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38 Best Things to Do in Dallas, Texas

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Ah, Dallas. This dynamic city has much to offer, including world-renowned museums, an intriguing history, and plenty of outdoor activities.

It’s famous across the globe as the home of the Dallas Cowboys, the site of JFK’s assassination, and great eats. If you want to know the best things to do in Dallas, you’ve come to the right place.

Arguably the birthplace of Texas, Dallas is the 9th largest city in the United States and home to 1.3 million people. And while some articles focus on the Big Hats, Big Hair view of Dallas, they’re missing the point.

Dallasonians (it’s a word, I promise) are rightly proud of their great city and are always ready to have a good time. But they’re a wonderfully diverse bunch of people, well-known for their legendary hospitality. 

So you’re guaranteed to feel welcomed as you explore the city. Want to ensure you make the most of your trip? Whether you’re a native Texan or enjoying a weekend getaway, check out this list of our favorite things to see and do in Dallas, Texas.

TL;DR

Category Favorite
Most significant landmark Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District
Best Park White Rock Lake Park
Free Activity McKinney Avenue Trolley
Activity for Kids Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Activity for Adults Winspear Opera House
Best Food Terry Black’s BBQ
Nightlife Deep Ellum
Place to Stay Residence Inn by Marriott Dallas Downtown

Things to Do in Dallas, Texas

1. Dallas Museum of Art 

Dallas Museum of Art Building

Address: 1717 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States

The Dallas Museum of Art, a treasure-house of stunning work, should rank high on your Dallas bucket list. You’ll find it in the country’s largest arts district, minutes from the Crow Museum of Asian Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center. Sample the best on this Arts District Walking Tour.

This is one of the world’s must-visit art museums. Its 25,000-piece collection showcases 6,000 years of human cultural endeavors. So you’ll find Indigenous American gold jewelry, works by Picasso, and everything in between. Don’t miss the powerful Leadbelly sculpture in the US and Canadian Art Department or the Monet still-life in the European Art section.

The museum is open every day except Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Fridays. Entry is free except for special exhibitions, though you’ll need tickets. You can book online or at the entrance. There’s also a chic cafe.

2. House of Blues 

House of Blues Interior
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 2200 N Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States

When it comes to Dallas nightlife, there are plenty of options. The House of Blues in the Victory Park neighborhood is ideal for a unique night out. This funky and atmospheric live music venue aims to harness the power of music to break down barriers. 

Although the venue primarily plays blues music, it also hosts a wide range of genres, from jazz to hip-hop. Use StubHub to check the schedule.

There’s not only music. You’ll also find a permanent display of modern Outsider and African American Folk Art known as “Visual Blues.”

Over-18s can visit the House of Blues Foundation Room for cocktails and food. The venue is handily close to a ton of eateries. You can enjoy wings at Hooter’s, North African dishes at Medina Oven and Bar, and an entertaining grub-plus-grouchiness combo at Dick’s Last Resort. 

To stay with the music vibe, pick the Hard Rock Cafe. For a curated overview of the foodie scene, try this Dallas Food Tour.

3. Reunion Tower GeO-Deck

Reunion Tower at dusk
Naya Na/ Adobe Stock

Address: 300 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX 75207, United States

Experience Dallas from 470 feet up on the GeO-Deck at the Reunion Tower. Known locally as “The Ball,” this iconic Dallas landmark looks like a giant concrete Chupa Chup. The tower, completed in 1978, offers breathtaking 360-degree city views.

Entry to the observation deck includes access to gizmos, including telescopes and interactive screens, to help you enjoy the spectacle. A free souvenir photo is also included. Come late – the deck is open till 8 p.m. – and you’ll see nighttime Dallas in all its splendor. 

How about wooing your special person with the “Love is in the Air” package? You’ll get free sparkling wine, souvenir champagne flutes, and a framed photo of the happy occasion. Then seal the deal with a slap-up dinner at Crown Block, Reunion Tower’s upscale restaurant.

Though the Reunion Tower ball sparkles with 259 lights nightly, make sure you’re here on New Year’s Eve. The Lone Star NYE sees something special, with thousands of pyrotechnic effects launched from the tower. Afterward, crash out at this Downtown High Rise Penthouse rental a few minutes away.

See Related: Where to Stay in San Antonio, Texas

4. African American Museum 

African American Museum in Texas
Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: 3536 Grand Ave, Dallas, TX 75210, United States

Dallas has some stunning art museums, and this is one of the most inspiring. Containing a substantial African American Folk Art collection, it showcases cultural contributions by African-Americans. 

Along the way, it presents beautiful artworks and fascinating stories the history books leave out. You’ll see sculptures, paintings, and photographs. There are hundreds of African artifacts and poignant grave goods from the Freedman’s Cemetery. And look out for the cute folk-art animals. 

The cross-shaped building itself is worth seeing. Its rotunda, balconies, sweeping staircase, and tranquil galleries make this a lovely place to visit. Even better, it’s another of the fabulous free things to do in Dallas.

The museum is in Fair Park and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the State Fair, from the end of September to the third Sunday in October, it’s open every day till 7 p.m. 

