Ok, first diary here. I planned on making this a post, but it turned out a little long. Anyway, I've lived in the D/FW area for a few years now and can maybe help you guys out with planning your trip.
Most people tend to think of Dallas as having three main areas; the West End, Deep Ellum, and Uptown. Here's my summary/opinion of them
West End : This side of town is a little bit slower but still has some good flavor to it. There is a decent rooftop cajun bar (Gators), Hooters, Dicks Last Resort, TGI Fridays, Spaghetti Warehouse, two good steakhouses, and a Sonny Bryants BBQ (see below). In addition, the West End features an aquarium, the American Airlines Arena, live music just about everywhere, carriage rides, and is home to Delay Plaza and the 6th Floor Musuem. In case you forgot, this is where JFK was killed. I reccomend at least driving through Delay Plaza during your visit.
Deep Ellum : DE at one time was very busy, like Uptown is now (I'll get to that in a minute). In the 90's or so crime in the area increased and people moved out and found other weekend. With that being said, DE is slowly coming back. DE is the "hipster" side of town, so expect tattoos, punk music, and spiked hair. The bars in DE tend to be hole-in-the-wall bars. With that being said, DE is home to some of the best food in Dallas. Twisted Root and Angry Dog both have excellent burgers. It's like a one side or the other debate down here which one you like. There is a good cajun and sushi restraunt. Most importantly, Pepe & Mito's mexican cafe (see below). Also, the Cotton Bowl is about a mile or two from DE.
Uptown: Uptown is hands down the heart of Dallas nightlife. When people refer to "Uptown" what they are actually refering to is McKinney Ave. There is plenty of bars on Mckinney and each bar has a little different flavor. Just about all bars here have rooftops and outside seating. The Den has the best view of the skyline at night but also is the busiest. Anyway, McKinney has plently of bars and you'll be sure to find a good place to hang out and find your favorite beer. Oh, and by the way, the woman in this area will make your head spin. However, McKinney really doesn't feautre and good places to eat that I would take a visitor to. So I'd recommend heading here at night and eating somewhere else.
If I had two meals to eat in Dallas where would I eat at?
Tex-Mex : Pepe & Mitos Mexican Cafe in Deep Ellum. Featured on Diners, Drive-In's, and Dives. From the outside, the restraunt may not look the nicest, but believe me, the inside is updated, clean, serivce is friendly, and food is excellent.
BBQ: Sonny Bryant's BBQ. Sonny's has multiple locations throughout D/FW but the one I suggest is in the West End. I don't really need to lay this one out for you guys, Just good ole' Texas BBQ. Everything from brisket, pork, ribs, turkey, sausage, etc. As seen on Man vs Food.
Fort Worth can best be described as a mini-Dallas. The city is smaller and less busy but still offers plenty to do. I don't know FW as well as Dallas but here's what I do know. I like to think of FW as two areas;
Sundance Sqaure: This is basically the heart of FW nightlife. Lot's of TCU students and good bars to sit and have a drink at. Again, the nightlife is a little slower than Dallas, but still there is plenty. Truthfully I don't spend much time here, but those that do love it, I just prefer to head to the stockyards.
The Stockyards: Now, this is my favorite place in FW. The Stockyards is what you probably picture Texas as. Daily cattle drives, cowboys, rodeos, and Texas two-stepping. I highly reccomend seeing a rodeo at the Stockyards Colosseum. It's $15 for a 2-hr show featuring bull riding, barrel racing, and lassoing contests. Billy Bob's is located in the Stockyards and is one of the biggest bars in the country. BB's has plenty of two-stepping, bull riding ($3 for a 20min show), and also live music. A lot of famous country musicians play at BB's (Willie Nelson was here for the 4th), so don't be surprised if you see a big name performing, but expect to pay about $15 in cover. Also the Stockyards is home to the White Elephant. You may recoginze the White Elephant as CD's Bar from Walker Texas Ranger, as this is where those scenes were shot.
If I had two meals to eat in FW where would I eat at?
Tex Mex - Joe T Garcia's. Good food, but even better atmosphere. Check out the website and you'll see what I mean. For those of you coming with a significant other, this would be a good spot.
BBQ - North Main BBQ. Ok, North Main isn't in FW it's in Euless (about 20mins away). But this IMO is better than any BBQ FW offers. Only open on weekends, all you can eat. Stays open until they run out of food.
For those who don't already know, Arlington is between Dallas and Fort Worth. Truthfully, there is no significant travel time advantage of staying in Dallas Vs. Fort Worth. I'm not going to spend much time here as most of you seem to be staying in D/FW. But attractions in Arlington include; Six Flags and the Six Flags water park, Rangers Ballpark, and of course, Jerryworld.
In closing, D/FW is a great area and truthfully, there is just too much to do. Plenty of attractions, and PLENTY of good food. The places to eat I picked are all based on my opinion and I'm sure some people would disagree. I'm just looking to point you in the right direction, do some research yourself and see what places look good to you, you really can't go wrong.
Let me know if you have any questions, I'd be happy to help out. Look forward to seeing some maize and blue down here in September.