The Dallas Observer, LP is a free alternative weekly newspaper distributed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and headquartered in Dallas. At its inception in October, 1980, by partners Ken Kirk and Bob Walton, it was conceived as a weekly local arts and cinema review publication, with the credo "Advocate for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment" on the cover. For a time throughout the early years, the paper switched to a biweekly publishing schedule. In 1985, the paper reverted to a weekly schedule and began concentrating on local news as well as the arts. While it is now known for its investigative storeys of the local government, it additionally covers local sports stories, restaurants, events, and concerts.
The former Mayor of Dallas, Laura Miller, previously worked as a reporter for the Dallas Observer.
In 1991 the Observer was bought by New Times Media. In 2005, New Times both acquired and adopted the corporate name of Village Voice Media. In September 2012, Village Voice Media executives Scott Tobias, Christine Brennan and Jeff Mars bought Village Voice Media's papers and associated web properties from its founders and formed Voice Media Group.
The Dallas Observer is a member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.