Can you believe that summer is here? Are you super excited about finally making it to senior year…or going off to college and starting the next chapter of your life? I bet you are. But before you get ready for the next chapter in your life, don’t forget about these 11 things to do in Dallas this summer.
Dallas, while not the most touristy spot in the United States, has a lot to offer its residents. I moved to Dallas almost seven years ago, and while it was an adjustment moving from California, I can now call this place home. And while there is no coast to speak of, and the landscape is all kinds of flat, and the summers are stifling (I’m really selling you, aren’t I?) Dallas is a fun place to live with lots of things to check out.
11 Things to do in Dallas this Summer
I’ve compiled my short list of things to see and do in Dallas this summer. Having spoken to a lot of my clients, asking them if they have ever tried this restaurant or been to this venue, many of them have said no. Although, I did have a couple of clients last year who went to more concerts than I’ve been to in my lifetime. They love some music!
Klyde Warren Park & food trucks
One of the coolest additions to Downtown Dallas in recent years is Klyde Warren Park. If you’ve never been, you should totally go check it out. It’s a park right in the heart of Downtown Dallas. There are food trucks (my fave), activities, a dog park, and a restaurant (if you’re feeling fancy). My favorite food truck is NammiTruck and CoolHaus. How can you go wrong with Banh Mi and cookie ice cream sandwiches? You can’t.
Steel City Pops
Did you ever eat popsicles as a kid? The kind that turned your tongue the color of the popsicle? Well, get ready to try popsicles on a whole new level. There are two locations in DFW – one on Greenville Avenue in Dallas and one of 7th Street in Fort Worth. And they cater too – great idea for your graduation party! If you make your way to the Dallas location of Steel City Pops, you can actually watch them make the popsicles if you’re there at the right time. They’ll pour the popsicles and flash freeze them. It’s really cool to watch them pop them out of the molds. I haven’t had a flavor I didn’t like, and so far my favorite might be the chocolate peanut butter. Coffee was delicious too. It’s the perfect way to cool off during hot summers in Dallas.
Just around the way from Steel City Pops off Greenville Avenue in Dallas is the Truck Yard. It’s an outdoor space with rotating food trucks. (Can you tell I love food trucks?!) It’s right across the street from Trader Joe’s and super popular. It’s a fun spot to grab lunch or dinner and hang out. At the front of the Truck Yard is Motor Sisters – a soft serve ice cream stand launched by the owners of Melt Ice Creams in Fort Worth. (Another place to totally check out, and I know the owners!)
Oddfellows and Emporium Pies (Bishop Arts in general!)
The Bishop Arts District is a really cool area to check out, especially if you’re hungry. I’ve found that it’s a great spot for urban senior photos, and it’s perfect to grab a bite to eat after a shoot. I actually went to Oddfellows and Emporium Pies to celebrate my birthday this year and they did not disappoint. Oddfellows is open mostly for brunch, but they are open on Friday and Saturday evenings for dinner. They have an amazing Fried Green Tomato sandwich and my husband had the Chicken and Waffles that looked delicious (I was too slow to get a taste). Down the street and around the corner from Oddfellows is Emporium Pies. That place is super popular and almost always has a line. If you love pie, you should check it out at least once. Their Apple Pie, called “Lord of the Pies” is scrumptious and I haven’t had a slice I didn’t like. If you like BBQ, be sure to check out Lockhart BBQ, but get there early before they sell out. I also hear that Eno’s Pizza is delicious and I want to check out Dallas Grilled Cheese.
Continental Avenue Bridge
Just so this post isn’t ONLY about food, here’s a free spot you can go check out. If you’ve ever driven to Dallas or past Dallas, you’ve probably noticed the Margaret Hunt Bridge – it’s that big, white, arch bridge off of I-35E. Well, there’s a pedestrian bridge just adjacent to it called the Continental Avenue Bridge, where you can get a great view of the Margaret Hunt Bridge and of the Dallas Skyline. I’ve heard that there are fitness boot camp classes that are taught down there. It’s also a great spot to walk and hang out. Then, once you’re done, and if you’re hungry, there are a plethora of restaurants just down the way. Since I’ve never been to any of them, I won’t mention them here. Although, I’ve heard awesome things about the Cake Bar. I love me some cake.
Fort Worth Water Gardens & Melt Ice Creams
If you’ve never been there before, you need to go at least once before you move away from DFW. What am I talking about? The Fort Worth Water Gardens. It’s a super cool spot to go hang out, have a picnic, and spend a lazy afternoon. It’s free and you can check out all the different “water sculptures” throughout the park. You can climb up and see out into Fort Worth, you can climb down into the big waterfall. It’s a fun spot for Fort Worth senior portraits and a few years ago it’s where my friends from California got engaged (and I documented it). While you’re in Fort Worth, and if you love ice cream, you should totally go check out Melt Ice Creams. The owner, Kari, used to be a wedding photographer (that’s how we met) and now she’s building an ice cream empire. Seriously, the ice cream at Melt are not only unique in flavor, but it is delicious. Plus, the happy yellow walls of the building make you smile.
