22 Free Things to Do in Garland, TX

Garland, TX

Just a stone's throw away from Dallas, Garland is a city that continues to surprise with its small-town charm and the myriad of free activities it offers.

Let's dive in and discover all the fun, free things to do in Garland, Texas.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Taryn Eastman, Logan Lewis, Lillie Winters, Robert Brown, McKenzie Rivera, Andrea Trull and Aleah Stephenson.

Journey through History at Garland Landmark Museum

Exterior of Garland Landmark Museum
Frj, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Walking through the doors of the Garland Landmark Museum, you're transported back in time.

It's a quaint haven nestled within a historic Santa Fe railway depot, but don't be fooled; this place is brimming with history and cultural heritage.

The moment I stepped inside, I was immediately drawn to the fascinating displays that pay tribute to Garland's past. The exhibits are truly a sight to behold.

From the town's establishment and development to the evolution of the railway, the museum beautifully showcases the rich tapestry of Garland's history.

The museum's charm is further accentuated with its various activities, each more intriguing than the last.

The interactive exhibits are my personal favorite, providing a hands-on learning experience that both kids and adults would enjoy.

Railcar at Garland Landmark Museum
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

But what sets the Garland Landmark Museum apart for me is the historic building itself.

It's not every day that you come across a museum situated in a railway depot!

The railway artifacts and memorabilia are a testament to the town's association with the Santa Fe Railway.

The museum does an excellent job of educating visitors about the influential role of the railroad in Garland's development.

In spite of its size, the museum never fails to surprise. Each visit unveils something new, making it a treasure trove for history buffs like myself.

Facade of Garland Landmark Museum
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Play Soccer at Winters Park

Oh, the countless times I've laced up my cleats under the warm Garland sun and taken to the fields of Winters Park.

Hear me out; while the park map might be a little confusing, and the lack of clearly marked field numbers could use an upgrade, the experience it offers to soccer enthusiasts like me is second to none.

Every time I strike the ball on those well-maintained fields, I can't help but appreciate the attention to detail of the park's maintenance team.

Be it rain or shine, the fields are always in excellent condition, ready for us to weave our magic on the pitch.

Now, isn't that what every soccer player yearns for?

And for the spectators, Winters Park has got you covered, too.

The park provides bleacher seating so you can comfortably cheer on your teams.

But if you're someone like my buddy, Jake, who prefers his old-school lawn chair, don't worry, you can bring that along too.

The only thing I can't vouch for are the restrooms as I've never used them.

But knowing Winters Park and its standards, I bet they're just as great.

So, grab your soccer gear and join us under the Texan sky for a game or two.

We're always ready to welcome a new face to our regular scrimmages.

Complete Your OUtfit with a Hat from Resistol Hat Outlet Store

There's something undeniably charming about a well-fitted hat.

It's not just a piece of accessory, it's a statement.

And if you're looking for the perfect hat, look no further than the Resistol Hat Outlet Store.

I've always had a penchant for hats, but my search for a perfect one led me to countless stores across Arlington, Dallas, and even Garland.

However, it was at the Resistol Hat Outlet Store that I finally struck gold.

Picture this: rows upon rows of every type of hat you could think of.

Fedoras, cowboy hats, pinch fronts, Panama beach styles – you name it, they have it!

And it wasn't just the variety that was impressive.

They had all the name brands I was looking for, and their prices were surprisingly fair.

But what truly sets this store apart is their outstanding customer service.

On my last visit, three different staff members assisted me.

One lady introduced me to some incredibly stylish felt hats, while an older gentleman showed me a collection of fantastic straw hats.

A younger guy even went out of his way to answer all my questions.

He knew everything there was to know about hats and helped me find the ideal style to suit my needs.

Interestingly, they also offer a shipping service.

So, if you find a hat but cannot carry it with you, they arrange to have it shipped back home.

That’s a lifesaver for hat enthusiasts like me.

Every time I visit the Resistol Hat Outlet Store, I feel like a child in a candy store.

The selection is unmatched, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the prices are fair.

