City Guide

The Most Fun Things to Do in Dallas

By Landing | Jun 11, 2024
Texas State Fair Wheel at Night

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including your social schedule. Here are 18 fun things to do in Dallas to make you fall in love with the city.

Barbecue, cattle drives, and country music likely come to mind when you think about Dallas. And you’re not wrong. But although this Texan city is proud of its cowtown roots, Dallas has all the trimmings of a major American city. Here, you’ll find world-class museums, a diverse food scene, and plenty of activities for every member of the family.

Navigating America’s fourth-largest city is as big a task as the state of Texas. To help you explore the city like a local, start with these 18 fun things to do in Dallas.

6 Best Downtown Dallas Attractions To Try

Headless sculptures at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX
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Whether you’re visiting Dallas for business or pleasure, you’ll likely spend a lot of time downtown. From art museums in the Dallas Arts District to cutting-edge food and drinks, there are so many things to do in Downtown Dallas during your downtime. Here are six top activities:

1. Cool Off at the Nasher Sculpture Center

On warm spring and summer days, the Nasher Sculpture Garden is a wonderful place to cool off underneath the shade. Located in the middle of the Dallas Arts District, it’s a full city block of gardens dotted with a collection of modern and contemporary sculptures. Step inside the Nasher Sculpture Center, an airy, light-filled space, to check out more than 300 pieces by Rodin, Matisse, and Miró, amongst other master artists.

2. Experience American History at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

The sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository was the scene of the crime of the JFK assassination. Today, the Sixth Floor Museum houses an exhibit of historic images, news footage, and a view of Dealey Plaza, letting visitors experience an important piece of Dallas — and American — history. For sweeping views of the Dallas skyline, head over to the nearby Reunion Tower for a 360-degree view of the entire city.

3. Explore Up and Coming Cedars Neighborhood

Technically, the Cedars isn’t downtown Dallas — it’s just across the highway. However, this industrial zone has turned into a budding arts and entertainment district worth exploring. Catch a movie and a pint at Alamo Draft House Cinema, hit up a concert at the Southside Ballroom, or tour the low-key Dallas restaurant scene full of dive bars, coffee shops, and BBQ joints.

4. Travel Back in Time at the Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park

Take a trip back to the 19th century in this living museum full of pioneer and Victorian-style homes shipped in from all over central Texas. Spread across the 20-acre Old City Park on the edges of downtown, it’s a juxtaposing sight to see how regular Texans once lived against the backdrop of the modern Dallas skyline.

5. Stock Up on Local Goods at Dallas Farmers’ Market

Seasonal produce, free-range meats, fresh eggs, and artisan pantry goods are just a few of the items on sale at the Dallas Farmers’ Market. In operation since 1941, the market exclusively spotlights farmers and makers from in and around Dallas. After stocking up on groceries, head over to The Shops, which is full of artisan stores and restaurants.

6. Get Fancy at the Winspear Opera House

The Winspear Opera House is a new interpretation of the traditional “horseshoe” style opera houses of the past. With two performance spaces, it houses the Dallas Opera, dance performances, and blockbuster shows. For opera fans, it’s one of the finest places in the United States to catch a show. And if you’re in the mood for the symphony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra plays at the nearby Meyerson Symphony Center.

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4 Fun Things to Do in Dallas With Kids

Woman and kid feeding lettuce leaves to a giraffe at the Dallas Zoo
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Although Dallas is a modern metropolis of 1.3 million people, its southern culture emphasizes family-friendly fun. Here are four things to do in Dallas today with the kids.

7. Experience a Backstage Safari at the Dallas Zoo

With more than 20,000 animals spread across 106 acres, the Dallas Zoo is a great place for you and the kids to entertain yourselves. For learning-focused play, the zoo offers behind-the-scenes educational programs, like year-round camps, a backstage safari, and several wildlife clubs for parents and children.

