You’ve heard the old adage that “everything is bigger in Texas.” Well, the same can be said about Dallas, business included.
Although it’s technically not the largest city in The Lone Star State—that distinction belongs to Houston—a trip here can feel overwhelming if you don’t plan accordingly, which is where we come in.
This comprehensive guide for business travelers headed to Dallas explains how best to travel this cosmopolitan and culturally-rich city, where to stay, what to say, where to work, and how you can squeeze much more out of your Dallas business trip, even if you’re only in town for a few days.
Where to Go:
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) welcomes travelers to Texas in typical fashion.
With a tram circling the massive facility—and AT&T Stadium in clear view in the distance—DFW feels like a modern world in and of itself. Here’s how you can enjoy the experience:
|How to Get to Downtown Dallas|
DART Orange Line
Where to Go:
The smaller of the two area airports, Love Field serves Delta, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines. But with the sheer volume of travelers connecting through Dallas, it’s still busy.
Don’t worry, though. Dallas-Love Field, which once served as the city’s primary airport, offers plenty of ways to unwind during your Dallas business trip.
|How to Get to Downtown Dallas|
Texans are a prideful bunch. Make sure you stay on their good side by following these guidelines.
The massive Metroplex challenges all drivers. But if you keep these tips in mind, getting around Dallas isn’t too difficult.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is connected to Google Transit. When you plug your location and destination into the app, it provides up to three travel itineraries that use public transportation.
Speaking of DART, the city’s transit agency, give it a chance. It’s usually your cheapest option, and for that alone, it’s worth considering despite its negative reputation. Besides, for better or worse, the best way to get acclimated to a new city is often riding public transportation.
Dallas ranks as the 25th most-walkable big city in the United States, which means people prefer getting around by car. So plan on your fair share of rides. This also requires you to be diligent about expense-tracking.
If you prefer renting a car—because DFW is a fair distance from Downtown Dallas, it may be a cheaper option than taking a cab—keep it parked at your hotel. Dallas is tough to navigate even for the most experienced drivers.
Although Dallas summers are stiflingly hot, the other seasons are, for the most part, warm and pleasant. Get outside and hop on a rideshare scooter, which is a fun, inexpensive way to cover short distances.
The musical sounds emanating from Dallas-Fort Worth are as big as the cities themselves. The Metroplex has produced some of the most popular acts in a wide range of genres, from rap and hip-hop to country music and heavy metal.
Dallas prides itself on its business, and it has hotels to match. A strong mix of luxury and comfort is the norm here.
You won’t go over budget booking a stay at Aloft Dallas Downtown, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be sacrificing amenities either. The hotel features loft-style rooms, welcoming artsy decor, and an outdoor, heated pool. The pool is open until 11 p.m., an ideal end to a long day of work.
Some business travelers like to stay in the heart of the action, while others prefer a quiet place to retire that’s a comfortable distance from work. If you’re the latter, consider the Belmont Hotel. With its unique rooms and post-World War II architecture (it opened in 1946), the Belmont delivers a different lodging experience than more traditional locales. You’ll still get Wi-Fi, a pool, and a short commute (about 10 minutes) to Downtown Dallas.
Unmistakably prominent against the Dallas skyline, the Omni boasts amenities fitting its enviable location: Luxurious rooms, free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour fitness center, and a heated infinity pool and terrace. The Omni is also connected to the convention center with a wide selection of restaurants and attractions within walking distance.
You’ll be singing the praises of the Hotel Indigo Dallas Downtown, a site once home to the Dallas Opera House. Today, you’ll enjoy a comfortable stay that blends historic decor with modern amenities like a 24-hour fitness center and business services. Oh, and you’ll find rates lower than $100 a night, making the Indigo one of the best bargains in Downtown Dallas.
If you have money to spend, splurge on a night or two at the Joule, a historic hotel in the center of Dallas’s business district. Choose from nine different styles of rooms, from the standard Demi to a penthouse.
In a city populated by suits, you may think it’d be difficult to find a quiet nook to stay productive. Not so. If you need to catch up on work, head to one of these five locations.
Ascension is one of those cafes built for the modern worker. With multiple locations, you can find a spot that works for you. Knock out those emails as you sample local flavors and tasty bites.
Whether you need to bunker down to complete some real work or secure a room for a video meeting, Common Desk is the place to do it. The coworking space has seven locations across Dallas-Fort Worth and offers conference room rentals as well as day passes.
This North Dallas coworking space does things a little differently. NōD welcomes creative-types and independents, specifically video-game designers, through its doors. The atmosphere is unsurprisingly upbeat and vibrant. Park for free, and grab a day pass for $20.
SMU gained notoriety in the 1980s when it received college football’s “death penalty.” That cast a negative cloud over the college, which is a shame because it’s a beautiful campus in the heart of Dallas. A tour of the Meadows Museum can put your mind in the right spot before you settle down in SMU’s ample green space to read through emails or complete miscellaneous tasks.
Old City Park, located just south of Downtown Dallas, juxtaposes the city’s humbling beginnings against what it is today. Stroll through the Dallas Heritage Village, which features preserved buildings from a bygone era, fountains, and walking paths. It’s a great place to make a phone call as you soak up some history.
The legendary Texas food and beer scene is too good to pass up for business travelers with a few hours to spare after work. Check out one of these seven spots.
Bolsa is welcoming in spirit and action, with a happy hour that runs from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. You’ll enjoy $5 specialty cocktails and $3 domestic beers at this farm-to-table restaurant.
Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, Dakota’s Steakhouse pulls you in from the hustle and bustle in a good way. The restaurant is underground, a hideout of sorts that promises great bites and plentiful drinks. Score $4 wells, domestic bottles, draft beers, and house wines from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. before surfacing to the streets.
If you like your happy hour with a view, Five Sixty is your spot. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s Asian-infused restaurant sits atop the Reunion Tower (560 feet off the ground, hence the name). Sip $4 wine, and sample food items off the izakaya menu while you soak in the surrounding city through floor-to-ceiling windows.
The game will always be on at Frankie’s Downtown, the premier sports bar in sports-mad Dallas. Even if you don’t root for the home team, you’ll appreciate the old school vibe—it boasts brick walls and memorabilia—and a new school attitude. Happy hour food and drink specials run all day Tuesday and from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. every other weekday.
If you desire sushi, Uchi is your place. The restaurant has been delighting diners in the Art District since 2015. Score specials on a wide variety of food options—including sushi, maki, dumplings, and more, as well as sake, beer, and wine. The happy hour runs from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
So it’s not exactly a happy hour, but you will be happy there. The appropriately-named Cidercade specializes in hard ciders and arcade games, making it a welcome departure from typical post-work activities. Oh, and the games are free.
Happiest Hour is an establishment that lives up to its name. Want to watch the game? There are more than 25 televisions. Want to hang outside? Happiest Hour features a patio bar as well as a roof deck. Enjoy $3.50 domestic drafts and $5 house wines, well drinks, and frozen rosé from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday through Friday.
When you pack for your Dallas business trip, make sure to include your appetite. There’s no shortage of quality food here.
Although it’s famous for brunch, Bread Winners cooks up delicious plates at all times of the day. The menu, which doubles as poetry, offers smoked gouda fondue as an appetizer and buttermilk fried chicken, among a plethora of options, for a main. You can even have breakfast for dinner, such as fried chicken and waffles, if you so choose.
At Café Momentum, you’ll enjoy a delicious array of farm-to-table menu items while supporting a good cause. The downtown restaurant runs a 12-month paid internship program for young men and women exiting juvenile detention. They learn social and professional skills to not only get back on their feet, but also succeed in life.
A hybrid restaurant that serves Indian, American, and Tex-Mex cuisines, Cosmic Cafe is more than just an eatery. It promises experiences for the body, mind, and soul. And it’s not just a gimmick. Cosmic Cafe routinely ranks as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Dallas.
Swanky is the word to describe Nick & Sam’s. The decor matches the no-nonsense nature of the menu, which features classic steak cuts and specialty, one-name cocktails.
In Dallas, you could go for a Texas-sized steak. You could gorge on brisket. Or you could keep it healthy and light by heading to Sachet. The Mediterranean restaurant features all the staples from the region, including a wide variety of kebabs and seafood options.
There’s an excellent chance that your hotel will have a comprehensive fitness center, so there’s no excuse not to maintain your workout routine. But if you want to get away from the transient setting for a while, you can get a good sweat in at these four places:
Although it’s a fair distance from the city center—a 25-30 minute car ride—the journey to the Cedar Ridge Preserve is worth it for die-hard runners. The variety of trails presents options in length and difficulty while the shade is most welcome during the summer months.
This urban park is always hopping, especially on the weekends. Food trucks, not to mention the skyscrapers that dominate the landscape, give Klyde Warren Park a festive atmosphere, but you can find serenity with free workouts on Saturdays and Sundays, including yoga.
With studios located in urban settings, Corepower separates itself from other yoga practitioners by delivering a variety of classes that fit modern professionals. Work out your mind and body by rolling into one of the six Dallas-Fort Worth locations.
This isn’t the most standard workout, and it takes some bravery—but it is fun. Sandbar Cantina, located in the Deep Ellum neighborhood, features patio seating and...free beach volleyball. Join a game and treat yourself to a light beer in between sets. After all, you are exercising.
Adjacent to the Joule (see above), Vital is an underground fitness studio—in a very literal sense—that will get you sweating. Choose from an assortment of classes: Yoga, strength-training, conditioning, boxing, and more. Pay just $10 for your first class. You won’t be disappointed (but you will be tired).
Texas, and Dallas in particular, has a way of looming large at every step. Do yourself a favor and take time to explore all the city has to offer on a bleisure day. Here’s a sample itinerary to consider.
No one does breakfast like the South. And although Texans will tell you their state is a region (country?) unto itself, the southern influence is real at Ellen’s. The popular brunch spot serves breakfast all day with a menu that pulls no punches: How about a Big Ol’ Breakfast in the morning?
American history changed on November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza. It remains the most infamous moment in Dallas history. Today, that tragedy is memorialized in the Sixth Floor Museum (pictured above), where visitors can go through the events of that day and learn about JFK’s legacy.
The somewhat odd name for this lively neighborhood stems from a local drawl: Elm was stretched into a two-syllable word that has stuck as a moniker for more than a century. You’ll find plenty of breweries, bars, theaters, shops, and restaurants lining the streets, the perfect place for an afternoon stroll.
With franchises in the NFL (Cowboys), NBA (Mavericks), NHL (Stars), MLB (Rangers), WNBA (Wings), and MLS (FC Dallas), there are ample opportunities to catch a game while you’re in Dallas. If you find yourself there in the summer, prioritize a trip to Globe Life Field, the sparkling new home of the Texas Rangers.
You can’t go to Texas on a bleisure trip without catching live music. The House of Blues Dallas acts big and small seemingly every night, with a great selection of food and beverages to boot.