Coming to the State Fair? Handy accommodations include the 4-star Kimpton-Pittman Hotel and the 3-star Hotel Indigo Dallas Downtown.

See Related: Best Breweries in Austin, Texas

5. Galleria Dallas

Interior of Galleria Dallas in Texas
David Leo Veksler from Atlanta, USA / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

Address: 13350 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75240, United States

No city vacation is complete without a serious shopping – or window-shopping – adventure. Galleria Dallas provides that in spades. This three-level mall boasts over 200 stores, including high-end retailers Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

There are high-street favorites like H&M, Sephora, and Zara. This is also the only place in northern Texas to get a new outfit for your American Girl. Other kids’ favorites include Build-a-Bear and Candyland.

For rainy days in Dallas, this is the perfect destination. Galleria Dallas offers many refueling options, including fast food and sit-down restaurants.

Little girls won’t miss the American Girl Bistro, where dolls get their chairs. When you’re tired of shopping, you can cool off at the Galleria Ice Skating Center. 

The mall, 15 miles from Dallas Fort Worth airport, is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday afternoons. Parking is available both on-site and nearby.

See Related: Things to Do in Houston, Texas

6. Klyde Warren Park

View from Klyde Warren Park in Texas, USA
Victoria/ Adobe Stock

Address: 2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy, Dallas, TX 75201, United States

Klyde Warren Park is a fabulous resource right in the heart of downtown Dallas. This 5.2-acre park was created to connect the city’s Arts District with Uptown Dallas. It’s set above a recessed eight-lane freeway, making it a unique location. 

A visit here is another of the best things to do for families in Dallas. There is a children’s playground, an interactive water fountain, and a games area. Bring your pup to the dog park, My Best Friend’s Park. 

The park, open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., has a stage that hosts live music shows, such as Jazz in the Park. Regular movie showings, yoga classes, and Farmer’s markets also exist.

Food trucks and seating areas make the park perfect for lunchtimes. You can even borrow magazines from the free lending library. And come in the evening to see the light show.

7. Nasher Sculpture Center

Nasher Sculpture Center in Texas
Carol M. Highsmith / Wikimedia Commons, Public domain

Address: 2001 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States

Art enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Nasher Sculpture Center in the city’s Arts District. One of the world’s most impressive contemporary art and sculpture exhibitions is here. 

The collection includes works by Texas sculptors and world-famous artists like Picasso, Hepworth, and Moore. Pieces are displayed indoors and in a serene sculpture garden. Look out, too, for special exhibitions and lectures.

Though you’re welcome to peruse the exhibits at your leisure, the museum offers docent-led tours for a small fee. As well as English, tours are available in Farsi, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Visitors can also grab a snack in the museum’s classy cafe.

To avoid paying the small admission fee, visit on the first Saturday of every month. Bring the children—there are family-friendly activities until 2 p.m. Every third Friday, “’til Midnight at the Nasher” offers an arty night for free.

See Related: Things to Do in Corpus Christi, Texas

8. Dallas World Aquarium

Under water pink color jellyfish in Dallas world aquarium, USA
Passionate2clicking/ Adobe Stock

Address: 1801 N Griffin St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States

Dallas World Aquarium is a must for families and, of course, animal lovers. This aquarium is home to over 2,000 animals, including sharks, rays, and sawfish. 

A tour takes you through different biomes: the Columbian Rainforest, Mayan Ruins, Borneo, and South Africa. Display technology interacts with live exhibits—animal and plant life—to create an immersive experience. 

An underwater tunnel lets you get close – but not too close – to the sharks. The Reef Room houses Japanese crabs and Weedy seadragons. You’ll also see Orinoco crocodiles, blue penguins, and hummingbirds.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to one of the themed on-site restaurants. For example, the Jungle Cafe in the rainforest canopy is great for family snacking.

The eighteen~O~one Restaurant showcases gourmet foods of the reef locations featured in the Reef Room. Café Maya offers traditional Tex-Mex options that you can enjoy while viewing the Mayan Ruins exhibit.

9. Topgolf

The TopGolf Dallas

Address: 8787 Park Ln, Dallas, TX 75231, United States

Topgolf is a crazy blend of sports, entertainment, and technology. Think driving range meets bowling alley meets sports bar. You order food and drinks to your tee, play lawn games, listen to music, and hit balls.

There’s a reason these places are all over the country! Outside of places like Arnold Palmer’s Golf Resort, this has to be a golfer’s paradise.

You don’t have to be a golf pro or even know how to swing a club to have a good time. Topgolf uses microchipped golf balls to track your score, so it’s like a giant video game.

This is a great option when searching for kids’ activities around Dallas. They’ll enjoy the games and the food, and you can spend quality time together. And watching little kids try to whack a golf ball for the first time is hilarious.

Topgolf Dallas has 70 all-weather bays and three mini-golf courses. There’s climate control with fans and misters to counter the effects of the hot Texas sun. For the best deal, come on a Tuesday when all golf is half-price.

10. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Address: 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218, United States

A visit to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a spellbinding experience. This 66-acre haven is guaranteed to soothe the soul, especially if you need a break from the bustle of city life. 

