Dallas is the largest metro city in Texas, and it is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in this state. The city is known for its outdoor spaces, sports, restaurants, and culture. It is also known for having one of the largest LGBTQ community in the United States. Anyone who visits this fantastic city will find plenty of things to see and do during their stay. While many of these come at a cost, there are also lots of activities and attractions that are accessible to those who have only a limited budget. To help you find some free activities to enjoy to keep your vacation budget to a minimum, here are 20 awesome free things to do in Dallas that you should consider including in your vacation itinerary.
1. Go to the Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas is a wonderful city to visit for art enthusiasts as there are many museums and galleries that are worth visiting. According to 10best, one of the top venues for art is the Dallas Museum of Art. The building was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, so you will be impressed by the architecture before you have even stepped inside. The museum boasts more than 23,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and interesting artifacts from across the globe. With so many exhibits on display, you can spend a whole afternoon at the gallery, if not longer.
2. Visit Trinity River Audubon Center
Once the largest illegal dumping site in Texas, this 120-acre site was transformed in 2008 into a nature preserve and environmental education center. Now, the park is home to a variety of wildlife, including over 60 species of birds, and it is the gateway to the 6,000-acre with Great Trinity Forest. At Trinity River Audubon Center, there are picnic areas, hiking trails, a butterfly garden, and a children’s discovery garden. This outdoor attraction is free to visitors on the third Thursday of every month.
3. View Art at the Kimbell Art Museum
Another top venue for viewing art for free is the Kimbell Art Museum. Located in the Fort Worth district of Dallas, this museum has approximately 350 works of art. These include some classic masterpieces by artists including Matisse, Picasso, and Monet. The collection also includes classical antiquities from around the globe. The building itself is also worthy of admiration, as this interesting structure was designed by Louis Kahn and Renzo Piano. Entry to the art museum is always free.
4. Have a Laugh at Dallas Comedy House
If you want to have a laugh, then the premier destination in Dallas is the Dallas Comedy House. Although you must buy tickets for some of the performances, there are free improv and open mic nights every Tuesday evening. Try to get their early to save the best seats. It is best to take along a little cash to enjoy a drink during the performances.
5. Eat Free Guacamole at The Ritz
Dallas has some outstanding restaurants where you can enjoy a meal, but these often come at a high price. If you want to enjoy a culinary treat for free, then 10best says that you should go to The Ritz at 6 pm on any evening to enjoy the hotel’s Guacamologist Experience. A guacamole specialist serves free guacamole and chips in the lobby for free each evening, and you can also enjoy a mini margarita.
6. View of Crow Collection of Asian Art
More than 600 pieces of art are on display at this museum, and these come from China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and India. Most of the collection at Crow Collection of Asian Art belongs to private collector Trammel Crow. In addition to viewing the regular collections of art, there are also special exhibitions held throughout the year. There is also a stunning sculpture garden for you to explore.
7. Have Fun at Klyde Warren Park
Parks are always a good place to visit if you are in the city in you crave a free activity in the outdoors. However, Klyde Warren Park is a park with a difference. It was created on top of a sunken freeway to encourage footfall and to become a central gathering place. There are green spaces and children’s play areas, but there is also so much more for people to enjoy. The park is used for a year-round program of activities, such as musical performances, film screenings, children’s entertainment, lawn games, dance lessons, and fitness sessions. It is worth checking out what is going on at the park before visiting.
8. Dance the Night Away at Adair’s Saloon
If your idea of a good time is music and dancing, then head to Adair’s Saloon because entry to this music venue is completely free. This venue attracts many talented performers who come to play music live. There is a mix of country music artists, indie bands, and talented singer-songwriters. Although the stage is small, it has attracted people who have gone on to become big stars, including Miranda Lambert, the Dixie Chicks, and Jack Ingram. Regardless of which band or type of music is playing when you visit, there is always a fantastic vibe at this venue. The only money you will need is for any drinks you buy.
9. Go to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
One of the more unusual attractions in Dallas is the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This is the only place in the United States other than Washington D.C. that prints money. Located in Fort Worth, this attraction has two floors of interactive exhibits and displays. Visitors can learn all about the printing process and take a behind-the-scenes look at how the factory functions. The free tours of the building are offered daily and last for 45 minutes.
