Dallas has something that will keep everyone occupied…

1. Dive Deep

Deep Ellum is one of the hottest parts of town and hosts a staggering amount of bars, clubs, breweries, and restaurants. If you are going to start partying anywhere in the city, it’s here. Even better than that, Dallas is home to a famed collection of party bikes, which are sensational ways to get that party going…

2. Get tickets to a game

No Dallas travel guide would be complete without mentioning the likes of the Cowboys or the Rangers! The local sports teams are the pride and joy of Dallas and can have a really good time. On another note, be careful of that Mark Cuban guy at Mavericks games. The AT&T stadium (home to the Dallas Cowboys) is pretty impressive.

dallas cowboys at t field
A truly excellent photo

3. Uncover the Aftermath and Events of the JFK Shooting

Does that particular grassy knoll look familiar? An arguably momentous part of Dallas’s history was the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Explore the JFK Memorial, the Sixth Floor Museum, and the Lee Harvey Oswald Rooming House. If you are interested in the dynamics and effect of this historic event, don’t hesitate to make the most of these points of information!

4. Visit the Art Museums

Some of the top points of interest in Dallas are its art museums. These institutions are some of the finest in the country and host collections that are shockingly diverse. Visit one and you’ll feel like you need to see them all! Suddenly, 3 days in Dallas doesn’t feel like enough. Most are gathered in downtown Dallas or in the Dallas Arts District.

perot museum of art dallas things to do
That is wonky

Some of the top galleries and museums in the city include:

  • The Dallas Museum of Art
  • The Crow Museum of Asian Art
  • The Nasher Sculpture Centre
  • The African American Museum of Dallas

5. Visit the Perot Museum of Science and Nature

One of the best features of this Museum is that it provides a cool respite from the oppressive Texan heat! Okay, maybe not one of its best features, but this Museum is one of the most hands-on and interactive in the city, making it an excellent thing to do in Dallas with kids. Exhibits like the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall make it a special place to spend a few hours. If you’re clocking up fees on attractions, you should also try getting a city pass. Reunion Tower is included too!

6. Attend a stock show

Texas loves steer. As funny as that last statement sounds, they really do take great pride in raising the best and strongest cattle in the country. Ranchers will parade their finest bulls at local stockyard shows and these are among the must-see places in Dallas.

While these shows do serve a practical purpose, they often feel more celebratory, and will often have entertainment, drinking, and, of course, lots of beef.

things to do in fort worth stockshow
That is some excellent livestock

7. Explore Dallas’ Bishop Arts District

One of Dallas’ must-see neighbourhoods is the Bishop Arts District. This vibrant area is known for its street murals, cafes, and hipsters. It’s a scene that you would expect more in Austin or Portland, but, alas, it suits Dallas pretty well.

8. International or Texan?

The Metroplex is a tale of two cities when it comes to places to eat. Dallas is the cosmopolitan half that loves to spit out new, creative dishes on a regular basis.

On the other, you have Fort Worth, which is firmly Texan and so loves BBQ and Tex-Mex. At the end of the day, which do you choose?

places to eat in dallas food
Photo: Brad Murano (Flickr)

9. Ride the trolley through Uptown

The historic McKinney Trolley runs directly through Dallas’ affluent Uptown neighbourhood. Anyone who is a sucker for nostalgia will find that riding this tram is one of the most romantic things to do in Dallas. Hop and hop off to your heart’s content – it’s always free!

10. Relax in the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

If you’re stressed out by Dallas and its hectic roads, there’s no better place to unwind than the Arboretum. This little oasis is a lovely place to walk around and decompress especially in the spring when the flowers are all blooming. A top recommendation for the backpackers traipsing through this backpacking Dallas travel guide.

Backpacker Accommodation in Dallas

AHAHAHA oh yes.

