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Things To Do In Dallas

Things to Do in Dallas

Things To Do in Dallas This Weekend

D Magazine
By D Magazine |

Thursday, February 22 to Friday, February 23

Yo La Tengo

When: 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Longhorn Ballroom | 216 Corinth St. 

What: Yo La Tengo are in town for a rare live set, about a year after releasing the self-produced “This Stupid World.” The album features all three artists in the group playing and producing a suite of reflective, time-defiant tunes. For tickets, click here.

Thursday, February 22 to Sunday, February 25

Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony

When: 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. showtimes

Where: Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center | 2301 Flora St.

What: Listen to the “king of instruments” this weekend with a performance of Saint-Saëns’ organ symphony. The program also includes selections written by SMU professor and composer Xi Wang, pairing the trumpet and violin for an unlikely performance duo. To learn more about the show and get your tickets, click here.

Friday, February 23 to Sunday, February 25

Dust Bowl

When: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. showtimes

Where: Wyly Theatre | 2400 Flora St. 

What: Hear stories of the 1930s Dust Bowl told through first-hand accounts of survivors, plus snippets from newspaper articles and diary entries. The show includes music from a bluegrass band, video projection, choreographed movements, and vocals from the Verdigris Ensemble. To reserve your spot at the show, click here.

Friday, February 23 to Sunday, February 25

Bluey’s Big Play

When: 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. showtimes

Where: The Majestic Theatre | 1925 Elm St. 

What: Bluey’s Big Play is a brand-new theatrical adaptation of the Emmy award-winning children’s television series. The family-friendly performance features puppets representing the animated characters you see on the show. To find out more about the performance, click here.

Saturday, February 24

Good Energy Movement Pop-Up

When: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Where: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens | 8525 Garland Rd.

What: Hosted by The Sculpt Society and its founder Megan Roup, sign up for a 30-minute full-body ‘Good Energy Movement’ workout. Once the workout is over, you can meet Roup and try a complimentary cocktail. To learn more about the event, click here.

Saturday, February 24 to Monday, April 8

Dallas Blooms

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Where: The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens | 8525 Garland Rd.

What: Dallas Blooms is back for another year with the largest annual floral festival in the Southwest. The event showcases 500,000 spring blooming bulbs of 120 varieties, alongside a display of 350,000 tulips with a mix of hyacinths and daffodils. To learn more about the festival, click here.

Sunday, February 25 to Sunday, March 3

BEETLEJUICE The Musical

When: 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. showtimes

Where: Music Hall at Fair Park | 909 1st Ave.

What: After a run on Broadway, Beetlejuice is stopping in Dallas on its latest national tour. The show is based on the Tim Burton classic film depicting the story of Lydia Deetz and her out-of-the-ordinary encounter with a recently deceased couple. To get your tickets to the show, click here.

Sunday, February 25

Texas Ballet Theatre: Brilliants

When: 2 p.m.

Where: Bass Performance Hall | 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth

What: The Texas Ballet Theatre cast will host a show with four separate performances that will highlight styles including neoclassical, contemporary, classic ballet, and more. To see the show, click here.

Things to Do in Dallas

How to Celebrate Black History Month in Dallas This February

Catherine Wendlandt
By |
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An image from the "Seeing a World That Blind Lemon Jefferson Never Saw: Photographs by Alan Govenar" exhibit at the African American Museum. Courtesy of the African American Museum

The roots of Black History Month begin in 1926 when scholar Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week during the second week of February. The Harvard-trained historian was tired of White scholars ignoring the legacy of African Americans, and he spent much of his career working to fix that. Over the years, the week expanded into Black History Month, and President Gerald Ford officially recognized the celebration in 1976. 

The U.S. still marks Black History Month each February. Events are happening all over Dallas, from museum exhibitions and concerts to walking tours and crafts. Here are 34 ways to commemorate Black History Month in North Texas this February.

Ongoing Events:

The African American Museum features exhibitions on blues performer Blind Lemon Jefferson and Central Track, which explore the history of jazz and Deep Ellum. (You can read more about both exhibits here.) 3536 Grand Ave. 

Dallas Public Libraries will mark Black History Month across its various branches this February. There should be something for everyone, including jazz performances, a children’s Black Superhero Day, various crafts, a Black history trivia competition, a lesson on traditional African textiles, a Jean-Michel Basquiat-inspired self-portrait art class, and more. Various times and locations. Learn more here. 

In its lobby, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center will display artwork depicting “African Americans and the Arts” from students across North Texas throughout February for Black History Month. 2922 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Dallas College is hosting nine events at its campuses this February to commemorate Black History Month. The events include a talk on the Black Angels, a group of Black nurses who treated tuberculosis in New York City; the “I AM Black History” summit; a panel called “Being Black and LGBTQ+ in Religion”; and more. Various times and locations. Learn more here

More Events:

Local company The Soul of Dallas Food & Black History Bus Tour has two North Texas tours this month. Founded by Deah Berry Mitchell and Dalila Thomas in 2017, the tour highlights Black-owned business and restaurants in North Texas. Dallas tour: 10 a.m. Feb. 3. $75. 3536 Grand Ave. Learn more here; Origins of Black Cowboys tour (Fort Worth): 10 a.m Feb. 10. $85. Learn more here. 

The Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra of Houston, which celebrates Black composers and musicians as well as Black representation in the industry, returns to Dallas for its seventh performance. The Black Academy of Arts and Letters Live concert will include classical, jazz, blues, gospel, and contemporary music. The event will also feature performances from the South Dallas Children’s Choir and the winners from the African American American Museum’s Youth Classical Artist Competition in January. 5 p.m. Feb. 3. From $15. Black Academy of Arts and Letters Live, 1309 Canton St. Learn more here.

To mark the closing of its “Afro-Atlantic Histories” special exhibition, the Dallas Museum of Art has a slew of late night events scheduled on Friday, February 9. The night includes a scavenger hunt and gallery tour. There are artist studios, plus opportunities to learn more about the heritage and practice of both quilting and salsa. Artist Jammie Holmes will give a talk on his painting “Black Sparrow” in the exhibition, local vocalist Albion Josiah will sing, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre will put on an encore performance of its ‘Echoes of Diaspora: A Ballet Inspired by “Afro-Atlantic Histories’ piece. 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 9. 1717 N. Harwood St. Learn more here.

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre is celebrating Black History Month and exploring global movement and expression through its “Cultural Awareness” show. The performance, which will also be livestreamed, will premiere dances by Hana Delong and Alysia Johnson. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 & 10. From $35, in-person; $25, livestream. Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St. Learn more here. 

Author and publisher Louie T. McClain is coming to Dallas to chat with students about the life and legacy of Booker T. Washington in a roundtable writer’s breakfast. At the event, which does include breakfast, McClain will talk about his children’s book, Brick By Brick: A Snippet of the Life of Booker T. Washington. 10 a.m. Feb. 10. $15. Black Academy of Arts & Letters, 1309 Canton St. Room T-204. Learn more here.

The Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center is hosting a Black History Month Expo on Saturday, February 10. During the event, visitors can learn more about the history of Black aviators through presentations, artifacts, activities, and more. The center will also play a film on the famed Tuskegee Airmen from World War II. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 10. $15; kids under 17, free. Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center, 5657 Mariner Dr. Learn more here. 

The Oak Cliff Community Center is hosting City of Dallas Community Artist Program musician Kamica King for a screening of “For They Endured.” The short documentary recounts the history of Black women in music therapy. 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 10. Oak Cliff Community Center, 223 Jefferson Blvd. Learn more here

Four years ago, Autumn Yarbrough founded NU Standard, a textured hair care and wellness company, inspired by her own hair dryness and hair loss challenges. This month, NU Standard will host a screening of Netflix’s docuseries Black Beauty Effect, which examines social and representation changes in the beauty industry through the lens and experiences of successful Black professionals. Episode Three features Yarbrough’s grandfather Comer Cottrell, whose company, Pro-Line Corp., helped make the Jheri curl more accessible. 7 p.m. Feb. 15. Violet Crown Cinema, 3699 McKinney Ave.

The African American Museum is hosting a free community day with arts and crafts, trivia, documentary screenings, a read-in with The Dock Bookshop (learn more about that event here), and more. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 17.  3536 Grand Ave.

Cara Mía Theatre is putting on the first-ever English-language performance of Yanga, by Mexican playwright and screenwriter Jaime Chabaud. The play recounts the life of Gaspar Yanga, an African slave who, in the late 1500s, led a rebellion and established the first freedman’s town in the Americas in what is now Veracruz, Mexico. Feb. 17–Mar. 3. From $12. Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak St. Learn more here. 

Don’t miss the African American Museum’s Music Under the Dome concert. This rendition of the winter jazz series features local saxophonist and singer Rob Holbert. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22. 3536 Grand Ave. Learn more here. 

Learn more about Dallas history on this free guided walking tour of West Village and Uptown’s Freedman’s Cemetery, which was established in 1861 and is now one of the largest freedman’s cemeteries in the country. The tour will begin at Sip Stir Coffee House. 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 23. 3800 McKinney Ave. #180. Learn more here. 

The Central Market on Lovers Lane has several Black History Month-themed cooking classes available this month. On February 23, attendees will cook recipes from chef Marcus Samuelsson’s The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food: A Cookbook. The menu includes dishes from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Jamaica, and more. On February 25, attendees will whip up brunch recipes from Black chefs, including  Kwame Onwuachi and Edna Lewis. Marcus Samuelsson class: 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 23. $85.; Brunch: 12 p.m to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25. $80. Central Market, 5750 E. Lovers Ln. 

The Black Academy of Arts & Letters is hosting its Festival of Black Dance Rhythm and Soul of a People. The event, which honors African, modern, and contemporary dance, features performances from the Atlanta Dance Connection, the Unified Performing Arts Dance Company, and students from Booker T. Washington High School. Student performances: 10 a.m. Feb. 22 & 23. $5. Bruton Theater, 1309 Canton St.; Public performances: 8 p.m. Feb. 23 & 24. $10. Bruton Theater, 1309 Canton St. Learn more here

Love to cook? Enter the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center’s ‘Taste of Soul’ Cook-Off. Competition categories include meat, sides, vegan/vegetarian, and dessert. Category winners will receive $500, and the grand prize-winner will take home $750. For folks just wanting to taste and enjoy the food, admission is free. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 24. 2901 Pennsylvania Ave. Learn more here.

