Trying to find great activities and attractions in Dallas? Our Dallas itinerary is all you need to plan the perfect trip!
Dallas isn’t always a city that falls on the radar of travelers, which is exactly why it’s such an interesting place to explore.
Dallas has a fascinating history. It was at the forefront of western cattle drives that formed the basis of the city’s burgeoning economy.
Then the city went through a boom in the 1970s and early 1980s that formed the crux of the city’s interesting neighborhoods and striking skyline.
As you make your way around Dallas, you’ll be able to experience both. The city is still very Texan. The Dallas Cowboys and the Fort Worth Stockyards will attest to that.
But alongside a wonderful collection of galleries, creative hubs, botanical gardens and nightlife, there is plenty of vibrance and color to go alongside its history.
READ NEXT: Want to add more awesome activities to your itinerary? Check out The 21 Best Things To Do In Dallas, Texas
How to Spend 3 Days in Dallas Itinerary
Your weekend in Dallas will take you from parks and museums to stadiums and historic districts.
It’s bound to be a true Texan adventure that will prove Dallas is far more of a metropolitan city than people believe.
Consider getting the Dallas CityPASS to get a discounted price for some of the city’s best attractions!
Day 1 in Dallas
Your first day in Dallas explores the city’s underrated arts and culture scene.
After flying in, head to the best garden in the city and explore an elegant world of flora set alongside a beautiful urban lake.
From there, you can discover the largest arts district in the United States before experiencing the best nightlife that Downtown Dallas has to offer. Buckle up!
Day 1 Morning
Regardless of how far you’ve had to travel to reach Dallas, you’ll revel at the opportunity to put your feet up and chill. There’s no better place to do that than at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
Ditch the travel blues and take in the sights and sounds of a beautiful location spread across 60 acres on the glistening banks of White Rock Lake.
The arboretum is a pristine display of intentional gardening that has continued to grow, bloom and improve over the last four decades.
All told, there are 14 different sections within the Dallas Arboretum that showcase an immense variety of flora, from seasonal collections to towering trees.
Add on regular festivals and programs within the gardens and you have a space that is as vibrant as it is eye-catching.
One of the highlights of the botanical gardens is the Margaret Elizabeth Jonsson Color Garden. Come here to spot over 2,000 prismatic azaleas, tulips and daffodils.
- Address: 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218
- Hours: 9am – 5pm (Mon-Sun)
- Price: $20
Day 1 Afternoon
From the arboretum, make your way downtown to the Dallas Arts District. The expansive arts district is the largest of its kind in America and such is the quality and quantity found here.
Art aficionados would have no problem filling their weekend in Dallas with galleries and museums.
Set in Downtown Dallas, the Arts District spans an incredible 20 blocks. Here, you’ll find the Dallas Museum of Art, the Crow Museum of Asian Art, plus the renowned Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
At the center of it all is the Dallas Museum of Art, aka the DMA. It stands at the forefront of the art scene in Dallas and has a wonderful collection that dates as far back as the 3rd century.
The DMA’s art collection boasts over 24,000 pieces, from photographs to historic scripts, sculptures and celebrated paintings.
It’s a veritable journey around the world, with stops in Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe and Asia. Somehow, despite all this, the museum of free!
- Address: 1717 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201
- Hours: 11am – 5pm (Sat-Thur) 11am-9pm (Fri)
- Price: Free (reserved ticket required)
Day 1 Evening
Before hitting the nightlife in Downtown Dallas, set up shop in Klyde Warren Park. Set upon 5.2 acres, the park is an urban oasis that you can explore day and night.
Kids will love the children’s playground, while there are regular events and classes like yoga throughout the morning and afternoon. But with food trucks, movies and concerts in the warmer months, stop by for dinner and a fun evening experience in Dallas.
From the park, you’ll be within walking distance of some of the city’s best downtown restaurants, bars and clubs. Nightowls will have no issue finding a place that suits, with hip lounges found is as high numbers as dive bars and laid-back joints.
When it comes to live music, you’ll have a few choices, including the popular Opening Bell Coffee (no entry fee) and the local City Tavern, which has a beloved neighborhood feel.
But to really jam out, make your way to Victory Park, where you’ll find the House of Blues Dallas, one of the top music venues in the nation.
Check the House of Blues website to see what’s playing when you’re in town.
Day 2 in Dallas
Nurse the hangover as best as you can, as the second day of your Dallas itinerary starts with a head of steam.
Head to Dealey Plaza, where you can take a trip back to the 1960s to the scene of one of America’s most infamous tragedies.
Later, check out the impressive AT&T Stadium on a tour, or stick around for a game.
Then, all roads lead to a National Historic District, where cobblestone streets take you to the ranching version of Wall Street and the scene of another epic night!
Day 2 Morning
After a day of parks and art, it’s time to dive into the history of Dallas, good and tragic.
One of the top attractions in the city is the Sixth Floor Museum, a former book depository that found infamy as the location where the assassination of John F. Kennedy took place.
