Dallas-Fort Worth MetroplexEarth : North America : United States of America : Texas : Prairies and Lakes : Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex
The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (also known as DFW, North Texas, or The Metroplex) is a large area in the Prairies and Lakes region of Texas. According to the 2010 census, the population of the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area was just over 6.4 million, which makes it the most populated metropolitan area in Texas and the fourth most populous in the United States. Defined by the US Government as 12 counties (Collin, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, and Wise), it is anchored on the east by the city of Dallas and on the west by Fort Worth.
The Metroplex offers an entertaining array of Texana featuring everything from modern skyscrapers to old-fashioned cattle yards and essentially everything in between. It is the home to many corporations, professional sports teams, a wide variety of nightlife, and a burgeoning arts community. The Metroplex is also the location of two award winning zoos, a world class aquarium, and several historically significant locations and museums.
The City of Dallas by itself is the ninth largest by population in the United States. It is the largest in size and population in The Metroplex, the county seat of Dallas County, and generally considered the center of the area. Some of the far northern areas within the City of Dallas extend into Collin County, which is directly north of Dallas County, and also into Denton County, which is northwest of Dallas County and directly west of Collin County.
Some of the cities and towns within and surrounding Dallas include:
- Addison - The self-proclaimed "Restaurant Capital of Texas" is a northern suburb.
- Allen - far northern suburb located in southern Collin County
- Carrollton - northern suburb
- Cedar Hill - southern suburb
- Coppell - northern suburb
- Desoto - southern suburb
- Duncanville - southern suburb
- Farmers Branch - northern suburb
- Frisco - far northern suburb located in southern Collin County
- Garland - northeastern suburb
- Highland Park - affluent city within North Dallas
- Lancaster - southern suburb
- Lewisville - northwestern suburb located in southeastern Denton County
- McKinney - The seat of Collin County has essentially become another suburb of Dallas due to rapid growth in the northern suburbs.
- Mesquite - eastern suburb
- Plano - northern suburb located along the Dallas and Collin County border
- Richardson - northern suburb
- The Colony - northwestern suburb located in southeastern Denton County
- University Park - within North Dallas, home of Southern Methodist University (SMU)
Fort Worth areaEdit
- Fort Worth - The seat of Tarrant County has the 5th largest population in the state. It is the home of Texas Motor Speedway, the Fort Worth Zoo, and Texas Christian University (TCU).
- Benbrook - southwestern suburb
- Flower Mound - far northern suburb, mostly in Denton County on the northern banks of Lake Grapevine
- Haltom City - northern suburb
- Mansfield - southeastern suburb
- North Richland Hills - northern suburb and home of NRH2O water park
- Richland Hills - northern suburb
- Saginaw - northwestern suburb
- Watauga - northern suburb
- White Settlement - western suburb
Many locals will refer to the cities and towns of western Dallas County and eastern Tarrant County as the Mid-Cities. Although there is no official designation, the Mid-Cities generally includes the following:
- Arlington - home of Six Flags Over Texas amusement park, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park, Texas Rangers baseball, and Dallas Cowboys football
- Grand Prairie - home of Lone Star Park horse racing track
- Hurst-Euless-Bedford - often collectively referred to as HEB
- Bridgeport - located in Wise County, which is northwest of Fort Worth
- Cleburne - seat of Johnson County, southwest of Fort Worth
- Decatur - seat of Wise County
- Denton - The seat of its namesake county is the northern edge of the urban core of The Metroplex.
- Forney - east of Dallas in Kaufman County
- Greenville - seat of Hunt County, approximately 45 miles east of Dallas
- Rockwall - seat of its namesake county (smallest county in Texas by area), east of Dallas
- Waxahachie - seat of Ellis County, south of Dallas
- Weatherford - seat of Parker County, west of Fort Worth
Outer areas of The Metroplex are made up of smaller towns and rural areas, especially in Delta, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, and Wise counties.
Lakes in the area have been created by the construction of dams on one of the four forks of the Trinity River, or one of the river's numerous creeks and tributaries. They primarily serve as reservoirs, but they also provide plenty of recreational opportunities, especially in the hot, summer months. During extreme floods or droughts, some recreational opportunities may be limited. Further details on individual lakes may be available on the Wikitravel pages for the city in which the lake is located.
