The assassination of President John F. Kennedy has fascinated Americans for decades. During a presidential motorcade on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald (allegedly) fired the shot that killed JFK as he rode through Dallas’s Dealey Plaza. The ensuing controversy surrounding the shooter’s identity and motive, as well as the political repercussions, have made the tragedy one of the most widely recognized and debated in US history. Although JFK wasn’t a native Texan, by looking at the vast number of tributes, memorials, and museums in Dallas, you’d think he was. Dallas might have been where the former president was tragically killed, but the city is certainly doing its part to preserve Kennedy’s memory. To learn everything about the JFK assassination right where it happened, here are five sites in Dallas you need to visit.
Named a National Historic Landmark in 1993, Dealey Plaza, located in Dallas’ West End district, is one of the most visited sites in the city and is a must-see spot for any American history buff. The plaza is outlined by white stone monuments and the infamous grassy knoll, a small sloped green space that overlooks Elm Street, the street on which President Kennedy was traveling when he was fatally shot from the nearby Texas School Depository.
Where: West End, Dallas, TX 75202
The Grassy Knoll
No site associated with the JFK assassination is as famous as the Grassy Knoll, and it might have had nothing to do with the assassination at all. Located right across from Dealey Plaza, the Grassy Knoll serves as a focal point for conspiracy theorists who believe it was from this grassy area that a second mysterious gunman shot the president. The little hill rose to national prominence when Albert Merriman Smith of United Press International, who had been riding in the press pool car, sent a dispatch from the scene after the shooting that said, “Some of the Secret Service agents thought the gunfire was from an automatic weapon fired to the right rear of the president’s car, probably from a grassy knoll to which police rushed.”
Where: West End, Dallas, TX 75202
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial
The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial is a Dallas monument built to honor the 35th president of the United States. Set in downtown Dallas around the corner from Dealey Plaza, the memorial was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, a friend of the Kennedy’s. It’s comprised of eight columns supporting an all-white granite cube structure. In the center of the memorial is a slab of stone with three words carved and painted in gold: John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Where: 646 Main St, Dallas, TX 75202
The Sixth Floor Museum
If museums are your thing, this is the definitive Dallas museum dedicated to the JFK assassination. At the Sixth Floor Museum, you’ll learn more about the former president, the timeline of his assassination, and the associated controversies than you can handle. From historic photographs, films, and memorabilia to official government reports of the investigation, this museum has it all. For those who can’t physically make it to the museum, there’s even a museum webcam that gives a live view from the sniper spot. If you couldn’t guess from its name, the museum is located on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration building, the exact spot from which Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have assassinated the president. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and tickets are $18 for adults.
Where: 411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202
The Texas Theater in Oak Cliff is truly a gem and stands as the location that Lee Harvey Oswald, who allegedly assassinated JFK, sought out for a hiding place after murdering Officer J.D. Tippit. The theater has survived the times and has become a charming and renowned theater for the avid filmgoer. The theater shows independent movies, film festivals, independent screenings, documentaries, old classics, and 35mm films. They also have a full-service bar that serves smaller batch boutique products, offers cheap Texas and Mexican beers, and a slew of homemade cocktails, inspired by films, that you can take into the theater with you.
Where:231 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208
Oswald Rooming House
A 10-minute drive from Dallas will bring you to the infamous rooming house in Oak Cliff where Lee Harvey Oswald lived during the time of JFK’s assassination. In the wake of the incident, law enforcement descended on the residence of Gladys Johnson, the original owner of the property. Patricia Hall, who owns the house-turned-museum (and also knew Oswald) provides visitors with a glimpse into Oswald’s life in Dallas.
Where: 1026 N Beckley Ave, Dallas, TX 75203
Dallas based BEST DFW TOURS offers a JFK Tour every day at 10 A.M. led by a JFK historian. The tour not only stops at each of these point of interest (BEST DFW TOURS has exclusive access to the rooming house) but it also visit other places around Dallas associated with the assassination that are just as important. Reserve tour seats at the website.