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The Ultimate Weekend in Dallas Itinerary

Welcome to Dallas, the third-largest city in Texas, and one of the Lone Star state’s best weekend getaways.

As the home of the frozen margarita machine and the host city of the Texas State Fair, Dallas knows how to party!

This weekend in Dallas itinerary will help you explore the city’s fascinating history, dine with world-famous chefs, and soak in the culture of the city known for its art and music, all with only 2 or 3 days in Dallas!

Reflective pool in downtown Dallas near sunset--you'll see plenty of spots like this when spending a long weekend in Dallas tx

The Structure of this Dallas Weekend Guide

This guide is designed to work for either a 2 or 3 day Dallas itinerary.

The first two days of this Dallas weekend itinerary cover Dallas’ most popular attractions and interesting things to do.

On day three, I’ll share some options for fun day-long experiences and day trips from the city. You can’t see everything in a few days, but if you happen to have a long weekend in Dallas, you’ll definitely find plenty of fun things to do!

Dallas skyline at night with Reunion Tower visible on the left side of the photo. Reunion Tower is one of the most instagrammable places in Dallas!

The Perfect Weekend in Dallas Itinerary

Day 1 in Dallas:  Outdoors + Outlaws

Today, you’ll get your first taste of Dallas! With opportunities to see its natural beauty, immerse yourself in history, and understand the scale of the bustling metropolis, it’s sure to leave you hungry for more. You’ll definitely need a car for the day, but don’t worry, no drive should take longer than 25 minutes! 

Get hypnotized.

Okay, so there’s no mind control here, but Hypnotic Donuts is sure to leave a lasting impression!

Try one of their famous chicken biscuits or (and!) a donut like the Canadian Healthcare, a long john donut with maple icing and a strip of bacon! 

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Stop and smell the roses at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

On the shores of White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden welcomes nearly 1 million visitors each year and is one of the top botanical gardens in the US. Even Martha Stewart was impressed, telling the Dallas Arboretum “I’ve been to many, many botanical gardens in the world, and I think yours is one of the most beautiful and colorful that I’ve seen. It’s extraordinary. The enjoyment that it engenders in so many people is quite amazing.”

The 66-acre urban oasis boasts perfectly manicured lawns, gorgeous seasonal blooms, and an ever-changing series of events and activities. Don’t forget your camera to capture this gorgeous garden! 

Small waterfall with a lily pad in the foreground in the Dallas Arboretum, one of the most instagrammable places in dallas tx

Eat your way through Bishop Arts District.

Bishop Arts is a hipster’s haven today, but it used to be a favorite hangout of the notorious Bonnie and Clyde. Join a Taste of Bishop Arts Food and Historical Walking tour for the inside scoop on our favorite outlaws and enjoy the local flavor of this unique part of town. 

Do some souvenir shopping.

Before you roll away from this tour (seriously, there is So. Much. Food.), be sure to check out Mosaic Makers Collective to shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs from this female-owned, female-run artists’ community.  

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Visit The Texas Theatre.

While you’re in the area, swing by The Texas Theatre, where JFK’s killer, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested after failing to pay for his ticket. Built in 1931, The Texas Theatre was the first in Dallas to be air-conditioned, and to this day, it’s still operational– hosting comedians, Grease movie singalongs, and indie movies. 

Eat dinner at Trinity Groves.

Trinity Groves is a restaurant incubator program, hosted in renovated warehouses with an incredible view of the Dallas skyline. As an incubator program, innovative chefs and restaurateurs are given support and space to bring Dallas’ next best restaurant to life. In a small area, you can choose from a variety of cuisines (or opt for a self-guided progressive dinner so you can try a few). 

Don’t miss dessert at Cake Bar and take home a box of Kate Weiser’s gorgeous chocolates as a souvenir. On second thought, you should probably buy two boxes in case the first box is eaten before making it home. 

View of Dallas skyline from Trinity Groves, one of the best places to visit during a long weekend in dallas tx

Flip out over the Dallas skyline.

Also on site is the Dallas Circus Center, where you can book a lesson on the trapeze!

During my first class, I learned to do catches with a trapeze artist and how to dismount with a backflip. It’s probably best to try this before eating a heavy dinner, though! 

