You might have heard that North Texas is a blooming region in the Lone Star State, but not many people know where it begins and ends.
North Texas is an umbrella term for the area between Waco and the Oklahoma border. While the region shares the state’s rural southern culture, it also enjoys a diverse economy, rich education opportunities, and a reasonably young median age.
About North Texas
You’ll find the Dallas-Fort metroplex (DFW) at the heart of North Texas. However, the North Texas Commission (NTC) includes other nearby cities, like Arlington, in its classifications.
The same lifestyle in the region shifts a bit from one city to the other, but there are a few key statistics and notable aspects to consider.
Facts About North Texas
- Location: South of Oklahoma and North of Waco
- County: 13 counties (according to the NTC’s classifications)
- Cities: over 150 cities
- Land Area: 9,000 square miles
- Zip Codes: Over 250 codes, including 75001-76670
- Population: Around 8 million
- Crime Rate: 366.5 for violent crimes and 2118.7 for property crimes (for DFW)
- Average Temperature in June: 70.7-91.1°F (for DFW)
- Average Temperature in January: 34.0-54.1°F (for DFW)
- Universities: University of North Texas, University of Dallas, Collin College, Texas A&M University-Commerce
- Main Airport: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
- Best hotels: Hyatt Place, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, and SpringHill Suites by Marriott
- Best Restaurants: Boca 31, Seasons 52, Cadot, Maple Leaf Diner, and Ziziki’s
What North Texas Is Known For
North Texas is quite diverse but generally known as a hub for arts, culture, and labor forces.
After all, the area has a growing economy and is home to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies’ headquarters, including:
- Exxon Mobil
- Southwest Airlines
- Vistra Energy
Yet, North Texas still maintains the arts and culture aspect with around 120 museums and 6,000 annual events.
People From North Texas
In pretty much every field, you’ll find famous people who were originally from the Lone Star State. As it happens, North Texas has had its fair share of talent over the years, including:
- Nick Jonas: Singer and songwriter, born in Dallas
- Phyllis George: Miss America 1971 and a TV co-host, born in Denton
- Luke Wilson: Actor, born in Dallas
- Kelly Clarkson: Singer and songwriter, born in Fort Worth
- Brian Waters: NFL player, born in Waxahachie
- Larry McMurtry: Novelist, born in Archer City
North Texas’ Geography
Not everyone uses the term “North Texas” to refer to the same region. Some people only focus on the DFW area, while others mean all northern counties. Plus, it’s not uncommon to hear someone use “North Central Texas” and “North Texas” interchangeably.
All in all, the Lone Star State’s unusual shape makes it a little hard to set clear borders, but let’s take a closer look at the general layout of the North Texas Region:
The North Texas area is surrounded by many notable regions, including Abilene and the Texas-Oklahoma border.
Layout of North Texas
Although the name implies that this region covers all the state’s northern areas, it’s only focused on the northeastern side.
So, North Texas doesn’t include the high plains in the Panhandle. Instead, the area is mostly Blackland prairie and cross-timbers surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Areas in North Texas
If you go by the NTC’s division, you’ll find that the North Texas region is made up of the following counties:
On the other hand, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) sets a broader definition of the area and includes Erath, Navarro, and Palo Pinto counties on the list.
Yet, the Nortex Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) serves a different list of 11 counties, including Archer, Clay, and Wichita. So, it really depends on what classification you’re checking.
Either way, the top cities are Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Garland, Irving, McKinney, Frisco, and Wichita Falls.
Getting About in North Texas
Most people in the North Texas area rely on cars to get around. However, there are also quite a few public transit options to consider.
Overall, North Texas isn’t exactly the most walkable region in the US. So, you can’t expect to get around by foot as much as in New York, for instance.
That said, Dallas and Irving are two popular cities with relatively high walkability scores of 46 and 45, respectively. Meanwhile, Plano scores 41, Garland is at 40, Arlington’s score is 38, and Fort Worth comes last at 35. For reference, New York’s walkability score is 88.
While driving in North Texas requires some skill, it’s not a terrible experience. In fact, Plano ranked in second place in WalletHub’s list of the 100 best and worst cities to drive in.
Other cities in North Texas, like Arlington, Garland, Irving, and Fort Worth, ranked high as well. Dallas was a bit lagging behind at rank 44, but it still made it to the top half of the list.
Fort Worth and Arlington have low gas prices compared to other places in North Texas and other states.
