The Best Things You Never Knew You Could Do In Dallas, TX
Dallas Has a Lot to Offer
Not everyone who lives in Dallas is looking for the best deal on alligator cowboy boots, or the most grandiose belt buckle.
Dallas residents are looking for stellar attractions and the best places to visit, whether they just moved here to a new apartment, or they are a long-time resident.
Where can they find these places?
When it comes to Dallas, expect everything to be bigger than life. For example, did you know that Six Flags Over Texas is lager in size than Disneyland?
Did you know that Dallas boasts the WORLD'S largest bronze monument?
Did you know that Dallas has the most impressive collection of Spanish artwork outside of Spain?
Did you know the Texas State Fair, held in Dallas, is the largest in the nation, and it contains the tallest ferris wheel in all of North America?
Dallas contains the largest art museum in Texas, and the largest urban arts district in the United States.
Did you know that Dallas also has the largest mechanical action organ ever built - consisting of 4535 pipes.
It has the first planned shopping center in the United States, and the first ever Neiman Marcus.
There are over 12,000 places to eat in Dallas, and the number is always growing!
When you combine all the options Dallas offers with all the options that its sister city, Fort Worth, offers, you will see quickly that there is enough to last a life time. You could live in this Metroplex for decades and still have more to explore.
This article only highlights 20 of our top picks, but for even more choices of things to do and places to go, we recommend you check out: www.VisitDallas.com.
Visit Dallas & Find Top Things To Do
Find top attractions in Dallas, including restaurants, shopping and much more. Also find tools for discovering Dallas maps, lists and top insider tips for experiencing Dallas to the fullest!
Why Just Visit Dallas?
While Dallas is a fun and exciting place to visit, often visitors decide they would like a more permanent stay when they see all the area has to offer. If you are wanting to move to Dallas, since there are over 4,000 apartment communities alone, we recommend using the services of free Apartment Finding Service, one with great knowledge of all parts of DFW who can answer your many questions, such as: www.BestApartmentsDFW.com .
Want To Live in DFW?
Find the Best Apartments in Dallas with this FREE Apartment Finding service. Get information on top DFW apartments that match what you are searching for. Custom lists, maps, pictures and inside information are available for any renters.
Dallas Is a Vibrant and Thriving City
Since 2010, Dallas Has Grown by 528,000 People!
To keep up with the demand, DFW is always adding new venues, whether it be restaurants, music halls, golf courses, museums, parks, or more. Raising the demand raises the stakes. More and more unique and creative entertainment options are conceived yearly.
Apartment Dwellers on the Hunt for Fun
Renters of apartments are more socially active outside their homes. In other words, they are often out in the city looking for things to do. Why is that? Dwellers of apartments in Dallas and other cities often view their home as temporary and, therefore, they have less a sense of community. As a result, they tend to spend more of their time away from the apartment, socializing outside of their residential sphere.
Also, many tenants who lease apartments or townhomes are single individuals who live alone, whereas there are much fewer, comparitively speaking, owners of houses who are single and live alone. The single individuals tend to spend more time away from their apartment, and socializing with friends, looking for the top things to do in Dallas. Are these apartment socialites on the rise?
According to the National Apartment Association (NAA), Dallas was ranked one of the top 5 cities in the entire country with the most construction of new apartments, seeing an increase of 22% new multi family properties in 2016 compared to the prior year. This beat out New York, which saw a 28% decrease, and Washington D.C. which saw a 20% increase.
Bottom line? Yes, apartment-dwelling socialites in Dallas are on the rise. These thousands of new residents, along with the residents who were already there before them, are always looking for fun, different, exciting, enriching and interesting things to do in Big D. As you will see from the following list, there is no shortages of options!
New Apartments in Dallas Are On The Rise!
The National Apartment Association announces the top 5 cities with the biggest increase in new apartment construction in 2016. Dallas makes the list, beating out New York and Washington D.C. with a 20% increase.
Top Twenty Things to Explore in Dallas
HOW MANY HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED?
See a 360 at 470
You can't live in Dallas without visiting the Reunion Tower at least once in your life, and it isn't worth going unless you go at night. Travel 470 feet in the air using one of the 68 second glass elevators to reach the GeO-deck, where you enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. On the 50th floor you can stop at the restaurant Five Sixty, which gets its name from the fact that this iconic landmark stands 560 feet tall. The restaurant has floor to ceiling windows and offers 360 degree rotating scenery of the city as the room revolves. Enjoy fine dining or a drink from one of the bars.
