Contrary to popular perception, visitors can get around Dallas without a car. An extensive network of public transport links the main attractions within the city and the city with both main airports, Dallas-Ft. Worth International (DFW) and Dallas Love Field. The DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transport) manages light railway trains, buses, trolleys and even a streetcar which make it possible to see all the sights without having to worry about parking and tolls.
From the airports
If you fly into DFW, you can take a DART Orange Line train from Terminal A. The approximate travel time to the West End Historic District is 50 minutes. Conversely, if you fly into Dallas Love Field Airport, you should take the Love Link 524 bus from the airport to Inwood/Love Field Station and then either the Green Line or the Orange Line into Dallas, depending on your hotel’s location.
The M-Line trolley
The M-Line Trolley is a fun way to get around. Although we live in Dallas, we like to hop on the historic cars, which have names like Green Dragon or Matilda, and trundle along pretending to be tourists. The trolleys link the Dallas Arts District with trendy Uptown and the bars and restaurants along McKinney Avenue. The service is free but a voluntary donation is encouraged. You can hop on and off along the way. The stops are clearly marked, so look out for the brown McKinney Avenue Trolley badge nailed to a post.
After you’ve visited the Dallas Central Library, admired I.M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall, and taken photos of the bronze longhorns at Pioneers Plaza, you can head to the d-Link (Route 722) stop at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. From there, you can head to Uptown and points in between, including the Farmers Market or Deep Ellum. Stops 19, 20, and 21 on Flora and Pearl Streets are close to the museums, performance theaters, and opera houses of the wonderful Arts District. The d-Link bus service is free and it operates Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every 15 minutes.
Both the M-Line trolley and the d-Link bus serve the Historic West End District. Its brick warehouses speak of an industrial past, whereas the 6th Floor Museum -dedicated to the life, death, and legacy of JFK. 411 Elm Street- and the Holocaust Museum (211 North Record Street #100) are stark reminders of how wicked man can be. The West End is also the place where John Neely Bryan, Dallas’ founder, first settled in November 1841. A replica of his log cabin sits in Founder’s Plaza on Elm and Market Streets. Across the street, on Main and Market, John F Kennedy’s memorial reminds us of another crucial historical moment.
The latest addition to the transport network is the Dallas Streetcar, which is also free of charge. Its daily service runs every 20 minutes from 5.30 a.m. until midnight. The modern streetcar runs smoothly and comfortably between Union Station (400 South Houston Street) and Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff. My favorite part is seeing the Dallas skyline when crossing the Houston Street Viaduct Bridge. From the Bishop Arts stop, it’s a short walk to the bars, restaurants, and stores of this quirky and hip area.
The DART light rail and buses
Four DART Rail lines and 132 bus routes connect Downtown Dallas with outlying neighborhoods, even the Dallas Zoo (650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway) and the Arboretum (8525 Garland Road). There are two fare types: local, for the DART Rail and buses, and regional, for the Trinity Railway Express to Fort Worth, as well as rail and buses. The passes can be bought on buses with exact change ($2.50), from Ticket Vending Machines located at every station (cash or card), and from the GoPass app. The passes, two-hour or day ones, are good for unlimited rides within that period. 7 day passes are available both from vending machines and the GoPass app.
After walking, the public transportations network is the best way to see the sights, enjoy great meals, indulge in some shopping, and cultivate your mind at Dallas’s fantastic museums.