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Best Things to do in Dallas, TX

by Pankaj Upreti
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Things to do in Dallas, TX

Dallas is a contemporary cosmopolitan city
Dallas | Photo Credit – Daxis

Dallas is a contemporary cosmopolitan city in the state of Texas in the United States of America. It is known for being the home of the largest art districts, top modern skyscrapers, and some of the best museums in the USA. Dallas, Texas will let you experience the saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas”. The fourth-largest metropolitan city in the USA, it is an economic and education hub with a bustling nightlife.

Visitors will have many options of dining places in this city. There are over 20,000 hotels here, so the accommodation crisis can never be a problem while visiting the city of the popular TV  show, Dallas. Located in the north-central area of Texas, Dallas is also home to the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. 

Moreover, the city is a shopping fanatic’s paradise as it has maximum shopping center’s per person in the United States.

All in all, Dallas is a wonderful place that will offer an immense and diverse set of attractions.

Before moving ahead, it is advised that the visitors must go through the city’s covid-19 pandemic guidelines and visit official websites of the places before making their travel itinerary. Click here to know about the official government’s pandemic updates of Dallas, Texas.

Here is the list of best places to visit and things to do in Dallas, Texas for all types of visitors. 

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden | Photo Credit – Sharon Hahn Darlin

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a botanical garden in East Dallas. It is a 66-acre land located on the south-eastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road.

It offers stunning views of the lake and the downtown skyline glistening the water. Don’t miss out on enjoying this tropical oasis during your visit.

The attractions of the park include the historic Spanish-style DeGolyer Home, an outdoor concert stage, picnic areas, and a set of kid-size replicas of dwellings and other structures depicting prairie life in the “Texas Pioneer Adventure”. There is also a gift shop, meeting room, gazebo, and a patio area overlooking White Rock Lake. The DeGolyer Garden Café overlooking White Rock Lake is a lovely place to enjoy some local cuisine.

There are 19 named gardens and a Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden here at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. These gardens are dedicated to various flora from around the continent. Like the Margaret, Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden is a 6.5-acre garden. It has over 2,000 varieties of azalea, tulip, and daffodil. It also hosts many popular annual events, educational programs, and live music shows for children and adults including Dallas Blooms.

Dallas Museum of Art-

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas Museum of Art | Photo Credit – Anthony G. Reyes

Located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, the Dallas Museum of Art is an art lover’s one of the favorite things to do in the city. With a 159,000 square feet exhibition space, it is attributed as one of the largest museums in the USA.

The museum has an impressive collection of over 24,000 objects, dating from the third millennium BC to the present day. The art displayed here covers African, American, Ancient Mediterranean, Asian, European, and Pacific Rim art forms. There is also a collection of 8000 artifacts dedicated to Decorative Arts and Design and a huge Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.

Visitors will be able to see works of artists like Monet, Cézanne, Rodin, Marie Pierre, and more. 

The museum also hosts many educational programs and offers guided tours. Events like Late Nights, Arts & Letters Live, etc. are hosted here once a month. Every week, Thursday evening live jazz concerts, dinner, and drinks are hosted in the cafe so that visitors can interact with artists at the Center for Creative Connections. This center includes the Art Studio, Tech Lab, Theater, and Arturo’s Nest. 

Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza | Photo Credit – Marco Becerra

At the West End district of downtown Dallas, Dealey Plaza is an urban city park. Attributed as “birthplace of Dallas”, it was the location of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the ill-fated day of November 22, 1963. The Dealey Plaza Historic District has many attractions. These attractions include the 6th Floor Museum, the Texas School Book Depository, the Grassy Knoll and Elm Street, the Reunion Tower, the Dallas Holocaust, and Human Rights Museum

 etc. The views of the Dealey Plaza have been unchanged over the years. Seeing the X that marks the spot where JFK was struck is always a moving experience for the visitors. Visiting Dealey Plaza is m just to capture the true essence of the city of Dallas.

Dallas World Aquarium

Dallas World Aquarium
Dallas World Aquarium | Photo Credit – oddharmonic

The Dallas World Aquarium is not just an aquarium but a zoo that starts at the canopy level of the rainforest and courses its way through different ecosystems to the aquarium below. Many replicas of natural habitats of different types of animals including exotic birds, mammals & fish can be seen here. The aquarium is open to the public for tours and hosting private events. 

