Dallas may not be as high on the list of cities to visit as trendy Austin or coastal Houston for most visitors to Texas but we can assure you that it is a city full of fun things to do, incredibly good food, and people who thoroughly enjoy having a good time.
This large and sprawling city has plenty of museums, green spaces, amusement parks, some of the country’s top sporting teams like the Dallas Cowboys, and world-class restaurants. No matter what you are into, you will find it in Dallas!
We’ve prepared the ultimate Dallas bucket list filled with the best things to see and do so you don’t miss any of this beautiful city’s highlights and top attractions.
Dallas Bucket List
1. Geo-Deck at Reunion Tower
The Reunion Tower is an iconic landmark in Dallas and one of the most easily recognizable features of the Dallas city skyline. Visitors can experience panoramic views of downtown Dallas from the Reunion Towers 470-foot high indoor/outdoor observation deck. The observation deck is reached via a thrilling ride inside a glass-panel elevator which is definitely not for the feint of heart! Admission to the Geo-Deck is free with the Dallas CityPass.
2. Dallas Arts District
Dallas can lay claim to having the largest urban arts district in the United States. Situated over twenty blocks, the area has a huge concentration of sculptures, some of the city’s top attractions, and many architectural gems surrounding the landscape.
Some of the top Dallas attractions you can find here include the Crow Museum Sculpture Garden, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Winspear Opera House, the Dallas Museum of Art, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
While you’re in the Arts District, be sure to also visit the the oldest Catholic church in the city; the beautiful Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin Guadalupe. With its towering 224-foot spire, 49-bell carillon, and 100 stained glass windows, it is one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in Dallas.
3. Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art is located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District and features a stunning collection of over 25,000 works of art from all cultures spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. Pieces include work from ancient Mediterranean art, 18th century European, American, African and Asian art. Some of the artists on display here include Andy Warhol, Renoir, Van Gough, Cezanne, and Monet. In addition, the museum has lots of fun programming for kids of all ages and events for adults that includes a lecture series with authors, poets, and visionaries.
4. Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge
The Ronald Kirk Bridge is a pedestrian footbridge over the Trinity River in Dallas which connects Downtown Dallas and West Dallas. While there is nothing too special about this pedestrian bridge, what is special are the up close views of the iconic white Margaret Hunt Hill bridge that runs parallel. Not only that, but you can also see spectacular Dallas skyline views from here too.
You can find the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian bridge in Trinity Groves, a green space in West Dallas which provides a good place to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. There are also hiking and biking trails and picnic facilities for family gatherings.
5. AT&T Stadium
The AT&T Stadium is the largest domed stadium in the world and the largest enclosed stadium in the NFL which is fitting because everyone knows everything is bigger in Texas! Home to the Dallas Cowboys, this impressive stadium cost over one billion dollars to construct making it also one of the most expensive sports venues ever built.
Catching a Dallas Cowboys game is a thrilling event, from the the pre-game tailgating parties to sitting in an arena packed with 80,000 energetic fans, this is a must do if you’re visiting Dallas. If you are not in Dallas during a home game or in football season you can still visit the stadium and take a guided or self-guided tour of this astounding building.
AT&T Stadium is located in Arlington which is about thirty minutes from downtown Dallas. Public transport from downtown Dallas is non-existent so you will either need to rent a vehicle or get an uber or lyft to visit.
6. Klyde Warren Park
Klyde Warren Park is a five-acre deck park which sits over an eight-lane freeway. The park is a feat of engineering and design made of more than 300 concrete beams while using a combination of Geofoam and specially designed soil to stop the deck from being too heavy.
This green space connects the vibrant Uptown neighborhood with the Dallas Arts District and downtown area transforming a former freeway into an urban oasis for local residents. The landscaping includes native plant species and 322 tree’s offering the community an environment they can come together and connect at. You will also find a handful of restaurants and food trucks here.
7. George Bush Library and Presidential Center
The George W. Bush Library and Presidential Center is a state of the art facility which gives visitors an in-depth look into the George Bush American Presidency and displays over 40,000 gifts and artifacts given to the President and First Lady during their time at the White House.
Highlights of the Presidential Center include a number of exhibits such as ‘Life in the White House’; an inside look into what life is like inside the White House, the ‘Oval Office’; an exact replica of the Oval Office in scale and design during the Bush administration, and a ‘Nation Under Attack’; a memorial to the September 11 attacks with many artifacts, photographs and letters on display.
Tickets for the George W. Bush Library & Presidential Center can be purchased upon entry or you can buy them in advance online and save 39% on admission (along with three other city attractions) using the Dallas CityPass.
