Things to Do in Downtown Dallas

Do you want to know the best things to do in Downtown Dallas? Downtown Dallas is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood with plenty of activities and attractions to entertain you. Whether you’re traveling solo, with your family, or with friends, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Downtown Dallas has everything from world-class museums like the Perot Museum of Nature and Science to bustling markets, stunning architecture, and mouth-watering cuisine. You can explore the charming Dallas Downtown Historic District, indulge in diverse dining options at downtown Dallas restaurants, or immerse yourself in the nightlife scene.

In this article, I’ll share the top things to do in Downtown Dallas, including family-friendly attractions, fun late-night activities, and hidden gems you won’t find in any guidebook. So, buckle up and get ready to experience the best of what Downtown Dallas has to offer!

Historic Landmarks in Downtown Dallas

Dallas is a city steeped in history, and downtown Dallas is home to many of its most significant landmarks. Here are three historic landmarks you will want to take advantage of during your visit.

Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza is a must-visit for history buffs. It is the site of one of the most tragic events in American history – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The plaza is surrounded by iconic buildings, including the former Texas School Book Depository, now home to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. 

The museum is dedicated to President Kennedy’s life, death, and legacy and is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of the United States.

Pioneer Plaza

Pioneer Plaza is a unique outdoor space that celebrates the history of Dallas and the American West. The plaza is home to the largest bronze monument in the world, which depicts a cattle drive with 49 larger-than-life sculptures of cowboys and longhorns. The plaza is a great place to stroll and learn about the city’s history.

John F. Kennedy Memorial

The John F. Kennedy Memorial is a powerful tribute to the 35th President of the United States. The monument, located in the heart of downtown Dallas, was designed by architect Philip Johnson and features a simple yet striking design. 

The memorial consists of a black granite slab in the center of a white concrete plaza. The slab is inscribed with Kennedy’s name and birth and death dates. The monument is a sad reminder of one of the most tragic events in American history.

Old Red Museum

The Old Red Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of Dallas and the surrounding area. The museum is housed in the historic Old Red Courthouse, which was built in 1892. The museum’s exhibits cover everything from the prehistoric era to the present day, with a particular focus on the history of Dallas and its people. 

Highlights of the museum include a replica of the Texas School Book Depository and a restored 19th-century courtroom.

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Cultural Attractions in Downtown Dallas

You are in luck if you want a cultural experience in Downtown Dallas. This area is home to some of the most well-known cultural attractions in the city. Here are three must-visit cultural attractions that you shouldn’t miss:

Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art is a true gem in the city. With over 22,000 works spanning various periods and cultures, this museum promises to transport you to different corners of the globe. The museum’s collection includes art from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. You can also explore the museum’s sculpture garden, which features works by artists such as Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore.

Nasher Sculpture Center

The Nasher Sculpture Center is a must-visit for anyone interested in sculpture. The center’s collection includes works by some of the most important sculptors of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, and Richard Serra. The center is also home to a beautiful garden that features works by artists such as Dan Graham and Claes Oldenburg.

Majestic Theatre

The Majestic Theatre is a historic theatre that has been beautifully restored. The theatre opened in 1921 and has hosted a variety of performers over the years, including Harry Houdini, Mae West, and Bob Hope. Today, the theatre hosts a variety of performances, including plays, musicals, and concerts. If you are looking for a unique cultural experience, a visit to the Majestic Theatre is a must.

Meyerson Symphony Center

One of downtown Dallas’s most popular cultural attractions is the Meyerson Symphony Center. This world-class concert hall is home to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and hosts a variety of other musical performances throughout the year. The Meyerson Symphony Center is known for its stunning architecture and exceptional acoustics, making it a must-visit destination for music lovers.

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Shopping and Dining in Downtown Dallas

You’re in luck if you’re looking for somewhere to eat and shop in Downtown Dallas. You can choose from a wide variety of options to fulfill your shopping needs and cravings. Here are a few top locations to visit:

Neiman Marcus Flagship Store

The Neiman Marcus Flagship Store is a must-visit for anyone who loves luxury shopping. The store is located in the heart of Downtown Dallas and features high-end brands like Chanel, Gucci, and Prada. You can also find unique pieces from local designers. The store is known for its excellent customer service, so you can expect to be treated like royalty when you shop here.

Dallas Farmers Market

The Dallas Farmers Market is a great place to find fresh produce, artisanal foods, and unique gifts. The market is open seven days a week and features over 150 vendors. You can find everything from locally grown fruits and vegetables to handmade soaps and candles. There are also plenty of food vendors, so you can grab a bite to eat while you shop.

Bishop Arts District

The Bishop Arts District is a trendy neighborhood in Dallas that’s home to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and shops. The area has a bohemian vibe and is known for its eclectic mix of boutiques and galleries. You can find everything from vintage clothing to handmade jewelry here. The district is also home to several art galleries, so you can check out some local artwork while you’re in the area.

Meyerson Symphony Center

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, the Meyerson Symphony Center is the place to go. The center is home to the Opus Restaurant, which offers a menu of contemporary American cuisine. The restaurant is known for its elegant atmosphere and excellent service. You can also enjoy live music from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra while you dine.

