While Dallas is not an outwardly expensive town, like any vacation, visitors can rack up a large bill if they are not careful with their spending. Dallas has a lot of luxuries to splurge on and visitors will give in to a few of them. However, the town also hosts a number of cheap and free activities that are equally as interesting as the luxuries. Those looking to visit Dallas on a budget will want to check out these eight ways to experience this vast Texan metropolis.
1. Eat Tex-Mex on the Cheap
It might be tempting to enter one of the extravagant steakhouses in Dallas, and visitors should give in at least once. However, for the everyday eats, visitors will need something cheaper. Dallas and indeed all of Texas is the land of the Tex-Mex. Taco stands, fish stands, and little meat grills line the streets serving up tasty and cheap food. Visitors should hit up Sol's Taco Lounge for classier cheap tacos or Texedelphia for spicy cheesesteaks that could give Philadelphia a run for their money.
2. Hang Out at the World's Biggest Honky Tonk
Creativecommons.org/ David Herrera
A honky tonk is quintessentially Texan. It's essentially a cheap bar combined with a dance club that revels exclusively in country music. While everything is bigger in Texas, Billy Bob's Honky Tonk is the biggest of the honky tonk joint in Texas. This massive establishment has a huge bar counter and a sprawling dance floor where visitors can practice their two-steppin'. There is a cover for Billy Bob's, but it is an affordable $2. This honky tonk also host concerts for some of the biggest names in country music, so on concert days the price at the door is much more. However, even on non-concert days, it is still a fun place to be.
3. Enjoy Free MuseumsCreativecommons.org/ Nicolas Henderson
Dallas has an overabundance of museums -- more than even the most busy museum junkie could enjoy in one trip. The best news is that while admission to all museums never rises above $10, general admission for many of them is free. The biggest free admission museum is the Dallas Museum of Art where visitors can explore the extensive collection of international art. This museum also offers a number of fun and interactive programs for kids in the summer. Those who crave more art can travel to the Kimball Art Museum and Amon Carter Museum for more free admission and beautiful exhibits. The true capitalism enthusiast can tour the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing free of charge as well. It is a real treat to see money printed, especially as Dallas is the only place beside Washington D.C. where it is done.
4. Take in a Ball Game
Creativecommons.org/ Brent Moore
Sure, the Texas Rangers are no New York Yankees, but they know how to treat their fans. Admission to the grandstands at the door is only an affordable $10. Dallas is one of the best and cheapest places to take in a baseball game in the United States, so the visiting sports enthusiast will surely find something to enjoy, even if they aren't a Rangers fan.
5. Explore the Uptown District by Trolley
Creativecommons.org/ Bonita de Boer
Dallas has a sad lack of free tours of their fair city. However, those who don't need a guide can still see a fair portion of it for free. The McKinney Avenue Trolley, otherwise known as the M-Line, takes visitors through the vast and bustling Uptown district of Dallas -- completely free. Visitors can ride this old-fashioned streetcar, hopping on and off when they please. The Uptown district is a great place for shopping and having an affordable lunch, so riding around on the trolley is a decent way to spend a day.
6. See a Round-Up at the Stockyards
Creativecommons.org/ danzil raines
While Pioneer Plaza provides all the fun of a cattle drive immortalized in gigantic bronzed statues, it just doesn't beat the real thing. At the Fort Worth Stockyards, visitors can watch as modern day cowboys drive their cattle through the streets towards the stockyards that are surrounded by the best steakhouses in the city. Nothing says fresh like having the stockyards right in back of your steakhouse, after all. The cows are brought through the street twice a day at 11 AM and 4 PM, right in time for lunch and dinner. Those looking to try and eat their way to a free meal after seeing their steaks walking through the street can try the 72 ounce steak challenge at Cattleman's Steakhouse. It's free if you eat it all in under an hour, but $100 if you don't.
7. Join Conspiracy Theorist at the JFK Assassination Grounds
Creativecommons.org/ Francisco Antunes
Dallas is eternally famous for being the assassination grounds for one of the more famous United States presidents, John F Kennedy. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy and his wife were riding through Dallas in a convertible when Lee Harvey Oswald shot him in the head. Today, conspiracy theorists and tourists alike visit the site of the assassination in Dealey Plaza to try and figure out the mysteries between the inconsistencies in the story and the man that may or may not have been on the grassy knoll. While the plaza is free to visit, the Sixth Floor Museum where Oswald supposedly took the shot costs $13 for admission.
8. Enjoy Cheap BBQCreativecommons.org/ amanderson2
While Tex-Mex is the cheapest way to eat everyday in Dallas, barbeque is a classic staple in Texas and is present all over Dallas. While it may be huge helpings of meat, Texas is where most of the meat comes from, keeping prices low. At places like Hutchins BBQ, Mama Faye's and Cousin's, diners can get huge helpings of smoked and sauced ribs, tender brisket, sausage and smoked chicken with three or four sides for around $15. The food within the barbeque joints is where Texas really shines, visitors get huge portions for small prices and there is nothing wrong with that.