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Dallas, Texas - Travel Guide



Amtrak's Texas Eagle passengers have discovered that Dallas, Texas, is an outstanding destination for a weekend mini-vacation or a longer stay, because of the unique availability of DART light rail service and the variety of hotels, restaurants and entertainment options near Union Station. Because of the new DART service, Dallas has become a model city in the Southwest in terms of convenient public rail transportation. With DART, a variety of activities can be easily accomplished without the use of an automobile. For passengers planning more distant activities, car rental agencies are available nearby. The Texas Eagle provides convenient service which easily facilitates weekend trips from other cities in Arkansas and Texas.

To view the current passenger train schedule, and for additional helpful hints about traveling along the route of the Texas Eagle, visit the Texas Eagle web site. To return to this Dallas travel guide page, use the "BACK" button on your web browser.

The Hyatt Regency and Reunion Tower is located just west of Union Station, accessed by a climate controlled tunnel which runs between Union Station and the Hyatt. Upon arrival, take the stairs or elevator from the Amtrak loading platform to the tunnel, walk to the west end of the tunnel and take the escalator to the Hyatt lobby; the check-in desk will be immediately to your right. Hyatt local reservation phone: 214-651-1234; national reservation phone: 800-233-1234. Rates and availability can also be checked on-line at The Dallas Hyatt web page also includes a map of the downtown area and a listing of nearby attractions.

The Hampton Inn (formerly Holiday Inn) is located at 1015 Elm Street at Griffin, adjacent to the West End Historic District. This hotel may be accessed by taking the DART Red Line/Park Lane or Blue Line/Pearl trains to the West End station, then walking about 2 blocks to the Hampton Inn. Hampton local reservation phone: 214-742-5678; national reservation phone: 800-426-7866.

The Adams Mark Hotel is located at 400 North Olive Street at Bryan. To access this hotel via DART, take the Red Line/Park Lane or Blue Line/Pearl trains from Union Station to Pearl Street station. Pearl Street is the fourth stop from Union Station. The hotel is approximately one-half block from the DART station. Local reservation phone: 214-922-0380.

Passengers desiring a hotel more removed from the downtown area may choose the Radisson Central Dallas Hotel, located at 6060 North Central Expressway at Mockingbird Lane. This location is approximately two-tenths of a mile from DART's Mockingbird station, and free shuttle service to and from the DART station is offered by the hotel. Pay phones to contact the hotel are available on the upper (street) level platform at Mockingbird Station, but Amtrak passengers may wish to call the hotel just prior to departure from Union Station on DART. Local reservation phone: 214-750-6060. Do not confuse with another Radisson Hotel on West Mockingbird Lane, which is several miles from the DART Mockingbird station.

DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit)
DART operates both rail and bus service in the Dallas metropolitan area. An extensive timetable display is present in a corner of the Amtrak waiting room at Union Station, or DART Information may be contacted at 214-979-1111 (5am-10pm Monday-Friday or 8am-6pm weekends and holidays). A DART web site has been established at to provide updated information on schedules, fares, and stations.

At Union Station, DART uses the two tracks closest to the station itself. The next three tracks are used by Trinity Railway Express and Amtrak. Passengers are encouraged to use the underground tunnel to access train loading platforms, but walkways across tracks are also provided. Should you use the walkways, watch closely for DART trains. Trinity Railway Express operates weekday service between Union Station, Medical/Market Center Station and South Irving Station, using self-propelled Rail Diesel Cars. During morning and evening rush hours, service is provided on twenty to thirty minute intervals; other service is on approximately hourly intervals from 6am until 11pm. Standard DART tickets are valid. Trinity Railway Express is a joint operation of DART and Fort Worth Transit; service will eventually be expanded to downtown Fort Worth.

