Local Lore and Lingo in Dallas

Blend in to the Texas metropolis after studying up on this insider info.
By: Suzanne Marta
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Metroplex: Term trademarked by the North Texas Commission in 1972 to distinguish the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area from the Texas Panhandle — located in the Lone Star State's northwest corner — after studies suggested the term North Texas was confusing. Today, North Texas is the preferred term by local officials, though Metroplex is still used by locals.

D-FW or DFW: Refers to Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area

Las Colinas: Master-planned development spanning about 12,000 acres in northern part of Irving founded by Ben H. Carpenter in 1973. This upscale office and residential development houses the corporate headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Kimberly-Clark Corp. The development also includes the 960-acre Urban Center, the location of the Mustangs of Las Colinas, the world's largest equestrian sculpture.

Valley Ranch: Master-planned development in northern part of Irving. It is mostly residential and contains the Cowboys Center, the Dallas Cowboys' practice fields.

Uptown: Refers to neighborhood immediately north of downtown Dallas located west of North Central Expressway, east of Turtle Creek. Its northern boundary is Haskell Street, although some people also include the few blocks continuing to Knox Street; itse southern boundary is Akard Street or, according to some, the Victory Park development immediately south. The neighborhood is served by the free McKinney Avenue Transit Authority streetcars.

Victory Park: Multi-use, 75-acre development located just outside Dallas's Central Business District, bordered by I-35E and Woodall Rogers Freeway. The site includes the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team and Dallas Stars NHL hockey team.

West End: Historic district in downtown Dallas that features shops, restaurants and some residential development. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, which chronicles the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is also located here.

Deep Ellum: Former warehouse district east of downtown Dallas and the location of several live music venues. The area was a center for blues music in the early 1900s. Today, the area also includes restaurants, shops and residential buildings.

Bishop Arts District: Located in Dallas's Oak Cliff neighborhood, near the intersection of Davis Street and Bishop Avenue, this collection of local restaurants, shops and art galleries is a great place to get away from chain stores. Come here the first Thursday of the month, when shops and galleries are open until 10 p.m. The Soda Gallery, 408 N. Bishop Ave., has nearly 200 flavors of regional and imported sodas, including Dublin Dr Pepper. The shop shares space with Boomstick, which sells collectible toys, movie posters and props and comic books from the 1940s through today.

Dallas Arts District: Nineteen-block area in downtown Dallas that is the nation's largest contiguous urban arts district. The area houses 26 Dallas arts organizations, including major venues such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The district also includes the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, a multivenue facility that includes an opera house, a 600-seat theater and an open-air arts venue.

Legacy: A master-planned business retail and residential development located in Plano. The 2,665-acre development includes the Shops at Legacy retail center and major companies such asr EDS, Frito-Lay Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group and J.C. Penney.


San Jacinto Street: Pronounced "Ja-SIN-tow," not "Hah-SIN-tow."

Dallas Cowboys: Sometimes referred to as America's team, the Cowboys didn't play in Dallas for more than 30 years (when the team moved from the Cotton Bowl to Texas Stadium). In 2009, however, the Cowboys moved from their iconic Texas Stadium in Irving to a new $1.1 billion stadium in the suburb of Arlington.

Texas-OU: Officially the AT&T Red River Rivalry, this annual football matchup between the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Oklahoma Sooners is played during the State Fair of Texas each autumn. Each year thousands of fans dressed in the burnt orange or crimson parade through downtown Dallas.

D/FW or DFW: Refers to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the world's third busiest (based on takeoffs and landing) and the largest hub for American Airlines.

Love Field: Dallas Love Field, the home base for Southwest Airlines, is used by private jet owners and the military. Until 2014, most commercial aircraft is federally restricted under what is known has the "Wright amendment."

Wright amendment: Named for former Speaker of the House Jim Wright, from Fort Worth, this refers to federal restrictions on commercial flights out of Dallas Love Field. Regularly scheduled commercial airplanes with more than 56 seats must first stop within Texas or one of eight nearby states before going to points elsewhere in the U.S. The restrictions expire in 2014, when flights will be able to fly anywhere in the U.S.

