Wondering what activities and attractions you can’t miss in the “Big D”? Our guide to the best things to do in Dallas is everything you need!
Dallas, aka the Triple D, is a fascinating city to be a traveler. It’s a big city that’s a smaller blip on the tourist radar.
Because of this, the best things to do in Dallas are loved by locals as much as travelers and there are no tourist traps in sight.
Dallas may not have a reputation as a cosmopolitan city, but this is only because the world has been slow on the uptake.
It has the largest arts district in the country, splendid dining and nightlife (did you know they invented frozen margaritas?!) and several distinct neighborhoods that provide fresh and fun takes on what it’s like to live in Dallas.
There are plenty of tourist attractions to suit anyone. Visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Sixth Floor Museum, Bush Presidential Library, or Historic District to learn. Visit the Botanical Garden or the Texas Discovery Gardens to spend time in nature.
See wildlife at the Dallas World Aquarium, eat at food trucks in Klyde Warren Park, or be amazed at the Nasher Sculpture Center.
There are so many varied and fun things to do in Dallas, so get ready for an exciting and jam-packed visit.
Table of Contents
- 21 Best Things to do in Dallas Texas
- 1) The Dallas Arts District
- 2) Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza
- 3) Klyde Warren Park
- 4) Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
- 5) AT&T Stadium
- 6) African American Museum
- 7) Perot Museum of Nature and Science
- 8) Sundance Square
- 9) Dallas Museum of Art
- 10) Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District
- 11) Dallas Heritage Village
- 12) Reunion Tower
- 13) Nasher Sculpture Center
- 14) Texas Discovery Gardens
- 15) Dallas Zoo
- 16) George W. Bush Presidential Library
- 17) The Texas State Fair
- 18) Dallas World Aquarium
- 19) Highland Park Village
- 20) White Rock Lake
- 21) Dallas Farmers Market
- Where to Stay in Dallas, Texas
21 Best Things to do in Dallas Texas
From an expansive arts district and historic villages to urban parks and family fun, you won’t have to spend long pondering the question of what to do in Dallas.
To save money on some of the best attractions in downtown Dallas, consider getting the CityPASS.
Purchasing the pass will save you up to 49% on some of the top things to do in Dallas. If you plan on visiting any of the following attractions, it’s worth getting the pass for the discounted prices!
The included attractions are:
- Perot Museum of Nature and Science
- Reunion Tower GeO-Deck
- Dallas Zoo
- George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
- Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
1) The Dallas Arts District
Spanning 20 blocks, the Dallas Arts District stands firmly at the top of our list of things to do in Dallas.
It’s the largest district of its kind in the United States, featuring some of the top art museums in Texas, such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Crow Museum of Asian Art.
However, it’s not just the galleries that will capture your attention. You can explore the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, spend the night at the opera, and check out the beautiful Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin Guadalupe, built in 1902.
But the Dallas Arts District isn’t the only one in town. The Bishop Arts District may exist on a smaller scale, but its endearing charm, community events, and boutiques are great complements to its many galleries.
2) Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza
Once the Texas School Book Depository, this building took on a whole new reputation after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was here, on the sixth floor, that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK on the 22nd of November, 1963.
Set in Dealey Plaza, the depository is now the home of the Sixth Floor Museum. The insightful space guides you through the events leading up to the tragic day before leading you to the spot the trigger was pulled.
The last part of the Sixth Floor Museum takes you on a journey into the hours and days after his death, the collective emotion of the Dallas community, the US and the world. While you can explore by yourself, you can join a guided tour here.
To complete the experience, take a short walk to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza after visiting the Sixth Floor Museum.
- Address: 411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202
- Hours: 10 am-5 pm (Wed-Sun)
- Price: $18
Exploring more of Texas? Check out this list of the best things to do in Austin!
3) Klyde Warren Park
Dallas has some great parks spread across the inner city. These are loved by locals and travelers will find them to be the perfect escape from the bustle of downtown Dallas. Perhaps the best example of this is Klyde Warren Park.
Set between downtown and the Dallas Arts District, Klyde Warren Park is a veritable urban oasis that’s been carefully designed to create a resplendent space for locals and visitors to enjoy.
If you arrive in the morning, you’ll see hordes of city residents enjoying an early jog, taking part in free classes, like yoga or sipping on their coffees.
Soon food trucks arrive on the scene, adding aromatic scents to the air along with tasty eats to satisfy your lunch and dinner cravings. You’ll also find picnic areas along with regular outdoor events like film nights.
A relaxing stroll or picnic here is one of the best things to do in Dallas Texas.
4) Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
With a worldwide reputation and opulent scenery, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is one of the top Dallas attractions.
You’ll find the 66-acre space just out of downtown and just like Klyde Warren Park, it’s an ideal place to re-center, albeit with some incredible color.