Service to north Dallas is provided by the Red Line/Park Lane route, with service as far north as Park Lane at North Central Expressway. The Blue Line/Pearl Street route operates over the same trackage but terminates at Pearl Street station. Traveling in the opposite direction, the Red Line/Westmoreland and Blue Line/Ledbetter Drive lines serve south and southwest Dallas. These lines operate over the same trackage as far as the 8th & Corinth station before splitting into two separate routes. DART light rail lines in South Dallas (Blue Line) and Oak Cliff serve a variety of ethnic neighborhoods including a large population of African-American and Hispanic citizenry. The art and decor of the rail and transit stations in these communities is designed to depict the history and culture of these neighborhoods and to recognize the contributions these groups have made to the history of Dallas. For riders who wish to sample the cuisine, Tachito's Mexican Restaurant & Private Club at 3210 West Illinois (Illinois at Westmoreland) is reportedly a good choice. The restaurant is located on the same side of Illinois Street as the DART Westmoreland station, the end terminal of the Red Line.

Fares on DART are $1.00, and are valid for 90 minutes from the time of issue. (In other words, if your round trip can be completed within 90 minutes, only one ticket is needed.) Tickets are purchased from automated ticket vending machines (TVM's). A reduced fare of $0.50 applies to children and to all passengers traveling within the downtown business district (Convention Center-Union Station-Pearl Street Station). One-day passes are available for $3.00. TVM's are designed to accept currency from $1.00 to $20.00 but some machines have a high rate of rejection of bills. TVM's also take coins, and the Susan B. Anthony dollar coins are particularly useful in this regard. Detailed instructions for operating TVM's are posted on the machine.

Platforms at most stations are designed to service trains of multiple car lengths. Shorter length trains will stop at the forward end of each station platform, near where wheelchair lifts are located. Depending on the operator and whether there is a heavy load of passengers, train doors may or may not automatically open at station stops. To manually open doors when standing outside the train, use push buttons located on each side of door; for detraining passengers, push buttons are located on vertical handrail poles near exit doors. Tickets are checked at random, and there is a fine for failure to purchase a ticket before boarding train. Non rush hour DART trains usually have ample seating, but during rush hours standee conditions sometimes prevail and standing areas are provided near the doors. Trains stop at all stations, and a schematic route map is posted in each end of all cars.


West End Historical District
The first DART stop beyond Union Station is the West End Historical District, where the DART station is conveniently located along the south border of the district. Numerous restaurants, shops and a multi-screen cinema, all located in restored former warehouse buildings, can be found in the West End. Between Union Station and the West End, use either the Red Line/Park Lane or Blue Line/Pearl Street trains. Trains (either Red or Blue Line) will operate approximately every 5 minutes during weekdays and every 10 minutes during evenings and weekends.

McKinney Avenue Trolley
The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA) operates meticulously restored trolley cars, the earliest of which was constructed in 1906. Within the next several years the line will extend into the West End, but at present a close connection with DART can be achieved by detraining from Red Line/Park Lane or Blue Line/Pearl Street trains at the St. Paul Street station. Walk north along St. Paul street approximately four blocks to the present end of MATA track. MATA trolley cars operate daily, 10am-10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 10am-midnight on Friday and Saturday. Cars arrive and leave the St. Paul & Ross end of track approximately on the hour and 30 minutes after the hour. Fares for the 30 minute round trip are $1.50 for adults, $1.00 for children, and $0.50 for senior citizens. Pay trolley motorman upon entering car. This route operates along McKinney Avenue from St. Paul to North Hall, where a loop turns the car for its return trip. Numerous restaurants, antique shops, boutiques and other attractions such as the Dallas Children's Theatre, Meyerson Symphony Center and Dallas Museum of Art are along the route. Passengers are encouraged to disembark at intermediate trolley stops to shop or eat, and may reboard a later trolley at no additional charge to complete their round trip. Pull the bell cord above windows about one-half block in advance of your stop to alert motorman, and ask for a trolley token which will be used as a ticket to reboard a later car.

