Experience It All During Your Vacation In Dallas, TX

outline drawing of the state of Texas with the text 'vacationing in dallas tx' to the right, a city skyline in black at the bottom

Dallas is one of the top 10 biggest cities in the United States, and absolutely filled to the brim with culture, history, architecture, great food, and just about anything else you could possibly want out of a vacation destination.

If you’re visiting Dallas for the first time, or you love to vacation in Dallas, TX, you’re going to want to prioritize your experiences to make sure you have the best trip ever.

There’s a lot going on in Dallas, and this comprehensive travel guide highlights a few “musts” for the brand new or seasoned Texas Tourist.

Getting To Know Dallas

Dallas began as a humble trading post along the river during the 19th century. From then until now, it’s grown into a booming global city with sights, industry, manufacturing, and plenty of treasures for tourists to discover at every corner.

The first microchip was invented in Dallas, the Dallas Zoo is one of the oldest in the United States, and in the 1930’s, Dallas even became home to the first planned shopping center in the United States – the Highland Park Village Shopping Center.

A vacation in Dallas is a lot more than just a vacation in Dallas. The Dallas metro area is sprawling and is referred to as the Dallas-Fort Worth Urban Area. In this urban sprawl you’ll find Fort Worth just 30 miles west from Dallas proper, as well as major cities like Arlington, Plano, Mesquite, Denton, Garland, Grand Prairie, and Irving.

Altogether, the region is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the entire United States. Located in North Central Texas, the area rests right by the three forks of the Trinity River, so you’re not just looking at city after city; there’s plenty of rolling meadows, creeks, and scenic tree-lined open spaces in between. In short – you have the hustle and bustle of city life, and you have the incredible natural wonders of North Central Texas all a stone’s throw away.

The city of Dallas is made up of 14 distinct districts, each with their own personalities. For instance, in the North Oak Cliff District 1 you’ll find the Bishop Arts District, the Texas Theater, and the Kessler Theater. In the historic south Dallas District 7, you can pay a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr Community Center or the Dallas Civil Rights Museum.

Throughout these 14 districts, you’ll find over 30 different neighborhoods, from the tourist-popular and chic Uptown neighborhood to the quieter natural settings of White Rock. With the Dallas DART, or Dallas Area Rapid Transit system, it couldn’t be easier for tourists to explore every corner of the city that catches their interest. DART consists of buses, light rail, commuter rail, and high occupancy vehicle lanes.

Sightseeing In Dallas

There’s plenty of sights to see just exploring Dallas and all its nooks and crannies. When vacationing in Dallas, TX, you might want to put a few stops at the top of your sightseeing list:

Dallas Arts District

Home of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Arts District is the central hub of the city’s arts and culture scene. A walking tour is the perfect way to really immerse yourself in the center of the city’s arts.

Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum

On November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was riding in his motorcade through Dealey Plaza. Waiting across the plaza at the Book Depository was 24-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald, who would assassinate the president as he drove by in his open-top vehicle. The Dealey Plaza and Sixth Floor Museum serves as a reminder of that fateful day and tribute to the late President of the United States. The John F Kennedy Memorial Plaza features a cenotaph art installation by architect Phillip Johnson, Dealey Plaza guides tourists with an interactive app, and the Sixth Floor Museum walks guests through the John F Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation exhibit. It’s recommended for vacationers to purchase tickets online ahead of their planned tour day.

Reunion Tower

When you’re looking at the Dallas skyline, you’ll probably notice a large glittering ball standing unmissable amongst the skyscrapers. That’s the Reunion Tower, and the best way to get a bird’s eye view of the city. Built in 1978, it’s known to locals as “The Ball”, and its 279 LED lights can be seen for miles. The Observation Deck over 450 feet up gives you panoramic views of the city. Looking for a truly special experience? Visit the Observation Deck at sunset!

the reunion tower observatory building in downtown dallas, tx at dusk

Dining Experiences In Dallas

Some folks choose to take a vacation in Dallas, Texas inspired by one feature alone – the food! Dallas is a huge foodie-friendly city, with world renowned Tex-Mex and BBQ cuisines.

