It’s hard to believe Labor Day Weekend is just around the corner. If you’re looking for a fun getaway, Dallas is a great place to spend the long weekend. It has something for everyone with world-class entertainment, shopping, dining and nightlife. Here are just a few of the sights and experiences the Big D has to offer.
There’s nothing like a day – or even just an afternoon – at the zoo. And with over 2,000 animals and award-winning exhibits spread across 106 acres, Dallas Zoo will not disappoint. From the Giants of the Savanna to the Koala Walkabout, Tiger Habitat, Penguin Cove, the interactive Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo, and more, there are hours of fun to be had. Just three miles south of downtown, the Dallas Zoo is open every day from 9am – 5pm.
Experience the world’s amazing underwater wildlife at the Dallas World Aquarium. Open daily from 9am to 5pm, it’s a great place to beat the heat while being wowed by the antics of incredible marine life. There’s action above the water too with the rainforest exhibit featuring exotic birds like the toucan, sloths, giant river otters, crocodiles, monkeys and more. The aquarium is an easy stroll from downtown or jump on the DART for a quick ride to West End Station.
Get a bird’s eye view of Dallas from the GeO-Deck at Reunion Tower, also known simply as “The Ball”. Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, the 470-foot high observation deck offers 360-degree views of the Dallas skyline, along with telescopes, zoom cameras and interactive exhibits.
Dallas Arts District is the biggest in the United States, providing a huge range of world-class visual and performing arts. There’s the Dallas Museum of Art, The Dallas Contemporary Museum, Nasher Sculpture Center to name just a few of the art galleries. Plus there is the AT&T Performing Arts Center, home to the opera, ballet, and symphony orchestra, along with historic theaters like The Majestic and comedy clubs. And that’s not all. The city’s burgeoning art scene has spilled over to the surrounding neighborhoods, making it the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation. Learn more about the sensational art scene in Dallas here.
This science and nature center is not your typical museum. Housed in a 170-foot tall building with an area of over 180,000 square feet plus expansive outdoor space, the museum offers a truly interactive experience. There are five floors of permanent exhibition halls with 3-D computer animations, interactive kiosks, simulations and games, plus a children’s museum with an outdoor play area. There is also a 300-seat multimedia theater, an auditorium, six learning labs, plus a café and roof deck. The museum’s current special exhibit is Ultimate Dinosaurs, where visitors can discover the earth’s prehistoric giants through cutting edge technology. The museum is located in Victory Park at the corner of Field Street and Woodall Rodgers Freeway.
Avid gardeners will adore the Dallas Arboretum. Located on White Rock Lake, there are 66 acres of foliage to enjoy, with some 11 display gardens housing a range of year-round seasonal blooms. The lush gardens provide a tranquil escape for those looking for a time out from the hustle and bustle of the city, and with the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, the kids will keep themselves entertained while you relax.
The only museum of its kind in the Southwest, The African American Museum invites you to explore the African-American experience through an impressive collection of African and African American art, exhibits and displays. Housed in four vaulted galleries, the exhibit features one of the largest folk art collections in the country. The museum is closed on Sunday and Monday, but is open Tuesday – Friday from 11am – 5pm and Saturday from 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Work on your swing and enjoy a little friendly competition at Topgolf Dallas. There are 74 climate-controlled hitting bays, three 18-hole miniature golf courses, batting cages, and a full-service restaurant for an afternoon or evening of fun.
If speed is your thing, head to SpeedZone, a 12-acre racing park with Top Eliminator Dragsters, four go-kart tracks, miniature golf, video games and a simulator room. The park is located about 15 minutes north of downtown.
If you’re looking to shop till you drop this Labor Day Weekend, Dallas will give you a run for your money. While most of the high-stakes shopping takes place in the mega-malls of Uptown, North Dallas and Highland Park, there are still a variety of shopping opportunities downtown. There is of course the flagship Neiman Marcus store on Main Street, or the delightful West End Historic District where you can pick up all your western wear from the infamous Wild Bill’s Western Store or simply browse the West End Marketplace. You can also check out the vibrant Dallas Farmers Market open 7 days a week for fresh produce (@ The Shed Friday – Sunday) and the Market Shops, a 26,000 square foot food hall and artisan market. There are also loads of funky shops, antique stores and art galleries to peruse with leisurely strolls of the Design District, Deep Ellum or Bishop Art District.
Bishop Art District: http://www.bishopartsdistrict.com/
Dallas Farmers Market: https://dallasfarmersmarket.org/
Deep Ellum: http://deepellumtexas.com/
Design District: https://dallasdesigndistrict.com/
Galleria Dallas: https://www.galleriadallas.com/
Highland Park Village: http://hpvillage.com/
NorthPark Center: http://www.northparkcenter.com/
West Village: https://westvillagedallas.com/
If shopping is a sport in Dallas, then dining is the after party. Dallas is a foodie’s dream come true with everything from upscale to casual, eclectic to home-style, and foreign cuisine to fusion. You name it, you’ll be able to find it. There are a plethora of options in the downtown and surrounding arts districts, so you can either plan in advance or simply wander until you find something that takes your fancy. Visit Dallas offers great information about restaurants here or you can check out the 38 Essential Restaurants of the Summer by Dallas Eater here. Or if you’re after a good margarita, check out the Margarita Mile, a listing of the best margaritas in the city
In addition to all of the year-round attractions, there are some special events taking place over the long weekend. The annual Dallas Dances (formerly DanceFest) is back, entertaining dance fans on Saturday and Sunday with a jam packed dance program. If pool parties and cocktails are more your thing, there is Summer Sundaze at the W Dallas or BaeWatch Season 2 at the Wyndham. For a full listing of live events, check out this guide from guidelive.com or visit The Best of Dallas from The Dallas Observer and visitdallas.com for more information about things to do.