Dozens of individual gardens or outdoor “rooms,” each with its personality, are on display. Look out for the Poetry Garden, with its sunken rose garden, and Toad Corner, a cute toad fountain. In the fall, Red Maple Rill glows with 80 varieties of Japanese Maple.

Kids will enjoy the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. There are Little Adventurers activities for teenies, while older kids get hands-on in the Family Discovery Lab. The gardens also have tons of great spots for family picnics. 

Visitors can explore independently or join a Thursday lunchtime “What’s in Bloom” walk. Or you could take a private tour of the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens for a more in-depth experience.

Try to visit in the fall to see the thousands of pumpkins. And the springtime Dallas Blooms Festival, with its flowers, live music, and kids’ activities, is always a blast.

11. Watch a Game at the American Airlines Center

American Airlines Center
4kclips/ Adobe Stock

Address: 2500 Victory Ave, Dallas, TX 75219, United States

Watching a game is a great way to experience Dallas culture, even if you’d never be caught in a stadium otherwise. The perfect place for this is the American Airlines Center, Dallas’s premier sports and entertainment venue. The fans are passionate, and the atmosphere is electric.

Home to both the NBA Dallas Mavericks and the NHL Dallas Stars, the venue boasts some nifty retractable seating. This turns a 20,000-seat basketball arena into an up-close 18,500-seat hockey rink. Check here for upcoming games.

Besides sports, the center is a popular live music venue. Known for its excellent acoustics, it’s hosted some of music’s biggest names, including Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift. 

If you’re coming for a game or gig, plenty of convenient accommodations exist. These include the  Hyatt Thompson Dallas and the more pocket-friendly Holiday Inn Dallas Market Center. And though there are plenty of concession stands, the arena is close to many restaurants and the trendy Design District.

12. John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza

John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza
Markus Mainka/ Adobe Stock

Address: 646 Main St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States

Regarding engaging activities in Dallas, few are as captivating as a visit to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. This remarkable site is a poignant tribute to the 35th President of the United States.

As one of the city’s main attractions, the plaza holds significant appeal for tourists. It was officially inaugurated on June 24, 1970, and showcases an empty tomb that symbolizes the enduring memory of JFK.

This is a quiet, thoughtful place a block away from the assassination scene. The memorial structure is a simple, roofless, concrete room. Though the space is cut off from the hubbub of the city, it’s in contact with the sky and the earth.  

It’s particularly imposing at night. Special lighting makes it look like bands of light are holding the structure up. People come to Memorial Plaza to remember or reflect.

To learn more about President Kennedy, visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. You could also take one of the many JFK tours available, which takes you to the location of Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest

See Related: Things to Do in Lubbock, Texas

13. Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District

View at the dealey place in Dallas
travelview/ Adobe Stock

Address: Dallas, TX 75202, United States

Dealey Plaza is a National Historic Landmark District in downtown Dallas. The site of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the plaza is now a top tourist destination. Sometimes known as the “front door of Dallas”, it’s been a gateway to the city from the West since the mid-1800s.

The Plaza district includes the JFK Memorial, the Grassy Knoll, and a white X on Elm Street where President Kennedy fell. There are also pergolas, pools, and arcades, making this an atmospheric place to stroll. 

You’ll also see the Texas School Book Depository, where the fatal shot was fired. This now houses the Sixth Floor Museum (and we’re rolling right into it next), which is full of fascinating exhibits concerning the shooting.

A visit to the Dealey Plaza tops most people’s list of things to do in Dallas. It’s also the perfect place to start your Dallas adventure.

Handy accommodations include the Courtyard by Marriott Dallas Downtown, a few hundred yards away. Or consider the excellent mid-price Residence Inn by Marriott Dallas Downtown. It’s within walking distance of Dealey Plaza and many other attractions to the north and east.

See Related: Where To Stay In Austin, Texas: Best Areas & Districts

14. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

View of the Interior of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
travelview/ Adobe Stock

Address: 411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States

Since you’re in the neighborhood, check out the fascinating Sixth Floor Museum. This examines the life, death, and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. It also explores the life of Lee Harvey Oswald and looks at various conspiracy theories.

The museum is on the top two floors of the former Texas School Book Depository, in one corner of Dealey Plaza. There are thousands of exhibits, including films, photographs, and historic artifacts. 

It’s the perfect place to brush up on your general knowledge of JFK and American history. You’ll get a firsthand look at everything from the Zapruder film to the Dallas Police Department’s investigation into the assassination.

The Sixth Floor Museum is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s extremely popular, so buy tickets in advance. Or you could explore Dallas on this small-group tour that takes in tons of Dallas must-sees.  

Visitors on a budget can still enjoy Dealey Plaza as the JFK Memorial, the Grassy Knoll, and the site of the Kennedy assassination are free to visit.

15. The George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum

George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum Entrance
Shannon McGee from Huntsville, USA / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 2943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75205, United States

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is one of the largest presidential libraries in the United States. The museum chronicles the life and Presidency of George W. Bush.

You’ll see artifacts from the Bush Administration and exhibits on 9/11, the Iraq War, and Hurricane Katrina. Visitors can view items from past First Ladies and even George W.’s baseball collection.