At its annual Hall of Fame Induction luncheon this February, the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame will celebrate its 2024 honorees, including Texas athletes Tamicha Jackson, Nate Newton, Richard Bonner, and more. 11:30 a.m. Feb. 24. $125. Dallas Renaissance Hotel, 2222 N. Stemmons Fwy. Learn more here.

Lunar New Year falls on February 10, and it ushers in the year of the dragon. The dragon is a symbol of good luck, and it’s the only mythical creature among the Chinese zodiac signs, so this year will feel more auspicious than most. Find some red envelopes, a lion dance, and eat dumplings at these North Texas celebrations.

Jan. 26-28, Feb. 2-4, Feb. 10-11

Lunar New Year Celebrations at Asia Times Square

One of the largest celebrations is at Asia Times Square in Grand Prairie, and it lasts three weekends.

Jan. 26-28: An opening banquet will kick off the festivities on Jan. 26. The banquet is usually invitation-only. This is the first year guests can purchase tickets to attend and listen to keynote speakers and community leaders while enjoying a family-style dinner. Tickets start at $55 and can be purchased here. The rest of the weekend will take place on the grounds of Asia Times Square and will include food and art vendors and performances.

Feb. 2-4: The celebrations continue with more food and art vendors and lion dances. The dances will take place every two hours. Cash is recommended for purchasing food and drinks.

Feb. 10-11: Lunar New Year weekend kicks off with firecrackers as well as lion and dragon at noon on both days.

Admission is free, except for the opening banquet. Get full details here. 2625 W. Pioneer Pkwy., Grand Prairie.

Jan. 27

2024 Lunar New Year at Cali Saigon Mall

Celebrations include lion and dragon dances, firecrackers, and a food festival and market. The festival begins at 11 a.m. and is free to attend. If you’re bringing kids, they’ll get “lucky money,” too. Learn more here. 3212 N. Jupiter Rd., Garland.

Feb. 2

Lunar New Year Night Market Festival in Frisco

The Lunar New Year’s Eve celebration starts at 5 p.m. at Frisco Ranch near 99 Ranch Market, and it includes lion dances, live music, and local food vendors. There will also be a fashion show and a calligraphy artist. Learn more here. 9292 Warren Pkwy., Frisco.

Feb. 9

Lunar New Year at The Kimbell Art Museum

Learn about Chinese art, listen to a guzheng trio (a guzheng is a Chinese string instrument that is plucked), and conduct a scavenger hunt through the permanent collection. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase. 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth.

Feb. 10

Lunar New Year Lantern Exhibit and Lion Dance at Galleria Dallas

About 250 red lanterns will be installed above the ice skating rink by Jan. 31, and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 10, mall-goers can watch a lion and dragon dance on the first level near Sephora. The performance will also include lively drumming to ring in the new year. 13350 Dallas Pkwy.

Feb. 10

Lunar New Year Celebration at NorthPark Center

The shopping center is celebrating the year of the dragon in collaboration with the Crow Museum throughout the mall. At 9 a.m., Park Cities Chinese School is hosting a storytime inside Bookmarks on the first level, and then between 10 a.m. and noon on the first floor, activities such as Chinese calligraphy, painting, paper folding, and more will be available. At 11 a.m., the Rising Phoenix lion dancers will perform between Nordstrom and Macy’s. 8687 N. Central Expy.

Feb. 11

Lunar New Year Celebration in Richardson

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Richardson’s Chinatown district will host a festival with the CORE District, Chinese Community Center, and the city of Richardson. The event will include food vendors, calligraphy exhibits, dragon and lion dances, martial arts performers, and more. Attendance is free. Learn more here. 400 N. Greenville Ave., Richardson.

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The weather has dropped to below 100 degrees, which means it’s basically fall here in Dallas. And while the 80s and 90s temps might not quite justify sweater weather, there are plenty of autumnal activities around town to celebrate the season. From Oktoberfests to concerts to shopping bazaars, we’ve rounded up over 33 fall-flavored events to get you through to Thanksgiving. We’ll have separate guides to the State Fair and Halloween later on, but grab your PSL and, okay, your sweaters, and enjoy.

Food Events & Festivals

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The Addison Oktoberfest. Bret Redman

Oktoberfest

Sept. 14-Oct. 7

Multiple cities throughout North Texas will throw Oktoberfest celebrations filled with lederhosen, biers, and schnitzels. Expect wiener dog races, plenty of German fare and music, and polka dancing.

  • Addison, Sept. 14-17: The festival kicks off the night of September 14 and runs through the 17th. Tickets start at $10. Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Cir., Addison.
  • Fort Worth, Sept. 21-23:  Live music from dozens of bands will be accompanied by a dachshund race, bratwurst, and skillet potatoes. Tickets start at $15. Trinity Park, 2401 University Dr., Fort Worth.
  • McKinney, Sept. 22-24: Historic Downtown McKinney will host three days of Oktoberfest with imported beers and authentic German food. General admission is free, and  Blue Box VIP Biergarten* tickets start at $35 a day. Learn more here. Historic Downtown McKinney, 111 N. Tennessee St., McKinney.
  • Oak Cliff, Sept. 24: A one-day festival will be held at Tyler Station in Oak Cliff. The celebration will kick off with a 1.128-mile fun run and dive right into a Bavarian food and drink festival. Tickets start at $25. Learn more here. 1300 S. Polk St.  
  • Dallas, Sept. 30: The festival will take place at Flag Pole Hill and kick off at 10 a.m. Tickets start at $20 for presale and $10 for kids. 8015 Doran Cir.
  • Plano, Sept. 30: Head to Legacy Hall to feast on brats and brews all afternoon. The event is free to attend, but ticket holders willing to shell out $60 will get access to an exclusive seating area, food, drinks, and a special gift. Learn more here. 5908 Headquarters Dr., Plano.  
  • Frisco, Oct. 7: A stein-hoisting competition, sausage-eating contests, and live entertainment can be expected. Admission is free. Learn more here. The Star in Frisco, 9 Cowboys Way, Frisco.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Sept. 22-24

The Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the harvest moon, a symbol of gratitude and thanks. (The date of the actual holiday falls on September 29 this year, so this festival is a little early.) One of the best ways to celebrate is with family, friends, and mooncakes. The festival will happen at Asia Times Square, and plenty of food and drink vendors will pop up to serve an abundance of food. Learn more here. Asia Times Square, 2625 W. Pioneer Pkwy., Grand Prairie.

State Fair of Texas

Sept. 29-Oct. 22

The State Fair of Texas is one of the most iconic events of the year. Check out the list of Big Tex Choice Awards winners for this year’s must-try food. You’ll also find classics like Fletcher’s corny dogs, caramel apples, and deep-fried Oreos at stands throughout Fair Park. Fair Park, 3809 Grand Ave.

Plano Food and Wine Festival

Oct. 21

A food pass gives you access to 15 restaurants that will battle it out in a competition for the best dish. A wine pass will get you 20 tastings and a souvenir wine cup. Combine them for an all-day food and wine extravaganza. Passes start at $45 for wine tasting only. Learn more here. 5908 Headquarters Dr., Plano

The Greek Food Festival of Dallas

Nov. 3-5

Spend a day walking around the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church grounds sampling gyro, souvlaki, cocktails, and more. Throughout the festival there will also be Greek dancing and a market (AKA, an agora) for shoppers. Tickets are $10 for attendees ages 10 and up. Learn more here. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Rd.

The Great Outdoors

Pumpkin Patches

Fall means pumpkin pie, pumpkin photo ops, and pumpkin spiced lattes. For a look at all the pumpkin patches to attend this year, check out this list. 

Kids Putt Around in the PGA District

Thru Sept. 27

Throughout the entire month of September, the Omni PGA Frisco Resort has an ongoing golf series for kid golfers of all ages and skill levels. Every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., head to The Dance Floor, also known as the putting course, for themed rounds consisting of nine holes. Learn more here. The Monument Realty PGA District, 3255 PGA Pkwy., Frisco. 

Autumn at the Arboretum 

Sept. 16–Nov. 5 

Odds are, you won’t find any dogs pretending to be pumpkins this fall, but if you want a chance to live out It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, head to the Dallas Arboretum. The Peanuts gang will come to life during the annual Autumn at the Arboretum, which features the beloved Halloween special as this year’s theme. Learn more here. 8525 Garland Rd.

Dallas Farmers Market Pumpkin Patch Returns 

Sept. 16–Nov. 5 

Sure, you can shop boba, jams, flowers, and more at the Dallas Farmers Market, but this fall you can also pick out your perfect pumpkin. The market’s annual patch is back this September. And after you carve your jack-o-lantern, you even come back post-Halloween for a Thanksgiving gourd. Learn more here. 920 S. Harwood St.

Calloway’s Nursery Pumpkin Fest

Sept. 30 

All kinds of plants can be found at Calloway’s Nursery anytime of year, but there’s only one season where pumpkins are the center of attention. The festival will have pumpkins for decorating (while supplies last), photo ops, a chalk garden, gift card giveaways, and more. Learn more here. All Calloway’s Nursery garden centers in Dallas and Fort Worth. 

Performing Arts

Concerts

This fall promises several very recognizable visitors to North Texas—Beyoncé (Sept. 21), P!nk (Sept. 29), Luke Bryan (Sept. 29), Depeche Mode (Oct. 1), Janelle Monae (Oct. 9), Shania Twain (Oct. 13), Aerosmith (Nov. 7), and George Strait (Nov. 17-18). More will play stages throughout the area. Keep track of them all in our concert calendar here.

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Texas Ballet Theater dancers Alexandra F. Light and Carl Coomer in Dracula. Steven Visneau

Dracula

Sept. 15-17; Oct 6-8

Right in time for Halloween, Texas Ballet Theater will open its 2023-24 season with Dracula. The ballet has been called gorgeous and thrilling, and it marks a full-circle moment for newly appointed TBT artistic director Tim O’Keefe, who originated the titular role in 1997. Learn more here. September dates: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St.; October dates: Bass Performance Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth.  

The Rocky Horror Show 

Sept. 23–Oct. 29 

Kalita Humphreys Theater will bring this cult classic musical to life just in time for pre-Halloween festivities. Expect the tale of Brad and Janet’s encounters at the mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter to come with the audience participation and props, and get ready to take a step to the left, and a jump to the right. Learn more here. Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.

Avant Chamber Ballet Fall Celebration 

Oct. 1 

Avant Chamber Ballet will visit Klyde Warren Park to showcase classical ballet excerpts from Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and new works from choreographer Madelaine Boyce. Pianist Anna Bulkina will accompany the dancers. Learn more here. 2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy.

