Free Things to Do in Dallas

Published On 01/08/2015 Published On 01/08/2015
klyde warren park
Klyde Warren Park | Flickr/Tim Stoll

Some say the best things in life are free (pretty sure it was Kanye, you may want to double-check). That seems questionable, as brisket and beef ribs generally are not free, and are indisputably among life's best things. That said, it's always nice to save money, then you'll be able to afford more brisket and beef ribs. It's very possible to entertain yourself in Dallas while spending nothing, here's how to do it.

Peruse the Dallas Museum of Art

Would it kill you to be a bit cultured for once? For serious though, they have some cool stuff here.

Touch base with nature at Cedar Ridge Preserve

Whether you want to get your jog on or check out the butterfly and hummingbird gardens, Cedar Ridge is waiting.

Dealey Plaza | Flickr/CameliaTWU

Wander the JFK Memorial and Dealey Plaza

Not the brightest spot in Dallas history, but a must nonetheless.

Instagram Thanks-Giving Square

Stained glass paradise.

Sample at the Dallas Farmers Market

Read: Free food.

Walk the Public ArtWalk

3.3 awe-inspiring miles of a self-guided tour through public art.

Tour the city via M-Line Trolley

See Dallas how you were meant to, via trolley!

Hike the Buckeye Trail

Another fine way to get in touch with nature.

Dart around on the D-Link

These guys will whisk you around Dallas and the historic Oak Cliff areas to link you to the fine art, dining, and culture of Dallas.

See Bonnie Parker’s grave

Of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde.

Watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Greenville

Of course, you MAY want to spend some money on libations to increase your revelry.

White Rock Lake | Flickr/Texas Eagle

Do anything but swim at White Rock Lake

Here you will encounter lots of joggers, bikers, dog walkers, ducks, and Dallas beauty. You can see the lake (duh), the Dallas skyline, and glimpse the arboretum as well.

Get sporty at Reverchon Park

There always seems to be something cool happening, and if not, there's definitely always some solid natural scenery.

Hang out at Klyde Warren Park

Play ping-pong, check out a book, and play some putt-putt. Not simultaneously. That would be difficult.

Stroll Main Street Garden Park

Why pick green space or city when you can have both? Main Street Garden Park is smack in the heart of Downtown.

Then stroll Belo Garden

Why limit yourself to ONE Downtown garden? Belo Garden features plenty of native trees, gardens, and a fountain plaza.

Run Katy Trail

Or walk. Or ditch the whole free thing and head to Katy Trail Ice House for drinks. Or keep up the whole free thing and stick a friend with the bill. 

Perot Museum of Nature and Science | Flickr/eager

Park it at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s outdoor plaza

Built for kids, but definitely adult-approved.

Check out the funky art in Deep Ellum

From funky sculptures to graffiti art, Deep Ellum has some must-see spots.

Chill at the observation station at DFW Airport

See the planes coming and going up close and personal. And the statues!

Catch an outdoor movie at Annette Strauss Square

No brainer!

Creep into Freedman’s Cemetery and Memorial

A beautiful tribute honoring former free slaves from Freedman’s Town in the 1850s.

Dallas Arboretum & Art Garden | Flickr/Amy the Nurse

Walk through The Art Garden

It’s like a sculpture museum, only outside.

View the historic homes around Swiss Avenue

Like stepping back in time -- particularly a draw if you're into architecture.

Listen to a show at Good Records

The records cost money, the shows do not.

Tour Four Corners Brewery

Beer, free. This one is not complicated.

Visit the Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive

A cattle drive in suspended fashion.

Bike through Oak Cliff and Nature Reserve

Beautiful scenery, beautiful scenery everywhere!

Visit Lakeside Park to see the bear statues

We apparently love statues in Dallas. These are of teddy bears.

Bishop Arts District

Explore Bishop Arts

You will probably be tempted to buy something -- at least a drink -- but looking around and people-watching is free.

Take a look around the Art’s District

There is a lot up-and-coming in this area; you should take a look around and see what it’s all about.

Get scenic a Scyene Overlook/Piedmont Ridge

Breathtaking views are not in large supply around these parts, so here’s your chance to take one in.

Unlock your yogi on top of HG Sply Co.

While this is technically free, a donation is asked for. Either way, you get a chance to do yoga with one of the better views of the skyline.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas

See the mustangs in Las Colinas

A statue of some pretty intense-looking horses galloping through puddles.

See the skyline from the Chase Tower

One of the most iconic buildings in Dallas. You can make-believe you’re James Bond and pretend to break in using a grappling hook to go to the top... or just walk in and use the elevator, your choice.

Hike/bike Trinity River Audubon Center

Just some outdoor glory in good ol’ Dallas.

See cultivated nature at the Botanic Garden in Fort Worth

Why go to the Arboretum and pay? 

Fountain Place | Flickr/Krystal Pritchett

Soak in Fountain Place

No play on words here -- just lots of cool water features.

Go see a book reading at The Wild Detectives

With events ranging from up-and-coming to well-known national writers, it's always great to get in touch with your literary side.

Take a stab at stand-up at Dallas Comedy House

Try out your best joke at the Tuesday open mic... or just watch others take a stab at it and then rethink the whole thing.

Get weird at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival

The biggest, baddest, free-est art festival in all of Dallas.

Courtesy of Sundown at Granada

Watch a free movie at Sundown at Granada 

Makes for a great cheap date on Wednesday nights, and there's half-priced whiskey!

Play bar trivia at Alamo Drafthouse

You don't need to pay money to feel like a smart-ass and piss off other people.

Listen to live jazz or watch a B-movie double feature at Eight Bells Alehouse 

Feel fancy with classy-ass music playing around you or dive in to feel like you’re at a drive-in.

Play giant Jenga at Barcadia

The drinks cost some money, but the less you drink, the better chance you have at dominating Jenga.

Walk around the underground tunnels Downtown 

Dallas may not have a subway system, but feeling the joys of being underground shouldn't cost you!

Enjoy theater outdoors with Shakespeare in the Park 

Bring blankets and bug spray, but witness any of the Bard's best plays each summer.

Fort Worth Stockyards | Flickr/Marco Becerra (edited)

Hang at the stockyards in Ft. Worth

Doesn't get more Texas than that.

Disc Golf at BB Owen Park

Grab your Chaco’s and head to one of the best courses in Dallas proper.

Admire Nasher Sculpture Center

Not free all the time, but every first Saturday you can get in for free. Plus sculptures.

Take the Santa Fe trail from White Rock to Deep Ellum

You can take in all of the scenery between White Rock and Deep Ellum on one convenient trail.

Befriend foodies at the Taste of Dallas Festival

The biggest, baddest, free-est food festival in all of Dallas.

Belo Mansion | Flickr/Aidan Wakely-Mulroney

Check out The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

A beautiful site to be seen from Trinity Groves; you can see it when you tour Four Corners Brewery.

Take in the architecture of Belo Mansion

An amazing venue for weddings and events, but also architecturally stunning.

Catch an exhibit at Bath House Culture Center

There's live music, art displays, and a black box theatre.

Bring blankets and bug spray, but witness any of the Bard’s best plays each summer.

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Lucas Buckels is a freelance writer in Dallas, TX. You can catch him at Double Wide singing his best Joni Mitchell on weekends. Follow @lcsbckls for updates.

Jason Moore is a Dallas transplant from Austin and truly enjoys the city. You don't have to feel sorry for him when he says he moved from there to here. You can follow his musings: @iamcalledjason.



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