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25 Great Things to do in Dallas

January 7, 2019

Things to do in Dallas

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When I tell people that I am from Dallas, I usually get a response of how boring it is there. Lots of people want to come to Texas but have no desire to visit Dallas. Let me tell you though; there are tons of great things to do in Dallas! I have gathered an epic list of things to do in Dallas.

1. Visit the Dallas Arboretum

I will admit that I am biased towards the Dallas Arboretum because it is my favorite things to do in Dallas. I wrote a whole post about it here. The Dallas Arboretum is open all year long only closing for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. There is so much going on at the Arboretum you could visit almost every day and find an event.

Things to do in Dallas

The most popular things that happen are the Dallas Blooms, the Pumpkin Patch and the 12 Days of Christmas. Dallas Blooms occurs in the spring and features tulips and other bulb blooming plants. The Pumpkin Patch happens in October and usually has a different theme every year. The 12 Days of Christmas are life-size displays of the song, including eight maids a milking and partridge and a pear tree.

Almost all year there are concerts outside called the Cool Thursdays Concert Series. Most of the artists are a cover or tribute bands. You can buy tickets for individual shows or the whole series.

Adult admission to the Dallas Arboretum is $15. Kids 2-12 access is $10. Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

2. Bike White Rock Lake

The Dallas Arboretum overlooks White Rock Lake, which is technically a Dallas park. As a kid, my Dad and I used to bike the lake. Many people do this still today. The bike and hike trail is over 9 miles long. You can sail a boat on the lake, and many people kayak as well.

Things to do in Dallas

You will find people picnicking and walking their dogs here. There is also an off-leash dog park. I enjoy watching all the water birds that live at the lake, including ducks, geese, and pelicans. They like to hang out between the Arboretum and the Spillway. There are several points around White Rock Lake that offer great photo opportunities, especially at sunset.

Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

3. Eat Tex-Mex

Speaking of eating, you can’t come to Texas and not have some Tex-Mex food. There are so many restaurants to choose from. In Dallas, my recommendations are Desperados, El Fenix, Javier’s, Herrera’s,  and Mesero.  Tex-Mex is personal though, and you might find you like some places better than others. Rarely have I had bad Tex-Mex in Dallas, so if you see a place you want to try, go for it!

Things to do in Dallas

My favorite Tex-Mex dishes are pretty simple. I love queso dip, sour cream chicken enchiladas, beef fajitas, chicken quesadillas, and street tacos. Of course, I like to have a margarita on the rocks with salt. For dessert, I like to get a pecan praline. It is brown sugar melted with milk and pecans hardened into a round shape. Some are soft though.

4. Catch a movie at The Angelika

What I love about this theater is that they show many movies that never play at other theaters. It shows films from film festivals from around the world. The theater also shows regular blockbuster movies. You can get assigned seating, which is crucial if you want to sit front and center during a showing of Star Wars! The Angelika is located at Mockingbird Station, making a great option for tourist visiting Dallas without a car.

5. Walk the Katy Trail

The Katy Trail used to be an abandoned railroad line that has been converted into a walking trail. It is a great place to walk, run or bike. The path is beautifully maintained with landscaping. There is a restaurant and beer garden on the trail called the Katy Trail Ice House. Both the trail and the Ice House are dog-friendly!

6. Visit the Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art is a beautiful museum that incorporates all styles of art. They frequently have traveling exhibitions that are extremely good. There are events at the museum, and many of the events are geared towards children. The best thing is that general admission is free. Traveling exhibitions are usually a fee, and the price varies.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

7. Nasher Sculpture Center

Right across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art, is the Nasher Sculpture Center. This outdoor sculpture garden hosts a variety of large sculptures in the garden. There are also some pieces inside the center. Admission is $10 for adults and kids under 12 are free. The first Saturday day of the month is free, and there are usually events on the day such as art making, art chats, and sketching.

8. See all of Downtown Dallas from Reunion Tower

One of the most iconic buildings in Dallas is Reunion Tower. It is a beautiful place to see much of the Dallas skyline. You can visit Reunion Tower during the day or at night. To see the views, purchase tickets for the GeO-Deck. Adult admission is $17, and kids 4-12 are $8. On the GeO-Deck is cafe so you can get a snack and a drink while you are there. There are plenty of ticket options for groups and if you want to visit both during the day and the night.

Things to do in Dallas

There is a restaurant as well called Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. You do not need a GeO-Deck ticket to go to the restaurant or the bar. However, you can purchase discounted tickets from your server. The coolest thing about dining here is that the view constantly changes as the restaurant slowly rotates at all times. Reservations are recommended, and there is a dress code.

