Most Popular Things to Do in Dallas, Texas

Ready to land in Texas for your next vacation? Start your journey by checking out all the best things to do in Dallas, Texas. The state’s third-biggest city, Dallas is one of Texas’s must-see urban destinations and an obligatory stop on any road trip through the Lone Star State.

There’s plenty to see & do in the Big D, from outdoor activities to arts & culture. Exploring the top tourist attractions in Dallas, you’ll filter through tasty local food shops, craft breweries, cafes, fancy restaurants, beautiful parks, and must-see museums. And let’s not forget the city’s legendary nightlife, a must-do when traveling with friends or your partner.

Need an overview of what to do in Dallas? Carve out a flawless trip itinerary with this complete guide to the best places to visit in Dallas, TX!

Must-see places to visit in Dallas, TX

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Want a nature-filled start to your vacation? Set aside time in your itinerary to wander around The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Spread across 66 acres of land on the shore of White Rock Lake in East Dallas, this lovely garden will take away all your worries with its breathtaking views and stunning natural beauty.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is split into a variety of named gardens. If you’re traveling with kids, check out the educational interactive exhibits at the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. Transport yourself to East Asia at the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill, featuring 80 varieties of Japanese maple trees spread over two acres. Or get a taste of fresh, sustainable, local food at A Tasteful Place, the park’s signature 3.5-acre ornamental garden and pavilion.

Visiting Dallas in spring? Don’t miss the Dallas Blooms Festival, the largest flower festival in the Southeast. During the six-week festival, the gardens are set ablaze in color, with over 500,000 tulips in bloom.

Dallas Zoo

Got a few animal lovers in your travel crew? Bring the whole family for a fun-filled day at the Dallas Zoo. Located just three miles south of downtown, the Dallas Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, first opening its doors back in 1888. Since then, it’s become the largest zoological park in Texas, housing over 2,000 animals spanning 406 species.

Dallas Zoo

Kids and adults alike will relish spending some time gazing at exotic animal species like giraffes, tigers, elephants, and gorillas. For some family-friendly excitement, join in on one of the zoo’s Wild Encounters to get up close to reptiles, birds, and more. Pop into the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo section to experience Travis & Zach’s Bird Landing. The walk-in aviary features almost two dozen species, including parrots, starlings, and cuckoos. Or visit Wonders of the Wild, where resident zoologists will introduce guests to animals like penguins and birds of prey.

Another interesting attraction at the Dallas Zoo is the Gorilla Research Center within its Wilds of Africa exhibit. The whole family will love watching the zoo’s lowland gorillas roam freely all year round at this beautiful replica of the Congo Rainforest.

Admission to the Dallas Zoo is $20-22 for adults and $16-17 for youth/seniors, depending on which day of the week you visit. You can reserve your tickets on their official site.

Klyde Warren Park

Coming to Dallas on workcation? Grab your laptop and work in the fresh air at Klyde Warren Park. Sitting over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, the 5.2-acre urban park straddling Downtown Dallas and Uptown Dallas is easy to miss. Keep an eye out as you wander towards the northern edge of the city center and the Arts District.

Klyde Warren Park

At Klyde Warren Park, you get your work done in a calm environment by connecting to the park’s free WiFi. Once you’ve finished up, explore the park’s food trucks to tackle your hunger. From Korean BBQ to wood-fired pizza, there are plenty of authentic tastes to savor here.

Want to stay active on your Dallas trip? Join in on one of the fitness events at Klyde Warren Park, from yoga to boot camps. Bring your pooches for a run in My Best Friend’s Park, the on-site dog park at the southwest corner of Pearl Street and Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Or let the kids expand their minds and burn off some energy at the playground at Sheila and Jody Grant Children’s Park.

If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch a special event on your Klyde Warren Park visit, including live music performances. Check out the park’s official events calendar to see what’s coming up.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

For history buffs, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is a Dallas sightseeing hotspot that can’t be missed. You’ll discover the museum on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository. One of the must-visit museums in Dallas, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is dedicated to the life, assassination, and legacy of John F. Kennedy.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza to learn more about President John F. Kennedy and that fateful day in 1963. The museum features exhibits on Kennedy’s presidency, his assassination, and the aftermath. You’ll also see a replica of the sniper’s perch and the rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald in the shooting.

Dallas Museum of Art

Ready to get your art & culture fix? Mark the Dallas Museum of Art as your next stop on your vacation. Located in the Dallas Arts District, this famed cultural institution is one of the largest art museums in the United States and is the perfect spot for a rainy-day activity.