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Outdoor Activities to Do in Downtown Dallas

Looking for some fun outdoor activities in Downtown Dallas? Look no further! There are plenty of options to choose from that will keep you entertained and active. Here are a few notable places to check out:

Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park is a 5.2-acre urban park that sits atop a freeway tunnel in the heart of Dallas. This park is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. With plenty of green space, a dog park, a children’s playground, and a variety of food trucks, there’s something for everyone. 

The park also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including fitness classes, concerts, and movie nights. Be sure to check out their website for a list of upcoming events.

Main Street Garden Park

Main Street Garden Park is another excellent option for outdoor activities in Downtown Dallas. This 1.75-acre park features a playground, a splash pad, a dog run, and plenty of seating areas. 

The park also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as food festivals and live music performances. If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, Main Street Garden Park is the perfect spot.

Both of these parks are easily accessible by public transportation and offer free admission. So grab your friends and family and enjoy a day of fun in the sun in Downtown Dallas!

Events and Festivals

Are you looking for exciting events and festivals in Downtown Dallas? You’re in luck! This bustling area of the city is home to various annual events that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

State Fair of Texas

One of the most popular events in Downtown Dallas is the State Fair of Texas, which takes place every fall at Fair Park. This beloved event has been a tradition in the city for over a century, and it’s easy to see why. From thrilling rides to delicious food, there’s something for everyone at the State Fair of Texas. Be sure to check out the famous fried foods, such as fried Oreos and fried butter, and ride the iconic Ferris wheel.

Dallas Arts District Block Party

Another must-see event in Downtown Dallas is the Dallas Arts District Block Party, which takes place every fall. This free event celebrates the city’s vibrant arts scene with live music, food trucks, and art installations throughout the district. Stroll through the streets and check out local artists’ unique artwork and performances.

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Family-Friendly Activities to Do in Downtown Dallas

Are you trying to find something entertaining to do downtown Dallas with your family? There’s nowhere else to look! These two fantastic choices will keep your group entertained for many hours.

Dallas World Aquarium

If you’re looking for a unique and educational experience for your family, the Dallas World Aquarium is a must-visit destination. This indoor aquarium is home to marine life, including sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. 

In addition to the aquatic animals, the Dallas World Aquarium also features several exotic birds and animals, including sloths, monkeys, and jaguars.

One of the highlights of the Dallas World Aquarium is the rainforest exhibit, which features a variety of plant and animal species from Central and South America. Your family can stroll through the lush greenery and observe colorful birds, butterflies, and even a two-toed sloth.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a great destination for families who love to learn and explore. This museum features various interactive exhibits designed to engage visitors of all ages.

One of the most popular exhibits at the Perot Museum is the dinosaur exhibit, which features life-sized skeletons and interactive displays that allow visitors to learn more about these prehistoric creatures. 

Other presentations at the museum include a hands-on engineering lab, a virtual reality experience, and a sports exhibit that explores the science behind athletic performance.

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Sports and Recreation to Do in Downtown Dallas

When visiting downtown Dallas, are you looking for sports and entertainment? You are fortunate! Here are a few locations that you just have to go to:

American Airlines Center

Head to American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars. This state-of-the-art venue hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, family shows, and other sporting events. With a seating capacity of over 20,000, you’re sure to find an event that suits your interests. Check out their website for a schedule of upcoming events.

AT&T Discovery District

If you want something a little more low-key, check out the AT&T Discovery District. This outdoor space offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and recreation. Take a stroll through the park, play a game of cornhole, or catch a movie on the outdoor screen. You can also enjoy some delicious food and drinks at one of the area’s many food trucks or restaurants.

Travel Tips and Recommendations

  • Getting Around: Downtown Dallas is easily walkable, but if you prefer public transportation, the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) system is convenient and affordable. You can purchase a day pass for unlimited rides on buses and trains.
  • Where to Stay: Many hotels in Downtown Dallas range from budget-friendly options to luxury accommodations. The Joule Hotel and the Adolphus Hotel are both highly recommended for their central location and upscale amenities.
  • What to See and Do: Downtown Dallas has various attractions, including museums, parks, and historic sites. Check out the Dallas Museum of Art, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
  • Where to Eat: Downtown Dallas has a thriving food scene, with options ranging from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. Some local favorites include Pecan Lodge for barbecue, The Woolworth for burgers and cocktails, and Savor for contemporary American cuisine.
  • Safety: Like any significant city, Downtown Dallas has its share of crime. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night. It’s also a good idea to keep your valuables out of sight and to lock your car doors when parked.
  • Weather: Dallas can get hot and humid in the summer, so dress appropriately and stay hydrated. Winters are mild, but it can still get chilly, so bring a jacket if you’re visiting between November and February.
  • Events and Festivals: Downtown Dallas hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including the Dallas International Film Festival, the State Fair of Texas, and the Dallas Holiday Parade. Check the city’s event calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.

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Can You Walk Around Downtown Dallas?

Yes, you can walk around Downtown Dallas. It’s one of the best ways to explore the area and experience the city’s vibrant atmosphere. The downtown area is compact and easy to navigate on foot. You can stroll along the streets and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the city.

