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35 best things to do in Dallas (from a local)

After spending 21 years in Dallas, this place has wriggled its way into a special place in my heart. Sure, it’s hotter than heck most of the year. And yes, the city tends to shut down when it ices (I’m looking at you winter 2011 and the Super Bowl that almost wasn’t).  But it’s home. It’s the city that made me a Texan. It’s a place where you can strike up a conversation with a stranger in an elevator, and you can count on men to open doors because chivalry isn’t dead. In this town, we sit on patios when it dips below 101* and cheer for our Cowboys every year, optimistic that this is the one where we’ll win the Super Bowl.

And now, as I get ready to celebrate my 29th birthday here before traveling the world, it’s only fitting to say goodbye by celebrating what makes this city great. So I give you the 29 best things to do in Dallas! Edit: Dallas is so much more than 29 things, so I’ve added a few more of my favorite things to do since this was initially published.

35 awesome things to do in Dallas, Texas

Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.

-Author John Steinbeck

1. The Texas State Fair

I have three words for you… Deep. Fried. Everything. From butter to bacon to bubblegum, we Texans fry it all. My personal favorite is the deep-fried grilled cheese, which comes with fry chips and tomato soup dipping sauce.

Texas State Fair

Texas State Fair

You haven’t been to the fair until you eat a Fletcher’s Corn Dog.

Texas State Fair Fletcher's corn dog

Texas State Fair Fletcher’s corn dog


2. Watch a movie at The Texas Theatre.

Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t pay for his ticket.. but you’re better than that. Go buy a ticket and watch a movie at this historic theater in Oak Cliff.

Texas Theatre

Watch a movie at Texas Theatre

3. Achieve BAAAA-mastae at goat yoga

With adorable baby goats, this is hardly a yoga class that will lead you to relaxation, but it’s sure to ease your tension! The baby goats at Goat Yoga Richardson are family pets and the yoga class takes place in their backyard or at venues across Dallas.

Goat Yoga Dallas

Goat Yoga Dallas

4. Search for the most Instagrammable food in Dallas

From freakshakes to adorable donuts, this city is an Instagrammers dream. Check out the most awesomely Instagrammable desserts in Dallas.

Denton Texas Muggle Shake at YogurtBliss

Harry Potter-themed Muggle Shake

5. Take a tour with Dallas By Chocolate.

Not limited to chocolate, Dallas By Chocolate offers wine and cheese, tacos and margaritas, brewery and BBQ, and ice cream tours along with historical walking tours of Bishop Arts (see #2), and last, but certainly not least, the BACON tour! I’ve left every tour full of food and knowledge about Dallas.

Brittany+bacon cupcake

Bacon cupcake on tour with Dallas By Chocolate

6. Late Nights at the DMA

Just when you thought nothing could be better than free, the always-free Dallas Museum of Arts invites you to their monthly late-night event. Events range from museum-wide murder mysteries to robot-building to performances by hypnotists. Once, I stood about 10 feet away from Taye Diggs as he read us his children’s book!

Late Nights at the DMA

Late Nights at the DMA

7. Search for the best donuts in Dallas

Jaram’s offers types of donuts that I couldn’t even imagine… but now that I’ve tried them, I’ll be missing them when I leave this city. Crème brûlée, bacon, strawberry shortcake, Nutella croissant and funnel cake donuts are just a few of my favorites! Have you checked off all the spots on this list of best donuts in Dallas?

Jarams creme brulee donut

Jarams crème brûlée donut

8. Eat macarons.

I’ve already done the tough work of testing out a bunch of bakeries that serve macarons and figuring out which ones are best. (Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the best macrons in Dallas.)

JOY Macarons

JOY Macarons

9. Get cheesy… literally.

The Mozzarella Company has been around for more than 30 years, and they’ve perfected the art of Formaggio! In their cheesemaking class, you’ll go home with three different kinds of mozzarella and one ricotta, and the class ends with a wine and cheese tasting.

