Summer is coming. The kids are going to be out of school and, well, let’s face it, some days we all have cabin fever and need to get out of the house! Sure, there are things to do with kids at home, but, again, sometimes everyone just wants to get up and go somewhere.
Free Things to Do in Dallas with Kids
We’ve lived in Dallas our whole lives, but feel like there is always still something new to see and do. A new park to explore. Another museum to discover. Art to ponder. Old city squares to walk.
So, as I was gathering ideas for our summer break, I thought I would share what I found with you. From Downtown Dallas to Denton to Frisco, and more in-between, we were able to create a long list of free things to do in Dallas with kids.
- African American Museum – 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. It has one of the largest African American Folk Art collections in the United States. Admission is free except in the following cases: Special exhibitions; Special events; and Groups of 10 or more.
- Allen Station Park – A citywide (regional) park that includes baseball and softball fields, a playground, trails, washer courts, a concrete skate park, BMX track and roller hockey rinks.
- Arbor Hills Nature Preserve – This 200-acre park features vast areas of natural beauty for walking, jogging, hiking, orienteering, and other outdoor activity. The preserve has a natural biofilter for cleaning surface run-off from the parking lot before it re-enters the groundwater tables. The observation tower gives a spectacular view of the city.
- A.W. Perry Homestead Museum – The A.W. Perry Homestead Museum offers a glimpse of life as it was in north central Texas at the turn of the 20th Century. Tours are FREE of charge and include the interior of the 1909 Perry home and outbuildings, including a barn, light plant, cellar, smokehouse, and well.
- Celebration Park – With 104 acres, this community park features an enormous kidMania community-built playground and adjoining spray-ground, 1.5-mile perimeter trail, lighted baseball and soccer fields and much more.
- Chestnut Square – Stroll the grounds of Chestnut Square and tour the interior of 6 of their historic sites with a guided docent. Village tours are free on Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:00 am.
- Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum – Built in 1896, this structure is one of Denton County’s most celebrated and iconic artifacts. The building is constructed of limestone from Denton, pink granite from the Austin area, red sandstone from the Pecos region, and tan sandstone from Mineral Wells.
- Dallas Arts District – Covering over 68 acres in the heart of Downtown Dallas, the Dallas Arts District is the largest urban arts district in the country. In addition to housing the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Crow Collection of Asian Art, and Klyde Warren Park, there are several more free activities and events within the district.
- Dallas Museum of Art – “The Dallas Museum of Art is a space of wonder and discovery where art comes alive.” General admission is always free and includes viewing the Museum’s collection galleries, as well as most exhibitions.
- Dallas Symphony Orchestra – Check the DSC event calendar for their Free Community Concert series.
- Denton Firefighters’ Museum – Take a journey to honor brave firefighters both past and present. The museum hosts a collection of fascinating memorabilia from the 1800s to modern day, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience the evolution of firefighting over the last 150 years.
- Elm Fork Nature Preserve – Located within McInnish Park, the nature preserve is a self-contained ecosystem, virtually undisturbed. Trails are open for hikes 365 days a year from dawn to dusk.
- Farmers Branch Historical Park – The Historical Park is a museum nestled on 27 acres that trace more than 175 years of proud Farmers Branch history along with the history of Peters Colony, Texas, and the United States. The park hosts a variety of free events throughout the year for all ages.
- Fine Arts Chamber Players – FACP’s mission is “to enrich and enhance the quality of life for North Texas area residents, especially families and children, through free concerts of classical music and educational activities.”
- Frisco Commons – This large green-space offers visitors a bike trail, fishing in a stocked pond, picnic tables, spray park, Veteran’s Memorial, and scenic walking trail.
- Frisco Safety Town – Their Safe and Sound Walk-Around is a free 30 minute walking tour of the facility guided by a firefighter. Call ahead to schedule.
- Historic Downtown Plano — Filled with restaurants, retail, office and urban housing, there’s something here for everyone! Plus, almost every night of the week, the streets are alive with a variety of activities.
- Hope Park – Located within Frisco Commons, this park is suited to meet the needs of all children, at any age, with a focused consideration for children with special needs – an inclusive play adventure that brings children together and helps them build self-confidence, make friends and play as equals.
- Interurban Railway Museum – Owned by the City of Plano, the museum features interactive exhibits on electricity, science, and Plano’s history. They also offer guided tours through historic Car 360.
- Katy Trail – On top of being the premier destination for jogging, biking, skating, and walking in the city, the Katy Trail also hosts several exciting events. Residents and visitors alike take advantage of the 30-acre park, as well as 125 acres of urban parkland connected by the pedestrian and bike trails.
- Klyde Warren Park – This popular downtown Dallas park is a highly active space, providing daily free programming for the public ranging from yoga to lecture series to outdoor concerts and films. There are literally hundreds of FREE activities for you and your family at Klyde Warren Park.