Photo by Daxis from Flickr

9. Play at Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park was built over a highway to meet the need of having a large green space in Downtown Dallas. Klyde Warren Park has become very popular. It has easy access from the Dallas Light Rail, and there is parking located nearby (although it is paid parking). There are food trucks, a splash park for kids, a leash-free dog park and plenty of green space. Events and activities are always happening at Klyde Warren Park.

10. Ride the McKinney Avenue Trolley

One of the stops for the McKinney Avenue Trolley is located right next to Klyde Warren Park. The trolley is free to ride! The trolley goes through the Uptown Neighborhood all the way to Downtown Dallas. It connects with the DART Light Rail System at some points as well. Not only it is a free transport option but fun to ride and see parts of Dallas.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by bk1bennett from Flickr

11. Visit the Declaration of Independence

Dallas has its own copy of the Declaration of Independence. It is located at the Dallas Public Library. The document is one of the 25 original copies printed in 1776. It is free to see, and you can also see Shakespear’s first folio as well. The Declaration and the folio are located on the 7th Floor of the library.

12. Watch America’s Team in Person

The Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team, are a great entertainment option in Dallas. While the stadium is technically in Arlington, they are still the Dallas Cowboys. The stadium is relatively new and worth seeing if there isn’t a game going on. If you aren’t a Cowboys fan, maybe you can catch a game of them playing your home team! You can also arrange tours of the stadium. A guided tour is $32 for adults, and a child’s ticket is $27.

13. Catch the Sunset at the Omni Hotel

The Omni Hotel has a great rooftop pool and bar area. It offers incredible views of Reunion Tower and the sunset. The hotel is also a great option to stay at while visiting Dallas and all the things to do here. Click here to check rates at the Omni Hotel.

 

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14. Learn about JFK at the Sixth Floor Museum

Many American’s know about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and all the theories behind it. At the Sixth Floor Museum, you can learn more about JFK’ legacy and the trip he was on that brought him to Texas that fateful day. You can see the layout of the book depository and right outside it the grassy knoll that the Presidential motorcade passed.

Admission for adults is $18, and for kids 6-18 it is $14. You can also book a tour through Get Your Guide.

15. Eat at the Dallas Farmer’s Market

The Dallas Farmer’s Market is a great place to get something to eat in Dallas. The Market Shops offer a variety of places to eat from tacos to popcorn to seafood. On Friday, Saturdays and Sundays there is an actual market for fresh food products. Because the vendors are all regional, their offerings are seasonal in nature so you may not find blueberries in winter. While some vendors accept cards, it is best to have cash on hand.

Things to do in Dallas

16. Visit the Dallas World Aquarium

The name of the Dallas World Aquarium is slightly misleading. There is an aquarium, but I think the highlight is the Rainforest environment inside. You walk through a tropical forest that is filled with exotic animals. They even have sloths! Walk slowly, or you will miss some of the more well-hidden animals.

Admission for adults is $20.95, and it is $14.95 for kids 2-12.

17. Admire Dallas City Hall

The famous architect I.M. Pei designed Dallas City Hall. The building is an upside pyramid shape. In front is an open courtyard with fountains and places to sit. If you are visiting the Declaration of Independence at the Dallas Public Library, it is right across the street.

18. Explore the State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas at Fair Park has been happening for over 100 years. There is something for everyone to do at the State Fair of Texas. You can visit the animals, see the awards given for pies and quilts, ride the amusement rides or have a Fletcher’s Corn Dog. The fair happens in the fall usually starting in late Septemeber continuing for about three weeks.

General admission for adults is $16.50, and kids are $12.50. Rides and food are extra. There are packages you can buy at a discount online as well. Look out for special offers for admission.

19. See the art at the Meadows Museum

One of the less known museums in Dallas is the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University. The Meadows Museum has a connection to the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain. One of the founding collections of the museum is of Spanish Art. Many of the visiting exhibitions are Spanish related, but the museum doesn’t restrict to a specific style or period.

Adult admission is $12, and kids are free under the age of 12. Admission is free for all after 5 pm on Thursdays.

20. Visit the Original Neiman Marcus

The department store Neiman Marcus was founded in Dallas. The original store is located in downtown Dallas. It is the only department store located in downtown Dallas. At Christmas time, they have Christmas windows just like the major department stores do in New York City.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by protoflux from Flickr

21. Look at Animals at the Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is an excellent option for things to do in Dallas especially if you are trying to entertain kids. They have all the things that most traditional zoos have, but they also have seasonal activities as well. During the holiday time, they have winter lights at night. There are also daily feedings of the giraffes that cost $5.

