How to enjoy a weekend visit to Dallas without driving, Part 2

by Johnny Elbow and Karen Ptacek, DART Marketing & Communications

Whether you’re here for business or visiting as a weekend getaway, much of Big D is surprisingly transit-accessible and pedestrian-friendly. The best place to stay is in the heart of downtown Dallas, served by all four light rail lines of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART): the region’s public transportation system.

Every hotel in downtown Dallas is within blocks from a modern DART Rail station, and the sleek trains arrive every few minutes to whisk you to the city’s most popular dining, shopping and entertainment destinations. You can ride just about anywhere DART goes – all day long – for as little as $5.

With the recent opening of the Orange Line, DART now offers 85 miles of light rail service reaching 61 stations, complimented by a vast network of buses, operating seven days a week, plus commuter rail connections to Fort Worth and Denton. DART Rail will serve DFW International Airport directly in 2014.

You can access online trip planning and much more information at, From your cell phone, go to DART’s Mobile site: DART also has a Spanish language site: You can also visit Google Transit at You can also call DART customer service at (214)979-1111. Telephone customer service is available every day (Central Time), Weekdays: 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The easiest and most affordable way to use DART for your visit is to buy a Day Pass for $5, which is good on all DART trains and buses and the TRE as far as CentrePort/DFW Airport Station. Two-hour and midday passes are also available, but the $5 Day Pass is probably the best choice.

For a complete list of available fares, go to:

You can purchase your $5 Day Pass (remember to buy one for each day you will be here) on local buses and at the ticket vending machines (TVMs) located on every station platform. Signs on the TVM and instructions on the touch screen will help you and answer most of your questions about how to pay. Your day pass is good on the day you purchase it until 3 a.m. the next morning.

Getting Here

From Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

From DFW Airport catch a DART bus on Route 500 from Terminal A, connecting to the Belt Line Station.

From Dallas Love Field Airport

Passengers arriving on Southwest Airlines and other carriers to Dallas Love Field can catch a DART bus on Route 39 connecting to Inwood/Love Field Station.

From Amtrak

Serves Dallas’ Union Station, which is also a transfer point for the DART Red and Blue Lines and the Trinity Railway Express to Fort Worth.

From Megabus

Megabus has direct service from Austin, Houston and San Antonio. Only select trips that arrive at and depart from the DART East Transfer Center– not Grand Prairie, Texas. The East Transfer Center is located at the corner of Pearl and Live Oak streets, a few blocks from the Pearl/Arts District Station.


The Dallas Greyhound Station is located on Lamar Street, approximately three blocks from the West End Station.

All four DART light rail lines serve all four Transit Mall stations: Pearl/Arts District, St. Paul, Akard and West End. You can switch lines at any of these locations, although most people seem to transfer at Pearl/Arts District, West End or Union Station (where the Red/Blue lines meet the TRE).

The best station to begin your exploration of Dallas is the DART light rail station closest to your hotel.

Here are a few interesting neighborhoods and attractions, not included last month..

Uptown; Best way to get there: M-Line Trolley

Uptown, just north of the downtown area, is one of Dallas’ oldest neighborhoods transformed with high rise condos, apartments and hotels. At the street level, there’s a vibrant mix of restaurants, bars, cafés, retail shops, galleries, antique dealers and live theatre. One such destination for live performance is Theatre Three, one of Dallas’ best-known and longest-running community theatres. Tying the uptown area to downtown is the vintage (and free to ride) M-Line Trolley, running from the Dallas Arts District through Uptown, McKinney Avenue and West Village to the West entrance of Cityplace/Uptown Station.

West Village;  Closest Rail Stop: Cityplace/Uptown Station

Located three blocks west of Cityplace Station — DART’s only subway stop — Uptown’s West Village is home to destinations such as Mi Cocina, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, the Magnolia art house theatre and chic boutiques. Hop aboard one of the free M-Line’s restored trolley cars for a relaxing tour of McKinney Avenue’s upscale taverns and restaurants — including Fearing’s (run by celebrity chef Dean Fearing) in the Ritz-Carlton or Hotel ZaZa’s posh Dragonfly and Urban Oasis Lounge. West Village

Mockingbird Station; Closest Rail Stop: Mockingbird Station

Want a textbook example of transit-oriented living? Check out Mockingbird Station, a high-density development of loft apartments, bistros, boutiques, national retailers and a multi-screen independent film theater.  Indulge in Southwestern cuisine at Café Express, grab a pint at Trinity Hall or Mockingbird Taproom, catch a movie at the Angelika, enjoy a laugh at Hyena’s Comedy Nightclub or simply people-watch.  Mockingbird Station

NorthPark Center and Shops at Park Lane;  Closest Rail Stop: Park Lane Station

Dallas is known for its shopping, and NorthPark Center is one of the city’s best examples. A convenient shuttle to and from Park Lane Station lets you explore its more than 235 stores, restaurants and theatres for yourself. Named as one of the “7 Retail Wonders of the Modern World”, anchors include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Dillard’s and Barney’s. To top off a full day of fun, catch a flick at the mall’s 15-screen AMC movie theatre.

