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Discover the true locations used in Dallas TV shows. From Southfork Ranch to downtown, find out where your favorite scenes were filmed.

The Real Locations Behind the Dallas TV Shows

You’re about to discover the fascinating history and unique filming techniques used for one of the most iconic television series in American entertainment history. Dallas, a show that ran from 1978-1991, was highly popular and influential, largely due to its production logistics.

The majority of exterior shots were filmed in Texas at the Southfork Ranch, where the Ewing family home was located. However, interior shots were filmed in California on re-created sets of Southfork Ranch. Additionally, Dallas skyline shots were filmed in California as well.

Although there were limited filming locations outside of Texas, Dallas greatly contributed to Texas’ image and tourism industry. Its historical context and cultural influence will be explored further through an examination of its production locations.

Production Locations


The show was a hybrid of two places, with the exterior shots bringing life to the Texas landscape while the interior scenes were brought to life in California, like a patchwork quilt sewn together from different fabrics. Although the majority of the exterior shots were filmed in Texas, most of the interior scenes were shot in California due to production logistics. However, this didn’t compromise on location authenticity as re-created sets of Southfork Ranch and limited filming in other Texas locations contributed to it.

The Dallas skyline shots were also filmed in California and seamlessly integrated into the show. Despite not being entirely filmed on location in Texas, Dallas still played a significant role in contributing to its image and tourism industry. Moving forward, let’s explore one of the real-life locations that became iconic because of its presence on screen: Southfork Ranch.

Southfork Ranch

As we delve into Southfork Ranch, it becomes clear that the show’s creators spared no expense in bringing this iconic location to life on screen. The history of Southfork Ranch dates back to 1970 when it was purchased by a Texas oilman. The ranch was used as a set for various scenes throughout the series and became an integral part of Dallas’ success. Ownership of the property changed hands several times over the years, with each owner contributing their own renovations and upgrades to keep the site relevant and attractive to visitors.

Today, Southfork Ranch remains open for tours and events, allowing fans to get up close and personal with the actual location where so many memorable moments from Dallas were filmed. Despite its fame, however, most of the interior shots featuring characters’ homes were actually filmed in California on re-created sets based on Southfork Ranch. With this knowledge in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into the interior sets used in Dallas.

Interior Sets

Delving into the interior sets of Dallas reveals the meticulous attention to detail and creativity that went into bringing the iconic Ewing family homes to life on screen. Set design played a pivotal role in creating the opulent interiors of Southfork Ranch, with every aspect carefully chosen to reflect the affluent lifestyle of the wealthy oil tycoon family. Art direction was equally important, with designers opting for bold color schemes and luxurious furnishings to capture the decadence of 1980s Dallas. Lighting techniques were also utilized to enhance specific moods or highlight particular aspects of each scene.

Although most exterior shots were filmed on location at Southfork Ranch, interior scenes were shot entirely in California on re-created sets. The result was an immersive viewing experience that transported audiences straight into the heart of Texas high society. Transitioning seamlessly from interior sets to skyline shots, it’s clear that Dallas was a show that spared no expense when it came to creating a truly authentic portrayal of one of America’s most iconic cities.

Skyline Shots

While the majority of exterior shots were filmed in Texas, the Dallas skyline shots were actually filmed in California. This decision was made due to filming logistics and the availability of specific camera equipment needed for the desired visual effects. By recreating the iconic skyline on a soundstage with green screen technology, Dallas was able to maintain consistency in its depiction of the city throughout its 13-year run.

These visually stunning shots undoubtedly contributed to Dallas’ popularity and influence as a TV show, but they also had an impact on Texas tourism as well. The recognizable skyline acted as a marketing tool for not only Dallas but for all of Texas, further solidifying its image as a hub for culture, entertainment, and business.

Impact on Texas Tourism


The captivating skyline shots in Dallas, filmed in California and utilizing cutting-edge technology, not only contributed to the show’s success but also served as a powerful marketing tool for Texas tourism. The iconic Dallas skyline featured prominently in the opening credits of the show, showcasing some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and serving as an advertisement for both the show and the city itself. This marketing strategy paid off, as fans of Dallas flocked to Texas to see these landmarks in person.

Visitor demographics shifted from primarily regional visitors to international tourists seeking out locations featured on their favorite TV shows. The economic benefits were significant, with increased hotel occupancy rates, restaurant revenues, and retail sales all contributing to the growth of Texas’s tourism industry. Overall, Dallas played a crucial role in shaping Texas’s image as a vibrant and dynamic destination for travelers from around the world.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Dallas TV show’s success was largely due to the real-life locations used in its production. Southfork Ranch, the Ewing family home, became an iconic symbol of Texas and attracted tourists from all over the world. The decision to film exterior shots in Texas contributed to the state’s image as a land of cowboys and oil tycoons.

Despite interior shots being filmed in California, Dallas still managed to capture the essence of Texas through its use of authentic locations. The skyline shots were also filmed in California but seamlessly blended with the rest of the show’s footage. Overall, Dallas TV show proved that location can play a significant role in a production’s success.

As they say, everything is bigger and better in Texas, and this was certainly true for Dallas TV show. Its use of real-life locations added depth and authenticity to the series that viewers could not get enough of. The show will always be remembered as one that captured both hearts and imaginations, leaving behind a legacy that will be hard to replicate.

Dallas (1978 TV series)
spend six to eight weeks filming on-location sequences in the Dallas area during the summer prior to the season, then film the remainder of the season

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