- Eagle Mountain Lake - located northwest of Fort Worth
- Joe Pool Lake - A 7,500 acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake with public parks, marinas, and campgrounds along its shoreline in Grand Prairie and Cedar Hill. Cedar Hill State Park is on the eastern shore.
- Lake Arlington
- Lake Benbrook
- Lake Grapevine
- Lake Lavon - located in southern Collin County
- Lake Ray Hubbard - located east of Dallas
- Lake Ray Roberts - Located north of Denton, the shores include three state park units: Isle du Bois, Johnson Branch, and Jordon.
- Lake Worth - located in western Fort Worth
- Lewisville Lake
- Mountain Creek Lake - located in southwestern Dallas
- North Lake - A small lake located in northwestern Dallas County.
- White Rock Lake - A popular lake for recreation located in East Dallas.
Understand that the region occupies a vast area approximately 250 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the densely populated metro areas in the northern U.S. which house the bulk of their inhabitants in a relatively compact space, the Metroplex is more spread out. It encompasses 9,286 square miles (24,100/km²), making it larger in land area than the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. Urban sprawl has essentially made the central part of The Metroplex like one large city with very few pockets of undeveloped land in its urbanized core. The topography of the area is generally flat with hilly areas rarely exceeding 1000 feet above sea level in elevation.
Except for Native American tribes, the area was sparsely populated prior to the Republic of Texas gaining independence from Mexico in 1836. Texas was annexed by the US in 1845 leading to the Mexican-American War. After an American victory in the war, there was a surge of migration to the area. Later in the 19th century, the paths of the cattle trails and railroads made Dallas and Fort Worth important centers of business, which led to further population growth. In the 20th century, the region continued to grow in trade and industry, even during some periods of recession or depression. With many jobs available, people from near and far continued to move to the area, which was growing rapidly in size and population. This growth continues in the 21st century due to a pro-business state government and the general trend of people moving from rural to urban areas.
Most people will be dressed in standard American fashion. This fact may surprise some visitors who expect everyone to be wearing cowboy boots and hats! You will see some people dressed in that traditional fashion, and there are plenty of stores that sell such merchandise, which are popular as gifts. Native Texans are often proud of their heritage, so you will see many symbols of Texas and Southern pride around, including the display of controversial Confederate States of America emblems. Like most of the rest of the state, citizens of The Metroplex are generally more conservative and religious. However, it is a diverse region with a large minority population and people who have moved here from all over the country, so you will find people with all sorts of different viewpoints. Generally, Texans are friendly and will treat you with respect.
|Daily highs (°F)||56||60||68||76||84||91||96||96||88||78||67||57|
|Nightly lows (°F)||36||39||47||55||64||71||75||75||68||57||46||37|
Check Dallas/Fort Worth's 7 day forecast at NOAA
The region's climate is humid subtropical with hot summers. In July and August, daytime temperatures frequently exceed 100°F. Precipitation also varies considerably from year to year, ranging from less than 20 to more than 50 inches. Below freezing temperatures are possible from November to March. Winters are generally mild, but can be accompanied by sudden drops in temperature. Periods of extreme cold that occasionally occur are usually short-lived, and sometimes followed by an immediate return to mild, spring-like temperatures. Snowfall is rare with many winters having no snowfall at all. However, some years will see multiple snowfall events. Snow even occasionally falls in November or March. Rain in winter months during spells of cold winter can lead to freezing rain conditions, which can cause very hazardous conditions on roadways. Fall and spring seasons are more pleasant, but can be interrupted by periods of rainy weather, which can include thunderstorms and tornadoes. A large part of the annual precipitation results from thunderstorm activity, which can include very heavy rainfall over brief periods of time leading to flash flooding. Thunderstorms and tornadoes can occur throughout the year, but are most frequent and dangerous in the spring. They sometimes are accompanied by hail, which can sometimes cause significant damage to vehicles and structures in the region. Windstorms occurring during thunderstorm activity can also be destructive.
Like the rest of the country, English is the primary language in DFW. You will find that most people speak without any hint of a Texas drawl or twang. Although, you will definitely find that people say "y'all" instead of "you all". You may end up talking to some people with Southern accents, but they likely grew up in a more rural area. You are more likely to end up talking to someone with a foreign accent as the area is home for natives of countries from all around the world. Since Texas is a border state, it has a very large Latino population. Therefore, in some neighborhoods, Spanish may be useful because it will seem as though everyone is speaking it. Except for recent immigrants however, most people will speak at least basic, if not perfect, English. The same holds true for other ethnic neighborhoods where many people of African or Asian heritage congregate.
