Dos and Don’ts

Greetings: Texans are typically friendly, so feel free to say hello to anyone on the street, ask directions, or just chat. Also, people love to shake hands in Dallas, and at bars, clientele can become collegial after a few drinks, so there may be plenty of hugging among people who have just met.

Transportation: Hop on DART light rail and the McKinney Avenue trolley to get around easily.

Tips: Tipping at restaurants and bars is customary—20 percent for good service when dining, 10 percent to a bartender who has taken good care of you. A dollar or two per bag is appropriate at hotels and three dollars is appropriate for the car valet.

Attire: It’s OK to wear blue jeans most places today, and jackets and ties are rarely required anywhere—but it’s a good idea to ask in advance. Some restaurants are not keen on shorts and flip-flop (beach) sandals. It’s often warm, so dress in layers.

Boots: Don’t be surprised to see lots of people wearing cowboy boots. In Texas, this isn’t part of a costume but is typical daily dress. Buy some boots and feel at home. By the same token, this is a fashion-forward city, so don’t be surprised to see women decked out in their best outfits and lots of make-up for a trip to the grocery store.

Carry Bottled Water and Sunscreen: It can be hot and often sunny, so you’ll want to be prepared.

Reservations: Dinner reservations are a good idea at most every restaurant in Dallas on the weekends, and often on weeknights. It’s easy to do online at

Driving: If you’re driving on freeways, be warned that Dallas drivers can be unpredictable and impatient. Watch out for the other guy at all times, and be aware that weekday traffic can be bad during commuter rush hours, 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. On city streets, it’s legal to right at a red light after stopping.

Phrase Book

While Texans speak English, it is often with a drawl, so words come out sounding different than you’ve ever heard before. Here are some pronunciations and expressions that are particular to Texas:

Awl: Oil

Fixin’ to: Preparing to do something

Look here: May I have your attention?

Daincin’: Dancing

Hayur: Hair

Weeun: Win

Bobwar: Barbed-wire, a kind of fence

Dad-gummit: Darn it

Dayum: Damn

Hep: Help

Icebox: Refrigerator

Gotta git: Need to leave

Spell (or spayul): A measure of time or distance as in, “Let’s sit a spell.”

Yawnto: Do you want to?

This ain’t my first rodeo: I’ve done this before.

That dog won’t hunt: That won’t work or that’s not true

Blue norther: A major cold front

Gully-washer or frog-strangler: Heavy rainfall

Come hell or high water: No matter what

Y’all: You all (can be used to address one or more people)


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