15 Best Things to Do in Irving, TX

Irving, TX
Tavarius / shutterstock.com

Irving is known for the headquarters of five Fortune corporations and thousands of companies, but aside from that, it has museums, heritage and art centers, world-class trails, and a music factory that you can visit.

In the heart of Dallas/Fort Worth, you can find this fun and inviting Irving full of arts, entertainment, music, theater, and dining places to go.

Try out all the beautiful things to do in Irving, even at night with nightlife scenes with a variety of live music options.

If you are looking for local favorites, you can explore the Dallas Arts District, catch a show in Toyota Music Factory, or see a fantastic performance at the Irving Arts Centers.

But if you like getting outdoors, Irving has a lot to offer.

If you want to explore more, here are the 15 best things to do in Irving, TX:

Stroll Along the Mandalay Canal

View of Mandalay Canal
Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock.com

If you want a refreshing and peaceful surrounding, then stroll along the Mandalay Canal and escape the city.

Just a few minutes’ walk below the urban area, you can see the unique architecture and old charm along the Mandalay Canal, where the carpenter designed it to reflect the native setting of waterfalls and streams.

The Venice Canals inspire the place, and you can go through different restaurants, shops, and hotels, with a scenic view of waterfalls.

View of Mandalay Canal
Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock.com

The canal’s construction began as functional waterways to control flooding, but the channels became the beautiful Las Colinas icon.

Various restaurants surround the canals, which offer open-air seating, and it is the perfect place for night gatherings as the shimmering lights reflecting off the canal waters.

You can bring your pet in the walkway as it is pet-friendly, or you can watch the people in the gondolas cruise along the canal.

Try Recreational Activities in the Campion Trail

The stunning Campion Trail is the longest continuous trail in the lively Dallas suburb which provides the community the opportunity to walk safely, run, bike, hike, or even skate.

This trail will give you a mix of natural and urban views as it follows through places in Irving, a lively Dallas suburb.

The trail is about 13 miles paved pathway comprised of north and south sections that are not connected currently, but there are plans to form a 22-mile long greenbelt along the Trinity River to connect the separate areas.

Take the time to go on hiking to try other recreational activities in the northern trail that stretches from the Valley Ranch to the business district of Las Colinas.

If you go on the southern section connects to the Lone Star Trail in Grand Prairie, the trail begins in Trinity View Park, where you can find picnic shelters, athletic fields, grills, drinking fountains, restrooms, and other amenities.

Parking is available in T.W Richardson Grove Park for the northern section and Trinity View Park for the southern area.

Take Pictures With Mustangs of Las Colinas

View of Mustangs of Las Colinas
psongm01 / Shutterstock.com

In the business district of Irving, you can find this magnificent sculpture in the heart of William’s Square in the Las Colinas Urban Center.

Businessman Ben H. Carpenter turned the family’s ranch into what is known now as Las Colinas Center and asked African wildlife artist Robert Glen to make a scripture about the native’s past.

Take pictures of the sculpture that depicts wild mustangs that gallop in a stream.

You can also go to the adjacent museum to know how artists made the sculptures and how it took eight years to make them.

Witness the World-Class Performances in Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra

Check out the performance of one of America’s top 100 symphonies, with 93 professional and talented musicians coming from 19 different countries in the world.

The 93 professionals are chosen from competitive auditions from hundreds of applicants every year.

The Carpenter Performance Halls has a 707 seating capacity and provides a state-of-the-art technology which gives sophisticated ambiance in the area and in addition to that, there are soft glowing glass bricks and velvet balconies that add an exquisite touch to the hall.

Maestro Robert Carter Austin, the 25th season Music Director, led the orchestra to give a world-class performance to the audience.

There is also the Lone Star Youth Orchestra for instrumentalists in middle and high school who want to take the opportunity to be trained by professional musicians.

You can buy tickets in their office, via phone or email, and you can get a 10% discount if you avail of the group rates.