Getting around: Many major Dallas area roadways have multiple names, so here's a handy decoder to help you get around.

Airport Freeway: Refers to section of State Highway 183 between State Highway 114 and D/FW Airport's south entrance.

John Carpenter Freeway: Refers to State Highways 183 and 114 from I-35E and runs to D/FW Airport's North entrance. John Carpenter was the father of the Las Colinas development.

Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway or I-635: Also known as LBJ for short, this freeway arcs around Dallas' northern, eastern and southern sides. LBJ starts at the northern entrance of D/FW Airport and includes I-20 on the south.

Loop 12: This is the innermost highway ring around Dallas, though some sections with stoplights resemble large thoroughfares rather than a highway. Its northern section is also known as Northwest Highway. The eastern arc is Buckner Boulevard; the southern section, Ledbetter Drive, and Walton Walker Boulevard is on the west.

North Central Expressway: Refers to U.S. Highway 75 between I-35E and I-635 north of downtown. Many locals simply call it "75."

Stemmons Freeway: Refers to I-35E directly north of downtown Dallas.

Woodall Rogers Freeway: Connects I-35E to North Central Expressway and I-45 along the northern edge of downtown Dallas. It's also called Spur 366. City officials are planning a park that will cover a portion of the freeway and connect the Dallas Arts District to Uptown.

High 5: Soaring and colorful interchange of LBJ/I-635 and North Central Expressway (Highway 75).

North Dallas Tollway: Simply called "the tollway" by locals, this is a 32-mile, six-lane expressway the runs from downtown Dallas to Frisco. It is operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority.

President George Bush Turnpike: Also called State Highway 190, the "George Bush" or simply "the Bush," this six-lane, 30-mile toll road offers a quick east-west route between Dallas's northern suburbs, running from Garland on the East to Irving on the west. It's named for the nation's 41st president, George H.W. Bush, and is operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority.

Addison Airport Toll Tunnel: Opened in 1999, this two-lane tunnel runs under the Addison Airport, providing east-west travel between the Dallas North Tollway and I-34E.

Mountain Creek Lake Bridge: Located in southwest Dallas County, this toll road provides an east-west crossing of Mountain Creek Lake between Dallas's Oak Cliff community and the city of Grand Prairie. It is operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority.

I-35E/I-35W: Interstate 35, which snakes from Mexico to Minnesota, splits in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I-35E runs through Dallas, I-35W runs through Fort Worth. The two sections reconnect about an hour south of Dallas.

121 Tollway: Section of State Highway 121 that runs about 26 miles from State Highway Business 121 near the Dallas/Denton county line to U.S. 75 in Collin County. It is operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority.

TollTag: Works for North Dallas Tollway, President George Bush Turnpike, Addison Tunnel, 121 Tollway, D/FW Airport drop-off and parking fees, Dallas Love Field parking fees, and other toll roads in Texas. Tolls and fees, automatically deducted from the account at a discounted rate, allow users to drive in express lanes at collection points.


DART: Stands for Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which provides bus and light rail service throughout Dallas and 12 surrounding suburbs. DART Rail operates 45 miles and 35 stations located north and south of the cities. Red and blue lines run special trips between the West End Station to the American Airlines Center at Victory Station on game days and other special events.

TRE: Stands for Trinity Railway Express and operates on heavy rail track between the downtowns of Dallas and Fort Worth, Monday through Saturday. From Dallas's Union Station, passengers can connect to DART Rail and buses. The Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center offers the most connections to the city's T bus system. Fort Worth's Texas & Pacific (T&P) station is in the downtown area. It's possible to transfer from the TRE's CentrePort/DFW Airport station by shuttle bus to the airport terminals. Shuttles run about every 15 minutes Monday through Saturday, dropping passengers first at the Remote South parking lot. From there, passengers must transfer to a shuttle bus heading to the desired terminal.

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