Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Garland, TX

  • Published 2022/09/22

The city of Garland in Dallas County, Texas, is a vibrant and lively place with a rich history and a culturally diverse community.

The city started by unifying two rival communities, Embree and Duck Creek, after settling a dispute regarding which town should have the local post office.

With a population of around 250,000 residents, it is the third largest city in Dallas County and the thirteenth in Texas.

With its sheer size and friendly and welcoming atmosphere, you’ll immerse yourself in the city’s urban and rustic experiences.

Experience the best of Texas charisma with the best things to do in Garland, Texas!

Explore Nature at Spring Creek Forest Preserve

A butterfly at Spring Creek Forest Preserve

Steve Jordan /

Spring Creek Forest Preserve is rich in flora and fauna and the perfect place for nature lovers.

In 1980, a person named Bobby Scott discovered the forest’s pristine and immaculate qualities.

He began his efforts to preserve the area with the help of Dallas County and the State of Texas.

Spring Creek Forest Preserve is home to over 650 species of plants and animals.

You can find all sorts of wildlife, from reptiles and birds to mammals and fishes.

Paintbrush flower at Spring Creek Forest Preserve

Steve Jordan /

The plant life is also diverse and historic, with many being 100-300 years old.

You can do all sorts of outdoor activities such as hiking and birdwatching.

You can also help preserve the forest by bringing a trash bag and picking up trash as you hike along the woods.

Spring Creek Forest Preserve is on Holford Road.

The grounds of Spring Creek Forest Preserve

Robert Nunnally, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Buy a Cowboy Hat at Master Hatters of Texas

As the “Cowboy Hat Capital of Texas,” Garland offers the best cowboy hats in Texas.

Numerous stores sell the iconic headgear, but no one does it better than Master Hatters of Texas.

Located on Market Street, Master Hatters of Texas has provided Garland residents with high-quality cowboy hats since 1968.

They offer a variety of premium western hats, including straw, wool, and fur felt that’ll make you say yeehaw!

Stop by Master Hatters of Texas and embrace your inner cowboy.

Go Bowling at AMF Garland Lanes

Bowling is one of those activities that’ll never get old.

If you’re looking for a fun, traditional bowling experience, head to AMF Garland Lanes.

AMF Garland Lanes on Marketplace Drive provides many attractions perfect for a fun weekend.

Their bowling lanes feature black lights, comfortable lounge seats, and massive HD video walls that’ll make your game a hip and fantastic experience.

Besides bowling, the establishment also offers arcade games, billiards, and a shop that sells all sorts of apparel and goodies.

After a game, you can visit AMF Garland Lanes’ sports bar and enjoy craft beer, wine, and signature cocktails.

Unwind and Relax at Central Park

Are you looking for a fun and relaxing afternoon?

If you are, Central Park on West Avenue is the perfect place!

Created in 1948, Central Park pioneered Garland city’s parks and recreation system.

Around 60 acres, it boasts an assortment of park amenities such as picnic areas, tables, playgrounds, and several sports grounds.

The park is also home to Garland’s most treasured park facilities: the Garland Dog Park and the Inclusive Playground.

The Garland Dog Park is a three-acre, off-leash park for dog-related activities.

Meanwhile, the Inclusive Playground is a 6500-square-foot sensory-friendly area for children of all abilities.

Make a Splash at Hawaiian Falls Garland

One way to beat the summer heat is a cool, refreshing swim, but swimming on its own is boring.

If you want a fun and exciting way to stay cool, you must visit Hawaiian Falls Garland!

Hawaiian Falls Garland is a family-friendly water park on North Garland Avenue near Curtis Curtwell Center.

They offer many attractions and facilities for water-related activities with varying intensities.

Relax in a mellow river ride past waterfalls, waves, and a water volcano at the Kona Kooler lazy river.

Turn the intensity up a notch by experiencing the twists and turns of the Bonsai Pipeline.

Is this too dull for your thrill-seeking soul?

Then the Waikiki Wipeout, The Flyin’ Hawaiian, Pineapple Plunge, and the Hawaiian Halfpipe will put you on the edge!

Make sure to stop by Hawaiian Falls Garland, the best water park in Dallas.

Play Disc Golf at Audubon Park Disc Golf Course

You’ve heard of golf, but have you heard of disc golf?

Disc golf is like regular golf, but players shoot a disc into a basket instead of clubs, golf balls, and a hole in the ground.

If you want to experience the exhilarating fun of disc golf, go to Audubon Park Disc Golf Course.

Situated on Oates Road, Audubon Park Disc Golf Course features an 18-hole course that stretches 6,741 feet.

It boasts an exciting course layout full of trees and hills that challenges and entertains players of all skill level.

Audubon Park Disc Golf Course also has some of the most fantastic natural views in Garland with its beautiful foliage and scenic views of the creek.

Revisit the Past at the Garland Landmark Museum

A passenger car at Garland Landmark Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A city or town’s history is something most people consider when choosing a place to go on vacation.

Luckily for you, Garland city is a place filled with historical highlights which you can relive at the Garland Landmark Museum.

You can find the Garland Landmark Museum in downtown Garland, specifically on North 6th Street.

The museum contains artifacts, documents, and other historical memorabilia which focus on the period between 1850 and the present.

They have a variety of exhibits, but the most well-known is their touch-screen which lets visitors interact with a map showing Garland’s growth over the years.

They also offer private tours if you plan to go with your family and friends.

