Best places to visit in Dallas [2023]

April 06, 2023 |
Margaret Hunt Hill bridge against a blue sky in Dallas. The grass is green and the skyline is in the background

It’s hard to believe that I grew up right here in Dallas Fort Worth and am still discovering new hotspots to visit every year, but it’s true!  Dallas has a ton of must see attractions and family friendly activities to offer, and just when you thought you’ve seen it all… think again!  That’s why I keep a running list of the best places to visit in Dallas any time we have visitors or just need a fun field trip.  

I’m going to share all my favorites with you today, and I’ll even include a bonus list of even more activities at the bottom of this post.  As always, make sure to check out our Events Calendar and Weekend Guide for a taste of the local arts scene.

Looking for the best places to visit in the Fort Worth area? Check out our Fort Worth Guide.

Coolest things to do in Dallas

A red sculpture outside of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA)
This iconic sculpture signals your arrival to the DMA. Photo credit: Dallas Museum of Art

1. Dallas Museum of Art

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The Dallas Museum of Art is a cornerstone of the Dallas Arts District, featuring 25,000 works of art from across the globe in varying eras. The DMA also offers an array of cultural events including lectures, performances, and concerts in addition to special child friendly, family oriented programming like Toddler Tuesdays.

Admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is free to the public, but they do require a ticket for entry. Special exhibits require tickets at an additional fee. The DMA is open from 11AM until 5PM every day except Mondays, when they are closed, and Fridays, when they are open until 9PM. For more information or to reserve your tickets, visit their website.

A baby hippo and her mama bond at the Dallas Zoo
Enjoy a little hippo bonding at the Dallas Zoo. Photo credit: Dallas Zoo

2. Dallas Zoo

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Stretching over 106 acres with over 2,000 animals, The Dallas Zoo is the oldest and largest zoo in the state of Texas. Enjoy touring a variety of enclosures with feeding opportunities with tortoises, birds, and giraffes. Take a play break in their children’s area with a variety of play structures to explore, a mini train, and a carousel.

The Dallas Zoo is definitely considered one of the coolest things to do in Dallas and is open 364 days a year. You can learn more about their special events and reserve your tickets on their website.

The perot museum is housed in a gorgeous piece of architecture art.
You can’t miss the Perot Museum with its unique and artistic architecture. Photo credit: Perot Museum

3. Perot Museum of Nature & Science

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Our family is a huge fan of the Perot Museum of Nature & Science. It is, hands down, one of the best places to visit in Dallas for curious minds. From dinos to gemstones, robots, earthquakes, and modern day birds, the Perot is full of fantastic facts about the world around us, all presented in a fully engaging and fun way. Don’t forget to stop by the children’s area for a play break as you make your way through the museum. Our favorite stop is the modern-day birds section where you are able to, through a series of exhibits, build and listen to your very own bird species.

The Perot Museum of Nature & Science offers a variety of special programming during both spring and summer breaks. Visit their website to review their rotating exhibits, special events, and to purchase your tickets.

Reunion tower is an iconic part of the Dallas skyline.
Reunion Tower, known as “The Ball.” Photo credit: Reunion Tower

4. Reunion Tower Observation Deck

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Not only does Reunion Tower contribute to Dallas’ iconic skyline, it also serves as a fun family destination for some of the best views in North Texas. Reunion Tower is over 500ft tall with 259 exterior LED lights where an exquisite fine dining experience at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck awaits within. The GeO-Deck is an indoor/outdoor observation deck where you can see 360 degree panoramic view for miles in any direction.

Reunion Tower offers a variety of admission options for their GeO-Deck including a day & night ticket to experience the contrasting skyline views after dark. Visit their website for hours of operation, ticket pricing and sales.

Lush indoor tropical paradise awaits within the Dallas World Aquarium
Lush indoor tropical paradise awaits within the Dallas World Aquarium. Photo credit: DWA

5. Dallas World Aquarium

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The Dallas World Aquarium is situated near the Historic West End District and features a lush, indoor tropical forest with a variety of animal enclosures. Interact with exotic birds flying free, meet a friendly sloth, watch playful otters, and visit the penguins on your way through their underwater exhibits.

The Dallas World Aquarium is open Monday through Sunday with their last entry at 4PM. Learn more about their hours, pricing, and purchase tickets on their website.

Sculpted hedges and beautiful landscaping throughout the Dallas Arboretum
Experience the beauty in nature like never before at the Dallas Arboretum. Photo credit: Dallas Arboretum

6. Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden

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The Dallas Arboretum stretches across 66 acres and features a variety of gardens along the shore of White Rock Lake. Well known for it’s gorgeous views and meticulous events, The Dallas Arboretum is the perfect place to take a break and unwind. Don’t forget to stop by the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden to enjoy their STEM stops, sensory stations, and more!

The Dallas Arboretum frequently has special events happening throughout their gardens, and ticket pricing may vary depending on those events. Find more information on their website.

Two areas within Legoland Grapevine TX
Many adventures await your family at Legoland. Photo credit: Legoland

7. Legoland Discovery Center

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Legoland is a great play place for both kids and the young at heart. From small amusement park rides to Legos galore, obstacle courses and more, there is much to see and do. There is event an outdoor, Lego themed, splash zone open during the summer months to help your kiddos soak up some sun while keeping cool.

