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FinCon, Podcast

Best Things to Do in Dallas, Texas with Philip Taylor

Best Things to Do in Dallas Philip Taylor PT Money headshot

It’s a real honor for me to be able to interview Philip Taylor about Dallas, Texas. The conference that Pete put on each year is called FinCon. The relationships and knowledge I’ve gained from attending his conference are what has led me to be here today as the host of this podcast. The community that he has built is life-changing, and I knew that he would be the right person to share what he knows about Dallas with all of you. Here are PT’s tips for the best things to do in Dallas, Texas.

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Dallas, Texas

Dallas is one of the most visited cities in Texas and is the commercial and cultural hub of the region. It is the home to professional sports teams from the NBA, MLB, NFL, and NHL. And locals have amazing pride in the culture, food, and fun that awaits visitors to their city. Over the last 17 years that PT has lived in Dallas, he’s witnessed a move towards more culturally rich experiences over chain retailers and restaurants.

When you visit, keep in mind that it gets really hot in the summertime (June to October). During the summer, most locals turn into early morning or late night people to avoid the heat. Or they find a pool or lake to splash around and have fun with friends. Philip suggests you visit during his favorite time of the year – late October to mid-December – so you can enjoy the best weather.

When exploring the city, a Dallas City Pass will help you save 40% on four of the most popular attractions in the city.

Best things to do in Dallas

Here are some of the best things to do in Dallas, Texas, according to our local expert, Philip Taylor. And I’ve added some additional options based on my research and places I’ve visited.

  • American Airlines Center – catch a Dallas Mavericks basketball game or Dallas Stars hockey game at this arena.
  • AT&T Stadium – watch a Dallas Cowboys game at the “house that Jerry built.” The scoreboard is the largest screen I have ever seen!
  • Bahama Beach Waterpark – the best family waterpark value in the metroplex is just 10 minutes south of downtown Dallas. They are open seasonally with 45-foot tall slides for the big kids and an interactive water playground with a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket for the little ones.
  • Bishop Arts District – is known for its diverse nightlife, chic independent fashion stores, and colorful street art.
  • Crow Museum of Asian Art – inspires and promotes learning and dialogue about the arts and cultures of Asia.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – a major hub for American Airlines. A very big and busy airport. Plenty of lounges here, including the revamped American Express Centurion Lounge. Get yourself a free massage if you have an Amex Platinum card.
  • Dallas Love Field Airport – a smaller airport in Dallas. This is a Southwest hub so Southwest flights will fly through here rather than DFW.
  • Dallas Zoo – began in 1888 with just two deer and two mountain lions in City Park. It moved to Marsalis Park in 1912, where it stands today. Today, the Dallas Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals. You can even feed giraffes here!
  • George W. Bush Library – Presidential libraries often act as time capsules to what was happening in the world when they were President. No matter your politics, visiting these museums is a worthwhile experience. PT recommends the 9/11 exhibit which is a powerful remembrance of the chaotic days that followed after the terrorist attacks and how Americans came together.
  • Granada Theater – a fun place to catch local concerts.
  • Grapevine Vintage Railroad – a fun place to see vintage trains. Take a ride along the scenic Cotton Belt route in a 1920’s era coach and vintage locomotives.
  • Katy Trail – is privately funded and supported by the community. The trail is built on an old railroad line and is an iconic destination for the people of Dallas.
  • Klyde Warren Park – an urban park perched above an 8-lane highway. A unique use of public space that other cities should adopt.
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science – there are 5 levels of adventure and learning packed into this interactive museum. Visitors can race a T. rex, challenge friends in robot competitions, experience a simulated earthquake, and journey through the universe.
  • Pioneer Plaza – is a large public park located in the Convention Center District of downtown Dallas. There’s a large bronze sculpture with cowboys and cattle representing the history of the town. A Confederate War Memorial is also nearby.
  • Reunion Tower – the tower features light shows, 360-degree city views, 2 restaurants & a gift shop 470 feet in the air. See Dallas like nobody else can from atop this tower.
  • Six Flags Over Texas – thrill-seekers will want to make a visit to Six Flags to ride the latest roller coaster that will make you scream with excitement.
  • Texas State Fair Park – everything is bigger in Texas. The Texas State Fair has been in existence since 1886. It runs every October and you don’t want to miss it.
  • The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens – explore 66 acres of the beauty of nature along White Rock Lake. A great way to get away from the normal tourist attractions and embrace nature within the city.
    Best Things to Do in Dallas Philip Taylor Dallas Arboretum
  • The Great Trinity Forest – get a real cowboy experience by riding some horses at the Texas Horse Park inside this forest.
  • The Kessler Theater – one of Pete’s favorite venues to catch a live band.
  • The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza – experience one of the pivotal moments in American history. The scene where President Kennedy was shot is near pristine. I’ve been to this museum a handful of times and is an excellent reminder of a dark period in our history. This is PT’s number one suggestion when visiting Dallas.
  • Trees – one of the first concert venues PT took his wife when they were dating. Excellent music.
  • White Rock Lake – a 1,015-acre city lake that is located approximately 5 miles northeast of downtown Dallas. It is one of the most heavily used parks in the area with over 1 million visitors each year.
  • Wild Bill’s Western Store – for a true Texas experience, you’ll want to visit a store like Wild Bill’s to see how cowboy hats are made and fitted just right.
  • Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park – a one-of-a-kind Texas theme park founded in 1992 with a single goal: to be the most extreme amusement park in the world.