The Nightmare Before Nutcracker 

Oct. 25–29

While many are familiar with the holiday ballet staple The Nutcracker, the Nightmare Before Nutcracker tells the story of a young ballerina overcoming injury, fear, and an antagonistic choreographer as she makes her way back to the stage. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Wagner, modern rock, and pop hits, the performance uses ballet, modern dance, and electronic media to tell the story. Learn more here. Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Dr., Richardson.

Little Shop of Horrors at the Majestic Theatre 

Oct. 26–30 

The Lyric Stage will bring Little Shop of Horrors to the Majestic Theatre in late October. If sci-fi horror about a man-eating plant and the floral shop assistant who cares for it, with a small side of sadistic dentistry, is your idea of a perfect Halloween (and really, it should be), settle in for a story told through 1960s pop-rock. Learn more here. Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St.

Inaugural Deep Ellum Music Festival

Nov. 18

Deep Ellum has influenced virtually every form of music in Dallas, from blues to punk to rock, and the community will celebrate that as part of its ongoing celebration of its 150th anniversary. The one-day festival will feature up-and-coming artists and more, including headliners Rev. Run and Doug E. Fresh. Learn more here. Deep Ellum, Dallas.

Family Friendly

Plano Balloon Festival 

Sept. 21–24

While the main attraction is the gorgeous hot air balloons, the Plano Balloon Festival boasts quite a few activities on the ground, too, including live music, a fun zone for kids, and the Ninja Nation Mobile Obstacle Course. Learn more here. Oak Point Park, 2801 E. Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano.

Mumentous

Sept. 23-Oct. 14

The city of Grapevine will celebrate all things football mum with a new Texas heritage exhibit: “Mumentous: Football, Glue Guns, Moms, and a Super-Sized High School Tradition Born Deep in the Heart of Texas.” The display will be available for viewing at the Grapevine Tower Gallery, and features the work of author and photographer Amy J. Schultz, who will be available to sell copies of the accompanying book October 4, 7, and 14. Learn more here. Grapevine Tower Gallery, 636 S. Main St., Grapevine.

Dallas Zoo Sensory Friendly Day 

Sept. 24 

The Dallas Zoo will open early for a sensory-friendly day that will allow families to visit without all the stimulation that accompanies a crowded typical day at the zoo. The zoo partnered with organizations to design a sensory- and autistic-friendly slate of activities for guests that includes hands-on experiences, animal exhibits, and more. KultureCity sensory bags with noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, a “feeling” card, and KultureCity ID lanyard will be available for guests to use during their visit, too. Learn more here. Dallas Zoo, 650 S. R. L. Thornton Fwy.

OK2BX Fest

Sept. 30

In its second year, the family-friendly OK2BX Fest celebrates kindness, acceptance, and diversity—all qualities displayed by the late Eleanor Bolding, the inspiration for the OK2BX Foundation. The event, held at Deep Ellum Art Co., will feature musicians like Ryan Sneed, S-Ankh Rasa and the African Village Drummers, and Ballet Folkorico group Ollimpaxqui. There will also be an artisan gallery, hands-on activities, a photo booth, and food vendors. Additionally, attendees will be invited to create a quilt square for a remembrance quilt. Learn more here. Deep Ellum Art Co., 3200 Commerce St.

Day Out With Thomas

Oct. 13-15 & 20-22

Thomas the Tank Engine fans have long made the trek to Grapevine to meet everyone’s favorite No. 1 engine and his friends, including Sir Topham Hatt. This year, Day Out With Thomas: The Color Tour will include an interactive train ride in a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine, a full day of activities, live entertainment, lawn games, and more. Learn more here. Grapevine Vintage Railroad, Downtown Grapevine

Harry Potter – The Forbidden Forest Experience 

Oct. 28

Wizards, witches, and muggles converge in Little Elm this fall to celebrate all things Harry Potter. A portion of Little Elm Park will be transformed into a woodland trail experience filled with magical creatures and experiences from the storied book series, along with the Fantastic Beasts films, including a hippogriff and possibly some nifflers. Learn more here. Little Elm Park, 701 W. Eldorado Pkwy., Little Elm.

Diwali at the Cotton Bowl 

Nov. 4 

Dallas will host what organizers say is the “biggest ever” diwali mela festival in November at the Cotton Bowl. Expect a laser show, ram leela by prominent artists, a Bollywood-style concert, community performances, kids activities, and plenty of food vendors. Learn more here. Cotton Bowl, Fair Park.

The Cedars Open Studio Day 

Nov. 18 

A 21-year tradition of artists opening their doors to the public for one day only continues in November for artists in the Cedars. The free event draws thousands to the neighborhood to visit artists’ studios, participate in and see live demos, and meet many of the creators who call the the Cedars home. Learn more here. The Cedars neighborhood, Dallas

Shopping

Thrift Studio 

Thru Oct. 7 

Every fall, Dwell With Dignity sells luxury home furnishings and art at heavily discounted prices during its annual Thrift Studio shop. The pop-up shop kicked off in late August and runs through the first week of October. Money raised at the event goes back to Dwell With Dignity, which provides interior-designed spaces to people in need. Learn more here. 1833 E. Levee St.  

The Boho Market

Multiple dates 

The Boho Market is hosting a number of artisan markets throughout the fall in Dallas, including a BIPOC makers event at Klyde Warren Park on October 20; night markets at CityLine DFW on October 13 and November 10, holiday shopping on November 19, and more. Learn more here. Multiple locations.

Klyde Warren Park Moon Festival

Sept. 29

The Boho Market is taking over Klyde Warren Park all evening to host its first-annual Moon Festival, an autumn holiday celebrated throughout China and other parts of Asia. The free, family-friendly party will include treats, music, shopping, and more. Learn more here. 2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy.

Huffhines Harvest Fest 

Oct. 21–22 

The city of Richardson’s annual autumn fest is the perfect spot for a fall photo shoot, whether you’re pumpkin painting, enjoying a hayride, or partaking in “Pawtoberfest” with your furrier family members. It’s also a great time to shop its vendor marketplace. Learn more here. 1500 Apollo Rd., Richardson.

Spooky Vendor Market

Oct. 28 

Who doesn’t love a Halloweeny sip and shop event? Make your way to ArtPark Trinity Groves for a spooky-themed maker’s market all afternoon long. There will be crafts, cocktails, lawn games, permanent jewelry, and more. Learn more here. 331 Singleton Blvd.

Turtle Creek Fine Arts Festival

Nov. 11–12 

Head to Reverchon Park to shop fine art all weekend long. The annual event will feature booths and works from painters, glass blowers, jewelers, and more artists. There will be live demos, a kid’s play area, snacks, and other activities, too. Learn more here. 3505 Maple Ave.

Chi Omega Christmas Market 

Nov. 15–18 

Get in the holiday spirit—and snag all your presents early—at the 46th annual Chi Omega Christmas Market. Each year, the bazaar takes over at Fair Park with toys, gadgets, ornaments, dips and soup packets, and more. Check out our guide to the perfect shopping day here, and learn more about this year’s event here

Jingle Bash

Nov. 18

Every year, Etsy Dallas’ artisans and makers gather to sell their homemade wares in town, and have a little fun, too. At the event, shop handmade decor, jewelry, soaps, and more. You can meet the artists, munch on snacks, and even create your own pieces. Learn more here. Gilley’s Dallas Event Center, 1135 Botham Jean Blvd.

*A previous version of this story incorrectly stated general admission to the McKinney Oktoberfest was ticketed at $35 a day. This has been corrected.

It’s time to celebrate America’s birthday, y’all. And while July 4 happens to be on a Tuesday this year, and everyone knows middle-of-the-week birthdays can be a bit of a bummer, we prefer to look on the bright side: A Tuesday holiday means a four-day weekend of celebrations. We’ve rounded up all the parades, block parties, eats, fireworks, and more to enjoy your freedom fest, from Friday through the Fourth itself. 

Parades, Parties, and Festivals

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Klyde Warren Park’s Independence Day Celebration. Bret Redman

June 30 

Pool Adolphus

The Adolphus is throwing a weekend-long rooftop patriotic pool party (say that five times fast). Day passes begin at $45 and cabanas start at $350 for six people (book here). There will be afternoon live music sets everyday through the Fourth and specialty cocktails available. June 30–July 4. The Adolphus, 1321 Commerce St.  Details here.

Hilton Anatole JadeWaters 

Book a day pass or a full-on hotel room and spend your holiday weekend at the Hilton Anatole’s water park. JadeWaters has a packed schedule through July 4, with snowcone happy hours, DJs, pool parties, barbecue, and a specialty Red, White and Blue-berries cocktail at SER Steaks and Spirits. June 30–July 4. From $110. Hilton Anatole, 2201 N. Stemmons Fwy. Details here. 

July 1 

Klyde Warren Park’s Independence Day Celebration 

Enjoy an all-day block party at Klyde Warren Park. The park opens at 9 a.m., and food trucks, like Fletcher’s and Taste of Cuba, will start arriving at 11 a.m. The real show starts at 7 p.m., with stilt walkers, caricature artists, and more. There will be live music and fireworks at 9:40 p.m. And, as usual, the Nancy Best Fountain will put on water shows at the top of every hour noon to 10 p.m., this time to patriotic music. 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Klyde Warren Park, 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy. Details here. 

Denton Yankee Doodle Parade

Denton’s patriotic parade tradition is easy to find—just head to the historic downtown square. The parade will feature plenty of floats, organizations, and more, playing music, dancing, and throwing out candy and treats. The parade starts at 9 a.m. at Austin and Hickory streets, and continues to the Denton Civic Center. 9 a.m. Downtown Denton Square. Details here

Dallas Mimosa Walk: Fourth of July Weekend

Who doesn’t want to dress up in patriotic colors and drink away the afternoon? Head down to Deep Ellum for a three-hour mimosa walk. Wander into 16 stores along the route during the Sip & Shop event, and get a mimosa sampling. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrity lookalikes, like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and Bruce Lee. noon. $40. Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, 101-199 N. Crowdus St. Details here

July 3

Frisco Freedom Fest 

The city of Frisco is celebrating America’s 247th’s birthday with a two-day festival of family fun. On Monday, pseudo-professional tailgaters can enter a cornhole competition, pet owners can enjoy the annual Dachshund Dash or the Yankee Doodle Poodle Parade, and end the evening with the “Hotter ‘N Fireworks” 5K glow run. On Tuesday, enjoy the best of local dining during Taste of Frisco, a party in Simpson Plaza, and fireworks from Toyota Stadium after the FC Dallas game. July 3–4. Simpson Plaza, 6101 Frisco Square Blvd., Frisco. Details here.