Explore the Trails of Rowlett Creek Nature Preserve

I've always found a deep sense of tranquility within the woods, and that's exactly what I experienced at Rowlett Creek Nature Preserve.

This hidden gem in our city is more than just a park, it's a slice of paradise perfect for biking or a brisk walk amidst the serene ambiance of nature.

The lush greenery, the large trees providing ample shade, and the gentle murmur of the creek all combine to make the late summer evening walks an absolute delight.

It's like escaping the city and stepping into a mini forest where you can forget about the world for a while.

The pavilion and picnic tables give it an old-school charm, a perfect spot to enjoy a Sunday brunch with family or friends.

One of my favorite things about Rowlett Creek Nature Preserve is the variety of trails it offers.

You can select one according to your preference, from an easy 1-mile walk to a challenging 20+ miles bike ride.

Each trail comes with its own charm, passing through dense forests and scenic vistas.

It's not just the trails, though, the preserve is home to a variety of wildlife, like the Eastern Copperhead.

Although they're venomous, they rarely cause any harm unless provoked.

So, it’s always a good idea to stay watchful, especially when you are with kids or pets.

After a good run or bike ride, there's nothing quite like firing up the grill for a picnic.

I’ve had some of my best barbeques at Rowlett Creek.

Remember, the trails can be a bit soggy after rain, so it's a good practice to check the trail status on the DORBA website before planning a day out.

Practice Your Skates at the Jon Comer Skatepark

When you live in Texas, you know a thing or two about large scales.

Skateboarding is no exception, and we have the second largest park in Texas right here: The Jon Comer Skatepark.

This park isn't just about size; it's also got a fantastic flow and a variety of ramps, making it ideal for both skaters and beginners of any sport.

Many a time, I've spent my early mornings and late nights there, dodging the crowd and enjoying the peace of the park before it gets busy.

The park is open from 5 am to midnight, offering ample flexibility for those who prefer less crowded sessions.

The city has truly outdone itself with the design of this park.

It's loaded with features: great ledges, drops, and a vast area for you to explore and shred.

Just make sure you plan your visit during less busy hours; otherwise, you might find yourself waiting for more than skating, especially with many first-timers learning the ropes.

The Jon Comer Skatepark is a fantastic spot for all ages.

Whether you're a seasoned skater or just starting out, this is a place you won't want to miss out on.

Its great features, friendly atmosphere, and grand size make it a must-visit for any skateboarding enthusiast.

Celebrate Community Spirit in Garland City Square

There's no place quite like our very own Garland City Square. I can't help but look around and be filled with a sense of nostalgia.

A lot has changed since my childhood days here, but the spirit of the community has remained the same - vibrant and welcoming.

On a typical weekend, you'll find me strolling through the bustling downtown filled with unique shops and tantalizing eateries.

Every corner is brimming with life, especially during special events like the Labor Day parade, which winds its way from the beloved Dog Park to the Granville Arts Center.

These events truly pull at the heartstrings, reminding us of the traditions and shared memories that make this city so special.

Despite the ongoing construction at the heart of the square, don't fret.

All the stores and restaurants remain open, ready to serve the community.

The city is in a state of rejuvenation, constantly improving and shaping itself for a better future.

Though I miss the old fountain, I have found a new favorite spot in the park and game area.

It's the perfect place to wind down and take a breather.

But the weekend isn't complete without a visit to the outdoor flea market.

I love the lively atmosphere, the sound of live music filling the air, and the array of local talents proudly displaying their creations.

It's these moments, mingling with fellow residents and supporting local artists, that really make Garland City Square the heart of our community.

Stroll down Duck Creek Greenbelt

When it comes to taking a break from the concrete jungle, nothing quite compares to the soothing beauty of Duck Creek Greenbelt.

Duck Creek Greenbelt offers a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively.

The trail is simply marvelous and serves as a great place to unwind.

I remember a while back when some sections of the trail were under construction.

Now, I am eager to explore those parts, adding more memories of this lush green gem.

The lake, one of the focal points of the Greenbelt, is genuinely a sight to behold.

