There is no downplaying Dallas’ rich history and dramatic mythologies, a city built upon tales of wild cowboys and cheerleading pomp. A city that has so far evaded the downtrend of most oil-based industries, Dallas is known for its glimmer and glam consumption. Browse the stores at modern Uptown or sway to the jazz-filled Deep Ellum; Bishop Arts District will have hipsters flocking to indie cafés and boutiques while sports fans mill towards the various ballparks. Like a hair-raising roller coaster, Dallas starts slow with its historical landmarks before spinning you deep into its rowdy and dynamic entertainments.
Get rowdy at the State Fair of Texas (September & October)
The Texas State Fair: a bold, month-long event that captures the spirit of Dallas. As the massive Big Tex mascot beckons, roll into the high energy generated by the flock of visitors from across the country. Imagine acres of everything good – greasy street food, events, bombastic concerts and rides. Meander between the countless stalls and attractions and prepare to splash out on quick bites and kitschy souvenirs. Running from September to October every year, the State Fair is worth scheduling your vacation around.
Fly free at Klyde Warren Park
Located smack dab in uptown Dallas – in fact, poised over a freeway – you’re hard-pressed to find a green space like Klyde Warren Park. Unique positioning aside, it is also extremely accessible. You can enjoy a casual stroll around before helping yourself to one of the many food trucks and restaurants around the perimeter. Plied with multiple entertainments, Klyde Warren Park has a mini amphitheater, storytelling tree, chess and table tennis corner as well as a dog park. Mingle with the locals and maybe catch a fun dance lesson or concert!
Let your eyes roam at Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas Museum of Art is a multiple-time to-visit attraction and not only because entry is free. Travel back thousands of years by scouring through some 23,000 art works. These strands of history are pieced together through galleries featuring Greek and Roman art, their African, Western European, Asian and American counterparts. And within the collection are masterpieces by Monet, Picasso and Gauguin; you can even dip your feet into fashion by visiting the recreated rooms of Coco Chanel. Dallas Museum of Art is definitely a must-see for everyone.
Visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial and Dealey Plaza
Swerve around to Dealey Plaza for a bite of history – not only is it considered the “birthplace” of Dallas, it is also the assassination site of John F. Kenney. Designated a historical landmark since 1993, many tourists wander around this neighborhood to observe the old structures that date back to 1800s. The plaza itself houses monuments around its perimeter in honor of prominent residents.
Mark out Dallas atop Reunion Tower
Not only does this Dallas stand out with its unique architectural design, it is also the city’s 15th tallest building. Marking over 500 feet, Reunion Tower is recognizable by its spherical head. Take to the tower’s revolving platform for a 360-degree view of the city and complement your sightseeing tour with an exemplary lunch. It’s the perfect midday stop to fuel up and peer out.
City views from Chase Tower Sky Lobby
Get an alternate view from Chase Tower’s Sky Lobby if you’d rather not pay for the classic Reunion Tower visit. Look over the city’s avenues and collage of architectures from 40 stories up, the ceiling to floor glass windows providing ample angles for your cinematographic shot. In fact, try and pinpoint attractions close to you. It is a good way to narrow down your itinerary for the day. Or, if you’re there at night, track the route you’ve taken and recount the fun activities you’ve accomplished.
Explore the Bishop Arts District
There’s always that one neighborhood that overloads on nostalgic charm and hipster vibes; in Dallas, welcome to Bishop Arts District. Not only was it a busy trolley stop in the 1930s, its historic roots dig deep in antique shops. Pop in and out of the independent boutiques that line the streets, and flash your cameras at the vibrant street art. Taste test at any of the restaurants, bars and coffee shops or simply wander around the district. A comfortable cluster of to-see and to-eat, it is the perfect area to wind down in after a day of busy exploration.
Snapshot worthy Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge
Photographers alert! Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is your destination of the day. Not only is it the perfect place for a picture of the Dallas skyline, its steel arch and cables make for great subjects. It also bridges restaurant hubs such as Trinity Groves and Sylvan 30. After getting that requisite city shot, head over to Trinity Groves for lively music and food. Mexican, Asian, vegan or seafood, they have it all.
Learn something new at Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Suitable for all ages, Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a solid itinerary choice if you’d like to add some science-ing into your adventures. You will love it for the hands-on experiences, all 11 permanent exhibition halls combining video and informative displays with simulations, educational games and other interactive initiatives. There is also an impressive 35-foot fossil and a collection of robots that children flock to, conveniently grouped together at the children’s museum.
Visit the Sixth Floor Museum
Seated in a brown blocky building is the Sixth Floor Museum dedicated to President John F. Kennedy. An interactive classroom that details his early life, presidential run and later assassination, it is worth a visit for anyone wanting to learn more about American history. You can take a self-guided audio tour, even stand at the window from which the fatal shot was fired. Round off the visit with quiet contemplation at the building’s café or book-filled gift shop.
