18 Unmissable Things To Do In Dallas

Whether you’re here to get a taste of Dallas or experience the nostalgia of the old west, this enormous city is a unique mix of old and new. With funky outdoor parks above a highway, a boozy Margarita trail and the famous cowboys, this is Texas times 100.

There’s plenty of things to do in Dallas – it’s narrowing them down that’s the toughie. Here are our top picks of what to do while you’re here…

1. Stroll through Klyde Warren Park

The city’s version of New York’s Highline, this lovely urban green space is built over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway and connects Uptown and Downtown Dallas. Klyde Warren Park is a highly active space,  with street food trucks and daily events ranging from yoga to book signings to outdoor concerts and films.

2. Cheer for the Dallas Cowboys

Check out an NFL football game when in town to support the famous Dallas Cowboys in all their glory. If it’s offseason, but sure to do a stadium tour. Take an afternoon to throw the ball on the field or admire the works of art displayed throughout the stadium with AT&T Stadium tours.

3. Experience the Margarita Mile

You’ve heard of pub crawls and wine tastings – but Dallas takes it to the next level. The Margarita Mile is a collection of the best and brightest margaritas in the city. Visit Dallas has left no bottle of tequila unturned in the search for the most sought-after margaritas in the city, and you can even download an App to find the best ones.

4. Trail ride at the Dallas TV show filming location

For thirteen years, television sets were tuned into 356 episodes of Dallas, one of the longest-running TV series in history. Viewers made themselves home at Southfork, the ranch the Ewings called home and now you can tour the ranch on horseback.

You can see the gun that shot J.R., Lucy’s Wedding Dress, the Dallas Family Tree and Jock’s Lincoln Continental. You can even get a bite to eat at Miss Ellie’s Deli, in true Dallas style.

Dallas TV show filming location

5. Visit The Sixth Floor Museum

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is located in the former Texas School Book Depository, where significant evidence of a sniper was found following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The Museum will teach you all about the social and political landscape of the early 1960s, President Kennedy’s assassination and what it meant for America.

The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas

6. Take a Bonnie and Clyde tour

Easily two of the most notorious outlaws in American history. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were young bank robbers and killers who captured the nation’s attention in the 1930s. The DFW Historical Tours take you on a two-year-long getaway trail in three hours. Sights along the way include Bonnie and Clyde’s graves, the places they worked and the locations where they met.

7. Explore the Bishop Arts District

Once one of Dallas’ best-hidden treats, this two-block former warehouse area is in the Oak Cliff neighbourhood of South Dallas. It’s home to more than 60 boutiques, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and galleries, making it one of Dallas’ most unique (and not-so-secret) districts. Be sure to get the breakfast tacos at El Jordan.

Looking for somewhere to live in the area? Check out these properties in Dallas & Fort Worth.

8. Hop on the McKinney Avenue Trolley 

Perfect for when you’ve racked up one too many steps on your pedometer, this historic trolley trundles up and down McKinney Avenue and the downtown Arts District. It runs 365 days a year and is free of charge too. Each car has a bell or an overhead string which you pull to notify the Motorman or Motorwoman of where you’re looking to hop off.

It’s been running since 1983 as a homage to the heritage streetcar service in Dallas.

9. Stroll around Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

You don’t need to have green fingers to appreciate the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The 66-acre garden is one of the best in the world, featuring infinity pools, fountains, picnic lawns, sculptures and exotic flora and fauna. There’s a thrilling calendar of events too, ranging from arts and crafts shows to the Cool Thursdays Concerts. Don’t miss the Texas Skywalk for sweeping views of the city. Kids will love the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden too.

Things to do in Dallas

10. Learn to Two-Step

It’s just about the most Texas thing you can do on a night out in Dallas, but you’ll probably need someone to show you the ropes. Dallas is home to a number of reputable honky-tonks but Cowboys Red River is one of the best. They offer free line dancing lessons throughout the week to help get you ready for the real thing on the race track-style dance floor.

