Plan Your Trip: Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas

by Cedric Pentonville  |  Published March 26, 2021

Visits of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas are an absolute must for anyone in the vicinity of the city. Here’s how to plan your trip to the Sixth Floor Museum and surrounding JFK-related sites, including ticket, transport and tour information so that you can have the perfect visit.

The Grassy Knoll and Sixth Floor (Photo: Floyd Wilde via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

It may seem about as dark as political tourism can get, but visiting the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas is a surprisingly enlightening experience. The 35th President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy, will always be associated in one way or another with Dallas. And while he’ll be remembered for the great achievements he made during his lifetime, it’s impossible to visit Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum and disassociate the man from his untimely death.

On 22 November, 1963, the presidential motorcade was winding its way through Dealey Plaza on Elm Street. Inside the main vehicle, JFK and his wife Jacqueline were accompanied by the Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie. Two special services agents were up front as the four looked out and waved to the well-wishers who’d gathered along the route. Well, they were mostly well-wishers.

The official version of the events that followed have never been fully accepted by all. One of the 20th century’s great conspiracy theories – well before the reams of nonsensical and baseless noise that now fills the internet – surrounds the who, when, where and how of JFK’s assassination. Not to mention the why.

The John F. Kennedy Memorial (Photo: Tom Ipri via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s important to remember that before his assassination, JFK was taking bold strides towards creating constitutional equality for people of all backgrounds in an America that seems incapable of finding accord on many issues. And for that and many other achievements, JFK made enemies. However, the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination, struggled to pinpoint any clear motive held by his convicted assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Visiting John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza and Dealey Plaza nearby – with its infamous grassy knoll and site of the 35th US President’s assassination – are much more than jaunts to satisfy morbid curiosity. They offer an informative exploration of a political career that was ushering in real, positive change before it was cut tragically short. The Sixth Floor Museum presents excellent exhibits detailing JFK’s presidency while outlining the events before and after his assassination

Sixth Floor Museum sign (Photo: Bonita de Boer via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Hours, Directions & Parking

The Sixth Floor Museum, located inside the old Texas School Book Depository (411 Elm St), opens from Weds–Sun each week from 10am–5pm. It is recommended that you allow roughly 90 minutes for your visit. The museum is a 15-minute walk west along Main Street from the Giant Eyeball sculpture and Main St Garden Park.

Dealey Plaza is located on the western edge of Dallas’s Downtown Historic District. Both it and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza (corner of Main St and S Market St) are open public spaces that are accessible daily, round the clock. If you’re accessing this region on foot, every relevant JFK site is neatly clustered within a few blocks of one another.

Parking: For those who are driving, the Kennedy Museum parking lot is conveniently located right next to the Sixth Floor Museum entrance and the Grassy Knoll. Prices are fairly steep at $12 (price liable to change), but there are half a dozen other parking lots in the vicinity that charge set fees, payable in advance, for whatever duration of time you plan to spend.

Public transport: West End DART station has good light rail connections and is served by all four lines heading north, south, east and west. There’s also a decent public bus system in downtown Dallas. The stop at Elm and Record St is served by six buses: 12, 35, 60, 63, 81 and 82. The stop just south of the Sixth Floor Museum has two additional buses: the 161 and 283.

Texas School Book Depository (Photo: Michael Barera via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Tickets & Tours

The best way to experience the Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza is on the JFK Assassination and Sixth Floor Museum Tour – $70 per person – This 3.5-hour guided trip entertains the various conspiracy theories that have since emerged, although it’s wise and respectful to keep an open mind in the absence of much actual fact. The tour and exploration of this tragic event gain some well-curated expertise at the Sixth Floor Museum (entry tickets are included in the price), as well as a trip out to see the home of Lee Harvey Oswald. Book at Getyourguide.com.

Dallas from the Geo-Deck (Photo: Michael Zanussi via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Tickets: The museum is accessible via timed ticket only, so if you plan to buy your ticket directly, it is imperative to buy yours from the official website www.jfk.org in advance and turn up on time. Since COVID-19 bulldozed into our lives, entry numbers are restricted to limit the chance of spreading the disease. Previously it was possible to buy a ticket to the Sixth Floor Museum on arrival, although that system may not be reinstated for some time. At the time of writing, tickets cost $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, and $14 for children aged 6–18. Toddlers up to 5 years old go free.

The Dallas Pass is another popular ticket-only option and is particularly useful to anybody who is looking to visit some of the other top tourist sites in the city. For a set $47 fee, you get access to four top Dallas sights including: the viewpoint at Reunion Tower Geo-Deck, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and the Sixth Floor Museum, saving you up to 40% had you bought tickets to each individually. Book at Getyourguide.com.

The Grassy Knoll near Dealey Plaza (Photo: Bonita de Boer via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Other Tours: If you’d like to learn more about JFK and the events surrounding both his presidency and assassination, there are some other excellent tours available that combine other Dallas sights into the itinerary. For a great-value full-day tour that includes all museum tickets in the price, the Small-Group Tour of Dallas – $125 per person – includes the JFK Memorial and Sixth Floor Museum. Additional stops in the art and culinary district of Deep Ellum, and visits to top sights in Pioneer’s Plaza, Founder’s Plaza and many other top Dallas neighborhoods is also included. Book at Getyourguide.com.