Dallas Museum of Art

At the Dallas Museum of Art, you’ll witness over 23,000 pieces from 5,000 years of humanity’s cultural development. Gaze at Renaissance works, Pre-Columbian pieces, South Asian art, and contemporary designs. Famous artists to look out for at in the various collections include Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Auguste Rodin, and Paul Cézanne.

The Dallas Museum of Art also hosts various special events, from concerts in the evenings and afternoons to art classes for the whole family. Check out the museum’s official events schedule to see what’s happening during your vacation days.

The best part? Entry to the Dallas Museum of Art is free. (You’ll need to book a time slot for your visit, however. Click here for more info.)

The Dallas Museum of Art opens on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm. On Thursdays, you can explore the art museum from 11 am to 9 pm.

Reunion Tower

Not afraid of heights? Gaze out at the Dallas skyline at Reunion Tower. At the iconic tower, you’ll stand at the height of 560 feet in the sky for a glimpse of a scenic bird’s-eye view of the city.

Reunion Tower

Even if you only have one day in Dallas, don’t miss checking out the GeO-Deck at the observation deck level, where you’ll learn about the city landmarks and Reunion Tower itself.

While at the top of the tower, take some creative snapshots of the landscape and amaze your friends & family with your photo skills.

Sparked up an appetite? Don’t miss out on relishing Asian-infused delicacies at one of the two rotating eateries up here: Cloud Nine Cafe and Wolfgang Puck.

Highland Park Village

Is shopping more your thing? Spend some of your hard-earned money at Highland Park Village. The Spanish, Mexican, and Californian design mixture of this shopping center will allure you at every corner. You can shop for yourself or your loved ones at luxury brand stores like Chanel, Fendi, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Cartier, etc.

Highland Park Village

If you’re an influencer, you’ll love creating content at this top Dallas tourist attraction. Every lane of the Highland Park Village provides an authentic feel that can provide drama to your photos and videos.

After completing your shopping and snapping, savor a refueling cup of joe at Bistro 31 and Café Pacific.

The Dallas World Aquarium

Fond of marine life? Witness it closely in action at The Dallas World Aquarium. One of the top points of interest in Dallas, the aquarium is home to sloths, piranhas, anacondas, stingrays, crocodiles, and plenty of other cool sea creatures.

The Dallas World Aquarium

At the Dallas World Aquarium, your kids can learn about life underwater through interactive exhibits and live shows. The huge aquarium shows information about a variety of colorful wild animals, including magnificent Japanese crabs, brilliant jellyfish, Ribbon and Weedy seadragons, and more. You can also take a walk on the attraction’s wild side, devoted to birds.

The Dallas World Aquarium is open to visitors every day from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission prices are $27 for adults and $19 for children ages three to 11.

Winspear Opera House

Prefer culture over clubs? Pick up your car keys and head straight to Winspear Opera House. The 2,200-seat performance hall will give you the experience of a lifetime. The opera house’s horseshoe design creates a certain intimacy, leaving you you pause and stare.

Winspear Opera House

The 18-meter-high Annette and Harold Simmons Signature Glass Facade will greet you on arrival, as you marvel at the slatted Sky Canopy, providing shade to over three acres of Sammons Park.

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From pop and rock concerts to ballets and operas, there’s always something going on at the Winspear Opera House. You can also enjoy pre-show talks, educational programs, and other events.

Dallas Heritage Village

Are heritage and history your thing? Stop by Dallas Heritage Village. A part of Old City Park, the historic village offers a glimpse of historic homes with Victorian and pioneer designs. You, your family, or your friends can learn the Victorian history of Dallas in a cool way.

Dallas Heritage Village

At the Dallas Heritage Village, you’ll stroll through lanes full of old buildings such as churches, banks, and schools. Be sure to bring along your camera to get snapshots of all the wonderful memories.

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The Dallas Heritage Village is open every day from 9 am to 2 pm, except for Thursdays when it’s open for only two hours, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Admission to the village is free for children under the age of 13 and $8 for adults.

Southfork Ranch

A big fan of the Dallas TV series and looking for the answer to who shot J.R.? Discover the mystery in person at Southfork Ranch, one of the state’s most popular pop-culture gathering places. On your Dallas itinerary, it’s a must to book a tour of this ranch, famously known as Ewing Mansion. The tour will take you through all the rooms—even J.R.’s bedroom!

Southfork Ranch

If you want to recreate one of your favorite scenes from the series, feel free to do it: You’re allowed to shoot videos at various locations of Southfork Ranch and live in the moment. (Except by the poolside.)

Deep Ellum

Looking to experience Dallas’s lively nightlife? Take a walk down to Deep Ellum, an entertainment district located east of Downtown Dallas. In Deep Ellum, you’ll find art galleries, nightclubs, restaurants, and a barrage of bars.

