If you’re looking for a tried and tested list of things to do in Dallas (with or without kids) you came to the right place. Dallas is full of amazing things to do to keep you busy for as long as your trip will let you stay! Keep reading to find the best places to eat, tips on where to stay, transportation and parking, and fun activities right in Dallas, TX!
We have been to Dallas multiple times and fall in love even more every time we go! Not only do I have some great friends who live there, but Dallas just has so much to offer that we never get to do everything on our list when we come – giving us plenty of excuses to come back over and over!
We’ve been with and without kids, so I’m going to walk you through the best places to go with kids or without them, depending on your travel situation so you can get the most out of Dallas for the time you’re here.
Things to Do in Dallas
WHERE TO EAT IN DALLAS
A HUGE component for our travels is always food. We base entire itineraries around food when we vacation sometimes. Dallas is FULL of some amazing places to eat, but I’m only going to share a select few that stand out to us that we go back to each time. On top of fun things to do in Dallas, you should also keep in mind all of the awesome places to eat too!
Urban Taco is an AMAZING Mexican food restaurant. The chips and salsa are amazing – order them. Get the salsa trio and then good luck picking only three salsas off their menu. I still have dreams about the Potato Zucchini Guisado taco (just trust me, it’s amazing) and can’t wait until I can eat there again! Also, do yourself a favor, and order the churros. They’re as big as your head and are incredible. My kids are picky eaters, but still enjoyed this restaurant a lot. Good vegetarian options if you need them too.
Yes, it’s a chain, but holy moly it’s amazing. We ate here multiple times on our last visit, and I regret nothing. If you like southern food, you’re gonna love this place. The biscuits and gravy are awesome, but the Creamy Dreamy Grits are what you’re gonna want to write home about. I’m not usually a savory grits person, but WOW. These grits are the creamiest, cheesiest grits I’ve ever had, and I could eat my weight in them easily. Lots of kid friendly options here too.
Yes, there’s a location in Dallas. Yes, you should go. Order your food animal style and thank me later.
If you want some of the best scones you’ve ever had in your life, I’d suggest going to Sugar Bee Sweets! They have other incredible baked items as well, but I’ve had literal dreams about eating their scones. They have sweet and savory options, so choose your poison and enjoy! I suggest the cinnamon sugar!
I know this is a general statement, BUT there’s some amazing food trucks that park right outside of Klyde-Warren park (more on that below). The website for the park will say that they’re only there on Friday nights, but you can usually find them there every weekend late afternoon/evening. Some weeknights you can find them there too. There’s tables set up for you to eat your spoils too. There’s everything from amazing coffee, to tacos, to gyros and more! Try one of everything!
WHERE TO STAY IN DALLAS
In addition to all the places to eat and things to do in Dallas, there’s also a ton of beautiful places to stay while you’re in Dallas. We spent a lot of time downtown during our last trip, and I’m SO happy we stayed in the hotel we stayed in! It comes highly recommended!
It’s less than a ten minute drive from a ton of fun things to do in Dallas and it’s BEAUTIFUL. Parking was super easy to find, or they offer valet if you don’t want to mess with it. It’s right next door to the historic Majestic Theater. We were really kicking ourselves that we didn’t stay in this hotel for a trip when my husband and I came down without kids, because we went to a show at the Majestic Theater and it would have been so convenient!
The inside of the hotel is absolutely stunning. They’ve kept so much of the gorgeous, original architecture and details of the building and I’m so glad. Pictures do this hotel no justice. Their staff was awesome too. The rooms were so pretty, but the bathrooms were awesome! They weren’t your typical hotel bathroom, and the shower was great. You’ll have to stay and experience it yourself! Little tip – you can ALWAYS get the lowest prices from them by booking directly through their website HERE. I checked multiple times and their website was ALWAYS cheaper than websites like Priceline or TripAdvisor. Bonus: It’s a two minute walk from a Flying Biscuit Cafe, and I’d literally stay there again JUST for that fact!
WHERE TO PARK IN DALLAS
Parking can be tricky in Dallas, especially downtown. If you’re not familiar with the streets, it can get stressful quickly. I’m gonna give you some tips below so you’re not totally in the dark as you aimlessly drive around hoping for a parking spot.
If you’re near downtown at all, your best bet is going to be to find a parking garage. You’ll typically have to pay, but the cost isn’t high and it will be easy to find your car when you’re done doing what you need to do. This is our go-to option.
Metered parking is SUPER cheap in Dallas. If parallel parking doesn’t terrify you, you can usually find a parking spot less than a block from where you need to be easily. They have an app for the meters, so you won’t need coins. Just download the app, type in the meter code, and select the amount of time and pay with your credit or debit card. Parking was usually less than $1.00 for us in many instances when we were finding things to do in Dallas.
If cost isn’t an issue for you, and you just don’t want to deal with the stress of finding parking, then most hotels downtown will have valet parking if you’re staying there. Our friends chose this option because the traffic can be a little crazy if you’re not used to it!
HOW TO GET AROUND DALLAS
Outside of driving, there’s lot of ways to get around Dallas you may not be aware of if you’ve never been there before. If you don’t want to use Uber, or a bus system, you have some other options.
