Bringing the Family?
There's plenty to do in DFW!
Top Ten Things To Do
1. Fort Worth Stockyards
This living museum pays tribute to Fort Worth's Wild West heyday with daily cattle drives and plenty of restaurants serving up cowboy cuisine. Start your visit at Stockyards Station at the heart of this historic neighborhood – from here, you can join a guided walking or Segway tour or hop on a stage coach. If you're interested in the district's history, pay a visit to the Stockyards Museum, which is housed in the former Livestock Exchange building and now contains an extensive collection of documents and artifacts from Fort Worth's Old West era.
Eat dinner at H3 Ranch or Cattlemans Steakhouse and then go dancing at Billy Bob's.
Pro Tip: Every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30pm there is a competitive rodeo in the Stockyards. It features tie down roping, barrel racing, bronc riding and bull riding.
2. Sundance Square
To get a sense of historic Fort Worth, pair your visit to the Stockyards with an afternoon at Sundance Square, located in the heart of the city. Named for the Sundance Kid – partner to the infamous Butch Cassidy – this 35-block district has been entertaining Fort Worth visitors since the city's Wild West days. During the 1800s, cowboys following the Chisholm Trail would stop here in town to linger in the saloons, gambling parlors and dance halls. Today, the area's red-brick buildings house a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. Sundance Square's pedestrian plaza (located along Main Street between Third and Fourth streets) also features several fountains – the jetted fountains being the most popular. Bring your bathing suit for an afternoon of ducking and diving beneath the spray of 216 jets, or bring your camera in the evening when the fountain is lit by underwater LED light fixtures.
Pro Tip: Check out the Ft Worth Water Gardens, its about 6 blocks south of Sundance. Its worth the walk.
3. Sixth Floor Dealy Plaza Museum
On Nov. 22, 1963, shots from Lee Harvey Oswald's gun echoed through Dealey Plaza as President John F. Kennedy's motorcade turned off of Houston Street onto Elm. Today, this scenic green space in downtown Dallas is visited every year by thousands who gather to honor the 35th president.
This tragic day in United States history has been immortalized on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository, where Oswald pulled the trigger just more than 50 years ago. The Sixth Floor Museum (which actually occupies the sixth and seventh floors of the building) houses exhibits detailing JFK's life, presidency and assassination. According to many recent visitors, one of the most fascinating exhibits is a recreation of Oswald's set-up at the southeast window, accompanied by touch screens that detail the events of that day. (If you're interested in seeing Dealey Plaza and Elm Street the way Oswald saw it that day, you can watch the live Dealey Plaza Cam, a streaming webcam set up at the very window through which Oswald tracked the presidential motorcade.)
Pro Tip: Get tickets to the museum a few days in advance, they normally sell out.
4. Dallas Botanical Gardens
True, Dallas has plenty of towering skyscrapers and traffic-laden highways. But it's also rich in green space. For respite from the big city, head to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which occupies 66 acres in White Rock Lake Park about 7 miles northeast of downtown. Forget about the hustle and bustle with a stroll through the Margaret Elisabeth Jonsson Color Garden, where more than 2,000 varieties of azaleas blossom in the spring and several acres of chrysanthemums come to life during the fall. Several historic homes surround the lake, tucked away in numerous patches of natural forest; take some time to visit them and escape the blazing summer heat.
What some recent travelers loved the most about the Dallas Arboretum are the various sculptures placed throughout the grounds. Meanwhile, other visitors recommend the gardens for kids. If you do bring your youngsters, make your way to the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, a massive 8-acre museum that houses 17 galleries filled with dynamic demonstrations, games and teacher-led labs focused on environmental science. The Children's Garden also contains 150 inventive exhibits that include canopied walkways and a 9,100-square-foot Exploration Center with plant and soil labs, among other features.
Pro Tip: The best breakfast tacos in Dallas, hands down, are in a gas station on the SW corner of White Rock Lake. Just google 'Tacos La Banqueta Puro DF'.
5. George Bush Presidential Library
Set on 23 acres in northern Dallas' University Park, The George W. Bush Presidential Library houses extensive textual, audiovisual and electronic records from the 43rd presidency. As you can imagine, the library is more of a research facility than it is a tourist attraction. Instead, casual visitors should make their way to the adjacent 14,000-square-foot museum, where detailed displays explore such events of Bush's time in office as 9/11, as well as the themes of education reform and the economic crisis. Inside the museum, you'll find interactive exhibits that put you in the former president's shoes: You can walk around a replica of the Oval Office, and in the Decision Points Theater, you can experience the Bush administration's decision- and policy-making process.
According to recent visitors, the highlight of a visit to the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum was the 9/11 exhibit, which they describe as extensive and well-organized. Travelers say that the exhibit, which contains a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, is moving, especially if you have friends or family in the military.