The trolley car barn is located just off McKinney Avenue on Bowen Street, and passengers are welcome to detrain and walk through the shop to see restoration and maintenance work in progress on these vintage machines. A gift shop offers t-shirts, caps, postcards and other trolley souvenirs, as well as memberships in the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, the volunteer organization which restores and operates the trolleys. Phone: 214-855-0006 for an "Uptown Dallas" trolley brochure detailing the various shops and restaurants along the route.

One of the more popular restaurants along the trolley route is the Hard Rock Café, located on the corner of McKinney and Routh. The restaurant opens at 11am daily; a merchandise shop featuring the now famous (infamous?) Hard Rock t-shirts and other memorabilia opens an hour earlier. Phone: 214-855-0007. Trolley cars enroute to the St. Paul end of track pass the Hard Rock Café at approximately 10 minutes and 40 minutes past the hour. While standing at designated trolley stop, signal to motorman as trolley approaches, but do not step off curb to board car until motorman has stopped the trolley and flagged vehicle traffic. The MATA website provides additional schedule information as well as information about special runs and special events throughout the year.

North Park Center
The Red Line/Park Lane route presently terminates at Park Lane and Greenville Avenue. At the Park Lane station, a North Park executive shuttle operates on continuous 20-minute headway from 10:10am until 10:10pm Monday through Saturday, and from 12:10pm until 7:10pm on Sunday. [Most shops are open until 9pm, 6pm on Sunday.] The executive shuttle, which is operated at no charge for DART passengers, discharges and receives riders at the shopping center entrance adjacent to F.A.O. Schwartz. The center houses numerous retail shops, department stores, food courts and restaurants. For information on the executive shuttle or for a list of stores in the North Park Center, phone: 214-363-7441.

The Galleria shopping center, one of the premier shopping destinations in Dallas, offers four levels of shopping in over 200 stores, along with a five sceen theatre, an ice skating rink, and numerous restaurants. Unfortunately, there is presently no convenient public transportation from downtown Dallas to the Galleria. A DART bus route from the Red Line's Park Lane station does serve the Galleria, but the route is quite circuitous and time consuming. Amtrak passengers desiring to shop at the Galleria may prefer to catch a taxi from the Hyatt Regency cab stand. Depending on the time of day and number of passengers, a taxi ride from downtown to the Galleria will cost approximately $16 each way. The Westin Hotel is located adjacent to the Galleria, with the hotel lobby opening into the Galleria area. After shopping, a return taxi can be readily secured from the cab stand at the Westin Hotel.

Dallas Zoo
The Red Line/Westmoreland route serves the Dallas Zoo from a station located immediately across the street from the main zoo entrance. The zoo is well maintained and has extensive exhibits and grounds, as well as numerous refreshment kiosks in season and the Flamingo Food Court (hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, etc.) which is open year-round. Since the opening of the DART light rail line in mid-1996, attendance at the zoo has increased by almost 40% due to the ease of traveling to the site. The zoo is open from 9am-5pm daily (except Christmas Day), and admission is $5 for persons over 12, $2.50 for children 3-11. Note that when traveling to the Zoo from Union Station it is necessary to utilize the Red Line. Should passengers inadvertently find themselves on a Blue Line/Ledbetter train, detrain at 8th & Corinth and wait for a Red Line train which will be following shortly, traveling in the same direction and on the same track. [No additional fare required.]

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District is located several blocks north of Union Station on Houston Street, within easy walking distance of Union Station. This site provides historical interpretation of the events surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Like the Pearl Harbor attack experienced by an earlier generation, the assassination of the president and the subsequent events in Dallas remain one of the most vividly remembered events of the twentieth century. A memorial is in Dealey Plaza, just north of Union Station, and the museum itself is located on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository Building (on Houston Street, between Elm and Pacific). The exhibit is open daily (except Thanksgiving day and Christmas day). Phone: 214-747-6660 or visit the Sixth Floor Museum website at for specific information on hours and admission fees. Note: For most web browsers to successfully access the Sixth Floor Museum website, it is first necessary to install a Macromedia plug-in.

