How to get to Downtown Dallas

If you’re coming to downtown Dallas, these are the best options for getting here:

If you’re already Downtown, or are coming from Uptown, The Cedars, Deep Ellum, or any of the 15 districts that make up Downtown Dallas, walking is the best option. Use Google’s walking directions for best results. If the weather has you down (hot/cold/rain) or you’re up for an extra adventure, Dallas has a unique system of tunnels that interlinks various downtown buildings. If you have some time to spare while you’re downtown, have a peek at the Pegasus Urban Trail “Top 50.”

With bike routes through Downtown, Katy Trail, and Sante Fe trail, biking is a great option. Add a bike to the DART options for even more fun and excitement! All DART transportation options include bike racks (at least two). Google’s bicycling directions are good, but you should really be looking up when riding. Marked downtown Dallas bike lanes are on Main/Jackson/Wood (East/West) and Lamar headed North to AAC/Katy Trail and South to Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Harwood also has a bike lane (North/South).

Transit Tricycle is relatively new to downtown Dallas. These are as good as riding your own bike, and you can take several people along for the ride! Phone: 657-210-2453

This is an electric car service that operates in the downtown area (all 15 DDI districts). They will go anywhere there are 35mph roads. Phone: 469-432-4055

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).
The official transportation of the Dallas Startup Community is a great option. With 90 miles of light rail, and more than 60 rail stations (most with park-and-ride facilities), and direct access to DFW Airport and Love Field, taking the train is a great way to get to downtown Dallas. Parking at all DART PnR facilities is free.

Download the GoPass app, and create an account if you haven’t already. No paper, nothing to lose. Don’t forget the TRE from Fort Worth, and DCTA from Denton. We have a world-class transit system, jump on and experiment with it. PS: If you work in a co-working space, an accelerator, incubator, other one of the members of DSCTA, you can get a 25% discount on a DART annual pass.. This is usually only available to larger organizations!

There are three free DART powered systems to utilize. First is the M-Line Trolley that starts in Uptown at DART’s Cityplace Rail Stop. It goes south on St. Paul to Federal Street, then north up Olive Street. Second is the new Dallas Streetcar with service from Oak Cliff to Dallas Union Station and back. Third, and last but not least is D-Link (the PINK DART #722) that goes from the Bishop Arts District though downtown Dallas to Uptown every 20 minutes. Service starts at 11AM and it runs until midnight.

Little known fact: the local DART “Midday Pass” is $1.75 (yes, 1 dollar and 75 cents) and is good from 9:30AM to 2:30PM. It’s an unlimited pass that works on all local DART busses and rail during those times. Here’s a link to the DART fares page, but please buy your tickets with the GoPass app on your phone.

One last thing on DART/Public transit. The best way to experience DART is to use the GoPass app to buy tickets, but plan your travel with Transit app. It’s a much more elegant solution, and it works in many cities across the world.

Uber, Lyft.
The sharing economy is strong in Dallas. If you’re relatively close but might like the convenience of being dropped off at the front door, pick one of these great services and let them do the driving. For more: Uber, Lyft. Combine this ride sharing stuff with DART and you’re tops on the techno-hipster list. Uber to the train station and ride rail into downtown Dallas like a pro!

The last option is to drive your car and park it. While this is the default mode for many people in Dallas/Fort Worth, we encourage you to try one of the above options.

If you really want to drive, but hate to park downtown, consider combining DART/Rail and parking! Your experience will be many times better: park at any number of Park and Ride locations (Market Center Station, 8th and Corinth, MLK Station, street parking at City Place/Uptown Station, Mockingbird Station anywhere along the M-Line trolley on the north side of Woodall Rodgers Freeway, or along the Dallas Street Car line across the Trinity River), buy the appropriate pass using the GoPass app (M-Line and Street Car are free), and ride into downtown. You get super easy parking and the benefit of rail all in one simple package. The cost is $5 for an all day pass, $2.50 if you’ll be downtown for less than 2 hours, and free if you use M-line or Street Car! Park that! 🙂

If you insist on driving (no judging, really), is a great resource for finding a parking lot (look at the lots next to the Dallas Public Library!). Another is ParkMe.

You can download PayByPhone to pay for parking meters with your phone and you can download Parkmobile to pay for parking in select lots.

Be warned: several downtown streets have two hour limits at meters. In addition, look for time restrictions like morning and evening rush hours, valid until midnight, and some meters don’t even start until 6PM (Deep Ellum). Most downtown meters are free after 6PM, but with the caveat that you’re not allowed to park there between 4PM and 6PM.

Hopefully this guide saves you some time and provides a new perspective on getting downtown. It’s easier than you think. See you soon.

Michael Sitarzewski

Michael Sitarzewski is the Publisher of Launch DFW, co-founder and CEO of Epic Playground, Inc., makers of inboundgeo. He is a veteran entrepreneur (and a TechStars Cloud alum) with a specific focus on Web-based software and services. Sitarzewski has been a part of the internet startup culture since 1994 and has had two exits along the way. After a seven years in the Boulder, Colorado startup community, Michael returned to Dallas, Texas, in 2013 where he’s focused on growing and increasing the visibility of the burgeoning Dallas startup community. He is the EIR at The DEC, a mentor in the RevTech accelerator, and leads several events in the Dallas area. Sitarzewski considers helping people understand and leverage technology his life's work.