It is located at the West end of the Historic District of downtown Dallas. The zoo and aquarium facilitate education around conservation by sheltering endangered and threatened animals as part of a cooperative breeding program. 

The upper level of Dallas World Aquarium is a recreation of Orinoco Forest. The rainforest has an aviary that is home to birds like scarlet ibis and toucans. Guests can see these birds flying freely here. Apart from that, the rainforest exhibit allows the visitors to see three-toed sloths and Antillean manatees. This is the only public display of said animals in the United States.

Other animals like electric eels, caecilians, tamarins, poison dart frogs, Orinoco crocodiles, and vampire bats. The lower level has an aquarium. The aquarium is home to fish, sea anemones, coral, jellyfish, and other sea animals from various regions. These regions are Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, British Columbia, the Bahamas, Fiji, Palau, Southern Australia, Lord Howe Island, and the Solomon Islands.

There is also a 40 ft. long tunnel that has continental shelf fish swimming around it. Displays of flamingos, Orinoco crocodiles, black-footed penguins, sharks, lionfish, xingu rays, etc. make this attraction one of the best things to do here.

Meadows Museum of Art

Meadows Art Museum | Photo Credit – Nathan Hughes Hamilton

The Meadows Museum in Dallas is the biggest museum housing Spanish art outside Spain. Located on the campus of Southern Methodist University, it operates as the university’s School of Arts. The collection includes works from the 10th to 21st century. Popular as “Prado on the Prairie”, it showcases the works of many renowned Spanish artists. Works of artists like El Greco, Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Miró, Sorolla, Dalí, and Picasso can be seen here. 

It also has exhibits featuring some of the renowned artists from North Texas. The artifacts here can make any art lover sigh. Housed in a neo-Palladian style of building, it also has a moving 40 by 90 ft. sculpture called Wave. 

Admission to the museum is free on Thursdays after 5.00 p.m. It also hosts many interactive events, talks, and programs. Information about these events can be found on their website.

Dallas Zoo

Home to over 9,000 animals, Dallas Zoo is the oldest and one of the largest zoos in Texas. Located on Oak Cliff, the zoo has a 97-acre area. The zoo has two sections- ZooNorth and Wilds of Africa. ZooNorth has exhibits of otters, Galapagos tortoises, monkeys, endangered reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, etc., a children’s zoo, and a wildlife amphitheater. There is also a Sumatran and Malayan tiger habitat.

The Wildlife of Africa has a penguin cove, chimpanzee forest, crocodile isle, and forest aviary. Here animals like Nile crocodiles, wattled cranes, rock hyraxes, klipspringers, meerkats, gorillas, hippopotamus, and okapi can be seen. It also has a nature trail coursing through different ecosystems of the rainforests, mountains, woodlands, rivers, deserts, and bush of Africa. Events like Safari nights, Halloween nights, etc. also take place here. 

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboy's Stadium
Cowboys Stadium | Photo Credit – Marco Becerra

In case you visit Dallas during match season, you’ll understand the hype that Dallas Cowboys enjoy in the city. And if you’re a sports lover, you already know it. The Dallas Cowboys is the famous football team of Dallas. It is a member of the National Football League. Catch a game of the Cowboys during your visit to the AT&T stadium for an exciting experience.

AT&T Stadium in Arlington is the home stadium of the Dallas Cowboys. It is just a short drive away from Dallas. There are also many dining places around the stadium where you can catch up on your hunger post the match or during the break. Visit the stadium’s website to know the schedule of matches here.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

One of the most popular things to do in Dallas by inquisitive minds is to visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It consists of two campuses: the primary campus located in Victory Park, and a secondary campus in Fair Park.

It has 11 permanent exhibits in 5 halls. The building of the museum is a cube over a water garden which gives the vibe of North Texas grassland. This state-of-the-art science attraction shall keep you busy with its interactive exhibits and displays. 

Perot Museum offers earthquake experience, music, and robot making experience, and even offers smelling of beeswax from Blackland Prairie. Visitors can also experience the whole city hereby enjoying its miniature Dallas exhibit.