Admission to Legoland can be purchased separately or as a combination ticket for Sea Life or Peppa Pig World of Play. You can find more information on their website.

Sea turtle swims by at Sea Life Grapevine
Spend some time with sea turtles at Sea Life. Photo credit: Sea Life Grapevine

8. Sea Life Grapevine

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Sea Life Grapevine has always been one of our family favorite destinations. Their aquariums and enclosures offer a variety of viewing angles and engagement opportunities that are perfect for all ages, but especially kiddos. Have a blast watching their team feed sting rays, which you can watch from above, below, or even via viewing tunnels under the upstairs platform. Make your way to the top level where kids can enjoy touch tanks, a play structure, and various hands on displays. You might even meet a friendly reptile or two!

If you ask my kids, they would tell you that Sea Life is one of the coolest places in Dallas, hands down. Admission to Sea Life can be purchased separately or as a combination ticket for Legoland or Peppa Pig World of Play. You can find more information on their website.

One story red brick building with a large sign that reads bishop arts district
Enjoy art, shopping, and excellent food in the Bishop Arts District Photo credit: Bishop Arts District

9. Bishop Arts District

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The Bishop Arts District is one of Dallas’ most beloved neighborhoods, housing over 60 boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and more. Bishop Arts District is one of the best places to visit in Dallas because it is so easy to support many locally owned small businesses, get a taste of the North Texas art scene, and partake in mouth watering cuisines, all in one place.

The Bishop Arts District is composed of many independently owned businesses, and, as such, you will need to double check hours of operation for the shops you want to visit the most.

Mario, Pac-man, Donkey Kong and more stand as sculptures in the middle of the national video game museum
Experience the history of your favorite video game franchises at the NVM. Photo credit: National Video Game Museum

10. National Video Game Museum

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Welcome to the only museum in the country dedicated to the history of video games! This 10, 400 square feet museum features various exhibits dedicated to the different stages of video game history, many with working consoles that visitors can sit down and play at their leisure. There is also an 80s style, token based, video game arcade at the National Video Game Museum.

The National Video Game Museum is open throughout the week but is closed on Mondays. Check out their website for hours and more info on admission.

Enormous green space stretches about an 8 lane highway in Dallas
Klyde Warren Park is a much needed green space and community hub in Dallas. Photo credit: Klyde Warren Park

11. Klyde Warren Park

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Imagine a 5 acre park over a recessed eight-lane highway and you have an inkling of how much hard work and imagination went into creating Klyde Warren Park. This green space in Downtown Dallas has become an essential community hub for events, recreation, and connection. Sheila and Jody Grant Children’s Park offers 18,000 square feet of playground including a 35 ft climbing tower and slide, water features, tree-top lookout, and more! Nancy Best Fountain is yet another interactive water feature that is perfect for those hot summer days. There is even My Best Friend’s Park for your furriest family member.

Klyde Warren Park is free to enjoy for everyone, and there is no shortage of events happening at any give moment. Definitely check out their calendar for more information on special events.

Baskets of colorful fruits and veggies at the Dallas Farmers Market
Get your fill of fresh food at the Dallas Farmers Market. Photo credit: DFW Craft Shows

Best things to do in Dallas, Texas

Dallas is a BIG area, and it has so much to offer both visitors and residents–that’s why I have included a bonus list below of other places to visit while you are in the Dallas area.  If you want to get off the beaten path and really experience the art scene here in the Dallas Fort Worth area, don’t forget to check out our Events Calendar and Weekend Guide as well.  Now, back to that bonus list: 

pogo pass is half off and offers free admission to a variety of places when you use the code DFWCRAFTS
Unlock free admissions with your very own POGO Pass. Photo credit: POGO Pass

Save money sightseeing in Dallas

POGO Pass offers a great opportunity to save some cash if you live in the Dallas Fort Worth area OR if you’re planning a trip to DFW.  When you purchase a POGO Pass, you receive free admission to a variety of North Texas attractions including:

  • Texas Discovery Gardens
  • National Video Game Museum
  • Dallas Heritage Museum
  • Reunion Tower
  • Kid Mania
  • Pump It Up
  • And LOTS more!

POGO Pass is usually $99, but you can get yours for 50% off when you use our affiliate code: DFWCRAFTS. Attraction admission terms vary by location and range from 1 visit up to 6 visits, and some even offer a monthly pass.

Dallas building glistening golden under the sun. Text reads "best places in Dallas"

Chime in!

When you are planning your trip, be sure to check out our Events Calendar and The Weekend Guide to find more hidden gems in Dallas and enjoy an extra delicious taste flight of the local arts, crafts, and food scene in DFW. Please drop down in the comments and let me know YOUR favorite places to visit in Dallas, Texas. I would love to keep adding to the list!

Graphic with bold title frame that reads "WEEKEND GUIDE" and has an event pic in the background

Looking for other fun activities around North Texas?

Every week, I compile a list of upcoming arts & crafts shows, fairs, festivals, and classes happening around the extended Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex. Check out The Weekend Guide for ongoing opportunities to discover new artists, shop small businesses, support your local community, and have fun.

Don’t forget to check out our Fort Worth Guide as well!

Originally posted on March 11, 2023.


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