These 20 fun and frugal things to do in Dallas are perfect for your next road trip, family vacation or weekend staycation! Grab the family or a friend and get on the road! Texas has so much to offer visitors and that couldn’t be more true than for the DFW Metro!
I grew up in a small town that only had around 11,000 people in it at the time; if that. So, moving to Texas was quite shocking for me. The cities here are so much larger than anything Ohio has so I felt more than a bit out of my element.
Over the years, I have learned to love living in a larger area. I don’t want to be right in the city, but I don’t want to be so far it takes a full-day to drive there either. Over the years, Dallas – okay really the entire DFW Metro area – has become my favorite larger city to visit in Texas.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to live in Dallas. I love country life and am not suited for the “big city.”
Trust me. I tried. It wasn’t pretty.
But Dallas, Ft. Worth and the Metro as a whole have so much to offer anyone. Whether you’re a single person looking for a boredom break or a homeschooling family on a homeschool field trip, these things to do in Dallas are all amazing options for you to choose from.
What Do I Mean When I Say Dallas?
Just in case you didn’t know, the Dallas Metro area is massive. In fact, you could fit six states – Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island – down inside the Metro itself. It is about the size of the entire state of New Hampshire. So, for the purposes of this post, when I say Dallas, I mean the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metro area as a whole.
How to Save Money on Your Trip to Dallas
One of the best ways to save on Dallas attractions is by using the Dallas CityPASS. If you’re not familiar with CityPASS, it is an amazing savings program that allows you to pay one price for admission to several attractions.
When you buy the Dallas CityPASS, you’ll save 51% on admission to four different attractions.
These attractions are: The first two are included in every pass. You may choose any two from the last three options.
- Perot Museum of Nature and Science and
- Reunion Tower Geo-Deck AND
- Dallas Zoo OR
- George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum OR
- Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
When you buy a Dallas CityPASS, your tickets are good for 9 days from the day you use the first one. This means you won’t have to rush through to see the attractions you want! You can check out the Dallas CityPASS HERE on the CityPass website.
If you are flying into Dallas, be sure to check Airfare Watchdog right HERE before you book your flights. I always do and they typically help me save money on airfare by quite a bit.
How to Pack for Texas Heat
Ya’ll. It’s North Texas. It’s hot. Even our winters are typically mild – although Winter Storm Uri knocked us on our backs – but it’s hot. Make no mistake, Texas heat and and will kill or injure you if you are not prepared for it.
This means you will need to carry a few things to help you stay healthy and comfortable. These should include:
- Water. Water, water and more water. Do not go into Texas heat without plenty of water available for you and your family. Use a reusable water bottle to save the most money. Fill it at water fountains at the locations you visit.
- A cooling hat to protect your face and keep you cool
- Money or a physical debit card – Keep in mind Texas has very rural locations where your cell phone may not work for using mobile pay.
- Your camera or phone: Texas is beautiful! Take some pics while you’re here!
Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas is full of museums, but one of the best things to do in Dallas is the Dallas Museum of Art. The Dallas Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the country, which makes it a must see attraction in Dallas.
Most days, general admission is free – special exhibits excepted – which makes it an extremely budget friendly thing to do in Dallas.
Dallas Trolley Tours
See Dallas from a different perspective and book a trolley tour of downtown Dallas. These tours stop by most of the hot spots in the downtown area and usually last half a day or so.
They are great for when you want a break from awalking!
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
History buffs and homeschool families will enjoy visiting the Six Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The museum is held on the sixth floor of the old Texas Book Depository building and is where Oswald shot Kennedy.
You will learn not only about President Kennedy’s assassination, but his life and legacy as well. It really is an amazing tour and I personally believe it should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Dallas.
The museum includes guided or non-guided audio tours and costs less than $15.00 per adult. It is almost always busy so it can help to buy your tickets online.
Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
If educational fun is on your list of must-see things to do in Dallas, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum should be top of the list. It is their mission to educate people about the Holocaust, the damage it caused, and every other aspect of a human rights campaign you could think of.
Because this is a sensitive subject, use caution when visiting with young children. They are your kids after all, but take the time to really decide if they are ready to see photos and possible movies about this subject that may or may not show the victims.
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is one of three optional admissions included in the Dallas Citypass. Otherwise, admission is $16 for adults and $12 for students with discounts for seniors, military, and first responders. Admission to their special exhibition is included.
Dallas Haunted Walking Ghost Tour
Get your scare on and see Dallas at the same time! A Dallas ghost tour is perfect for the family or friend group that wants a unique Dallas experience without massive crowds. Texas has a ton of history in it, so it would not surprise me one bit to find hat certain areas of Dallas actually are haunted!
Forest Park Miniature Railroad
Since 1959, the Forest Park Miniature Railroad in Ft. Worth has offered this 40-minute train ride for under $5.00 per person. The miniature train covers over 5-miles of terrain and crosses six bridges with one of them being 350 feet high!
This is one of my favorite things to do in Dallas, Texas. I haven’t met a child yet who doesn’t love a train!
Chestnut Square Historic Village
Our family are all very big into historical sites so this is one of my top budget friendly things to do in Dallas. It is pure history and that doesn’t get much better for us. If you love history as much as us, head over to the Chestnut Square Historic Village in McKinney, Texas and step back in time to the 1850’s!