The full-size replica of the Oval Office is great for selfies. There’s also the 15-acre Native Texas Park, featuring a one-mile network of trails. This beautiful urban green space walks you through various native Texas environments.  

A guided tour of this museum is a great way to learn about one of the most controversial presidents in American history. Afterward, you can visit the gift shop or grab a bite in Cafe 43, the museum’s farm-to-table restaurant.

16. Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Perot Museum of Nature and Science Exhibit
bryan… / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 2201 N Field St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States

Dallas boasts some superb museums, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science must be the best for families. It’s the ideal place for kids to explore animals, vegetables, and minerals. 

Kids will love the sports science lab and the interactive exhibits, including wow-factor bird flight and stargazing experiences. In the Dynamic Earth Hall Scavenger Hunt, they can feel a simulated earthquake and get close to Ellie May the Mammoth. There’s water play and a teeny farmers’ market for little kids.

The T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall might even spark an interest in dinosaur research. Here, you can peek in real-time at scientists exploring and studying new-found fossils. 

The building itself is worth a look. On the outside of the simple concrete cube, a glass structure holding a 54-ft escalator seems to float as if by magic. 

PRO TIP: Consider getting the Dallas CityPASS. It includes admission to the Perot Museum, Reunion Tower GeO-Deck, and your choice of two other Dallas attractions. It’s way more cost-efficient than paying for each attraction separately.

17. Bishop Arts District

Bishop Arts District Building Exterior
Renelibrary / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 414 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208, United States

The Bishop Arts District, in the North Oak Cliff neighborhood, is something of a hidden gem in Dallas. Urban regeneration programs have turned these two city blocks into a must-visit hub of hipness. This is where to come in Dallas for all things handmade, including art, hard cider, chocolate, and pies.

The cozy community feels and funky wall art makes Bishop Arts District a cool place to hang out. The 60+ independent restaurants, bars, boutiques, and spas attract showbiz royalty; Lana del Rey and Dua Lipa have been known to swing by.

Some of the best eateries include Hunky’s retro-style hamburger joint and Veracruz Cafe, known for its killer margaritas. The best way to sample the delights is on a Bishop Arts food tour. And don’t miss the Wine Walks, held several times a year.

Close by is another of Dallas’s great live music venues, the beautiful Art Deco Kessler Theater. If you’re in town for a show, the Canvas Hotel offers discounted rates to Kessler Theater patrons.

18. Take a day trip to Houston or Austin

Houston Cityscape

Dallas is a great place to visit, and there’s no shortage of things to do, but sometimes it’s good to remember you’re in Texas, close to other exciting cities. Two of the finest are Houston and Austin, both about a two-hour drive from Dallas.

Houston is the largest city in Texas and has many unique attractions, such as the National Museum of Funeral History. At the better-known Space Center Houston, you can experience space travel via VR simulators.

Don’t miss the tram tour to the NASA Johnson Space Center. This open-top bus tour of Houston visits many attractions, including the Space Center.

Austin’s buzzy vibe is a magnet for young people. As a result, there’s plenty of live music action, for example, at Mohawk, Speakeasy, or the celebrated Continental Club. 

There’s also a thriving craft brewing scene – check out this live music and brew bus tour. Then, work off the effects on one of the city’s great running, hiking, and biking trails. As Austin is the capital of the Lone Star State, a visit to the Texas State Capitol building is a must.

Consider renting a car for a day trip from Dallas to surrounding cities. It’s the best way to see everything this part of Texas has to offer.

19. Texas Discovery Gardens

Texas Discovery Gardens Sign in Texas
Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: 3601 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Dallas, TX 75210, United States

The Texas Discovery Gardens are located in the southern part of Fair Park. The site is more than just a restful green oasis in the busy city. Here, the focus is on sustainable practices. It’s a great place to learn about protecting the local environment.

The seven-acre garden hosts thousands of species of native plants, all certified organic. In the climate-controlled butterfly house, you’ll be a perch for lovely specimens—especially if you wear something bright. You can also watch brand-new tropical butterflies breaking out of their cocoons.

Kids will love the Snake & Reptile Shack and the Natural Playscape feature. There are also 1,000 feet of garden train tracks. Mini trains wind through models of such iconic Texas sites as the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Hemisphere Tower in San Antonio, and even the Alamo.

20. White Rock Lake Park

Dallas White Rock Lake Park and Dallas Skyline with highway traffic
Steve Salis Media/ Adobe Stock

Address: 8300 E Lawther Dr, Dallas, TX 75218, United States

White Rock Lake Park, a beautiful nature preserve, is a short drive from downtown Dallas. With many hiking and biking trails, the park is a great place to unwind. There’s also a kid’s playground and an outdoor gym, and you can play tennis and in-line hockey.

Rent a kayak or go paddleboarding to make the most of the lake. Or let someone else do the work and take a trip on the beautiful sailboat, The Spirit of Dallas.

Springtime visitors to Dallas should check out the thrilling Dragon Boat Races held here. You can also go fishing in the lake. 

Plenty of wildlife to watch, including herons, geese, and pelicans. You may be lucky enough to spot a bobcat or a river otter. And look out for the cheeky green parakeets who’ve made their home here.