Backpacker accommodation in Dallas is virtually non-existent. The only Dallas hostel is a train wreck, and I wouldn’t advise anyone to stay there unless they are truly desperate. This leaves a couple of options for you lucky folks:

  1. Pick up a sexy Airbnb, and split the cost. This can be the cheapest way of doing things, even in hostel-equipped cities. You can also prepare your own food. Bonus cheap!
  2. Tap into that backpacker network. Maybe you have a friend of a friend’s boyfriend’s sister’s cousin who lives in Dallas and would let you crash in her laundry room.
  3. Back yourself on Couchsurfing. Who knows? You could get lucky…
  4. Back yourself on Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Hinge, etc… Slightly exploiting the generosity/romantic interests of people can sometimes be a great way to find a place to stay. Just make sure you’re comfortable and make it clear what you are after…
  5. Camp. Cedar Hill State Park, The Vineyards Campgrounds and Cabins, Willow Grove Park, and just plain wild camping can be your cheapest way to explore Dallas. Remember to take the right backpacking tent though!
Best Cabins in Dallas
Oh, this looks lovely.

If you are tired of budgeting to the max, there are some pretty awesome Dallas cabins to cosy up in, and there is a standard collection of very serious hotels. The accommodation in Dallas is generally very nice and can be rather expensive. Dallas is a modern city after all.

The Best Places to Stay in Dallas

If you’re searching for where to stay in Dallas, there can be no doubt that these are the premier cuts of beef…

Downtown Dallas landscape


Downtown is the most central neighbourhood in Dallas. One of the most populated areas of the city, downtown is famous for its skyscrapers, pro sports teams, and its rich and interesting history.


Deep Ellum

Located just east of downtown is the lively and vibrant neighbourhood of Deep Ellum. A hub for entertainment and live music, Deep Ellum is perfect for music lovers and anyone looking to rock out all night long.

deep ellum, dallas

Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum is also our recommendation for where to stay in Dallas if you’re looking for a wild and unforgettable night out. Once a centre for jazz and blues artists, Deep Ellum is a neighbourhood where good music and good times flow.

Bishop Arts District, Dallas

Bishop Arts District

Bishop Arts District is a small neighbourhood south of downtown. Although it covers just four blocks, it packs a lot of awesome into such a small space. Here you’ll find a great mix of entertainment, shopping and dining options, as well as nightlife culture and history.

Dallas Uptown skyline at dusk


Uptown is one of the most sought-after and upscale areas of Dallas. It’s home to businessmen and urban professionals, as well as young families and politicians.


The Dallas Arts District

Making a new addition to this sensational where to stay in Dallas guide is the the Dallas Arts District. With much of the cities performing arts venues, art museums and cultural attractions, it makes for a fantastic stay for those who love a little refined living.

Dallas Travel Costs

Despite its reputation for being fancy and pricey, Dallas is actually not that expensive to visit. Compare it to other places in America like San Francisco and New York, and you might be paying half for things like lodging or food. Head to Fort Worth and the prices drop even further.

Granted, Dallas is still the priciest part of the Metroplex and expenses can add up quickly here if you’re out shopping all day and drinking all night (a beer costs around $5.40).

A lower daily budget for Dallas and Fort Worth would be about $60-80. This will get you a shared Airbnb/private room, groceries, bus tickets, and some extra spending money.

dallas texas giant wheel

Food and groceries are fairly inexpensive by American standards as well. You’ll be tempted to eat out often because of Dallas’ excellent dining options, but try not to do it so often if you’re on a budget. While a plate may be advertised at a certain price, it’ll be much higher after you factor in sales tax and tips (classic America).

Getting around the Metroplex is usually cheap, though maybe not as quick. By using a combination of DART (the Dallas Area Rapid Transport system) buses and trains, walking, and local startup transportation, like efrogs, you can navigate Dallas affordably.

A DART day pass is $6. The Mckinney Avenue Trolley (the M-line) is free.

Below is a breakdown of a daily budget in Dallas including average costs of each expense.