Admission for adults is $15 and kids aged 3-11 are $12. Kids under 2 are free.

22. Learn about Science and Nature at the Perot Museum

The Perot Museum new building was built in 2012. The Perot Museum is a uniting of the Dallas Children’s Museum and Dallas Museum of Natural History. The new museum features things like sports, a gem and mineral collection and the hall of birds. For the architecture enthusiast, you will be intrigued by the building, which was built by Thom Mayne. The building is designed to look like it is floating. Parts of the building feature drought-resistant plans to help the environment.

23. See the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

This Calatrava bridge was opened in 2012. Originally it was planned as a combination of three bridges, but only two have been built and the third was canceled. Margaret Hunt Hill was an oil heiress and philanthropist. The bridge itself is great to admire. It is also a good place to photograph the Dallas skyline.

 

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24. Explore the George W. Bush Museum and Library

Explore more presidential history at the George W. Bush Museum and Library. This is another museum at Southern Methodist University making it a good place to stop if you are visiting the Meadows Museum. The topics covered in the museum include President Bush’s career and 9/11 information.

Adult admission is $16, kids ages 13-17 are $14, kids ages 5-10 are $10 and children under 4 are free.

25. Visit the Bishop Arts District

Hailed as Dallas’ Most Independent Neighborhood, the Bishop Arts District is worth visiting. There is something for everyone here. The shops are locally own shops that host a variety of goods, such as household products, gifts, Texas memorabilia, bookstore and plenty of bars and restaurants. Some of my favorites include Oddfellows, The Wild Detectives, Glorias and Cafe Brazil. The neighborhood also hosts events throughout the year, such as the monthly wine walk!

Have you been to Dallas? What is your favorite thing to do in Dallas? Check hotel options at Booking.com and Hotels.com.

Texas, Travel

Dallas Arboretum, a Must See in Dallas!

January 18, 2016

Dallas Arboretum

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Every year my parents have one request for their birthdays, that I give them a membership to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Not only do they love going to the Dallas Arboretum, but so do I. The gardens opened to the public in 1984 on the site of two former private residences overlooking White Rock Lake in Dallas. Both residences were built in the late 1930s with substantive grounds surrounding them. Both houses have unobstructed views of the lake. There is also an amazing view of Downtown Dallas right after the entrance to the left, just beyond the café. Many of the historic homes in Dallas are found in this neighborhood.

Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

Throughout the year, the Dallas Arboretum puts on events. Starting in February, you have Dallas Blooms, which is when all the tulips start to come out. Then in March starts the Cool Thursdays concert series that continues through October. This year, the last concert is a Michael Jackson tribute featuring songs from his 80s hits, so you know there will be a great Thriller video reenactment! My favorite things start September when they have Pumpkin Patch. Here are a few of my pictures from a visit a few years ago. You have never seen so many pumpkins in one place.

Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

Then in November, the gardens come alive with the 12 Days of Christmas. There are life-sized scenes of each day spread throughout the gardens. Most of them move and are set to music. They are probably best seen in the evening when they light up, and there are lights in the trees as well.

Dallas Arboretum

This year they had 500 nativity scenes inside the DeGolyer House! Everywhere you looked there were nativity scenes. In the library alone, there were 250 from one man’s collection. I am not sure if this is a new tradition or a one-time thing, but it is worth checking to see if it will be on this year. Some were large, and some were tiny. There was even one made out of car parts. There was also a Christmas tree in every room decorated in the colors of the rooms.

Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

In addition to all their regular events, you occasionally get unique events happening. In 2012, there was a Chihuly Glass exhibition in the gardens. Most of these were so large; they were better shown in a garden than in a gallery or museum. There is also some impressive sculpture in the gardens permanently. So if you are planning a visit to Dallas, make sure you check out the Dallas Arboretum’s website to see what is happening. There will be something every week, if not every day!

Dallas Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

Guide to Visiting: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is (Updated November 2016) is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (65+), $10 kids (3-12), 2 and under are free. Parking is $15 unless you pay online and then it is $8. The Children’s Adventure Garden is an additional $3. Be prepared to walk as the gardens span 66 acres and it has some hills. Wheelchairs are available on a first come, first-serve basis. Here is a link to a map of the gardens and driving directions.