In Fort Worth, Trinity is one of the major public transit options, and it’s commonly known for its Metro TXRail, running through 9 stations up to DFW Airport.
However, Trinity also provides a Railway Express service with 10 stations from east to west. That’s not all; the company also has over 25 bus routes all over Fort Worth.
North Texas also has the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system with 93 miles of rail, nearly 100 bus routes, on-demand services, door-to-door paratransit, and a streetcar linking Downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff.
Additionally, Denton county has the A-train and the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA). There are also the TAPS and Transdev bus services in counties like Wise, Clay, and Collin. For residents of Wichita Falls, there’s the Falls Ride bus service with 7 routes.
It’s fairly easy to drive from one county in the northern region to the other. However, it’s also possible to fly if long drives aren’t your cup of tea. For instance, you can take a flight from Wichita Falls Airport to DFW International Airport.
What to Do in North Texas
Nature lovers, art enthusiasts, and people looking to do some shopping will all find something fun in the area.
You can always customize your itinerary depending on which city you’re going, but here are the must-try activities in the region:
Enjoy the Natural Scenery
The good news for nature lovers is that North Texas has no shortage of wildlife sanctuaries and gardens.
Our top picks are:
- Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden
- Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
- Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
- River Bend Nature Center
Tour The Munster Mansion
If you grew up watching The Munsters, you’ll love visiting The Munster Mansion in Waxahachie. It’s not the real thing used in the sitcom, but the details in this replica are just spine-chilling!
Go for a Scenic Drive
If you’d rather spend the day away from the crowds, we’d highly recommend taking your car for a scenic drive.
For one, Route 67 will take you through the southern suburban areas of Dallas. Dixie Overland Highway and Red River Roadway are both excellent options, too.
Get the Adrenaline Going at Six Flags Over Texas
One of the top attractions that bring people to North Texas is the Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington.
Overall, there’s something there for all ages in the amusement park, but the Batman inverted roller coaster offers an unmatched thrill—it’s not for the faint-hearted, though!
Take a Stroll Downtown
If you want a taste of what North Texas is actually like, we’d recommend hitting one of the vibrant downtown areas for a stroll.
Both Downtown Dallas and Downtown Fort Worth offer a blend of skyscraper skylines and historical western architecture. From dining to shopping, you’ll find plenty of things to keep you busy all day. Just brace yourself for a ton of art, culture, and rural southern dialects!
If you’d rather lean more into the history of North Texas, you’ll want to check out the Denison Commercial Historic District way up north on Route 75, near the Oklahoma border.
Where to Eat in North Texas
North Texas is a rather large area, so you’ll have to narrow down your dining options based on which city you’re visiting.
However, these are some of the common spots:
- Sky Rocket Burger, Dallas
- Cadot, Dallas
- Ziziki’s Greek Restaurant, Dallas
- Hatsuyuki Handroll Bar, Fort Worth
- Del Campo Empanadas, Fort Worth
- Coco Shrimp, Fort Worth
- Hugs Cafe, McKinney (non-profit social enterprise for adults with special needs)
- Empa Mundo, Irving
- DonDonPoke, Plano
- Seasons 52, Plano
- Tranky’s Tacos, Garland
- Boca 31, Denton
Where to Stay in North Texas
Most cities in North Texas have accommodations ranging from cozy cabins to luxurious hotel suites.
The highest-rated places are:
- The Grand Hotel & Ballroom, McKinney
- The Wildwood Inn, Denton
- Hyatt Place, Dallas and Fort Worth
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Dallas and Fort Worth
- SpringHill Suites, Dallas, Denton, and Fort Worth
- Skybox Cabins, Glen Rose
North Texas FAQs
Is North Texas a good place to live?
Yes, around 8 million people choose to live in North Texan cities for a reason. According to the NTC, North Texas is one of the fastest-growing regions, and it would have ranked 13 in GDP if it were a standalone state!
Is North Texas safe?
Crime rates in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex are higher than the national average. However, there are safer regions in North Texas. In fact, McKinney and Frisco are considered among the 10 safest cities nationwide.
Is North Texas worth visiting?
Yes, North Texas’s diverse culture makes it a great tourist destination. Additionally, the DFW Airport makes the region highly accessible.
- North Texas Commission: ntc-dfw.org
- Crime Rate: realestate.usnews.com
- Average Temperature: rssweather.com
- 100 best and worst cities to drive in: nbcdfw.com
- 10 safest cities: cw33.com