A Daily Budget in Dallas

Here’s what my Dallas travel guide expects you to spend day to day…

Dallas Travel Guide Daily Budget

Broke Backpacker

Frugal Traveler

Creature of Comfort




Total per day:


A Few Free Things to Do in Dallas

To visit Dallas on a budget, take advantage of its many pro bono activities! There are tons of free things to do in Dallas, some of which are listed below:

  1. Museums – There are several museums in Dallas and Fort Worth that are totally free every day of the week. Both the Crow Museum of Asian Art and the Kimbell Art Museum have respective collections that cost nothing to see. The Dallas Museum of Art is also totally free, which is shocking because you’d think that such an impressive collection would surely demand a premium. It’s almost like Britain…
  2. Guacamologist – The Ritz-Carlton Dallas prepares fresh guacamole every night and gives it out as tasters! The guac is good but don’t expect a feeding frenzy – this isn’t Costco, folks! There are often complementary (little) margaritas as well, though you’ll probably get the stink eye if you don’t buy your own eventually.
  3. The Trolley – Dallas’ historic McKinney Tram is free to ride all day, every day! While it can certainly be useful to get around Uptown, it’s more enjoyable as memorabilia. This old streetcar resembles many of those in San Francisco or Milan and, while not as famous, it is just about as fun.
  4. Festivals – There are a ton of free festivals and events in Dallas-Fort Worth all year-round. Friday on the Green and the bi-annual Gallery Night are two of the best local galas to attend as you’ll find plenty of free samples at both. For a livelier scene, try hitting up the Deep Ellum Arts and Music Fest.
  5. Dance – If you’re out of things to do at night in Dallas, I’m sure one of the locals would love to sweep you off your feet. Being Texas, line dancing is king here and several bars even host free lessons! Adair’s Saloon is a great place to start.

Dallas on A Budget – Tips and Tricks

giant eyeball in dallas art
Check out this MASSIVE eyeball.

If you’re looking for more cheap things to do in Dallas, then try using one of these money-saving techniques!

  1. Get a City PassWhile there are many free things to do in Dallas, the grand majority of Dallas’ attractions require paid entry. To really explore Dallas on the cheap, consider buying a City Pass. Having one of these will allow you to enter many of the best spots in town, like the Reunion Tower, Perot Museum, and Sixth Floor Museum, for a good price.
  2. Half-price tickets – Discount tickets are being offered all the time in Dallas! Texas Ranger baseball tickets are a screaming deal these days (because the team sucks) and you can go for as low as $10! The Kimbell Museum also offers half-priced tickets from 10 am-5 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays from 5 pm-8 pm.
  3. Use efrogs – This local startup uses an unorthodox business model – instead of charging fixed rates for rides, they operate purely on tips. You can use efrogs to get around central Dallas and you can even book a tour with them. Just please be generous when you pay them – only shitheads skim on tips.
  4. Happy hour – You’ll find most US bars selling happy hour (4-6ish) specials (except Boston?) but Dallas does a particularly good job of it. All across town, there are great deals and some places really go all out. Dreamy Life organizes a great happy hour and even books live bands!
  5. Cook at home as often as possible – One of the most proven ways of saving money for backpackers; buying your own groceries and cooking at home will save you heaps of cash.
  6. Use a water bottle – Save money by investing in a good water bottle and then drink from the tap. Dallas’s water is delicious and totally fine to drink.

Why You Should Travel to Dallas with a Water Bottle

Plastic washes up on even the most pristine beaches… so do your part and keep the Big Blue beautiful

You aren’t going to save the world overnight, but you might as well be part of the solution and not the problem. When you travel to some of the world’s most remote places, you come to realise the full extent of the plastic problem. And I hope you become more inspired to continue being a responsible traveller.

Plus, now you won’t be buying overpriced bottles of water from the supermarkets either! Travel with a filtered water bottle instead and never waste a cent nor a turtle’s life again.

Save $$$ • Save the Planet • Save Your Stomach!
grayl geopress filter bottle

Drink water from ANYWHERE. The Grayl Geopress is the worlds leading filtered water bottle protecting you from all manner of waterborne nasties.

Single-use plastic bottles are a MASSIVE threat to marine life. Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle. Save money and the environment!

We’ve tested the Geopress rigorously from the icy heights of Pakistan to the tropical jungles of Bali, and can confirm: it’s the best water bottle you’ll ever buy!

View on REI Read the Review

Best Time to Visit Dallas

The weather in Dallas can be a bit crazy – even by Texan standards. This city experiences all sorts of climatic patterns, seemingly out of nowhere.

