Dallas the third largest city in Texas and the center of the state's largest metropolitan area, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, is in the north central portion of the state. This populous city is home to the Dallas Mavericks and you'll regularly be reminded of the city's mass enthusiasm for the team. A shopper's paradise, Dallas has more shopping centers per capita than any other city in the US.
Downtown, including the historic West End. Home to a burgeoning residential and nightlife district.
East Dallas - This is the large area north of I-30 and south of Mockingbird, extending from Central Expressway to White Rock Lake and beyond. The closer-in areas are some of the "streetcar suburbs" built from the teens to '30s, with quaint bungalows and neighborhood strips that are teeming with restaurants, taverns, coffeehouses, wine bars, and vintage shops. A large oasis of laid-back in a sometimes uptight city, homey-but-hip East Dallas is a great place to mingle with locals. Contained within East Dallas are Lower Greenville and Deep Ellum.
Lake Highlands, a largely residential area bordering Garland on the north and Mesquite on the east.
North Dallas and Preston Hollow, including the areas along the south side of northern I-635 loop (LBJ) but extending up around the borders of the North Dallas Tollway and Addison. Made up of several upscale neighborhoods, north of the Park Cities and mostly south of LBJ.
Northwest Dallas, home to Koreatown and to Dallas Love Field, the city's second biggest airport.
Oak Cliff, a large low-income, mainly residential district southwest of downtown. North Oak Cliff or "Kessler Park" is another "streetcar suburb" and is home to upscale homes, from vintage 1930's bungalows, to mid-century modern, to new contemporary. The Bishop Arts District, centered on Bishop and Davis streets, is one of the City's hottest areas for new restaurants, cafes, and boutiques, drawing an eclectic crowd in which the creative class and the gay community are well-represented. North Oak Cliff is a slice of Austin in Dallas.
Oak Lawn, north of downtown, Oak Lawn includes established Turtle Creek highrise living, a multitude of Parks and restaurants, dense, urban neighborhoods of mostly townhomes, apartments, and condos, and also includes the gay district of Cedar Springs.
South Dallas, home to the Texas State Fairgrounds, Fair Park is open all year and is home to multiple museums. The Cotton Bowl is at Fair Park, and the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma face off on the gridiron here every year in the fall during the Texas State Fair. The Exposition Park neighborhood across from Fair Park and the DART Fair Park stop, is a little hamlet of hipster bars, clubs, and restaurants.
Uptown - Immediately east of the Oak Lawn district -- a playground and shopping grounds for the beautiful people of the city. Extends from Woodall Rodgers on the south to Haskell on the north, and from Central Expressway on the east to the Katy Trail on the west. Immediately north of Uptown, and sometimes included as part of it, is the Knox Park neighborhood, which includes restaurants and a plethora of upscale home furnishings shops. "Knox/Henderson" is a split personality urban neighborhood worthy of its own designation. The Knox side west of Hwy 75 is the more upscale half, with many restaurants and upscale home decor shops. The Henderson side lagged behind its Knox half, but is now just as trendy, with a more low-key, relaxed vibe. Henderson hot spots now line Henderson all the way from Hwy 75 to Ross. Knox and the western half of Henderson are very pedestrian friendly. Knox/Henderson is just a short walk up the Katy Trail from West Village.
Dallas/Highland Park and University Park. One of the wealthiest areas of the city, the "Park Cities" are mostly residential, but also offer world-class shopping opportunities at Highland Park Village (corner of Mockingbird and Preston) and elsewhere. North Park mall is on the northern edge of the Park Cities. University Park is home to Southern Methodist University (SMU), the Meadows Museum at SMU, and the under-construction George W. Bush Presidential Library.
West Dallas is largely a blighted area of poverty, but it does feature the one-of-a-kind Belmont Hotel, which has arguably the best views of downtown. West Dallas is easily connected to the Oak Cliff area, and is poised for re-development as part of the Trinity River Project, and the under-construction Hunt-Hill Bridge across the Trinity River, designed by famed Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava.
Some area attractions often thought of as Dallas attractions are actually located in the suburbs, notably the following:
Addison, almost surrounded by North Dallas, has a lot of restaurants and shopping packed into its 4 square miles.
Arlington, home to the new Cowboys Stadium, Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, and the ballpark of the Texas Rangers.
Irving, former home of the Dallas Cowboys' Stadium, it serves as the gateway to the massive DFW airport.
The suburbs of Carrollton and Lewisville, north along I-35E have less to offer in terms of attractions, but provide ample tourist accommodations, plenty of restaurants, and are reasonably close to any Dallas destination. The same might be said for Richardson and Plano, which lie north from Dallas along US-75.
Grapevine has a nice historic main street area and numerous wineries.
Many non-natives often have a hard time sizing up Dallas, and indeed, the entire Metroplex. Dallas does not fit many of the typical Texan stereotypes (Western, laid-back, casual), but it also doesn’t often live up to some of the more notorious stereotypes of its own (pretentious, unfriendly, sterile). The truth is, like in many things, somewhere in between.
Dallas is a wonderful place with a great deal to offer and an immense and diverse set of attractions, food and people. From the ultra-modern and posh Uptown and Victory developments, to the old-world elegance and upper-crust attitude of Turtle Creek, to the “real life” feel of largely-suburban North Dallas, it is virtually impossible to neatly categorize Dallas beyond this: it is one of the largest cities in America, and a metro area where more and more people are choosing to work and live every year. With that in mind, you should enjoy visiting Dallas for all the same reasons why others choose to live there.