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Day 2 in Dallas: Museums + Music

Dallas museums pay homage to the city’s rich history, natural resources, and love of the arts. If you’re visiting during the summer months, you’ll be glad to know the museums don’t skimp on air conditioning, so they’re a great escape from the heat.

Parking can be tricky, but if you pay the flat fee of $10 for parking at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, it’s less than a 15-minute walk in between destinations. 

Reflecting pool in downtown Dallas lined with oak trees. You'll see plenty of pretty spots like this when enjoying a long weekend in Dallas tx

Visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

One of the most unique buildings in Dallas, the exterior design is nothing compared to what The Perot Museum of Nature and Science has within its walls.

Experience an earthquake, race a dinosaur, and move balls with the power of your mind in this hands-on museum where you’ll learn about everything from the Texas ground beneath your feet to the far reaches of the universe. This museum has something for kids of all ages! 

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Grab lunch in Klyde Warren Park.

Built over Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Klyde Warren Park is a welcome green space amidst the skyscrapers of Dallas’ downtown.

Most days, the park is lined with food trucks, so you can enjoy some time outside and everyone gets to eat exactly what they want. No negotiations or compromise needed! 

Series of white statues lining a tree-shaded pathway at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas Texas

Check out the Dallas Museum of Art.

Since 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art has welcomed art lovers from all over the world. The collection spans 5,000 years of history and offers innovative and engaging exhibits — free of charge!

In addition to owning a collection of 24,000 works of art, the Dallas Museum of Art also hosts fun monthly events that are open to the public for a small fee. Stay until 11:00 PM for live music, film screenings, and artist demos at Late Nights (the third Friday of each month), or view the museum’s collection through a pop culture lens during Second Thursdays with a Twist. 

Visit the 6th Floor Museum.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy as the presidential motorcade drove through Dealey Plaza is a dark spot in Dallas’ history.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is in the location of the old book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald took his shot. The museum honors President Kennedy’s legacy and respectfully chronicles the assassination and its impact on the world.

Exterior of the red brick building that houses the 6th Floor Museum in Dallas Texas

Eat dinner in the Historic West End.  

Red-brick warehouses from over a century ago still line the streets of Dallas’ Historic West End. Now, though, those warehouses are shops, museums, and residences. It’s also a great place to pause for dinner. 

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Eat at Ellen’s for their all-day brunch featuring southern fare like the chicken fried benedict, pancake pot pie, or Ellen’s prime meatloaf. 

Feeling like some BBQ? The Bryan family has roots in Texas barbeque that go back 100 years right here in Dallas. Sonny Bryan ventured out on his own and opened Sonny Bryan’s in 1958. Famous chefs, former presidents, and celebrities have all enjoyed Sonny’s melt-in-your-mouth brisket. 

Historic West End of Dallas as seen from above. The West End is a great place have dinner during a weekend in Dallas itinerary

Enjoy some live music.

After your dinner in the historic West End, walk around the area and check out some live music. I recommend checking out a show at the nearby House of Blues, which hosts musical acts in the evening and is home to an amazing Gospel Brunch every Sunday morning. 

Day 3 in Dallas:  Beyond the City

You’ve had a taste of what Dallas has to offer. Now, let’s venture a bit further into the DFW Metroplex for your last day in town.

Here are a few ideas for easy day trips and activities close to Dallas–you can also check out our full guide to the best day trips from Dallas here

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Visit Fort Worth.

If you’re visiting Dallas from out of state, you may have been surprised at the lack of cowboy hats and boots over the past couple of days. For that, you’ll need to take a trip over to Fort Worth, a 40-minute drive from Dallas. 

Watch one of two daily cattle drives at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM, catch the year-round rodeo every Friday and Saturday evening, or simply explore the Fort Worth Stockyards to learn about the history of the Texas livestock industry in the town where the West began. 

Longhorn cattle being driven through the ft worth stockyards, one of the best fort worth photo spots

While you’re there, catch lunch at Gemelle, owned by celebrity chef Tim Love. Inspired by his twin daughters, this Eura-American eatery has an incredibly Instagrammable outdoor seating area! 

After eating, grab a drink at Tim Love’s White Elephant Saloon. The legendary bar is said to be the location of Fort Worth’s last gunfight and is still haunted by Longhair Jim Courtright, one of the most corrupt sheriffs in the Wild Wild West.

