Dallas in 1 Day: all you need to know

If you are traveling to Dallas for just one day, don't worry, with a well-organized itinerary you can visit the most interesting points of the city.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

Dallas in 1 Day: all you need to know

Dallas, TX, USA | ©R K

Dallas is one of the largest cities in Texas and has several important and historical sites. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy took place in this city and also the criminals Bonnie and Clyde did their thing in this city. If you want to travel back in time and know all the details of these stories, you are in the right place.

This city also offers other interesting activities such as its nightlife full of ghostly stories. Also, you will find bars with a good atmosphere to dine and finish the night in this iconic city.

1. Breakfast in Downtown Dallas

Southern Breakfast| ©Malcolm Manners
Southern Breakfast| ©Malcolm Manners

When you arrive at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport you will need to make your way to your hotel. My recommendation is to look for one in downtown Dallas so you can start your day in this part of the city without wasting time. From the airport you can take a public bus to get there in less than an hour. However, you always have the option of requesting a private transfer in Dallas.

For this you must go to the DFW Airport Station stop and board the E bus, Orange Line - LBJ/Central. The stop that will drop you off in Dallas Downtown is Akard. At this point you can hail a cab or walk to your hotel to get ready and go.

I recommend having breakfast at some of the restaurants in the area. Just about two minutes from the Akard stop you can walk into the Monarch restaurant. If, on the other hand, you want to walk a little further, you will find Ellen's just 10 minutes away. This is a southern restaurant where you can eat breakfast at any time of the day.

If you are interested in the gastronomic side of Dallas, perhaps a good alternative to start the day is to take a gastronomic and cultural tour of Dallas. This way you can have breakfast and explore a little more of the city in the same activity.

Book a food and culture tour of Dallas

2. Visit the Holocaust Museum in Dallas

Holocaust History in Black and White| ©US Transportation Command
Holocaust History in Black and White| ©US Transportation Command

Across Ross Avenue in front of Elle's restaurant you will find the Dallas Holocaust Museum. Since you're in the area it's a good idea to go inside and explore it for about an hour. Keep in mind that you must buy your tickets in advance and they have an average cost of 10 €.

If you want to save on expenses and take advantage of all the offers, I recommend buying the Dallas City Pass. This pass includes this museum and other attractions such as the Perot Museum of Nature and the Reunion Tower GeO-Deck. You can save up to 50% if you buy it.

You should also know that this museum opens its doors from 10 am and you can explore it in less than an hour. Inside you'll find a permanent exhibit designed by Berenbaum Jacobs Associates. In its wings you will learn about the Holocaust, human rights and the Pivot to America. In this last wing of the exhibit you can learn about America's experience during this dark time in human history.

Details of Interest

  • Price: about 10 €.
  • Hours: open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Location: 300 N. Houston, Dallas, TX 75202.

Buy the Dallas City Pass

3. Visit the Sixth Floor Museum and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza

John F. Kennedy Memorial Murals| ©Paul O'Connell
John F. Kennedy Memorial Murals| ©Paul O'Connell

The Sixth Floor Museum is also known as the John F. Kennedy Museum. In this iconic site you can take a tour through the life, work, death and legacy of this famous American president. This museum is open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets cost an average of 15€.

The building where this museum is located was, according to the Warren Commission, where President Kennedy was shot from on November 22, 1963 at 12:30 am. At that time the building was only a library. As the name says, the museum is located on the sixth floor, right where the shots were fired.

When you visit this museum you will see a progressive explanation of this historical event. You will also get to understand the historical context of the time and the different conclusions reached by the Warren Commission regarding what happened.

On your way out, I recommend you visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. This site is located about five minutes from the museum. Here you will see the concrete monument to the president, created by postmodern architect Philip Johnson, a close friend of the Kennedy family.

Details of interest

  • Price: about 15 €.
  • Hours: open from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Location: Dealey Plaza, 411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States.