- Lakeshore Learning – Every Saturday from 11am to 3pm, participating stores offer crafts for kids ages 3 and up. There are no reservations needed and the themes change weekly.
- Little Chapel in the Woods – TWU students and faculty built components of the Chapel. They constructed and designed doors, the lectern and pulpit, pews, the cross, candlesticks, mosaic work, stenciling on the beams, light fixtures, inscriptions on the lintels, and the beautiful stained glass windows that are still in the chapel today. The Little Chapel in the Woods is open to the public for viewing 9am–8pm daily.
- Mary Kay Museum – Located inside the lobby of the Mary Kay World Headquarters, you can take a look at the rich history of Mary Kay with a self-guided tour of the Mary Kay Museum.
- McKinney Avenue Trolley M-Line – The M-Line’s air-conditioned and heated restored vintage trolleys operate normally 365 days a year, providing safe, clean, reliable, and convenient public transportation free of charge (except charters) in Dallas’ vibrant Uptown Neighborhood.
- MCL Grand Theater – The facility features a 296-seat theater with acoustics designed for both speech and music, a 2,200-square-foot art gallery, a 2,400-square-foot dance recital hall, 3,000-square-foot black box and 1,750 square feet of classrooms. The MCL Grand is open to the public Tuesday – Saturday 10 am-5 pm and guided tours can be booked through the administration office.
- Meadows Museum – The Meadows Museum is committed to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of art through the collection and interpretation of works of the greatest aesthetic and historical importance, as exemplified by the founding collection of Spanish art. Complimentary admission on Thursdays after 5 pm; additionally, The Meadows Museum will admit active military and their families for free at all times.
- The Museum of Geometric and MADI Art – The first museum with a concentration on MADI art, which is always non-representational, hard-edged, and comes out of the frame. Geometric art may be in a rectangular format, which is rarely the case with MADI; usually, only prints may be rectangular. The museum shows related geometric, constructivist, and op art work.
- Mustangs of Las Colinas & Museum Exhibit – Learn the story of African wildlife artist Robert Glen’s eight years invested in creating the Mustangs. The museum also presents a short film which brings to life for the visitor the time and effort that went into designing, molding and mounting this distinctive piece of public art.
- Nasher Sculpture Center – Bring the kids and enjoy free admission and fun family programming the first Saturday of every month; presented by Target. First Saturdays are designed especially for children in preschool to elementary school and feature a line-up of activities that encourage creative thought through a monthly “Big Idea.”
- Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve – Plano’s largest park, is 800 acres and boasts 3.5 miles of concrete trails and 5 miles of soft surface trails located along Rowlett Creek. Nature trails are open from sunrise to sunset daily.
- Pioneer Plaza – Just outside the front door of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is Pioneer Plaza, commemorating the trails that brought settlers to Dallas and cattle to market. This location features native plants and trees, a flowering stream and a larger-than-life bronze cattle drive.
- Showtime Saturdays at The Galleria – Every Saturday DFW children and families are invited to enjoy the amazing FREE entertainment provided by Galleria Dallas and their friends from Slappy’s Playhouse.
- Texas Sculpture Garden – Enjoy the Texas Sculpture Garden on your own by picking up a map in the lobby of 6801 Gaylord Parkway, the map contains both the Texas collection as well as the national and international HALL Collection.
- Thanks-Giving Square – Designed to inspire gratitude and to honor the great American and world traditions of thanksgiving, visitors can explore the historical exhibits and artwork on display and pause for reflection in their spiritual spaces.
- The Home Depot Kids workshops – Free Saturday morning workshops for kids provide a lively environment mixing skill-building, creativity, and safety for future DIYers.
- The Wilson House – Visit this elegant Queen Anne Victorian mansion that now houses the Preservation Dallas. Visitors learn about the architectural details of the Wilson House and its adaptation from residential to institutional use. Tours are free and available Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm.
- Trinity River Audubon Center – Located just ten miles south of downtown Dallas, it is your gateway to explore the amazing resources of the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest; the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States. Free general admission the third Thursday of each month, 9am–4pm, for individuals and families.
- UNT Art Path – Take this self-guided walking tour on the UNT campus that features artworks in public places, celebrating UNT Art Collections. Visitors can book a tour by contacting the UNT Art Gallery.
- White Rock Lake Park – Covering over 1,015 acres, you can find countless picnic spots, as well as five official playgrounds, hiking and bird-watching in the Old Fish Hatchery Nature Area, Dallas’ first off-leash dog park, and historical markers that include the White Rock Pump House.
Woah! That’s a lot of places to cover, things to do with kids, and events to partake in!
What’s your favorite free things to do in Dallas with kids?
Please feel free to shoot me an email or reach out on social media if you feel like I need to add another place to the list.