8. Be Wordly at the Dallas World Aquarium

The “world” in Dallas World Aquarium isn’t hyperbole. This aquarium stands out for its replicas of exotic habitats from all over the globe, including Borneo, South Africa, and the Orinoco River. Plus, support for the aquarium helps fund conservation projects across the Americas, like a manatee program in Peru and raptor conservation in Venezuela.

9. Get Nerdy at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

For the miniature scientists (and curious adults), the Perot Museum of Nature and Science has five floors full of hands-on nature and science exhibits. From dinosaurs to DNA to diamonds, you can easily spend an entire afternoon of family-friendly learning.

10. Have a Picnic at the Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum is one of the best places to visit in Dallas on a cool spring afternoon. This 66-acre botanical garden on the edge of White Rock Lake features large gardens full of beds of seasonal flowers and plants, waterfalls, and picture-perfect green lawns — ideal for an afternoon picnic.

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4 Things to Do For Adults in Dallas

A circular lawn at Texas Discovery Gardens with Ferris wheel in the background
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From cocktails in Deep Ellum to cool hunting in the Bishop Arts District, here are four fun things for adults to do in Dallas.

11. Watch the Flowers Bloom at the Texas Discovery Gardens

This 7.5-acre organic garden and exotic butterfly conservation space is a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle. For solo fun, take a morning walk through Texas Discovery Gardens’ trails. For curious home gardeners, there is a shop full of hard-to-find native Texas plants and nectar-producing flowers to keep your garden full of hummingbirds.

12. Support Local Artists in Bishop Arts District

You’ll find plenty of great shopping at the Galleria Dallas and Highland Park Village shopping centers. But when in Texas, support local Texas artists.

Bishop Arts District, an eclectic arts and design neighborhood, is a favorite place to stay for creatives. The area is packed full of boutique shops, cute bars and restaurants, and colorful street art. It’s also one of the city’s most walkable neighborhoods, meaning you can spend an entire day leisurely exploring Dallas’ cutting-edge arts and culture.

13. Do an Impromptu Bar Tour Through Deep Ellum

The Deep Ellum neighborhood is one of the best places to eat and drink in Dallas. Dallas natives come for the never-ending list of brewpubs, cocktail bars, and Tex-Mex and stick around for the quirky art galleries, street murals, and concert halls. Local staples include a laid-back meal and blues show at Bucky Moonshine’s or beer tasting at Deep Ellum Brewing Company.

14. Decorate Your New Apartment in the Design District

If you need the perfect accent for your Dallas digs, you’ll find it in the Design District. It’s home to contemporary and fine art galleries, furniture design shops, and textile showrooms. When you need a breather from retail therapy, the Dallas Design District has incredible restaurants to try out. Top picks include authentic Mexican cuisine at El Bolero and legendary Design District restaurant Mama’s Daughters’ Diner.

4 More Fun Things to Do in Dallas for Free

Chairs on the lawn of Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, TX
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Life in the big city doesn’t have to drain your wallet. Here are four things to do in Dallas that don’t cost a dime.

15. Klyde Warren Park

Dallas’ efforts to insert more green spaces into the city are on full display at Klyde Warren Park, a “town square” built on top of a recessed eight-lane freeway. The 5.4-acre community-supported park is a cultural hub connecting Uptown, the Arts District, and the downtown business district. There’s a children’s park and dog park and plenty of outdoor activities, like regular concerts and movie series, fountains, and food trucks.

16. Take Advantage of Free Activities at Fair Park

Fair Park is home to the State Fair of Texas each fall, the Dallas Pride Parade, and the African American Museum. It also offers a packed calendar of free activities, including yoga, birdwatching, and weekend concerts.

17. Explore Arts and Outdoors at Katy Trail

This 3.5-mile trail connects the Uptown and Oak Lawn neighborhoods just north of downtown Dallas. Katy Trail is a popular spot for biking, jogging, and rollerskating, and art installations are interspersed among the green space.

18. Visit the Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art believes that art is a gift to everyone. That’s why admission is always free — with exceptions for special exhibits and programs. The DMA has more than 24,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of human history, from Native American works to special collections from Texan artists.

Ready for a Move to Dallas?

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