Try Paddle Boarding in SUP NTX-Stand Up Paddle North Texas

In 133 Las Colinas Boulevard, you can start water sports activities like kayaking to paddleboarding in SUP NTX-Stand up Paddle North Texas on the Mandalay Canal.

You can also join fitness classes with full-body workouts or have a guided tour of the waterfalls and fountains.

SUP NTX is the best destination for your paddle boarding, yoga classes, birthday parties, team building, youth groups, and even date packages.

You can have a private Stand Up Paddle Lesson that will provide you information about how to paddle safely, stand up, and balance in balance, and you will learn multiple paddle techniques and other skills necessary to swim with confidence.

Worship and Offer Prayer in BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

One of the beautiful temples to worship and learn about Hindu culture is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

A Mandir is a sacred Hindu place where people worship, and it represents the Vhagwan earthly home where one can quiet the mind and experience deep spirituality.

The devotees and visitors can come to Mandir to offer prayers and attend religious services and cultural classes known as Sabhas.

The Mandir is open every day and conducts different social, spiritual, ethical activities and programs.

The Darshan times are from Monday to Friday from 7 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM, and on Saturday to Sunday, it is from 7 AM to 8 PM.

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a place to visit to foster personal and collective worship and connect people to Bhagwan.

Watch Theaters and Check Galleries in Irving Arts Center

Outside View of Irving Arts Center
Photo: Andreas Praefcke, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for an excellent fine arts and culture place, you should go to the Irving Arts Centers located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, just 15 minutes away from the airport and Love Field.

This 10-acre complex features theaters, galleries, sculpture garden, along with rehearsal facilities and multifunctional rooms.

Since its opening in 1990, many people have celebrated arts, and it has become a place to enjoy arts and connect with music, crafts, and theaters.

International and local artists display their exhibits in the center, and you can see permanent collections in the two-acre sculpture garden that allows visitors to witness arts in a natural setting.

Inside View of Irving Arts Center
Photo: Andreas Praefcke, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The center also offers free programs and events throughout the year and a Summer Art & Theater Camp for children aged 4-16 for curated educational experiences and hands-on classes in virtual and in-person style.

If you want to have your corporate meetings, cultural presentations, conferences, classes, parties, and wedding receptions, you can just book a reservation for a facility you can stay.

Irving Arts Center is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 12 PM to 5 PM, and you do not need any reservations to go inside the area.

Know African-American Communities in Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center

One of the oldest African-American communities in Dallas County is the Bear Creek, and this heritage center tells the African-American story during the period of racial segregation in America.

Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center also tells the lives of African-Americans from the time slaves were emancipated up to the Civil Rights movement way back in the 1950s and 1960s.

Jackie Townsell opened a grocery in 1959 in Bear Creek, and during the 1960s, she joined the West Improvement Association to advocate for better living conditions in the Bear Creek community.

The Heritage Center consists of three museums, and the first museum is the J.O. Davis House, a walk-through museum of the community.

The second museum is the Green House, the home of a long-term leading resident, Sam Green, and the last is the Bear Creek Masonic Lodge, which tells the story of all masons.

The Heritage Center also has a Native Plant Garden where you can relax, have some rest, or reflect on the simplicity of life in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The place is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM, and you can check its admission fee.

See a Concert in Toyota Music Factory

Do you want to watch world-class entertainment in Las Colinas? Then, you should go to the Toyota Music Factory with an open-air pavilion with three facilities.

The complex has a 4,000-indoor seat music theater, 8,000-person capacity arena, and an intimate theater with about 2,500 person capacity.

The pavilion has a dedicated space for concerts and special events and access to over 20 bars, restaurants, shows, and movies.

You can also go to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, where you can watch classic films, order cocktails, and savor creative bites.

In Texas Lottery Plaza, you can always see stellar concerts and catch your most awaited stars, artists, and musicians.

Go on Cruising in Gondola Adventures

Sail away and take a memorable cruise on Lake Carolyn and Mandalay Canal in this beautiful Gondola Adventures.

You can choose on either electronic or paddle gondolas to have fun trips with your friends and family and create an experience that you’ll surely treasure forever.