The way it shimmers under the sunlight, creating a peaceful backdrop, is what I find most magnificent about this place.

This park has seen me through different stages of life.

About twenty-five years ago, I spent my pregnancy months taking leisurely walks here, and now it's a place where I create more memories with my family.

Walking alongside my partner and children down the same trails that hold such special memories for me is something I treasure.

Exercise at Duck Creek Park

A lake at Duck Creek Park
Keekeh Rojas / Shutterstock.com

There's something special about Duck Creek Park.

It's a free-spirited oasis nestled in the heart of Garland.

As soon as you step on the path, you're enveloped by the towering trees and the hum of nature that effectively drowns out the busy world outside.

The trails are beautifully maintained and landscaped with pockets of raw nature that make you feel like you're miles away from city life.

One of the best parts about Duck Creek Park is that it's versatile.

I often come here for morning jogs along the paved trails, sometimes even try my hand at the disc golf course.

For those who prefer a more relaxed visit, you'll find plenty of spots to sit and soak in the serene atmosphere.

And if you're in the mood for a more structured exercise regime, there's a night workout circuit to get your heart pumping.

The locals here are always friendly and respectful, creating a sense of safety and community that's truly comforting.

If you're bringing your kids along, they'll surely enjoy the playground.

It's a simple setup but entertaining, conveniently located along the trail.

The Parks and Rec team recently installed a fence around it, ensuring the kids can play safely while you can sit back and relax.

Picnic at Spring Creek Greenbelt - Fred E. Harris Section

I often find myself retreating to the tranquillity of the Spring Creek Greenbelt - Fred E. Harris Section.

Tall, shady trees tower over the entire expanse, and a serene pond has become my favorite spot.

The trail leading to the pond is hidden under a street bridge.

The darkness and noise under the bridge might unnerve the faint-hearted, but it's just part of the package.

Once you get past, the serene pond and fishing pier await; usually, the sound of running water and chirping birds drown out the initial hustle-bustle.

Spring Creek Greenbelt - Fred E. Harris Section provides a decent amount of hiking trails and a sizable grassy area perfect for picnics or a leisurely walk.

Exploring this stretch of the Green Belt is like a mini adventure each time.

I've seen families enjoy sunny afternoons by the pond, children excitedly running around the playground, and couples enjoying a quiet moment on the shaded picnic benches.

Have Fun Frolicking with Your Fido at Garland Dog Park

Every evening, just as the sun begins to dip and the Texas heat becomes bearable, I take my furry friend to our haven - the Garland Dog Park.

It's an absolute delight for both of us, each for our own reasons.

This well-lighted park is a saving grace for those late evening walks.

It's thoughtfully designed with two separate pens, which are rotated to accommodate dogs of all sizes, and even includes an extra pen for turf recuperation.

One of the best things that Garland Dog Park offers is the water dispenser stations, a practical feature that caters to both canines and their human companions.

I appreciate how one pen already has a standing canopy, and there's clear evidence of construction for canopies in the other two – a much-needed respite from the Texas sun.

The proximity of human restrooms makes it even more convenient for us dog owners.

But what really sets this park apart is the ample space for our furry friends to run.

My dog particularly enjoys the large rocks, perfect for climbing and jumping, and I often find myself seated on these elevated rocks, watching him play and socialize.

The joy in his eyes as he runs around, meets other dogs, or just sits by me, soaking in the attention, is priceless.

We've made many memories here, and I can't recommend this place enough for anyone who has a pup that craves social interaction.

While we've had enumerable fun visits here, it's essential for all of us to remember our responsibilities as pet owners.

I urge everyone to pick up after their pets, I had to do it for a fellow pet owner during our last visit.

Let's ensure the park remains a clean and safe space for our pets.

Play Ball Games at Central Park

Every now and then, when life's everyday hustle and bustle gets too much, I find solace at Central Park.

This beautiful expanse of green is my go-to place for everything from casual bike rides to immersive book-reading sessions.

The park underwent a renovation recently, and though it's not the most child-friendly place with limited play equipment, it's certainly a sight for sore eyes with its aesthetically pleasing layout.

