When thinking of Dallas, rope-slinging cowboys, Stetson hats, and Southfork Ranch may all come to mind, but there’s plenty more to see and do in Dallas. This is a big city. Driving from North Dallas down to South Dallas can take up to an hour, depending on traffic. Similarly, a drive east from Downtown Dallas to Fort Worth takes 45 minutes. In total, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex covers a sprawling 9,286 square miles. It’s big, it’s bold, and here’s how to plan your itinerary when visiting Dallas.

Early Morning: Fill Up On Breakfast

It’s best to book a hotel in the downtown area. This way you’ll be able to move around the city from a central starting point. The Omni Dallas Hotel is a good choice. With it comes Texas Spice restaurant which makes sure guests kick off their day with a filling breakfast. This farm-to-table restaurant uses locally sourced fresh ingredients. The breakfast buffet offers excellent value. For $20, you can pick from a selection of fruits, yogurt, organic and gluten-free cereals, omelets cooked to order with cage-free eggs, Applewood smoked bacon, sausage, and breakfast potatoes. Delicious oven-baked bread and local butter and preserves accompany this buffet.

John F Kennedy Memorial
John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza in Dallas.

Midmorning: Visit Popular Sights

After breakfast, make a quick stop at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza before walking over to Dealey Plaza. No trip to Dallas is complete without a poignant visit to The Sixth Floor Museum, previously known as the Texas School Book Depository. It is where the infamous Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have taken aim at President John F. Kennedy. Tickets cost $16 for adults and include a guided audio tour. The full tour can take up to 90 minutes.

Lunch: Pig Out on the Best Barbecue

Texas is famous for barbecue and Dallas is no exception. Most ‘cue joints in Texas earn their stripes on the quality of their brisket. Cattleack Barbecue near Addison and Farmers Branch is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best barbecue restaurants in Dallas. This place is so popular that there’s usually a line, but don’t let that put you off. The servers are very prompt and even if there is a wait, the food is worth it. You’ll be drooling over it for days to come. There’s seating both inside and outside or you can grab a takeout meal on the run. Make sure you get there before the restaurant closes at 2 p.m. or you’ll be sorry you missed the best brisket in Dallas!

Dallas museum art
The Dallas Museum of Art.

Afternoon: Tour the Football Stadium

The massive AT&T Stadium in Arlington is home to the Dallas Cowboys and is an impressive sight. It’s the second largest domed structure in the world, after Singapore National Stadium. Walk in and marvel at the panoramic views of the field. There are various tours — the self-guided tour is the most popular but for a unique visit to AT&T Stadium, opt for the Art Tour. You’ll explore different parts of the stadium where fascinating contemporary art is featured while you listen to your guide give information about each of the art pieces.

If you’d rather spend the afternoon perusing museums or catching a matinee show at the theater, you’ll find both in the Dallas Art District. The Dallas National Museum of Arts, Nasher Sculpture Center, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and Perot Museum of Nature and Science are all located here.

Reunion tower
Reunion Tower in Dallas.

Evening: Dinner With a View

Head to Reunion Tower as evening begins to descend. It’s the most recognizable landmark on the Dallas skyline, standing tall at 561 feet with its signature large ball at the top. It offers a 360-degree view of the city. If you’re with your significant other, there’s no better way to end the day than with a romantic dinner at the renowned Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, the revolving restaurant at the top of Reunion Tower.

Late Night: Go Dancing Texas-Style

Even if dancing isn’t your thing, you can’t visit Dallas and not kick up your heels with the locals. Cowboys Red River is the hot spot for boot scooting and two-stepping around the dance floor. Alternatively, head over to the Fort Worth Stockyards and go to the legendary Billy Bob’s Texas, billed as the world’s largest honky-tonk. Go on a Friday or Saturday night and you can first watch the rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum right next door to Billy Bob’s.

Dallas has a lot less Stetson-touting cowboys than you might imagine. That’s because there are so many transplants from other parts of the country and the world living in Dallas that it’s become quite a cosmopolitan city. With that, comes a great mix of culture, food, and interesting personalities.