Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Irving, TX

  • Published 2022/11/26

Known for its racial diversity, Irving is one of the top 100 most populated cities in the U.S., with a population of 239,798 in 2019.

The city got its name from author Washington Irving but was first known as Orbit in 1889.

Perched in Dallas County, Irving was established in 1903 and incorporated in 1914.

Irving, a part of the Dallas and Fort Worth Complex, is well-known for housing 8,500 businesses and serving as the head offices of five Fortune 500 corporations.

Today, Irving is a bustling city with many exciting things to see and do, as it is home to parks, museums, and more.

If you want to go on a fun vacation but are on a budget, you can check out these 15 free things to do in Irving, Texas.

Stroll along Mandalay Canal and Admire the Serene Surroundings

The waters of Mandalay Canal

Trong Nguyen /

No trip to Irving is complete without checking out the Mandalay Canal in Las Colinas.

As you walk along the canal, you will be amazed at the calming effect of the water, along with the beauty of the tree-lined banks and the various bridges.

Continue exploring Mandalay Canal until you arrive at Glatter Falls, where you can take some snaps with the falls as your background.

Glatter falls bridge over Mandalay Canal

Trong Nguyen /

There are also several restaurants, shops, and other businesses surrounding Mandalay Canal, so you can always go window shopping while enjoying your stroll.

You can relax, exercise, or soak up picturesque surroundings, as the Mandalay Canal is the perfect place to spend a warm, sunny day.

Paved trail of Mandalay Canal walk

Trong Nguyen /

Marvel at the Beauty of the Las Colinas Flower Clock

One of the many attractions in Las Colinas is the beautiful and intricately designed Las Colinas Flower Clock.

Located in the gorgeous Las Colinas Urban Center, the Las Colinas Flower Clock is a sight to behold.

Constructed in 1981, the clock comprises various plant species, including meticulously maintained flowers, which are replaced four times a year.

Given that there are only 14 inches of space between the clock’s face and its enormous hands, any flower or foliage planted beneath them must be of the small type.

The clock is illuminated at night and is different from the traditional clock.

If you are in Las Colinas, take advantage of this unique attraction that is a must-see for all visitors.

Take in Stunning Sights at the Dallas Forthworth Founders’ Plaza Observation Area

Who would have thought that plane watching could be fun and relaxing?

The Founders’ Plaza Observation Area at the Dallas Forthworth International Airport gives you an up close and personal look at airplanes when you visit this free attraction.

Easily accessible by train, you can head to Founders’ Plaza Observation Area anytime to see all types of airplanes take off and land.

Located at Northern Airfield Drive, Founders’ Plaza Observation Area lets visitors use available telescopes and listen to radio broadcasts from the FAA tower.

Founders’ Plaza Observation Area is also near entertainment areas and local attractions.

Whether you love watching planes or not, this is a great venue to visit if you want amazing views of the runways that you won’t find anywhere else!

Admire the Intricacies of the Mustangs of Las Colinas

Close view of the Mustangs of Las Colinas

psongm01 /

The Mustangs of Las Colinas took creator Robert Glen eight years to complete.

Located in the gorgeous pink wonder of a plaza, Williams Square, the Mustangs of Las Colinas features an incredibly lifelike bronze sculpture of nine wild mustangs racing over a creek.

Travelers from all over the world visit the Las Colinas Urban Center plaza to see the spectacular, larger-than-life imagesthe plaza’s focal point.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas from afar

Marina Blanco-Pape /

Take photos of the magnificent bronze statues and enjoy the perfect resting spot while admiring one of the region’s most creative public art pieces.

Installed in 1984, the Mustangs of Las Colinas was a tribute to the wild mustangs that once lived in Texas, and the attraction is a National Honor Awardee.

If you’re curious about the mustangs, you can visit the nearby Mustangs of Las Colinas Museum.

Be One with Nature at Bird’s Fort Trail Park

The 58-acre Bird’s Fort Trail Park is one of the many parks and trails in Irving that’s ideal for strolling, jogging, biking, or escaping from the stress of daily life.

Located on Vilbig Street, Bird’s Fort Trail Park offers various relaxing activities.

You can walk along the stream or the trail for exercise or immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings.

Have a delicious picnic at Bird’s Fort Trail Park picnic areas.

There are also many native plants and trees here, making it perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors.

Go to the Campion Trail Monument and take your picture before going for a hike.

You can also enjoy the peaceful views of River Overlook.

Learn a New Skill at the Lively Pointe Skate Park

Lively Pointe Skate Park is one of the most popular spots in the city for anyone who loves to skate or bike.

It’s a great place to learn and practice new skills, as it has many ramps and other features to challenge even the most experienced skater or biker.

The park features 20,000 square feet of skating haven with stairs, an amoeba bowl, handrails, and more.

Lively Pointe Skate Park is also accessible at night.

Drinking fountains and benches are also available at the park.

Check Out the Galleries and Exhibits at Irving Arts Center

Exterior of the Irving Arts Center

Photo: Andreas Praefcke, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are into arts, you can explore the four galleries of the Irving Arts Center, which are accessible to the public.

The 10-acre Arts Center on MacArthur Boulevard is a Smithsonian affiliate and was opened in the 1990s, hosting more than 200 performances and over 25 exhibits.

As a member of the Smithsonian Institution, the Irving Arts Center usually features traveling exhibits showcasing the works of budding and established artists.

Sculpture on the grounds of Irving Arts Center

Photo: Andreas Praefcke, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the sculpture garden and see some of the permanent installations, such as Star Flower, created by James Surls, a famous sculptor.