The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Don’t forget your fur baby. Bring your pal to the dog park across the lake from the paddle concession.

There’s a creepy urban legend – or is it true? – about the Lady of White Rock Lake. This ghostly girl thumbs a lift and then vanishes, leaving your car seat wet. But don’t let that put you off!

21. Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum Texas
dallaspaparazzo/ Adobe Stock

Deep Ellum – a Dallas district or a state of mind? Maybe it’s both. First established in the 1870s, the neighborhood has long been a cultural melting pot beloved by creatives. It’s now a live music Mecca and a hub for every type of performing arts.

You won’t just find great stand-up and awesome live music in Deep Ellum. It’s also known for its vibrant wall art. This spills over the whole neighborhood outdoors and in, with over 100 colorful paintings on display. This electric bike tour takes in some of the best.

The neighborhood boasts many historically significant buildings, including an early Ford automobile factory. Deep Ellum is also home to Dallas’s rocking bars, like Dot’s Hop House, Adair’s Saloon, and Louie Louie’s Dueling Piano Bar. What better place for a Dallas bike bar crawl

Try to catch the Deep Ellum Arts Festival in April. This festival features live music, art installations, and street performances by local artists. Then why not Swing Back in Time in Deep Ellum in this rock’n’roll rental?

22. Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo's Bird Show
좀비 브렌다 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: 650 S R L Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75203, United States

The family is promised fun at Dallas Zoo, Texas’s oldest and biggest zoo. As well as caring for its residents’ well-being, the zoo aims to create as real an experience as possible. So, carefully thought-out habitats showcase the animals perfectly.

The award-winning Giants of the Savannah section has elephants, giraffes, and zebras hanging out together. The zoo also has gorillas, penguins, tigers, and the only koalas in Texas.

You can buy treats to feed the giraffes and the Galapagos tortoises. Grab your meal at the Prime Meridian Cafe. Another eatery is the Serengeti Grill, complete with a viewing wall into the lion enclosure.

Other fun include a VR gorilla trek, a mini train, a carousel, and a spider web climbing frame. If the zoo’s 100 acres seem a lot for little legs, you can hire strollers for just a few bucks.

23. Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions in Texas
Hamaredha / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: 701 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX 75202, United States

Ready for an unbelievable experience? The Museum of Illusions in Dallas is a one-of-a-kind museum featuring over 40 head-scratching exhibits. This is a great option for things to do with kids, especially teens. It’s also a lot of fun with friends and has hilarious photo opportunities. 

With mind-blowing exhibits like “Head on a Platter,” the Museum of Illusions is a fun place to spend an hour or so. Many exhibits are interactive. The museum also provides helpful explanations so kids can learn about the science behind the illusions.

Try not to lose your balance while walking through the Vortex Tunnel. The Tilted Room and Reverse Room will also mess with your mind.

The museum is only small, so it’s best to book online to guarantee entry, especially at busy times. But if you’re prone to vertigo, maybe give it a miss.

If you’re in the area, drop into Wild Bill’s Western Store for some good ol’ Texas cowboy hats and boots. Souvenirs include cute cuddly longhorns and divine Cowgirl Confetti jewelry.

24. Frontiers of Flight Museum

Frontiers of Flight Museum Building
Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Address: 6911 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75209, United States

Aviation fans will surely appreciate the Frontiers of Flight Museum, located at Dallas Love Field Airport. It’s a great place to get up close to some impressive machines. The collection focuses on aviation pioneers, including space exploration. There’s a special emphasis on Dallas/Fort Worth, the “Aviation Capital of the World”. 

Exhibits include the Apollo 7 Command Module, a de Havilland Tiger Moth, and a Republic Thunderchief. And don’t miss Little Toot or the Flying Pancake!

There are displays on the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as on both world wars. Kids will enjoy the interactive exhibits as well as the Children’s Discovery Area, not to mention the gift shop packed with cool space toys.

While in this part of town, visit Crown Hill Memorial Park, a minutes drive away. Here, you’ll find the grave of the legendary criminal Bonnie Parker, one-half of the notorious Bonnie and Clyde duo.

25. Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center Exterior
Photo: Andreas Praefcke / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Address: 2301 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States

Music lovers are in for a treat at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. This jewel in Dallas’s cultural crown opened in 1989 and is where you’ll find the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Over the years, it’s welcomed dozens of superstar soloists and conductors.

The DSO presents over 180 concert events annually and aims to make classical music accessible. So, Harry Potter film scores share programming with Stravinsky and Strauss. And the acoustics are wonderful wherever you sit in Myerson’s 2,000-seater Eugene McDermott Concert Hall.

One beloved Yuletide tradition is the Christmas Pops concerts, which feature sing-along carols and Santa Claus. The Fourth of July is also celebrated musically.

Before the show, you can grab a high-class snack at the Meyerson’s Opus buffet in the West Lobby. There’s parking for the Meyerson and other Arts District venues in HALL Arts Parking.

