Top Things To Do In Dallas On Vacation
When you touch down at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Texas, you’ll want to grab your rental car and get going, but what should you do while you’re in Dallas on vacation? You’re in the Big D, and everything’s bigger in Texas–from live music to food trucks to malls. So, it stands to reason that there should be plenty to do and fun to be had. Let’s explore the streets of Dallas for the top things to do on vacation.
What to See
Let’s start with all the things you can see and do in Dallas.
1. Reunion Tower
It’s hard to picture the Dallas skyline without the iconic Reunion Tower geo-deck. It’s been a fixture there since the 1970s when it was built. From the observation deck at the top, you can see other famous Dallas landmarks like the AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys call home, and the birthplace of Dallas, Dealey Plaza.
Viewing Dallas from the Reunion Tower is a great idea for newcomers and visitors to the city. There is staff on hand to answer questions with their knowledge as locals, and you can get a feel for the town from this bird’s eye view of Dallas.
2. Dallas Arts District
In the northeast corner of Dallas, you’ll find a 118-acre urban arts district that is the largest of its kind in the nation. This exciting area integrates the community and neighborhood, which includes the largest collection of buildings designed by Pritzker award-winning architects than anywhere else in the country. The district is host to artistic collaborations, public education, and artistic innovations from around the world.
The arts district is a place where locals and tourists alike gather together. The area has great nightlife, so whatever time of day you can go, you’ll enjoy the atmosphere and the art as you stroll through the area. There’s so much to do in this area that you could plan a whole trip around the arts here.
Unwind and relax in the ample green space of the nearby Klyde Warren Park next to the new Say Their Names monument, or participate in a group yoga session in the park.
3. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
The Dallas Arboretum is one of the top arboretums in the world, and it has received an extensive list of awards since opening to the public in 1984. The beauty found at the 66-acre arboretum on the shores of White Rock Lake is worth the 30-minute drive from the airport to take in the ever-growing beauty.
Besides the breathtaking natural beauty, they have various events, including their Cool Thursday Concert Series, where music lovers can enjoy new bands and the beautiful scenery. You can also just lose yourself in multiple gardens like A Woman’s Garden, Jonsson Color Garden, and A Tasteful Place. Don’t forget to take the kids to enjoy the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.
Where to Eat
No vacation is complete without some good food, and when you’re traveling, you want to try the things you can’t get back home.
Terilli’s has been a Dallas classic since it opened in 1985. Terilli’s has delicious pizza chips that you can order just like a personal pizza. Yum! In addition to these Italchos, this restaurant offers a delightful menu of Italian dishes like lobster ravioli, sausage & peppers tortellini, and Terilli’s scampi.
While you’re trying to decide what to eat, you can use the Terilli decision-making favorite of flipping a coin. Just don’t forget to enjoy a martini and save room for one of their delicious desserts.
2. Cafe Pacific
If you like to enjoy that one special dinner before a night out on the town when you’re on vacation, you should really consider Cafe Pacific for dinner. Cafe Pacific is an elegant steak and seafood restaurant. It is a local favorite, but it’s known around the United States for its dining experience.
Choose from dishes like their signature prime pepper steak filet or herb-crusted Chilean sea bass. Just don’t forget to dress up because Cafe Pacific does have a dress code. No t-shirts, shorts, or flip flops are allowed, but you’ll be fine in business casual attire. This Highland Park Village restaurant is sure to leave an impression on your vacation.
When you’re having a busy day on the town, there’s nothing better than dining at the neighborhood restaurant, and Pirigi’s has been just that for almost 40 years. The restaurant offers a diverse menu, a stylish dining space, and a friendly atmosphere. Pirigi’s has all the comforting bistro classics you love to make you feel a little more at home on your Dallas vacation.
Places to Go
The places you go are the real meat of your vacation experience. So, what places should you go to while you’re in Dallas?
There are museums galore in Dallas, and you’re sure to find one or two museums that suit your interests. In the Dallas Arts District, you should check out the Dallas Museum of Art. They have over 25,000 works of art, and general admission is free. However, you have to schedule your visit for now due to COVID-19 concerns, so just be sure to plan accordingly.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is a museum dedicated to the life, assassination, and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. It’s been almost sixty years since the assassination that shook the world, and it’s hard not to be fascinated by his life and the national tragedy of his death. Visitors and see the grassy knoll that became infamous after the JFK assassination.