You’ll find the museum within the Dealey Plaza. It was on the sixth floor of the building that JFK was shot in 1963.
But there’s much more to the space than just that singular event. The Sixth Floor Museum does an amazing job of piecing together the events and political climate that led to those fateful events along with a close look into the last days of the former president.
After exploring the lead-up and the shooter’s location, you’ll dive into the aftermath of the tragedy as you discover the investigations that took place. To help you are a range of artifacts and evidence used by the FBI to hunt down the assassin.
You can skip the line for the museum on this tour which also explores the plaza, Oswald’s (the assassin) home and the John F. Kennedy Memorial.
- Address: 411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202
- Hours: 10am – 5pm (Wed-Sun)
- Price: $18
Day 2 Afternoon
The events of 1963 will forever be a part of Dallas history. Another aspect part of life here that is also firmly woven into the fabric of Dallas is its local NFL team. Yep, America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Based just west of town in Arlington, Texas, the beloved (and loathed) Cowboys play their home games at the exceptional AT&T Stadium.
The arena, which once boasted the biggest jumbotron in the world, can seat up to 80,000 fans that travel from across the country to cheer for or against the team in blue and white.
Tickets to Cowboys games aren’t in the realm or budget travelers, although you can always try to grab a last-minute ticket on sites such as StubHub.
If you can’t make a game (they play between September and January), then be sure to sign up for a stadium tour. Go behind the scenes to experience one of the world’s most expensive sports franchises.
After peeling back the curtains at AT&T Arena, continue west for a few more minutes until you reach Fort Worth. Here, you’ll discover why the second part of “Dallas-Fort Worth Airport” is just as important as the first.
Home to Sundance Square and the Fort Worth Stockyards, there is as much history as there is culture here.
Begin at Sundance Square, in the center of town. As you wander, you’ll notice gorgeous architecture spread across 35 city blocks, all connected by old cobblestone roads.
Travelers should check out the historic Tarrant County Courthouse and relax by the Water Gardens.
Exploring more of Texas? Check out our list of the best things to do in Houston!
Day 2 Evening
As day turns to dusk, trade Sundance Square for the Fort Worth Stockyards. The stockyards are a National Historic District and a place where visitors will be able to learn about Dallas beginnings as a cattle trading hub.
The action is centered around Exchange Avenue. Every day at 4 pm, modern-day cowboys guide their massive longhorn bulls down the historic street, bringing to life centuries of history.
If you have time, enter the Livestock Exchange. Once a place where bulls were bought and sold, the exchange is now a museum that showcases the state’s ranching history.
But don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about Fort Worth’s renowned nightlife.
After the longhorns are placed back in the paddock, the local streets light up, creating one of the best nightlife districts in the wider Dallas region. Trade your regular walking shoes for a pair of cowgirl or cowboy boots and hit the town.
The good news for travelers is that there’s only one place you need to go to experience it all, and that is Billy Bob’s Texas. You’ll be able to get your boot-scootin’ on right here at the world’s largest honky tonk.
Ride the mechanical bull and stick around for regular concerts from some of country music’s biggest stars at Billy Bob’s Texas.
- Address: 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, TX 76164
Day 3 in Dallas
Yep! We’ve made it to day three already. The time has flown, but there’s still more to discover.
Begin your morning with a coffee and a treat in the wonderful Bishop Arts District. After exploring a creative and culinary hub, head to the zoo or wander around the West End for more yummy eats and family-friendly attractions.
Lastly, end your time in Dallas with a trip up the memorable Reunion Tower.
Day 3 Morning
Despite having the Dallas Arts District, there are still more arts and creative culture to explore within the Texan city.
The Bishop Arts District is the scene of your final morning in Dallas. You may be dreading your departure, but the utterly charming nature of Bishop Avenue will, for the time being, allay any worries.
Bishop Arts District is laden with colorful shops, independent galleries and creative hubs. It’s the perfect complement to the world-class museums found on the other side of the Trinity River.
Those visiting Dallas will be able to take their time as they jump between each of the stores and see the goods produced by local artists.
Among the colorful aesthetics, vibrant coffee shops and charming ambiance are a handful of locations that stand above the pack.
One of those is The Wild Detectives. Set within a historic bungalow from the 1940s, the independent bookshop also functions as a chic cafe (and bar after midday). It’s a literary hangout that would have impressed the great authors of the 20th century.
Lastly, We Are 1976 is your one-stop shop for making the most of the extra luggage you booked for the flight home. Discover old-school stationery, eye-catching decor and limited edition art.
Read next: The 21 Best Things To Do In Austin, Texas
Day 3 Afternoon
If you’re spending 3 days in Dallas with the kids, now would be a great time to explore the Dallas Zoo.
Spanning over 100 acres, there’s plenty to keep the entire family entertained with over 2,000 animals and 400+ species. Otherwise, head back over the Trinity River to explore Dallas’ Historic West End.
You would have seen parts of the West End at Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum, but there’s much more to see… and eat.
Within the historic district is a series of beautiful red-brick warehouses from the early 20th century. Once home to bustling industries, they’re now homes to locals, museums, cozy shops and delicious restaurants.
