Dallas has everything one would expect from a major metropolis, but where it truly stands out is in its larger-than-life approach to sports, shopping, and Southern living. It’s a place where Sundays revolve around Cowboys games, the malls should have their own zip codes, and riding a mechanical bull is a rite of passage. There’s no shortage of things to do in Dallas, the trick is deciding what to choose.
Fun Things to Do in Dallas
Not sure what to do in Dallas? Here are some of the area’s most crowd-pleasing activities.
Explore the Bishop Arts District
If you prefer independent shops to big-name brands, you’ll be charmed by this North Oak Cliff neighborhood’s 60+ locally owned cafes, boutiques, and art galleries. Browsing for antiques and admiring local art is an excellent way to spend a weekend afternoon.
Try Line Dancing
You’ve got the Wranglers, you’ve got the boots, but have you got the moves? Show off your Texas two-step and learn some new fancy footwork at a dance hall dripping in country-and-western flair. Dallas’ most popular honky tonks include Cowboys Red River, Adair’s Saloon, and the LGBT-friendly Round-Up Saloon. In nearby Fort Worth, Billy Bob’s is considered a Texas institution. Don’t know how to line dance? No problem; many spots offer dance lessons.
High on the list of fun things to do in Dallas is shopping—retail therapy is serious business ‘round these parts. Luxury labels abound at Forty Five Ten and the specialty Stanley Korshak department store. Or head downtown for a pilgrimage to the very first Neiman Marcus store, now a registered landmark. NorthPark Center is a favorite with fashionistas thanks to its varied mix of mass brands, upscale department stores, and chic boutiques; while the mammoth Galleria’s one-stop shopping experience includes a skating rink, hotel, and several top-notch restaurants. On the hunt for vintage pieces? Try the delightfully quirky Dolly Python on Haskell Avenue, or poke around Deep Ellum’s eclectic offerings. Top tip: Consignment stores like Clothes Circuit and Clotheshorse Anonymous are the savvy shopper’s secret source for gently used designer castoffs. After all, a socialite can only wear a frock so many times before people start to notice, and shopping m
Visit the Dallas Arts District
Inspiration awaits at the Dallas Arts District, the largest contiguous arts district in the country and the ultimate stomping ground for those seeking theater, dance, opera, classical music, and, of course, priceless masterpieces and antiquities. Plan ahead to secure tickets for a performance, whether it’s the Dallas Black Dance Theatre at the Wyly or the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the I.M. Pei-designed Meyerson Symphony Center. Rotating exhibitions, events, and public art installations are enough to keep culture vultures busy with plenty of things to do in Dallas.
Play and Eat at Klyde Warren Park
One of the most enjoyable things to do in Dallas on a lovely day is to hit up this public park near the Arts District. There’s a performance stage, playground, reading room, dog park, botanical garden, and spaces for games of chess and croquet. But the main draw just might be the phalanx of food trucks dishing up everything from BBQ to burritos during lunchtime. Come hungry.
Here’s a tip for what to do in Dallas: Pick a sport, any sport. DFW is teeming with pro sports teams, with the Dallas Mavericks (basketball) and Dallas Stars (hockey) encamped at the American Airlines Center in Victory Park. Toyota Stadium in nearby Frisco hosts FC Dallas (soccer) matches, while WNBA’s Dallas Wings, the Texas Rangers (baseball), and Dallas Cowboys (football) all play in Arlington, about 15 miles from Dallas. There are also plenty of opportunities to keep up with collegiate sports, including the famed Red River Showdown between The University of Texas and Oklahoma University every October at the Cotton Bowl. Or, check out a local high school football match in autumn for the full Friday Night Lights experience.
Catch Live Music
If they’re touring, they’ll be coming to Dallas. In addition to hosting Mavericks and Stars games, American Airlines Center is a go-to venue for superstar acts. Nearby House of Blues offers an eclectic mix of local blues, rock, and jazz bands big and small. And why drive all the way down to the “live music capital” of Austin when great tunes await at Lower Greenville’s Granada Theater, the famous Gilley’s, and the indie-minded clubs of Deep Ellum (at spots like Trees, Canton Hall, and The Bomb Factory)? Though there’s no shortage of things to do in Dallas, it’s worth prioritizing live music; this is a city that really knows how to put on a show.
Check Out a Rodeo
To quote Garth Brooks, it’s bulls and blood, and dust and mud. For a real glimpse of cowboy culture and a must-do on your list of things to do in Dallas, settle in for events like bull riding, calf roping, and barrel racing at the Fort Worth Stockyards, the world’s only year-round rodeo. The Mesquite Championship Rodeo and The American Rodeo also rope in visitors each year.
Dallas is the world headquarters to both sports bar-restaurant-billiards hall-arcade chain Dave & Buster’s and Topgolf, which boasts indoor golf simulators. Barcadia and Cidercade are where pinball wizards can breeze through their pocket change over cocktails, while amusement parks like Zero Gravity and Adventure Landing have a more all-ages appeal. The most devoted gamers can also pay their respects to the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, where the cost of admission comes with tokens to use in the museum’s retro ‘80s-style arcade.
Discover White Rock Lake
If you want to get active, White Rock Lake is a good place to do it. This East Dallas lake and its surrounding park is one of the best places in Dallas to visit for boating and other water activities; kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent on-site. Sporty types can also take advantage of 9.33 miles of hiking and biking trails. White Rock, which borders the lovely Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, also offers bird-watching opportunities and a dog park. It even has its own ghost—according to urban legend, the Lady of White Rock Lake is a young woman from the 1930s who approaches passersby for rides home.
– Original reporting by Erin Donnelly