Summers in Dallas can be hotter than the deepest level of Hell. Luckily, summers are dry, so you won’t have to worry about sweating out your t-shirt in 5 minutes like in the rest of the South, though you’ll probably still be sweating.

Summer also means baseball and the 4th of July. While the former is on a bit of dry spell in recent years, the latter is still as awesome as ever. Panther Island hosts an insane firework show every year.

dallas travel guide weather lightning
Photo: NOAA Photo Library (Flickr)

Spring is a great time to travel to Dallas, so long as you’re not there during a bad week. This is prime tornado season and these can cause massive damage. Keep an eye on the local storm watches and be prepared.

Freak storms aside, springtime is wonderful in Dallas. Temperatures are comfortable and the blooming flowers really put on a show.

Winters in Dallas are usually mild but not as much as you’d think. Nights can be cold this time of year and snow is not unheard of. In fact, it consistently snows a couple of times per year in Dallas. Get ready for a show when that happens, as Dallas goes into a panic after a single inch.

Autumn is hands-down the best time to visit Dallas. There’s no freak weather, no chill, and much fewer crowds. There can be a storm here and there, but they’re often tame compared to the ones in spring.

What to Pack for Dallas

Those travel packing lists don’t fill themselves! Here are some items I take on every adventure/have added to my extensive Christmas wishlist.

Traipse the CIty in Style!
Osprey Daylite Plus
Traipse the CIty in Style!

Osprey Daylite Plus

Any city slicker needs a SLICK daypack. In general, you can never go wrong with an Osprey pack, but with its array of awesome organisation, durable materials, and a comfy build, the Daylite Plus will make your urban jaunts buttery smooth.

Drink from ANYWHERE
Grayls Geopress Water Bottle
Drink from ANYWHERE

Grayl Geopress Filtered Bottle

Save $$$, save the planet, and save yourself the headache (or tummy ache). Instead of sticking to bottled plastic, buy a Grayl Geopress, drink water no matter the source, and be happy knowing the turtles and fishies thank you (and so do we!). 🙂

Pics or It Didn’t Happen 😉
Pics or It Didn’t Happen 😉

OCLU Action Camera

Wait, it’s cheaper than a GoPro and… better than a GoPro? The OCLU action cam is the cam for budget backpackers that want to immortalise all their wildest adventures – including that time you dropped it off a Himalayan mountain – WITHOUT breaking the bank.

Harness the Sun!
Solgaard Solarbank
Harness the Sun!

Solgaard Solarbank

Resourceful travellers know how to find power outlets anywhere on the road; smart travellers just pack a solar power bank instead. With 4-5 phone cycles per charge and the ability to top up literally anywhere the sun is shining, there’s no reason to ever get lost again!

Don’t Annoy Your Dormies
Don’t Annoy Your Dormies

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

ALL travellers need a headtorch – no exceptions! Even in the hostel dorm, this beauty can save you in a real pinch. If you haven’t got in on the headtorch game, DO. I promise you: you’ll never look back. Or at least if you do, you’ll be able to see what you’re looking at.

Staying Safe in Dallas

dallas police public safety

Given its immense size (7.5 million residents in the metro), Dallas is a pretty safe city. A lot of agencies like to remark that it is one of the safest big cities in America.

Granted, Dallas is still a city, and as such suffers from a lot of the usual big-city problems. Violent crime does still occur here, though the odds of this happening to a tourist are pretty low. As is usually the case, most instances are contained within the outer districts – areas that should appeal little to outsiders.

Still, it pays to practice all of the usual safety travel habits, regardless if you’re in Dallas or elsewhere. You never know when someone will be compelled to swipe for your bag or purse. Afterdark is always a time to be wary as well.

The greatest threat to your safety in Dallas-Fort Worth will be the traffic. Seriously, people die all the time here from traffic-related accidents. In fact, Dallas was ranked as one of the deadliest cities in the US for motorists.

Be very mindful when driving in Dallas or Fort Worth. Keep your head on a swivel and go slowly if you must.

