Your Ultimate Bucket List of Things to Do in Dallas This Summer

Hop on a horse, immerse yourself in art, and root for the home team this spring.

Rooftop Cinema Club
Photo by Eric Scire, courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club
Photo by Eric Scire, courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club

Whether your idea of adventure involves riding a 2,200-pound beast through the wilderness or searching for ghosts at local bars, Dallas-Fort Worth is a trove of cool things to do in spring. As the temperatures remain on the milder side for a little while longer, we tend to hit the outdoors: farmers marketing, hiking, running, or walking. To cool off with some AC, we slink into speakeasies, shop for vintage threads, or plan the perfect road trip over sushi. Read on for 17 really fun ways to explore Dallas and beyond with friends, a special someone, or solo.

When winter turns to spring, wonderful floral fragrances dance across our nostrils in the gentle breeze—wildflowers, say—but also the scent of nachos and hot dogs. Find the latter two things all season long at home games of the Texas Rangers. The Major League Baseball team has won the majority of its games so far this year, so head to the ballpark to cheer them on to even more victories and maybe even the World Series.

Rooftop Cinema Club
Photo courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club

Fort Worth
Rooftop Cinema Club in downtown Fort Worth brings together three of our favorite things: classic movies, popcorn, and fresh air. In addition to some of the all-time best comedies and big-screen adventures, they offer themed nights for everything from Mother’s Day to LGBTQ Pride Month in June, as well as very special screenings where you can bring your four-legged superstar along with you for the fun. Reserve tickets now for movies through at least July.

The Spirit of Dallas
Photo courtesy of The Spirit of Dallas

White Rock Lake
If you’ve ever visited White Rock Lake on a gorgeous day, chances are high that you’ve seen a fleet of sailboats drifting across the waves while thinking to yourself, I wish I could do that! Thanks to the Spirit of Dallas, a beautiful sailing vessel that you can board for afternoon, sunset, or night-sky cruises with views of downtown Dallas in the distance, you can. Reserve the boat for your own private group or tag along solo and make friends with strangers.

Deep Ellum
Upstairs Circus is a hybrid venue that combines a DIY workspace with a bar. Join one of the Project Socials, and you can learn a new skill alongside other attendees, like leatherworking or jewelry making. Or start your own project, choosing from one of the 25-plus options they have available, like making a butcher block and concrete coasters, or fashioning a new collar for your pet. The bar serves beer, wine, and cocktails, so you can drink while you work.

Fort Worth Stockyards
Roam around the historic Stockyards district, which is home to Mule Alley and several great restaurants. To make the most out of your trip, head over on a Friday or Saturday to watch cowboys and cowgirls take on bucking broncos and feisty bulls in addition to other traditional events. And while you’re in the area, make sure to check out the country’s only twice-daily cattle drives through the historic district.

The Slow Bone
Photo courtesy of The Slow Bone

Take a self-led barbecue tour

Various locations
As we get closer to summer, hitting the open for a little adventure grows in appeal—but it doesn’t have to require packing a suitcase. All you have to bring for this excursion is an appetite. DFW is home to some of the best barbecue joints in the state, including Cattleack and Slow Bone in Dallas, Goldee’s and Panther City in Fort Worth, and Zavala’s in Grand Prairie, so plan a mini road trip to try them all. Sample the local brisket, ribs, and sausages to find your favorites of the bunch, knowing you can always eat a salad of the non-potato variety tomorrow.

Play games while you drink

Various locations
It’s becoming increasingly easy to eat, drink, and entertain yourself, as more entertaining-dining hybrid concepts pop up across town. Two Bit Circus puts fair-style games, an arcade, and VR experiences under one roof. Electric Shuffle pairs a full bar and restaurant with high-tech shuffleboard that allows big groups to play simultaneously. And Chicken N Pickle has several indoor pickleball courts, so you can play the country’s fastest-growing sport while still being able to feel your hands. Here are more arcade-style bars around Dallas.

Glen Rose
This-drive through wildlife center is dedicated to the preservation of animal species and helps to support giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, bison, wolves, cheetahs, kudu, and plenty more animals that you’d like to stick around. Stay in your car and traverse the seven miles of roads, stopping to take photos or to feed the giraffes—and only the giraffes—by hand.

Koreatown’s King Spa is not your ordinary spa. It consists of massage rooms, whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms, but the relaxation station also has a series of themed rooms meant to heal the body via hot stones, cypress wood, salt, and infrared rays. There’s also a waterpark, where you can relax in pools, zoom down the 30-foot water slide, and score drinks at the swim-up bar. There’s even a food court doling out spicy soups, bibimbap, wings, and bubble tea. Or, you could opt to pamper yourself for several hours at one of DFW’s other top spas.