26. Dallas Farmers Market

Dallas Farmers Market Scenery
Drumguy8800 at the English-language Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 920 S Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States

One of the main things Texas is known for is good eats. To sample some, check out the Dallas Farmers Market. This public market is in a giant open-air pavilion – The Shed – and has been going since 1941.

The best time to visit is at the weekend. This is when Texas farmers, ranchers, and artisanal producers bring a range of local produce to sell.

Look out for some great veggies, farm-fresh eggs, and grass-fed beef. Great souvenir ideas include the local honey and Texas wine.

Food carts and restaurants offer tasty treats, so come hungry. Sashimi, tamales, and boba tea are some of the most popular. Try to get here early. The best goodies—as well as the best parking spots—get snapped up fast.

Open all week, retail outlets next door to Dallas Farmers Market offer handmade and vintage gifts and knickknacks. There’s even a pet boutique so your furry best friend can come away with something nice.

27. Deep Ellum Brewing Company

Deep Ellum Brewing Company Interior
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 2823 St Louis St, Dallas, TX 75226, United States

The Deep Ellum Brewing Company is always on the “best breweries in Dallas” lists. This is the perfect place to drink in the funky Deep Ellum vibe with some good ales. 

The taproom combines an industrial chic look with a homey feel and has 16 rotating taps. The most popular beers include Dallas Blonde, Deep Ellum IPA, and Neato Bandito, a cheeky 6.0% lager.

There’s live music every Saturday afternoon, plus the occasional open mic night. Pub quiz fans should rock up on Thursdays for the free trivia nights. On Saturday, you can also join a tour of the brewery. You’ll learn about the Deep Ellum neighborhood and the brewing process.

Bring the whole family: This is a family—and dog-friendly bar in the Beer Garden. Kids must be with a parent or guardian, and dogs must be on a leash. To sample more Dallas ales, try this Haunted Dallas Pub Crawl. Or go in style on this Limousine Brewery Tour.

28. Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas
Leonid Andronov/ Adobe Stock

Address: 6425 Boaz St, Dallas, TX 75275, United States

It’s not an obvious choice for your Dallas bucket list. But a stroll around the Southern Methodist University campus is a great way to spend an afternoon, and it’s free. This private university, founded in 1911, is located just north of downtown Dallas. 

The site was ranked as America’s most beautiful campus by Condé Nast Traveler in 2016, and it’s easy to see why. Tranquil landscaping sets off a bevy of elegant buildings. Most stylish are Dallas Hall, the Cox School of Business, the Fondren Library, and the Centennial Quadrangle.   

One of the most impressive structures is the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Here, you can immerse yourself in key moments in America’s history. 

Southern Methodist University’s athletics teams are known as the Mustangs – try to catch one of their games. As well as the sport, you might get the chance to see the SMU marching band. It’s so nattily turned out it’s nicknamed the “Best-Dressed Band in the Land.”

29. Winspear Opera House

Winspear Opera House Stage
Photo: Andreas Praefcke / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Address: 2403 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201, United States

The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is a glamorous spot in Dallas for a new cultural experience or a romantic night out. The venue, considered by some to be America’s finest opera house, is home to the Dallas Opera and the Texas Ballet Theater.

Designed by the world-famous architects Foster and Partners, it’s a dazzling 21st-century take on old-school opera house design. Fancy features include a retractable glass frontage and a huge awning. Together, these give a relaxed indoors-outdoors feel in summer.

A focal point is the enormous chandelier whisked up to the ceiling pre-performance. Its hundreds of LED rods continue to twinkle like stars, adding extra magic to the proceedings.

As well as all the major operas and ballets, live entertainment at the Winspear includes musical theater and children’s shows. Family-friendly pieces like Billy Goats Gruff provide a fun intro to opera and are usually a very manageable 45 minutes long.

Booster seats are available for wee ones. But you may want to feed the kiddos before you come – the upscale buffet at the venue’s Skyline Terrace is not designed with picky tots in mind.

30. Taste Texas BBQ brisket

Parry Avenue Barbecue Company Shop
Parry Avenue Barbecue Company / Facebook

Address: 4300 Parry Ave, Dallas, TX 75223, United States

Barbecue, BBQ, Bar-B-Que – however you spell it, you’ll find it in Texas. The state is famous for its live-flame cuisine, so Dallas is full of great barbecue pits, smokehouses, and rack shacks. This is where to come for authentic Texas barbecued brisket.

Terry Black’s BBQ on Main Street is a go-to for many people. The smoky whiff might linger in your hair, but the brisket is melt-in-the-mouth good. The legendary Lockhart Smokehouse also does a mean brisket and moreish side dishes.

You might have spotted Pecan Lodge on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It’s famous for mesquite-smoked brisket and “Hot Mess,” sweet potato stuffed with brisket and chipotle cream cheese.

A couple of hidden gems are worth mentioning. The Parry Avenue Barbecue Company boasts the best ribs in Texas. Look for their food trucks roaming the city.

Cattleack is a labor of love for its owners. It is only open on Thursday and Friday at lunchtime. There will be lines, but the wait will be worth it. Tuck into various great Dallas treats on this Food and History Tour through the Bishop Arts neighborhood. Or come to the State Fair: you’ll be spoilt for choice.