8. Giant Eyeball
One of Dallas’ most unusual attractions is the giant thirty-foot tall eyeball sculpture located outside of the popular five-star Joule Hotel.
This weird sculpture which looks like it just fell out of a zombie’s eye socket was created by Tony Tasset and modeled after the artist himself. ‘The Eye’ was created by a company who specializes in kitschy fiberglass sculptures for roadside attractions and eventually bought by the Joule Hotel who is known for their expansive art collection. The public are permitted to stroll the gardens of the Joule Hotel where you will find the gigantic eyeball.
9. Perot Museum of Nature & Science
At the Perot Museum of Nature and Science visitors will find five floors housing permanent exhibit halls that will exercise their brains through hands-on activities, educational games, and life-like simulations. On the main floor there is an incredible thirty-five foot Malawisaurus fossil, access to the roof deck, and a 300 seat theater. There is also a children’s museum including outdoor play area.
The extraordinary building itself and outdoor space serves as a living science lesson; it has a stone roof which features a landscape of drought-tolerant greenery inspired by Dallas surroundings and the plinth is landscaped with a one acre rolling green roof consisting of rock and native drought-resistant grasses that reflects Texas’ indigenous landscape demonstrating a living system that will evolve naturally over time. This impressive building stands 170 feet high and was conceived as a large cube floating over a landscaped base.
10. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza explores the life, death and legacy of John F. Kennedy. This museum presents exhibits that document the social and political landscape of the 1960’s and relive Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 and following aftermath. Visitors can see in person the snipers perch and the area where the rifle was found, watch television broadcasts, and learn more about the facts and mystery surrounding the assassination of JFK.
11. Pioneer Plaza
Pioneer Plaza is a large public park located in the Convention Center District of downtown Dallas. This popular park and tourist destination holds a large sculpture commemorating the 19th century cattle drives that took place along the Shawnee Trail. The trail was the earliest and eastern-most route by which Texas longhorn cattle were taken to northern rail heads passing through Austin and Waco, Texas.
The forty-nine bronze steers and three trail riders were created by artist Robert Summers. Each steer is six feet high and all together the sculpture is the largest bronze monument of its kind in the world. Set along an artificial ridge, with the addition of a man-made limestone cliff and flowing stream help to create a realistic and dramatic depiction. The sculptures are a must see if you’re visiting Dallas.
12. Deep Ellum
Deep Ellum is a former warehouse district which has since been transformed into a trendy neighborhood for hipsters with a happening night life. You can find plenty of cool bars here and live music venues to enjoy a night out.
Besides the night life, this lively entertainment district is also known for its striking street murals, off-beat art galleries, and the Deep Ellum Brewing Company. Other drinking venues not to miss here include the Deep Ellum Distillery, a vodka distillery with unique flavors like strawberry-basil and Serrano pepper, and Trinity Cider who offer several different ciders on tap. Be sure to save room for some of the most amazing BBQ and Tex-Mex eateries!
13. Dallas Heritage Village
The Dallas Heritage Village in historic Old City Park is a living history museum with a collection of historic buildings representing the period between 1840 to 1910 in Texas. The mission of the Dallas Heritage Museum is to preserve and teach the history of Dallas and the North Central Texas area through exhibits, publications and educational programs.
The site of the museum and village itself is quite special having been the first city park of Dallas created in 1876. Browder Springs which now flows underground was the first water supply with a wooden water main carrying water to the then young city. There was even an upscale neighborhood here called ‘The Cedars’. However after World War II many residents moved out to the suburbs and highways were built to get them in to the city faster for work which left the area in a state of decline until a group of women decided to rescue and restore Old City Park.
Now visitors may tour the old park and see authentic buildings and other preserved artifacts related to life in Dallas from the frontier days beginning in 1840’s to the early 1900’s.
14. Dallas Zoo
Dallas Zoo is a 106 acre attraction located only three miles from downtown Dallas. This zoo is one of the oldest parks in Texas having been established in 1888 and home to over 2,000 animals! The zoo offers giraffe feeding, bird landings, and even cheetah encounters. Other attractions that the children will love include an Adventure Safari monorail, endangered species carousel ride, and T-Rex mini train.
15. Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium is a great place to put on your bucket list if you are traveling with kids or you are yourself a wildlife enthusiast. The aquarium has a diverse range of fish including birds and mammals such as penguins, sloths, and ocelots.
Begin your adventure at the top of the rainforest exhibit where you can view exotic birds such as toucans and cockatoo’s along with two-toed and three-towed sloths. Move on to see endangered species like the manatee and Orinoco crocodile and finish up at the South African display area.