The arboretum boasts over a dozen specific gardens, ensuring a wide range of prismatic displays throughout the year. A highlight is the Margaret Elizabeth Jonsson Color Garden which features over 2,000 colorful azaleas alongside daffodils and tulips.
While there’s never a bad time to go, if you arrive between February and the middle of April, you’ll be able to experience the gorgeous Dallas Blooms festival.
Visit the website to see what exhibits or events are on during your visit to Dallas Texas.
- Address: 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218
- Hours: 9 am-5 pm (Mon-Sun)
- Price: $20
5) AT&T Stadium
AT&T Stadium, the home of America’s Team aka the Dallas Cowboys, is one of the best stadiums to watch an NFL game.
If you’re a big Dallas Cowboys fan, then watching them on the field and on the massive jumbotron is a thrill. For everyone else, well, who doesn’t like to see the Dallas Cowboys lose?
The massive stadium can seat up to 80,000 screaming fans, making it the fourth-largest stadium in the National Football League. The jumbotron, however, is the real record-breaking, being the largest in the world at the time of construction. Everything really is bigger in Texas.
If you can’t make it to a game (Dallas Cowboys play between September and January) then check out a stadium tour. Go behind the scenes, see the press boxes and learn about the stadium’s history.
6) African American Museum
The African American Museum in Dallas first opened in Fair Park in 1974, yet its story begins in 1936 at the Texas Centennial Exposition. The fair featured what’s believed to be the first public recognition of African American culture and life in such a setting.
Forty years later, the exposition building made way for this museum to showcase African American life in Texas and around the United States.
The museum’s repository is vast and features historic artifacts, art, manuscripts and documents that dive into the culture in amazing depth.
Visitors can sign up for a guided tour on the website (we recommend it!) which will allow you to experience the African American Museum in greater detail.
- Address: 3536 Grand Ave, Fair Park, Dallas, TX 75210
- Hours: 11am-5pm (Tue-Fri) 10am-5pm (Sat)
- Price: Free
7) Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Set in the Arts District, visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is one of the best things to do in Dallas with kids. But hey, if you’re as curious as me, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the fun.
As you approach the museum, you’ll note its rather unique design. But it’s more than just a pretty face with the building making use of recycled materials and is able to recapture condensation.
After walking inside, you’ll be able to choose between several exciting sections to begin. These include an exploration of evolution, engineering and the earth.
After exploring all 11 halls across the five floors, let the kids run wild on the playground or gather in front of the 3D cinema screen.
- Address: 2201 N Field St, Dallas, TX 75201
- Hours: 10am-5pm (Mon, Wed-Sat) 11am-5pm (Sun)
- Price: $20
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8) Sundance Square
A direct shot, 30 minutes west of Dallas, is Fort Worth. Such is the distance it’s easy to get from one to the other, with several major attractions like AT&T Stadium set in between.
But one highlight of Fort Worth is Sundance Square and one that is immediately worth the brief drive.
Covering 35 city blocks, Sundance Square is at the heart of downtown Fort Worth and has rows of gorgeous architecture and old brick roads that would make even the sternest traveler blush.
The district is set around the old Tarrant County Courthouse. By day, it’s a delight to explore by foot thanks to the leafy trees that add even more color to the delightful town. When the sun’s up, you can enjoy some retail therapy and the Water Gardens.
It’s at night though that the real fun happens. Wander the charming streets to find endearing theaters, comedy clubs and reverent nightlife. For a fun night out, venturing to this corner of Fort Worth could be considered one of the best things to do in Dallas.
9) Dallas Museum of Art
At the center of the Dallas Arts District is the Dallas Museum of Art. Otherwise known as DMA, this gallery is the preeminent art museum in the city with pieces dating as far back as the 3rd century.
Featuring a collection of over 24,000 paintings, sculptures, scripts and photographs, the Dallas Museum of Art is as historic as it is creative. But it’s not just the artwork that’s captivating, the building that holds it all is an award-winning piece of architecture.
After admiring the exterior grounds, wander inside to take an art journey around the world. Featuring stops in Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe, it’s an exciting way to get your art fix.
Complement your time at DMA with a visit to its expansive library featuring thousands of historic texts. This is another one of the best things to see in Dallas Texas.
- Address: 1717 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201
- Hours: 11am-5pm (Sat-Thur) 11am-9pm (Fri)
- Price: Free (reserved ticket required)
10) Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District
You visited Fort Worth once to experience Sundance Square, but why not check out the sequel that may just top the original?
The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is uniquely memorable thanks to the daily events of Exchange Avenue.
It’s here at 4 pm that you can watch 21st-century cowboys lead their giant longhorns down the old street. Complement this experience with a visit to the Livestock Exchange.
Now a museum, the Exchange was once the center of Texas’ cattle auctions. But instead of buying a bull, you can learn all about ranching in the state of Texas.