Across the street from the station, The Shops at Park Lane pairs the best in stylish shopping with distinctive dining and entertainment options, including Nordstrom Rack, Bloomingdale’s Outlet and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, as well as Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, a Gordon Biersch high-end brewery bistro, and the largest Whole Foods Market in North Texas.

  • NorthPark Center
  • Shops at Park Lane 

Deep Ellum; Closest Rail Stop: Deep Ellum and Baylor University Medical Center Stations

Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood dates back to the late 1800s and gets its name from the pronunciation of Elm Street favored by early residents. Over the years, the brick structures have been home to businesses as diverse as the people who frequent them: dance halls, restaurants, bars, live music venues, speakeasies, meat markets, pawnshops, vaudeville theatres, art galleries and auto repair shops. Popular hotspots today include Adair’s Saloon, Angry Dog and St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin restaurants, Twisted Root Burger Co., Trees alternative music showcase and the Latino Cultural Center. One of the newest attractions welcoming visitors to DART’s Deep Ellum Station is “The Traveling Man,” a landmark, three-part sculpture installation including “Walking Tall,” a jovial, 38-foot-tall man strolling down the street. Deep Ellum Community Association

Fair Park; Closest Rail Stop: Fair Park and Martin Luther King, Jr. Stations

A true Dallas gem, Fair Park contains one of the world’s largest collections of 1930s Art Deco-style architecture, originally built for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. Best known as the home of the State Fair of Texas®, which attracts 3.5 million attendees each fall, Fair Park has a lot more to offer than just the fair. You can visit its museums and performance venues year-round, including the African American Museum, Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, Hall of State, Texas Discovery Gardens, Texas Museum of Automotive History and the South Dallas Cultural Center. Performance venues inside the park include the Music Hall at Fair Park, the Gexa Energy Pavilion, the Magnolia Lounge and the Fair Park Band Shell. Fair Park,    State Fair of Texas  

The Cedars;   Closest Rail Station: Cedars Station

The Cedars, a once-neglected inner-city neighborhood, has been turned into a cultural hotspot thanks to the transformation of the old Sears warehouse into the South Side on Lamar residential/retail/gallery complex. From Cedars Station, you’re just blocks from great food and live music — including the Palladium live showcase, the country music of Gilley’s world-famous honky tonk, the roaring good time of eclectic Lee Harvey’s, and the unique musical offerings of Poor David’s Pub.

Dallas Zoo;  Closest Rail Stop: Dallas Zoo Station

There are always exciting things to see and do at the Southwest’s oldest and Texas’ largest zoological park. The 95-acre Dallas Zoo is known for The Wilds of Africa — a 20-minute monorail tour through six African habitats — as well as the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo, the Jake L. Hamon Gorilla Conservation Research Center and Giants of the Savanna ,which takes you on a safari adventure complete with giraffes, lions, elephants, cheetahs and other African species. Wild, huh?

  • Dallas Zoo   

Fort Worth

Fort Worth’s Cultural, Stockyards and Sundance Square districts are accessible by taking the Trinity Railway Express, a commuter rail line connecting to Dallas’ Union Station, DFW Airport and downtown Fort Worth. Scheduled train service is provided Monday through Saturday. No service is available on Sunday. Evening service is limited, so be sure to check schedules before traveling.

Once in Fort Worth, The T’s buses can transport you from the TRE’s Intermodal Transit Center (ITC) Station to your destination.

  • Trinity Railway Express
  • The T Popular Destinations

Cab-Accessible Attractions

Cowboys Stadium – The home of the Dallas Cowboys is located in Arlington, Texas, which is not transit accessible. Self-guided, educational and art tours of the facilities are offered on days when the stadium is not in use.

Southfork Ranch – Made famous by on the television series Dallas, the home of the fictional Ewing family is a tourist attraction and event facility located in the suburb of Parker, Texas. Tours of the ranch and Ewing mansion depart from the visitors’ center. To see this piece of TV nostalgia, you’ll need to take a cab ride.

For More Information

For information about Dallas attractions, places to stay, and shopping, go to, or call the Tourist Information Center at (214) 571-1316.

For information about DART routes, schedules, fares, and getting to where you want to go by public transportation, visit, or call (214) 979-1111.

Steve Atlas enjoys hearing from readers. To contact Steve, share feedback about this or other “Car Free Journey” columns, or suggest destination for future columns, e-mail

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