Sensory Sensitive 4th of July Celebration

Fireworks can be overwhelming, so The Sound at Cypress Waters is hosting a sensory-sensitive Independence Day party on Monday. The four-hour party will have animal education, face painting, arts and crafts, live music, a calming station, a petting zoo, and more. And instead of fireworks, the organizers have planned a laser light show at 9:40 p.m. 6 p.m. The Sound at Cypress Waters, 3111 Olympus Blvd. Details here.

Denton July Jubilee

Denton will host its July Jubilee starting at 6 p.m. The family-friendly event features local vendors with lots of food, live music, inflatables, games, face painting, a hot dog eating contest, and drone shows.  6–10 p.m. Downtown Denton Square. Details here.

Patriotic Pops in the Park

The Plano Community Band will be joined by the Custer Road United Methodist Church choir to present Patriotic Pops. Bring a picnic, spread out under the shade trees at Haggard Park, and take in some patriotic music.  7 p.m. Haggard Park, 901 E 15th St., Plano. Details here.

July 4 

The 2023 Rotary Club of Park Cities Fourth of July Parade

The annual Park Cities tradition will start on Euclid Avenue near Highland Park Town Hall, then goes west down Euclid, north on Highland Drive, and continues west on Beverly Drive to Preston Road, where it will eventually hit University Boulevard and end at Goar Park. A picnic will follow the parade. 9 a.m., University Park and Highland Park. Details here.

Arlington Independence Day Parade 

Floats from across Arlington are lining up for the city’s annual Independence Day parade. Now in its 58th year, the parade is one of Arlington’s longest-running traditions. Find your perfect spot during the Independence Day Parade Firecracker 5K beforehand, then plop down by 9 a.m. to see all the floats. 9 a.m. downtown Arlington. Details here. 

Lakewood Parade

Lakewood’s annual 4th of July parade has a reputation for family fun, and now it’s in its Taylor Swift era … literally. This year’s fearless theme is “The Eras Tour” in honor of the pop star’s spring concerts in Arlington and the various eras of the neighborhood’s history. 10 a.m. Lakewood. Details here.

McKinney Parade and Block Party 

Parades are fun, but once they’re over, what’s there to do? After its annual Independence Day parade, Downtown McKinney is hosting a Yankee Doodle Block Party, showcasing the district’s shops and restaurants. 10 a.m. parade, 11 a.m. block party. Downtown McKinney. Details here.

Block Party at the Park 

The country’s birthday is an apt time to step back in time. Historic park and village Old City Park in the Cedars is throwing an all-afternoon block party for history and fun-minded Dallasites. The event promises games, water guns, giveaways, and more. 2 p.m. $10. 1515 S. Harwood St. Details here.

Plano’s All American 4th

The Rotary Clubs of Plano and the city of Plano will host a festival and parade near the Collin College campus. The festival begins at 6 p.m., with the parade beginning at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m. There will be a free kids’ zone, vendors offering food and beverages, and more. 6 p.m., Collin College, 2800 E. Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano. Details here.

Fireworks and Drones

July 1 

Monument Realty PGA District

Bring a blanket and check out the fireworks show at the new PGA District in Frisco. Enjoy live music, carnival games, and food and drink from nearby restaurants. Participants include Ice House, Lounge by Topgolf, Ryder Cup Grille, and more. Plus, there will be fireworks and a drone show. This event is free to attend but requires a ticket. 6 p.m.–10 p.m. 3255 PGA Pkwy., Frisco.

Liberty by the Lake

Head to The Colony for Liberty by the Lake, a night of fun that includes rides, food, live music, and games, and ends with a fireworks show set to patriotic music, all lakeside.  6 p.m.–11 p.m. The Colony Five Star Complex, 4100 Blair Oaks Dr. Details here.

July 2

Star Spangled Spectacular: A Firewheel Celebration 

The city of Garland is hosting a 20,000-person Independence Day party on Sunday. There will be family friendly lawn games and activities, food trucks, inflatables, live music, photo ops, and a $500 Simon Amex gift card giveaway. At 9:15 p.m., the 15-minute fireworks show will blast off. 5 p.m. A Firewheel Town Center, 245 Cedar Sage Dr. Details here

July 3 

Red, White & Boom 

Spread out your picnic blankets at Gabe Nesbitt Community Park for McKinney’s annual fireworks party. There will be games, live music, food trucks, and fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Pack a cooler with all your fave nonalcoholic drinks and snacks—just remember to leave your grills at home. 6 p.m. Gabe Nesbitt Community Park, 7001 Eldorado Pkwy., McKinney. Details here.

Light Up Arlington 

The city of Arlington is taking over its downtown for Independence Day celebrations. All day, there will be family friendly events, like a scavenger hunt, imagination playground, face painting, and patriotic activities at the library. The real party begins in the evening. There will be a Children’s Entrepreneur Market at 5 p.m., live bands playing from four different stages beginning at 6 p.m., and plenty of food trucks. Fireworks begin at 9:50 p.m. 2 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Downtown Arlington. Details here.

Addison Kaboom Town 

Stake out the area in and around Addison Airport for the 38th annual Kaboom Town. The festival is sold out, but the annual airshow, featuring historic warbirds, stunts, and parachute jumpers, takes flight at 7:30 p.m. (For your best views, set up chairs along Belt Line Road and the Dallas North Tollway.) Fireworks, which can be seen all over Addison, begin at 9:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. Addison Airport, 4545 Jimmy Doolittle Dr. Details here

July 4 

Fair Park Fourth

Fair Park Fourth offers an entire evening of festivities that culminates with fireworks in the Cotton Bowl. Find hands-on activities for the kids, a local market, live music, food trucks, and other concessions all evening. Don’t want to deal with traffic? DART has a stop right in front of Fair Park. 4:30 p.m. Fair Park, 3809 Grand Ave. Details here.

Sparks & Stripes: Fourth of July Live Music & Fireworks 

On July 4, the city of Irving promises a drone and fireworks show “unlike you have ever seen!” The party kicks off at 6 p.m., with food, rides, and live music at Las Colinas’ Levy Event Plaza, and the main show begins at 9:15 p.m. There’s $10 parking at Summit Parking Garage and at the 600 Las Colinas Parking Garage, plus free parking and shuttles from Williams Square Plaza. 6 p.m. Levy Event Plaza, 501 E. Las Colinas Blvd. Irving. Details here. 

City of Mesquite Fireworks

A day at the races and fireworks? Sign us up. Head to Mesquite’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway Tuesday evening for dirt races and more. Get a pit pass to meet the drivers early, and stick around for fireworks when all is said and done. 8 p.m. $15 age 13 and up. Devil’s Bowl Speedway, 1711 Lawson Rd., Mesquite. Details here. 

North Texas Butcher Shops for Your Fourth of July Barbecue

Staying in on the Fourth of July is an option, too, and that means you can grill up a storm at home with some of the best meats in the city. Check out these butcher shops for your Independence Day celebration.

Food & Drink Deals

For a list of the red, white, and blue food and drink specials, click here

Dating in Dallas doesn’t stop at the beginning of a relationship. Real Dallasites know that there are plenty of things to do in the city with friends and partners. We are here to help you find them.

Our list includes date ideas in parks, inside museums, in the sky (check out adventure dates), and in studios. Take your plus one and find a date for almost every week of the year.

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A Stroll Through the Park

Bask in the Butterflies at Texas Discovery Gardens 

Rain or shine, you can enjoy the Butterfly House at Fair Park’s Texas Discovery Gardens. The climate-controlled insectarium is open year-round for a romantic (or educational!) stroll. When you’re done inside the house, check out the greenhouse’s art gallery, greenhouse, and more. $10, adults; $8, seniors. 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Learn more here. 

Beethoven Walks at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Through August 6, promenade through the Nasher’s terraced gardens while listening to Ludwig van Beethoven’s most famous symphonies and sonatas. The sculpture center also offers free first Saturdays and free ‘til Midnight concerts and movies on third Fridays of the month. $10 regular admission.2001 Flora St. Learn more here.

Cool Thursdays at the Dallas Arboretum

It’s always nice to stop and smell the roses—or listen to a Beach Boys tribute band at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The Arboretum’s spring and fall Cool Thursdays Concert Series offers lakefront and sunset views, picnic fun, your favorite wedding bands, and the promise of a good time. Prices vary. 8525 Garland Rd. See the lineup and buy tickets here. 

Enjoy a Luxury Picnic

There’s something pastoral about a picnic in the park. But instead of dealing with all the non-romantic prepwork, like cooking, packing a wicker basket, and finding a gingham blanket, leave it to the professionals. Dallas has several luxury picnic companies, like Uptown Picnic Company, Rosedale Picnic Company, and Not Your Average Picnic. Each has date-night and proposal packages and will set up and take down your spread. 

See Shakespeare in the Park 

An outdoor play by the Bard should be on any summer bucket list. Laugh or cry your heart out during Shakespeare Dallas’ 2023 summer-fall season. From June through October, the theater company will put on Much Ado About Nothing, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and King Lear at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheater. From $15. 1500 Tenison Pkwy. Learn more here. 

Spend a Day at the Beach 

It’s a long drive to Port Aransas from Dallas, so why not enjoy a beach closer to home? Several nearby state parks, including offer lakeside beaches perfect for a day soaking in the sun with your love. Spots like Ray Roberts Lake and Lake Tawakoni state parks have grills, fishing, paddling opportunities, and more. 

Spot the Fountain Show at Klyde Warren Park 

Whether you’re playing with your furbaby in the dog park, grabbing a bite from one of the food trucks, or attending a Saturday morning fitness class, there’s plenty to do at Klyde Warren Park. While away the afternoon on the lawn, and don’t miss the Nancy Best Fountain show at 12:04 p.m. and 7 p.m. every day. 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy. Learn more here

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Thought-Provoking Dates

Backstage Safari at Dallas Zoo 

Instead of a sleepy trip to your local coffee shop, spend your Saturday morning getting wild. During the Dallas Zoo’s 90-minute backstage tour, you feed elephants, train hippos, get a private Wild Encounter show, and learn all about caring for the facility’s many residents. $135 adult members, $160 adult nonmembers. 650 S. R. L. Thornton Fwy. Learn more here. 