According to USA Today, Dallas won the contest "Best International Skyline". All nominations for the award were given by a panel made up of architects. But the readers of USA Today chose the actual winners. They were given 4 weeks to vote. Dallas beat out such nominations as: Chicago, Seattle, Hong Kong, New York, and others. These made it to the Top 10, but only Dallas received the priviledged winning position. Las Vegas, Paris, Dubai, and other outstanding international cities did not make it to the Top 10 but were nominated.
What is so special about the Dallas skyline? It may not be the tallest, or have the most unusual or outstanding architecture in the entire world, but it is renown for it's flashy, high-tech, colorful and interactive lighting. Existing and new architecture have become icons, demanding attention, due to this intelligent use of lighting that cannot be ignored. This colorful nighttime lighting makes Dallas an extravaganza that impresses, not only during the day, but now an additional 8-10 hours in the evening. For this reason, we recommend visiting The Reunion Tower at night to view the display.
Dallas wins the contest for the "Best International Skyline", determined by votes from readers among nominations chosen by arhitects.
Up Close With Nature
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are always in bloom. Explore 66 acres of gorgeous gardens, facing beautiful Whiterock Lake, with 2000 varieties of azaleas, 230,000 tulips and other plants various times of the year. Want more details?
The Dallas Arboretum is proud to offer the public the best floral paradise in the State. With ever-changing scenery and various annual special events, Dallas residents keep coming back for a unique experience every time.
Say Howdy to a Texan Giant
You would have to grow 55 feet tall to shake hands with this giant eye to eye, as Big Tex is the largest mechanical talking cowboy in the world. He wears a 95 gallon cowboy hat and weighs 19,000 pounds. He waves and greets visitors to the State Fair of Texas. This is the largest state fair in the entire country and draws millions of people to the 3 week long annual event held near the end of September and beginning of October. It also boasts the tallest ferris wheel in North America at 212 feet tall.
Big Tex is not only a beloved icon to native Dallas-ites, or even Texans, because he was recently voted "Best Quirky Landmark" in the entire United States by USA Today readers. Voters submitted their choices over a period of 4 weeks and the results were tallied. Big Tex beat out 19 other landmarks which were nominated for consideration all around the country.
"Our readers love America's quirky landmarks, and none moreso than Dallas's famous Big Tex, which landed at No. 1 after four weeks of passion-fueled voting," said USA Today.
Come congratulate Big Tex in person, even if you can't shake his hand.
Dallas Morning News Announces Big Tex Wins the Vote!
Big Tex, the pride of the State Fair of Texas, bested 19 other nominated contestants in an online contest sponsored by USA Today. Voters from around the country chose Big Tex as the Best Quirky Landmark in the United States!
Visit One of the Largest Art Museums in North America
The Dallas Museum of Art is located in the largest arts district in the nation. Indeed, this museum is enormous. It is loaded with art treasures that rotate to present something new each time you visit. Certain nights of the week the museum rocks with jazz, or it may host local art scholars who will talk about specific museum art pieces. To learn more about the Dallas Museum of Art, visit: https://www.dma.org .
Hear the Largest Organ Ever Built
The famous Meyerson Symphony Center provides demonstrations lasting 30 minutes to show off this magnificent and unforgettable organ. It is the largest ever built with its 4,535 pipes. You can stay after the miniature concert for a tour of the symphony center hall, which has perfect acoustics and is one of the finest in the country. The Meyerson Center is also home to the world-class Dallas Symphony and their performances are definitely worthy of attending.
Hurdle Through Space on the Tallest Swing in the World
Few people realize that Six Flags Over Texas is larger than Disneyland, at 221 acres. This giant theme park opened in 1961. Today, it boasts the tallest swing in the world. The Texas Skyscreamer is 400 feet tall. Now THAT'S what I call a swing! The park also boasts the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the state. That would be The Titan, which coasts 245 feet up in the air and gets up to a speed of 85 mph. As we say in Texas, that's nothing to shake a stick at!
Driven to Drive to See a Drive
A cattle drive of over 70 larger-than-life Texan longhorns, and multiple cowboys on horseback, are on display as bronze sculptures in the heart of Dallas. Collectively, they make up the largest bronze sculpture in the world, called The Pioneer Plaza Monument, and it is one of the most photographed sites in DFW.
The cattle drive is set near a man-made limestone cliff, native landscaping, as well as a flowing stream and waterfall. The Park, with its impressive bronze display, is maintained by the adjacent Dallas Convention Center and is the largest open space in the entire Business District of Dallas.