31. Pioneer Plaza

Cattle sculptures in Pioneer Plaza, Dallas, Texas
Gozalov / Adobe Stock

Address: 1428 Young St, Dallas, TX 75202, United States

Pioneer Plaza is a public park on Young Street in the Historic District of downtown Dallas.  It commemorates the trails that brought early settlers to the city. What makes tourists flock here is the dramatic sculpture of Texas longhorn cattle and their wranglers. 

Forty-nine bronze steers, about 140% life-size, cross a stream in a curving procession. Three monumental bronze trail riders are in charge, each ethnically diverse and in authentic dress. Look out for the spur rowels that spin and the horsefly biting one of the horses.

A man-made ridge, a waterfall, and native plant life complete the scene, which recreates the nearby Shawnee Trail. This was one of the earliest cattle routes to the northern railroads. You can get a taste of the old trail days on this Horseback Riding Tour.

Next door is a quiet spot worth a look: Pioneer Park Cemetery. Many names on the headstones are those of city founders and match Dallas street signs. Look out for the name Young, for example.

See Related: Things to Do in Beaumont, Texas

32. Catch a game or event at AT&T Stadium

Aerial View of AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
4kclips/ Adobe Stock

Address: 1 AT&T Way, Arlington, TX 76011

A 20-minute drive west along Interstate 30 will bring you to Arlington, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area. Here, you’ll find AT&T Stadium, the home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys. This massive arena holds up to 100,000 fans and cost over a billion dollars to build. 

The stadium’s dome and gigantic HDTV screens are among the world’s biggest. Convertible turf panels enable the venue to hold various events, including concerts, monster truck jams, and wrestling. Check the events calendar – there’s sure to be something that appeals. 

With its food trucks, fantasy football walls, and walk-in beer cooler, the stadium’s Miller Lite House is a buzzing place on game days. Another good reason to visit is the venue’s collection of museum-worthy contemporary art. Look out for some stunning wraparound murals, plus Anish Kapoor’s 15-ton Sky Mirror.

A range of tours is available to suit your interests and wallet. On the Owner’s Experience Tour, you even get a Q&A session with a hologram of Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys’ President. Or take this tour, which comes with transportation from downtown Dallas.

Baseball fans might be interested to know that a stone’s throw away is Globe Life Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.

33. Six Flags Over Texas

View of Six Flags Over Texas from a Lake
Katie / Adobe Stock

Address: 2201 E Road to Six Flags St, Arlington, TX 76011

Head to Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington for a thrilling experience. A short drive from the AT&T Stadium, this is the original Six Flags amusement park. The park offers all the usual theme park fun, including some record-breakers. The Titan is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Texas.

At 400 feet, the Skyscreamer is America’s second-tallest swing ride. The Runaway Mine Train was the world’s first ever mine train roller coaster.

Kids will enjoy Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. This interactive ride uses lasers, animatronics, and CGI to give an immersive game-play experience. Another favorite is the New Texas Giant. This starts with a 153-foot high lift followed by a stomach-flipping 79-degree drop.

It’s worth coming for the special events. At Halloween, there’s the creepy Fright Fest event plus the more family-friendly Kids Boo Fest. December’s Holiday in the Park has thousands of twinkling lights, a snow hill, and tons of festive food.

34. Dallas Heritage Village in Old City Park

Sunny view of historical Pilot Grove Church building in Old City Park
Kit Leong / Adobe Stock

Address: 1515 S Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75215,

Dallas Heritage Village is where to come for an insight into the lives of ordinary Texans over 100 years ago. The village’s 20+ buildings are all historic structures in Old City Park. They relocated from North Texas, including the Dallas Forth Worth International Airport site.

This is the largest collection of 19th-century buildings in Texas. Not all of it is open to the public, but you can explore some for free. Finish your visit with a root beer in the authentic 19th-century saloon or a picnic in the park.

You’ll find knowledgeable docents, some in period costume, ready to interpret the exhibits. The park also offers inexpensive workshops such as Lifestyle in the West and Pioneer Blacksmithing. 

Fun annual events include September’s Bark in the Park and a Halloween special featuring a costume contest and tarot reading. At the end of the year, we see the beautiful Candlelight festival, which includes kids’ activities, festive food trucks, and strolling carolers.

35. Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark

Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark, Grand Prairie, Texas
Source: Tripadvisor

Address: 2970 Epic Place, Grand Prairie, TX 75052

Fans of waterparks will love the slides, rides, and pools at Epic Waters Waterpark, 20 miles west of downtown Dallas. The park has a retractable roof covering nearly two acres, making it a year-round attraction.

There are some epic activities on offer. If you’re prepared to pull 3 Gs, try the Locura with its 40-ft, 35-mph drop. There’s also a tipping bucket, a lazy river, a wave pool, and 11 waterslides, including the mighty Texas Twist. 

Hire a cabana for a more exclusive experience. This is also a sensible option for families, especially if you choose a cabana near the kids’ area, Rascal’s Round-Up. There’s an arcade room for those wanting to dry off.

Forgetful visitors can buy swimsuits, sun cream, and towels in the shop. It’s worth noting that supervising parents intending to stay dry must buy an entry ticket. So you might as well take the plunge!

