Dallas-Fort Worth - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas-Fort Worth

The two biggest cities in North Texas, Dallas and Fort Worth, are 30 miles (48km) apart but have been drawn together into one urban concentration known as the 'DFW Metroplex' with a combined population of more than four million.

The two cities are, however, very different halves of a whole. Dallas, its soaring glass-sided skyscrapers seemingly growing like mushrooms out of the prairie, is full of glitz and glamour. Its urban landscape is vigorous and classy, its citizens enjoying the good things in life from fashionable clothing to flashy cars. This thriving city is the ninth largest city in the United States, having grown from a frontier outpost with 20 streets in 1841 to a centre for big business and big banking, helped along a little by 'black gold', the oil that was discovered 100 miles (161km) east of the city in 1930.

Fort Worth, the western half of the Metroplex, is the gateway to the Wild West. Having started out as 'Cowtown', a base for cattle drives, Fort Worth still reflects a laid-back and slightly 'cowpoke' attitude, although surprisingly it has also developed into a cultural centre with world-class museums and a thriving performing arts sector.

Dallas is certainly the place for visitors to enjoy a rich shopping experience and upmarket wining and dining, but Fort Worth is the venue for exciting and interesting attractions and a taste of western culture.

Information & Facts


The weather in Dallas/Fort Worth is generally warm throughout the year, with temperatures of up to 67°F (19°C) possible even in the midst of winter. Temperatures in January, though, usually average 43°F (6°C). Summers can be extremely hot. Severe weather is possible because the cities are sited between the notorious 'tornado alley' and the meteorologically turbulent Gulf coast, so lightning storms, hail, floods and tornados can occur, especially during spring when the rainfall is heaviest.

Getting Around

Dallas and Fort Worth are connected by Greyhound buses as well as by an express commuter train service. A car used to be the only way to see both cities, but recent improvements to the public transport system, especially in Dallas, have meant that it is now possible to get around the main downtown area, hotels and restaurants without one. In Dallas, though, a car is still more convenient as the city is very spread out, but Fort Worth is easily manageable without. Dallas is serviced by buses and a limited light railway system, and there is also an electric trolley bus, as well as the free McKinney Avenue Trolley. Fort Worth is serviced by a fairly extensive bus system as well as the Longhorn Trolley that travels between the major districts of interest to tourists. Taxis are available for hire in both.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

The museum is dedicated to telling the story of the cowboy and cattle ranching industry of the southwest. Use has been made of talking mannequins, interactive exhibits, authentic artefacts and theatre presentations to bring alive the legends and lore of the Wild West, from Texas Rangers to rustlers. The museum also contains the largest collection of branding irons in the world.

The city of Dallas' history is preserved in a living museum nestled in 13 wooded acres just south of downtown, known as Old City Park. This historical village consists of 38 buildings and houses, including a working farm, elegant Victorian homes, a school, church and a bank that is alleged to have been robbed by Bonnie and Clyde, all dating from between 1840 and 1910. All the structures in this recreated turn-of-the-century village have been collected from various locations in and around Dallas, and restored and re-assembled here.

The Dallas Holocaust Museum, Centre for Education and Tolerance, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and memorialising its victims. It provides guided tours for groups, audio tours for individuals, public lectures and exhibits. Originally situated in the Jewish Community Center, the museum has relocated to a larger premises in the centre of Dallas' historical district, adjacent to the Sixth Floor Museum, due to lack of space and having to turn away thousands of visitors each year. But even this is a temporary measure as an even larger museum is planned, which will be a powerfully symbolic structure to support its profound educational message.

Fort Worth is THE place to experience the romance and mystique of the American Wild West, and the Stockyards National Historic District is the ideal place to start. The district encompasses 15 blocks packed full of exciting 'Cowtown' attractions, from rodeos to cattle drives, country music shows, shops selling genuine cowboy gear, saloons and Texan diners, and the 'Tarantula Train' steam railway on which regular re-enactments of a train robbery are performed. The Stockyard District is also the venue for several annual festivals and western events and home to the world-famous Billy Bob's Honky Tonk.

Fort Worth's Zoo is ranked as one of the top five in the United States and is home to more than 5,000 animals living in natural habitat settings like Raptor Canyon, the Koala Outback and Asian Falls. A recently opened new eight-acre section called Texas Wild takes visitors on a journey through the state to see indigenous animals like swift foxes, ocelots and white-tailed deer, including some endangered species. This section includes a mock-up of a Texas town with a restaurant, store, saloon and jailhouse. Another popular diversion here is the chance to try managing a computer-simulated ranch.

Fort Worth's Modern Art Museum is second only in size to it's counterpart in New York, and is the oldest art museum in Texas, having been chartered in 1892. The museum is housed in an eye-catching building, consisting of five long flat-roofed pavilions atop a 1.5-acre pond, designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The museum's permanent collection of modern and contemporary paintings includes works by Picasso, Andy Warhol, Rauschenberg and Pollock. The museum also hosts visiting exhibitions and features a large sculpture collection.

The first of the Six Flags theme parks, Six Flags Over Texas has been a consistently-popular family attraction for over 50 years. Situated in the small town of Arlington, just 20 miles (about 32km) from Fort Worth, the amusement park is an ideal family day-trip destination. The park offers something for everyone, from 'thrill rides' (including the award-winning Texas Giant), to kids rides, to rides that can be enjoyed by the entire family at once. Six Flags Over Texas also stages events and festivals throughout the year - such as Spring Break Out, and Fright Fest (held over Halloween). With over a million annual visitors, Six Flags Over Texas has earned its reputation as one of the premier theme parks in America, and visitors to Fort Worth - and especially those travelling with kids in tow - would be ill-advised to miss it.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is commemorated in the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza where the 1963 shooting took place. Most chilling of the exhibits is the window area in the former Texas School Book Depository building from where sniper Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired the fatal shots at the 35th President's motorcade. The museum also documents Kennedy's life and legacy, featuring more than 20,000 artefacts and a large amount of archival material. A granite marker at the corner of Houston and Main Streets outside shows where Kennedy was assassinated and a memorial stands in nearby John F. Kennedy Plaza. Visitors to the museum can also view the Zapruder film of the assassination.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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