Like any other natural science museum, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science also has dinosaur fossils and skeletons. It also has a paleo lab that showcases cutting-edge processes of dinosaur studies.

Sixth Floor Museum

Dallas: Sixth Floor Museum
Sixth Floor Museum | Photo Credit – Anthony G. Reyes

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles the assassination of American president John F Kenndy. Located on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building in downtown Dallas, it overlooks Dealey Plaza at the intersection of Elm and Houston Streets.

This is the same building from where Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at JFK. There is a lobby on the first floor that leads up to the museum on the sixth floor. You can also see the place from where Zapruder shot the famous Zapruder film.

It offers a moving experience to its visitors by showcasing historic films, photographs, artifacts, and interpretive displays. These features provide well-documented events of the assassination, the reports by government investigations that followed, and the historical legacy of the tragedy. 

Texas Theatre

It is a historical landmark in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. It is popular as the place where JFK’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested.

The theater has a chair three rows from the rear, five seats from the aisle with the words “Lee Harvey Oswald, November 22, 1963” painted on it. It is supposed to be the chair that Oswald briefly occupied.

Now it hosts a cinema and other special events. The cinema hosted here a mix of repertory cinema.

The Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park | Photo Credit – Daniel Lobo

Klyde Warren Park is a public park in Downtown Dallas. The park is over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway and has an area of 5.2-acre. It is just 2 mins walk away from the Dallas Museum of Art.

It is the heart of the central gathering space in Dallas. Klyde Warren Park features a big lawn and tree-lined pedestrian walkways, a restaurant, children’s park, botanical garden, reading room, dog park, performance pavilion, food trucks, and urban games area. 

Visit this urban oasis to enjoy some of the local cuisine and events in Dallas. A quick glance through the park’s website shall tell you which vendor is selling what here.

State Fair

In autumn, the Texas State Fair, a.k.a the Big Tex, is held at designated grounds southeast of downtown Dallas. It is one of the largest fairs in the country. Hosted at the Fair Park for 24 days from the last Friday of September, the State Fair is attended by over two million people each year. 

Like any other state fair, visit this fair to enjoy the local cuisines, fun rides, and the market of Texas. One of the most popular attractions here is the Texas Star, a Ferris wheel 65.8 meters tall, with 44 gondolas. 

Shakespeare Dallas

It is a Shakespeare festival in Dallas that was founded in 1971. The festival hosts productions and programs for all ages. It has a great cultural significance in North Texas. It has shown in various parks in the Dallas area (Shakespeare in the Park), as well as performances in local schools (Shakespeare on the Go).

Shakespear Dallas also ties up with cultural centers and co-produces with local theatre groups (Shakespeare Unplugged).

Rodeo

While in Texas, you can’t miss a good rodeo show. The Mesquite Championship Rodeo hosts rodeo shows in Dallas. It offers many show packages and tickets, hotel accommodation, and hosts many rodeo events around the year. You can check out their official calendar to make reservations here.

Shop

Galleria Mall in Dallas
Galleria Mall in Dallas | Photo Credit – Jerome Strauss

As stated above, shopping is one of the biggest things in Dallas. It is home to the second shopping center built in the USA. Moreover, Neiman Marcus was founded in Dallas. The downtown Dallas flagship store remains a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. 

Many people come from all over the country to shop in Dallas’ exclusive shops, including shopping malls, main street stores and boutiques, craft shows, antique shops, and estate sales. The city also hosts many yard sales, flea markets, farm stands, and farmers’ markets.

Shopping malls popular among visitors and residents include the Galleria in North Dallas, NorthPark Mall, and the West Village in Uptown and some amazing malls in Frisco. These shopping malls have everything that a good shopping mall should have.

The popular second book service called Half-Price Books’ headquarters are also in Dallas.

Eat

Dining places in Dallas are concentrated on Beltline Road, Greenville Avenue, Knox and Henderson streets, McKinney Avenue, and West End. Main Street in Downtown Dallas has some of the best restaurants like the City Tavern, Mexican Cuquita’s Restaurant, and the award-winning Dragonfly. Click here to find the menu of the best places to eat in Dallas.

Also, read about top things to do in Texas.


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