Texas History

All the North Texas Area Codes, Ranked

Beware of any calls from area code 682.
Beware of any calls from area code 682. Quino Al/ Unsplash

At face value, area codes may be nothing more than just three measly digits, but they carry cultural value in their unique geographical representation. People from Atlanta frequently refer to the city as “The 404,” just as people from Detroit refer to Motor City as “The 313.”

The late Nate Dogg even once bragged that he has, uh, sexual partners, “in different area codes.”

Some people may be impressed by this metric of promiscuity, but in our neck of the woods, that’s barely an accomplishment. There are seven different area codes in North Texas alone, and over the years, their geographic boundaries have been incrementally erased.

Today, DFW’s telecom presence is a diverse Chex Mix bowl, and area codes can reveal a lot about a person, from their upbringing to whether they’re still on their parents’ carrier plan.

Below are all seven area codes, ranked from best to worst.

Respect needs to be given to 214, as it is one of the most tenured area codes and the most representative of Dallas, so much so that people frequently call the city “The 214.” The name is hella catchy, and for left handed people who use their thumb to dial numbers, it’s easy on the hand muscles.

If someone gives you their phone number, and it starts with 214, you have an obligation to go on at least three dates with them. We don’t make the rules.

People never give 817 its due as one of the eldest area codes in North Texas, which is frankly baffling. Despite being around since the 1950s, the FCC projects that 817 numbers will keep being assigned until 2049. That’s almost a whole century!

Plus, Leon Bridges has the area code tattooed on the back of his hand, so there’s that.

If 214 is the 2Pac of local area codes, then 972 is the Notorious B.I.G. Before the Faith Evans of North Texas area codes (469) came into the scene, there was actually a firm, territorial boundary that separated the OGs.

While you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find people in Dallas proper with a 972 area code, it’s more accurate to associate it with Collin County. While 972 has certainly paid its dues, it will never live down the soccer mom stigma it has earned. C’est la vie.

1999 was a good year. Lauryn Hill and Celine Dion both won Grammys, the one M. Night Shyamalan movie that wasn’t a steaming turd (The Sixth Sense) came out and DFW was graced with a sexy new area code named 469.

469’s main turf is in the suburbs, and with population booms in cities like Frisco and Plano, it’s already amassed a large constituency. If you meet someone with a 469 area code, you can safely wager that they either think way too highly of In-N-Out Burger or have a “Blue Lives Matter” bumper sticker on the back window of their 2018 Toyota Highlander.

940 is a rather encompassing area code, as it covers Denton, Wichita Falls and even some parts of the Texas Panhandle. As such, anyone with a 940 area code either lives in a Podunk town or spends afternoons sipping microbrews at Prohibition-themed gastropubs.

What 940 lacks in street cred, though, it more than makes up for in range.

903: the official area code of, “Wait, is that why it’s called 903 Brewers?”

If you buy drugs from someone with a 682 area code, it’s a sting operation.
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Garrett Gravley was born and grew up in Dallas. He mostly writes about music, but veers into arts and culture, local news and politics. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas and has written for the Dallas Observer since October 2018.