Self-guided Walking Tours
Four different downtown walking tours are also available, each tour taking an hour or less, and providing visitors with an opportunity to view first hand some of Dallas' interesting history and impressive architecture. Downtown Walking Tour brochures are usually available in the tourism display housed in a section of the Amtrak waiting room in Union Station. Brochures may also be obtained from the Dallas Convention & Visitor's Bureau, 1201 Elm Street. Phone: 214-746-6677. Be sure to request (or pick up) a copy of the Dallas Official Visitors Guide, issued several times yearly by the Dallas Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

DART downtown bus service
Two special downtown Dallas circulator bus routes, known as the Rail Runners, provide an additional method of traveling around the downtown area on weekdays only (NO weekend service). Route 517 links Union Station with City Hall, the Dallas Public Library and the Farmers Market area. This route operates every 20 minutes from 6:19am until 7:14pm. Route 570 loops around major business towers and the Art District, with transfers to the McKinney Avenue trolley and with DART rail service at the St. Paul and Akard Stations. When transferring from rail to bus, simply show your DART train ticket to the bus operator as you board. If transferring from bus to DART or to McKinney Avenue streetcar, ask bus operator for free transfer slip when boarding bus. For passengers not transferring from DART trains, tickets for Rail Runners are $.50 each person, each way, correct change only, with payment made into fare box upon entering bus. Like route 517, route 570 operates only on weekdays 6:00am to 7:30pm. A copy of the Rail Runner timetable is usually available in the DART timetable display at Union Station, or contact DART at 214-979-1111. Numerous other DART bus routes operate throughout the Metroplex, often feeding to or from DART rail service. Taxi service is also available throughout the downtown area although fares to more distant areas may reach $20-25, and cabs may be difficult to locate except at the major hotels. Taxicabs occasionally appear at Union Station at the Eagle's scheduled arrival time, but the cab stand at the nearby Hyatt Regency provides a good alternative when cabs cannot be secured at the station.

Automobile Rental
Although the DART light rail system is growing, it does not yet serve all of Dallas. Amtrak passengers desiring to visit more distant locations such as the Galleria Shopping Center or Six Flags over Texas will find a rental car almost as economical as cab fare. Hertz is the only car rental agency that presently maintains a convenient downtown office which is open on Sundays. The Hertz office is located at 1200 Ross Avenue (corner of Ross and Griffin). To access from DART, take either the Red/Park Lane or Blue/Pearl line train from Union Station to Akard Street station (second station north/east of Union Station). After disembarking from DART, walk back west along the Pacific Street transit mall to Griffin, then north on Griffin to Ross, a total distance of approximately 4-5 blocks from the DART station. This Hertz location is currently open 8am-5pm weekdays and 8am-4pm Saturdays and Sundays. Phone for national reservations: 800-654-3131; local downtown office: 214-979-9494. The downtown office also reimburses cab fare from Union Station, should travelers prefer that route over DART. In the event of an extremely late train arriving after the downtown Hertz location is closed, the next closest Hertz location is at Dallas Love Field, open 6am-11pm daily.

On the day of your departure from Dallas, several options are available for storage of luggage, so that you may enjoy additional activities after hotel check-out and before train departure. Passengers staying at the Hyatt may wish to simply check luggage at the hotel, retrieving it before train time. No luggage lockers are available in Dallas Union Station, but Amtrak agents (on duty 9am-6pm daily) will store small amounts of luggage as a courtesy for outbound passengers after hotel check-out until approximately one hour before train departure. Both northbound and southbound trains operate through Dallas on Sunday, making this the station's busiest day of the week. If you do use the courtesy service offered by the Dallas ticket office, please pick up bags well before train's arrival.

Amtrak travelers to Dallas who have helpful hints or suggestions for additional "weekend tourism" activity are invited to e-mail comments to

Prepared for Arkansas Rail by Bill Pollard.
Last revision: 3 January 2001.

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