The phrase ‘go big or go home’ could have been invented for Dallas. Yes, there’s the expected country music and cowboy boots, and the glitzy image that made the city famous. But there’s also a thriving art scene and world-class museums, not to mention that shopping is practically a sport here. Stick around for a few days, and you’ll see why this is the city that inspired an iconic TV show.
If you’re staying with us in the ‘Big D’, here are ten things to do in Dallas that we think you’ll love.
A must-visit for first timers to Dallas, Reunion Tower has the most breathtaking views in the city. The panoramic observation deck is accompanied by telescopes, high-definition zoom cameras and interactive touch screens. One of the most popular things to do in Dallas with kids is the 360-degree video experience, a virtual reality viewer that lets you fly above the city. If 470 feet up isn't enough for you, book a table at Five Sixty, the tower's sophisticated rotating restaurant.
The assassination of JFK is a notorious part of the city’s history, and this museum covering every aspect is a must when visiting Dallas. Stand in the very room in the Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald lay in wait, and see the extraordinary collection of 40,000 artifacts relating to the incident. The museum also has a fun section on some of the strange conspiracy theories that have emerged.
Take a tour around the globe at the Dallas Museum of Art, whose permanent collection contains works from across Africa, Asia and Europe as well as from home-grown artists. The great and good of Western art are well represented here with paintings by Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh, but there’s also plenty of contemporary art and a remarkable archaeological collection, including a pre-Columbian gold mask. Stop for a coffee in the light and airy DMA Cafe before you leave.
This leafy haven on the shores of White Rock Lake provides locals with an escape from the city bustle. A Woman’s Garden is the place to go if you like sculptures and water features, while Nancy Rutchik Rill has amazing fall colors. Don’t miss A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre kitchen garden that has daily cooking demos and free tastings of local produce. There are also concerts staged here throughout the spring and summer.
The McKinney Transit Authority has been buying and restoring vintage streetcars since the 1980s and running them on the historic M-Line that runs up through the Arts District to City Place. All the cars are heated and air-conditioned and have quaint names like Rosie and Petunia to match their unique histories. Such a great way to see the city in comfort.
Get ready to splurge on some gorgeous things at the even more beautiful Highland Park Village, known as much for its colonial revival architecture as its high-end boutiques. Join the stylish locals shopping for Cartier, Chanel and Dior and take advantage of the free personal shopping service, or simply browse as you amble around the tree-lined streets. There's also a handful of lavish restaurants; Mi Cocina is great for chilling with a cocktail.
A great place to stop for a snack at all times of day, Dallas Farmers Market has Mexican taquerias, Italian bakeries and Vietnamese fusion trucks in addition to selling local produce. There are also flower stalls, handmade crafts and tons of antique stalls where you can shop for furniture, artwork and jewelry to your heart’s content. Swing by at the weekend for cool Dallas events like live music, art pop-ups and chef demonstrations.
The thrills never stop at this exhilarating amusement park, the ultimate in adrenaline-fueled Dallas activities. This high-intensity attraction include bungee-jumping, free-falling and a giant slingshot that flings you 150 feet in the air. For the truly brave, there’s the Skyscraper, a propeller that moves at fighter-jet speeds with 4Gs of force. There’s also a pretty great view of the city, if you’re in any shape to look at it.
Get in touch with your inner cowboy or cowgirl at Texas Horse Park, a 600-acre park just south of downtown. Trail rides range from beginner to advanced and take riders through the old growth woodland of Great Trinity Forest, past freshwater springs and along the banks of the Trinity River. Take a picnic with you and admire views of the gleaming city skyline.
For a fun night out in Dallas, head to the Arts Center, the epicenter of Dallas’s cultural life. Home to an opera house, a theater and an outdoor performance space, visitors can see everything from ballet and concerts to Broadway shows and experimental theater. It’s worth turning up early to eat at the Skyline Terrace, where the nightly menu is designed by the chef to match the scheduled performance. It’s the perfect place to end your evening in Dallas.