Trek to the African American Museum 

Head over to Fair Park and explore the African American Museum. The museum has several permanent exhibits, like the Billy Folk Art Collection, plus visiting and temporary exhibitions that highlight African American history and culture across the U.S. The institution hosts a number of lectures and specialty events throughout the year—don’t miss the Summer Music Under the Dome concert series. Free. 3536 Grand Ave. Learn more here. 

A Night at Wild Detectives

The quickest way to any bookworm’s heart is the promise of a good story and perhaps a hardcover copy of their favorite tome. Have a quiet date night at Wild Detectives with a beer and a book. Or visit the bookstore-slash-bar for one of its many storytelling, book reading, trivia night, concert, and other literary events. 314 W Eighth St. Learn more here

Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series at SMU

Impress your date with how seriously you think about the world at the Tate Lecture Series. For more than 40 years, Southern Methodist University has brought in global leaders in politics, arts, science, and business to speak on the biggest topics of the day. Expect big names like Neil DeDrasse Tyson, Marlee Matlin, Alan Alda, George W. Bush, and more. $55 single ticket. Learn more here.

Visit the Latino Cultural Center 

Supported by the Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, the Latino Cultural Center celebrates regional Latinx history, community, and art through exhibitions, performances, festivals, and more. The center rotates work from local and regional artists in and out of its galleries every couple of months and many of its plays are performed in English and Spanish. Free. 2600 Live Oak St. Learn more here

Thursdays on Tap at the Perot

Live out your Night at the Museum fantasies at the Perot. From 6–10 p.m. every Thursday through October, the science museum keeps its doors open after hours for adults to explore the exhibits, chow down on treats from the food trucks outside, and enjoy live music. It’s time to party like it’s 4,000 BCE. $5 members, $25 non-members. 2201 N. Field St. Learn more here.

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Affordable Dates

Dallas Terrors Ghost Tour 

For the thrill-seeking couple—the one that marathons the entire Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise every Halloween—this spooky after-dark tour might just be your perfect date. The one-mile, hour-long tour makes eight stops and promises you’ll “discover why the ‘Big D’ stands for death, and devastation.” $25 per person. 400 S Houston St. Learn more here. 

Go on a Scavenger Hunt 

Did you know Dallas has a Teddy Bear Park? Or a not-so-secret garden of dragon statues? Surprise your date and spend the weekend exploring the city and searching for some of the best hidden Dallas gems. Need some inspo? Check out Tui Snider’s Dallas-Fort Worth Scavenger guide. 

Meander the Meadows Museum 

Madrid might be known for its famous art museums, like the Prado and the Museo Reina Sofia, but a plane ticket to Spain isn’t always in the cards. Instead of crossing the Atlantic, cross U.S. 75 to SMU’s Meadows Museum. The 58-year-old museum boasts a vast collection of Spanish art, including work by Pablo Picasso, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, and more. From $4. 5900 Bishop Blvd. Learn more here.

Party at Lee Harvey’s Dive In 

Last summer Lee Harvey’s owner Seth Smith opened a social pool club across from his popular Cedars dive. Dip into the water, tan in a lounge chair, order a drink, and relax seven days a week. In the summer, the club brings in DJs and throws pool parties every weekend. $15 per person. 1315 Beaumont St. Learn more here

Take a Free Yoga Class 

Plenty of studios around Dallas will host free community classes at local parks. Get your downward-facing dog on or slide into your fiercest warrior pose with your partner, thanks to spots like Black Swan, V12, CorePower Yoga, and more.   

Stargaze with the Texas Astronomical Society

You might see stars in your partner’s eyes, but it’s hard to see the stars in the middle of Dallas, thanks to all the lights and smog. To get a good glimpse of the heavens, attend one of the Texas Astronomical Society’s Saturday night “star parties.” You can bring your own binoculars, but TAS will set up telescopes as well. Free. Multiple locations. Learn more here

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Luxury Dates

Charter a Sailboat 

Catch a daytime, sunset, or starlight cruise around Lake Ray Hubbard on one of DFW Boat Ride’s two double-decker boats, Harbor Lights or Sapphire Moon. You can get a regular ticket for around $30 per person. But if you’re looking for a private cruise, you can charter the whole boat for an evening. From $1,665.75. 2059 Summer Lee Dr.  Learn more here

Live and Dream Like a Ewing

Run away to Southfork Ranch and make-believe you’re part of Dallas’ most famous family. This overnight package includes free rein and a tour of the Ewing mansion, champagne, a steak dinner, breakfast by the pool, souvenirs, an optional trail ride, and, natch, Dallas DVDs for viewing. $1,978 for two. 3700 Hogge Rd., Parker. Learn more here.

Romantic Sunset Tour with Sky Helicopter 

Sure, it’s a rom-com trope, but what if you could really fly into the sunset with your love? Find out for yourself on this 45-minute tour of Dallas via air. Fly over Arlington and Addison, DFW Airport and downtown Dallas, all with a golden sunset as the backdrop. Time to roll the credits. $800 for two. 2559 Jupiter Rd., Garland. Learn more here.

Stay-cation at the Joule 

Escape your daily stresses and descend into the cave-like wonder of the Spa at the Joule. Book a customized aromatic couples massage, with options like gua sha, lymphatic drainage, CBD, and more. Keep the relaxation going with one of the hotel’s overnight stay packages. From $185 per person, couples massage. 1530 Main St. Learn more here.

Supercar Track Xperience 

If you’ve ever wanted to put the pedal to the metal, then head to Texas Motor Speedway for this ultimate exotic car experience. Cruise around the track in a luxury “supercar,” like a Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 or McLaren 570S. You can ride along or get behind the wheel yourself. The best part? No speed limits. From $249. 3545 Lone Star Cir., Fort Worth. Learn more here

Dallas Comedy Club, Color Treatment

Adventure & Experience Dates

Head to a Comedy Show 

The Dallas Comedy Club has sketches, stand-up, and improv nights five days a week, but keep an eye out for special acts that may roll into town. Feeling brave and looking to impress your date with your acting chops? Step up for open mic night on Wednesday nights. 3036 Elm St. Learn more here.

Dinner and a Flight

Delta Charlie’s Bar & Grill is a small airport restaurant that offers dinner and private flight packages for the ultimate dinner date. After dinner for two, hop into a plane for views of downtown Dallas. Flights are timed right around sunset, and there’s enough time between dinner and the flight to make it comfortable to take to the skies. Prices vary. 3116 S. Great Southwest Pkwy., Grand Prairie. Learn more here

Gondola Ride through Mandalay Canal and Lake Carolyn

Need Venice on a budget? There are gondola rides in Irving modeled after the infamous canals of Venice, which include a boat ride and a gondolier. Rides come with chocolates and your choice of sparkling cider, water, or hot cocoa. Bookings can also include breakfast, lunch, and dinner pairings, plus more add-ons for special occasions. Starting at $155. 357 West Fork, Irving. Learn more here.

Take a Dancing Class

Believe it or not: dancing lessons may come in handy one day. For group dancing classes with all kinds of styles, including ballroom, Latin, salsa, swing, and more, try Studio 22. The ballroom is 4,600 square feet, so there’s plenty of room to move around, and there are more than 100 group classes every month. Classes start at $35 per person. 14902 Preston Rd., Ste. 400. Learn more here. 

Brewery Yoga at Westlake Brewing Company

On Saturday mornings, Westlake Brewing Company hosts a free outdoor yoga class starting at 10 a.m. If it rains, yoga will be moved indoors. Bring your own mat and towel. And when it’s done, have a pint! 2816 Commerce St. Learn more here

Pick up a Paintball Gun

Paintball plays a major part in two of the best romantic comedies of all time: 10 Things I Hate About You and Failure to Launch, which makes two great reasons for picking up a paintball gun, running around a course, and trying to splat the other with some paint. At DFW Adventure Park, there are three different levels of paintball that range based on level of impact. (Paintballs can hurt a bit.) Starting at $25. 13055 Cleveland Gibbs Rd., Northlake. Learn more here

Climb up into an Aerial Adventure Park

For thrill-seekers wanting more of a team building exercise, the Trinity Forest Adventure Park is a course filled with ropes and bridges that will challenge couples to work together to get through the obstacles. You’re free to move at your own pace, just watch your balance! Starting at $59.95 for adults. 1820 Dowdy Ferry Rd. Learn more here

Indoor Skydiving

iFly Indoor Skydiving is a safe alternative to literally jumping out of a plane, so you and your date can get the adrenaline rush without the big risks. The vertical wind tunnel mimics the sensation of skydiving, all you have to do is jump. Starting at $104.99 per person. Multiple locations. Learn more here

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First Date Dates

Ice Skating at Galleria Dallas

Ice skating in Dallas doesn’t have to be reserved just for winter—the ice rink at Galleria Dallas is open all year round and is actually a great option for the summer when all you want to do is be indoors with the A/C. $12 admission and $5 skate rental. 13350 Dallas Pkwy.

Go Karting

Lean into your competitive side (or let the other person win) by go kart racing. You can ride solo and race against your date, or hop into a two-seater and race the rest of the drivers. Go kart sessions are 10 minutes long, and each race starts at $30. But here’s a tip: Mondays and Thursdays are $20. Starting at $30. 5025 FM 1565, North Caddo Mills. Learn more here.

Walk Through the Dallas Farmers Market

The Dallas Farmers Market has the best first date vibes. Stroll through the stands on the weekends and check out products from local vendors and produce from farms, and grab a snack if you feel hungry. There’s plenty of seating on the market grounds if you’re hoping to spend a few hours getting to know each other. 920 S. Harwood St.

Attend a Sports Game

Dallas is a big, big sports town and at any time of the year, you’ve got your choice of attending almost any sports game imaginable, including baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and more. If you’re an out-of-towner, try to catch a game when your hometown team is playing in Arlington or Dallas. 

Test your Knowledge

Get to know each other’s general knowledge through one of the many trivia nights at North Texas bars and breweries. Most are free and include multiple rounds of questions, prizes, and brews on tap. 