16. Dallas Farmers Market
Nestled among the skyscrapers and the hustle of the city is the Dallas Farmers Market. The Farmers Market is a 26,000 square foot indoor food pavilion and vendor market featuring restaurants, local specialty foods, and artisanal food vendors. Patrons of the market can enjoy a quick bite to eat or sip on coffee while taking in the Dallas skyline views.
Next door to the Farmers Market is ‘The Shed’, an open-air pavilion where you can shop from regional vendors who grow, raise, make, and produce food. You’ll find a mix of farmers with seasonal produce grown in the Texas climate, and ranchers with naturally raised meats, cheese, eggs, honey, and other food artisans who make breads and canned foods. There are also has a handful of arts and crafts vendors throughout the year.
In the summer heat, misters and ceiling fans lower the temperature by fifteen degrees so it is a great place to relax and cool off.
17. Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
One of the most beautiful places you can visit in Dallas is the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. This sixty-six acre park is one of the world’s premier botanical gardens and a top attraction for visitors to Dallas.
This urban oasis is acclaimed for it’s colorful year long floral display and gorgeous vista’s of White Rock Lake and the Dallas city skyline. The park features several annual events and festivals such as the Dallas Blooms Festival but most impressive would be their Pumpkin Village display during Autumn when over 90,000 pumpkins and gourds are featured.
18. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Attending a Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament is probably one of the most fun things you could do in Dallas. The show offers an entertaining medieval themed battle involving jousting and sword fighting. This attraction may seem very touristy, and it might be so, but it doesn’t take away any of the fun! The combat features an impressive display of horsemanship and swordsmanship which can be enjoyed over an included four-course dinner.
Be aware that no eating utensils are supplied (it is the medieval times after all), so if you are not comfortable eating with your bare hands, this is probably not the destination for you.
19. Six Flags
If you’re looking for some thrills during your trip to Dallas head to Six Flags in Arlington. You can find some of the fastest, tallest, and most gut-wrenching rides in the country right here. Dare to free fall from one of the highest drop towers in the world at a staggering 325 feet in the sky on the Superman Tower of Terror or ride the Shock Wave which delivers a stunning 5.9 Gs on a record setting classic double loop ride. From pulse pounding roller coasters to much gentler options if you have the little ones in tow, Six Flags is fun for everyone. The theme park is open year round.
20. Travelling Man
The Traveling Man is an installation in Deep Ellum that serves as an ambassador for the neighborhood reminding visitors and locals of the area’s history with trains and it’s more recent history as a cradle for the arts.
There are in fact three Traveling Man’ sculptures on Good Latimer Expressway and each of the figures are made of polished metal sheets held together with rivets, all meant to evoke the railway history of the Deep Ellum neighborhood.
These installations are the work of artist Brad Oldham and Brandon Oldenburg and each figure stems from a different narrative the artists created. The story starts with a blues musician sitting underneath an elm tree who spills his can of gin which soaks down to the roots of the tree and touches a train car buried deep underground. The gin and the iron mix together and magically activate creating the Traveling Man.
The second installation is called ‘Waiting on a Train’ and can be found on the corner of Good Latimer and Gaston Avenue. Here, The Traveling Man is completely emerged from the ground and leans on a slab of concrete with a guitar in his hands sharing his art.
Finally, the third sculpture located at Good Latimer and Swiss Avenue is called ‘Walking Tall’. The Traveling Man now towers over Deep Ellum and he’s in the middle of taking big strides with a smile on his face, a bird on his arm, and a hole in the middle of his chest symbolizing where the spirit of art comes from and representing art take flight in the community.
21. The Rustic
If you’re looking for a place to dine al fresco, head to The Rustic. You can enjoy your meal and a cold beverage under twinkling string lights while listening to some Texas country. The Rustic offers a fun and lively atmosphere that is guaranteed to make your night special. The menu features seafood from the Gulf, steak from local ranchers, and other produce that is locally sourced. Live music is on every day of the week!
22. Fort Worth
While technically not in Dallas, Fort Worth is only a short twenty-five minute drive away and certainly should not be missed if you are visiting Dallas. The city of Fort Worth and particularly the Stockyards District attracts visitors from all over the world that come to experience the American West.
Nothing embodies Western heritage better than Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District. From the original brick walkways to the wooden corrals, every inch of the Stockyards tells the history of Texas’s famous livestock industry. One of the highlights would have to be watching the drovers herd steer down the main street which happens twice daily.
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