Musical at the Winspear Opera House, Fair Park, or Bass Hall
I appreciate plays. I’ll take a nice nap at symphonies. (sorry, does that make me totally uncultured?!) And I LOVE musicals. We’ve gone to see the Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Wicked, (probably others) at Fair Park. I always enjoy seeing what’s coming up from Dallas Summer Musicals. They offer a bunch of musicals every season (and not just over the summer). I know that Wicked is back this Spring and The Little Mermaid is on right now. We went to see The Book of Mormon last winter at the Winspear Opera House and it was hilarious. Super crude and offensive, but hilarious nonetheless. I think you have to go into it knowing that. Plus the Winspear Opera House is a really cool venue. The chandelier gets pulled up into the ceiling! Also, my husband and I were trying to bypass the long elevator lines…and almost got locked in the stairwell. It was mildly embarrassing and also kind of nerve-wracking. If you’re closer to the Fort Worth side of the metroplex, you can usually check out many of these musicals at Bass Hall. Bass Hall is also home to Texas Ballet Theater (I LOVE the ballet as well) and you can catch The Nutcracker and whatever their spring performance is. This year was Cinderella which we watched at the end of March.
This one is still actually on my bucket list of things to go check out. However, I remember going to the drive-in as a little kid and watching The Lion King. Sadly, that drive-in was demolished a couple years later. I’ve heard about the drive-in that’s in Ennis, but that’s kind of a trek for a movie, right? So I was excited to learn that the Coyote Drive-In existed…and it’s in Fort Worth.
White Rock Lake and Hypnotic Donuts
White Rock Lake is a favorite spot among my clients for their Dallas senior portraits. It’s a huge park – I want to say like six miles around? – with spots for fishing (I don’t think I’d eat the fish from there), boat docks at the marina, running trails, and biking trails. It’s a peaceful place to hang out, a lively spot for working out, and there are a few venues at White Rock Lake for events such as weddings – The Filter Building and Whitney Point. Not too far from White Rock Lake is Hypnotic Donuts. I’ve heard a lot about this place, but since we don’t live very close to White Rock Lake and donut places tend to sell out by noon, we have yet to go there. However, one day I’ll try Hypnotic Donuts and see if they live up to the hype. I’m sure they do.
Dallas Sporting Event – Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, FC Dallas, Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys
If you’re a fan of sports, Dallas is a great place to live. We have lots of teams, including football, basketball, soccer, hockey, and baseball, and that’s not even counting the college and university teams. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I think that you should check out a sporting event at least once in your life before leaving Dallas…especially if you’re moving somewhere that doesn’t have any local teams. My husband and I are FC Dallas season ticket holders and a couple months ago we got to watch a game from a suite! I felt so fancy. There were free snacks and free drinks and you could see the whole field. It was pretty awesome. We’ve also been to a couple Mavericks games and Stars games.
Go to a Concert
Since Dallas is a major metropolitan city, a lot of singers and musicians have concert stops here. There are a TON of music venues in Dallas including House of Blues (we saw La Roux there), Verizon Theater (we saw Jason Mraz there), Gexa Energy Pavilion, Toyota Stadium, American Airlines Center, AT&T Stadium, and all kinds of smaller music venues as well. The first time I went to a concert, I was actually in college. If you like music, or if you have a favorite musician or singer, you should totally go to a concert. I know that both Beyonce and Adele have highly-coveted concerts coming to Dallas…and I’ve heard all kinds of crazy things about acquiring tickets for those shows. Personally, I’m a fan of the House of Blues because it feels like a more intimate venue for concerts. I had a couple of clients from this year who went to the Taylor Swift concert at AT&T Stadium and it looked like a blast.
Perot Museum, Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas Zoo
Finally, last, but definitely not least, there’s a bunch of things to check out in Dallas including the Perot Museum, the Dallas World Aquarium, and the Dallas Zoo. We went to the Perot about two years ago for the first time and it’s a really cool museum, especially if you love science. There’s a dinosaur exhibit, a body exhibit, an engineering exhibit, and even a sports science exhibit (where you can test your running speed compared to a cheetah or T-Rex). Last year, my husband’s company hosted a private event at the Perot Museum and it was really cool because we had the whole museum to ourselves. The Dallas World Aquarium holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first Dallas dates I had before moving here. My husband was living in Dallas and I was still living in California. He took me there because he knew that I liked penguins and they have a penguin exhibit. We haven’t been to the Dallas Zoo yet, but I’ve seen photos from friends who have and it looks like a fun way to spend the afternoon.