How to NOT Look Like a Tourist in Dallas, USA

“The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas” ~ June Hershey.

Ever wondered what the secret is to having the most enjoyable trip possible? Welcome to my “Be Invisible” series – your ultimate guide for how to not look like a tourist on your next adventure and guaranteed to boost your entire travel experience.

Bursting with helpful tips and tricks, I’ve asked locals from particular cities around the world to share their insider knowledge on the best ways travellers can become “invisible” when visiting their city and enjoy it like a local. If you’re ready to challenge travel stereotypes, overcome language barriers and embrace what I like to call invisible tourism, you’ve come to the right place!

This local’s guide for how to not look like a tourist in Dallas was written by Janiel from Culture Trekking. As I am yet to visit Dallas myself, I am very glad to share her tips for how to best blend in with Dallasites so you can make the most of your time and experience the city like a local, written by a local!
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How to Not Look Like a Tourist in Dallas, Texas, USA | The Invisible Tourist
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How to NOT look like a tourist in Dallas, TX

Dallas is a huge metropolis unlike any other city in Texas. Although Fort Worth is close by and often lumped into the same sentence when describing this area, Dallas couldn’t be more opposite than its neighbour.

In this melting pot city of this unique state, it is important to know where to go and where not to go. How to dress and truly how to be invisible when you are travelling here, lest you stick out like a sore thumb and open yourself up as a target of crime and or ridicule.

What NOT to wear in Dallas

First of all, there isn’t one thing you can wear to Dallas as a whole that would allow you to fit in. I know that there are loads of jokes about big hair, cowboy boots and what not…. but Dallas is none of those things. What to wear truly depends on the area you are going to be travelling in and to.

What to wear in North Dallas

If you are in North Dallas or any of the surrounding areas casual dress is accepted, and typically tennis shoes or sandals are the norms (for summertime). In winter time, these surrounding areas are filled with sweaters like you would find in Target and Ross, paired with some comfortable boots.

What to wear in Downtown Dallas

If you are in Downtown Dallas, Uptown or any area within 15 minutes drive of the AT&T stadium, you need to dress like you are going to an interview. People in Downtown Dallas are very Posh and proper and dress like they are meeting their significant other for the first time.

This applies even if you are going to the grocery store. When I first moved to Dallas, I was staying with a friends mom in the rich neighbourhood and was instructed that I needed to dress a little more appropriately when going to the grocery store.

Needless to say, I value comfort vs trying to conform to the norm…. so I stayed on the outskirts of Dallas. If you are visiting Fort Worth cowboy boots are ok, but don’t even think about wearing cowboy boots in Downtown Dallas otherwise you will stick out like a sore thumb.

READ MORE:

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Getting around in Dallas like a local

Uber…. need I say more on this? If you don’t know what Uber or Lyft are, you may need to get out of the house a little more. Download the Uber App and see how amazing it is to not pay double the price for a taxi, and how much more hospitable this can be.

If you are flying into Fort Worth Texas, you can get on the train towards downtown Dallas. The trip will be around 1hr 30 minutes, but with how terrible traffic is there….you could spend around 3 hours in traffic depending on the time of day. Don’t ride the train at night though, get a rideshare….the trains get a little sketchy at night.

Where to stay in Dallas

I would personally stay in Fort Worth for one or two nights and stay near Six Flags resort. Especially if you are visiting during the summer, this will be a good introduction to the extreme heat and humidity that is DFW area. Six Flags has a water park as well, so you can blend in with the locals trying to escape the heat, and enjoy some adrenaline fun.

Once you have tasted Fort Worth, hop on the train over to Downtown Dallas and try to find a hotel in Uptown. Staying in Uptown will give you access to the local hangouts and put you very close to Downtown Dallas if you choose to visit some of the more touristic areas.

Fun things to do in Dallas

The Majestic Theatre is a must stop by and take a tour, only because of its history & truly being a representation that Texas always ‘does it big’. Built in February 1920 and costing nearly 2 million dollars at that time, this theatre has some of the longest standing histories in Dallas. It is five stories tall with a large marquee on the fourth floor.

Do you believe it had a fantasy playroom called Majestic land complete with a petting zoo and a nursery? The theatre was eventually abandoned and then after nearly 10 years of being closed, was renovated and now has some pretty amazing concerts there.

If the sit-down theatre isn’t your thing, then head over to Deep Ellum in East Dallas. This is where many of the artistic venues are located and are frequented by locals. The streets have quite a bit of foot traffic, but no place to park. Take the train over if you want to blend into the local crowds.

Stop off at the Angry Dog Pub or grab some BBQ at Pecan Lodge. This is one of the happening places for both locals and visitors, check out the Deep Ellum Concert schedules for more information on tickets.

