Guide to Dallas Suburbs
Take Dallas and Fort Worth out of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, and what do you have?
Well, for starters, you still have the majority of the metroplex. Most of the people in Dallas/Fort Worth live in neither Dallas nor Fort Worth, but rather in the literally dozens of suburbs. Even the Dallas Cowboys don't reside in Dallas. Neither does FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, and the Texas Rangers will only admit to being in the same state as the city.
So, here are the things you can do in DFW without ever entering D or FW.
Dallas/Fort Worth is home to professional sports teams in every major sport, but only one professional sporting venue is located inside Dallas. That would be the American Airlines Center, home to the NBA Mavericks, NHL Stars, and Arena Football League Desperados.
For the NFL, you must travel to the nearby suburb of Irving and the famous Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Construction is underway, though, on a new Cowboy stadium in the not-so-nearby suburb of Arlington.
The new Arlington stadium is being built near the MLB Ballpark of the Texas Rangers. The Ballpark is built to encourage home runs, most of which seem to be scored by the visiting team. Tickets to the games are plentiful, though, and you can park for free at the Humperdinks restaurant in Arlington and take a limo shuttle to the game for about the cost of a paid parking spot.
FC Dallas of MLS plays at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, at the north end of the Dallas North Tollway. Frisco is also the home of a double-A minor league baseball team and minor league hockey.
The Animal Kind
For a different kind of sport, spend Friday or Saturday night at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo. The indoor arena has rodeos every weekend beginning in April and running through September. Besides the standards such as bull riding and barrel racing, this rodeo includes a chuck wagon race, a kids' calf scramble, and the "how dumb are you" Cowboy Poker (a game of chicken involving an angry bull and 4 guys sitting around a poker table).
The Mesquite Championship Rodeo is not exactly the National Finals, but it is a fun place to take the family.
A more expensive proposition (usually) is Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, on the opposite side of Dallas. There you can pay to enter and watch the horse racing, and pay more to bet on your favorites. Different strokes for different folks, though. The park also often has live concerts after the racing is over.
Dallas is almost as famous for being a TV show as it is for being a city. You can visit the real-life Southfork Ranch, home of the fictional Ewing family, a few miles east of Plano. The home is open to tours, and many events are held there. The biggest of these is undoubtedly Celebrate Freedom, a free outdoor concert generally held around Independence Day each year. Sponsored by a Christian radio station, the largest free outdoor concert in America hosts a long list of Christian music performers each year. A couple of hundred thousand people generally show up by the evening's main acts, creating sort of a Christian Woodstock. The performance sets are short, the weather is hot, the parking is not free, and the traffic jams after the final fireworks show are enormous. But, the positives still outweigh the negatives.
Addison, a suburb along the Dallas North Tollway, is home to 14,000 people and 170 restaurants. I'll let you do the math. Needless to say, it is a popular place to go out for the evening. The city hosts several popular festivals throughout the year, including Taste Addison, Artfest, and Oktoberfest. Its 4th of July "Kaboomtown" celebration is far superior to Dallas' city fireworks show. Also, the Addison Improv brings in some of the nation's top stand-up comics.
The Gaylord Texan is a huge resort in Grapevine. The atrium houses 4.5 acres of indoor gardens and the occasional living statue. And while your 52-inch TV at home may be nice, the sports bar at the Texan has a screen that measures 52 feet.
And, of course, there are the theme parks (Six Flags, in Arlington), water parks, Ripley's Believe It or Not (in Grand Prairie), wax museum, etc. For something more unique, I would continue driving west and check out Fort Worth.