For sports enthusiasts, the park is a paradise.

It's brimming with amenities such as tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, and football and baseball fields.

There's even a designated dog park for your furry friends!

However, be prepared to trek across the grass to reach each area, as there isn't a designated walking trail.

The playground is a gem tucked away in Central Park.

Gated off from the rest of the park, it's the perfect spot to let your little ones play without the fear of them wandering off.

The inclusive design of the playground is commendable, with accessible swings and play structures for children of all ages and abilities.

The ground is covered in poured rubber, making it easy to navigate the entire play area.

The play structure is also equipped with concrete wheelchair ramps and stairs for easy access.

Spot the Wildlife at Spring Creek Forest Preserve

Every time I feel the need to escape from the city's hustle and bustle, I head over to Spring Creek Forest Preserve.

This place is a local treasure, tucked away amidst the urban landscape.

The towering trees that stand like sentinels over the park, the wildflowers that add a splash of color to the green canopy, and rare plants that you won't find elsewhere - they all make this preserve a nature lover's paradise.

One of the best parts about this place is its trail system.

There are so many trails to explore - some of them winding their way through dense woods, while others are extra wide and paved.

I love starting my journey from the south parking lot off Holford Road.

This path leads to the paved trails that are perfect for cycling, walking, or running.

The north parking lot, on the other hand, opens up to unpaved trails that feel like a secret passage into the wilderness.

The peace and quiet that engulfs me when I am at this park is something I cherish.

Rarely do I encounter a lot of traffic, adding to the serene atmosphere of this place.

But I'm never alone - the park is teeming with wildlife.

From the common sightings of birds and squirrels to the occasional armadillo, each visit feels like an adventure.

One of the things I appreciate the most about Spring Creek Forest Preserve is how inclusive it is.

It's a haven for everyone - whether you are a dog owner, a parent with kids, or just someone in search of a tranquil escape amidst nature.

A visit to this preserve is sure to rejuvenate your senses and remind you of the peaceful coexistence between urban life and nature.

A Stroll Through Spring the Interpretive Walking Trail at Spring Creek Forest

One of my favorite places to energize my mornings is the Interpretive Walking Trail at Spring Creek Forest.

This place is nothing short of a haven for nature lovers like me who crave a slice of the outdoors amidst urban life.

Over the years, I've fallen in love with the well-maintained network of trails that meander through the park.

It's a refreshing sanctuary that is impeccably managed and offers a multitude of walking paths to choose from.

Every visit here is a chance to stretch my legs, breathe in the fresh air, and rejuvenate my senses.

The beauty of this trail, besides its lush greenery, is that it's not too extensive - a mere 10 minutes from one side to the other.

The trail commences at one end of the picturesque pond at Hope Park and culminates at the other end.

It's a short, brisk walk that never fails to invigorate me.

Another feature that makes the Interpretive Walking Trail at Spring Creek Forest all the more appealing to me is the ample shade it offers.

It's perfect for when I decide to take my nephews on a walk.

They get to enjoy the resplendence of nature without being burdened by the harshness of the sun.

It's not just a trail, it's a treasure trove for little adventurers.

Catch a Baseball Game at Holford Park

Every weekend, my family and I pack our picnic basket and head to Holford Park.

This public green space is a breath of fresh air amid the city's hustle and bustle.

With baseball diamonds and a football field, it's an ideal spot for sports enthusiasts.

I still remember my boys playing Little League here years ago.

It's a joy to see my grandson now continue the tradition.

Over the years, the park authorities have done a wonderful job with upgrades.

What stands out for me are the well-maintained fields for football, complete with lines!

The shaded area with bleachers is a thoughtful addition for those scorching summer days.

The basketball court and the walking trail add to the appeal of this park.

The cherry on the cake is its strategic location right off Shiloh, making it easily accessible.

One of the highlights of Holford Park is the 14th Annual Dog-A-Poolooza.

My dog, Spot, and I attended it for the first time last year and had a blast.

There were so many dogs, and it was such a fun experience under the sun.