Alternative option: Take a private tour of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

If you don't want to enter the above museums but instead take a tour of the key sites of the JFK assassination, I recommend taking a private tour. These experiences usually have an average cost of 80 € and a duration of approximately two hours.

Among the sites you can visit with this tour highlights the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, the Dealey Plaza where the building (now museum) from where he was shot is located. Also included is the Grassy Knoll, the site where Kennedy's car was at the time of his death.

You can also visit the guest house of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin in this case. The tour also offers a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum. The biggest advantage is that you will always have a professional guide who will explain all the details you need to know.

Book a private tour of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

4. Lunch and visit to the Dallas GeO-Deck observation deck

Lunch| ©Svenja H
Lunch| ©Svenja H

When you're done exploring the museums and plaza, it's probably time for lunch. Near the Sixth Floor Museum you will find several restaurant options such as Cafe Herrera on Lamar, McDonalds if you want something simpler, or Cindi's NY Deli & Restaurant, the closest to your next stop.

After lunch you can visit the Dallas GeO-Deck observation deck. From this site you can view the city from approximately 200 meters above the ground. With the purchase of your ticket you will receive a free professional digital photograph.

This attraction is located at Reunion Tower, the tallest tower and the most iconic landmark in the city. If you travel to Dallas for Christmas, you can welcome the New Year on its observation deck. It is one of the highlights of the holiday season.

Details of interest

  • Price: around 25 €.
  • Hours: open from noon to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. on weekends.
  • Location: Reunion Tower, 300 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX 75207, United States.

Buy tickets for the GeO-Deck Dallas Observation Deck

5. A tour to learn about the history of Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie Parker's headstone| ©John H. Gámez
Bonnie Parker's headstone| ©John H. Gámez

Have you ever heard of Bonnie and Clyde? Well, this criminal couple is one of the most famous in history and Dallas hides the most outstanding sites of their story. No doubt when you come to Dallas you must take a private tour of Bonnie and Clyde in Dallas.

My recommendation is that after lunch you take a private tour with a professional guide. This way you will have a private vehicle and the tour will be faster and easier. The tour departs from downtown Dallas to the west side of the city. There you will be able to tour the neighborhoods where he spent his childhood. Then you will pass through one of his famous escape routes, the "Devil's Backporch".

Other important points are located in North Dallas, Uptown and East Dallas. You will also pass through Crown Hill Memorial Park and Western Heights Cemetery, where his graves are located. The tour can take about three hours or less. The guide will take you to the meeting point at the end of the tour.

6. Take a tour of the sets of the Dallas series

Man posing next to the John F. Kennedy memorial.| ©Carsten Schillings
Man posing next to the John F. Kennedy memorial.| ©Carsten Schillings

Around five o'clock in the afternoon you can take another tour but this time to see the sets of the Dallas series at the Southfork Ranch. The starting point for this type of tour is usually located at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial. From there a private vehicle with a guide can take you to the ranch where the acclaimed series was filmed.

If you don't want a tour that includes private transportation, you have other options to get to the Southfork Ranch in less than an hour. For this you can take a DART Rail Red Line train from Cedar Station. The trip takes about half an hour and you must get off at the Parker Road station. For this trip you only have to pay around 5 € or less. From the station the only way to get to the ranch is to get a cab.

When you arrive at the Southfork Ranch you will be able to see many of the items used during the filming of the series. You can even take a train tour. This way you can go through all the ranch lands in less time and in a more entertaining way.

Book a tour of the Southfork Ranch on the Dallas series

Alternatives to spend the afternoon in Dallas

Man in front of the George W. Bush| ©bk1bennett
Man in front of the George W. Bush| ©bk1bennett

Dallas is a city filled with many iconic stories and eye-catching attractions. However, not all tourists have the same tastes, so I'll give you other recommendations in case you don't want to visit the Southfork Ranch. In both plans you can depart from downtown Dallas, right after the Bonnie and Clyde tour.