Aside from galleries, the Arts Center also boasts ballroom facilities, meeting rooms, and theaters.

Interior of the Irving Arts Center

Photo: Andreas Praefcke, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the Irving Heritage House

Constructed in 1912, the Irving Heritage House is where you can go to catch a glimpse of what life was like over 100 years ago.

The Heritage House has been around since 1912 and was initially built as a private house for the Schulze family, who lived in Irving and found many different artifacts and memorabilia representing the families there.

Marvel at the early 1900s decorations as you stroll around the house and examine the furniture, such as an old spinning wheel.

Other Irving families living in the city have also donated their antiques belonging to the Heritage House, giving you a complete picture of the early 1900s.

The Heritage House also has a beautiful outdoor garden where you can explore and take pictures.

Explore Mary’s Playhouse, a fully restored playhouse of the former owner’s daughter, and learn more about Victorian life through the different toys preserved there.

You can tour the Irving Heritage House for free every first Sunday of each month, starting March to December.

Go Hiking or Biking at the Campion Trail

Wide and paved, the Campion Trail is one of Irving’s best spots for hiking and biking, as it has many scenic views and beautiful natural surroundings.

The trail is near the Trinity River, and the 22-mile trail links the West Fork and Elm Fork streams.

The Elm Fork segment, located to the north, stretches for 7.5 miles along several waterfront parks, while the West Fork portion is closer to the station and travels from Trinity View Park for about 10 miles to the Lone Star racetrack.

Campion Trail’s newly constructed pavement is wide and flat, and the surroundings are unexpectedly verdant and well-kept.

Read Books at South Irving Public Library

Exterior of the South Irving Public Library

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

For a chill afternoon, you can head to the South Irving Public Library, one of the many public libraries in Irving that has free entry for all patrons.

With its large selection of books and other reading materials, the South Irving Library is a great place to find new reads.

You can also browse through its collection of CDs and DVDs and other resources like e-books that can be accessed through its website.

The South Irving Public Library has different programs and services for different age groups that can help you improve your reading, writing, and other skills.

The library also has programs for kids of different age groups, such as Storytime and Discovery Zone for children five years old and below.

Discover the Charms of the Oldest Water Tower in Irving at Heritage Park

If you’re looking for old and yet charming attractions in Irving, you shouldn’t miss out on Heritage Park, located in the center of the Irving Heritage District.

This historic park and museum feature the oldest water tower in Irving that was once part of the original municipal water system.

The Heritage Park has been transformed into a living monument to Irving’s early history.

Visitors can explore different historical buildings, such as the Antique Caboose and the Settlers pr Caster Cabin, which has existed since 1887.

Examine the replica of the Rock Island Depot that was built as early as 1903.

Heritage Park also features a picnic table where you can rest after exploring the antique buildings.

Explore the Many Amenities of the Trinity River Mountain Creek Preserve

Trinity River Mountain Creek Preserve is known to be the most scenic spot in Irving.

It is famous for its walking and hiking trails that pass through several scenic ponds and streams.

The Trinity River Mountain Creek Preserve measures almost 63 acres and features a playground for your little ones.

You can also access the four-mile portion of the well-loved Campion Trail System from the preserve.

A Cricket Pitch Field and Half Basketball Court are also available.

If lucky, you can watch equestrians practicing, as the preserve also features paved trails perfect for horseback riding.

Whether you’re looking for a great place to hike or for some peace and quiet time, the Trinity River Mountain Creek Preserve is one of the best in Irving.

Find out How Irving Celebrated Its First 100 Years at the Centennial Park

A building facing the waters at Centennial Park

RaulCano /

Walk through the gorgeous tree-lined path in Centennial Park and discover the city’s rich history.

This outdoor space on 2nd Street was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Irving in 2003.

You can wander around Delaware Creek and watch ducks as they swim around the beautiful pond.

If that’s not enough to entice you, you can go to the history pavilion and learn more about Irving’s history and how the city came to be.

Remember to take a picture of the statues of the founders of Irving, which are commemorated in the park.

Step Back in Time as You Stroll around Irving Heritage District

Irving Heritage District has plenty of turn-of-the-century buildings where you can take a step back in time and explore the city’s rich history.

The Irving Heritage District features many museums and sites perfect for history buffs, including the Heritage House, Heritage Park, Century Park, and other local landmarks.

Explore the Heritage House and Mary’s Playhouse to get to know some of the first people who lived in the city.

The district also has a sprawling parkland featuring restaurants and diners sporting their original facade and interiors.

You can also go to the Irving Heritage District to attend events such as the concert series by Whistlestop Plaza or the Irving Main Street Event.

Aside from the historical buildings, you can stop at the parks and take photos.

Enjoy Outdoor Fun at Thomas Jefferson Park

Thomas Jefferson Park is one of Irving’s most popular parks for its green spaces, playgrounds, and trails.

The playground features all the classic play equipment kids love, including swingsets, monkey bars, and slides.

If you’re looking for something more serene, you can go to the park’s pond and watch the ducks and other wildlife as they swim around in its waters.

You can also play basketball with your kids at the basketball courts or stroll along one of the park’s many trails.

Head to Thomas Jefferson Park today for a fun-filled day of outdoor activities in Irving!

Final Thoughts

There are many unique and free things to do in Irving.

With so many options, there is undoubtedly something for everyone in the beautiful city.

Whether you’re looking for fun and relaxation or a way to improve your skills and knowledge, plenty of activities can satisfy your needs.

Start exploring by trying out these free things to do in Irving, Texas!

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