Best Things To Do in Dallas – Fort Worth
If you only have a day or two, you will have to choose whether you want the Dallas or the Fort Worth experience: The sheer distance (and traffic) between the two cities will force you to be selective. However, taking three days to a week to explore both sides of DFW will expose you to the Metroplex's true nature. History buffs should tour Dallas' Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza as well as the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. Families can enjoy a day at the Dallas World Aquarium or the Fort Worth Zoo, while art lovers should make time for both the Dallas Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum. Then meet in the middle for a Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium.
Updated December 12, 2018
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If you only have a day in Fort Worth, head straight to the Stockyards. This living museum pays tribute to Fort Worth's Wild West heyday with daily cattle drives and plenty of restaurants serving up cowboy cuisine. Start your visit at Stockyards Station at the heart of this historic neighborhood – from here, you can join a guided walking or Segway tour or hop on a stage coach. If you're interested in the district's history, pay a visit to the Stockyards Museum, which is housed in the former Livestock Exchange building and now contains an extensive collection of documents and artifacts from Fort Worth's Old West era. Meanwhile, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Texas Trail of Fame will also offer insight into Fort Worth's most notable residents. If you have kids in tow, take a twirl through the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze or a ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad.
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On Nov. 22, 1963, shots from Lee Harvey Oswald's gun echoed through Dealey Plaza as President John F. Kennedy's motorcade turned off of Houston Street onto Elm. Today, this scenic green space in downtown Dallas is visited every year by thousands who gather to honor the 35th president.
- #3View all PhotosfreeSundance Square#3 in Dallas – Fort WorthSightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
To get a sense of historic Fort Worth, pair your visit to the Stockyards with an afternoon at Sundance Square, located in the heart of the city. Named for the Sundance Kid – partner to the infamous Butch Cassidy – this 35-block district has been entertaining Fort Worth visitors since the city's Wild West days. During the 1800s, cowboys following the Chisholm Trail would stop here in town to linger in the saloons, gambling parlors and dance halls. Today, the area's red-brick buildings house a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. Sundance Square's pedestrian plaza (located along Main Street between Third and Fourth streets) also features several fountains – the jetted fountains being the most popular. Bring your bathing suit for an afternoon of ducking and diving beneath the spray of 216 jets, or bring your camera in the evening when the fountain is lit by underwater LED light fixtures.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Dallas – Fort WorthZoos and AquariumsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDZoos and AquariumsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Since it opened in 1909, this Texas zoo has been exposing Fort Worth residents and visitors to wildlife from around the world. When it first opened, the Fort Worth Zoo contained one lion, two bear cubs, a coyote, a peacock, an alligator and some rabbits; now, it's a full menagerie with exhibits housing everything from jaguars to flamingos. Make your way to the Australian Outback to mingle with Aussie residents like kangaroos, or visit the Asian Falls area for views of the stunning white tigers. Recent visitors also highly recommend spending time in the Museum of Living Art, an award-winning facility that houses some 5,700 birds, reptiles and amphibians who live among hand-painted murals.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Dallas – Fort WorthMuseums, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseums, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
The Kimbell Art Museum has earned a reputation as one of the top small museums in the world. The facility itself is a work of art, complete with vaults and skylights and a sculpture garden designed by prominent Japanese-American artist, Isamu Noguchi. And despite its modest size, this museum is a must-see for any art buff: The permanent collection houses works that span history and features artists ranging from El Greco and Rembrandt to Monet and Picasso.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Dallas – Fort WorthMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
If you've brought the kids to the Big D, set aside some time for a visit to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. This 180,000-square-foot facility is jam-packed with hands-on exhibits and educational displays that address such topics as Texas ecosystems human evolution. One particular highlight for recent visitors was the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall, which features towering dinosaur skeletons and an educational scavenger hunt. The Rose Hall of Birds also captivated visitors: Here, interactive displays explain how birds fly and socialize.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Dallas – Fort WorthMuseums, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseums, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
The Dallas Museum of Art houses a collection that spans artistic eras and continents: On gallery walls and behind glass display cases art aficionados will find ancient works from Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean; European art spanning the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries; and contemporary pieces by such artists as Mark Rothko and Roy Lichtenstein. The museum also plays host to various traveling exhibitions, which have in the past included works by Georgia O'Keefe and Vincent van Gogh.