10. Visit The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection
Many people miss The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection because of its discreet location. This hidden gem is above the Saint Ann Restaurant, so many people simply walk past. This museum boasts the largest complete assemblages of samurai swords in the world. There are hundreds of swords on display dating from the 10th century through to the 19th century. The collection has been amassed by the Barbier-Mueller family. In addition to the swords, the collection also contains other artifacts, including masks, armor, helmets, and horse armor.
11. Spend Time at the John F. Kennedy Memorial and Dealey Plaza
This landmark was designed by Philip Johnson, and the open tomb style is intended to symbolize the freedom of spirit of John F. Kennedy. The John F. Kennedy Memorial is within walking distance of Delaney Plaza, which is the spot where the former president was assassinated in 1963. This is one of the most significant events in the modern history of Dallas, so this landmark is worth a visit.
12. Learn at the Hall of State at Fair Park
At Fair Park, you will find the Hall of State. According to Tour Texas, this is a great place for history buffs to visit. There are over three million historic documents and objects on display. This is also home to the largest collection of art deco exposition-style architecture from the 1930s in North America.
13. Ride on the McKinney Avenue Trolley
An interesting way to see some of the sights of Dallas for free is to take a ride on a McKinney Avenue Trolley, also known as an M-Line Trolley. These are restored vintage trolleys that run between Uptown and Downtown Dallas. They stop at several points of interest along the way, such as the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff, Victory Park, Deep Ellum, Main Street Garden, The West End, The Sixth Floor Museum, Omni Dallas Hotel, and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. A ride on the M-Line Trolley is a good way to see some of the city sights from a different perspective and without the effort of walking. A ride on the trolleys also serves as a practical means of traveling between different attractions.
14. Tour Mary Kay Cosmetics
Mary Kay Cosmetics is a cosmetics company that has existed in Dallas for more than four decades and was founded by Mary Kay Ash. The aim was to create a company that would give women unlimited opportunities. The headquarters has a free museum that showcases the achievements of this woman and tells the history of the company. Included within the museum is a theatre and a Hall of Honor. This is an interesting attraction to visit for those with interests in cosmetics or business.
15. Fantasy Landing at Kiest Park
If you are traveling with kids, this is one of the best places you can visit for free. The Fantasy Landing at Kiest Park is an award-winning playground. It is designed to create an interactive and interesting experience for children and so that it is accessible for children with a disability.
16. Enjoy Some of the Fun Free Festivals
According to Tour Texas, there are many fun and free festivals hosted in Texas throughout the year. Some of these include Deep Ellum Arts Festival, Earth Day Texas, Oak Cliff Earth Day, Texas Veggie Prade, and Cottonwood Art Festival. Other events include Dallas Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Chinese New Year in Dallas Art District, and Asian Festival. There are many more festivals and events throughout the year, so check what is going on in the area during the time you are visiting.
17. Visit Historic Graveyards
Visiting graveyards may seem a strange way to spend your vacation, but Dallas has two particularly pretty and interesting graveyards where you can take a stroll. One is the Dallas Pioneer Park Cemetery. This cemetery is a combination of four early graveyards and it is the final resting place of many notable Texans. A second cemetery to visit is the Freedman’s Cemetery & Memorial just outside downtown Dallas. This is a pre-Civil War African-American burial ground.
18. White Rock Lake
In the midst of the built-up area of Dallas around Mockingbird Lane, you will find the surprisingly tranquil White Rock Lake. This man-made lake and park were established in 1911, and it has become a popular spot amongst those who want to get away from the stresses and strains of urban life. Within the park are walks, picnic areas, a boat club, a dog park, and a cultural center. There are also many activities that you can enjoy on the water, such as boating, paddle boarding, and canoeing.
19. African American Museum at Fair Park
This museum is the only one in the Southwest that is devoted to African-American culture, history, and arts. The African American Museum at Fair Park boasts the largest collection of African-American Folk Art in the United States. Alongside the art, you can learn more about the history and culture of African-Americans in this part of the United States from the archives and vaulted galleries. The venue hosts events and entertainment throughout the year.
20. Latino Cultural Center
The Latino Cultural Center provides a diverse cultural experience that will appeal to people of all ages. At this center, Latino and Hispanic culture are showcased using a variety of mediums, including live performances, children’s arts and crafts sessions, films, exhibitions, and much more. Most of the events that are held at this venue are completely free.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn