25 under $25: Dallas, Texas
Monday, 7 August 2017
Dallas is the ninth-largest U.S. city and an exciting destination for visitors from around the world.
The greater Dallas area encompasses more than 340 square miles and within its confines tourists can find a wide array of cultural attractions, parks, and excellent dining venues. Headed to Dallas for a vacation? If so, take note of the following activities you and your family can do for less than $25 per person.
1. Eat some BBQ
Looking for some good grub? Head over to Off the Bone Barbeque for a half-rack of award-winning pecan smoked baby back ribs for $16.99 or a yummy pulled pork sandwich for less than $10. and make sure to try the three-meat charro beans!
The Dallas Museum of Art, or DMA, is one of the largest museums in the country with more than 23,000 works on display. This is a great place to go a few times during your visit. Take note of Jackson Pollock works as well as those done by Henri Matisse. Admission is free; the museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays.
Super cool exhibits that feature animals such as the tomato frog, black-footed penguin, and Hoffman's two-toed sloth are on display at the Dallas World Aquarium. Budget at least three hours for this visit as the animals are sure to lengthen your children's normal attention spans. Admission is $20.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids 2-12 years old.
History buffs flock to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza to look out the exact window Lee Harvey Oswald did when he assassinated President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The museum is interesting for people of all ages, with memorabilia about Kennedy's life and monthly programs (check the website for a current schedule). Tickets are $16 for adults and $13 for kids ages 6-18 years old.
If you are looking for a low-stress activity to do on a warm, sunny day, go to the Nasher Sculpture Center, an outdoor museum in downtown Dallas. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for students and free for kids 12 and under.
Thoroughbred races take place April through July at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie. This is a great place to have a picnic and root for your favorite horse (Note: You must be 21 or older to bet). General admission costs $5 per person. Check the calendar online for race dates and times.
The Trinity River Audubon Center is a sprawling piece of land that offers trails and plenty of places to look at different species of birds. Trails are not strenuous, so no need for hiking boots (although comfortable shoes are recommended). Check online before you go for educational programs about owls, pigeons, or other birds. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for kids 3-12 years old.
The Frontiers of Flight Museum is a great place to spend a day, especially if your kids are into airplanes. Housed on the south side of Dallas Love Field Airport, the museum has exhibits that discuss the history of aviation with more than 30 planes, including a model of the 1903 Wright Flyer. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for kids 3 to 17 years old.
Those without a fear of heights are smart to head over to the Reunion Tower, a structure that stands 561 feet tall and is connected to the Hyatt Regency. General admission to the tower and observation deck, or GeO-Deck, is $16 for adults and $8 for kids 4 to 12 years old.
The African American Museum of Dallas has several rotating exhibits and permanent collections that feature African masks, folk art paintings, and sculptures. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Docent-led tours cost $3 for adults and $1 for students.
At a whopping 106 acres, the Dallas Zoo is an attraction worth visiting every time you are in in the area. The zoo features multiple animal habitats reminiscent of the African savannah, rain forests in South America, and deserts in Australia. Check out the tigers, koalas, elephants, and more. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for kids 3 to 11 years old.
The Dallas Holocaust Museum has an incredible collection that memorializes one of the world's darkest times. Check out the Core Exhibit, which focuses exclusively on April 19, 1943, the day when the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising started and the Bermuda Conference met. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for kids and students.
The Meadows Museum, located near the campus of Southern Methodist University was created in 1965 and houses one of the most impressive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. Tickets are $10 for adults and $4 for students. If you want to be really thrifty, go between 5 p.m. on 9 p.m. on a Thursday for free admission.
14. Go for a hike
Need some fresh air? If so, head to the 600-acre Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve located just 20 minutes from Dallas. The nine miles of trails are well groomed but you still may want to bring your hiking boots. Also, don't forget a hat and water bottle. The preserve is free to visit, but donations of $3 are appreciated.
15. Take in a show
Live theater lovers are smart to check out the Bath House Cultural Center, situated right at White Rock Lake. Look online for low-cost performances or call ahead and schedule a tour of the cultural center's museum. Tours are free, but donations are accepted.
There are few places in Dallas more beautiful than Belo Garden, a 1.7-acre park in the middle of downtown that is free to visit. Grab a sandwich at a local shop, lay out your picnic blanket under a tree and enjoy people watching. Going in the summer? Tell your kids to bring their bathing suits; there is an outdoor fountain perfect for frolicking.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science opened in 2012, making it one of Dallas's newest museums. With dozens of hands-on exhibits, it is the perfect place to visit while on vacation. Tickets are $17 for adults and $11 for kids 2 to 17 years old.
What is an adventure garden? Find out with a visit to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which spans 66 acres and includes the 8-acre Roy Meyers Children's Adventure Garden (hint: it features fun attractions like a sky walk). Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids 3-12 years old.
19. Skate and shop
Those in need of some retail therapy can go to the Galleria Dallas, a massive high-end shopping mall. But for the kids who'd rather run around, there is the Ice Skating Center, located in the middle of the indoor complex. For just $10 per person and $3 for rentals, you can skate until your heart is content. Check the website for public session schedules.
The Butterfly House and Gardens is part of the 7.5-acre Texas Discovery Gardens, a perfect place to see wildlife and plants. Be sure to stop by at 12 p.m. for a discussion and butterfly release ceremony. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for kids 3 to 11 years old.
The Fine Arts Chamber Players regularly offer free concerts to the public. Especially in July, you can find them at the Dallas City Performance Hall. Look online for an updated calendar.
The Museum of the American Railroad is a fun spot to stop for a few hours with your family. Exhibits showcase a variety of railroad cars and tours are offered in the spring and summer—$7 for adults and $3 for kids ages 3 to 12 years old.
The Latino Cultural Center is awesome for art buffs. It has a sculpture center and live performances—check the website for specifics. Admission is free.
Dallas has an incredible live theater scene, and during the summer and fall visitors can watch performances at Shakespeare in the Park. Prices vary from $10 per person on Thursdays and Sundays to $15 per person on Fridays and Saturdays. Check online for the schedule specifics.
Pegasus Plaza, located right downtown, is a place to relax after a long day of sightseeing. Hanging out is free of charge and you can meditate next to a beautiful hot spring fountain.
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