Who doesn’t love space, dinosaurs, and birds of prey? You can enjoy the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and see all three. It’s great for the kids, but the museum also offers Thursdays on Tap for the over-21 crowds to enjoy adult beverages and after-hour access to the exhibit halls.
If you like to learn about the history of the places you visit, you’ll want to go to the Old Red Museum for their exhibits on Dallas culture, politics, and the local economy. The Old Red Museum was originally built as a courthouse, and the building is absolutely gorgeous.
When you go to a city like Dallas, it can be so refreshing to get away from the city feel and see the natural beauty of your vacation destination. Dallas has over 40 trails to let you walk, hike, or bike around to explore the outdoors of Dallas.
At Cedar Ridge Preserve, there are several hiking trails available with varying degrees of difficulty. Because Cedar Ridge is a preserve, you can expect to be fully surrounded by the natural beauty of a well-preserved ecosystem. Keep in mind that the trails are restricted to foot traffic only, so bikes aren’t allowed on the trails here. To get to this gorgeous preserve, you’ll take about a 25-minute drive from the airport.
At White Rock Trail Park, you can walk or bike along a path that loops around the gorgeous White Rock Lake. The 9.3-mile-long trail is popular in the area, so you can expect to do some good people-watching while you’re there.
You can even hit a trail without leaving downtown Dallas. The Katy Trail is a paved walking trail that has plenty of beautiful wildflowers along the way to give you some natural beauty while you stretch your legs.
There’s good news for your four-legged friend. All of these trails are dog-friendly, but they do require dogs to be leashed.
3. Nightlife Spots
Dallas has great nightlife. No matter what kind of scene you’re into, Dallas has a little bit of everything. You can go clubbing, bar hopping, dancing, or just sip cocktails on the rooftop.
Try the Inwood Tavern while you’re there. It’s the oldest continuously operating bar in Dallas, and you’ll feel like a local when you raise your red Solo cup in this cozy, classic bar.
If you’re looking for rooftop drinks with a view, head to Soda Bar for cocktails in a bar with a fire pit, an infinity pool, and craft cocktails.
4. Shopping Centers
Dallas boasts many shopping centers for shoppers with a taste for luxury. The largest of these is the Galleria Dallas, which houses more than 1.4 million square feet of leasable store area. NorthPark Center has its own shopping district that leases space to more than 235 retailers, restaurants, and department stores. With brands like
And, of course, no shopping trip in a Texas city would be complete without a visit to the local Western wear store for a pair of leather cowboy boots and a Stetson hat to match. Wild Bill’s Western, Tere’s Western Wear, and Bronco Western Wear are just a few of the top spots for the aspiring wrangler to grab authentic threads.
While You’re In Dallas
Since you’re already in Dallas, if you want to have some fun, you should consider taking the short 20-minute drive to Arlington and enjoy a day at Six Flags Over Texas. Six Flags Over Texas was the very first Six Flags park, and it was opened in 1961.
The theme park spans across over 210 acres. It is open year-round, and it has 13 roller coasters. In 2022, they’ll have the Aquaman: Power Wave, and it will be the first of its kind in North America. It’s a water coaster. Thrill-seekers will also enjoy the El Diablo, which is the world’s largest loop coaster.
Dallas has so much to offer, and being so close to one of the best theme parks in the country is just icing on the cake. Here are a few other attractions, sights, and activities to try when in the Triple D.
- Nasher Sculpture Center
- Dallas Farmers Market
- Bishop Arts District
- NorthPark Center
- Trinity River Audubon Center
- Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark
- Deep Ellum Entertainment District
- Fair Park
- Texas State Fair
- Meadows Museum
- Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum
- Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
- McKinney Avenue Trolley
Dallas is a great vacation destination for any traveler. There’s so much art, history, food, and fun for anyone. While you’re there, you should check out these top things to do and places to go.
Cool Thursdays Concert Series | dallasarboretum.org
DMA Collection Online | dma.org
Thursdays on Tap at the Perot Museum | perotmuseum.org