If you can schedule your visit to Dallas for October, you’ll get to experience the Texas State Fair, one of the best state fairs in America. And, you’ll be visiting during PT’s favorite time of the year when the leaves have started to change color and the weather isn’t as hot as the summertime months.

Best Things to Do in Dallas Philip Taylor Texas State Fair

Here’s a short list of the current events happening in Dallas that you can buy tickets for.

The Dallas City Pass offers tremendous discounts on some of the most popular attractions in Dallas. You will save 38% off the regular admission price at these attractions with the City Pass:

  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science
  • Reunion Tower GeO-Deck
  • The Sixth Floor Museum OR Dallas Zoo
  • George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum OR Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Looking for other things to do? Here are the top 10 sightseeing tickets and packages for Dallas.

Or, you can buy one of the Lonely Planet books, which are another excellent resource. Their current promo offers 3 books for the price of two.

Best places to eat in Dallas

With a history rich in cattle, it’s no surprise that BBQ in Dallas is a big deal. They focus on mouth-watering slow-cooked brisket without a lot of sauce. And Texas is also the home to delicious Tex-Mex, which is a Texas twist to traditional Mexican dishes. Here are PT’s suggestions for the best places to eat in Dallas.

  • Cafe Brazil – make sure you try the chorizo empanadas and buttery crepes.
  • Campisi’s – a local Italian restaurant chain that has been serving iconic, award-winning pizzas and family Italian dishes since 1946.
  • Dallas Farmers Market – they seek to cultivate a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle for all of North Texas with fresh produce and amazing food.
  • Deep Ellum – is an entertainment district is known for its street murals, art galleries and concert venues for indie and blues. Brewpubs, cocktail bars and Tex-Mex eateries attract a lively crowd on weekends.
  • El Fenix Mexican Restaurant – is the oldest Mexican chain in the US. This is the original location for this Tex-Mex restaurant.
  • Emporium Pies – a specialty pie shop that uses high-quality ingredients that change with the seasons.
  • Happiest Hour – has Dallas’ largest patio bar and lounge featuring a rooftop deck with impressive views and four full-service bars spread out over 12,000 square feet. Beer drinkers have more than 50 different beer selections to choose from.
  • Hard Eight BBQ – a favorite BBQ place of my buddy Ed from the Miles To Go Podcast. If you have enough time between flights going through DFW, you can get some “layover BBQ” before your next flight.
  • Hutchins BBQ – this BBQ joint offers “brisket in the ‘burbs” as PT would call it. Definitely, a worthwhile place to grab some amazing brisket.
    Best Places to Eat in Dallas Philip Taylor Hutchins BBQ
  • Hypnotic Donuts & Biscuits – the original craft donut shop in Dallas that also makes “semi-world famous” chicken biscuits that are simply amazing.
  • Mama’s Daughters’ Diner – offers traditional home cooking. Make sure you try the biscuits and gravy or the pancakes.
  • Mercat Bistro – a French cuisine restaurant in Uptown. PT says you need to order the Green Tea Croissant.
  • Mi Cocina – delicious Mexican food. Philip says the Sunset Fajitas are amazing.
  • Overeasy – one of the best places to have breakfast. Order a biscuit and hashbrown bomb. You’ll thank us later.
  • Pecan Lodge – delicious BBQ that is available only until it sells out each day. The pictures look amazing! This might be my first stop when I get off the plane in Dallas the next time I’m in town.
  • rise nº1 Salon de Soufflé – I love this quote on their website – “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy marshmallow soup, which is kinda the same thing.” They offer sweet or savory souffles that will have you begging for more.
  • Shake Shack – normally we wouldn’t include a fast food restaurant on this list, but there’s a Dallas-exclusive on the menu: the jalapeno cheese sausage links from Pecan Lodge.
  • The LOT – a beer garden and children’s play area. What could go wrong? To me, this sounds perfect. Something to make both the adults and the children happy.

Best places to stay in Dallas

When you come to visit The Big D, here are the best places to stay in Dallas, Texas.