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Artsy Dates

Mug Making at Trade Oak Cliff

Trade Oak Cliff is known for all kinds of pottery and pottery-adjacent classes, but one of our favorites is the mug-making class. Build your own mug from a slab, glaze it, and take it home in about two to three weeks. And, it’s BYOB! $95 per person. 1300 S. Polk St., Ste. 274. Learn more here

Candle making at Malibu Apothecary

Make each other a candle at Malibu Apothecary, where you can choose which scent and learn about the history of perfumes and fragrances. You’ll also create your own label and logo for your custom candle. Classes last up to 2.5 hours to allow the candles to cure, but tickets come with complimentary snacks and refreshments. $57 per person. 2012 Farrington St. Learn more here

Painting with a Twist

Bring a bottle of wine and paint matching or complementary pictures at Painting With A Twist. Options for a date night include painting a picture chosen by an artist, a picture of your pet, and a painting trivia night. Starting at $40 per person. Multiple locations. Learn more here

Splatter Painting for Two 

Pipe and Palette in Plano offers a splatter date night for two, where you and your date can suit up and splatter a canvas or each other with paint in a private room. You can upgrade the date with wine and chocolate for extra sweetness. $80. 6121 W. Park Blvd. Learn more here

Wine and Wood

Create a wooden sign, sip on wine with your partner, and add a rustic touch to your home at Texas Wine and Wood. Each person can pick their own sign and design it and create it at the Dallas studio. There are also take-home kits available. Prices vary based on sign size. 4140 Lemmon Ave., Ste. 120. Learn more here

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Food & Drink Dates 

Try a Cooking Class

There are several places to test your cooking skills in North Texas. Our favorites are at Sur La Table, Central Market, and The Cookery. The classes vary in length and price, but most will let you eat or take home what you’ve made, plus the recipes.

Margarita Mile Tour

Dallas is where the frozen margarita was invented, so it makes sense to honor the cocktail by taking the Margarita Mile tour of Dallas. The tour includes 24 margaritas from restaurants across North Texas. Don’t attempt to do all of them in a day, but that means you can break Margarita Mile up into several date days. Check out the full tour here

Grapevine Wine Tours

Head to Grapevine to check out all the grape vines in North Texas. This winery tour includes stops at three locations and your choice of lunch or dinner depending on the time of your tour. Starting at $125. Learn more here.

On Monday, thousands will gather at Juneteenth celebrations across North Texas. There will be cookouts, live music, and history lessons of the holiday’s deep Texas roots, when, in 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Texas and announced enslaved people were free. It was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed Juneteenth into effect to recognize it as a federal holiday.

In Fort Worth, Jonathan Morris will host a Juneteenth celebration Monday at his boutique hotel, Hotel Dryce. Morris says he sees the celebration as an opportunity to share a piece of history and highlight the efforts of Opal Lee, known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth.” 

Lee has lived in Fort Worth for the last 86 years. On June 19, 1939, white rioters burned down her family home. In the decades that followed, she became a teacher, community organizer, and activist. At the age of 90, she began walking 2.5 miles every Juneteenth in honor of the two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed all who were enslaved. The march was performed in conjunction with her crusade to make Juneteenth a holiday recognized outside of Texas.

“It means to me that this dream of Ms. Opal Lee, that she marched, fought, and rallied for for decades, [is] finally coming to fruition in her twilight years,” Morris says. “We’re able to celebrate Juneteenth in a way that is nationally recognized now. At Hotel Dryce, we want to be part of helping tell that story in a more broad way.”

Hotel Dryce has been open for nearly two years in Fort Worth’s Cultural District in a former dry ice warehouse. The venture began when Morris and his business partner, Allen Mederos, lamented about previous travel options.

“At the beginning of these conversations, we didn’t see anything that we felt like spoke to the accommodations that we look for when we travel,” Morris says. “We wanted to be something that felt authentically true to the city. That meant bringing in local artists, makers, and creatives to help us bring the vision to life.” 

The hotel has hosted dozens of events in its lobby bar that have morphed the space into a reflection of revolving themes such as vinyl nights and silent book club meet-ups. This year, it will host its first Juneteenth event with Black vendors and locally-owned businesses. Morris, who is Black, says he wanted the event to be a celebration of “Black culture, Black culture in Fort Worth, and Black entrepreneurship.”

Reggie and Cedric Robinson of Lil Boy Blue BBQ will serve the same grilled offerings that have sold out at their previous pop-ups, like smoky brisket, pulled pork, and cracked black pepper sausage. The Robinson brothers have participated in Hotel Dryce events before, including a week-long stint and catering the Cowboys of Color kickback. Lil Boy Blue BBQ is named after their grandfather, who they say taught them to serve love and to love serving. 

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Sausage links from Lil Boy Blue BBQ. Courtesy of Lil Boy Blue BBQ

“Every individual with roots [from] Africa will be welcomed into events with celebratory congratulations for just existing,” Reggie says. “They’re a continuation of the bloodline that was formerly property. [Juneteenth is] a way to commemorate an atrocity. It also lifts the resilience of our people and the sustainability and ingenuity of the Black experience here in America. This connects us with the nostalgia of our past and the hope for our future.”

Terrell Johnson has spent the last eight years making sweets in North Texas through his dessert shop SNAP Pastries. The Sweets and Pastries founder will be making his Hotel Dryce debut with a signature cupcake made with simple syrup and GO3 vodka, the liquor brand named after the legal decree that became the catalyst for the holiday. He’ll also sell a variety of cupcakes, cookies, and cake pops at the event.

Johnson says he’s looking forward to the educational aspect of the event, including the rise of Black Lives Matter activism in recent years. He’s especially excited to share this event and holiday with the community he grew up loving. 

“It means more to us than anybody else or any other culture,” he says. “We’ll probably be the only culture that truly understands what it means for it to be fought for; the appreciation won’t be the same, in my opinion, of someone outside of the Black culture.”

Juneteenth @ Dryce will be held at Hotel Dryce, 3621 Byers Ave., Fort Worth on Monday, June 19, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Learn more here.

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Restaurants & Bars

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dallas

Nataly Keomoungkhoun
By |
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Expect a lot of green beer over the next week. Courtesy of The Village

The luck of the Irish will fall upon us on March 17, but Dallas is already gearing up for celebrations that will start as soon as this weekend. Here’s your full list of where to find St. Patrick’s Day parties, food, and green beer this year.

Parades and Celebrations

Harwood Arms

A pub party on March 17 will start at 11 a.m. and run through 10:30 p.m. with three live bands and food and beverage stations. Admission is free. 2850 N. Harwood St.

Happiest Hour

The popular bar is hosting its first St. Patrick’s Day celebration on March 17 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There will be live music, green beer, and food specials. Tickets start at $50 and include access to unlimited beer tastings and seltzers. 2616 Olive St.

Lower Greenville St. Patrick’s Day Block Party

This iconic block party will be held March 11 starting at 9 a.m. and will have beer tents, live music, and food from participating restaurants and bars: Blue Goose, Dodie’s Reef, The Dubliner, Stan’s Blue Note, Terilli’s, Halcyon, Christies Sports Bar, and Sister. Admission is $20 cash at the gate. 2908 Greenville Ave.

Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival

The celebration will kick off at 9 a.m. with an all-day festival and parade at 11 a.m. The parade will start on Blackwell Street by Half Price Books, head south down Greenville Avenue, and end at SMU Boulevard. The festival ends at 3 p.m., so when you’re done parading with the masses, party it up!

St. Paddy’s Day Dash Down Greenville 5K

Runners are encouraged to dress up in their Irish best to run a timed or untimed race before celebrating at the parade, festival, or block party later that day. The course (found here) starts at 8 a.m. and ends on Greenville Avenue, just in time for the parties. Energy Square, 4925 Greenville Ave.

How to Travel Safely For the Parade, Festival, and Block Party

To get from place to place safely for the block party, parade, and festival, DART has options on March 11. From Plano, DART has added an additional rail service to the Red and Orange lines between Parker and Victory Stations. From Carrollton, Farmers Branch, and Dallas, hop on the Green line and transfer to Orange to Red downtown. Those riding the Trinity Railway Express can transfer to the Orange or Red lines at Victory. The stations you’ll want to get off at will either be Park Lane or Lovers Lane.

Busses will start running at 8 a.m. and will end when the parade ends. For those who are designated drivers, check out this map of road closures. Don’t forget rideshare apps!

McKinney St. Patrick’s Day Beer Walk

If you’re staying north, downtown McKinney is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day celebration that will include plenty of beer, seltzer, cider, and maybe even some Irish whiskey. There are 20 stops inside local stores to fill up on libations. Tickets are $30 each. 111 North Tennessee St., McKinney.

Punch Bowl Social

From March 17 to 18, Punch Bowl Social will host a celebration with a live DJ, $7 drink specials, and whiskey cocktails all day. 2600 Main St.

The Village

On March 11, The Village will host a party at sports bar Over Under starting at 11 a.m. Green beer and margaritas will be offered, and customers can also divulge in plates of nachos, hot dogs, pretzels, and more. Celebrations continue at the Roundhouse Food Hall and The Village Golf Club, which will have life music from Yes Ma’am Band and yard games. 5605 Village Glen Dr.

Food specials

Bread Winners Café & Bakery

For a sweet treat, head to Bread Winners for sugar cookies starting at $5 each, cupcakes starting at $3.50 each, and cake balls for $3 each. Pair them with special menu items like a corned beef slider with fries or corned beef hash. If you’re thirsty, $6 Guinness, Jameson, and Irish coffee are all readily available. Available though March 19. Multiple locations.

Eatzi’s

Specialty items include Irish soda bread, cupcakes, and corned beef brisket. 3403 Oak Lawn Ave.

El Chico

Green beer, mugs of margaritas, and top-shelf guacamole will be available March 17 only at the location in Rockwall. 503 Interstate 30, Rockwall.

Federales

From March 17 through 19, Federales will have a St. Patrick’s Day Weekend extravaganza with drink and food specials all day, from $10 shots to $8 quesabirria tacos. 2820 Commerce St.

Kona Grill

From March 13 through 17, take advantage of $3 green beer, sake and seltzer specials, and $6 corned beef sliders. Multiple locations.

Lucky’s Café

On St. Patrick’s Day, dine in for a $17 green beer and shot, green eggs and ham, corned beef and cabbage, or an Irish coffee. The diner will also sell $20 green “Lucky” shirts. 3531 Oak Lawn Ave.

Poco Fiasco

On March 17 and 18, Poco Fiasco will serve a special Reuben pizza, a steak sandwich, and a hoagie with hot Italian sausage. 2823 McKinnon St.

STK Steakhouse

Enjoy $6 corned beef sliders with tater tots and a $9 cocktail called the Leprechaun Stiletto, made with Grey Goose Le Citron, St. Germain, lime juice, cucumbers, and mint leaves. 2000 McKinney Ave.