Tex Mex is a type of cuisine that merges southwestern American cuisine with traditional North Mexican flavors. Created by the Tejano people, Tex Mex in Dallas is world-famous. Some of the best Tex Mex restaurants to check out in Dallas include:

  • Las Palmas
  • El Fenix
  • Desperados
  • Joe T Garcia’s
  • Avila’s

After you’ve dug into a little Tex-Mex, there’s another cuisine you’ve got to try to get the full flavor experience of Dallas. Barbecue is part of Texas history, with Central Texas BBQ being credited to 19th century German and Czech settlers who would open butcher shops and use smoking techniques to preserve their meats. For a true taste of Central Texas BBQ in Dallas, a few famous spots include:

  • Pecan Lodge
  • Lockhart Smokehouse
  • Terry Black’s
  • Cattleack Barbecue
  • Smokey John’s

Activities And Entertainment

Whether you choose to vacation in Dallas, TX with the whole family or it’s a grown-ups only trip, there’s plenty to do to fill your time when it comes to activities and entertainment.

For the adults

  • Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden – Explore sprawling gardens right in the heart of Dallas, along with art installations, concerts, seasonal events, and plenty of picnic space.
  • Shopping and Entertainment Districts – The West End Historic District and Bishop Arts District are treasure troves for tourists looking to find a perfect souvenir, a great drink, an unforgettable theater performance, or a gut-busting comedy show.
  • Texas Motor Speedway – Monster trucks, Super Motocross, even track tours, there’s always a thrill to catch at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Family friendly

If you’re bringing the kids on a vacation in Dallas, Texas, there’s plenty to delight families in and around the city. Some family-friendly spots for all ages include:

  • Frisco Discovery Center – The former warehouse space in Frisco is now a space dedicated to all things arts and sciences. Home to the SciTech Discovery Center, the National Video Game Museum, and TrainTopia, it’s equal parts educational and fun for the whole family.
  • Dallas World Aquarium – Explore the world’s oceans and rainforests right in the heart of Dallas at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • The Dallas Zoo – The Dallas Zoo is one of the oldest in the country, and it’s a sprawling zoo featuring over 400 different animal species over an area of 106 acres.
  • Six Flags Over Texas – Home of the tallest roller coaster in all of Texas, The Titan, Six Flags Over Texas puts a little thrill into your family vacation! With rides and attractions for all ages, entertainment, and seasonal events, there’s always something fun happening at Six Flags.

There’s Something For Everyone In Dallas

What might a vacation in Dallas, TX look like? Maybe a little something like this – artsy afternoons spent in the Arts District, lunch at the Pecan Lodge, then a walk around the Dallas Arboretum. The next day, grab the kids and hop on over to Six Flags. After that, experience American history at the Sixth Floor Museum. It’s easy to fill the day on a vacation in Dallas, Texas.

There’s no real “low” season for visiting Dallas, with tourists finding plenty to do and great weather to enjoy no matter the time of year. However, the most popular tourist months run from March through October. Weeklong vacations might be most popular, but for shorter getaways, there’s plenty you can experience during a 4-day long weekend.

Plan ahead, get excited, and let Dallas immerse you in its art, culture, and rich history.

Planning Resources

Planning resources make it easy to plan ahead for your vacation in Dallas, TX. VisitDallas offers trip planning resources for new or experienced travelers to Texas. For getting around on your own, free printable maps are easy to bring along for a better view of any area of the city.

Rental cars are an easy way to navigate Dallas and the surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth Metro Area, however most convenient highways are toll roads which will add to the cost of your car rental. Alternatively, the more affordable DART makes it easy for tourists and locals to navigate the area using public transport.

Leave for your vacation in Dallas, TX with peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to find a ride to the airport, and you don’t have to worry about pickup either. EZ Air Park is convenient offsite parking at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for all of your travel needs.