Dallas is a hot tourist destination. In 2014, the city saw more than 25 million visitors. That number shot up even more in 2016, making The Big D the #2 city for growth in tourism (tied with Seattle). Michelin Green Guide gave Dallas 3 stars – its highest rating. And WalletHub named the city one of the top summer vacation spots in the U.S.!
Dallas has some of the most unique attractions in Texas, from Dealey Plaza and Reunion Tower to the infamous Giant Eyeball sculpture on Main Street. While it’s impossible to see everything in just a few days, we’ve carefully curated our recommendations for stops to see on a 1, 2 or 3-day trip to Dallas.
If you have only a single day to spend in Dallas, or the rest of your vacay is already booked with activities, try limiting your travel area. This way, you’ll spend less time on the road and more time seeing the city’s major downtown attractions.
- Spend the night at Magnolia Dallas Park Cities and enjoy a two-egg breakfast, smoked salmon bagel or braised short ribs & eggs (see menu) at Park Cities Grill inside the boutique hotel, then hop on the road to downtown’s major sites.
- Take a quick peek at the nearby George W. Bush Presidential Library, just across Route 75, before heading to the Dallas World Aquarium. Home to hundreds of animals spread across five global exhibits, the aquarium is a favorite with families. See monkeys and colorful toucans play in a rainforest habitat, or watch the jaguar pace in the Mayan exhibit.
- In the afternoon, head to historic Dealey Plaza for a tour of the museum’s John F. Kennedy memorabilia.
- End your evening with dinner at kid-friendly Medieval Times Dinner Theater, where guests feast with their hands while watching knights joust in a tournament, or Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty. The latter was the celebrity chef’s first restaurant in the area, named for its location in the 560-foot-tall Reunion Tower. It boasts impressive views of Dallas’ nighttime skyline, not to mention a wine list with over 400 labels.
Day Two: Animal Attraction and Culture Clubs
A second day in downtown Dallas affords travelers the chance to check out more in-depth attractions like the Dallas Zoo, located about 3 miles south of downtown Dallas. With 106 acres and 2,000 animals on site, there’s more than enough here to keep kids of all ages entertained for a half-day. Make a pit-stop for Central Texas style ribs and pulled pork at Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ, just 5 minutes from the zoo, in the Bishop Arts District.
Afterwards, indulge your inner culture vulture at one of downtown’s art attractions: The Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center across the street, or Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the city’s top-rated attraction on TripAdvisor. It’s 66 acres in total, with 20 individual display gardens including a children’s garden and fern dell. If you still have energy afterwards, head back to the Park Cities ‘hood for dinner and browsing at Mockingbird Station, a premier shopping plaza with major name retailers and small boutiques.
Day Three: Get Out of Town
While there’s plenty of Dallas still left to be seen (Frontiers of Flight Museum, Zero Gravity Thrill Park), a day-trip to nearby Fort Worth yields even more vacation fun. The Kimbell Art Museum features hundreds of historic paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works housed in a funky, barrel-shaped building designed by renowned architect Louis I. Kahn. With free admission to the museum’s special collection and an on-site buffet, you might be tempted to stay through the afternoon. Resist the urge, though, because you’ll want to hit the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District for lunch. A “living museum” of cowboy history, the Stockyards hosts rodeo events and live music weekly. One of the major draws here is the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive. Watch real cowboys herd steer after enjoying a meal in one of the area’s many Texas BBQ joints and steakhouses. If it’s a nice day out, consider a stroll through Fort Worth Japanese Gardens, or taking a guided historical tour of the area.
Magnolia Dallas Park Cities is conveniently located within easy driving distance of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. If you have only a few days to enjoy and explore the city, it’s the perfect home base. Book your stay online today or call 214-750-6060.