The entire Plaza, along with its impressive bronze sculpture, commemorates the humble beginnings of Dallas by representing the trails that originally brought the early settlers to Dallas. Native plants and trees, therefore, are used to project a natural environment and enhance the scenery with realism, like a living frame around a painting. Each sculpture is, indeed, a piece of art by itself, created by a native Texan artist named Robert Summers.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center offers just that opportunity as you go on a pseudo-safari. This drive-through, free-roaming, scenic wildlife park takes you through a 9.5 mile wooded and hilly driving trail for 2-3 hours. The park offers 60 different species of animals from Texas as well as various countries, including India and Africa, most of which you are allowed to feed from your car. These include Bison, zebras, giraffes, Wildebeest, Coati, Wolves, Mountain Bongos, White Rhinos, Black Rhinos, Gazelles, and so many more. The special food is purchased at the entrance. When it comes to feeding yourself, try the Overlook Cafe for a burger, wrap, salad, or more. Take in the breathtaking view from the observation deck that surrounds the cafe. You also have the option of staying in a bed and breakfast at the park, or a private cabin. Fossil Rim finished third in USA Today's Reader Choice Awards for the Top 10 Best Safari Parks in the Nation.
Even Cowboys Play Golf
Dallas boasts some great public golf courses. In fact, DFW has more than 100 public golf courses. These range from affordable municipal golf courses to high-end resort golf courses. There is something available for every level of player and every type of wallet. On the higher end, you have the TPC Four Seasons Resort, where the PGA Tour's HP Byron Nelson Championship is held. In this same category of upper end golf courses you have the Cowboy's Golf Club, near the famous Gaylord Texan Resort, Hotel and Convention Center, as well as the Westin Stonebriar Resort in Frisco and Twin Creeks in Allen. Others worth noting include Tour 18 in Flower Mound, Coyote Ridge Golf Club in Carrollton, and The Texas Star in Euless. Several outstanding municipals in the area would include the Grapevine Golf Course, Tierra Verde in Arlington and Tenison Highlands. For a unique golf experience, check out The Tribute in The Colony, or its sister course, Old American. Iron Horse Golf Club is rated one of the top five public courses in Texas. Ridgeview Ranch Golf Club is a four-star 72-par championship course with beautiful rolling hills. Tangle Ridge has been argued as one of the finest public golf courses in the DFW area, but as you can see, there are many contenders. This is only a small sampling of the many superb golf clubs and resorts that serve the residents of DFW. You've heard that oil is the "Texas Tea" found throughout the state. Perhaps there is another kind of "tee" as well found flowing in Dallas.
Golfing in Allen, Tx
A World of Wonder Awaits You
The Dallas Morning News labeled The Perot Museum of Nature and Science as "A World of Wonder". Opening doors in 2012, this revolutionary museum houses five floors of 11 permanent exhibit halls, as well as many special exhibits, state-of-the-art amazing 3-D films held in a theater that seats 298 guests, simulations, hands-on activities and live science demonstrations. In addition to exhibits and films, the building also has a roof-deck and Cafe and is considered a "smart building", with sustainable engineering and agricultural elements. This is one museum that you don't want to leave off your "Must Do" list when moving to Dallas.
Don't Hold Your Breath
You can visit underwater worlds at The Dallas World Aquarium without having to hold your breath. On the upper level of the aquarium house, you will see the only display in the United States of three-toed sloths and Antillean manatees. You'll also walk through a reproduction of the Oronoco rain forest, an avary with birds such as toucans flying freely. As you wind your way through the rain forest, you will see poison dart frogs, electric eels, crocodiles, and bats. Downstairs you will encounter ten main tanks that include the aquatic life from Indonesia, Japan, British Columbia, The Bahamas, Sri Lanka, Southern Australia, Fiji, Palau, The Solomon Islands, and Lord Howe Island. In addition to these 10 main displays, there is another tank with a 40 foot tunnel where visitors can observe the fish swimming all around them from various directions. Where else can you take a walk under the ocean without holding your breath and without getting wet?
Where Art and Music Collide
You can see the best touring Broadway Shows, such as Phantom of the Opera, River Dance, or Annie Get Your Gun, as well as locally produced shows, at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Theatergoers are dazzled with plays, musicals, ballet, concerts, and opera at the Music Hall year-round. In fact, it is the home of the Dallas Opera. Although the building was originally opened so long ago in 1925, this restored historical landmark continues to bring the art of music and dance to residents of Dallas.