The pool, in the shape of a backward L, is perfect for a cool dip.

They have a 3-foot section with built-in steps that make getting in and out easy, and the maximum depth is 6 feet.

There are also handrail ramps leading into the pool.

The park provides canopies for shade and a pretty decent-sized grass area for dogs to play in.

Spot and I are looking forward to making this an annual tradition.

No park visit is complete without some time on the playground.

The kids love it, and it gives us adults some time to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Holford Park truly caters to everyone in the family, to every age group, and even to pets!

It's a weekend getaway right in our city, and we couldn't be happier about it.

Wander around Downtown Garland

Road of the Historic Downtown District of Garland
Randy Colborn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Saturday morning finds me taking the well-worn path to the heart of my city - Downtown Garland.

Can't help but feel a sense of pride knowing that I'm part of a tight-knit community that bustles with life and energy right here in Garland.

The charm of Downtown Garland starts with the train station.

Although I've heard people saying that Dart Hampton station is cleaner, I've never had any complaints.

The Garland station is where I catch my morning train, people-watch, and sometimes even strike up an interesting conversation with a fellow commuter.

What I love the most is the town center.

It's always buzzing with activity, and the ongoing construction only adds to the anticipation of what's to come.

I enjoy the sights and sounds of the local farmers' market, with the friendly faces of vendors offering the freshest of produce.

The aroma of baked goods fills the air on my way to the bookstore, adding to the small-town charm of the place.

Sure, there are whispers about the county being dangerous, but I've lived here all my life and never felt unsafe.

In fact, the sense of community here in Downtown Garland is so strong that it's hard to feel anything but secure.

So, come rain or shine, I'll be here enjoying my little town, watching it grow and thrive, just like I have over the years.

Have a Picnic at Montgomery Park

Growing up in the neighborhood, Montgomery Park has always been a place of great joy.

It's where I learned to play soccer on its sprawling green field.

I remember the thrill of scoring my first goal as if it happened yesterday.

Today, the Park offers even more amenities with its recent additions.

Montgomery Park now boasts a brand-new playground that's perfect for the little ones.

The newly constructed restrooms are a great convenience, although they're occasionally locked, so you might need to plan your visit accordingly, especially if you're coming with small children.

The Park also features a small pavilion with four picnic tables, offering an ideal spot for a family meal amid nature.

What's more, the park is home to many mature trees, which provide a cooling respite from the Texas sun, making it a beautiful place to relax and unwind.

Do bring a blanket for a picnic or a book to read in the shade as you enjoy a pleasant day out.

Feed the Fowls at Anita C. Hill Park at Indian Lake

Every so often, I find myself retreating to my favorite local getaway - the serene Anita C. Hill Park at Indian Lake.

There's something utterly calming about the hushed stillness of this park.

Its quietude is rivaled only by its cleanliness, which I must commend.

The sight of ducks gracefully gliding across the pond while I relax is simply therapeutic.

Occasionally, I take a small bag of feed and watch as the ducks and geese flock around me.

It's almost like they recognize me now!

Anita C. Hill Park at Indian Lake, tucked away in our neighborhood, also has a few picnic tables and benches scattered around the pond's perimeter.

I often take leisurely strolls around the park, making pitstops now and then to simply sit and soak up the sunshine.

I've found it's a great place to gather my thoughts or delve into a good book.

Parking isn't much of a hassle either, as you can simply pull up along Merrimac.

It's these little facets that make the Anita C. Hill Park at Indian Lake truly special.

Not just a park but a little slice of paradise in our bustling city.

Let Your Kids Run Wild at Douglas Park

Once upon a bright Saturday morning, I decided to take a stroll in the delightful Douglas Park, a newly opened gem in our community.

It was the ideal place to unwind, equipped with a charming playground the local kids couldn't get enough of.

Even though it lacks restrooms, one could argue that it adds to the park's tranquil atmosphere and authentic community spirit.

The vast open spaces were a breath of fresh air, literally!

It felt like there was always an ample amount of room for everyone, with abundant potential for the park's future expansion.

