More than just an oil town, Dallas is also rich in history, culture and entertainment. Travelers can enjoy a gourmet meal with some of the nation’s chefs, visit historic landmarks and take in a sporting event or a museum all in one day. If you’re not sure where to start, local tours offer a great overview in just an hour or two. Many of the city’s best tour guides have lived here for decades – or all their lives! – so they have the lowdown on area history and culture. Here are five of our favorite Dallas tours to get you stoked about visiting the Big D.
Can you hum the Dallas theme song? Did you guess who shot J.R., even before the big reveal? Relive the glory days of big hair and Texas-sized egos on a 45-minute tour of Southfork Ranch, exterior filming site of the long-running primetime soap opera. Tours are offered daily, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and cost just $15 (plus tax) for adults or $9 for kids ages 6-12. Tour the Ewing Mansion, get a peek inside J.R.’s bedroom, and view show memorabilia including Jock’s Lincoln Continental and the gun that shot J.R. With its Southern charm and gorgeous landscape, Southfork Ranch is a must-see for every Texas tourist. Whether you’re new to the Dallas TV series or can name every member of the Ewing family (and their favorite drink!), Southfork’s expert tour guides will likely have a behind-the-scenes tidbit or two that you didn’t know.
Self-Guided Culture Tour
If theater, ballet and public art are your thing, the Visit Dallas website has a cultural tour map that hits all the hotspots. Get a free online map, with suggested breakfast and lunch stops for each of three full days. The tour takes visitors past colorful murals, through the downtown design district, and inside the Dallas Museum of Art and Wyly Theater. While the self-guided tour is spread over three days, you can cover most of the stops in a single day if you have a car. View the full itinerary HERE.
JFK and Dallas Combo Tour
The city of Dallas has a long and storied history – most notably, as the site of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. History buffs will love this hybrid tour, which combines a 45-minute drive to Lee Harvey Oswald’s boarding house and infamous “backyard photo” location with a citywide drive to 65 major sites including Dealey Plaza. Real-time historical footage of the event plays throughout the JFK section of the tour. But first, guests will see Dallas’ sights, from Pioneer Plaza and Klyde Warren Park to the downtown farmers’ market and the Big Eyeball statue. At just $25 per person, this narrated and guided tour is a budget way to see the city’s landmarks and explore its history in less than two hours total.
Uptown Foodie Walk
If you’re dying to find the best dining in Dallas, look no further than the Uptown Foodie Walk. The 3.5 to 4-hour tour navigates guests through the city’s West Village, stopping at a handful of the trendiest bars and restaurants along the way. The tour happens on foot – which is especially helpful considering the calories you’ll consume at the final dessert stop! Tickets are $72 per person, including tastings, and the tour accommodates up to 16 people. A shorter, less pricey West Village Restaurant Hop is also available on the company’s website.
Nightly Sprits gets spooky with an after-dark tour of “spirited” spots on Friday and Saturday nights. Costumed guides share scary stories of real-life happenings in Dallas while imbibing at a handful of local pubs. In fact, according to the group’s website, these dedicated folks spent “hundreds of hours of tasting drinks in bars, researching history, hunting for ghosts…” to make the tour fantastic. Even if you don’t spot any specters, it’s worth the $25 for a guided tour of the best bars and nightlife.
If you only have time for a tour or two during your vacation, start with the iconic Southfork Ranch and move on from there. You’ll get a quick bust of Dallas history while enjoying the gorgeous weather and hospitality the city is known for. Call 972-442-7800 for more info, or book online. The ranch also offers horseback riding lessons, and has several indoor and outdoor venues perfect for your wedding, family gathering or corporate event.