Totally Free Things to Do in Dallas-Fort Worth
Enjoy complimentary museums, music, nature trails, and more.
If you’ve got some money in your pocket, there’s a never-ending list of activities you can accomplish, but sometimes you just want a casual day without a corresponding dip in your bank account. Fortunately, Dallas-Fort Worth is teeming with free things to do, as you might expect from the fourth biggest metro area in the United States. We’ve got museums, live music, outdoor adventures, and other ways to occupy your time without breaking the bank. Point yourself in the right direction with this lineup of free and fun things to do in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Check out some free museums in Dallas
Admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is always free and grants you access to more than 25,000 works spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. Follow up your DMA visit with a free trip to the Crow Collection of Asian Art, then finish your very cultured day with a quick stop at The Samurai Collection, which features nearly 1,000 pieces of Japanese samurai armor, helmets, weapons, and other items.
Then do the same in Fort Worth
The Kimbell Art Museum’s permanent collection is free to view, with displays ranging from pre-Christian-era Egyptian artifacts and Italian Renaissance paintings to mid-20th-century sculpture. If your tastes skew more modern, the Modern is free on Fridays. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art features homegrown artists from the 18th century to now. And the Sid Richardson Museum is filled with masterpieces depicting the American West, with paintings of trail drives, cowboys, and other romantic remnants from Texas' storied past.
The park separating Uptown and Downtown Dallas is filled with five acres of green space, plus fountains, and tables and chairs, so you can sit and stay awhile. While you’re there, take advantage of ping pong tables, foosball tables, a game cart stocked with chess and checkers, or pull a book from the reading cart. The park is flanked by not-free food trucks and restaurants, but you can also bring a picnic and enjoy your own spread.
Every evening at 6 pm, the Ritz-Carlton brings out the hotel's “Guacamologist” to prepare fresh guac in the hotel lobby. It’s free, and so are the chips and mini margaritas. Should you require more sustenance, repay the favor by purchasing food and drinks at Fearing’s restaurant, or try something from the Tequila Vault.
This 1,015-acre East Dallas lake is surrounded by a 9.3-mile hike and bike trail. Take a stroll or peddle your way around the path, and you’ll pass through various nature areas, a dog park, picnic tables, fishing piers, and other reasons to take a break.
The 3.5-mile Katy Trail winds through Uptown Dallas, and the path itself is lined with trees and flowers. It also takes you alongside the Katy Trail Icehouse, where the beers aren’t free—but you deserve some anyway.
White Rock Lake and the Trinity River both offer prime real estate for paddle boards and kayaks, complete with multiple launch points and rentals available if you don’t have your own gear. Head out when it’s warm and sunny to enjoy a carefree day navigating the mellow waters.
Seven vintage street cars roll across 4.6 miles of track to connect Uptown, Downtown, and the Arts District, providing a convenient way to navigate some of Dallas’s busiest streets. The trolley operates 365 days per year, and rides are free, though a donation is appreciated.
Before each performance, the Kitchen Dog Theater hands out 20 free tickets as part of its Admit All initiative, which aims to ensure that all people are able to experience its plays. Those shows explore themes of justice, morality, and human freedom.
The popular Dallas nightlife district is also home to lots of great street art courtesy of the 42 Murals Project. Explore the works on walking tour through the neighborhood, where you’ll see the exterior walls of bars, restaurants, concert venues, and other buildings lined with colorful murals created by local and national artists.
The next time someone knocks Dallas for its lack of nature, kindly point them to the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest and its gateway, the Trinity River Audubon Center, which both sit within city limits. Then go there yourself to hike its trails through forests, wetlands, and prairies.
The popular downtown open-air venue hosts live musical acts each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. Sit and stay awhile, or let it be your soundtrack as you flit between the bars lining the communal green space.
The Trinity River and its tributaries are flanked by 100 miles of mixed-use trails, so you can walk, jog, or cycle to your heart’s content while enjoying the pastoral landscape. You can even ride a horse on several of those trails, just in case you happen to bring a horse.
The Herd, Fort Worth’s self-proclaimed “world’s only twice-daily cattle drive,” goes down each day at 11:30 am and 4:30 pm. Relive the Old West as you wave at ranch hands and Texas longhorns meandering through theStockyards National Historic District.
Built in 1974, this urban oasis sports multiple pools and cascading water features, plus tiered steps that let you walk above the water without getting wet. Fun fact: The gardens also made a cameo in the sci-fi blockbusterLogan’s Run.
Perched along the banks of the Trinity River, River Legacy Park is home to hundreds of unique wildlife species—and, supposedly, ghosts. Hike into the park and look for the Screaming Bridge, where locals have reported seeing and hearing all manner of unnatural phenomena. Then head over to Hell’s Gate, which may or may not be haunted by Civil War soldiers with a Confederacy-sized chip on their ghastly shoulders.
If the ghosts were any indication, Fort Worth is full of fascinating lore. Get your fill by meandering along downtown’s Heritage Trail, which is marked with bronze plaques detailing historic events from Old West gunfights to the establishment of the city’s first electric trolley line.
Slip on your boots, don your best 10 gallon hat, and head to the world’s largest honky tonk for free line dance lessons every Wednesday at 7 pm and Saturday at noon. A cold beer might cost a few bucks extra, but after a time or two around the dance floor, it’ll be well worth the added expense and potential confidence boost.
Stashed a short drive north of Fort Worth, this 20,000-square-foot skate park features bowls and rails to test your mettle—or to watch other people test theirs from the comfort of your park bench.