The Most Fun You Can Have With a Pocket Sandwich
This is not a literal pocket sandwich, but rather a visit to the Dallas Pocket Sandwich Theater. This funky and fun professional theater packs a crowd nightly with comedies, parodies, musicals and dramas. Guests relax and enjoy live theatrical performances with their dinner. In fact, The Pocket is the last of the Dallas dinner theatres, and it has a very faithful and loyal patron base. It is the third oldest theatre in Dallas, just celebrating its 37th birthday recently. It has produced over 270 shows and has put smiles on the faces of over 700,000 patrons. Perhaps you should be one of them?
Who Says Dallas Doesn't Have a Subway?
Well, I do for one, because they don't. However, they do have an underground tunnel system that not everyone is aware of. Or perhaps they are aware of it, but do not know what is down there and have not explored it. Dallas actually has a 3.7 mile long tunnel network that is brightly lit and temperature controlled. It connects office buildings, hotels, banks, restaurants, apartments, parking garages and other downtown establishments, as well as sky bridges. It was created as an easy way for office workers to commute and get around downtown without encountering traffic from vehicles.
Below in the tunnels, you will find food vendors and restaurants, florists, ATM machines, travel services, coffee bars, drugstores, hair salons, post offices and shopping centers. How do you enter the tunnels and get down there? There are major entrances at Renaissance Tower, Bank of America Plaza, Thanks-giving square, and One Main Place. Also you can enter the tunnels from stairs, escalators or elevators located inside any of the buildings that are connected to the tunnel system. The tunnels are only open, however, during business hours. You can find free maps Online that sketch out the entire underground network.
Perhaps you have lived in Dallas all of your life and you think you have seen it all. You might even live in some of the best apartments in Downtown Dallas, located right on top of this system of underground tunnels, yet this is a side of DFW you have not yet explored. An entire new world of discoveries could be right under your nose.
Visit the Worlds Largest Domed Structure
The world's largest domed structure just also happens to be the home of the world-renown Dallas Cowboys, so there is double the reason to be excited about touring The Texas AT&T Stadium. Take advantage of one of the tours offered daily and explore the art along the way. Yes, I did say "art". Not everyone realizes that the Texas AT&T is also an art museum. Museum-quality contemporary art is proudly displayed throughout the stadium.
The roof of the stadium is retractable, and although it is primarily known for housing the Dallas Cowboys, it also is used for other events, both sport and non sport in nature. For example, in 2014 it housed an International Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in English, which was attended by members from the DFW area as well as some visitors from countries around the world. These members attended in person, but some other members were tied in by conference and attended the Convention remotely from other stadiums, while connected to the AT&T Stadium. In all, over 200,000 were tied in, with 80,000 in actual attendance at the AT&T Stadium. Only one week later, Jehovah's Witnesses again enjoyed a large International Convention at the AT&T Stadium, this time hosted by Spanish attendees and welcoming visitors of the same faith from many of the Spanish-speaking countries of the world.
The huge video screen hangs down from the 20 yard line to the 20 yard line and is well utilized by whatever group happens to be using the stadium, whether a sports team or a religious convention. The construction cost of this state-of-the-art facility ended up being over 1 billion dollars, making it one of the most costly sports venues ever built. To put into perspective the size of the stadium, the Statue of Liberty will fit inside the dome of the facility! It's too bad she can't attend. I'm sure she would be rooting for the Dallas Cowboys (sorry New York Giants).
Shop Til You Drop
Or as the calvary says "Charge!" Dallas has no shortage of impressive and outstanding places to shop, whether you are looking for a collection of fun outlets, or high end retail therapy. For outlet shopping combined with fun amenities, the Grapevine Mills Mall is recommended. It ranks one of the largest Outlet Malls in DFW, yet it also has some other unique features, such as being the only Mall in Texas with a Sea Life Centre. It has 20 anchor stores and over 200 retail stores, laid out in a convenient horse track pattern. Start with any store and work your way around the entire circle of the Mall and you will eventually end up back where you started. The Mall also boasts dozens of outlets stores including one for Neiman Marcus and one for Saks Fifth Avenue. There are a number of specialty restaurants as well, including the fun Rainforest Cafe where you can eat your lunch during a tropical rainstorm. A huge AMC 30 Screen Theatre is also attached to this Mall that has it all.