Texas, Travel, United States

My Favorite Things In Fort Worth, Texas

May 18, 2015

Favorite Things About Fort Worth

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The last place I lived in Texas was Fort Worth. It is about 35 miles west of Dallas. Not in a million years did I ever think I would end up living in Fort Worth after growing up outside of Dallas. Fort Worth was the place for cowboys, rodeo’s and Billy Bob’s. And definitely not a city girl who loved living in New York City for seven years.  However, I got a job there and fell in love with Fort Worth. Recently, I went back for a conference, and it reminded me of all my favorite places there. I thought I would share them with you in case you are visiting or maybe to entice you to visit.

The food! Fort Worth has some amazing food venues.  From holes in the walls to food trucks to fine dining, Fort Worth has it all. The sign pictured above is the sign above my favorite place for a great breakfast, the Montgomery Street Cafe. It serves country home style and cooking. I usually get egg, hashbrowns, bacon and biscuits and gravy. You can sit either at a table or the old-fashioned countertop. The waitresses are the most friendly people you will find anywhere. It is a small place, so you might have to wait outside for a few minutes while the tables open up and get cleaned, but it is worth the wait.  Montgomery Street Cafe is also open for lunch and usually has a homemade dessert to finish it off with, but get there early because once they are out of dessert, it’s gone for the day!

If you are looking for Tex-mex/Mexican, then I suggest several places in town. First is El Asadero Mexican Steakhouse. Another small restaurant, but excellent food. I usually get the Enchiladas Suizas, but my friends who are fans of mole sauce say this is the place! Next, if you want to true Fort Worth experience, then head down the street to Joe T. Garcias. It is a bit of a tourist attraction but is worth going to sit outside in their beautiful garden. At lunch, they only serve enchilada’s and fajitas. The portion size of fajitas is enough for two very hungry people! Make sure to bring cash as they don’t take credit cards. There is an ATM inside, though. Next, is Salsa Limon for Mexican street tacos. They have two permanent locations, but they also have a food truck that moves around the city. Excellent street tacos and I recommend the Pastor or the Chorizo. Of course, there are many more Mexican places to eat in Fort Worth, and I encourage you to explore them all and see which ones strike your fancy.

Fort Worth also has a Food Truck Park! They have all kinds of trucks on a daily basis and is open for lunch. You can check their website for the truck schedule. Sometimes Salsa Limon is there as well.  Since I haven’t lived there for almost two years, I am not familiar with their line up of trucks, but I have never been disappointed. Some nights they also have live music.  Another great place for live music is Fred’s Texas Cafe. The one I like to go to is the original on Currie Street. It is mostly outdoor seating, but with a roof. The burgers are amazing, but the best thing is the Crispy Bacon Cheese Fries! They are to die for! Ask them to put blue cheese on them and you will be addicted, although suffering high cholesterol.

Beer is also an important part of your experience in Fort Worth. Fort Worth has their own brewery called Rahr. On Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons you can take a tour of the brewery for $10. With that comes a pint glass and three pints of beer! They also usually have food trucks out back, and you can spend the afternoon there eating and drinking. This is also another venue for live music in Fort Worth. My other favorite place for beer in Fort Worth is The Ginger Man. There is a Dallas location, but this is the one I know and love. I spent many an after work happy hour at this bar. They have an amazing selection of beer, and much of it is on tap. They also have many local breweries represented. The food is better than your average pub fair as well. When the weather isn’t too hot, I suggest sitting outside in the garden. Also another place for live local music! See a theme here? I like food, beer, and live music!

Not to be forgotten are the great cultural attractions in Fort Worth. Fort Worth has five museums within walking distance of each other in the cultural district. There are three art museums, the Amon Carter Museum, which features American Art with a heavy western slant, the Kimball Art Museum, which just underwent a major expansion and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Down the street is the National Cowgirl Museum and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. I used to work at the Science and History museum, and it is a great place for kids, and they have an Imax theater! Nestled in all of these is the Will Rogers Memorial Center, which is home to the Fort Worth Stock Show and rodeo that is held in February every year.  The stock show has been going since 1896. You can go to the fairgrounds for rides, eat great BBQ and see animals auctioned off.  Every day there is, at least, one rodeo show. However, get your tickets early as they sell out fast! In years past admission to the Stock Show also got you into the Science and History Museum, so plan accordingly.

Well, I could go on about Forth Worth forever, but will leave you to explore more on your own. Drop me a line if you have a specific question.  I would be happy to offer some recommendations based your tastes including a vegan option and coffee shops!