A Travel Guide for How to Visit Dallas-Fort Worth on a Budget

Founders Plaza in Grapevine, TX

TripSavvy / Vincent Mercer


Welcome to Dallas-Fort Worth:


You need a travel guide for how to visit Dallas-Fort Worth on a budget.This region, commonly called the Metroplex, offers plenty of easy ways to pay top dollar for things that won't really enhance your experience. 


When to Visit:


Many visitors are here on business, which means they have little choice about the timing of their stays. If you do have a choice, avoid the summer months, when temperatures sometimes climb into the triple-digits. Winters tend to be mild by continental standards, but you might encounter snow or ice at times, as well as drivers who are not accustomed to handling such conditions. Spring and autumn generally are excellent times for a visit.


Where to Eat:


This is a great place to eat Mexican food, and in many places it is very affordable. Texas barbecue is also widely known around the world and worth sampling at reasonable prices. A recent search at GuideLive.com reveals addresses and even hyperlinks to hundreds of area restaurants with entrees priced under $20. For example, Who's Who Burgers in Highland Park offers Kobe steak burgers for under $10 USD in no-frills surroundings.


Where to Stay:


There are several Dallas hotels in great locations, including some accommodations on the perimeter of the sprawling DFW Airport. These places are in various states of renovation and often turn up in Priceline searches. Priceline includes a huge list of zones in the Metroplex, and some of the rooms you might land will be too far from your desired location. You can pinpoint your selections a basic DFW hotel search. Four-star hotel for under $150/night: Sheraton Suites Market Center off the Stemmons Freeway sometimes has attractive room rates.


Getting Around:


The local light rail system is known as DART, and it provides 45 miles of service. It's not the most extensive service you'll ever see in a big city, but if it meets your transportation needs, here's the good news: An all-day pass is only $5. In addition to light rail, there is a Monday-Saturday commuter train called Trinity Rail Express that operates between Dallas and Fort Worth. Choosing either train to either city center costs $2.50/passenger; taxi rides into either downtown can cost $40 USD or more. Consider using the Super Shuttle service, which is usually less expensive than a cab. If you stay at a hotel near DFW, check for a hotel/airport shuttle.


Academic Dallas-Fort Worth:


As in any major city, cultural events can be very expensive if tickets are even available. Why not take advantage of college and university offerings? Southern Methodist University in Highland Park (close to Dallas) and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth offer a wide range of concerts, plays and other quality events. Look for cheap meals in their cafeterias or in nearby restaurants catering to student budgets.


Sports of all Sorts:


Dallas and Fort Worth are well-known for their love of sports. All four major league sports can be found here, as well as a lively selection of college sports. Ameriquest Field in Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers and considered one of the finest parks in Major League Baseball. AT&T Stadium in Arlington, sometimes called "Jerry World" in honor of Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, is a state-of-the-art NFL stadium that also hosts the Cotton Bowl. High School football here is a spectacle, and fall visitors can see a Friday night game for a few dollars.


More DFW Tips:


  • Dealey Plaza, the grassy knoll and the death of JFK.

Nov. 22, 1963 was the most infamous day in Dallas history, and there are scores of theories to explain the "how" and "why" of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. The 6th Floor Museum shows you where and how it happened, and even retells some of the theories. Admission for adults is $16 USD. Go to 411 Elm Street on Dealey Plaza.

  • Fort Worth offers some great visitor experiences.

There are three entertainment districts: Stockyards National Historic District north of downtown, Sundance Square and the Cultural District. The stockyards (once a working livestock market) is now a tourist attraction, while the other two are names given to wide areas featuring shops, restaurants, museums and other attractions. Check local listings for events and specials.

  • See free movies at the Frog Theatre Cafe.

This is an old-time theatre that has been converted to a cafe--sort of. The screen remains and there are free movies and cartoons shown during operating hours. It's located next to the Texas Christian campus at 3055 University Blvd.

  • Take a free "arts stroll."

The first Saturday of each month, docents will lead you on a free, one-hour guided tour of the Dallas Arts District. It starts at the Crow Collection of Asian Art at 10:30 a.m. Reservations: 214-953-1977.

  • Watch the best of Texas rodeo.

Mesquite Championship Rodeo, in the city of the same name, offers one of the best such competitions you'll see anywhere. The admission fees are reasonable, with discounts for seniors and pre-teens. The season generally runs from early April to late September.

  • Discounts for Six Flags Over Texas

Print tickets or passes for the park before you leave home and save money.

  • Check out DFW's Observation Station.

You might not think of an airport as a tourist destination, but DFW is no ordinary airport. So why not check out the observation area known as Founders Plaza? You'll see some of the 2,300 daily takeoffs and landings that make this one of the world's busiest airports. It's open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight and is located at 2829 30th Street. 

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