- Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and attracts more than 27 million visitors each year
- The city boasts an array of world-class museums, charming historic neighborhoods, family-friendly attractions and dining and entertainment options
- Dallas is within a 4-hour flight of most major North American cities, making it a convenient holiday destination
While Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas, it’s part of a much bigger hub: the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, which is home to a whopping 7.7 million people. This bustling, vibrant community in the northern part of the state offers plenty of activities for families, friends, couples and solo travelers. Listen to live music in Deep Ellum, explore the Dallas Farmer’s Market, hike in a nature preserve and visit the site of JFK’s assassination. Whether you love history, art, sports or the great outdoors, your travel itinerary will be full when you visit Dallas.
Whether you’re in Dallas for a long weekend days or a couple of weeks, use the following ideas to plan the perfect trip. From must-see tourist attractions to cool neighborhoods you can enjoy like a local, there are plenty of experiences awaiting you in this dynamic city.
1. Check Out the View From Reunion Tower
Head to Reunion Tower and see Dallas from a different perspective. Known as “The Ball”, this iconic downtown landmark has been a recognizable part of the skyline since 1978.
The observation deck, at an elevation of 471 feet, offers spectacular 360-degree views of the city, so bring your camera to capture the perfect panorama shot. You can purchase a regular admission for one visit or a Day and Night Ticket that lets you enjoy the view while the sun’s shining and come back to take in the glittering city lights after dark.
2. Soak Up the Atmosphere in Deep Ellum
Brimming with live music venues, theaters and galleries, Deep Ellum is one of the city’s most exciting cultural hubs. Its rich musical heritage can be traced to the 1920s, when the neighborhood was home to a vibrant jazz and blues scene. A diverse range of musicians continues to perform today at local clubs.
As you check out the area’s restaurants, nightlife and shopping, look for beautiful murals by local artists and a trio of public art installations known as The Traveling Man. These large sculptures of a friendly, guitar-playing robot welcome visitors to Deep Ellum.
3. Stroll Around the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Surround yourself with natural beauty at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The 66 acres of splendor boast several themed areas. The Color Garden is a stunning collection of seasonal flowers and plants, and A Woman’s Garden is a serene area with sculptures, fountains and an infinity pool.
Admission to the Children’s Adventure Garden is extra, but this must-see area for the younger crowd features plenty of exhibits and play areas to explore. Bring a picnic basket to make the most of the day, purchase casual snacks on-site or splurge on a three-course tea in the DeGolyer Tea Room.
4. Cheer on the Dallas Cowboys
Nicknamed America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most popular — and valuable — franchise, with five Super Bowl titles and eight conference championships to their name. Discover what the hype is about by taking in the electric atmosphere of a Cowboys game with about 90,000 other fans.
You can add to the experience by going on a tour of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, where the Cowboys play, or behind the scenes of the team’s training facility and headquarters in Frisco to see the Super Bowl trophies and memorabilia.
5. Immerse Yourself in Art
Dallas boasts an incredible collection of art, all housed within a few city blocks. Start at the Dallas Museum of Art, one of the 10 largest art galleries in the United States. Just down the street is the Crow Museum of Asian Art, featuring permanent and traveling exhibitions of works from China, Japan, India, Korea and Southeast Asia. Both museums are free.
The Nasher Sculpture Center, with its bright and airy indoor and outdoor galleries, is also worth a visit. Then, venture beyond the museums and discover the public art on display at KPMG Plaza’s Texas Sculpture Walk.
6. Pay Tribute to JFK at the Sixth Floor Museum
Revisit a moment that shattered a nation at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, located in the former Texas School Book Depository Building. The museum explores the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, as well as his tragic death on November 22, 1963.
Visitors can learn about the tumultuous social and political events leading up to his assassination, the subsequent investigations and even conspiracy theories surrounding his death. The sniper’s perch, which was the main crime scene, is chillingly recreated, enabling you to look out onto the plaza where JFK was shot.
7. Go on a Hike at Cedar Ridge Preserve
When you’re ready to play in the great outdoors, take a short drive to the Cedar Ridge Preserve just 20 minutes from downtown Dallas. This 600-acre natural habitat has an elevation of 755 feet and is a popular spot for birdwatchers and hikers alike. Nine miles of hiking trails await, along with rolling hills, wildflowers, creek valleys and an observation tower.
There’s also a butterfly garden and picnic tables near the education center. The nature preserve is managed by Audubon Dallas, which recommends a $3 donation per visit.
8. Browse the Boutiques in Bishop Arts District
Filled with historic charm, the Bishop Arts District is a hidden gem in North Oak Cliff, just outside of downtown Dallas. The boutique shops are filled with carefully curated treasures, including home décor, furnishings, clothing, stationery and antiques.
Dine on covered patios, sip on handcrafted ciders, and pick up a treat at a bakery, coffee bar or ice cream parlor. Depending on when you’re in town, you may also be able to catch a festival or Wine Walk.
9. Check Out the Attractions at Six Flags Over Texas
Take a break from sightseeing for adrenaline-pumping fun at Six Flags Over Texas. Located in Arlington between Dallas and Fort Worth, the park is an easy 20-minute drive from the downtown core of both cities.
Thrill-seekers can hop on the Texas SkyScreamer, which takes you 400 feet into the air, or El Diablo — the world’s largest loop coaster. Young riders will love the Texas Tea Cups and spinning El Sombrero ride. When you’re recovering from the euphoria, fuel up with churros, funnel cakes and hot dogs, and enjoy live entertainment.
10. Swing From the Trees at Trinity Forest Adventure Park
Experience nature in a new way from the treetops of Trinity Forest Adventure Park. Visitors can climb, swing and jump through exhilarating obstacle courses that include wobble bridges, tightropes, ladders and cargo nets. The courses feature over 70 obstacles and 20 zip lines that gradually become more challenging and culminate in an elevation of 50 feet.
Rent a GoPro camera from the check-in desk to document your aerial adventures, or add on a half-hour game of outdoor laser tag when you’re finished climbing. This park is suitable for adventurers aged 4 and up.
11. Stop in at the Farmer’s Market
Tempt your taste buds at the Dallas Farmer’s Market and discover delicious local foods. Farmers, ranchers and artisans sell their goods in The Shed, an open-air pavilion. Pick from seasonal fruits and vegetables, pasture-raised meat, bread, honey, cheese, flowers and other goodies.
Then, pop into the food hall to feast on ready-made foods such as tamales, sushi, shawarma, pizza, banh mi, desserts and smoothies. Vendors also have a full section of artisanal items for sale including candles, soap, clothing, housewares and eclectic gifts.
12. Walk on the Wild Side at the Zoo
Located three miles south of downtown, the Dallas Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals and 400 species. Make your way through the Wilds of Africa and look for cheetahs, penguins and hippos. Find elephants and zebras in the Savanna. The zoo also has a mini-train, carousel and children’s zoo to keep little ones busy.
There are restaurants and food carts on-site if you’re hungry, although you can also bring your own snacks. And while feeding animals is usually a no-no, you can purchase items from the zoo for the giraffes, Galapagos tortoises and feathered friends at Birds Landing.