36. Katy Trail (Dallas)

Katy Trail in Dallas, Texas
Richard / Adobe Stock

Address: 2620 Katy Trail, Dallas, TX 75201

The Katy Trail: Missouri, surely? Yes and no! Sure, the 240-mile Katy Trail runs the length of Missouri and is one of the country’s best bike trails.  Dallas has its own Rail-to-Trail Katy, nicknamed after the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad’s abbreviated name, MKT. 

The trail is small but perfectly formed, at 4.4 miles. It runs from Pike Park in the Little Mexico neighborhood to the uptown area near the SMU campus.

It’s mostly flat, and the concrete surface dries out quickly. Alongside for part of the way is a soft-surface jogging track.

The tree-lined path winds through the leafy Turtle Creek neighborhood, not far from several McKinney Avenue Trolley stops. It’s also close to plenty of restaurants and shops, making it ideal for visitors to explore the city car-free.

Look out for art installations and sculptures along the way. Parking is available near the baseball fields at Reverchon Park and on-street near the Katy Trail Ice House bar. Of course, commuters love the route, too, so it’s best to avoid it during rush hours. 

37. Fort Worth Stockyards

Cattles at Fort Worth Longhorn Cattle Drive Stockyards  in Texas
Anastassiya / Adobe Stock

Address: 131 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76164

You’ve seen Pioneer Plaza’s bronze longhorns. Now, see the real thing at the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. Leaning into its Cowtown credentials, Forth Worth offers a Wild-West-movie-style experience, down to saloons and rodeos.

The Historic District has free entry – you pay for parking and attractions – and is open around the clock. Twice daily, at 11.30 a.m. and 4 p.m., a herd of Texas Longhorns is driven down the authentic brick-paved streets by real Texan cowhands. 

Other attractions include an Opry, stagecoach tours, ghost tours, and weekend rodeos at the Cowtown Coliseum. There’s an old-time photo parlor and places to stock up on big hats and belt buckles.  And among the plentiful saloons, why not try Filthy McNasty’s?

While in Forth Worth, check out a less well-known aspect of Cowtown. This is the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame on Gendy Street, 4 miles south of the Stockyards. Look out for cowgirl holograms, badass costumes, and the Bucking Bronc Room.

You might want to treat yourself to this Fort Worth highlights tour that collects you from downtown Dallas.

38. Highland Park Village

Front of Highland Park Shopping Village in Dallas, Texas
Renelibrary / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 47 Highland Park Village, Dallas, TX 75205

Want an upscale retail experience? Try the stylish Highland Park Village in Dallas’s Highland Park district. Shop until you max out in this fashion-focused shopping center next to the beautiful (but sadly members-only) Dallas Country Club.

Balmain, Cartier, Dior – heck, I’ve only got to the Ds in the list of swanky stores here, and already you can sense the luxury on offer. As well as women’s, men’s, and kids’ fashions, you can buy (or just browse) high-end bags, jewelry, watches, and shoes.

Highland Park Village is also the go-to place for a classy brunch or special date night. Elegant eateries include the high-end clam shack YO! Lobster and the endlessly chic Teak Tearoom. Open only at lunchtimes, this is famous for its girls-name cocktails. 

It’s located in the Conservatory on Two, which is great for fancy beauty gifts. Also, check out MARKET, a space featuring rotating pop-ups. You might find a big-name fashion house or have the chance to discover an up-and-coming designer.

How to Get Around in Dallas, Texas

Dallas Skyline Reflecting Over the Trinity River
mandritoiu / Adobe Stock

Texans love their cars, so Dallas’s road system definitely favors drivers over pedestrians or cyclists. As Dallas is a big place—340 square miles—visitors might choose to hire a car. Be aware of the many one-way systems, though. 

Parking space downtown is sometimes at a premium. Some parking meters only accept coins, so have some on hand. Read the signs in parking garages carefully, as terms and rates vary greatly.

Luckily, Dallas has an extensive public transportation system, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit or DART system. DART also connects with the Trinity Rail Express train to Forth Worth.

DART Rail has four lines, all with multiple stops in downtown Dallas. There are also stops at both DFW International and Dallas Love Field airports.

The yellow and white DART buses also run extensively through Dallas, with nearly 7,000 stops. You can buy DART tickets online or at vending machines, which accept credit cards and cash from $1 up. 

You can also use any payment-enabled mobile device. Long-term visitors can use DART’s fare-capping system by registering a contactless card. The DART website is a great resource for trip planning.

Dallas has two streetcar systems. The Dallas Streetcar connects EBJ Union Station in downtown Dallas with the Bishop Arts District. The McKinney Avenue Trolley (also known as The M-Line) links the Dallas Arts District to West Village in Uptown via lively McKinney Avenue.

FAQs

Are there any popular museums or art galleries worth visiting in Dallas?

Dallas is blessed with some world-class museums. The most unique is the Sixth Floor Museum, near the site of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Other important history museums are the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

Great art museums include the Dallas Art Museum, the African American Museum, the Crow Museum of Asian Art, and the Nasher Sculpture Center. For science fans, there’s the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. 

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