Be amazed at Nasher Sculpture Center
Stunning features decorate the grounds of Nasher Sculpture Center, totaling over 300 statues crafted by the likes of Picasso, Rodin, Matisse and their contemporaries. Wander both indoors and outdoors with your camera at the ready, but also try and learn more about the craft itself! The venue itself is also beautifully designed, project headed by the prolific Renzo Piano who worked on other international architectures.
Run wild in White Rock Lake Park
If you’re seeking a taste of wildlife in the middle of an urban jungle, look no further than White Rock Lake Park. The wide roaming grounds allow plenty of space for you to run about, making it a popular venue for events and special runs. The lake after which the park is named after also offers various things to do including kayaking and canoeing, and quiet banks to bird watch from. Sweat it out on the hiking and biking trials or explore the wetlands; you can also settle down for a languid picnic.
Bless your ears at Dallas Music Hall
There is much to do in Fair Park but slot in Dallas Music Hall as a must visit attraction. Seating over 3000 audiences, this performing arts facility is impressive in capacity and design; its Spanish Baroque exterior and capped towers exude a magical aura, as does its arched pillars and extended porch. Attend events, lectures, concerts and other performances – there is no shortage of events all year round. If you can, try and catch a Broadway show or opera to fully recognize the venue’s potential.
Entertaining at NorthPark Center
For general time consumption and no-fuss eating options, head over to NorthPark Center for the typical shopping experience. What makes it stand out however, is its sheer size; it is the second largest shopping hub in Texas. Browse the racks at North Face or buy new kicks at Nike, or maybe you’d prefer to check out Tesla’s newest wheels. Whether you’re there for some retail time or just need a place to kick back, NorthPark Center has got everything you need. There’s even a courtyard with carefully curated art pieces if you need some fresh air.
Spend the night out at Deep Ellum
From live music venues to speakeasies and tattoo bars, Deep Ellum has the soul and look of an artsy persona. A historic district founded in 1873, it has long established its reputation as the entertainment collective in town. Stumble through its street art marked blocks for a plethora of restaurants, fun venues, small businesses and vibrant galleries. You never know what you might stumble over but Deep Ellum is ready to keep you busy; perhaps you’ll settle in a rooftop bar and sigh over city views, or maybe you’ll be lulled into a salsa bar, living up the Dallas candor.
Catch a game at Globe Life Park
It goes without saying that if you’re in Dallas between April and September, you have to try and catch a game with the Texas Rangers. And there’s no baseball experience that is complete without its home treats, so help yourself to the Dilly Dog, a hot dog special that burrows in deep-fried pickle. Not quite your thing? Maybe the chili, cheese and onion topped Boomstick will have you up in arms instead. With that 2-feet long challenge in hand, you’re bound to muster up some loud cheers for the home team.
Rest at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Gardens
Do you want to see layered tiers of colors? To see cherry blossoms fanning out over carefully trimmed bonsai and patches of tulips carpeting the ensemble? Drop by Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Gardens for 66 acres of flowery interest, foliage changing with the seasons. Picnic areas dot the grounds, allowing for hours of relaxing in manicured nature. Since no active sports are allowed, you’ll find it the perfect space for some peace and quiet. It is also a great spot to bring kids, thanks to the fun play and exploration area in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden and a Children’s Garden Café.
Be thrilled at Six Flags Dallas
Chances are you’ve heard of the Six Flags amusement park series. Luckily for you, Dallas has its very own Six Flags to satisfy your heart-thumping need for thrill. Dangle from new heights and scream as you turn upside down – there is no time for hesitation. From classics such as the Texas Giant and the Titan to hair-raising rides as twisted as their namesakes (a.k.a The Joker and Harley Quinn Spinsanity), there is no shortage of airborne challenges. If you want to enjoy the ambiance without turning your stomach over, there are game stalls and milder rides to keep you occupied as well.
Wade into the Dallas World Aquarium
What makes Dallas World Aquarium so special is that it covers all ground between saltwater and freshwater ecosystems, bringing you not just aquatic life but also those that survive around it. Open your eyes to the five worlds the exhibits cover: Mundo Maya, Orinoco, South Africa, Borneo and the Aquarium. From our feathery friends to hanging sloths and the colorful species that hide in corals, Dallas World Aquarium is a see-all place where conservation is the main focus. Sit in on feeding and talk sessions to learn more about these wildlife and the efforts to protect them.
Nightlife and brunch at Uptown
There is no district more vibrant than Uptown, recognized for its multitude of shops, eateries, nightlife destinations and other entertainment venues. Catch a game at Victory Park or spend some time around West Village, which presents a large concentration of outdoor boutiques and yummy eats. Cuisine is also dynamic, serving up Japanese sushi, oyster bars, poke bowls, tacos and Moroccan styles; there are patio bars, music lounges, craft breweries and fancy cocktail spaces to round off your nights. Look no further for art perusal either, for Uptown is home to art galleries, Magnolia Theatre and the Museum of Geometric & MADI Art. You ask for it and Uptown will have it.