I don’t know whether it’s haunted, but the cowboy hat-lined ceilings, live music every night, and wooden dance floor makes this a fun evening haunt. 

Finish your day with a two-step over at Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest honky-tonk!

Sundance Square in Ft Worth TX with the fountains on during a sunny day

Ride the roller coasters at Six Flags Over Texas and catch a game in Arlington.

Arlington is the oft-overlooked city in the midst of the DFW metroplex, but it’s entertainment central for scream-inducing thrills and stellar sports!

Six Flags Over Texas delivers heart-pounding rides like Batman, Mr. Freeze, and The New Texas Giant (a wooden hybrid coaster). Let your pulse return to normal with top-notch entertainment delivered by tomorrow’s superstars. Kelly Clarkson, John Denver, and Todrick Hall were once Six Flags Over Texas employees, so you never know who you might see singing and dancing on stage! 

In the evening, catch a ball game at one of the two cutting edge sports facilities in Arlington. Cheer on the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, the world’s largest domed structure.

Perhaps you’re more of a baseball fan? Root for the Rangers at the brand new Globe Life Field, opened in 2020!

Blue iron roller coaster loop as seen looking up with a yellow train car on it

Take a day trip to Lake Texoma.

If you want to escape the city in favor of a peaceful day on a body of water, Lake Texoma is an awesome day trip from Dallas and only 1 hour and 30 minutes north of the city.

The reservoir was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers on the Oklahoma / Texas border to control flooding in 1944. 

Due to its proximity to the DFW Metroplex and ample fishing, hiking, and sailing opportunities, Texoma welcomes 6 million visitors every year. If you’ve got a fisherman (or woman) in your family, they’ll love a visit to the Striper Capital of the World, where Striped Bass can grow to 15-20 pounds!

Just be sure to pick up your Texoma fishing license at a local convenience store since the lake is located in both Texas and Oklahoma. 

Lake Texoma as seen from above with a rocky limestone shoreline

Where to Stay During a Weekend in Dallas

If you want to be right in the middle of the action, surrounded by the skyscrapers that create Dallas’ iconic skyline, I recommend staying in the West End Historic District. Many hotels offer rooftop pools, so you can cool off after a day in the heat, and nearby Tex-Mex restaurants mean you can try a frozen margarita without driving anywhere! 

You’ll still need to use your car on days one and three of the itinerary, but you can complete the second day of the itinerary on foot. 

Here are some popular places to stay in (and near) Dallas’ West End!

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Budget

Springhill Suites By Marriott — With solid reviews, competitive prices, and a downright excellent location within walking distance of many of Dallas’ best museums, travelers spending a weekend in Dallas on a budget can’t go wrong with a stay at the Springhill Suites!

Check rates & book your stay at the Springhill Suites!

Mid-range

Fairmont Dallas — Boasting excellent views of the Dallas skyline, a rooftop pool, and great reviews, Fairmont Dallas is a fantastic option in the heart of Dallas.

Check rates & book your stay at Fairmont Dallas!

Luxury

The Joule — Housed in a historic building within a 15-minute walk of the Dallas Museum of Art, travelers looking for a fun, boutique hotel with a great spa, unique rooms, and a pool with a view will love checking into The Joule!

Check rates & book your stay at The Joule!

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas Texas as seen from above at sunset. This bridge is one of the most instagrammable places in Dallas Texas!

Getting Around During a Dallas Weekend Getaway

Although Dallas has the DART system, this is a city where you’ll need a car. Uber is well-established here, but for this Dallas itinerary, I recommend either renting a car or bringing your own! 

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When to Visit Dallas, TX

Summertime in Dallas is hot, with average temperatures reaching 96°F. December and January are the coolest months, with a high of 56°F and lows of 37°F with rare snowfall. 

I personally recommend visiting in spring and fall, when temperatures are milder and children are in school. If you can’t avoid summer visits, bring lots of water, and plan your day with air-conditioned breaks! 

Dallas is known for some amazing festivals, so be sure to find out what’s going on while you’re in town. Here are a few of my favorites: Dallas Blooms at the Dallas Arboretum (beginning of March – mid-April), Deep Ellum Arts Festival (early April), and the Texas State Fair (late September – mid-October).

4 photos of dallas texas: skyline, fontain, waterfall, bridge. black text on a white background reads "3 day itinerary dallas"

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