  • Best Western Plus DFW Airport Suites – this Best Western category 3 hotel is 16,000 points per night. It gets the nod because it is so close to the DFW airport.
  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Dallas-Love Field (Medical Center), TX – I’m a sucker for free breakfast and this hotel brand offers a good one. This Radisson Rewards category 2 hotel is 15,000 points per night. For people flying into Love Field, this hotel is perfect for you.
  • Crowne Plaza Dallas Near Galleria-Addison – this IHG Rewards category 3 hotel is 20,000 points per night.
  • Days Inn by Wyndham Market Center Dallas – With Wyndham Rewards, any hotel is available for a fixed 15,000 per night.
  • Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center – guests are in for an amazing experience at this Marriott Rewards category 5 hotel. Free nights are 30,000 to 40,000 points per night. This hotel is located on the shores of Lake Grapevine with 4.5 acres of indoor gardens, 10 restaurants, seasonal water park, and two pools.
  • Grand Hyatt DFW – its hard to match the convenience of a hotel that is literally inside the airport. This World of Hyatt category 4 hotel is 15,000 points per night. You can use the annual free night from the Chase World of Hyatt Visa to stay here for free.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Dallas – I stayed at this Hilton Honors hotel in 2017 during PT’s FinCon event. They have a delicious breakfast and comfy rooms. This Hilton Honors category 5 hotel is 30,000 to 40,000 points per night.
  • Omni Dallas Hotel – one of the premier Dallas hotels that caters to a business clientele.
  • Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel – this Marriott Rewards category 3 hotel is 15,000 to 20,000 points per night. It used to be the Intercontinental Dallas from IHG Rewards.
  • The Statler Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton – the Curio Collection by Hilton always offers unique hotels that are worth the experience. The Statler is within walking distance to Dallas’ must-see attractions, shopping, nightlife, restaurants and museums. This Hilton Honors hotel starts at 60,000 points per night.

AirBnB is also a great option. Use our referral link to get $40 off your first AirBnB stay.

For other hotel options and prices for the best places to stay in Dallas, Texas, use, Expedia,, Priceline, Travelocity, or TripAdvisor.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Getting around Dallas

Travelers have two choices when flying into Dallas. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (aka DFW)  is the larger airport that offers international flights and plenty of airport lounges. American Airlines uses DFW as one of its hubs. You can take the DART Train from DFW to Dallas or Fort Worth. And it’s only $3!

Love Field is also a good option. It is closer to Downtown and Southwest uses it as its hub. The security lines can get crowded, so be sure to sign up for CLEAR if you’ll be flying to Love Field on a regular basis to avoid the lines.

Philip says that Dallas is definitely a driving town. It is quite spread out. Inexpensive parking can be found if you’re willing to walk a couple of blocks. There is public transportation but it can be slow.

If you need to rent a car, click here for the best offers from Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around if you don’t want to rent a car.

If you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

The Final Countdown

1) If a traveler could only have one meal in Dallas – PT says that you have to visit Mi Cocina’s, a local Tex-Mex chain, for one of their Sunset Fajitas. It’s a Tex-Mex version of a fajita with the chain’s special “sunset sauce.”

2) Favorite memory of Dallas – when PT first moved to Dallas and met his wife, they would drive into Deep Ellum to see bands and go on dates. One of the first bands they saw was The Killers at Trees. Exploring the city while listening to good music and eating delicious food made for many memorable dates with PT and his future wife.

3) Happiest Happy Hour in Dallas – there’s literally a bar named Happiest Hour in Dallas. So, of course, that’s where you need to go for happy hour. If you’re headed to a Mavericks or Stars game at American Airlines Center, this is a perfect place for pre-game drinks and food.

4) Best place for pepperoni pizza in Dallas – Campisi’s is PT’s choice for the best pizza in Dallas. They serve pizza with a thin crust that is personal pan style. The original location on Mockingbird has a lot of cool pictures related to the history of the Dallas mafia. You can even get some of this pizza at Love Field if you’re flying through town.

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Philip Taylor about Dallas, Texas.. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Dallas, Texas.
  • Green dots = best things to do in Dallas, Texas.
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Dallas, Texas.

Who is Philip Taylor?

Philip Taylor is a former accountant who started a personal finance blog called Part-Time Money to help people earn money on side-gigs. Blogging can be a lonely hobby or career, so PT took it upon himself to create a conference for people who love writing about personal finance. FinCon is now an annual event and it rotates locations around the country each year.

Best Things to Do in Dallas Philip Taylor PT Money headshot

Here are a few of his latest articles:

As you can tell, his writing is very much geared towards side hustles that people can do in addition to their full-time job or instead of a full-time job.

You can connect with Philip Taylor at his website and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. And you can find out more about FinCon here.

Big thanks to today’s affiliate partner – CLEAR

Don’t you just hate waiting in line for security at the airport? Me too! Even the PreCheck lines are slammed most of the time.

That’s why I use CLEAR to skip the lines and get to my flight quicker.

For my listeners, I’ve worked out a special deal where you can try CLEAR free for 2 months. This is a limited time offer, so go to to sign up today.

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best Things to Do in Orlando Florida Josh Elledge headshot 2018-2Listen to the next episode when Josh Elledge of Savings Angel and Up My Influence shares how to save money and time at the theme parks in Orlando. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Dallas? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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