Ambassadors Life Around Dallas Texas Travel

Getting Around Dallas!

The fact that Dallas is our backyard is one of the best parts of being at SMU! This city has everything: exciting sports, tantalizing eateries, electrifying concerts, adventurous trails, captivating museums, and more! But figuring out how to travel to these events and places seems to be an insurmountable hurdle for SMU students…or is it?

Travelling around Dallas is actually really easy! And cheap! So don’t let a little logistics stop you from maximizing your time in this incredible city! Check out a few of my favorite transportation options below…


The cheapest, most fun, and most active way to get around Dallas!! On a beautiful Dallas spring day, grab a friend and a 7/11 Slurpee and head to anywhere in the city! Some popular spots near campus to walk to are Snider Plaza (eat at Bubba’s!), or to La Madeleine (use that student discount!). And if you really just want to walk, head down the Katy Trail. You can make it all the way to the American Airlines Center in only 3.5 miles under a canopy trail. You can walk, run, and jog there! Or if you are really adventurous, you can wog (walk jog). Some cool spots to stop along the way are the Village Baking Company, Wild About Harry’s, and the Katy Trail Ice House!

Pro: Free, fun way to explore, exercise!

Con: Takes a long time, limited geographic area

Your Car!

Freshmen can bring their car! Having your own car does provide you independence because, hey! Want to drive and get a Whataburger Hub Chub (Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit) at 1 am? Forgot to get a memory foam mattress topper at Target? Need to drive to the interview for your first internship? Yep! Having a car makes it easy to do all of these things and more. Your schedule, your car, and your time to explore! Also! You can 100% offer to drive your friends around. Better to explore together!

However, if you aren’t used to driving in a big city (or even if you are), Dallas drivers can be a little crazy. They drive FAST here, and the interstate system has many off and on ramps. Also, finding parking can be challenging to find, and then they make you PAY for it! Wild!

Pro: Independence, your own air fresheners, control (if you’re one of those people who need it)

Con: Paying for gas, parking, Dallas drivers


The easiest, quickest, and potentially the cheapest alternative to having a car. Your first friend on campus is typically your roommate, and the best way to bond with your roommate is to drive  unnecessarily long distances to stock up on the essentials. Carpooling with your roommate and new friends is the best way to make friends and help each other out. Although campus is great, people typically want a reason to go explore their new home (aka Dallas). So give them a reason to check out the latest Swedish furniture trends at IKEA, get gas at the greatest gas station in the world – Buc-ee’s, try a Czech Stop Kolache, and/or play at Klyde Warren Park.

Pros: Make new friends, give your friends a reason to explore Dallas, environmentally and economically friendly carpooling

Con: Lack of independence (no way to really hurry up that friend that can’t decide), parking

Uber & Lyft

The Uber and Lyft drivers are bountiful on SMU’s campus. (Not a bad side gig if you need one.) And with downtown only being 10-15 minutes away, no trip is ever too expensive. Plus, if you split a ride with friends (safety in numbers!), you’ll be paying pennies for your rides! Okay, so maybe not actual pennies…but! It will be cheap! The drivers are generally pretty friendly with great stories, and they know campus well. Convenient if you ever need to get somewhere fairly quick and want to avoid parking.

Pros: Fairly inexpensive, no parking, fun stories from your local drivers, convenient

Cons: Safety (just make sure to bring a friend or two), still does cost money, little less control


THE SINGLE GREATEST TRANSPORTATION OPTION EVER!!!!!!! Okay, that may be a little over dramatic/not 100% true…but! The DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit System) is awesome!! The DART is essentially free because you only pay $5 for unlimited access to the DART buses AND monorails for. all. 4. years. And the DART goes everywhere! I have personally traveled to the Texas State Fair, DFW Airport, American Airlines Center, Dallas Marathon starting line, and to many other places. Not only did I not have to pay for gas, I also didn’t have to worry about parking. Plus! I reduced my carbon footprint by using public transportation! And how fun is it to get a big group of friends and all travel together without worrying about who will drive or fighting over who gets shotgun?