11. Deck yourself out with some new gear – Western style

When in Rome… Wild Bill’s Western Store will hook you up with all the Wild West gear you can dream off, from bolo ties to cowhide boots. Located in Downtown Dallas, the store has been going for over 60 years. Duck under the impressive 20-foot longhorn and 10-foot Silver and Gold Buckle and head inside for one of the most Texan experiences of your life. It’s popular with celebs too; everyone from Bon Jovi to Mick Jagger has picked up some gear from here.

12. Get a breath of fresh air

Dallas isn’t all honky-tonks and museums. The Katy Trail connects a handful of Dallas’ districts on a 3.5-mile route that follows the path of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. It’s popular with joggers, cyclers, skaters and hikers, and also hosts a range of events including the annual Katy 5K. The trail is privately funded and runs on support from the local community.

13. See some sculptures

The Nasher Sculpture Centre opened in October 2003 and has since become one of the best places to see the world’s finest modern and contemporary scultpures. The two-acre site sits in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. The collection includes masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miro, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, and Serra, among others, which continues to grow and evolve. There are also rotating exhibitions of works from the Nasher Collection and special exhibitions drawn from other museums and private collections.

14. Have a knight out

If you’re had your fill of Texas, why not head back in time to the days of yonder? The Medieval Times Dinner Theatre is located on the fringes of the city in a replica of an 11-century castle. Guests get to tuck into a four-course feast accompanied by an authentic medieval tournament. Expect knights, falconry fights and jousting competitions.

15. Get some booze ‘n’ views

Dallas is home to plenty of good rooftop bars, but we reckon Upside West Village is one of the best. Located on the eighth floor of the Hilton Canopy Hotel, it’s just a short stroll from Downtown. The cocktails are delicious, featuring signature creations like the ‘Bridgette Bardot’, made with gin and rhubarb liquor and the ‘Betty Page’, made with rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, green chartreuse and Benedictine. The sundown views over the city skyline are a winner too.

If you’re looking to dine alfresco, try Terilli’s rooftop terrace. Locals will tell you it’s the best Italian restaurant in the city, with hearty portions of classic dishes like Fettucine Alfredo, as well as specialities like steak with lobster tails and tender roasted pork shank with garlic white wine. As well as your usual wine, beer and cocktails, there are 17 different ‘Ice-Cold Martinis’ to choose from. Who could say no to a chocolate martini?

(Looking for the city’s best rooftop bars? Check out our roundup of the 15 best rooftop bars in Dallas)

16. Cast your EYES on this

People don’t just visit the swish Joule Hotel for its superb mattresses and delicious cocktails. They visit for a 30-foot gleaming eyeball. the giant orb sculpture, which sits in its own sculpture garden, was created by multimedia artists Tony Tassett. He modelled the sculpture on his own eyeball. You see the statue, which is around the same height as a three-storey building, from the sidewalks.

things to do in Dallas
(Photo: stock_photo_world / Shutterstock.com)

17. Get your meat fix

Texas is famous for its bbq, and Dallas is home to all the smokey meats and savoury sides to satisfy your cravings. For a traditional Texas-style BBQ, head to Off The Bone in the Southside Neighbourhood. They serve up some finger-lickin’ good southern pecan baby back ribs, and a lemon pound cake to top it off. At Lockhart Smokehouse, they serve all their smokey meats on butcher paper, along with local craft beers and cocktails. Or, melt-in-your-mouth brisket, don’t miss Terry Black’s in Deep Ellum – though you’ll need to be prepared to queue for it.

Things to do in Dallas

18. Take your credit card for a spin

Highland Park Village was the first outdoor shopping centre ever built in America. It’s Spanish-influenced architecture is iconic, as are the shops inside. You’ll find all the blockbuster names here, including Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Cartier, Balenciaga, Chanel, hermes and more. You can also enjoy complimentary services, like personal shopping assistance, tax free shopping refunds and valet parking.

After all that shopping, head to one of the fine dining outlets, like Bistro 31, or catch a movie at the VIllage Theatre.

Things to do in Dallas

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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