It goes without saying as well, but never ever drink and drive. Doing so is very looked down upon in the States these days. Getting caught with anything above a 0.07 BAC is chargeable with arrest and can lead to serious consequences.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in Dallas

Partying in the Big D is an art form and one that is bound to be fun to practise. There is a lively scene composing all 3 of the aforementioned aspects of debauchery. Drugs are obviously illegal, but if you look shady or like you’re into some weird shit you’ll probably get sorted out.

As with most of the U.S. at the moment, fentanyl overdoses are a big issue, and I’d advise choosing your poison wisely. You don’t want to be in the back of an ambulance during your 3-day trip to Dallas.

Blurry image of Dallas at night
The drugs be kinda like this…

Anyway, there is an excellent party scene. Clubs like It’ll Do Club, Dada Dallas, The Nines and the Don’t Tell Supper Club have every kind of vibe imaginable, from dirty basement D&B to grungy R&B tracks. Excellent places to flirt and meet members of the opposite sex are the many line-dancing bars, so if you’re looking for a more romantic/indulgent encounter, head there.

The live music scene in Dallas is pretty awesome too, with a ton of festivals and events being organised week to week. Google is your greatest aid in finding what is on when you’re there.

Getting Insured BEFORE you visit Dallas

Are you terrified of being wiped out by a prize cow? Do you think you are immune to being wiped out by a prize cow? Prevent your fear/invulnerability complex by making sure you’re covered for what comes after. A fat hospital bill…

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

How to Get Into and Around Dallas

Dallas has two international airports nearby: Dallas-Fort Worth International and Love Field. Dallas- Fort Worth handles all of the Metroplex foreign routes and is a major hub for American Airlines aka Ameri-Can Suck My Ass-Lines (sorry, I don’t much care for them.)

Love Field handles more domestic routes and is the home base for Southwest Airlines, which is the greatest airline ever (we love you SW!). (Ed: Do Americans really get this wound up about their airlines?)

There is public transport to both airports. Love Field is located right on the outskirts of Dallas proper and you can reach Downton in about 30-45 minutes.

bridge in dallas black and white photo
The bridge in startling black and white

Being Texas, there is no lack of massive highways around Dallas and Fort Worth. There are tons of ways to get into either city by road. The only thing that you’ll have to contend with is traffic, which can be stuck in utter gridlock during rush hours. Be mindful of tolls as well.

If you have a car rental, you may be better off staying outside of the city and taking the train into the city centre. The Metroplex has a pretty efficient central transportation network and it may be easier than finding parking.

Long-distance buses connect Dallas with a host of neighbouring cities, both near and far. Oklahoma City, Houston, and Austin are all a mere 2-3 hours away. At that rate, you could easily reach the likes of Denver, Nashville, or even Mexico using a mainliner bus.

Greyhound is the most omnipresent bus company in America, but the rides are pretty weird sometimes. If you don’t feel like using this company, check the regional MegaBus instead.

Getting Around Dallas

Dallas actually has a really good public transport network, at least compared to the rest of the South (we’re looking at you, Atlanta).

A pretty wide swath of the Metroplex is covered by the DART network, which utilizes a fleet of buses and trains. Going from one end of town to other would take no more than 30-45 minutes and may even be devoid of transfers.

Travelling from Dallas to Fort Worth is a completely different story. Although these cities combine together to form a single urban sprawl, they are still almost 40 miles apart.

To connect the two, you’ll have to take the TRE train (an extension of the DART) or a Greyhound. Travel times will be at least an hour.

The Dallas DART transport system. How to get around Dallas
The DART is pretty essential Dallas transport.

At the end of the day, Dallas is a driving town and the streets are usually choked with commuter cars. While traffic can be horrendous at peak hours (8-10 am and 4-6 pm), it’s not so bad the rest of the time.

Unfortunately, Dallas is not a bike-friendly city and the motorists have a firm dominance of the roads here. You can join the mass of cars while riding if you want – just remember proper road etiquette and don’t use a road that’s more than 40 miles per hour.

If you just plan to visit the central attractions in Dallas, then you can probably get away with walking. Just be mindful of intense heat and weather though. Remember to have a water bottle and be sure to bring a really good pair of shoes.

