There are tons of fun and frugal things to do in Dallas year-round. No matter if you like to explore the great outdoors or prefer to stay indoors in the air conditioning, there’s a little something for everyone. There’s no need to shell out tons of cash to experience the culture and history of Dallas. Many spots are just a short drive from your vacation rental or are conveniently located on a public transit route. Check out these 20 things to do that don’t cost a lot — if anything.
20 fun activities in Dallas that won’t break the bank
- McKinney Avenue Trolley
Take a ride on the McKinney Avenue Trolley (also known as the M-Line) to explore Dallas and see some of the amazing sites in historic Uptown. The trolley features four restored vintage cars that give visitors rides for free every day of the year.
- Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art offers a bit of culture for those visiting Dallas on a budget. Admission to the art museum is free; however, you’ll need to pay to see the special exhibits. There’s an interactive kids’ area, so even the little ones will have fun.
- Klyde Warren Park
Klyde Warren Park is one of the top free things to do in Dallas for people of all ages. Soak up the sun in the urban park while kids play around in the splash pad. It’s also the location for several free events throughout the year. Grab a bite to eat from the food trucks lined up along the street nearby at lunchtime.
- Trinity River Audubon Center
The Great Trinity Forest is the largest urban hardwood forest in the country. Learn more about the beautiful forest, explore five miles of trails and enjoy hands-on exhibits for free on the third Thursday of every month.
- Dallas Farmers’ Market
One of the top free things to do in Dallas is to munch on free samples at the Dallas Farmers’ Market, which is open Friday through Sunday. It’s the largest of its kind in the nation — because everything is bigger in Texas — with multiple farmers and vendors to explore.
- Mary Kay Cosmetics Headquarters
For anyone interested in inspiring stories or cosmetics, one of the top places to visit in Dallas, Texas is the Mary Kay Cosmetics Headquarters. The headquarters has a free museum, theater and Hall of Honor for anyone who wants to learn the story of Mary Kay Ash.
- Children’s Medical Center of Dallas Train Exhibit
Visiting a hospital may not be at the top of your list of places to visit in Dallas, Texas, but you should make time to visit the train exhibit in the lobby of the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. With eight trains running simultaneously, it’s the largest permanent train exhibit in the country. Admission is free, and it’s open every day.
- Latino Cultural Center
Latino and Hispanic culture is a big part of Texas and Dallas. Learn more about Latino arts and culture at the Latino Cultural Center that offers many free performances, exhibits and film showings.
- Bonnie Parker’s Grave
The infamous Bonnie and Clyde both have their final resting places in Dallas. While Clyde’s resting place is in a cemetery not open to the public, you can visit Bonnie Parker’s grave at the Crown Hill Memorial Park in North Dallas.
- John F. Kennedy Memorial
The John F. Kennedy Memorial is located near Dealey Plaza — where JFK was assassinated in 1963. The large memorial plaza is a great place for honoring President Kennedy and a must-see for any history buff.
- Founder’s Plaza
Located right downtown near the JFK Memorial, Founder’s Plaza features a replica of the cabin the city’s founder lived in. There’s also a beautiful fountain to explore.
- Stockyards Museum
If you’ve ever been interested in watching a cattle drive happen in real life, head over to the Stockyards Museum where they happen twice a day. Kids can visit the museum for free and adult admission is minimal. The museum features photos, artifacts and exhibits that give you a deeper glimpse into the history of the Stockyards.
- Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie
Anyone with a love of horses should visit Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, which is halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. There are lots of free and inexpensive seats to see the beautiful thoroughbreds and quarter horses. It’s also a fine place for a picnic.
- Deep Ellum
Deep Ellum has a long history in the jazz and blues scene, which can still be seen in the neighborhood’s art galleries, music venues and restaurants. There are lots of things to see and do here for those who aren’t looking to spend a lot of money.
- White Rock Lake
Those who like to spend time outdoors can enjoy the water, trails and sun at White Rock Lake. The man-made lake is just five miles from downtown and offers dozens of recreation options.
- Chase Tower Sky Lobby
If you’re looking for one of the best and least expensive views of the entire city, head over to Chase Tower. Admission to the Sky Lobby is free, and it gives you a view from 40 stories high.
- Pioneer Plaza
The Pioneer Plaza is a fun place to snap photos when visiting Dallas. Located near the convention center, the Pioneer Plaza features 49 steer and three cowboy bronze statues that represent a cattle drive. Take a break from the business around the convention center and stroll through the installation.
- Thanks-Giving Square
Those looking for things to do in Downtown Dallas should wander over to Thanks-Giving Square. The park and chapel were created to promote unity and offer a place of solace and peace to anyone. The unique spiral design of the chapel can’t be missed among the straight lines of Downtown.
- Crow Collection of Asian Art
The Crow Collection of Asian Art features more than 500 works of art from China, Japan and other parts of Asia. While admission is always free to view the artwork and outdoor sculptures, you get even more for your money on the first Saturday of every month when there is storytelling, face painting and crafts.
- Fort Worth Botanic Garden
General admission to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is free, and the entrance fee into the Japanese Garden is minimal. The gardens spread out over 110 acres and offer a quiet retreat just a short drive away from Dallas.