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If there's one thing the people of Dallas and Fort Worth love, it's football. So a stop by the home of the Dallas Cowboys is necessary for a true glimpse into the area's culture. The Cowboys' former kingdom in Irving was demolished in 2010 to make way for a bigger, better venue. Now you can visit "America's Team" at AT&T Stadium. The largest domed stadium in the country with a capacity for 80,000 screaming fans is located in Arlington, Texas – approximately halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth.
- #9View all Photos#9 in Dallas – Fort WorthParks and GardensTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDParks and GardensTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
True, Dallas has plenty of towering skyscrapers and traffic-laden highways. But it's also rich in green space. For respite from the big city, head to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which occupies 66 acres in White Rock Lake Park about 7 miles northeast of downtown. Forget about the hustle and bustle with a stroll through the Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden, where more than 2,000 varieties of azaleas blossom in the spring and several acres of chrysanthemums come to life during the fall. Several historic homes surround the lake, tucked away in numerous patches of natural forest; take some time to visit them and escape the blazing summer heat.
- #10View all Photos#10 in Dallas – Fort WorthMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Set on 23 acres in northern Dallas' University Park, The George W. Bush Presidential Library houses extensive textual, audiovisual and electronic records from the 43rd presidency. As you can imagine, the library is more of a research facility than it is a tourist attraction. Instead, casual visitors should make their way to the adjacent 14,000-square-foot museum, where detailed displays explore such events of Bush's time in office as 9/11, as well as the themes of education reform and the economic crisis. Inside the museum, you'll find interactive exhibits that put you in the former president's shoes: You can walk around a replica of the Oval Office, and in the Decision Points Theater, you can experience the Bush administration's decision- and policy-making process.
- #11View all Photos#11 in Dallas – Fort WorthMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Sitting across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art in the Big D's lively Arts District, the Nasher Sculpture Garden repeatedly wows locals and visitors with its striking indoor and outdoor galleries (a particular highlight for past visitors). The center houses more than 300 works of art by modern and contemporary artists like Matisse, Picasso and Rodin. Pieces here range from small marble sculptures to massive installations. Some recent travelers recommend participating in a docent-led tour, available Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 and 11 a.m., which is included in the admission price. To participate in a tour on Tuesday or Thursday, you must make reservations at least three weeks in advance.
- #12View all Photos#12 in Dallas – Fort WorthZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Perhaps "aquarium" isn't the right word to describe this attraction. Of course there are fish, stingrays, eels and octopuses – you'll find these and a variety of other aquatic creatures occupying the facility's expansive tanks. But the Dallas World Aquarium also houses penguins, sharks and flamingos. A living rainforest shelters manatees, crocodiles, monkeys and toucans, while the Mayan exhibit is home to a Jabiru storks and an ocelot, among other fascinating wildlife. If you can, try and plan your visit around feeding times: You'll get to see the critters feast while aquarium staff members tell you more about the species.
- View all PhotosParks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Travelers can embrace nature at White Rock Lake and Park, which is located about 10 miles north of downtown Dallas. Bird-watching, fishing, biking, rollerblading and picnicking by the lake are just a few of the activities people can enjoy. Active visitors and locals love to sail on the lake, as well as rent stand-up paddleboards and kayaks from a nearby rental company, White Rock Paddle Co. Keep in mind that swimming in the lake is prohibited. But with local attractions nearby like the White Rock Lake Museum, Bath House Cultural Center and Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and amenities like a picnic area, dog park and pavilions for rent, you can find entertainment rain or shine.
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With free Wi-Fi, weekly events, a dog park, walking trails, a children's park, several restaurants, food trucks and a performance pavilion, Klyde Warren Park is not your typical green space. Built over the Woodall Rogers Freeway and managed by the Woodall Rogers Park Foundation, the urban space in the heart of Dallas hosts events ranging from yoga and concerts to outdoor films and lectures series. The park, which sprawls across more than 5 acres, can also be reserved for public or private events – the skyline and location make it an ideal backdrop for weddings and concerts.
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This Mediterranean-style shopping center is home to upscale stores in an open-air setting where visitors can wander for a few hours. The shopping center, which was one of the first of its kind, has restaurants, a movie theater and shops that reflect the wealthy neighborhood where it is located. Some refer to it as the "Beverly Hills of Dallas," which should be an indicator of just how high-end the stores are, and locals say it's one of the top shopping spots in Dallas. The architecture of the longstanding shopping center is also a draw, and shoppers recommend checking out Highland Park Village around Christmastime when lights and decorations transform the outdoor mall.
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