Working and Volunteering in Dallas

Because of the USA’s vehement hate of foreign workers, if you don’t have citizenship, you can forget trying to blag your way into a job (unless you’re from Canada, or have 6 months to plan it) The best way to extend your stay in Dallas is to volunteer.

Volunteering is excellent fun. Always
Look how happy TBB Will looks!

However, because there isn’t an abundance of hostels, it is hard to know where to look. So where do you look?

My number one port of call for stay extensions is the ineffable World Packers. And whilst this looks like a shameless plug, this one actually comes with significant benefits for you, in the form of local projects and jobs that you can snap up in return for accommodation. So don’t hesitate!

Otherwise a hell of a web search calls…

Worldpackers: connecting travellers with meaningful travel experiences.

Nightlife In Dallas

Without question, the nightlife epicentre of Dallas is Deep Ellum. This district hosts the best bars, clubs, and music venues near Downtown and is definitely the best place to start. Drop by places like Wits End, Twilite Lounge, and Dallas Comedy House to get your night started.

Deep Ellum has been described as “hipster” at times, which makes sense I guess because I’m a reformed hipster myself. Truth is though, Deep Ellum is more of an established hipster area, where PBRs still cost $6 and clubs charge entry. I’d say, don’t go here expecting to see a lot of neckbeards or beanies.

There are plenty of other neighborhoods and things to do at night in Dallas though. The West End, being the most central district, attracts the most tourists and tradeshow attendees, so be wary of that.

True to its nature, Uptown is a pretty fancy area and has a lot of ritzy lounges. Finally, Oak Lawn has the best LGBT bars in Dallas.

live music in dallas travel guide
Photo: JoeTorma (WikiCommons)

Lower Greenville and Knox/Henderson are two slightly out of the way but totally worth visiting districts after dark. While both were pretty lame a number of years ago, both are now among the best nightlife areas in town.

Henderson’s bars are all located on its namesake street. While it’s not the longest strip of watering holes in Dallas’, it’s still pretty convenient to go bar hopping here.

Lower Greenville is known for its old-school local bars and for its undying music venues. It’s a volume level up from Henderson and has a lot more in terms of selection.

If you want the cheapest drinks though, again, head to Fort Worth. It’s not as wild or open as late as Dallas, but you’ll feel much better going home with a fuller wallet.

Dining in Dallas and Fort Worth

Like the rest of Texas, food in Dallas comes down to three simple things: BBQ, then Tex-Mex, and then everything else.

What separates Dallas from much of the state though is that the final selection, the international one, is represented a little more powerfully.

Being the ethnically diverse, cosmopolitan city that it is, there are all kinds of places to eat in Dallas. You can grab authentic Italian at Lucia, Mediterranean food from Galilee, and contemporary Asian fare at Asian Mint.

You can find good, AUTHENTIC Mexican food in Dallas, but you have to search for it first. Head first over to Trompo in Trinity Groves, which is one of the most unassuming taquerias in one of the most underrated foodie neighbourhoods in Dallas.

farmers market in dallas places to eat
Photo: Drumguy8800 (WikiCommons)

At the end of the day, meat is what’s for dinner in Dallas. Owing to the Metroplex’s enormous cattle industry, steakhouses and comfort food joints are the overwhelming majority in Dallas. We’re talking about pieces of beef that could suffocate a small child if they were caught underneath it.

Barbecue is one of Texas’ most beloved foods. While Dallas used to not be known to make good BBQ, it certainly does a better job these days. Paying a visit to the Pecan Lodge is an absolute must while visiting Dallas – be sure to have the brisket while you’re there. There’s even a Lockharts in Bishop Arts.

If you want the absolute best BBQ in the Metroplex, go to Fort Worth. Angelo’s is one of the best-known barbecue joints in the state.

Cheap Eats in Dallas

It’s always unexpected what you are going to find in Dallas to satisfy those cravings. While it is significantly cheaper to home cook, sometimes you just have to say “Stuff it I am hungry'”, and head out for something tasty and under budget…

Here are some of the best cheap eats in Dallas.