This is SUCH a fun option to get around downtown! The M-Line Trolley is actually a FREE service to use for getting around downtown Dallas. We just parked our car by one of the pick-up locations (there’s a schedule and everything, just click the link above that will give times and locations for stops) and got on the trolley. We got off at Klyde-Warren park, and it was a super neat experience! When we were done at Klyde-Warren park, we simply hopped back on a trolley and rode back to where our car was parked. The kids had a BLAST and the adults enjoyed it too.
If you spend anytime downtown, you’ll find a motorized scooters littering the sidewalks. While a convenient way to get around (and cheap) they can be dangerous. If you choose to use these to get around Dallas, be mindful of cars and pedestrians and be courteous. You can pick up any scooter and use it via an app, and when you’re done just leave it parked on a sidewalk when you’re finished.
WHAT TO DO IN DALLAS
There are so many many things I could list for what to do in Dallas, but I’m going to limit my list to the best of the best. It’s still a long list, but Dallas is a big city and has lots to do.
This is at the top of my list of things to do in Dallas because we love this place. We’ve been with and without kids and love it more every time we go. It’s a huge park in the middle of Downtown Dallas that’s a big open concept. There’s often food trucks there, as I mentioned before. There’s also a water feature that you can play in to beat the heat, and tons of park activity toys kids can climb and play on as well. There’s also a stage that often has different types of performers on it to provide live entertainment.
This place is so much more awesome than I can even begin to tell you. If you have kids (and really even if you don’t) you need to go here. Plan to stay for a MINIMUM of two hours, and leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy it. This is one of the experiences included in a Dallas CityPass (which I highly recommend getting if you will be here for a couple of days or longer) and saves you a ton of money if you use it for your admission.
This museum is full of amazing, interactive things. Each floor focuses on a different topic. There are actual dinosaur bones, HUGE geodes (I’m talking 6+ feet tall!), interactive topographical maps, animal and bug features, interactive exhibits on balance and the human body and so much more than I can tell you. There’s also a cool wading creek the kids can play in outside as well. Very cool museum and we can’t wait to go back.
My first thought when my kids said they wanted to go to the zoo was that it was going to be unbearably hot. I was so happy to be proved wrong. Not only do they have several indoor areas, with seating, so you can cool down and use the restroom or change your baby indoors, BUT they also have multiple water play places for the kids. Dallas can get HOT in the Spring and Summer, so it was such a relief to me to see all these awesome options, outside of shade.
In addition to that, they have some really cool interactive features you can take part in at the zoo. There’s a whole children’s zoo section that has a petting zoo (with the cutest goats), play houses, and a big water stream area kids can play and wade in. At the entrance to the zoo there’s a big carousel you can ride on that’s nice and shaded. To get to the main part of the zoo, and to leave, you have to go through a big, underground tunnel that’s painted with beautiful murals and is delightfully cool.
The Dallas Zoo is also part of the CityPass, meaning if you purchase the CityPass you can go to the zoo for free! There’s also a McDonald’s RIGHT next to the zoo that is decorated with big zoo animals and has an indoor play place if you need to let the kids cool off afterward.
One of the most moving things to do in Dallas for me was the Holocaust Museum. It’s so well put together, and will really personalize a haunting piece of history for you. We used the audio tour guide and took a couple of hours to read everything, and let it all soak in. Depending on the age of your kids, you may not want to bring them here, as it not only is heavy and intense content, but also maintains an atmosphere of reverence. Prices for this are cheap, and it generally closes by 5, so be aware of that as you plan your visit.
If you want the absolute best view of Dallas, and to learn about some cool Dallas history, you need to go up in the GeoDeck. It’s such an incredible experience! They have cool pictures you can take to remember your experience, as well as an outer deck you can go outside on and experience the real height of the tower! Keep in mind, if it’s raining or there’s lightning, you won’t be able to go out on the outer deck for safety reasons. This is great for kids and adults and was a really neat experience for all of us! We were happily surprised to find out it was included with our CityPass as well.
If you’ve read anything on my site, you’ll quickly find out how addicted I am to IKEA. I have multiple posts on the topic from everything on what to expect for your first visit, to the 15 things you should be buying at IKEA. Dallas is home to a couple of amazing IKEAs and you should definitely visit! Shoot, eat there if you can – it’s delicious! We always make a stop at this IKEA when we’re in Dallas and if you have time, you should too! The dessert pictured above is my favorite dessert ever. They sell it in their in-store restaurant, or in the grocery section of the store.
This place is INCREDIBLE! I’m talking three floors of shopping, tons of restaurants, stores from high end designers to Old Navy and everything in between. There’s even a full size skating rink in this mall open to guests. If you are from further than 50 miles away from Dallas, you have access to some perks and discounts – click HERE to see the instructions on how to get those at the mall. If you have kids that are 42″ or shorter, they also have a huge kid’s play place they would enjoy as well. We love to shop, so this is always a must-stop for us when we’re here!
That should answer most of your questions about Dallas, and give you a pretty good list of things to do in Dallas whether you’re traveling with or without kids. If you know of any other hidden gems I’ve missed, feel free to add them in the comments below so I can experience them too! Enjoy your visit to Dallas!