Pro Tip: For the best fried chicken in Dallas, try Bubba's in University Park.
6. Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas is a world-class theme park conveniently located between Dallas and Fort Worth in Arlington, Texas. This family-favorite destination features over 35 thrilling rides and attractions, exciting shows, concerts, and special events. The park sits on a beautiful 212 acres featuring lush landscape with over 150,000 flowers and plants. Popular attractions include: The Texas SkyScreamer, Titan, New Texas Giant, Batman: The Ride, and Superman: Tower of Power.
Pro Tip: Buying tickets online is much cheaper than the front gate. Most grocery stores also have significantly discounted tickets.
7. Kimball Art Musuem
The Kimbell Art Museum has earned a reputation as one of the top small museums in the world. The facility itself is a work of art, complete with vaults and skylights and a sculpture garden designed by prominent Japanese-American artist, Isamu Noguchi. And despite its modest size, this museum is a must-see for any art buff: The permanent collection houses works that span history and features artists ranging from El Greco and Rembrandt to Monet and Picasso.
Although art aficionados were already impressed by the original Kahn building, which was constructed in 1972, the addition of the Piano Pavilion (named for Italian architect Renzo Piano, who helped design Paris' famous Centre Pompidou) has made the Kimbell feel less cramped, recent visitors say. Many visitors call this one of the best-kept secrets in Fort Worth, one not to be missed. The new section of the museum – which opened in November 2013 – now houses parts of the permanent collection, including Asian and European Art, as well as some traveling exhibitions.
Pro Tip: Go next door to the Amon Carter Museum for a huge expo of American/Western oil on canvas and Remington bronzes.
8. Fort Worth Zoo
Since it opened in 1909, this Texas zoo has been exposing Fort Worth residents and visitors to wildlife from around the world. When it first opened, the Fort Worth Zoo contained one lion, two bear cubs, a coyote, a peacock, an alligator and some rabbits; now, it's a full menagerie with exhibits housing everything from jaguars to flamingos. Make your way to the Australian Outback to mingle with Aussie residents like kangaroos, or visit the Asian Falls area for views of the stunning white tigers. Recent visitors also highly recommend spending time in the Museum of Living Art, an award-winning facility that houses some 5,700 birds, reptiles and amphibians who live among hand-painted murals.
Those who have visited the zoo find plenty of aspects to praise, including the well-shaded pathways (lined with water misters primed to keep you cool on hot summer days) and the option to bring your own food and beverages. But heed the advice from these travelers to not ignore the other pastimes found on zoo grounds. For example, spend some time in Texas Wild!, a model Wild West village complete with a petting corral and a laser shooting gallery, as well as several snack options.
Pro Tip: Grab a great burger and shake at Dutch's, a popular TCU college hangout, after your zoo visit.
9. Dallas World Aquarium
Perhaps "aquarium" isn't the right word to describe this attraction. Of course there are fish, stingrays, eels and octopuses – you'll find these and a variety of other aquatic creatures occupying the facility's expansive tanks. But the Dallas World Aquarium also houses penguins, sharks and flamingos. A living rainforest shelters manatees, crocodiles, monkeys and toucans, while the Mayan exhibit is home to a Jabiru storks and an ocelot, among other fascinating wildlife. If you can, try and plan your visit around feeding times: You'll get to see the critters feast while aquarium staff members tell you more about the species.
Recent travelers said they were pleasantly surprised by the number of animals housed in the Dallas World Aquarium, and many say that a visit here makes a great alternative to the Dallas Zoo, especially during the hot summer months. However, some do warn that the space can feel crowded, especially when schools are on break. Another sticking point for some visitors was the high cost of admission, though others say they felt a visit here was well worth the money.
Pro Tip: Head to the Pecan Lodge after the aquarium for BBQ ranked Top 5 in the world. Call ahead and make sure they aren't sold out and ask how long the line is.
10. Highland Park Village
This Mediterranean-style shopping center is home to upscale stores in an open-air setting where visitors can wander for a few hours. The shopping center, which was one of the first of its kind, has restaurants, a movie theater and shops that reflect the wealthy neighborhood where it is located. Some refer to it as the "Beverly Hills of Dallas," which should be an indicator of just how high-end the stores are, and locals say it's one of the top shopping spots in Dallas. The architecture of the longstanding shopping center is also a draw, and shoppers recommend checking out Highland Park Village around Christmastime when lights and decorations transform the outdoor mall.
The shopping center offers concierge services, personal shoppers and complimentary valet parking at multiple stores throughout the village.
Pro Tip: Grab lunch at Mi Cocina in the village. Be sure to get a top shelf margarita.