The Metroplex is served by two airports for commercial, passenger traffic. Keep in mind that with high traffic both on the roads to the airports and at the airports themselves, delays are common, so plan well ahead and allow some extra time for contingencies.
|A||American (Domestic only at Gates A8-A39; Bag claim A15, A16, A29.) Some of the gates are closed for renovation.|
|B||American Eagle, American Eagle (Domestic Only at Gates B1-B49; Bag claim B20, B29-30). Some of the gates are closed for renovation.|
|C||American (Domestic only at Gates C2-C39; Bag claim C4, C12, C15, C25, C26, C31)|
|D||American (International and Domestic at Gates D17-D40; Domestic bag claim D16 D29-D31), American Eagle (International and Domestic; Domestic bag claim D16), Aeromexico, Avianca, British Airways, Cayman Airways,Emirates, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Sun Country (International and Domestic; Domestic bag claim D15), Viva Aerobus, Volaris. All international bag claim @ customs. All other carriers besides American Airlines are at Gates D6-16.|
|E||Air Canada (Gate E21; Bag claim E37-38), Alaska Airlines (Gate E24; Bag Claim E31-E34), Delta/Delta Connection (Gates E25-E30; Bag claim E31-34), Frontier (Gate E20; Bag claim E37-E38); jetBlue (Gate E10; Bag claim E4), Spirit (Gates E31-E33; Bag claim E31-33), United/United Express (Gates E4-E9; Bag claim E4-E5), WestJet (Gate E18; Bag claim E37-E38). Some of the gates are closed for renovation.|
|Corporate Aviation||Boutique Air|
Dallas-Ft Worth International Airport, (IATA: DFW)  is the larger of the two airports and is located halfway between Dallas and Ft Worth. It is the primary international airport for the region. Cargo, charter, and general aviation flights also have a significant presence at the airport, making DFW one of the busiest airports in the world. It serves as the headquarters for American Airlines (Terminals A,B,C,D) with flights going to/from all over the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. There is service by other major foreign (Terminal D) and other major domestic carriers (Terminal E), too. Passengers on most flights departing from Canada will clear US customs prior to departure. Therefore, the arrival terminal may not necessarily be Terminal D since you will not be required to clear customs again upon arrival. Terminals A, B, C, and E are currently undergoing renovations to improve parking, dining, and shopping options. To travel within the airport terminals, passengers can use the Skylink trains inside security. Outside of security, passengers can use the Terminal Link shuttle buses. TSA PreCheck security lines are available except in Terminal B.
The airport's south entrance can be accessed from TX-Hwy 183 going east/west. The north entrance can be accessed from either TX-Hwy 114 going northwest/southeast or TX-Hwy 121 going northeast/southwest. The airport terminals are accessed from International Pkwy (toll road), which runs north/south between the entrances. The consolidated rental car facility lies outside of the airport's gates on the southeast side with shuttle buses providing transport to/from all the terminals. The airport is served by the DART Orange Line, which runs light rail trains from the airport at Terminal A directly into Downtown Dallas. The airport can also be accessed by the Trinity Railway Express commuter railroad (TRE) , which travels east/west between Dallas and Ft Worth. Note that the TRE does not run on Sundays. At the CentrePort/DFW Airport Station, passengers board a shuttle bus that takes them to the Remote South parking lot. From there, there are shuttle buses to all terminals. Also, plenty of taxi, shared ride service, and chartered bus and limousine options are available. Nearby hotels offer courtesy shuttles. The airport offers four levels of parking: Valet, Terminal, Express, and Remote. Express and Remote options are less expensive, but require a shuttle bus ride from the parking lot to the terminals. Parking availability can be checked on the airport's website. With some parking lots currently closed for renovation, lots can fill up during peak travel times such as the November/December holiday travel season. Private, off-site companies also offer parking with shuttle buses to and from the airport.
Dallas Love Field Airport, (IATA: DAL) . To avoid the headache of DFW, you can choose to fly in to the smaller Dallas Love Field, which is located minutes northwest of downtown Dallas. With the repeal of the Wright Amendment Act, the airlines are allowed to fly further beyond Texas and the adjacent states. The airport is served by Southwest, Virgin America, Delta Connection, and SeaPort, and used by private executive/corporate jets and general aviation.