Speaking of food, stop here and visit Ellen’s. They serve up a mouthwatering all-day brunch that features all the hallmarks of Southern cuisine.
Other highlights in the West End include the Museum of Illusions where you can enjoy a series of head-catching and tricky exhibits, including the endless abyss known as the Infinity Well and the mesmerizing Vortex Room.
- Address: 701 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX 75202
- Hours: 10am-8pm (Sun-Thur) 10am-9pm (Fri-Sat)
- Price: $21
Another option is the Dallas World Aquarium. Enjoy hands-on fun as you explore coastal and ocean habitats from around the world.
- Address: 1801 N Griffin St, Dallas, TX 75202
- Hours: 8.30am-4.30pm (Mon-Sun)
- Price: $26.95
Day 3 Evening
Before jumping on the plane or steering the car towards the highway, finish off your weekend in Dallas at the Reunion Tower.
Within walking distance of the West End, the tower provides striking views of the Dallas skyline, allowing you to retrace your steps and all the highlights of your Dallas itinerary.
The Reunion Tower may not be the tallest in the city, but its striking design makes it impossible to miss from the ground level. At night, the tower, also known as the Ball, sparkles. It boasts over 250 LED lights spread across a geodesic dome that’s set upon four prongs.
After admiring the distinct design, head up the elevator, admiring the views on your way to the top of the 561-foot tower.
After 70 seconds, you’ll arrive and the panoramic views of Downtown Dallas and beyond will meet you head-on.
As you take in the sights, there are a number of informative signs that will help you understand just how the Dallas skyline has changed over the decades.
Dallas Travel Guide
Now that you know what to do here is some information that will help you know the best time to visit, how to get around and where to stay when you visit.
When is the Best Time to Visit Dallas
Summer in Dallas can be hot, stifling hot. Although it does bring in travelers from all over and attract a number of major events, if you can avoid the peak heat, you’ll have a much nicer time exploring the city. But if summer break is the time to travel, then pack lots of water!
Spring is a lovely time to visit Dallas. The temperate weather allows for delightful walks through the several renowned districts and the city’s beautiful parks.
There’s no better example of this than at the arboretum where the Dallas Blooms Festival takes place from the start of March until the middle of April.
However, if you plan your Dallas weekend getaway to land in the fall, then it might coincide with the boisterous Texas State Fair. The three-week extravaganza proves once in for all that, yes, everything is bigger in Texas.
Winter isn’t the most popular time to visit Dallas, which is why it might also be the perfect time for you. You can avoid the height of the tourist season while enjoying some cold but not spine-chilling winter temperatures.
For more ideas, check out our 3 days in Austin Texas itinerary!
Getting Around Dallas
If you’re planning on exploring beyond the downtown area (as we suggest you do) it will help to have your own car while in Dallas.
The city is laid out in a grid pattern and is easy to navigate. It does have some issues with traffic (what big city doesn’t?) but it’s not nearly as bad as other cities in the United States.
A car will make it easy to get over the Trinity River to South Dallas, along with making the brief trip to Arlington and Fort Worth.
However, you can get away with using just public transport and your own two legs in Dallas. The city’s major public transport network, the DART, focuses primarily on the downtown area and moving travelers to the airport.
You can also get regular transport to Fort Worth so you can visit the Stockyards and Sundance Square.
Lastly, Dallas’ downtown and popular tourist areas are super easy (and fun) to explore on foot. The Arts District, the West End and the rest of downtown are right alongside each other, so you can easily group museums, galleries and restaurants.
The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.
Where to Stay in Dallas
There are many popular neighborhoods in Dallas. This is great for travelers, as there isn’t just one place you can base yourself.
Downtown Dallas is a popular choice as it includes the Arts District and the West End. But it may not be budget-friendly for all travelers.
Other popular areas include South Dallas, where you’ll be close to the Bishop Arts District and the Dallas Zoo. There is also the youthful Deep Ellum, where street art and live music are found in great supply.
So if you’re wondering where to stay in the city, our recommendations for the best accommodation in Dallas will help you choose the top spot for your budget!
Best Hostel in Dallas
For budget and social travelers, hostels are a great choice and Deep Ellum Hostel ticks all the boxes.
Make the most of your modern hostel amenities, befitted with creative communal areas before exploring the Deep Ellum neighborhood, which has some great nightlife of its own.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Dallas: Hampton Inn & Suites
Stay in Downtown Dallas without breaking the bank with a weekend at the Hampton Inn & Suites. Your room features a cozy layout, cable TV and coffee-making facilities, while there is a restaurant and bar, plus a pool and gym downstairs.
Best Luxury Hotel in Dallas: Hotel Crescent Court
Celebrate your time in Dallas by enjoying some luxury at the Hotel Crescent Court. The beautiful courtyard greets you on arrival and by the time you enter the elegant lobby, you’ll feel right at home.
Your upscale room comes with all the modern conveniences plus gorgeous French doors that open to a private balcony.
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