But just like Sundance Square, the Stockyards come to life at night with some of the most vibrant nightlife in both Dallas and Fort Worth. Get your cowboy (or cowgirl) on at Billy Bob’s Texas, the largest honky-tonk on earth. Yeehaw!
Don’t have a car? Book a small group day tour from Dallas to Fort Worth where a local guide will take you to all the highlights.
11) Dallas Heritage Village
When you go to museums, it’s a great opportunity to learn about the past. But rarely do we get the chance to live our history and you can do just that at the Dallas Heritage Village.
Packed with 19th-century Victorian-era architecture and the homes of pioneers, the village is a captivating look at Dallas’ early days.
You’ll find the village in Old City Park and it’s remained largely untouched over the last 100-plus years. Here, you can explore old schools, churches, saloons and businesses that help showcase just what life with list here in the second half of the 19th century. And who doesn’t love period actors?
- Address: 1515 S Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75215
- Hours: 10am-4pm (Thur-Sun) and 6pm-9pm (Thur)
- Price: $10
12) Reunion Tower
Now that you’ve seen some of Dallas from the ground level, why not see what it’s like from above? You may have caught a glimpse on the flight in, but nothing compares to the views you can see from the top of the Reunion Tower.
The striking Reunion Tower has been nicknamed the Ball thanks to its unique design that features four prongs that hold up a sparkling ball. The geodesic dome has almost 260 LED lights and draws your attention wherever you may be in downtown Dallas.
The tower is 561 feet tall and on the ride to the top, you’ll enjoy a glass elevator providing ever-improving views on the 70-second journey.
On arrival, you can take in the panoramic views while learning how the Dallas skyline has changed through the years.
- Address: 300 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX 75207
- Hours: 2.30pm-9pm (Mon-Thur) 1.30pm-9.30pm (Fri-Sun)
- Price: $19
13) Nasher Sculpture Center
Another must-see gallery in the Arts District is the Nasher Sculpture Center. It’s one of the best Dallas attractions as it harbors one of the most complete collections of 20th-century sculptures in the United States.
The Nasher Sculpture Center was developed with one goal in mind: to create a distinct gallery experience. It’s delivered on this thanks to both to the art and the intriguing architecture that houses it.
Visitors will be able to enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces that flow seamlessly into the interior that boasts floor-to-ceiling windows. The views complement the sculptures to create an atmosphere almost as lovely as the art itself.
The Nasher Sculpture Center is one of the best art museums in Dallas.
- Address: 2001 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201
- Hours: 11 am-5 pm (Wed-Sun)
- Price: $10
14) Texas Discovery Gardens
If you’re planning on visiting the African American Museum, there’s another attraction set within Fair Park that you’d do well to check out. The Texas Discovery Gardens is a botanical garden with an adventurous twist making it one of the most fun things to do in Dallas Texas.
Spanning almost 8 acres, the gardens feature native plants and flora from across the globe that suit the intricate North Texas climate. It all combines to help provide a living environment for birds and butterflies. The latter being the star of the show.
There is a Native Butterfly Habitat and the Sammons Butterfly House that provide a thrilling experience alongside themed gardens, an insectarium and a snake exhibit.
For families with kids, and nature lovers, a visit to the Butterfly House and the rest of the attractions at Texas Discovery Gardens is a must when exploring downtown Dallas.
- Address: 3601 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Fair Park, Dallas, TX 75210
- Hours: 10 am -5 pm (Wed-Sun)
- Price: $10
Interested in more gems of the American south? Check out this list of the best things to do in New Orleans.
15) Dallas Zoo
Speaking of animals, to experience wildlife in Dallas, depart the Discovery Gardens and make your way to the Dallas Zoo. You’ll find the zoo near the Trinity River and provides young and old with a range of exciting habitats and up-close experiences.
The Dallas Zoo is over 100 acres and is home to 2000 animals from more than 400 species. Since 1888, it’s been thrilling visitors with its vast assortment of wildlife with a strong focus on African wildlife.
The zoo’s chief attraction is the incredible Giants of the Savanna which features lions, cheetahs, giraffes, elephants and more. Take the leisurely monorail to see the space and the rest of the zoo.
Visit the Dallas Zoo website for more info about the animals and exhibits available.
- Address: 650 S R L Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75203
- Hours: 9 am-5 pm (Mon-Sun)
- Price: $19
16) George W. Bush Presidential Library
Although George W. Bush was born in Connecticut, he was raised here in Texas. So it’s fitting that the George W. Bush Presidential Library is set right here in Dallas.
If you’ve visited a presidential library before, then you’ll know what to expect. It’s an insightful trip back to Bush’s presidency, his life on the campaign trail along with his childhood.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the library is the full-scale replica of the Oval Office set exactly as it was when George W. Bush was in power. The space is also home to the Texas Rose Garden and the spacious Freedom Hall.
