Looking for great things to do in Dallas? From museums and rodeos to barbecue and football, here’s what to enjoy in the Big D.
Place To Visit In Dallas
We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the best things in Dallas, also known as the Big D…with good reason. The ballooning metropolis is filled with abundant wells,
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. When it comes to sports, tickets to a Dallas Cowboys game at AT&TS Stadium are a must, although the Dallas Mavs (basketball) and Dallas Stars (ice hockey) are also worth cheering on over a cheesy Frito pie. The art scene isn’t too shabby either. In fact, Dallas has an entire Arts District downtown, filled with fine art museums, performing arts venues, and outdoor sculpture pieces. Arriving on an empty stomach? You have come to the right place. Dallas’ restaurant scene includes everything from uptown glamor (think: afternoon teas, sexy rooftop bars and elevated Southern kitchens) to sauce-all-over-your-face barbecue and Tex-Mex. Disclaimer: Portions are always bigger than you think, so order accordingly.
Whatever your taste, there really is something for everyone. So come to our feast of the best things to do in Dallas right now.
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The sixth floor museum chronicles JFK’s life and assassination from a historical, social and cultural perspective. Look through more than 90,000 pieces of art and stand in front of the exact window where Lee Harvey Oswald fired his rifle. Then, a few blocks away, John F. Head to Grassy Knoll to see the “X” in the middle of the street where JFK was fatally shot before heading to the Kennedy Memorial Plaza.
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. This skyline icon is more than just a beautiful observatory, however—participate in permanent and seasonal activities on deck like yoga, painting, and a revolving restaurant and bar. Looking for the ultimate romance? Lovers can also book a “Love is in the Air” proposal package so they can pop the question with bubbles in a private section.
There are sports stadiums, and then there are sports spaceships — the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium is arguably the second. Nicknamed ‘Jerry’s World’ after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, this incredible $1.15-billion gridiron cathedral seats 100,000 fans and has won multiple awards for its innovative design. Hop on a VIP guided tour and you’ll get behind-the-scenes access to everything from the press box to the Cowboys’ locker room.
This 66-acre botanical garden is one of the top botanical gardens in the world, offering the Southwest’s largest flower festival, Artscape (arts and crafts show), and jaw-dropping nature shows like Pumpkin and Christmas. Exhibitions in autumn and winter. Wander along
There are plenty of top barbecue joints in town, but locals keep coming back to the award-winning Pecan Lodge. The smoked food at this restaurant in the hip Deep Ellum neighborhood is out of this world (as evidenced by the lines out the door, around the corner, and into the parking lot). The handmade jalapeño sausages, ribs and beef brisket are particularly excellent, while the “Hot Mess” (sea salt-crusted sweet potato barbacoa and topped with chipotle cream) is even better.
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Pop your rodeo cherry in Fort Worth at the Stockyards Championship Rodeo. Held in the historic 1908 Cowtown Coliseum, it was the site of the world’s first indoor rodeo. Even today, it hosts various shows featuring the best cowboys and cowgirls in town. Make friends with the gregarious Texans while you’re there and hit Refinery 714 on Main Street for the after party.
Dallas has the largest urban arts district in America: a 118-acre sprawl lined with museums, restaurants and theaters. Get your bearings of the Arts District on a scavenger hunt or walking tour before deciding where to invest your time. Highlights include the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Crowe Museum of Asian Art, and the AT&T Performing Arts Center, a multi-venue music and theater complex centered around the drum-shaped Winspear Opera House.
Dallas has more than just pickup trucks—jump on the city trolley, which runs up and down lively McKinney Avenue in Uptown and the downtown Arts District. Established in 1983, it normally operates 365 days a year and is free of charge. Hop on and off as you sample the best pubs in town (a particular highlight is the Standard Pour, known for its barrel-aged cocktails), or hop into Clyde Warren Park or the Dallas Museum of Art to see what downtown has to offer.
The long, narrow Clyde Warren Park on the Woodall Rogers Freeway opened in late 2012 and has since become one of Dallas’ most popular destinations. This 5.2-acre park brings together the city’s uptown and downtown arts districts. You’ll find a popular playground, a stage that hosts live concerts, and food trucks on one side of the park. Throw in dozens of free daily activities (think table tennis, badminton, chess, ice-skating, concerts and yoga) and it’s easy to see why Clyde Warren Park is a worthy stop on any visit.
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Locals love both types of music in Dallas: country and western. The best way to enjoy both? Through two steps, naturally. With six bars, karaoke, a pool room and a large dance floor, put on your cowboy boots and get ready to boogie at the Round Up Saloon. This glitzy gay bar and dance hall offers popular line-dancing lessons every night of the week, so get ready for box-steps and partner-swinging galore.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum may not sound like a barrel of laughs, but it’s actually a fascinating treasure trove of 21st-century history. In addition to a remarkable display of the 9/11 attacks, the museum includes an exact replica of the Oval Office, as well as incredible insights into the Bush dynasty. A standout attraction is the strangely addictive “Decision Points Theater,” where you sit in front of a big screen watching the president make decisions based on the actual evidence he has at his disposal. As you can imagine, it’s harder than it looks.
Shopping is pretty much a local sport in Dallas, so if you want to play ball with your credit card, you’ve come to the right place. Highland Park Village, the first outdoor shopping center in America, is known for its Spanish-influenced architecture and its haute couture (think Chanel, Dior and Alexander McQueen). After shopping, grab a cupcake from Bird Bakery or catch a movie at the Village Theater to make the most of your trip. Or, if you’re on the hunt for more style points, Dallas is home to the epic Northpark Center, an award-winning citadel of style that combines more than 235 stores with contemporary art and a 1.4-acre garden.
This calming space is located in the Dallas Arts District and houses one of the best collections of modern and contemporary art in the world. The two-acre lush sculpture garden is a paradise for photographers and Instagrammers thanks to works by Rodin, Henry Moore, George Segal and more. It forms an incredible backdrop for the free (but currently postponed)
Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Garden
No trip to Dallas is complete without a visit to the most famous White House west of Washington, D.C. Home of the defunct Ewing clan from the Dallas TV show, Southfork Ranch is an easy 40-minute drive from downtown Dallas in the small suburb of Parker. , Texas. As a working ranch, you can take horseback riding lessons or hit the trails with a guide. You can’t miss the chance to join a guided tour of the house, taking in everything from J.R.’s bedroom to the gun that shot him, plus lots of costumes, clips and props from one of the longest-running shows in TV history.
You can get a glimpse of Bonnie and Clyde’s time in Dallas in a quick three hours, with the police on their trail for two years. Both notorious Depression-era outlaws grew up in the Dallas area, where their crime and killing spree began before ending in a hail of bullets across the Louisiana border on May 23, 1934. On a cruise with DFW Historical Tours, you’ll stop at Clyde’s family home, the cafe where Bonnie worked, their hold-ups and crime sites, and finally their graves. The tour includes transportation and a tour guide whose family has been connected to outlaws for nearly a century.
While uptown, enjoy the glamorous side of Dallas at the hottest afternoon tea spot in town. Every weekend, Hotel Crescent Court’s conservatory sunroom and courtyard are transformed into a quaint English-meets-Texan celebration of tea and scones, with views overlooking the property’s beautifully manicured gardens and majestic fountains.
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