Reality TV has done Dallas a disservice. With shows like “Big Rich Texas” and “Most Eligible Dallas”, folks might get the impression that this city is all about big hair, huge egos and massive bank accounts. The real reality is that “Big D” is a cultural hotspot, brimming with art, music, great shopping and fascinating history — and you don’t have to be a wealthy socialite to enjoy the city. In fact, many of the great things Dallas has to offer are FREE.
Below are my 10 favorites from the list:
1. Outdoor Sculpture Tour
Discover over 30 distinctive sculptures on the sidewalks of Downtown. Along with pieces from the 19th century, there are contemporary works, including a painter capturing magnificent Dallas on canvas – Can you find him?
2. Dallas Symphony Free Summer Concerts
Pack a picnic and a lawn chair and enjoy beautiful music under the open sky. Dallas’ outdoors beckons lovers of nature and music. During the Spring and early Summer months, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performs in area parks and you can also hear “Jazz under the Stars” at the Dallas Museum of Art on Thursday evenings.
3. African American Museum
Located in Fair Park, the African American Museum is the only one of its kind in the Southwestern Region devoted to the preservation and display of African American artistic, cultural and historical materials. African American culture is experienced through entertaining and educational programs presented in the theater, studio arts area and classrooms.
4. Free Behind-the-Scenes tour of the Original Neiman Marcus
Tucked neatly in between various high rise buildings in downtown Dallas lies the original Neiman Marcus department store. Dallas’ outstanding shopping reputation began with the opening of Neiman Marcus in 1914. Take a free tour of this historical building and learn its many secrets and interesting stories. Store tours available by appointment only.
5. Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive
A growing number of bronze, larger-than-life-size steers and their cowboy escorts moo’ve along Pioneer Plaza, adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center. This bronze cattle drive is located on the actual Shawnee Trail drive of the 1850s and is the largest bronze monument of its kind in the world.
6. Trinity River Audubon Center
The Trinity River Audubon Center features trails in the Great Trinity Forest as well as over 120 acres of restored wetlands and prairies. Operated by the National Audubon Society, visitors have the opportunity to explore hands-on exhibits, four miles of nature viewing trails, the Children’s Discovery Garden, and a great nature store with locally produced gifts and educational items. Free admission on the third Thursday of each month.
7. A Nation Remembers JFK
Dallas pays homage to one of its darkest times, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during his 1963 visit. Designed by Kennedy family friend, Philip Johnson, the John F. Kennedy Memorial is an open-roofed, concrete walled monument symbolic of an open tomb. It is not unusual to find flowers and notes placed here. Nearby, the infamous School Book Depository and Grassy Knoll have changed little since that devastating day in our Nation’s history.
8. Crow Collection of Asian Art
The Crow Collection of Asian Art contains more than 600 paintings, objects of metal and stone, and large architectural pieces from China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia. Over 300 works are on display in the galleries including precious jade ornaments from China, delicate Japanese scrolls and a rarely seen 28-foot by 12-foot sandstone facade of an 18th century Indian residence.
9. Thanks-Giving Square
Thanks-Giving Square is a private, interfaith and educational venue that welcomes people of all nations, cultures and religious traditions. A unique chapel and exhibition promoting a spirit of Thanksgiving featuring a meditation garden, bells and fountains make this the “Home of American Thanksgiving.”
Where: 1627 Pacific Avenue
10. Fountain Place
aters dance and leap skyward at downtown’s Fountain Place. At the base of this dramatically sculpted 1.2 million sq. ft. office tower of green reflective glass lies an oasis of colorful flowers, waterfalls, 172 bubbler fountains and central fountain. The latter is one of the world’s most complex and consists of 360 computer driven water jets. Designed by the acclaimed architectural firm of I.M. Pei & Partners, Fountain Place has received international recognition.
Whether or not you’re travelling to Dallas on a budget, give your wallet a break while exploring some of the best free things Big D has to offer!