No matter where in the world you may be, there are always fantastic things you can do for free. Dallas is no exception to the rule. From lovely public parks where you can chill with friends or family to free art exhibitions and more, we explore some of the free activities you can enjoy when visiting Dallas. There’s something for everyone!
First up, note that the D-Link bus is free, so if you want to do some sightseeing, it’s the perfect way to get around without wearing out your shoe leather.
In this guide...
Get Outdoors and Enjoy
Dallas is blessed with many green outdoor spaces, parks, gardens, and playgrounds. We cover a few of the highlights here.
1. Klyde Warren Park
One of the newest parks in Dallas, Klyde Warren Park is also among the coolest. When you’re relaxing here, you may find it difficult to believe that you’re actually sitting on top of a busy freeway that joins downtown and uptown Dallas. While adults enjoy the fitness area, kids will be fascinated by the playground. Regular events are organized, so check to see what’s on or just pack your picnic basket and find out why this outdoor space is an award-winner.
2. White Rock Lake Park
Whether you like bird watching (and there are plenty of birds to watch) or just like the tranquility of the Lakeside, White Rock Lake Park is a great free spot to visit. There’s a nine mile trail for walkers, cyclists or runners with scenic views, and even if you don’t go boating yourself, you’ll enjoy watching the rowers, paddleboarders, and fishers out on the lake.
3. Trinity River Audubon Center
Dallas is home to the world’s largest urban forest, and the Audubon Center offers comfortable walks along the riverside. Here, you can admire majestic trees or do a little bird watching. There’s also a discovery garden where you can introduce your children to nature, conservation, and gardening. Those who don’t mind spending a few bucks can join the guided boat trips down the river.
4. Reverchon Park
It’s big, it’s beautiful, and it’s tranquil. What more could you want? A playground? You’re sorted! Pack a picnic and enjoy a stroll around this urban oasis.
Art Appreciation Doesn’t Have to Cost a Cent
The Public Art Walk will take you through many of the attractions we’ve listed. It’s just over three miles long, and it’s a self-guided tour through some of the most notable artworks and monuments in Dallas. Be your own tour guide!
5. Northpark Center
You may want to leave your credit card behind when you visit Dallas’ plushest mall, but aside from window-shopping, there are some amazing art exhibits to be seen. CenterPark forms part of the mall facilities and is home to a 12-ton modern sculpture besides having a duck pond that will charm the kids. Window shopping doesn’t cost anything, although some of those high-end price tags will either amuse or horrify you.
6. The Crow Collection of Asian Art
Few art museums offer free entrance every day, but the Crow Collection does. Magnificent Asian artworks are on display and are always free to view. However, on the first Saturday of every month between 10 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon, there are free family activities to add to the mix.
7. Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art is known for its fabulous collections and exhibitions. Although you can get in free on any day, the museum offers free activities for kids on the first Tuesday of every month, making it a great choice for a family outing. The airy interior is worth seeing, and it’s a great place to hide from the heat on a hot afternoon.
8. Deep Ellum
What was once a seedy neighborhood full of jazz music and gamblers is now an avant-garde, artsy district packed with galleries and entertainment venues. Soak up the atmosphere and pop into galleries that welcome you free of charge.
Museums Worth Visiting
There are plenty of free museums and galleries to visit. Those that charge admission often have free days or will give you free access to part of the facility, so make your inquiries.
9. Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum
The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum hosts one of the most impressive collections of samurai regalia in the world. Use your smartphone to read the QR codes and find out more about the amazing history of each piece for free.
10. J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
There are all sorts of things to see and do at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, but one of these outshines the rest: an original edition of the declaration of independence is on display, and there’s even an original copy of Shakespeare’s first folio to be seen. That’s by no means all, so don’t miss out on your visit to the library.
11. The African American Museum
This unique museum is always free. Learn more about African-American history and view the world’s largest collection of African-American folk art.
Buildings and Monuments
From historic homes to modern architectural marvels, you’ll find plenty to admire and photograph as you explore Dallas.
12. Thanks-Giving Square
A garden and a magnificent non-denominational chapel. The spiraling chapel is beautiful from the outside, but even more striking from the inside as the spiral is picked out with stained glass windows. Regardless of your faith, this space will inspire, and religious symbolism has deliberately been avoided. Stroll around the tranquil gardens and explore the underground Dallas Pedestrian Network.
13. Pioneer Plaza
You’ll get two treats when you visit Pioneer Plaza. Firstly, you’ll be able to admire the sleek, modern architecture of the Dallas Convention Center. Next, you’ll be able to admire a very life-like bronze replica of a cattle drive featuring three cowboys and 49 steers. It’s a truly impressive sight, and not to be missed!
14. JFK Memorial Plaza
Although the monument itself may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s still worth visiting as one of the iconic sights of Dallas. The edifice seems to defy gravity, but don’t worry – it’s perfectly sturdy! Spare a thought for the great American president it commemorates while you’re there.
15. Founders Plaza
16. Visit Bonnie Parker’s Grave
Pay your respects to Bonnie Parker, one of the notorious Bonnie and Clyde robber duo. Her grave can be found at Crown Hill Memorial Park.
17. McKinney Avenue Trolley Rides
Five lovingly restored trolley cars commemorate a bygone era. Best of all, they work, and you can get a free ride. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine as you travel around one of the trendiest parts of Dallas in your vintage trolley car.
18. Dallas City Hall
The award-winning architecture is not to be missed, and you can enjoy a walk around a sculpture park too. With art, architecture, and gardens to offer, there’s something for everyone – even the kids.
19. Historic Neighborhoods
Dallas still has some amazing historic neighborhoods, and the place to see the mansions of yesteryear is Swiss Avenue. Other neighborhoods worth checking out include the Munger Place Historic District and, of course, McKinney Avenue.
20. Freedman’s Cemetery and Memorial
Just less than one mile from the hub of downtown activity, you’ll find the historic pre-civil war Africa-American cemetery. The memorial consists of bronze sculptures made by David Newton, a famous African-American artist.
Festivals and Happenings
No matter when you visit Dallas, chances are there will be some festival or another either already running or soon to come. St Patrick’s Day, Chinese New Year and Earth Day are among the calendar days that Dallas celebrates, and the Deep Ellum Arts Festival in April is Dallas’ biggest party of the year.
Check the press for news of the latest happenings; there’s almost bound to be something on.
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