If pubs and concerts aren’t your thing head to the Perot Science Museum and Dallas World Aquarium on the weekend. This is where loads of both families and single folks go on the weekend to enhance their knowledge base. The Perot Museum is a self-watering and self-sustained building, it doesn’t look like there is much in or to the building, but it is both a child and adult playground to be sure.

If you go to the Dallas World Aquarium, be prepared to enter the jungle… it doesn’t feel like a normal aquarium, it feels like they transported you to another world when you walk through those doors. My favourite part was the fishes in the basement area with all the types of fish from the different areas of the world.

Eat where the locals eat like you’re living in Dallas

Take your pick! Dallas is a known foodie area with competition so severe that unless you are the best of the best, and do everything to perfection…..well, your business goes under. I would avoid the big name restaurants, and go to the small business restaurants in Uptown. Grab your phone and use Yelp to see what is near you, what is open. The reviews for the restaurants in Dallas on Yelp are pretty accurate.

If you are looking for a great BBQ place, you have to go to Sweet Georgia Brown. It is near Oakcliff it is a really shady neighbourhood and I would not go there at night, but man oh man. Their BBQ is the BEST! I am not a rib, BBQ type of person… but this place…. ugh, my mouth is watering even thinking about it.

Make sure you take your cholesterol pills before going though, you will need it! When I was working in the Intensive Care Unit at the Veterans Affairs Hospital right by this place, the Anesthesiologists would routinely buy the students food from this place because of how deliciously sinful it is.

Local knowledge for how to stay safe in Dallas

There is so much to do and see in Dallas, with such a melting pot of people. With this melting pot also comes some dangers that you MUST be aware of:

  • Don’t stop at a gas station alone at night unless you absolutely have to
  • Lock your car whenever you leave it, and don’t ever leave the car running
  • Make sure you park in areas with both lights and cameras
  • If you go out at night, make sure you have a buddy with you
  • If you are going hiking along any trail or secluded area carry Mace or have someone with you.

Overall Dallas is a relatively safe place, but while I was living there many people I knew were got into serious trouble by making simple mistakes that could have been avoided. Be smart, do not give someone the benefit of the doubt. If you are driving, know that you will get cut off, honked at, and the fast lane doesn’t always mean people are going fast. Obey the law, don’t go out at night and be vigilant about your safety.

Dallas in a nutshell

The Dallas-Fort-Worth area is a mixed bag of emotions for me because of all that I experienced there. It has the best of the best, and the worst of the worst. I would, however, highly recommend visiting… especially during the time of the Texas State Fair. How you dress and if you don’t throw a few y’all’s or ‘have a blessed day’ in your conversation they will know you aren’t local.

If you like any team other than the Cowboys, don’t mention it or get into an argument about it. There are loads of things to do in the Uptown area and you will have no problem finding things to do or places to eat. Most of all, have fun and be safe. Have a blessed day y’all, and how ‘bout dem cowboys!

Janiel is the Founder at CultureTrekking.com. Her community aims to connect with different cultures, explore without boundaries and find unique art and adventure wherever you may be. Be sure to follow her on YouTube and Instagram for more adventure inspiration.

Ready to ‘be invisible’ in Dallas?

Now you’ve discovered the best secrets for how to avoid looking like a tourist in Dallas, perhaps you’re ready to make the trip! Why not find out more about the city or compare hotel prices here

If you’d like to learn learn my strategies for how to not look like a tourist ANYWHERE, take a look at my  book – it was a #1 Amazon New Release!

Do you have any extra tips to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below. I hope you enjoyed this instalment of my Be Invisible series! If you found this helpful, please share it or follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok for more!

Until next time, 

The Invisible Tourist


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4 Comments

  1. Hi Alyse, love the cowboy boots picture at the top of the post. May I ask which shop is that? I’m visiting the Dallas area this weekend. Thank you for the article!

    1. Hi Bonnie,
      The cowboy boots photo isn’t from a store, it’s just a stock image 🙂
      I hope you find some cowboy boots you love!

  2. I’ve lived in Dallas for over 2 years and absolutely love the city! There are a lot of entertainment options, tons of restaurants with all types of cuisine and great breweries.

    I mainly wanted to chime in regarding your “staying safe” section. Dallas definitely has some spots that you should avoid or be cautious in, but that is no different than any other large city. Just be aware of your surroundings and smart. Glad you enjoyed your visit :).

    1. Hi Eva, I agree! Dallas definitely sounds like a great place to visit for the reasons you mention. This article was written by a local of Dallas as I am yet to personally visit 🙂 This Dallas article is part of my series where I ask bloggers around the world for do’s and dont’s in their cities so visitors can “be invisible” and blend in amongst locals. I completely agree with you about being aware of your surroundings in any place you visit. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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