Dallas is a budget-traveler’s heaven, and it’s not because the average daily cost is only $103 (which is much cheaper than visiting Austin and Houston). In Dallas, you can get around on a free downtown bus or trolley or the budget-friendly DART system, visit free museums or outdoor spaces and eat the best street tacos for less than $2. You don’t have to choose between spending money and having fun in Dallas – find out how:
Zenna is a downtown Dallas restaurant that serves Japanese and Thai cuisine. However, they are best known for their daily happy hour specials from 3 p.m.– 7 p.m. that make for an amazing budget meal. As far as drinks go during happy hour, a 12-ounce draft of beer is only $1.00 and all well drinks are $2.50. They offer six sushi rolls, all $3.75 or under, the likes of which include shrimp tempura rolls and yellowtail rolls. There’s also a selection of tapas that range from tulip dumplings for $3.75 to garlic crispy pork ribs for $5.70.
Jimmy’s Food Store is an Italian-specialty shop that’s been serving the Dallas community since 1966. In terms of food, they offer a carryout menu from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, which mostly consists of sandwiches and salads. Most sandwiches are $6.99 like the Jimmy’s Sandwich (meatball or Italian sausage), Philly Roast Pork and Italian Beef. There are some sandwiches that are a bit pricier like the Prosciutto Panini or Tuna Panino which are $7.99.
Mexican food in Dallas is quite affordable, but perhaps none more so than those found at taquerias – taco shops. That can be said of Taqueria El Si Hay, a no-frills taco shop that operates out of a small building in Oak Cliff. There’s no seating at Taqueria El Si Hay, just a walk-up window where you order street tacos. Most items on the menu – street tacos, elotes, jarritos – are under $2, making for a cost-effective and tasty meal.
Wild Wild West Backpacker’s Hostel is the only hostel in Dallas. It’s set in what looks like a renovated house, complete with bunk beds, a lovely backyard and a shared kitchen. There’s plenty of freebies like breakfast, Wi-Fi and parking. Air-conditioning and laundry facilities are also available. There’s mixed and female-only dorms with prices that fall a little less than $40 per night. Keep in mind that the hostel is set about a 20-minute drive from downtown Dallas.
It’s often hard to find affordable hotels close to major attractions in Dallas, so it’s nice to see La Quinta Inn Dallas Uptown fulfilling both aspects. The motel offers recently updated rooms with coffeemakers and flat-screen TVs, with most equipped with mini-fridges and microwaves. There’s a free breakfast, free parking and a pool on-site. It’s just a seven-minute drive to downtown Dallas, Lower Greenville and Uptown from this hotel property.
Located near Love Field, just a 10-minute drive from downtown Dallas, is Sleep Inn Dallas Love Field-Medical District. This budget hotel offers rooms that range from $70 to $90 a night in rooms with modern digs. While free hot breakfast and free Wi-Fi are standard for budget hotels in Dallas, free airport transportation to Dallas Love Field Airport and a exercise room are pretty nice perks.