- Address: 2943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75205
- Hours: 9am-5pm (Mon-Sat) 12pm-5pm (Sun)
- Price: $26
17) The Texas State Fair
The Texas Centennial Exposition may have been decades ago, but you can still get into the communal spirit at the Texas State Fair.
Set in Fair Park, the Texas State Park lives up to the Texan reputation. Yes, it’s large, over the top, and downright awesome. Plus, it lasts for 24 days. Now that’s a fair experience I can get behind.
If you’re in Dallas during September and October, you’ll likely be able to visit the Texas State Fair. Ticket prices vary based on how many days you plan on attending, and you can find all that info on the official website.
You and around 2 million other people who have come to admire famous Big Tex while celebrating everything in Texas from agriculture to community. But don’t worry, there are a ton of rides, carnival games, live shows and cholesterol-spiking food to enjoy.
If you’re in town at the right time, don’t miss this! It is absolutely one of the best things to do in Dallas Texas.
18) Dallas World Aquarium
Rounding out our look into the top things to do in Dallas for the young ones is the Dallas World Aquarium. It’s placed within walking distance of downtown and harbors a great mix of marine life and hands-on fun. Plus, there’s a rainforest.
There are several parts to the aquarium broken up into real-world habitats. You’ll find ocelots, flamingos and owls mingling alongside angelfish. Then there’s the area for the black-footed penguins and tanks for clownfish, spider crabs and colorful anemones.
However, it’s the rainforest that will most capture your attention. It’s a replica of the Orinoco Rainforest and houses frogs, toucans, turtles, monkeys and otters.
This is easily one of the best things to do in Dallas Texas, especially for animal lovers.
- Address: 1801 N Griffin St, Dallas, TX 75202
- Hours: 8:30 am- 4:30 pm (Mon-Sun)
- Price: $26.95
19) Highland Park Village
For anyone who loves some endless browsing, then I know the place in Dallas for you. Highland Park Village may boast some historic architecture, but let’s get one thing straight: the village is all about shopping.
The wider shopping center features beautiful Mexican and Spanish building designs. But behind the walls are upscale boutiques and famous brands such as Chanel, Dior and Fendi.
After indulging in some fun retail therapy, you can relax at the Village Theater. It was Texas’ original luxury theater and today shows the latest flicks in an elegant setting.
No Dallas sightseeing adventure is complete without at least browsing through Highland Park Village.
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20) White Rock Lake
The Dallas Arboretum is set on the banks of White Rock Lake. For some outdoor adventures not too far from downtown Dallas, visiting White Rock Lake is one of the best things to do in Dallas.
Travelers should bring their hiking boots for exploring the 10-plus miles of hiking trails that meander around White Rock Lake and the wider park. Along the way, you’ll find some great views, along with excellent birding.
The lake itself spans 1,000 acres, and for those who get out on the water, you can enjoy some beautiful paddling, some light sailing and even a spot of fishing.
21) Dallas Farmers Market
Another one of the best things to do in Dallas is to enjoy the local culture at the Dallas Farmers Market.
Set in downtown Dallas, the market is at the heart of a district packed with produce stores and boutique shops. The Dallas Farmers Market is over a hundred years old and has been slinging farm-to-table goods since day one.
Travelers will be able to enjoy the atmosphere while perusing the endless stores of fruit, veg, meat and flowers. View the full list of local vendors here.
The market is spread across four large sheds, a far cry from the humble beginnings which saw produce sold directly from the farmer’s wagons. This keeps all the types of produce separate, making it easy to load up the picnic basket for a date at any of Dallas’ top parks.
Where to Stay in Dallas, Texas
Now that you know the best things to do in Dallas Texas, let’s check out the city’s best accommodations.
There are some great options all over the sprawling city, but we’ll focus on places with downtown locations as they are closer to all the best things to do in Dallas.
Best Hostel in Dallas: Deep Ellum Hostel
Set within one of the coolest neighborhoods in Dallas, the Deep Ellum Hostel ticks all the boxes. Be surrounded by great nightlife while making the most of your modern hostel amenities and artsy communal areas.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Dallas: Hampton Inn & Suites
Take in all the highlights of downtown Dallas with a stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites. Each room with cable TV, and coffee-making facilities and the hotel boasts a restaurant, pool and fitness center.
You’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing stay so you have the energy for exploring all the best things to do in Dallas.
Best Luxury Hotel in Dallas: Hotel Crescent Court
Want to treat yourself on your travels to Dallas? Then check in to the Hotel Crescent Court. You’ll fall in love as soon as you enter the courtyard and adjacent lobby before enjoying your opulent room and the French doors that open to your private balcony.
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