Break barriers at Frontiers of Flight Museum
If you’ve ever dreamed of taking to the skies, Frontiers of Flight Museum prove that dreams can come true. Browse through the 13 galleries displaying over 30 exhibits, which showcase hundreds of aircraft models from small scale space vehicles to full sized planes. You won’t miss the Wright brothers 1903 Wright Flyer nor the dedicated section to Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and other flight pioneers. A range of military aircrafts are lined up according to their battle eras, leading up to a space flight exhibit. This museum is like a runway to the future of aviation.
Tour the AT&T Stadium
If you’ve heard of Texas, you probably have heard of AT&T Stadium too. While it isn’t the biggest sporting venue in town, it’s one of the most well-known. Catch home team Dallas Cowboys (or, Jerry World) in a game if you are lucky, or go ahead and tour the stadium off-hours. You will be taken through the dressing rooms, other key locations and even onto the field. Snap a video and show everyone just how fast your dash is!
Ride with the Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures
Take a brief stop at Pioneer Plaza and pose with the hardiest of them all; these life-sized Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures are plucked out of your cowboy dreams. From trail drivers to mid-action cowboys, longhorn cattle to galloping horses, the statue-dotted square is something out of an old western. Commissioned by a real estate developer, the statues have long become a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
Retail therapy calls for Highland Park Village
From being the first self-contained shopping center to first-class shopping haven, Highland Park Village is the go-to for a snazzy retail session. While you can indulge in the simpler (and less costly) pleasure of eating at its varied restaurants and cafés, this upscale plaza is made for avid shoppers. Channeling the sharp style of a fashion editor, it is home to luxury brands such as Hermes, Alexander McQueen and Christian Louboutin, outfitted with the trendiest clothing and shoes. Here you’ll find the promised glitz and glam of Dallas.
Sweat it out along the Katy Trail
Burn off your energy on this popular trail, which stretches out along the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. Mingle with the joggers, the inline skaters and those on bicycles at a pace you’re comfortable with. Since there are separate paths for bikers, don’t worry about swerving out of the way and breaking your rhythm. There are also stopover spaces and nearby restaurants whenever you need a rest; jogging this trail is an easy way to stay in shape through all munching you’ll be doing!
Marvel at the Old Red Museum
The gorgeous Old Red Museum will have you circling it for the best shot. Built in 1890, the red sandstone building gleams with old-time charm; it first served as a courthouse before transforming into a museum. Learn about prehistoric to early Dallas settlements which include a mammoth tusk display, and brush up on your history. Other exhibits showcase fascinating memorabilia that are tied to Dallas’ history, such as Lee Oswald’s handcuffs and belongings of past sports figures. In close proximity to Reunion Tower, jot it down as a follow-up attraction to visit.
While away the hours at Texas Theatre
No one would have expected the Texas Theatre to be the hiding and arrest spot for President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, but it has subsequently gained historical fame after the 1963 incident. The somewhat unassuming exterior also fails to reveal that it is in fact the first of its kind in Dallas to offer air conditioning and other modern luxuries – although the foyer’s vintage Pac Man game is exactly what you come to expect. Drop by if you have some time to spare and catch a movie (or a special event).
Get playful with Adventure Landing
Adventure Landing is exactly what it sounds like – a fun complex brimming with exciting activities and family-friendly entertainment. Try your hand at either of the three mini-golf courses (or all of them), or split into teams for laser tag. The mega arcade will take you through your favorite childhood games while adrenaline junkies can hop on go-karts. The kids will love splashing about the bumper boats and challenging homeruns at the batting cages; snack bars and other food services are available on-site when they start feeling peckish.
Treasure hunt in Fair Park
One of Dallas’ earliest public parks, Fair Park is more known for hosting the 1889 Dallas State Fair. Its original 80 acre expanse was enlarged to 277 when the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition came around; now, the estate serves as a recreational and educational complex. From art deco buildings to fresh lawns, unusual art-in-nature installations and a lagoon, the park is made for aesthetic relaxation. Stroll around if you have time to spare and explore the Texas Discovery Gardens. The Children’s Museum and Dallas Music Hall will also keep you occupied with their various to-see’s and frequent showcases.
Get building at Legoland Discovery Center
Legoland Discovery Center is everything you have dreamed of as a child and everything a child still dreams of. Comprised of rides, diverse build and play areas as well as a 4D cinema, this complex will have you designing life-sized models in no time. Children and adults alike will have a blast on the extended factory tour as well, where you’ll see just how Lego are made. It’s a great activity to fill up an afternoon.
Time travel with a Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
It’s time to play an extra in a historical drama! Fall into the storyline and play the role of a royal banquet guest; a spectacular show has been prepared to go along with your four-course dinner. Watch as brave knights clash on horseback, jousting it out for the hand of the princess. Then come the falcons, swooping in to amaze you with their regal flight. The Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is dining and entertainment wrapped in one.