Mozzarella Company Dallas - cheese making class

Take a cheese-making class at Mozzarella Company Dallas

10. Basically anything in Bishop Arts District

Bishop Arts District Mardi Gras Parade

Bishop Arts District Mardi Gras Parade

Catch the Oak Cliff Mardi Gras parade as it ends in Bishop Arts District, eat grilled cheese at the new Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. (I recommend JK’s Favorite– Parmesan-crusted grilled sourdough with American, cheddar and Gruyère cheeses, crumbled bacon, and Dijon mustard), practice your french at Bastille on Bishop, support local female artists at Mosiac Makers Collective, sample chocolate made with bleu cheese at Dude Sweet Chocolate, or participate in a unique form of torture known as the Christmas in July Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. All of this makes Bishop Arts my favorite neighborhood– it has an artsy vibe with lots of food, sweets, and shopping.

11. Visit the most unique happy hour in town

Dallas has no shortage of happy hours…but Redenta’s Garden Shop has a happy hour unlike any other. Like their Facebook page to learn about their happy hour events, where all plants are 10% off, and they serve drinks and snacks. Their potting bar is really cute, and they’ll pot any plant for you…. meaning you can rely on their green thumb!  And you can choose to add extras, like a “shot” of colorful rocks to your potted plant.

Redentas succulent - happy hour

Redenta’s has the greenest happy hour in town

12. Eat lunch on the field where the Dallas Cowboys play.

The Flowserve Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon benefits Happy Hill Farm and allows a unique opportunity to learn about the Cowboys’ roster and get excited for the upcoming season.

13. Enjoy a spot of tea at the Arboretum.

It’s no quirky afternoon tea in London… but this Texas tea is something special! Picture towers of finger sandwiches, three courses of tea, another tower of desserts, add in some precious vegetable animals, all in the historic setting of the DeGolyer House… and you’ve got a lovely afternoon at the Dallas Arboretum!

DeGolyer House - Dallas Arboretum Tea

Drink tea at the Dallas Arboretum

14. Chocolate Angel is heavenly (pun definitely intended).

I’ve eaten there no less than 150 times over the past four years. The Some Like it Hot sandwich combines pimento cheese, candied jalapeños, bacon, and strawberry jam. I’m not quite sure who decided to put all of that together… but I want to hug them! Their grilled cheese (add bacon and a cup of tomato basil soup) is also something special… I think it’s the garlic salt. Their wedding cake (white cake with white icing) is my favorite, and has replaced chocolate/ peanut butter cake as my birthday cake of choice. Wash it all down with their mango tea/ lemonade Arnold Palmer.

Chocolate Angel wedding cake

Chocolate Angel wedding cake

15. Ride a mechanical bull at Gilley’s.

Ride a mechanical bull, drink a Shiner Bock beer and immerse yourself in true honky tonk culture. Or make plans to visit during the Etsy Spring Bash or Jingle Bash which feature handmade items by talented local artists.

Gilley's Dallas

Ride a mechanical bull at Gilley’s Dallas

16.  Work up a sweat for free… And I’m not talking about walking outside in August.

There are opportunities to work out with great instructors for free in Dallas if you know where to go. Check out Crisp & Green’s free cycling, yoga, and pure barre classes

17. Or surf up a sweat at City Surf Fitness!

I haven’t been surfing (yet!), but I got as close as Dallas would allow. City Surf leads classes on RipSurfer X boards with surf-inspired movements that you’ll be feeling for days to come!

18. Buy tacos from a gas station window

Fuel City — Where the tacos are $1.62 and the elotes are to die for! The woman making them asked if I wanted my elotes with everything…. and being the picky eater I am, I asked what that meant. Their elotes are made with butter, hot sauce, lemon pepper, sour cream and cheese. DO NOT MISS THESE!


