LESS THAN 4 HOURS:
If you have less than four hours to kill, you’ll want to stay put at the airport where there is plenty explore. Some of our area’s best restaurateurs have outposts in DFW terminals: Blue Mesa Taco and Tequila Bar (near gate E31) has my favorite guacamole and sweet potato chips. Reata Grill (D33) offers breakfast in addition to their tenderloin tamales and my favorite local chicken fried steak. The menus at Stampede Express by Chef Stephen Pyles (D27) and Austin’s Salt Lick (A16) are packed with barbecue favorites.
I popped into the Fort Worth location of Crù Food & Wine Bar earlier this year and I loved the lobster and shrimp potstickers and the chef’s pick cheese board. The wine list is also exceptional –– and all these things are available at the airport. Just need a sweet treat? Icebox Café Bakery (A14) or Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (D12) will fit the bill.
If you’re looking for something to do, you can find yoga studios (D40 or E31) where mats are provided! Other services include massage therapy (A25, B28, D33, E27 and 31), Minute Suites to nap or work your layover away (A38, D23), and pedicures (A25, B28, D33, E31).
MORE THAN 4 HOURS:
If you have access to a ride or feel like an Uber adventure, Hard Eight Barbecue in Coppell is—for my money—the best barbecue in the area.
Historic Downtown Grapevine is about 30 minutes away, and I love the variety of art, culture (high and pop), and unique restaurants and wineries there. Check out the low-cost shuttle for getting around town. Just a little bit farther, you’ll find Southlake Town Square, another one of my favorite ways to shop, stroll, and eat an afternoon away.
Irving and nearby Las Colinas offer a surprising plethora of international culture options. Peruvian, Indian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese food await you in Irving, or you can kiss under a bridge in your own private gondola just like they do in Venice with Gondola Adventures in Irving in the Mandalay Bay Canals. Both are about 20 minutes away from DFW Airport.
Downtown Grapevine, Courtesy: Grapevine CVB
If you’re car free for the day, take advantage of our public transportation by using the DART Rail line or the Trinity River Express—both comfortable and functional.
The best way to explore the Big D is hopping on the DART Rail’s Orange Line from the airport to Dallas’ Victory Station, where you’ll find several good restaurants within a few blocks. One more stop to Dallas’ West End Station and you’ll find the Holocaust Museum, which takes my breath away every time I visit; the Sixth Floor Museum, which is full of JFK history and memorabilia; and a variety of restaurants, all within an easy walk. You can find more inspiration for Dallas here.
If you’d rather head west, take the airport shuttle to the Trinity River Express Centerpoint Station. From there, it’s about a 30-minute, pleasant train ride to Fort Worth’s T & P Station, where the shops and restaurants of beautiful Sundance Square and the Instagrammable Water Gardens are within a mile. Find more information on things to do in Fort Worth here.