The park might not be packed with countless amenities, but it does offer a serene environment to hang out or simply enjoy the beauty of nature.

Douglas Park never fails to be a clean, inviting place for everyone.

It's a testament to the community's commitment to keep the place sparkling clean.

Here's hoping that the park continues to maintain its cleanliness and charm, becoming a staple for our community in the years to come.

Cool Off at Embree Park

It was a wonderfully sunny afternoon when I decided to take my kids to the splash pad at Embree Park.

The park is known for its clean and immaculate lawns, which my children love to run around on.

I am always impressed by the park's cleanliness; you can tell the city of Garland does an excellent job keeping the area free of debris.

The kids absolutely adore the splash pad.

It seems to be the perfect size for them, not too big and intimidating and not too small to be boring.

They could spend hours on end there, just splashing around and enjoying the sun.

The water feature is one of our family's favorite amenities in the park, providing relief from the Texas heat.

One day, the playground equipment was too hot for the kids to play on, but that didn't deter us from having a fun day out.

We simply switched our focus to the beautiful walking trail that winds its way through the park.

It's a lovely spot for a leisurely walk or even a run if you're feeling energetic.

What really elevates Embree Park to the next level are the new restrooms.

They are very well-maintained and clean, which is a huge plus for any parent.

I appreciate Garland's effort in ensuring that these facilities are always in good condition.

Go Swimming at Windsurf Bay Park

Sometimes, the relentless Texas heat is just too much, and I need a place to cool off. For that, Windsurf Bay Park on Lake Ray Hubbard is my go-to spot.

There's something almost magical about the experience of being there on a weekday morning when the park is usually open.

The first time I took my dog there for a swim, I was enamored by the cleanliness and the expansive beach space.

There's plenty of spots for a refreshing swim or simply to relax by the water and enjoy the view.

The park isn't just for water lovers, though.

Equipped with sports courts, a picnic pavilion, and a BBQ grill, it's the perfect place for a family outing or a friendly match.

But for me, the best part has to be the playground.

Tucked away in the grassy area, it's a tiny wonderland for kids.

Plus, there's ample free parking and a walking path that's a little far from the lake, where you can listen to the calming sound of the waves.

However, there are a couple of things that could be improved.

The park is closed from 12pm on Friday until 6 am on Monday, which is a real shame because it's such a wonderful place to spend the weekend.

Also, there are no restrooms, which can be a bit of a challenge.

But despite these inconveniences, Windsurf Bay Park remains a beautiful escape from city life.

If the city of Garland were to make it accessible on weekends, I'd happily pay an entry fee, just like at Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake.

Exploring the Hidden Gem of Woodland Basin Nature Area

I often find myself drawn to the tranquil beauty of the Woodland Basin Nature Area, a local nature reserve that's just a stone's throw away from my home.

It's the perfect little hideaway for when I want to escape the city's hustle and bustle and connect with nature in all its raw and unfiltered glory.

My favorite pastime here? Fishing, hands down.

There's something about being under the bridge or nestled under the shelter of the trees, rod in hand, that's soothing to the soul.

It's like the world slows down, and for a moment, it's just me, the serene waters, and the occasional rustling of leaves.

But it's not just a haven for fishing enthusiasts either.

For those who enjoy a good paddle, you can set off on the water for a calm, flatwater paddling adventure.

Recently, I paddled up to Firewheel Parkway and back - a peaceful journey that's worth every stroke.

The only hiccup?

The lack of a dedicated canoe or kayak put-in.

It's something I hope the city will consider adding in the future to enhance the experience for paddling enthusiasts like me.

Located on the eastbound lane of Miller Road with a dedicated left turn lane from the westbound lane, Woodland Basin Nature Area is easily accessible.

Just look out for the sign that reads "Woodlands Basin Nature Preserve."

Final Thoughts

Garland, Texas, is a city that is brimming with charm, nature, and rich history.

Every park, every trail, every landmark in Garland offers a unique perspective of the city and its culture.

It's a city that celebrates its history, cherishes its natural beauty, and nurtures a warm, welcoming community.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.