Dallas Bucket List

12 Best Things To Do in Dallas

The city of Dallas epitomizes the old saying “everything is bigger in Texas”. The Big D is so full of places to go, things to do, attractions to see, food to eat, and drinks to guzzle that you’ll be planning your return trip before you can tap your cowboy boots together. There’s no place like Dallas!

1 Reunion Tower

It’s not the tallest building in Dallas, but it’s impossible to ignore the 561-foot tall Reunion Tower jutting straight up through the Dallas skyline. At night, the top of the tower glows with 259 LEDs, giving the tower its nickname: The Ball. Visitors know its much more than a bright light in the night: Reunion Tower has a 360 degree observation deck with the best views in Dallas and an epic restaurant on the 18th floor.

2 Dealey Plaza

Although it’s Infamously known for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Dealey Plaza was once celebrated for much different reasons. It’s also the site of the first home, the first courthouse, the first post office, the first store, and the first fraternal lodge in Dallas, earning its nickname “the birthplace of Dallas”. That outlook was forever changed on November 22, 1963 at 12:30pm, when JFK was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Many surrounding buildings and landmarks are of historical importance including the Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shot, a white “X” on Elm St. where JFK was hit, the suspicious “Grassy Knoll”, and dozens of other sites of interest- both related and unrelated to JFK.

3 Sixth Floor Museum

The Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository, from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy, has been repurposed into a museum that examines the life, death, and conspiracies surrounding these two figures in American history. The main exhibit is an immersive account of the timeline, incorporating images, artifacts, video clips, and first-hand accounts of the fateful days surrounding JFK’s assassination.

The Dallas County Administration Building occupies the remainder of the site, which overlooks Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy was struck with the fatal bullet.

4 Dallas Arboretum

In 1984, the 44-acre DeGolyer Estate and 22-acre Alex Camp House combined forces to create the Dallas Arboretum, a 66-acre paradise of color creations by mother nature. There are 19 separate gardens throughout this urban oasis, highlighted by beautiful vistas with pecan trees, magnolias, crape myrtles, cherry trees and azaleas.

In addition to its natural beauty, the property has a restaurant overlooking White Rock Lake, stage for outdoor concerts, children’s adventure garden, picnic areas, and visitor’s center.

5 AT&T Stadium

The Dallas Cowboys followed the everything’s bigger in Texas rule when they built AT&T Stadium in 2009: the venue’s 80,000 seats can reconfigured to fit 100,000, making it the largest capacity stadium in the NFL. Nicknamed “Jerry World” after owner Jerry Jones, it’s loaded with humongous screens, filled to the brim with cutting edge tech, and topped by a retractable roof that slides on or off depending on the weather.

Say what you want about the Cowboys’ football skills- there’s no doubt that they put on a good show. If the NFL isn’t your cup of tea, keep your eyes on the events calendar: AT&T Stadium plays host to a wide variety of special events, from food festivals to international concert tours.

The stadium is technically in Arlington, located halfway between Dallas and Fort-Worth, but the three cities are often considered part of one single area called the Metroplex.

6 Pioneer Plaza

Just outside the Dallas Convention Center is a large public plaza with a collection of bronze statues depicting a quintessentially Texan scene: 3 cowboys herding dozens of longhorn cattle through a stream. The sculptures (by Robert Summers) were unveiled in 1994, commemorating 19th century cattle drives along the Shawnee Trail. It’s the largest bronze monument of its kind in the world, with each steer standing at 6-feet high.

The statue sits on 4.2 acres that feature a flowing stream and waterfall, contributing to this larger-than-life tribute to the real-life Dallas Cowboys in Pioneer Plaza.

7 Dallas Zoo

The oldest and largest zoo in Texas started with just 2 deer and 2 lions in 1888. Today, the Dallas Zoo provides sanctuary to over 2,000 animals across more than 400 species.

Among its award-winning exhibits is “Giants of the Savanna”, the first man-made habitat in North America to house a variety of large species in a single exhibit, safari style. Other popular attractions at the Dallas Zoo include Otter Outpost, Penguin Cove, Chimpanzee Forest, Gorilla Research Center, Crocodile Isle, Bug Colonies, an Endangered Tiger Habitat, and Children’s Zoo.

8 Dallas Museum Of Art

Dallas has a thriving and ginormous arts district, possibly the biggest in the country (118 acres), and you’ll find the best it has to offer on display at the Dallas Museum of Art. At 150,000+ square feet and with 24,000 objects spanning 5,000 years, the DMA is one of the biggest art museums in the United States.

Established in 1903 with the goal of creating a permanent art organization in Dallas, the DMA’s collection speaks for itself. You’ll find ancient African sculptures, famous paintings by Monet and Cezanne, exhibits from modern local artists, late night events with music and performances, and everything in between at the Dallas Museum of Art.

9 George W. Bush Presidential Center

On the campus of SMU (Southern Methodist University), you’ll find the George W. Bush Presidential Center- a collection of buildings dedicated to the legacy of the 43rd President of the United States of America.

The main attraction of the complex is the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, containing 43,000 artifacts, including steel from the World Trade Center and the bullhorn President Bush used to address the crowd at Ground Zero. There’s also a full-size replica of Bush’s Oval Office and the original White House Situation Room which was dismantled and reassembled for permanent display at the Bush Center. This is where President Bush made key decisions regarding the terrorist attacks of 9/11; today, students can participate in a “Situation Room Experience”- a role-playing game that simulates the high-stress, high-stakes crises facing US decision makers.

Surrounding the Bush Center is the 15-acre “Native Texas Park” which incorporates a network of trails through a range of environments that once flourished in Texas.

The Bush Center will also be the final resting place for George W. Bush and his wife, Laura Bush.

10 Wild Bill’s Western Store

A trip to Texas isn’t complete if you haven’t tried on a cowboy hat and there’s nowhere better to do it than Wild Bill’s Western Store. Hundreds of celebrities, from Chuck Norris to Kevin Hart, have grabbed their country western gear from this shop in the West End Historic District. And for good reason- Wild Bill’s Western Store is so authentic that it’s owner, Bill Dewbre, served as a costume consultant for the hit TV show “Dallas”.

Whether or not this is your first rodeo, visiting Wild Bill’s is always a fun shopping experience and definitely worth visiting at least once!

11 Giant Eyeball

It’s impossible to miss the giant 30-foot tall eyeball as you walk down Main Street in the Dallas Art District. It’s even harder not to stop and stare back. The fiberglass sculpture was completed in 2007 by artist Tony Tasset and moved from Chicago to Dallas in 2013.

The Giant Eyeball sticks out like a sore thumb, but people love it, clamoring to take photos from a fenced off location. It’s weird, it’s awesome, and it’s definitely worth visiting if you’ve some time to waste and appetite for artistic oddities.

12 International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame

Did you know the sport of bowling is more than 5,000 years old? You’ll learn all about it in 18,000 square feet of fun at the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame.

The museum catalogs the history of bowling, from ancient Egypt, to British monarchs, to German immigrants, and American pubs. You’ll find rare artifacts, discover legends of the sport, and explore the future of Bowling with a hands-on exhibit for all ages called “Bowlopolis”. Located just outside of Dallas in Arlington.

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