There are seven historic building and houses with free tours given weekly on several times throughout the week. Each tour lasts about an hour.
Want something a bit more daring? Ask about their ghost tours!
Walk with Dinosaurs at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Most kids love dinosaurs so while you’re visiting Dallas, make sure you don’t miss the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. They have several actual dinosaur skeletons on display!
These are the real fossils, not casts or molds of original making them even cooler! Not only that, but they also have a hands on dinosaur dig for kids, a 5-foot gem, an earthquake experience and so much more!
Also included in the Dallas Citypass, this is one thing you can’t miss when visiting Dallas.
Frontiers of Flight Museum
Did you know Dallas is now considered the aviation capital of the world? I live 60-minutes away and I didn’t. The Frontiers of Flight Aviation Museum will help you to see why. It is filled with Dallas aviation history including the story behind Dallas based airline, Southwest Airlines. See old planes and hear the stories fir around $10.00 per person.
Ft. Worth Stockyards National Historic District
You can not visit the DFW area without taking in this budget friendly Dallas attraction! While you’re visiting, grab the family and mosey on over to the Ft. Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District. Twice a day they hold a true Texan cattle drive that showcases the western heritage that Texas was built on.
You will also want to stop by the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze. For around $5.00 per person, you can even see how you do in a friendly competition of maze running.
Be sure to check their website before you visit too because they offer other events too such as a Wild West show occasionally too!
When you want a quick break for the kids, pop into Pioneer Plaza in downtown Dallas. With 49 longhorn cattle statutes and 3 cattle wranglers, the plaza is set up to simulate a real cattle drive. Use your imagination and you’ll really feel like you’re in the middle of a piece of Texas history!
Dallas Theater Center
When you’re visiting Dallas, hover to the Dallas Theater Center if you’re in the mood for the theater. You can watch a world class play for as little as free! The DTC runs a program that allows patrons to view shows for free or very cheap. There is a limit of 4 tickets per person. Pay what you can tickets must be purchased on the DTC website.
If you show up for your play early, you’ll also receive a free informative meeting on how to enhance your play-watching experience. If you stay after the show you may get a quick rundown with the show’s cast and more!
If you like Frank Lloyd Wright designs, you’ll want to at least go by this building. It is the only FLW designed building in the Dallas area.
Reunion Tower Geo-Deck
When you’re trying to figure out what to do in Dallas this weekend, take a look at visiting the Reunion Tower Geo-Deck! It’s the perfect way to see Dallas from the sky!
On a clear day, you can use their free high definition telescopes to see as much as 32 miles away! That is all the way to Ft. Worth! Once you’ve had your fill of looking outward, use the “Halo” to create your own light show!
Reunion Tower is also a CityPass location. When you purchase the Dallas CityPass, you can also spend an extra $5.00 to upgrade to an extra visit to Reunion Tower.
George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum
If you like museums, you will love visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum. Learn the history of our 43rd president, from his birth to his road to the White House, his time leading the country, and where he is now. There is a nice section on 9/11 and even a replica Oval Office for you to experience.
Like many of the things to do in Dallas on our list, the George W. Bush Presidential Library is a Dallas CityPASS attraction.
Take a break from the city and head to the Dallas Zoo. See their elephant heard, take the Giants of the Savanah safari, see tigers, monkeys and more. A day at the zoo is perfect for couples or families and the Dallas Zoo is one of the cheapest ways you can experience these kinds of animals in the area.
Again, the Dallas Zoo is an optional Dallas CityPASS location so if you’re looking to save money on your admission, be sure to buy your Dallas CityPASS before you go.
Dallas Arboretum and Gardens
For those looking to get outside with nature a bit but don’t want to leave the city, taking the time to visit the Dallas Arboretum and Gardens is just the ticket for a slow, relaxing night surrounded by beauty. There are 19 different gardens, including botanical gardens, to visit as well as different festivals and events throughout the year.
For rose lovers, the Rose Mary Haggar Rose Garden has over 200 Hybrid Tea Roses with more than 16 different varieties!
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Head a couple hours southwest of Dallas and you can visit Dinosaur Valley State Park! See real dinosaur tracks and fossils, go camping, hiking or cast your line out to fish. Texas state parks usually have a daily usage fee and this one is no different.
I advise you check the park website before you go so you are up to date on what the entrance fee is each day.
The Dallas World Aquarium
No joke, this is one of my favorite places to visit in Dallas. Why? Because I absolutely adore sloths and they have them! The Dallas World Aquarium is another fantastic family outing in Dallas that I highly recommend.
You’ll start your tour in the rainforest exhibit and move through different ecosystems while enjoying the animals; both land and aquatic. It’s the perfect day trip for anyone! The aquarium can get a bit crowded later in the day, so I recommend you get there as soon as they open.
Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park
Grab the kids and head to the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park. This aquarium, specifically designed for children has everything your kids will need to have an amazing day! They can feed the seal life and even pet stingrays! The exhibits are amazing and your family are sure to make amazing memories!
Even better? It’s super cheap at around $10.00 per person!
Dallas Cowboys Stadium
Finally, rounding out our list of things to do in Dallas is Dallas Cowboys Stadium. After all, what would a trip to Dallas be without seeing it? Grab a tour and you can see the entire stadium and then some! Or, simply hop at Uber and go check out the outside of the stadium for yourself. Either way, it’s a must-do thing in Dallas when you visit!