Some of the city's must-see attractions, from gorgeous gardens, majestic lions and fresh produce to ballpark hot dogs, masterful museum exhibits and everything in between.
Dallas Zoo & Children’s Aquarium
Celebrating its 125-year anniversary in 2013, the Dallas Zoo spreads across 106 acres and is home to more than 2,000 animals representing more than 400 species. Unique interactive activities abound, like giraffe-feeding in the “Giants of the Savanna” exhibit, free daily bird shows and a narrated Monorail Safari tour. Over in Fair Park, the Children’s Aquarium encourages guests to interact with aquatic life, like the stingray touch tank and Stingray Bay, a 58,000-gallon pool inhabited by sharks. Dallas Zoo, 650 South R.L. Thornton Fwy., 469.554.7500. Children’s Aquarium in Fair Park, 1462 First Ave., 214.421.8727.
Dallas Farmers Market
For a fresh taste of Texas, stop by the Dallas Farmers Market and sample produce from beloved local farmers and purveyors. Choices are endless, from jicama, zucchini and tomato, to locally farmed honey, nuts and homemade pasta. Cooking classes are often offered, allowing local chefs to create dishes inspired by produce from the market. Also for sale are fresh flowers, handcrafted jewelry, barbecue, pottery and more. The Dallas Farmers Market is open seven days a week, 8 am to 6 pm. Dallas Farmers Market, 1010 S. Pearl Expy., 214.939.2808.
Most famously known as the setting of the notorious “Dallas” television series (both the original and new), Southfork Ranch now plays host to guided tours, weddings and corporate events. The facility offers 63,000 square feet of indoor event space. See the Ewing Mansion, visit the “Dallas Legends” exhibit and see the gun that shot J.R., Lucy’s wedding dress and Jock Ewing’s Lincoln Continental. After touring the event space, shop at the Ranch RoundUp for gifts, collectibles, cookbooks and Texas-themed souvenirs. Southfork Ranch, 3700 Hogge Rd., 972.442.7800.
The Sixth Floor Museum
The former Texas School Book Depository that allegedly served as the perch for Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of President John F. Kennedy is transformed into an enlightening, in-depth museum, chronicling the life and legacy of JFK. Inside the museum, visitors will find 40,000 items and artifacts, exhibits, including “John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation,” film and photographic collections, as well as oral-history collections, each designed to illuminate aspects of JFK’s life and career, as well as examine that fateful day on Nov. 22, 1963. After leaving the museum, walk to Dealey Plaza and take the narrated cell-phone tour. The Sixth Floor Museum, 411 Elm St., 214.747.6660.
Dallas Arts District
The largest urban arts district in the country, the Dallas Arts District is a 19-block cornucopia of notable sites, including the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Winspear Opera House and Meyerson Symphony Center. Included in the district is Klyde Warren Park and One Arts Plaza, a mixed-use haven for dining and entertainment, featuring restaurants like Tei An, Jorge’s Tex-Mex Cafe and Cafe des Artistes. The Arts District also houses more buildings by Pritzker Prize-winning architects than any other in the world. Dallas Arts District, Woodall Rodgers Freeway between St. Paul and Routh streets.
Arlington Attractions: Rangers Ballpark & Cowboys Stadium
For edge-of-your-seat, American League baseball action, visit Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The 270-acre complex is home to state favorite, the Texas Rangers. For football fun, it can only be at the mammoth-sized Dallas Cowboys Stadium (pictured). With more than 3 million square feet of entertainment space, it isn’t just for beloved Cowboys home games. Watch international music acts on the world’s largest LED display, or take a VIP or self-guided tour of the jawdropping facility and its very own renowned contemporary art museum. Rangers Ballpark, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington, 817.273.5222. Dallas Cowboys Stadium, One Legends Way, Arlington, 817.892.4000.
Resting on 66 acres near White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum is a serene, peaceful escape in the heart of the city. It is a staple of Dallas culture and features gorgeous seasonal and year-round blooms and foliage, bubbling fountains, rotating exhibits and dazzling landscapes. More than 541,000 flower enthusiasts visited just last year to wander the lush gardens and partake in seasonal events, festivals and concerts. As one of the 14 best places in the world to see flowers according to MSN, there are more than a dozen different gardens in which to purposefully get lost, and each one carries its own distinct flavor. A memorable visit awaits. The Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Rd., 214.515.6500.