It takes at least a week to soak up all that Dallas and Fort Worth have to offer. That’s due in part to the tricky transportation; getting from one region to another can be cumbersome without a car. Curate a two-day trip carefully to hit as many highlights as possible without wasting any time navigating the auto-centric metropolis. This sample itinerary will help you make the best of a typical weekend.
Get an early start in downtown Dallas with coffee at Murray Street Coffee. From there, head to the West End’s Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Buy tickets to the Sixth Floor Museum online in advance. Arrive early and explore the Grassy Knoll and the JFK Memorial Plaza first to maximize your time. From Dealey Plaza, make your way to the Dallas Arts District. You could easily spend the rest of the day here touring the art museums: the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Crow Collection of Asian Art. Stroll through Klyde Warren Park, a stunning green space situated on a freeway deck with skyline views. You can also experience the park at night; it stays open until 11pm. Grab a food truck snack, catch a yoga session, or take in a concert on the lawn.
For a late night, go barhopping in Deep Ellum, the city’s liveliest neighborhood between 10pm and 2am. Hit Twilite Lounge for an old Hollywood vibe, Adair’s Saloon if you’re in a honky-tonk mood, or Beauty Bar, where some of the best DJs in town bring crowds to the dance floor. For those midnight calorie cravings, join the line at Serious Pizza for a massive slice of New York-style pie; the place stays open until 3am on weekends.
Spend your second 24 hours in Fort Worth, beginning with breakfast at Paris Coffee Shop, a local institution and the most authentic glimpse into the city’s cowboy character.
Next, make your way to the Fort Worth Cultural District for a day of world-class art, beginning at the Kimbell Art Museum. While the collection is small, you’ll want to spend a few hours lingering inside the Louis Kahn-designed building. Then, head to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Kimbell’s counterpart for post- World War II talent.
Weather permitting, spend the rest of the daylight hours walking or biking along the Trinity River. The surrounding park features a duck pond, a picturesque bridge, shady lounge areas, and a tiny fishing pier. Before embarking on the quintessential country-and western evening, make a detour to Angelo’s for local barbecue that far outshines the touristy restaurants.
Arrive at the Fort Worth Stockyards in time for the 8pm championship rodeo every Friday and Saturday. Watch competitive bull riders, cattle roping, and barrel racing, along with rodeo clowns offering comic relief. After the show, go two-stepping at Billy Bob’s Texas, the massive nightclub frequented by country music legends. Ride the mechanical bull, play pool, sing karaoke, or grab a late-night bite from the Honky Tonk Kitchen.
With more time
If you have more time to spend in Dallas, extend your JFK tour by following in the footsteps of the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. His tracks will take you south to the Texas Theatre, where you can locate the exact seat Oswald sat in while evading police. Several blocks east at the intersection of 10th and Patton, a historical marker indicates the location where Oswald shot and killed Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit. Dedicate a few daytime hours to Deep Ellum. Although known for its nightlife, the walkable neighborhood east of downtown offers plenty of afternoon diversions. Have lunch at All Good Café before sampling some local brews at Deep Ellum Brewing Company.
In Fort Worth, head to the Fort Worth Stockyards earlier in the day to see one of the twice-daily cattle drives at 11:30am or 4pm. You can also catch a historical reenactment of the original Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show on Saturdays at 2:30pm and 4:30pm in the Cowtown Coliseum. Dating to 1909, the show features cowboy trick roping, shooting, and riding. Tickets are $11.50-18.50.