Dallas on a Budget: How to Do a Weekend for $300
You could roam Dallas–Fort Worth for a week and still not see all the major attractions the massive metroplex has to offer. But Dallas is also a great place for a smaller-scale getaway, especially considering how easy it is to explore the city on the cheap. If you know what you're doing, you can easily see Dallas on a budget of $300 or less for an entire weekend, with hotel, food, and activities included. Check out our recommendations to see how it's done:
Hotel: about $120–$200
Considering how much area Dallas-Fort Worth covers, you might think you'd have to stay way out on the outskirts of the city to find a decent hotel deal. But in fact there are affordable options close to major Dallas activities and attractions. Here are a few examples:
Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel: Located near the Fort Worth Convention Center and less than 3 miles from the city's museum district, this is a great option for visitors interested in the "FW" part of D-FW (starting at $105/night).
Sheraton Dallas Hotel by the Galleria: This hotel provides easy access to Galleria Dallas, where you can shop at Louis Vuitton, Aldo, Pottery Barn, and dozens of other stores (starting at $64/night).
Best Western Plus Hotel & Conference Center: This ultra-budget option still has plenty of amenities, including free wi-fi and breakfast and newly remodeled cocktail lounge (starting at $59/night).
Holiday Inn Dallas Market Center: Easily reach Dallas Market Center exhibitions, plus American Airlines Center and the city's museums, at this affordable hotel (starting at $85/night).
Food & Drink: about $55
A big ol' Texas-sized steak may not be in your price range on a budget weekend like this, but that doesn't mean you can't still eat like royalty. (Kings and queens like tacos too, we assume.) Here's where to eat great for cheap:
Lunch on Day 1: $10 for Mexican food at Mercado Juarez Cafe
Dinner on Day 1: $19 for Caribbean food at Jamaica Gates Caribbean Cuisine
Lunch on Day 2: $12.50 for pizza at Picasso's Pizza & Grill
Dinner on Day 2: $12.50 for French food at Cafe de France
Sightseeing & Attractions: $17 or Less
Visitors are sometimes surprised to learn just how vibrant the arts and culture scenes are in both Dallas and Fort Worth. The area has a first-class set of museums and performing arts centers, covering everything from science to the symphony. Here are some remarkably affordable highlights:
SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium: Thousands of marine animals fill 30 tanks at this large-scale aquarium, home to an overhead tunnel tank that lets you experience life on the ocean floor (starting at $16.50).
Perot Museum of Science: See a giant T.Rex fossil, race a virtual cheetah, and control a battle robot at this five-floor museum featuring 11 large exhibit halls (starting at $11).
Frontiers of Flight Museum: The actual Apollo 7 command module is the marquee attraction at this museum, which also hosts salvage from the Hindenburg and more than 30 vintage aircraft ($12 for two tickets).
Trinity River Audubon Center: Take a walk or kayak tour through Great Trinity Forest to see herons, egrets, beavers, turtles, otters, and more (starting at $16.50).
Other Activities: $32 or Less
The Texas wilderness provides plenty of opportunity for adventure while you're staying in Dallas. Peel away from downtown for a day to glimpse the area's outdoor scene, or to relax with a glass of locally produced wine:
Delaney Vineyards & Winery: Tour a 100-acre vineyard that produces grapes for cabernet, sauvignon, and merlot, then sample the wine during a tasting session (starting at $13).
DFW Adventure Park: Whizz through the treetops on ziplines as high as 40 feet and as long as 400 feet at a park that also offers paintball and obstacle races (starting at $31.50).
Texas Discovery Gardens: Roam a 7.5-acre estate filled with themed gardens, then watch as newly emerged butterflies are released into the butterfly garden ($12.50).
North Texas Outdoor Pursuit Center: The historic grain silos of Carrollton have been converted to 100+-foot climbing walls at this unusual gym, which also organizes wilderness climbing excursions (starting at $24).
Sean is a senior editor and a gradually improving cook. He once asked a man at an airport if he was Kevin Sorbo, and the man said no, but it was totally Kevin Sorbo.