Practically next door to The Grapevine Mills Mall, the Bass Proshop Outdoor World is another interesting place to shop. This huge 200,000 square feet store is a shopping paradise for anyone who loves hunting, fishing, back packing, camping, rock climbing, boating, golfing and other outdoor activities. Inside you will find an archery range, a putting green, a fishing demonstration and a laser arcade. There are many aquariums filled with native Texas fish, and a restaurant attached. The largest outdoor sporting equipment store in the Southwest has apparel, gifts, toys and merchandise that you never knew existed, all under one roof. It's like retail camping for the shopping enthusiast!
Prefer a more elegant and sophisticated shopping experience? Don't miss checking out a true historical landmark, namely Highland Park Village. This mall is known as "America's First Mall". Built in 1931, it now is home to classy restaurants and popular stores with international flair. The Mall's outdoor plaza makes you feel like you are shopping in Europe. This upscale shopping plaza has many high end stores, and some are exclusive only to Texas.
Speaking of high end stores exclusive to Texas, you don't want to miss an incredible historic downtown store, even if you are not interested in shopping. For the historical value, tour the Original Neiman Marcus Department Store, which first opened in 1914 in Dallas, TX. Have lunch at the Zodiac Room and explore this landmark.
Step Back in Time
Once a year, the DFW hosts an event from late April through the middle of June called The Scarborough Faire. This is an English Renaissance Festival that draws thousands to the piney woods. You have the unique experience of wandering through a medieval English village, and you are welcome to dress in period attire. Watch the jousting events or the demonstrations of birds of prey. Eat the food from that period and explore booths with many hand-made crafts and arts that are in line with that era.
All in Good Taste
Another annual event in Dallas that is not to be missed is the "Taste of Addison", which usually takes place near the end of May. At this event you will experience 180 plus restaurants in less than 4.4 miles. The tastiest food combines with the best music for this nationally-recognized event. It's a celebration of food, fun and music. Addison is affectionately known as "restaurant row" because of how many eateries it boasts, in a relatively small geographic area. The "Taste of Addison" puts all of those culinary masters to work from each of those unique restaurants to present the best of their fairs to an eager public. Sample everything during this 3 day long extravaganza. Just be sure to bring your appetite!
A One-of-a-Kind Museum
This is the only museum where you can explore the actual location of President Kennedy's assassination, and the mysterious details related to it. Definitely one of the most visited spots in Dallas, the Sixth Floor Museum gives you a glimpse into the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. From the corner window of this building in Downtown Dallas, an assassin pulled the trigger and ended the life of President Kennedy. Retrace the route made by the motorcade and recount the events of that dreadful day that shocked America. Review the clippings, artifacts, pictures and video footage and come to your own conclusion.
And we aren't referring to the stockyards. Dallas has the largest farmers market in Texas! Local chefs go to the Dallas Farmers Market to beat the crowds early in the morning and have the best picks of fresh local fruits and vegetables for the day. The vendors open early, and most of them are representatives of local farms, bringing their fresh produce, often available for a better price than you can find in the local grocery stores. You can find everything from apples, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, onions, corn, as well as fresh roasted peanuts, pecans, honey, eggs, and much more. Other vendors often surround the area with plants, flowers and even pottery.
Just the Tip of the Iceberg
These top 20 suggestions for places to go and things to see in Dallas are not meant to be an exhaustive list. There are not enough pixels in your computer to formulate on your screen all the choices I could type out and include. Rather, it is just meant to be a starting point.
This list does not even include the zillions of activities and adventures that you can have in the nearby sister city of Dallas, namely Fort Worth. Together, Dallas and Fort Worth combine to form one giant metropolis known as DFW. This mega-city is composed of dozens and dozens of suburbs, each with its own offerings of culture, entertainment, arts, sports, restaurant venues, natural scenic getaways, and retail shopping.
Whether you just moved to DFW, or you are a long-time resident, or even perhaps a native Dallas-ite (such as myself), avoid the trap of self-confined house arrest. You know what I'm talking about...when you become a victim of routine and the structured daily drill. You go to work, then straight home to your Dallas apartment or residential home, eat dinner, go to bed, and repeat the process the next day. It's as if your life is written on a laundry tag: "wash, rinse, dry, repeat."
You will find 5, 10, 15 years slipping by like the sands in an hourglass and realize one morning when you wake up that you have hardly even seen what this great city you live in has to offer. You don't have to take a week off of work and travel far away to have an adventure. There is adventure all around you, and you only have to go out your front door and travel minutes to get there! Are you ready to get started? I hope this article will help guide you, or at least spark your interest. Life is too short to waste in an armchair. Go live it!
How Many of These Top Attractions in Dallas Have You Experienced?
© 2017 Amy Williams