Order tacos from a gas station at Fuel City Tacos


Don’t forget a cup of elotes!

19. See a movie before it comes out… for FREE

Sign up for Gofobo, SeeItFirst, and WBTickets to receive invitations to movie screenings. I’ve seen some great movies this way!

20. Steel City Pops – where the popsicles are cold AND hot!

I thought I’d never love a popsicle as much as Las Paletas in Nashville, but Steel City Pops has definitely earned a spot in my heart. Their chocolate and pineapple jalapeño popsicles are my favorites!

Steel City Pops Dallas

Steel City Pops Dallas

21. Eat like a hipster at Trinity Groves

Trinity Groves is an incubator for innovative dining experiences. This is where you’ll try the next big thing before anyone else knows about it. I love that Dallas is a city of ideas, and we get to reap the benefits when we eat at a Trinity Groves restaurant. Within the area of a football field, you can eat Moroccan food, tapas, cake, hand painted chocolate, or visit a brewery.

22.  Go for a walk in Deep Ellum

Cane Rosso pizza, Uncle Uber’s sandwiches, shows by talented singer/songwriters, a monthly flea market, and a wine walk on the third Thursday of each month make Deep Ellum a not-to-miss area of town. Plus, they’ve got some of the best street art in Dallas (here’s a map of where you can find the best Deep Ellum street art).

Deep Ellum Murals in Dallas Texas Viva Deep Ellum

Viva Deep Ellum mural

23. Make a difference– be a mentor!

My mentee, Brenda, and I were matched through Mercy Street when she was in 4th grade, and now she’s entering high school this fall. Mercy Street wants “to be used by God to spark Christ-honoring community restoration by engaging in mutually-transforming relationships with the future leaders of West Dallas.” If you’re based here, I encourage you to check them out and make a difference in a student’s life. I promise they won’t be the only one who ends up changed.

Mentor at Mercy Street

Mentor at Mercy Street

24. Be blown away at  Trinity River Wind Festival

Featuring kites of all shapes and sizes (some bigger than my car!), this festival brings together kids of all ages to fly kites, listen to music, and enjoy spring in Dallas.

Trinity River Wind Festival

Trinity River Wind Festival

25. Catch an outdoor movie for free!

Coinciding with Late Nights at the DMA, the Nasher Sculpture Center offers ’til Midnight at the Nasher, featuring outdoor concerts and movie screenings in the Nasher Garden. Bring a blanket and get there early, because it fills up quickly!

26. Visit the zoo

The Dallas Zoo is half price for the rest of August! If you can bear the heat, it’s the perfect time to visit. Feed a giraffe, ride the carousel, and check out the DinoSOAR exhibit before it goes extinct. (I blame the Dallas Zoo for that cheesiness…)


Albino alligator at the Dallas Zoo

27. Run the happiest race in Dallas… and maybe the world

The Color Run claims to be the happiest 5K on the planet… and while I’ve admittedly run in only a few 5Ks, I can attest to the fun factor being a huge draw on this one. I also love that the slower you go through the color stations, the more color you receive. Walking is winning in this race.

Dallas Color Run

Dallas Color Run

28. Make your own wine at Grape Vine Springs Winery.

Ok, so this is technically in Grapevine, but it’s worth the trip for the awesome wineries in Grapevine. Bonus points if it has a photo of your sassy dog on it.

Dallas - Make your own wine

Make your own wine

29. Visit The Sixth Floor Museum

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is a musuem in the former Texas School Depository Building chronicling the life and tragic death of President John F. Kennedy. The exhibit includes highlights of his presidency, a look at the Sniper’s perch and conspiracy theories. Purchase a standalone ticket or buy a CityPass for entry into Dallas’ top tourist destinations.

View from the Sixth Floor Museum

View from the Sixth Floor Museum

Love learning about JFK and his legacy? Join this walking tour to find out even more about the 35th president.

