The Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex is one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S., and with good reason! There’s an inspiring art scene, endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, and delicious food that is second to none. The best thing about DFW is that it offers a ton to do that won’t cost you a penny.
Here are some fabulous and free things to do in the Dallas–Forth Worth Metroplex!
1. Klyde Warren Park
Klyde Warren Park is a park and town square built over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. It is the perfect space for having a picnic, as there are food trucks lined up around the perimeter, on Food Truck Lane. There are activities and programming just about every day of the year, and most of them are free.
Pro Tip: Come at night to enjoy the new nightly illumination show at the Nancy Best Fountain. It is magical!
2. Fort Worth Stockyards
The Fort Worth Stockyards district is an amazing place to soak up some Texas history. This national historic district is close to 100 acres, and it offers everything from shopping and dining to concerts and rodeos!
Every day at 11:30 am and 4 p.m., the cattle drivers herd about 20 longhorn cattle through the streets of the Stockyards. This is a not to be missed photo opportunity, and we recommend arriving early for a good spot. The entire parade takes about 20 minutes, but it’s a must-see!
Don’t miss the Old West Gunfight Shows on the weekend and the Fort Worth Herd Experience (Friday through Sunday), where you can meet the cattle drovers and ask questions about the longhorns.
Pro Tip: The Stockyards are the only place in the world that has a rodeo every Friday and Saturday night year round. This event isn’t free, but if you’ve never experienced the thrill of the rodeo, make sure you head to Fort Worth Cowtown Coliseum and check it out!
3. Dallas Farmers Market
The Dallas Farmers Market has been operating continuously since 1941 and covers 26,000 square feet of space in the heart of downtown. Whether you’re a hardcore shopper or more of a window shopper, we are sure this is a Dallas experience unlike any other.
Everything farm related happens in The Shed, an open-air pavilion that features local produce, arts and crafts, flowers, and more. All of the products are grown within 400 miles of Dallas, ensuring the epitome of quality and freshness. This is a great opportunity to meet and connect with the people that grow and raise our food.
There’s also The Market, which is a food hall and artisan market. This is the perfect spot to rest after all of your shopping and grab a bite to eat. It’s also a good spot to people watch and take in the Dallas scenery.
4. Dallas Arts District
Did you know the Dallas Arts District is one of the largest in the country? And even better, the majority of its museums are free! If you are visiting Dallas and love art, it’s worth carving out half a day (or more) to explore the area’s art museums.
Start with the Dallas Museum of Art, which offers over 25,000 works of art for viewing. Some of their more popular pieces include paintings by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock. Also noteworthy are their collections of African and Islamic art.
Afterward, head to the Crow Museum of Asian Art, which showcases classic and modern Asian artwork. There’s a constant rotation of exhibits, so be sure to check before your visit to see what’s on display.
If that’s not enough art for one day, be sure to make time for a visit to the Nasher Sculpture Center. While admission isn’t free every day, Nasher does offer free admission on the first Saturday and third Friday of each month. There’s a lovely indoor collection featuring sculptures by Joan Miró and Auguste Rodin as well as an incredible outdoor sculpture garden that’s worth a visit.
5. Oak Point Park And Nature Preserve
Dallas–Fort Worth is blessed with parks throughout the metroplex, but one of our favorites is Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve in Plano. This park has over 8 miles of paved trails and 5 miles of soft trails, so it’s made for hiking and biking. Those with their own paddle boards and kayaks can get out on the water at Big Lake, making this a great place to spend the day.
Pro Tip: There are dozens of restaurants and grocery stores in the immediate area, so stop and grab picnic supplies before heading to the park.
6. The McKinney Avenue Trolley (M-Line Trolley)
One of the easiest ways to explore downtown Dallas is to hop on the M-Line Trolley. There is no fare, but donations are accepted. The trolley has several different routes, and riders can hop on and off wherever they choose.
Fun stops include the Sixth Floor Museum (the former Texas School Book Depository that tells about the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy), American Airlines Center (home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars), and the Perot Museum (the city’s amazing science center).
7. Historic Nash Farm
Nash Farm is located in Grapevine, just 10 minutes from DFW airport. The farm dates to the late 1800s, and the property includes a historic barn, farmhouse, and farm equipment. There are often actors who give demonstrations of skills and trades that would have been used on the Texas prairie. This is a working farm that is open for self-guided tours at no charge.
Pro Tip: Nash Farm hosts several events throughout the year (for a fee) that are quite popular with locals. We recommend the farm-to-table dinners, Victorian Christmas events, and their Patriotic Picnic.
8. Founders’ Plaza — DFW Airport
If you love the simple act of watching airplanes take off and land, be sure to spend some time at Founders’ Plaza next to DFW airport. The park is open to the public every day of the year. There are picnic tables, and binocular viewing stands, and the airport has a live feed from the control tower that plays over the speakers. It’s a very unique experience in Dallas.
9. Deep Ellum Neighborhood
Deep Ellum is the live music capital of North Texas, but it’s so much more than music! This historic Dallas neighborhood was settled after the Civil War by formerly enslaved people. Shortly thereafter, it became known as the area of Dallas that was welcoming to both Blacks and European immigrants. It became a center of industry with the arrival of Henry Ford in the neighborhood in 1914. He chose to build a plant in Deep Ellum for his Model Ts.
Fast forward to today, and Deep Ellum is a vibrant haven for the arts. There is live entertainment every day of the week, in over 30 different venues. If music isn’t your thing, there is an endless number of boutiques and specialty shops. Art lovers will appreciate the dozens of street murals and local galleries Kettle Art Gallery and Maestri Gallery.
10. Fair Park
Architecture fans should head to Fair Park, built in 1886 to host the Dallas State Fair. In the early 1900s, two important buildings were added, the Cotton Bowl and The Centennial Building, both of which are standing today.
Fast forward to 1936. The site was chosen to host the World’s Fair, causing a huge influx of designers and artists from around the world to create an Art Deco masterpiece that still stands today.
There are several museums throughout the park. The African American Museum has the largest collection of African American Folk Art in the U.S. and offers free admission. There is a Children’s Aquarium (this has an admission fee) and the Texas Discovery Gardens (not free, but they have a beautiful butterfly garden and stunning grounds to explore).
If you want to take a guided tour of Fair Park, there is a tram tour that explores the history of the park in an hour-long presentation every third Wednesday of the month.
Fair Park hosts a variety of concerts and events throughout the year, but the biggest is the annual State Fair of Texas, which happens every October. In 2021, there were more than 2 million visitors to the fairgrounds, and they expect attendance to be even higher in 2022. The State Fair has endless food options, games, exhibits, and entertainers, and everyone should visit at least once.
Pro Tip: Parking at Fair Park can be a headache, and it can be a long walk from the lots to the buildings. We recommend taking the DART green line train, which drops you right at the front gate!