SusieCakes

Special items include a Guinness cupcake with Baileys buttercream, a St. Patrick’s Day cake decorated with four-leaf clovers, “kiss me I’m Irish” cupcakes, and decorating kits. Multiple locations.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub

Through March 17, the pub will have a traditional Irish menu with Scotch eggs wrapped in pork sausage, Irish shepherd’s pie, and beer-braised corned beef and cabbage. The special menu will conclude with a St. Patrick’s Day party on March 17 at each location. Multiple locations.

Drink specials

Cantina Laredo

A special drink called the Lucky Rita—a frozen Casa margarita with a Midori melon liqueur swirl—will be offered for $8 on March 17 at select locations only. Multiple locations.

Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge

Ellie’s is offering a special cocktail called the Lucky Emerald, made with rum, sour apple liqueur, lime and pineapple juice, simple syrup, and mint. 1717 Leonard St.

Haystack Burgers & Barley

All locations will have beer for $3 a pint and the Haymaker, a frozen cocktail with Maker’s Mark whiskey, orange juice, lemonade, and tea that will be dyed green. Fried pickles will also be offered for $3.17. March 17 only. Multiple locations.

Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar

The Schooner Schooner is a whopping 52-oz. green drink with a blend of Jameson whiskey, peach schnapps, melon liquor, Curaçao, pineapple juice, and a tiny floating rubber duck. $43.95. Multiple locations.

SER Steak + Spirits

Cocktails include the Dublin, an Irish Whiskey-based cocktail with lemon, syrup, egg whites, and activated charcoal. The drink is a take on the Gaelic translation of Dublin: “dubh” means black, and “linn” means pool. 2201 N. Stemmons Fwy., Floor 27.

Sky Blu Rooftop Bar

Drink specials include the Slane Irish car bomb, Slane Irish espresso martini, Jameson orange green tea shot, lucky clover mystery flavor froze, and green Bud Light. The first 20 people will get a choice of one of those drinks for free. Available starting at 4 p.m. on March 17. 1949 N. Stemmons Fwy.

STIRR

In addition to green eggs and ham, drink specials include $6 Jameson shots, $4 green beer, and $6 car bombs. Available March 17 to 19. 2803 Main St., Ste. 110; 5100 Belt Line Rd., Ste. 540.

Quarter Bar

Specials include $6 Guinness, Jameson, and Irish coffee, but if you’re looking to celebrate in a bigger way, try two Irish car bombs for $12. Food specials include $15 corned beef slider with fries and $19 corned beef hash. Available through March 19. 3301 McKinney Ave.

Things to Do in Dallas

The Best Way to Enjoy the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Tim Rogers
By |
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The author and interlocutor with his mother at the 2013 parade

We’re in for a treat this year. Thanks to some calendric good fortune, the best day of the year in Dallas, the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade, will be celebrated on March 11. Then we get nearly a full week to recover, and—pow—St. Patrick’s Day proper falls the following Friday. To get you ready for the big day(s), I conducted this Q&A with myself wherein I share my own personal plans, which are amazing.

ME: You get really pumped for this parade, don’t you?

MYSELF: Oh, my gosh. Yes. The weather is almost always beautiful. Everyone’s in a good mood, eager to shake off the winter and pour some beer down their necks. As long as you behave yourself, the cops let you wander around with an open container. And I get to wear a kilt.

Kilts aren’t Irish.

What’s your point? In Ireland, they don’t even party on St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve made some improvements.

What’s that story again about Tom Stephenson wrestling a bear on St. Patrick’s Day?

Spring

Dallas Blooms Is Back at the Arboretum

Catherine Wendlandt
By |
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Dallas Blooms, the Arboretum's annual tulip is festival is back through April 16. Courtesy of Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Last week, on a warm and mostly sunny President’s Day, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden was packed. Couples picnicked on the greens. Teenage girls in quinceañera dresses and tiaras posed on garden steps. Parents chased after their kids, who, in turn, climbed statues and fed koi fish in the ponds. Japanese cherry blossom trees were beginning to bud, and neatly planted tulips were sprouting everywhere. 

Four days later, on a quiet, overcast, and cold Friday morning, the Arboretum staff, board, and members of the public gathered inside A Tasteful Place to celebrate spring and the opening of the annual Dallas Blooms festival. Every year, the Arboretum plants 500,000 tulips, azaleas, and more. Over the past 39 years, the Arboretum has planted more than 9 million blooming bulbs, chairman Will McDaniel says. “This is the most tulips outside of Holland in any public garden.”

And while the weather was chilly for the festival’s opening, by mid-March, there will be around 3,000 azaleas, 125 cherry blossom trees, and “120 varieties of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and many other flowering plants,” says Dave Forehand, vice president of gardens. Dallas Blooms is open through April 16. There are plenty of events planned, and flowers will be blooming all season. “You want to come back more than once,” he says. 


The Secret to Dallas Blooms

Outgoing Arboretum president and CEO Mary Brinegar shares her insider tips to navigating the spring festival. 

Get a map and pace yourself.

“Some people want to see it all right away,” Brinegar says, “but it’s better if it unfolds for you.” It takes about two-to-2.5 hours to wander through the whole 66-acre property, she says. Brinegar recommends a slow pace to take it all in, as well as stops to relax on benches and admire the views.

Make a loop around the grounds.

“I like to go somewhat in a circle,” Brinegar says.  Start at A Tasteful Place, see what’s in bloom and what you could grow in your own backyard. Then head to the Palmer Fern Dell, which Brinegar calls “one of the most beautiful places in the city.” From there, meander through the Jonsson Color and A Woman’s gardens, the Red Maple Rill, and more.

Book your tickets ahead of time.

Capacity at the Arboretum is determined by parking, so it’s a good idea to get your tickets beforehand, especially if you know when you want to come. “I would book early, and then if a time doesn’t work out for you change your time,” Brinegar says.

Don’t worry about food.

You can bring your own food and drink into the arboretum for a picnic on the grounds, but there are also “different places along the way to sip, have something to drink, something to eat,” Brinegar says. A Tasteful Place offers free tastings throughout the day, and you can stop to eat at several spots on the grounds, like the Café on the Green and the DeGolyer Tea Room.


This year also features eight statues of historical figures like Amelia Earhart, Ruby Bridges, and Mother Teresa, from sculpture artist Gary Lee Price’s Great Contributors series. Price first installed pieces from his Great Contributors series in 2016 at the Arboretum. He returned in 2019 with an installation of 30 life-sized statues of kids, called Celebrate the Children. This year is a sequel to his first Great Contributors show, with a larger focus on female heroes throughout history, he says. 

On display for the next six months, the statues are scattered throughout the grounds. Price says he wanted to remove the deity-like figures from their pedestals and “bring them down to earth,” by placing them on benches. “You can sit with them, and, with a little imagination, you can have a conversation with them.” 

We had our own conversation with Price about Great Contributors and why he keeps coming back to the Dallas Arboretum. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Why choose to sculpt historical figures?

The reason why I bring these deified people down to earth is to help us all realize that we have that same potential to literally change the planet. Make it a better place. Learn to help teach humanity how we should behave. And I hope that these pieces inspire them to bring out the greatness in their own life. 

How did you pick the historic figures to sculpt for this round of Great Contributors?

The first woman I did was Amelia Earhart. My son is a pilot. I love getting in a jet and getting off the earth and being able to look at perspective. And so Amelia Earhart, to me, represented courage, breaking the glass ceilings, all of that stuff. And her being an aviation person—she was a natural. And she’s so beautiful. And to be able to try to get her essence into that inanimate object, it was a challenge. But I wanted, with all my heart, to do it. 

How long does it take to make each statue? 

Of course, the snide answer is all my life. Right? But it’s a process of doing the research on the figure, watching all the videos, all the documentaries, reading everything I can on them. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s probably a couple-of-years process. You know, from doing that, to doing a little teeny study, to the studies that you see here to the life-sized ones. 

How do you want visitors to interact with your statues?

You know, everything is so subjective and individual. I’m just glad, regardless of how they interact—whether it’s touching, whatever it is—that they interact with it. Somehow something is going to touch them and [their] other senses. And for one thing, they might realize, “Oh my gosh, this was a real person. Not just something I read about or a historical figure, this person actually lived.” And “wow, this person maybe actually wore bifocals and actually wrote a book.” So just that interaction alone, I think may be profound for them or maybe it just plants a seed.

This your third exhibition at the Dallas Arboretum in seven years. What keeps bringing you back? 

Oh my gosh, this place. There’s so much energy here. I believe art heals. I believe nature heals. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Eckhart Tolle, he wrote The Power of Now. And in his book, he recommends the idea that [when] we get out in nature more, we get this peace of mind. That we stopped what he calls the “incessant thinking” that we all do. You need to slow down. So, one of his recommendations: get out in nature, go for walks … For me, nature has always been healing. I’ve planted with my five boys thousands of trees and bulbs. I love physical work. I love getting my hands dirty. It’s a grounding process. That’s when the actual creation I think is going on subconsciously. So, those ideas pop in. And then so somehow, I feel that art and nature just are so complementary. And both of them heal us.

Do you have a favorite memory of seeing your statues here seeing people interact with them here?

Yes. One of my favorites [was] when we set up Monet. He’s life-sized on a bench painting. He’s got his paintbrush, got an easel there. He’s painting some water lilies. We just got to set up, when a school class came through. There were probably 50 kids. Probably 15 or 20 of them were climbing all over him, and they were sitting on his hat. And some people are yelling, “don’t sit on it, don’t touch it!” And I’m like, “No, do it, do it!” It was just a fun thing to see them just hoarding around this famous painter. 

Halloween

The Ultimate Guide to Dallas-Fort Worth Haunted Houses

By Rolando De La Garza |
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Jenny Greenteeth is one of the many monsters you’ll encounter at the Dark Hour haunted house. Dark Hour

I fell in love with haunted houses after first visiting the legendary Reindeer Manor in the woods of Red Oak a few years ago. Ever since, I’ve explored the lively haunted house scene in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and made trips to other cities to see how we stack up. The good news: if you’re thinking of hitting some haunted houses this year, you’re in the right place.

Before I get to the haunts: keep in mind that haunted houses are dynamic attractions, and they change each year. New attractions pop up every season and some pack up and move. Sometimes the scares will be literally above you and sometimes below. Sometimes they’ll hit you with snakes, sometimes with cockroaches. (Relax. They’re not real and it’s all part of the show.)

But we have a pretty good idea of the quality you can expect this season. Let’s get into the best haunted houses North Texas has to offer.