Smaller airports that offer chartered, corporate, private, and general aviation options include:
- Addison, (IATA: ADS) . Located 15 miles (24km) north of downtown Dallas on the Dallas North Tollway, it is a popular choice among the well-heeled corporate aircraft set.
For those traveling by bus, Greyhound  operates large terminals in both Downtown Dallas and Downtown Fort Worth, as well as smaller satellite terminals and bus stops in surrounding areas. The Downtown Dallas station is within walking distance of Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART) public transportation including Dallas Union Station where Amtrak and the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) also operate. Be aware, however, that the Greyhound station has long been known by locals as a trouble spot and tends to attract transients and vagrants. Panhandling is a common occurrence, and while the perpetrators are rarely violent, a high level of vigilance is strongly recommended for anyone who may pass through the terminal. The Fort Worth station suffers less from these problems. It is located at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center, which gives direct connection to Amtrak, the TRE, and The T (Tarrant County public transportation).
Megabus  also has stops in Downtown Dallas at the DART East Transfer Center (330 N.Olive St.) and in Grand Prairie near the intersection of Belt Line Road and Main Street (710 Davis St.), with buses heading towards Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock, St Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, and Memphis.
In addition several bus lines such as Turimex Internacional, El Expreso, and Tornado run routes from Dallas and Fort Worth across the US/Mexico border to destinations in Mexico such as Monterrey, Guadalajara, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Durango, Tampico, Mexico City, and Chihuahua.
The Metroplex is quite easily accessed by automobile. Interstate Highway 30 bisects the area west to east, and there are two branches of Interstate 35 that run north-south; I-35W through Fort Worth and I-35E through Dallas. In addition, Dallas is served by Interstate 45, which connects the area to Houston. The Metroplex is also served by several large US Highways and another score of Texas State highways.
For those new to the Metroplex, the area's elaborate highway system can be a bit confusing. The D/FW area has long had a tradition of naming numbered highways, e.g. U.S. Highway 75 is known as Central Expressway. The following is a fairly comprehensive list of the numbered freeways in the Metroplex and their corresponding names.
- Interstate 20: Though officially named the "Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway", IH20 in Dallas is usually referred to as just "IH20", or simply "20".
- Interstate 30: IH30 is known as the Tom Landry Freeway from the Tarrant County line until its interchange with IH35E in Downtown Dallas (known colloquially as the "Dallas Mixmaster"), where it becomes known as the East R.L. Thornton Freeway. Travelers must take note that south of the Mixmaster, IH35E is known as the South R.L. Thornton Freeway, a fact that may cause a bit of confusion.
- Interstate 35E: North of the interchange with IH30 downtown, IH35E is known as the Stemmons Freeway.
- Interstate 45: IH45 is known as the Julius Schepps Freeway.
- Interstate 635: IH635, which forms a 3/4 loop around the city of Dallas, is known as the Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, which is often shortened to the "LBJ Freeway" or simply "LBJ".
- U.S. Highway 67: US 67 is known as the Marvin D. Love Freeway.
- U.S. Highway 75: US 75 is known as Central Expressway.
- U.S. Highway 80: US 80 is known simply as "Highway 80".
- U.S. Highway 175: US 175 is known as the C.F. Hawn Freeway.
- Texas State Highway Loop 12: Loop 12 is alternately known as Walton Walker Boulevard, Northwest Highway, Ledbetter Drive, Military Parkway and Kiest Boulevard. The stretch known as Walton Walker Boulevard is the only segment that is a limited access freeway.
- Texas State Highway 114: SH114 is known as the John Carpenter Freeway.
- Texas State Highway 183: SH183 is known as the Airport Freeway.
- Texas State Highway 310: While not a true limited access freeway, SH310 is known as the S.M. Wright Freeway.
- Texas State Highway Spur 366: Spur 366 is known as the Woodall Rogers Freeway.
The Dallas area is also currently served by two tollways: the Dallas North Tollway (colloquially known simply as "the Tollway") and the President George Bush Turnpike (generally referred to as "the Bush Turnpike"; also locally abbreviated as "PGBT"). These two tollways often provide a welcome respite from Dallas' famously bad traffic.
- Interstate 20: In Arlington, IH20 is known as the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, and in Fort Worth IH20 is usually referred to as just "IH20", or simply "20".
- Interstate 30: In Fort Worth, IH30 is known simply as the East Freeway or the West Freeway, with the line of demarcation being downtown. In Arlington and points east, it is known as the Tom Landry Freeway.
