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Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

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Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex

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The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is a large area in the Prairies and Lakes region of Texas. With an estimated 2008 population of 6.3 million, it is the most populated metropolitan area in Texas and the fourth most populous in the United States. 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, almost a dozen 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.


Dallas area

Fort Worth area

Mid Cities

Other destinations


  • Eagle Mountain Lake
  • Joe Pool Lake[1] - A 7,500 acre U.S. Corp. of Engineer lake with public parks, marinas, and campgrounds along its shoreline in Grand Prairie and Cedar Hill, Texas.
  • Lake Arlington
  • Lake Benbrook
  • Lake Lewisville
  • Lake Worth
  • White Rock Lake


Understand that Dallas/Fort Worth occupies a vast area of North Central Texas. 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 encompasses 9,286 square miles (24,100/km²), making it larger in land area than the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.


Get in

By plane

The Metroplex is served by several airports, the largest of which being the vast and perpetually busy Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (IATA: DFW) [2] (colloquially known as "DFW Airport" or simply "DFW"), which offers flights to and from esentially anywhere in the world. Keep in mind that with the high traffic, delays are common so plan well ahead and allow some extra time for contingencies. Those wishing to avoid the headache of DFW Airport might choose to fly into the smaller Dallas-Love Field (IATA: DAL) [3], which is located minutes north of Downtown Dallas. The schedule is not as varied as that of DFW, but it is far more simply laid out and navigable.

By bus

For those traveling by bus, Greyhound [4] operates large terminals in both Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as smaller satellite terminals in the surrounding suburbs. Be aware, however, that the Downtown Dallas 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.

By car

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.

Get around

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.

Dallas County

  • 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.

Tarrant County

  • 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.


Stay safe

As with any large metropolitan area, The DFW Metroplex has its share of "street crime." Safer areas include 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 South Dallas, parts of downtown Dallas, the areas close to Fair Park, as well as the East and Southeast parts of Fort Worth. Dallas, Forth Worth, and some other cities have interactive crime maps on their web sites.

Get out

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