30. Let your imagination run wild at the Perot Museum

Dance with a dinosaur, experience an earthquake and go deep inside Texas to learn about the oil industry at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Perot Musuem Dallas

Dinosaurs at Perot Musuem Dallas

Purchase a standalone ticket or buy a CityPass for entry into Dallas’ top tourist destinations.

31. Celebrate the State Fair all year long at Pokey O’s

Their State Fair cookie is so chock-full of M&Ms, chocolate chips, oatmeal, and peanuts that it makes its namesake proud.  Pokey O’s lets you turn that (or any of their other flavors) into an ice cream sandwich – made with Texas-favorite, Bluebell Ice Cream. They also make some great puppy treats that have Cooper‘s Paw of Approval.


PokeyO’s ice cream sandwich

32. Hang out at a park on top of a freeway

Klyde Warren Park opened in 2012 and has quickly become a favorite of residents and tourists alike. From concerts to fitness classes and WorldCup watch parties, this park offers something for everyone. Plan your visit around a meal time and check out the food trucks on the Dallas Museum of Art side of the park.

33. Before the alcohol makes you spin, go for a ride on a ferris wheel

The great Texas BBQ, bathtub full of bluebonnets and bar games are enough to make this a fun bar on its own. Add a ferris wheel and it’s taken to the next level! Just be sure to take a ride on the ferris wheel before indulging at the bar.

Ferris Wheelers Dallas

Ferris Wheelers Dallas

34. Score an invite to Dallas’ secret supper club

FRANK Underground is Dallas’ best kept secret. It’s the brain-child of Masterchef contestant, Chef Jennie Kelley, who runs the communal dining experience with Chef Ben Starr and Chef Adrien Nieto. Twenty diners are selected by way of lottery for a themed meal. I joined for their Brunch After Dark menu and can say they’ve earned their space at #1 of Yelp’s highest rated dining establishment in Texas. Note: Frank is currently on hiatus, but join their email list and cross your finger they’ll come back soon! 

Croque Madame- Frank Underground-

Croque Madame at Frank Underground’s Brunch After Dark

35. Train for the circus

I saved the best for last. I made a Big D Bucket List to do everything I’ve never gotten around to doing while I’ve lived in Dallas, and Skyline Trapeze was on the list.  The two hours spent learning trapeze were some of the most fun I’ve ever had in Dallas! Check out the tricks I learned here!

And so, I leave Dallas– my old ways, the things I’ve held near and dear– and I’m between trapezes. I’m sad to leave friends and family here, but I’m so excited for the next part of my story. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Best things to do in Dallas- Take a trapeze class Dallas

Best things to do in Dallas- Take a trapeze class Dallas

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35 best things to do in Dallas


Monday 30th of January 2017

I just moved to Dallas and this is the best list I've come across!! Thanks so much for sharing all of your insights, I can't wait to try these places!


Monday 30th of January 2017

Thanks so much, Heidi, and welcome to Dallas! I hope you have a blast working your way through the list!

Queenstown for Cheap: 30 under $30 - The Sweet Wanderlust

Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

[…] I’ve found some fun things to do that are cheap or free. On my 29th birthday, I shared the 29 best things to do in Dallas… and so, with my 30th just around the corner, I give you 30 things to do under $30 in […]

Shannon - SoleSeeking

Saturday 21st of May 2016

Oh my gosh. The Pokey O's and those doughnuts...You've sold it to me!


Saturday 21st of May 2016

Donuts and Pokey O's are my love language... they're pretty much the best! :)

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Monday 16th of May 2016

[…] 29 Best Things To Do In Dallas […]


Friday 4th of December 2015

I've only ever had short layovers in Dallas but always wanted to go out and have some bbq. Now I really REALLY want to go to Dallas for so much more! Great post... I'm hungry now lol


Tuesday 1st of March 2016

Yes!! Get out of the airport, for sure!! I hope this list helps make your trip a fun one! :)