  • C. Señor: This Cuban food stand can keep you going for 2 meals with a massive $8 sandwich, or it can serve you up a $2 taco which tastes just as good…
  • Crushcraft Thai: Generous portion sizes make this Thai takeout one of the best cheap eats in town $8-10 for main dishes.
  • Portillo’s the Colony: Jumbo hot-dogs for under $5? You must be joking…
  • Luscher’s: This Deep Ellum sausage shop has all the right makings of an excellent lunch. Fully dressed handmade “red hot” swings in for a cool $5
  • Monkey King Noodle Co.: This badboy has some of the sweetest and cheapest noodles in Deep Ellum. $8 will get you something tasty to take home for lunch.
  • Project Pollo: Operating with a ‘pay what you can’ menu, and some sustainable some plant based action, this excellent resto can have you dining for under $10. Tasty.

Some Unique Experiences in Dallas

Okay! We have almost covered everything you could possibly need to know about a Dallas visit in my truly all-encompassing Dallas travel guide. In case you feel hard done by, or are just looking for a bit of fun inspiration, here are a couple of extra goodies to help while away the hours in Dallas.

packable travel medical kit

Things go wrong on the road ALL THE TIME. Be prepared for what life throws at you.

Buy an AMK Travel Medical Kit before you head out on your next adventure – don’t be daft!

Buy on REI

Off the Beaten Path in Dallas and Fort Worth

Dallas is absolutely massive so there’s plenty of room to go out and explore. If you want something more unique to do in Dallas, then check out one of these locations on the outskirts of the city!

sunset on a lake near dallas travel guide
  1. Texas Video Game Museum – This brand-new museum is so fuckin’ cool! It’s dedicated primarily to retelling the history of video games and does so in some very creative ways. Many of the galleries resemble common video game play areas, like a 70s living room or arcade. Some exhibitions even attempt to transport inside the game (probably not like Tron).
  2. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden – This park is already one of the most popular, if not beautiful, sights in Dallas. It’s located a bit out of the way – probably by design – and it takes at least 45 minutes to get there by bus. If you’re feeling stressed out from all the mayhem in the city, this will be the perfect place to escape.
  3. Airfield Falls – Way on the outskirts of Fort Worth is one of North Texas’ few remaining waterfalls. Boasted as “the highest waterfall in Fort Worth,” it’s become a very beloved place by the locals. While it’s certainly no wilderness experience, the falls are still a nice ornament in an otherwise featureless landscape. It is a beautiful day trip to take from Dallas.
  4. Denton – The best music in Dallas isn’t in the city at all – it’s in nearby Denton. Most of the region’s musicians hang out in this town and they like to put on free shows almost every day of the week. This town also hosts some of the best festivals in the region, including the 35 Denton Music Festival and the Arts and Jazz Festival.

Sculpture Hunting in Dallas

place to visit in dallas stock bulls statues

There are several bizarre and cookie sculptures to find in and around Dallas. Here are some of the ones you should keep an eye out for:

  • The Giant Eye: A giant eye.
  • The Travelling Man: A trio of giant statues of a robot emerging from a confusing birth
  • The Texas Woofus: A mythical chimaera composed of a mix of Texan livestock animals
  • The Bowler Hat Sculpture: A giant bowler hat that they decided would be fun to have
  • Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive (pictured): A collection of cattle statues which occupy one of the main Dallas parks.
  • Texas sculpture walk: Commissioned by the Dallas Arts District, you can follow a planned route of sculptures in this area!

FAQs on Travelling to Dallas

Here’s what people usually ask us about a visit to Dallas, and answers a good Dallas travel guide shouldn’t miss out on…

Final Thoughts on Backpacking Dallas

From downtown Dallas to the scintillating class of the Bishops Art District, I hope you have enjoyed my powerful dissection of this amazing city. Remember to stay safe, use protection, and only approach clowns in the daytime. Or never.

Seriously though, this has been an excellently enjoyable piece to write, and I hope you guys were able to learn as much as you need to get yourselves going in Dallas! Please let me know if you have anything to comment on in the comments, and I will patch up/add additions ASAP.

It’s a wild, wild world out there, but it is truly special…

dallas skyline at night
Have a refreshingly awesome time in Dallas people!

Updated June 2023 by Abe Lea

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!