You’ll be amazed by the stunning scenery of waterfalls and private inlets that you will come across during your cruise trip.

If you want to take it to another level with your romantic partner, you can request a serenade, and you are encouraged to kiss under the bridge.

Do not worry about the food as there are local restaurants that serve delicious food at dinner cruises.

Experience this Gondola Adventure cruise for your special occasion, corporate events, weddings, and other events that you have.

Visit the Ruth Paine House Museum

Outside View of Ruth Paine House Museum
Renelibrary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are curious about what happened in President John F. Kenney’s assassination, go to this house turned into a museum now.

Ruth Paine House has been part of the history as is it allegedly the place where President John F. Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey  Oswald spent the night before he killed the president in 1963.

The FBI and local enforcement found out that this tiny home in Irving which belongs to Ruth Paine has something to do with the assassin’s place of stay.

Outside View of Ruth Paine House Museum
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 1,250 square-foot historic house was restored in 1963 and opened up as a multimedia museum to tell the story of the assassination’s events, which engrossed scholars and the community for many decades.

Then, in 2009, the local government purchased Ruth Paine’s house to preserve its historical integrity, and in the following years, it created a museum so visitors could know more about the history.

Inside the house, the story progression about the assassination is in projected vignettes, and the multimedia museum tells how Ruth and Michael Paine became involved in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Spend Your Weekend in California Crossing Park

If you want to spend your day in a relaxing, peaceful, and calm environment, go to the California Crossing Parks set along the East Fork of the Trinity River.

The park covers about 390 acres of land, and you can explore different trails in the park with hand-curated maps and driving directions.

You can also try other recreational activities such as biking, hiking, jogging, cycling, and camping in the park.

There’s no other serene place like a park where you can see the green trees, hear the birds chirping, and just sit on the benches and read a book.

The park is also pet-friendly, so you can bring your dog or cat to the wide-open spaces, and you can rest for a bit in the shaded benches and relax with nature.

Tour in Mercury Studios

The iconic building where you can find the Mercury Studios is the production site for movies and television shows.

In 2013, the studio complex changed when the owner sold it to Mercury Radio Arts, owned by Glenn Beck, radio and television commentator, producer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur.

If you check the studio, you will see the works of storytellers, innovative artists, and business leaders in Texas, with great passion and creativity.

The mission of Mercury Studios is to enlighten, empower, and entertain people about the multiple sectors and genres of movies and television.

Visit the Our Lady of Dallas Cistercian Abbey

Our Lady of Dallas is a monastery of Cistercian monks of the Common Observance, and The Abbey is a community of priests, monks, and teachers who belong to the Cisterian Order.

In 1955, The Abbey operated the Cistercian Preparatory School and University of Dallas, and by 1991, the school’s alumni built the church for the monastery, and many architectural students and laypeople visited the church.

If you have the time to visit, you can see that Our Lady of Dallas’s halls and rooms are full of art.

There is a daily celebration of the mass in the Cistercian Abbey, and the monks also offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation every Wednesday afternoon.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Have a Picnic in Founder’s Plaza Observation Area

Founder’s Plaza Observation Area is the favorite spot to witness the planes landing and taking off from the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The area feels like a park with shaded picnic tables, benches, plazas, lawn areas where you can spend your time resting and bonding with your family and friends while waiting for the airplanes.

Enjoy your quality time with your loved one, check the commemorative monuments and statues that display the airport’s history, and listen to the live radio broadcasts of the arrival of planes.

Founder’s Plaza is open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM, and you do not need to worry about parking as there is plenty of space in the area.

What are you waiting for today? Get your front seat to the airplanes’ landings and departures for free, alongside a secure, clean, and excellent place set-up.

Final Thoughts

So now you know the best places to go on Irving and realize that there are many options to choose from, and the areas are easy to access.

Plan your trip now in the heart of Texas and start going one by one to the arts and cultural sites, parks, and world-class theaters that you’ll surely enjoy.

Do not forget to savor each experience and memory and capture the bonding moments of you and your family.