Okay, so here is the non-rose-colored version of the DART. The DART is truly an easy and inexpensive way to get around Dallas. While the schedule is fairly reliable and consistent, the DART does not have the same time precision as a German train. (Aka it can be a little late). I would also recommend taking the DART with friends during the daylight. Also, although police officers patrol the DART, they cannot be everywhere at once. You will most likely make it home safely, but if it’s super late, you would be better off just taking the $10 Uber home. However! Coming from someone who didn’t grow up with reliable and ubiquitous public transportation, I cannot stress enough how cool of a resource the DART can be for us as SMU students!

Pros: Essentially free, cool way to explore Dallas, no parking, no Dallas traffic, ability to make memories with friends

Cons: Best to take during the day, potentially unpredictable schedule

The good news is that whatever form of transportation you choose, you will be able to explore Dallas and make memories with your new friends!


Travel onward, and Pony Up!

Nick Fontela

Class of 2021

Accounting, B.A. | Cox School of Business

Life Around Dallas Texas

Your Dallas Guide

Dallas has a little bit of everything, whether you want to see an up-and-coming band or eat dinner on a downtown rooftop. Growing up in Dallas, I have been lucky to experience this city for 21 years, and it has been so much fun seeing the city through fresh eyes with my friends from out of state. With both world-class museums and delicious food all residing in the same city limits, it can be hard to pick the best of the best, but here is a Dallas guide from a Dallas native.

Deep Ellum 

One of the coolest areas in Dallas, Deep Ellum, is home to amazing music, eccentric food, and unique shops. I personally love Deep Ellum because I take improv classes at Dallas Comedy House every week and have met so many amazing people there. And I had one of the most surreal experiences when I ran into Halsey outside her show at Club Dada and got to snap a picture with her.

Here are my top hits in Deep Ellum.

(Do not forget to snap a picture in front of the many murals)

Downtown Dallas

Many people forget that Dallas has an actual downtown scene, where students come to both to eat, shop, and work. I have spent the last two semesters interning in Downtown Dallas at the D Magazine office, and working in Downtown has been one of my favorite college experiences. Run Downtown to see a Stars or Mavs game at the American Airlines Center, or plan a night out to see a Broadway show at the AT&T Performing Arts Center; Downtown has a ton to do!

Uptown & Oak Lawn

On the Hilltop, we are lucky to have so much around our campus directly, whether it be a short walk or a 5-minute drive. Mockingbird Station is right across the highway, and Uptown is just a short drive, giving us lots of options for a quick dinner off-campus, or spending time with friends. That is one of the best things about SMU; it’s a small town in a big city.

I have loved growing up in Dallas and spending my college years here. I hope this list provides some insight into what the city has to offer and why living on the Hilltop is worth it.

Pony Up,

Kathryn Chavez

Ig: @Kathrynchavez

Life Around Dallas Texas Travel

Weekend Trip to Austin

For a little weekend getaway, my friends and I drove down to Austin, Texas for Austin City Limits last weekend. That’s one of the great things about Dallas, its proximity to other really cool cities. Austin is just a quick 3-hour drive and can be fun for a change of scenery.

We drove down on Friday after class just in time to see Jay-Z, Martin Garrix and Foster the People. On Saturday morning, we went to brunch at Jo’s Coffee and then went in to ACL early to explore Zilker Park. They have the most amazing ACL Eats Food Court- with everything from Shake Shack to local Austin pizza places (eating pizza in Austin is a must!). There are 8 different stages, and the Austin skyline is visible from everywhere in the park. On Saturday, we saw Ice Cube, Red Hot Chili Peppers and then went to a Silent Disco.

There is so much to do in Dallas on the weekends that you would never have to leave, but I recommend exploring other cities in Texas if you get the opportunity. Over the past four years, I have fallen in love with not only Dallas and SMU but more broadly, Texas. Everything truly is bigger and better in Texas!

Taylor Walden