Dallas Farmers Market
Photo courtesy of Dallas Farmers Market

Downtown Dallas
Formerly the wholesale fruit and vegetable hub for all of North Texas, the Dallas Farmers Market has evolved into a community-oriented space where urbanites congregate to shop and dine. Each weekend, local vendors set up shop under The Shed to peddle fresh goods of all kinds. What’s more, the indoor area features a food hall with more than 20 restaurants and shops open throughout the week. Procure the best seasonal ingredients for your springtime picnics and backyard barbecues all in one place.

Various locations
As we get closer each day to temperatures soaring over 100 degrees, it’s always a good idea to retreat indoors. Support the cool—in terms of AC availability and hip factor—art scene across Dallas-Fort Worth while cozying up in a seat with a cocktail. From musicals and plays to rock bands and symphonies, you’ll find tons of options at the AT&T Performing Arts Center venues, as well as productions from Uptown Players, Theatre 3, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Theatre Denton, Texas Ballet Theater, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Bass Hall, and Broadway Dallas. The Lighthouse ArtSpace in downtown Dallas hosts immersive exhibits that display art from top masters that have included geniuses such as Vincent Van Gogh. Currently, the magic of Disney animation surrounds you with princesses and villains.

Nightly Spirits
Nightly Spirits

Downtown Dallas
Nightly Spirits Dallas hosts 2.5-hour ghost tours four nights per week, taking patrons on a pub crawl that visits a few of the city’s most haunted haunts. You’ll meet your guide and anyone brave enough to join at Green Door Public House and then wind through Downtown, exploring the spooky side of Dallas’s history and learning creepy, unexplained tales from its past. The tour stops at several bars along the way, so you can have a drink to calm your nerves.

Caddo Mills
Less than an hour’s drive from Dallas, Future Flight LLC Powered Parachutes offers thrill-seekers the chance to take flight among the birds with an FAA Certified Pilot in a powered parachute. See the North Texas landscape without the hindrance of windows or doors for an exhilarating journey at speeds up to 32 mph and altitudes up to 1,000 feet. And if you get hooked, you can buy your own starting at a cool $10,000.

Drag brunch at Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Dallas
Drag brunch at Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Dallas | Photo by Kathy Tran

Various locations
Drag brunch was one of the things we missed most when indoor dining was on hiatus, but the queens have returned in full force to venues across town to dance, lip-sync, and stare at your mimosas with envy. Some of the best meal-and-a-show combos can be found at Mr. Misster in Oak Lawn, Tequila Delicious in Uptown, and Commons Club at Virgin Dallas Hotel in the Design District.

Oak Lawn
Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (and some Saturdays), beloved LGBTQIA+ honky-tonk, the Round-Up Dance Hall and Saloon hosts lively dance classes for folks of all abilities. Practice your two-step, mambo grooves, honky-tonk twists, and other boot-stompin’ moves. Beginners are always welcome, and if you’re not inclined to boogie, sidle up to the bar, grab a draft beer in a cowboy boot glass, and cheer them on from the sidelines.

Benbrook Stables
Benbrook Stables

Fort Worth
Live like a true Texan—by which we mean the stereotype so many people outside the state envision—by climbing atop a horse for a ride through the scenic green trails around Lake Benbrook. You’ll be matched with a horse that complements your riding experience. Whether you’re a beginner or expert they’ve got an equine that’s right for you. We’re guessing the horse named Turtle goes pretty slow, but don’t take our word for it.

South Dallas
Even some longtime Dallas residents don’t know about the Great Trinity Froest—believed to have the largest urban bottomland hardwood forest in the world—right in our collective backyard. Remedy this by heading off into the lush tree-lined landscape. Paved trails make it easy to explore nature on routes rife with everything from birds and waterfowl to river otters and maybe even a snake or two. As temperatures begin to climb, consider hitting the woods in early-mid mornings thanks to mild-to-cool temperatures instead of the blazing Texas sun.

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Steven Lindsey loves to explore, whether it’s sampling the best restaurants around Dallas-Fort Worth, hot air ballooning over the Arizona desert, or climbing a pyramid in Mexico. He contributes to Thrillist and a variety of online and print publications. He also founded Travel Like An Adult. His latest venture, The Spa Daddy, offers a man’s perspective on spa and wellness across the globe.