Welcome back to another edition of the Travel Like A Local guest series. This weeks piece is brought to you by Michelle of the blog That Texas Couple and it’s all about her hometown in Texas. If you’re planning on visiting the Dallas-Forth Worth area make sure to check out this local’s travel guide. Find out all the best things to do in Dallas-Fort Worth, where to eat, where to stay and much more!
Hi Michelle tell us a bit about yourself! What city do you feel like a local in?
Hi! I’m Michelle, the writing half of the blogging team That Texas Couple. Seeing as how I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, I am definitely a local in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
How long did you live there for?
My husband and I have lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for most of our lives. I did a short stint in Colorado (about 3 years) and have lived in a couple of small towns outside of the metroplex, but overall we are DFW natives.
What are your favourite places to eat?
We love our Tex-Mex here in Texas, and there are plenty of restaurants to enjoy it at. One of my personal favorites is Joe T. Garcia’s located just outside of the famous Fort Worth Stockyards. Joe T.’s has all of my favorite Tex-Mex dishes including fajitas, enchiladas, flautas and nachos. Most of their dishes range from $10-15, so they are very affordable. Of course, you have to have a margarita while you’re enjoying them!
Texans are also proud of their barbecue! Now, who has the best barbecue is a hot debate! I think it depends on your personal taste and what you like. For fall off the bone ribs, head to Cooper’s Old Time Pit Barbecue. For a fun twist on classic barbecue and a fun riverside atmosphere, head to the Woodshed. Both offer dishes that range around $15 on average, but to me you can share as the portions are huge!
Another place we love to go is Mash’d. Mas’d serves up fun American and International dishes with their own twist. Start with a flight of moonshine (hence where they got their name) before diving into one of their specialty dishes like The Rebellious Burger or Moonshine BBQ Pizza. Prices range from $10-20 per entree.
Do you have a favourite place to study or work?
I love a good coffee shop when trying to work and one of my favorites is Buon Giorno Coffee on Florence Street in Downtown Fort Worth. They have great cappuccinos and pastries all served up in a cozy atmosphere.
What about when you want to relax? Do you have a favourite relaxing spot?
One of my favorite spots to relax is Lost Oak Winery. Located about 30 minutes south of Fort Worth, Lost Oak is the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening. Grab a bottle of wine and sit outside enjoying live music while surrounded by a serene country setting of vineyards and woods.
Is there a typical activity locals do in their free time?
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is so expansive that it is hard to say if there is one particular thing that people like to do with their free time. I really think that depends on people’s interests and age.
Dallas-Fort Worth is a big sports and entertainment area. We have a NFL football team, a NBA basketball team, and a major league hockey team just to name a few. Really, football is almost a type of religion in the south. During the fall, families flock to their high school football stadium for ‘Friday night lights’ to cheer on their local football team.
If you like night life, then there are numerous places to spend your evening dancing the night away. Of course, a super popular place is ‘The World’s Largest Honky-Tonk’, Billy Bob’s Texas. Although it is very touristy, Billy Bob’s is a fun place to catch a country concert and learn to two-step. If you’re into the 80s, there is a 80’s-style bar called Studio 80 that is really fun. Jazz lovers should check out Scatt Jazz Lounge or Buttons Restaurant.
What is your favourite activity or thing to do in Dallas-Fort Worth?
Marty and I are huge foodies. We love to try new restaurants, breweries, wineries, etc. Believe me, there is no shortage of food in the DFW metroplex. We also love to just be outside when the weather is nice. We will go walk the Trinity Trails, visit the Fort Worth botanical garden, or hang out in Sundance Square. We also have a world-class zoo in Fort Worth which prides itself on housing the animals in the most natural habitat possible.
Do you have a favourite photo spot?
I love going down to the Fort Worth Stockyards to shoot photos. They have a daily cattle drive which offers great opportunities to get some photos of longhorns and cowboys. The Stockyards also has several little hidden areas where you can easily do a fun photo shoot surrounded by a little history.
The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens also offers a gorgeous backdrop for photos. As one of the oldest botanical gardens in the state, the Fort Worth botanical gardens is expansive. Showcasing over 2,500 plant species spread over 109 acres, you will definitely find the perfect spot for your photos. The garden has a beautiful Japanese Garden, a butterfly conservatory, and an expansive rose garden.
When is the best time to visit Dallas-Fort Worth?
Anytime! Overall, the weather in Fort Worth is pretty mild. We do get down to freezing a few times a year, generally in December and January. Avoid coming in the late summer months (July-August) if you don’t like it hot, and I mean hot! It’s nothing for us to get up to 100 degrees. Couple that with the high humidity and you feel like you might melt stepping outside. LOL!
What’s one “touristy” thing in Dallas-Fort Worth everyone should actually do?
Everyone should visit the Fort Worth Stockyards. Granted, it’s super touristy, but the Stockyards showcase true Fort Worth history. There is so much to see and do in the Stockyards that you could easily spend a day there and be completely entertained. For a complete list of tourist attractions read 101 Things to do in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
What’s one “off the beaten track” place people don’t normally know about but should know about?
The Top O’Hill Terrace is a cool place to visit that few people know about. Top O’Hill Terrace was built in the 1920s in Arlington, Texas by the Fred and Mary Browning. During prohibition, the house served as a casino and brothel, complete with escape tunnels! You can schedule a tour to explore the building and learn its fascinating history.
Any tips or tricks on how to navigate Dallas-Fort Worth?
The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is expansive. To get the most out of your trip, I would recommend renting a car. Several of our “tourist attractions” like AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) and Six Flags Over Texas are located in the suburbs of Dallas-Fort Worth. Just note that rush-hour traffic can get pretty crazy, so try to avoid the freeways from 7:00-9:00 am and then 4:00-6:00 pm.
Any tips on how to visit Dallas-Fort Worth like a local so that travellers reading this can blend in?
Be polite. This sounds crazy, but for the most part, Fort Worth people are polite. They say “excuse me”, “please”, and “thank you”.
What is the best area in your city to stay in? Any specific hotels you can recommend?
While visiting Fort Worth, I would recommend staying in the downtown area. The Worthington Renaissance Hotel is located in the heart of Sundance Square, which is a trendy area for shopping, clubs and restaurants. I also like the Hilton in Downtown Fort Worth.
If you are coming to see both Dallas and Fort Worth during your stay, you may consider staying in a central area like the suburb of Arlington. The Hilton in Arlington is near Six Flags and Cowboys Stadium. Grapevine is another centrally located suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth. I love Grapevine because it has a small town feel. There are numerous hotel options in Grapevine as well. Families will love The Great Wolf Lodge or the Gaylord Texan Hotel, but they can be a bit pricey. A more economical choice in Grapevine would be the Hyatt Place in Grapevine.
What do you love most about Dallas-Forth Worth?
I love that there is so much to do in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There seem to always be events, whether its a concert, festival, or sporting event, you can always stay entertained in this area!
Have you been to the Dallas-Fort Worth area? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments below! We hope you find this local’s travel guide useful in planning your own trip to Texas.