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The inside of Thrillvania, in 2015. Photography by Misty Keasler

Cutting Edge

This one is sure to spook you. Cutting Edge frequently tops national lists of the best haunted houses in the nation, and this is usually the largest haunt in America. Sometimes Detroit’s Erebus will add another foot or two to its attraction to beat it on a technicality, but that doesn’t matter. it’s great to have a top ghoul within driving distance.

This is single haunt packed with sets. You’ll be walking through a creepy closet one moment and dealing with huge monsters the next. There is usually a live music intermission played by zombies or some other creepy creatures. When you think you’re done, when you think you’ve been let out after having walked to the depths of the old meat packing plant, there’s still more.

What: A 100-year-old former meat packing plant, mostly indoors, that will give you the creeps.

Where: 1701 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth

When: Season runs September 30 to October 31, and this year they’ve added a November 7 show. Open Fridays and Saturdays, with some additional Thursdays and Sundays and, of course, Halloween Monday. (Post-Halloween shows are usually dark shows with fewer scares).

Parking: You must pay for parking, but there’s free parking on the street, too.

Tickets:  Standard tickets run about $55.00 and a speed pass is $65.00. You must buy the tickets online, and they are timed. Still, get there early and expect a line, even with the speed pass.

Other entertainment: There’s nothing else to do in this haunt other than the attraction, no food, or places to hang out; so if this is a date, plan on doing something more.

Dark Hour

Head north to Plano for the new kid in the block. Dark Hours is the youngest of all our haunts. Yet, since the day it opened, it’s made an argument for being the best. This is our most professional haunt yet. The sets are movie quality and so are the sound and lighting. Dark Hour used to run year-round with events for Christmas like Wreck the Halls (Krampus running amok), then Leprechauns for March, and Werewolves during summer. This season, the Witches run Dark Hour and you’ll know the moment you step in. There’s a concert while you wait in line.

Dark Hour usually runs two attractions. The second attraction is hit and miss, so save your money.

What: It is set in a building resembling a warehouse, but don’t let that mislead you. Once you step in, you will be in the Witches Coven. The line will be long but the haunt won’t take more than 30 minutes to walk through. Expect to be there for at least two hours. The haunt itself is indoors but the line is outdoors.

Where: 701 Taylor Dr., Plano

When: This is the only haunt that open mid-September this year. The screams come on all Fridays and Saturdays, lots of Thursdays and Sundays, and Halloween Monday.

Parking is free and easy.

Tickets: General admission runs around $46, and the fast pass is $66.

Other Entertainment: there is no food or any place to hang out here after the attraction. Love and War in Texas, a sit-down restaurant with decent food and atmosphere, is in the same parking lot as the haunt.

Reindeer Manor

One of the oldest haunted houses in the nation and probably the oldest in Texas, Reindeer Manor has been running for 49 years. This is its last year in this location, so if you visit just one haunted house this season, head to this one.

The experience starts the moment you drive in. This haunt is out in the woods of Red Oak, and the dirt road is creepy on its own. Reindeer Manor usually runs three attractions, sometimes four. You’ll see the Manor itself, the Dungeon, and the Morgue. This year it will also be running The Bunker.

The best attractions are the Manor and the Morgue. The Manor itself is over 100 years old. The Morgue is set in an old barn, and you will see horror scenes that will stick with you after you leave. They are on opposite sides of the grounds, so if you see either one without a line, do not wait to jump in. Plan to spend about four hours here to get the full experience. There is fair food like nachos, hot dogs, and turkey legs.

What: A house and a barn dating back to the early 1900s. Mostly outdoors.

Where: 401 Houston School Road, Red Oak

When: The haunt is open through Halloween from 8 p.m. to midnight on Fridays, and Saturdays. Plan on being there at 8 p.m. to get all the bang for your buck.

Parking: Free and spooky.

Tickets: $40 for the standard and $60 for the fast pass. If you go early in the month, you won’t need the fast pass, but if you go on Halloween weekend you probably want to spring the extra $20 to see all the attractions.

Other Entertainment: There is sometimes music on the grounds, and they’ll occasionally have movies playing on a pop-up screen. There’ll be creepy monsters walking around while you wait. There is food and park bench tables to sit and take a break. The food and soft drinks are reasonably priced. This a perfect date night haunt.

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Pongo

SCREAMS Halloween Theme Park

The Scarborough Renaissance Festival grounds in Waxahachie are converted into Screams Halloween Theme Park every October. If you’ve been to the Renaissance Festival, then you know how huge the grounds are. This is a made-up village filled with shops, stages, rides, and other structures in the “renaissance” style. While Cutting Edge is considered the longest Haunted House in the region, it is a single haunt. Screams has five. (The themes include Zombies, Time’s Up, Bayou, the Castle, and the Klownz.) Food, drinks, and beer are for sale. There will be shops open, stage shows, and activities like ax throwing.

The haunts themselves vary in quality. I think the best is the Castle. The Klownz has a maze you will surely be lost in for a while. The lines will be long, so I recommend the fast pass if you want to hit all the haunts. Don’t feel bad if you don’t, though. Screams is more about the whole experience: the roasted corn, the beer, and the kids freaking out over the sneaky monsters ambulating about.

What: Scarborough Renaissance Festival grounds goes haunted.

Where: 2511 FM 66, Waxahachie

When: Fridays and Saturdays through October 29. This haunt is not open on Halloween. They are usually open 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., so arrive early and hit the Castle first.

Parking is free and easy.

Tickets run $42 for Fridays, and $52 for Saturday. There is a fast pass option for an additional $20 on Fridays and $30 Saturday. If you intend to go Halloween weekend, then get the fast pass; the lines will be insane. At $92 with fast pass for a Saturday entry, this is the most expensive haunt in the region. But it is also the largest haunt grounds we have. Expect to pay more once inside for food and drinks. 

Other entertainment: Plenty, since you’ll be there from open to close.

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Thrillvania Haunted House, photographed in 2015. Photography by Misty Keasler

THRILLVANIA Haunted House Park

Thrillvania ruled the best haunted house lists for many years. It is set in the middle of the creepy woods in Terrell. The moment you leave the freeway you can sense you’re approaching the sphere of evil in Verdun Manor, the main attraction. This one is a park-style haunted house with three main attractions: the Verdun Manor, the House of Clowns, and the Trail of Torment.

Years and years of scares have packed the Manor with details that its competition often lacks. You will start with the clowns, then the Manor, and close with the Trail of Torment. The Clowns is the weaker feature, but it is fun to start with. The Manor may not have as many scares as you’d expect but take your time looking around. The Trail of Torment will creep you out. Try not to run as it ends; you’ll be unceremoniously spit out into the parking lot.

What: A spooky manor and over 50 acres of rural grounds. You’ll be there for at least three hours.

Where: 2330 Co. Rd. 138, Terrell  

Parking and Tickets: Parking is $10, and you have no other options. Bring cash. Tickets are $50. Lines are long but move fast. You’ll probably spend the whole evening here, so no need to get the speed pass. If you will be doing both Thrillvania and Cutting Edge in Fort Worth, consider getting the combo ticket. These two haunts are owned by the same group. Tickets are timed and must be purchased online at the link above. Once you arrive, you must follow the instructions to gain access. It is not as simple as showing up and walking in. (These two haunts are about at least an hour drive away from each other. Considering wait times, I would plan on doing them on separate evenings.)

When: October 8 through Halloween night.

Other entertainment: This haunt has fair food and places to eat it. There are also plenty of monsters walking around. Expect music, and sometimes a concert. No need to go anywhere else for food, but Buc-ee’s is a 10-minute drive away.

Moxley Manor

This Bedford haunt runs three distinct attractions. The Moxley Manor, the 3D experience Big Top Terror, and Regan’s Revenge. You need only one ticket for all three. Try your best to go as early as possible and go through by yourself and friends, away from larger groups. You’ll get all the scares that way. When you hear the chainsaw, you better run. You’ll finish with the Manor itself, and you’ll be surprised how creepy the sets will get, this haunt has stepped up its game!

What: It’s a fairly short attraction; you probably won’t be there more than a couple hours.  

Where: 510 Harwood Rd., Bedford

When: Weekends on September 30 through Halloween.

Parking is free and easy. One ticket for all three attractions will start around $30. You probably won’t need the fast pass unless you’re there Halloween weekend.

Other entertainment: There’s a space for photos and a truck with some fair food. (But no place to eat it.) You may want to plan to go for dinner or something else after.

Hangman’s House of Horrors

If you’ve ever driven by an old creepy building and thought, “I bet there are ghosts in there,” that’s the vibe Hangman’s is going for. It’s housed in a 100-year-old military installation, and it looks it. It usually runs two haunts: The Zombies and Hangman’s House. You’ll see the zombies first. The military building is long, and it will take you though some horrific scenes. You’ll think about them after you leave.

What: A century-old decommissioned military building. Two haunts, so expect to be there for about three hours.

Where: 4400 Blue Mound Rd., Fort Worth

Parking is $10 and easy. Tickets run about $39 for general and $49 for fast pass. I wouldn’t spring for the fast pass unless on Halloween weekend. A timed ticket is $64, but in my opinion, the timed option is not worth it, so stick to the regular passes.

Other entertainment: there are a few tables where you can sit and eat some nachos, and some other food items. There’s also music playing in the background.

Creekside Manor

Probably the smallest haunt in the list, but it’s also the least expensive. It’s a creepy little house in some equally creepy woods tucked into Midlothian. It does its job well. The monster will creep you out even before you enter. You won’t get a better show for $20.

What: Creepy house in the woods.

Where: 2411 Plainview Rd., Midlothian  

Parking is free and easy. Tickets will run you $20.

Other entertainment: There is nothing else going on at Creekside Manor. You’ll be out of there in no time.

RIP to the Tayman Graveyard

Tayman’s permanently closed this year, but it’s still worth a mention. For at least the last decade this haunted house delivered a unique experience. Out in the middle of nowhere in Midlothian, $25 got you access to a haunt that scared the bejesus out of you. (A donation of a can of food dropped the price to $10.) Zombies came at you the second you exited your car. This was the only “touch haunt” in the DFW area. A zombie once bit me here—you read that right—right in the middle of a wooden mine as lamps glowed orange. The mortuary made you crawl through a furnace. Creepy kids would emerge out of the smoke walking on all fours and backwards. It was the stuff of nightmares—which is the only place we’ll be able to revisit the experience.


Rolando De La Garza is a Dallas attorney and haunted house fanatic.

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