Downtown Dallas has many pedestrian-friendly areas, including the popular Klyde Warren Park. This 5.2-acre park is built over a freeway and features a variety of activities, such as food trucks, live music, and fitness classes. You can also visit the Dallas Arts District, home to several museums, theaters, and galleries.

If you prefer a more structured tour, several walking tours are available that cover different areas of Downtown Dallas. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who can provide insight into the city’s history and culture.

Is Downtown Dallas Safe To Walk Around?

Yes, Downtown Dallas is generally safe, but taking precautions and being aware of your surroundings is important.

Like any big city, some areas of Downtown Dallas can be less safe than others. It’s best to avoid walking alone at night, especially in less populated areas. If you need to walk alone at night, stick to well-lit areas and stay aware of your surroundings.

Some areas of Downtown Dallas are known for having a higher crime rate, such as parts of West Dallas. However, these areas are not typically areas that tourists or visitors would frequent.

Here are some additional tips to help you stay safe while walking around Downtown Dallas:

  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Avoid walking alone at night, especially in less populated areas.
  • Stick to well-lit areas and avoid dark alleys or side streets.
  • Keep your valuables out of sight and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • If you’re lost or need directions, ask for help from a store owner or police officer.
  • Consider using a ride-sharing service or public transportation if you travel alone at night.

Remember, the key to staying safe while walking around Downtown Dallas is to be aware of your surroundings and use common sense. By taking basic safety precautions, you can enjoy all these vibrant city offers without any issues.

Is Dallas Good For Nightlife?

Yes, Dallas is a great city for nightlife. With a wide variety of bars, clubs, and music venues, downtown Dallas has something for everyone.

If you want a more upscale experience, check out the Midnight Rambler. This speakeasy-style bar features craft cocktails and a cozy atmosphere. 

Can You Start Your Day In Downtown Dallas Pretty Early?

Yes, you can start your day in Downtown Dallas pretty early. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, there are plenty of things to do in Downtown Dallas that will keep you busy from the moment you wake up. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Grab Breakfast at a Local Cafe

Plenty of cafes in Downtown Dallas open early, so you can grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat before starting your day. Some popular options include:

  • Weekend Coffee (https://www.weekendcoffee.com/): This cozy cafe opens at 7 am on weekdays and 8 am on weekends. They offer a variety of coffee drinks and breakfast items, including avocado toast and breakfast tacos.
  • Mudsmith (https://mudsmithcoffee.com/): This trendy coffee shop opens at 6:30 am on weekdays and 8 am on weekends. They specialize in coffee and espresso drinks but also offer pastries and breakfast sandwiches.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Things to Do in Downtown Dallas

What are the top free attractions in downtown Dallas?

There are several free attractions in downtown Dallas that you can visit, such as the Dallas Museum of Art, Klyde Warren Park, and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. You can also explore the Dallas Farmers Market, which offers a variety of fresh produce, artisanal foods, and unique gifts.

Where can couples enjoy a romantic outing in downtown Dallas?

If you’re looking for a romantic outing in downtown Dallas, you can take a stroll through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which offers stunning views of the city skyline. You can also enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the many fine dining restaurants in the area, such as the Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, which offers panoramic views of the city from the 560-foot Reunion Tower.

Which neighborhoods in downtown Dallas are a must-visit?

Several neighborhoods in downtown Dallas are worth visiting, such as the Arts District, which is home to several museums, theatres, and galleries. You can also explore Deep Ellum, which is known for its vibrant street art and live music scene. Another must-visit neighborhood is the West End, which is home to several historic landmarks and a variety of shops and restaurants.

What are some unique dining experiences in downtown Dallas?

Downtown Dallas offers a variety of unique dining experiences, such as the Asian-inspired fusion cuisine at Uchi Dallas or the farm-to-table dishes at CBD Provisions. You can also enjoy a meal at the top of the Reunion Tower at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck or dine in a historic bank vault at the Bourbon and Banter speakeasy.

What historic sites are near the Dallas Downtown Historic District?

The Dallas Downtown Historic District is home to several historic sites, such as the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture, housed in a beautifully restored 1892 courthouse. You can also visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, which is dedicated to the memory of the 35th President of the United States, or explore the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, which chronicles President Kennedy’s life, death, and legacy.

What are the best nightlife spots in downtown Dallas?

Downtown Dallas offers a variety of nightlife spots, such as the Midnight Rambler, a stylish cocktail lounge in the Joule Hotel. You can also enjoy live music at the House of Blues or dance the night away at the It’ll Do Club. Another popular spot is the rooftop bar at HG Sply Co, which offers stunning city skyline views.

Conclusion

You’ve just learned about some of the many exciting things to do in downtown Dallas. From exploring museums and art galleries to discovering local cuisine and nightlife, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Remember to check out the Dallas Museum of Art, a true gem in the city, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, a family-friendly attraction that’s fun and educational. 

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, downtown Dallas has endless possibilities for adventure and learning. So why plan your next trip today and experience all that this exciting city has to offer? Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoy your time in downtown Dallas!