Deep Ellum

While strolling the streets of Deep Ellum, you’ll spot street performances, including singers and dancers. Enjoy the show and have a little tangy dance of yours—if you so wish.

In Deep Ellum, you can also enjoy mouth-watering Tex-Mex food, washed down with a few drinks. Or relish in tasty smoked meat in North Texas at Pecan Lodge. The long waiting line outside Pecan Lodge will help you locate on busy Main Street.

Bishop Arts District

The Bishop Arts District can fulfill your craving for fun. The 60-plus restaurants, bars, and boutiques will astound you with something new on every visit. The urban arts district is located in Dallas’s North Oak Cliff area.

Bishop Arts District

You’ll find food from all around the world in the Bishop Arts District. Finish off your night by dining at Eno’s Pizza Tavern and enjoying a slice of Emporium Pies‘ delicious sweets.

There are also numerous unique shops to visit around Bishop Arts District, including Spinster Records and Wild Detectives bookshop bar. At some spots, you’ll find artistic murals surrounded by tourist crowds waiting to take some cool photos.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Want to satisfy your science cravings? Visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, a popular natural history & science museum housing 11 exhibit halls. The unusual edifice appears as a huge cube resting above a water garden, with features reminiscent of North Texas’ drought-tolerant grassland.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Among the interactive exhibits at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, you can feel as if you’re in the middle of an earthquake. Or you can create music in a sound studio, smell Blackland Prairie beeswax, and construct a robot. If you have extra time, you can compete against top-tier athletes and see the city of Dallas in the form of a miniature.

Pioneer Plaza

Want to learn more about the early days of the old Shawnee Trail? Heading to Pioneer Plaza to witness the city’s rugged early days is one of the coolest things to do in Dallas.

Pioneer Plaza

Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, Pioneer Plaza lets to walk among life-size bronze steers and Longhorn cattle that once traveled along the Shawnee Trail. Bring your children and let them learn the origins of man in this virtual museum.

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Crossing the Pioneer Plaza, you’ll have a sight of 49 longhorn steers and three trail riders on horseback, all in an environment of ridges and cliffs. You’ll notice the trees and plants native to North Texas, a flowing stream, and a waterfall to make the scenes more true-to-life.

Frontiers of Flight Museum

Interested in aviation? Head towards the Frontiers of Flight Museum. The museum is located at the Love Field Airport, just north of Downtown Dallas. The exhibits cover the history of aviation, from early balloons to today’s jetliners.

Frontiers of Flight Museum

At the Frontiers of Flight Museum, you can explore more than 30 vintage aircraft and spacecraft. When traveling with children, take them to the Apollo VII spacecraft to learn about humans’ first attempt to reach Moon.

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You’ll get an opportunity to see some of the world’s rarest airplanes and most outstanding aviation achievements. Make some space in your schedule to explore 13 galleries and displays, including relics from the Hindenburg.

Meyerson Symphony Center

Want to add some sophistication to your Dallas trip? Take a seat at the Meyerson Symphony Center, one of the most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world.

Meyerson Symphony Center

At the Meyerson Symphony Center, you’ll see a musical ensemble from the city’s long-standing culture, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. You can attend any of their performances or take a tour of the facility.

On a tour of the venue, you’ll see the stage area and get to know how it works. You can also explore the exquisite Nancy B. Hamon Hall and Eugene McDermott Concert Hall. The tour will give you an idea of how the Meyerson Symphony Center became one of the world’s finest concert halls.

Where to stay in Dallas for sightseeing

For most travelers, the top choices for where to stay in Dallas fall in & around Downtown, including the Main Street District. Other areas and neighborhoods to consider outside the downtown core include Uptown Dallas, Deep Ellum, and the Bishop Arts District. 

Lorenzo Hotel

Lorenzo Hotel

If you need a dash of culture for your stay in Dallas, book yourself into this 4-star boutique hotel, dubbing itself a “living art gallery.” Art lovers will love soaking up the art filling the rooms and the hallways of the Lorenzo, while literature buffs will get a kick out of the hotel’s book-infused lobby. After a day of sightseeing, dive into the outdoor pool, offering incredible skyline views.

Omni Dallas Hotel

Omni Dallas Hotel

Located close to the Art District, this 5-star hotel is the perfect retreat away from the busy city center. Relax in the sleek rooms, enjoying beautiful views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Before you leave, be sure to cool down in the hot Texas sun with the dip in the outdoor infinity pool to dramatic skyline views.

Thompson Dallas

Thompson Dallas

Set in the Main Street District in The National building, the Thompson is one of the finest 5-star hotels in Dallas. Besides laying back in the chic rooms, guests will soak up an array of experiences at this luxury hotel, from first-class dining to arts & entertainment.

Treksplorer

Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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