If you skip this place, your trip won’t be complete, so include the Garland Landmark Museum on your itinerary.

Enjoy the Breeze at Windsurf Bay Park

Windsurf Bay Park is great for a picnic by the beautiful Lake Ray Hubbard.

Built on the west side of the 21,000-acre lake, Windsurf Bay parks are a 42-acre open space with picturesque views and a comfortable atmosphere.

The park offers essential amenities such as picnic areas, tables, and playgrounds for a quality afternoon with friends and family.

If you’re planning to go with a large group, a medium-sized picnic pavilion can accommodate up to 25 people.

It even comes with a grill, so don’t hesitate to throw a little barbecue party.

They also have a half-court basketball court and a sand volleyball court.

Just make sure to bring your ball.

Stop by Windsurf Bay Park on Locust Grove Road for a relaxing afternoon.

Play Classic Arcade Games at NickelRama Arcade

Museums and historical parks aren’t the only places to experience the past.

If you’re up for some classic and nostalgic fun, relive the golden age of arcade video games at NickelRama Arcade.

NickelRama Arcade has operated since 1996, providing the community with a vast collection of nickel-powered arcade games.

They boast classic and retro games like Pacman and Space Invaders and newer titles such as Walking Dead, Terminator Salvation, and Halo.

The best thing about this place is that you’re free to bring your food and drinks, so you can save on nickels and play as much as possible!

NickelRama Arcade has two locations, one on Belt Line Road and the other on Lavon Drive.

Chug Local Beer at Lakewood Brewing Company

The Greek philosopher Plato once said, “He was a wise man who invented beer.”

He’s not wrong.

Beer is one of humankind’s greatest inventions, and Lakewood Brewing Company on Executive Drive takes the beloved drink to the next level.

Since the family-owned company sold its first keg of beer in 2012, Lakewood Brewing Company has garnered a strong following of local beer fans thanks to its unique, Belgium-inspired flavors.

Their menu includes seasonal beers, limited and special releases, and exclusive drinks brewed to perfection.

They also offer tours so you can explore and learn more about what makes their beer unique and flavorful.

Enjoy Dinner by the Lake at TLC on the Lake

Imagine an exquisite dining experience with good food and a spectacular lakeside view.

Fortunately, you don’t need to do that because TLC on the Lake has you covered!

TLC on the Lake is a restaurant on Bass Pro Drive that offers high-quality, authentic dishes made from scratch.

Their menu boasts a wide selection of delicious starters, tasty entrees, and delightful desserts that’ll fill your belly without draining your pockets.

They also sell handcrafted specialty cocktails and cold beer, perfect for a night out with friends.

Make sure to stop at TLC on the Lake for some tender loving care on a plate.

Enjoy Artistic Performances at the Granville Arts Center

Exterior of Granville Arts Center

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Garland is the Granville Arts Center, home of Garland city’s world-class performances.

Located on North 5th Street, the Granville Arts Center opened in 1982 to provide Garland with a unique fine arts experience.

Since then, the arts center has attracted over 200,000 patrons each year.

Granville Arts Center houses two beautiful proscenium theatres, the Atrium and the Plaza Theatre, which host musicals, stage plays, and concerts.

Moreover, these activities open year-round, so you won’t have to worry about coming to an empty, quiet theatre.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Hang Out with Exotic Cats at In-Sync Exotics

In-Sync Exotics is in Wylie, Texas, 24 minutes from Garland.

This center houses and cares for exotic cats.

In 2000, veterinary technician Vicky Keahey established In-Sync Exotics.

She developed a love for big cats when a female cougar named Tahoe came into her clinic.

Since then, the center has worked non-stop to help these beautiful and majestic felines.

The rescue center is home to several exotic cats such as lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, and more!

You’ll meet the kingly Aramis, the lion, and the regal Big Sultan, the tiger.

Meet these elegant felines and more at In-Sync Exotics.

Sip Exquisite Wine at San Martino Winery and Vineyards

If you want to taste the best-handcrafted wines in all of Texas, take a 24-minute drive from Garland to Lavon, Texas.

Then, head to San Martino Winery and Vineyards.

San Martino Winery and Vineyards is a small, family-owned winery crafting high-quality wines since 2003.

They have a fantastic collection of wines first-timers, and wine enthusiasts enjoy.

The spacious grounds offer visitors a space to relax, and their restaurant has a menu filled with delicious treats perfect with a glass of wine.

San Martino Winery and Vineyards is a great place to visit for an elegant afternoon.

Appreciate Contemporary Art at Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden

Contemporary art is about uniquely telling a story by using ordinary methods.

To experience contemporary art’s beauty and fascinating nature, you must check Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden.

Peggy and Donald Vogel founded Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden in 1954.

It is Dallas, Texas’ oldest modern art gallery.

The gallery specializes in contemporary art, specifically 19th, 20th century, and early American/European fine art.

They display many unique exhibits, such as the paintings and collages of early contemporary artists Otis Huband and Mary Vernon.

If you’re into sculptures, the sculpture garden is a beautifully designed outdoor space that displays the works of famous sculptors like Charles Umlauf, Mike Cunningham, and Charles Williams.

Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden also showcase several local artists’ work to help advance their careers.

You can find this gallery 20 minutes from Garland.

Final Thoughts

Garland is a beautiful place filled with historical significance and cultural appreciation.

It has a beautiful atmosphere, and the plethora of activities you can do makes it even more fun.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Garland, Texas!

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