Visit the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden: an alternative if you didn't see the Dallas series

Besides the buildings, skyscrapers and highways, Dallas hides a beautiful green space, its Arboretum and Botanical Garden. This site is home to about 3 thousand varieties of azaleas that bloom in spring. If you travel in autumn you will see chrysanthemums everywhere.

As you tour the garden you will notice that it has a variety of gardens and walkways. I recommend taking a guided tour so you don't miss all parts of the garden. To get there by public transportation you can go to the Commerce at Field - E - F bus stop and take bus 214.

When you get to the Garland at Whittier - N - NS stop, just get off and walk two minutes to the garden. I advise you to buy your ticket in advance, as sometimes it can get very crowded, especially if there is a special celebration.

Details of interest

  • Price: around 15 €.
  • Hours: open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Location: 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218.

Book a tour of the Dallas Botanical Garden

Visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Another site much sought after by tourists is the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. This site is located at Southern Methodist University. From downtown Dallas you can travel there by bus.

Go to the West Transfer Center stop and board the 209 bus. The closest stop to the university is US 75 at Mockingbird - N - F5. In this museum you can enjoy different interactive experiences. Through them you can learn about former President Bush and his family.

Details of interest

  • Price: about 15 ¤.
  • Hours: open during the week from 9 am to 5 pm. On weekends it is open from 12 noon.
  • Location: 2943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75205.

Book a private guided tour of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

7. The night is here! Perfect time for a Dallas ghost and pub crawl

Cloudy night on the Ghost Tour| ©John Manard
Cloudy night on the Ghost Tour| ©John Manard

Around seven in the evening it will be dinner time. However, this does not mean that the day is over. A good option to continue enjoying Dallas is to go on a pub crawl where you will hear ghost stories. This way you will learn more about the spooky stories and learn more about this city.

In this experience you will be guided by a professional who will take you on a walking tour. You will be able to enter the best pubs in Dallas, drink your favorite drink and have dinner. In total there are at least four pubs that you will visit. Please note that this tour can last up to three hours. One of those pubs is the popular Green Door Public House.

In addition, you'll pass by the Main Street Garden, where the giant eyeball where Dallas' first skyscraper used to stand. Then you'll pass the Majestic Theater, the luxury hotel founded by Karl Hoblitzelle. His ghost is said to haunt the hotel grounds.

Another creepy story is that of Lady White of Rock, who reportedly died in a lake and now scares drivers by appearing in the middle of the avenues. Other stories you will hear are about the red Pegasus sign, an iconic symbol of Dallas. Finally you can return to your hotel or the airport. Note that the DART bus system runs until midnight.

Book a Dallas ghost and pub crawl tour.

What to pack when you go to Dallas?

Packing Your Suitcase| ©Craig Adderley
Packing Your Suitcase| ©Craig Adderley

To know exactly what items to pack in your suitcase when you travel to Dallas, you need to consider the time of year. For example, from July through September, temperatures are high. On average it's around 31°C, so it's best to pack light clothing that will allow you to enjoy yourself without feeling too hot.

It's also important to use sunscreen especially during those months. If you are traveling in December, January or February, I recommend wearing warmer clothing. Although winters in Dallas are not very harsh, it is best to travel with a warm sweater and an umbrella.

How can you get around using Dallas public transportation?

Bus on the go| ©Neuershausen
Bus on the go| ©Neuershausen

One of the advantages of traveling to Dallas is that this city has the Dallas Area Rapid Transit. This transportation system has bus lines, train lines and a special line that connects downtown Dallas with Fort Worth. It even has a bus system that takes handicapped people on short routes.

To use the buses you can pay a one-way pass of about 2 €. If you take the train you can pay a round-trip fare of about €6. In case you want to travel to Forth, the fare will be about 12 €. Stations and stops are well distributed throughout the city, so you can easily find your way by searching your route on Google Maps.

You also have the option of downloading the GoPass mobile application on your mobile. There you can buy your tickets and even save up to 50%.