- Interstate 35W: IH35W is simply known as the North Freeway or the South Freeway with the line of demarcation being downtown.
- Interstate 820: IH820 is known as Loop 820 or the Loop, more specifically by the area of town it runs through. Thusly, a driver traveling north along the section of freeway on the eastern side of Fort Worth would be described as "traveling northbound on East Loop 820".
- U.S. Highway 287: On the southeastern side of Fort Worth, US 287 is known as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway.
- Texas State Highway 114: In Grapevine and Southlake, SH114 is known as Northwest Parkway.
- Texas State Highway 121 and Texas State Highway 183: A long stretch of SH183 co-signed with SH121 is known as the Airport Freeway.
- Texas State Highway 360: In Arlington SH360 is alternately known as Watson Road and the Angus Wynne Freeway, but is generally just referred to as "360".
The Metroplex is notorious for its traffic congestion, so a traveler unfamiliar with the area should leave a significant time for error in learning the area. The worst times to be on the freeways in the D/FW area are the rush hour times, generally between 6-9 A.M. and 4-7 P.M. Traffic on the weekends is usually fairly pain-free, but it does not take much to cause a significant backup. Pay close attention to local television and radio for backup information.
The Metroplex truly offers a little something for everyone.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the United States. With the large immigrant and transplant population in the area it is also relatively easy to find different types of ethnic cuisine as well such as interior Mexican, Korean, Salvadoran, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Thai, etc., although the heaviest concentration of those places tend to be in either Northwest Dallas, North Dallas or the various suburbs such as Garland, Richardson, Plano, Irving, Carrollton, and Arlington.
As in almost the entire United States, dial 911 to get emergency help.
Hostility towards the LGBT community is widespread here especially in Rockwall County, a very heavily Baptist area. Violence happens towards LGBT in Texas all the time and police will be complicit, join in, or will be unsympathetic. A few cities have anti-discrimination laws that are ignored and and the rest don't have them so services in Texas are not LGBT-friendly. LGBT in Texas are strongly encouraged to keep their sexuality private except the Panhandle where LGBT should not visit.
As with any large metropolitan area, The Metroplex has its share of street crime. Safer areas are the more affluent areas, including parts of west Fort Worth, most of Arlington, the northern suburbs, and the Park Cities of North Dallas. Areas that warrant some extra caution include southern Dallas, parts of Downtown Dallas, the areas close to Fair Park, as well as the eastern and southeastern parts of Fort Worth. Dallas, Fort Worth, and some other cities have interactive crime maps on their web sites. See individual city articles for more specific information. In general, following normal common sense will keep you safe. Avoid unfamiliar side streets and alleys, especially at night and if you're alone. Know where you're going when you set out and stick to crowded areas.
If you will be driving around in the region, note that people can drive quite aggressively and fast. During rush hour periods, the congestion will generally prevent fast speeds. However, some drivers will change lanes quickly and often to try and cut ahead in line. Accidents and deaths attributed to road rage do occur. While driving in the region can be frustrating, try to avoid confrontation with other vehicles. Highways can have speed limits as high as 70 miles per hour. Side street speed limits vary. If no speed limit sign is posted (as is usually the case on most residential streets), the assumption is that the limit is 30 MPH. In general, police will not pull people over for speeding unless driving more than 10 MPH over the limit with the exception of school zones, which are more strictly enforced. School zones will be marked by flashing yellow lights.
As noted above in the Climate section, weather in the area can be unpredictable. So plan ahead before arriving in the region and pay attention to the local weather forecast. Extreme heat, intense sunlight, and high ozone pollution levels may cause you to limit outdoor activities in the summer months to prevent dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. The use of sunscreen in the summer, and even in other seasons, is highly recommended for those spending significant time outdoors. Also in the warmer months, note that tropical diseases spread by mosquito bites such as West Nile Virus are present in the area. Although the chances of such diseases affecting you are still very low, it is recommended to use insect repellent when outdoors for long periods of time in warmer weather.
- The surrounding Texas regions of Blackland Prairie, Cross Timbers, and Post Oak Savannah.
- Major Texas cities Austin, Houston, and San Antonio can be reached by driving 3-6 hours.
- The Oklahoma border can be reached by driving in less than two hours. Attractions on and just across the border include Lake Texoma and casinos.
- Arkansas and Louisiana can be reached by driving in about three hours.
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