5 Fabulous Free Activities In Downtown Dallas

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The old Book Repository building sits above the road where President Kennedy was shot.
The old Book Repository building sits above the road where President Kennedy was shot.

Free Activities In Downtown Dallas

I spent this past weekend in Dallas, Texas. After enjoying the day at Six Flags Over Texas on Saturday, I set out to explore the Downtown area on Sunday. I found that there are many amazing and free things to do for people of all ages! Here are 5 fabulous things to do for free in Downtown Dallas!

1. See The Infamous Assassination Site

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“X” marks the spot. Many tourists run into the middle of the road to get their pictures taken.

It is no secret that downtown Dallas is the location where President John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963. In this area you can not only see the building where Lee Harvey Oswald shot the President from (the former Book Repository), but you can even stand on the infamous “grassy knoll” as well. The assassination was a pivotal moment in the country’s history and a visit to the site is fascinating and weirdly powerful.

Many brave souls run out into the street to take a picture with the “X” that marks the spot. While I wouldn’t recommend doing it, the breaks in traffic are long enough that almost everyone who wants to seems to get their photo in.

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Inside of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial in Downtown Dallas, Texas.

A few blocks away from the assassination site, you can also visit the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial. While the structure isn’t the prettiest around, it is a worthwhile visit and a way to feel the significance of the history in the area.

Looking to spend? If you want to learn more and are willing to pay, you can visit the Sixth Floor Museum. Located inside of the famous Book Repository, the museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of President Kennedy.

2. Ride The Historic Trolley

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The Green Dragon is a refurbished streetcar that was built in 1913.

Did you know that Dallas has a trolley line running old restored streetcars? I didn’t either, but it is fantastic and it’s free! The M-Line Trolley runs from the area near Klyde Warren Park to the trendy Uptown Dallas area. This area houses West Village which is home to a number of high end shops and fantastic eateries.

The kids will not only love riding in the old trolley, but they will also love the turntable. While San Francisco has the old fashioned kind, Dallas is home to the country’s only mechanical trolley turntable. All of the children on my recent ride were mesmerized as we turned around to make the return journey to Downtown.

3. Klyde Warren Park

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Families line up at the food trucks on a Sunday afternoon.

Just across the street from the Downtown end of the trolley line, lies Klyde Warren Park which is one of the newest parks in the Dallas area. Opened in 2012, this 5.2 acre park not only has a number of green areas, it houses a fantastic children’s playground and plays host to a number of food trucks that set up shop for lunch and dinner everyday.

The food trucks serve just about every type of food you can imagine. On a recent visit, there were almost a dozen food trucks serving up everything from custom made ice cream sandwiches to sushi. I visited a truck serving Vietnamese food and had a fantastic Bánh mì sandwich. It was delicious.

4. Dallas Museum Of Art

Who doesn't like Picasso? They have two!
Who doesn’t like Picasso? They have two!

Just a block away from the Downtown end of the trolley route and across the street from Klyde Warren Park is the Dallas Museum of Art. This museum houses a fantastic collection of art including pieces from just about everywhere you can think of.

Looking for Picasso and Monet? You will find them in the museum along with a number of other famous artists. The museum has everything from classical European art to modern Contemporary Art. Don’t forget to check out the sculpture garden as well!

5. Green Areas

The courtyard plaza next to the Hunt Oil building in Downtown Dallas.
The courtyard plaza next to the Hunt Oil building in Downtown Dallas.

Dallas is home to more than 21,000 acres parks including a number that are located in the Downtown Dallas area. Many of the buildings in the area have courtyards or green areas which are fantastic places to sit down and take in the scenery.

My favorite hidden place was the outdoor plaza adjacent to the Hunt Oil building. With a number of fountains and plenty of shade, it was a fantastic place to get some rest on a hot sunny Dallas day! I’m not sure if they allow outsiders to visit during the week, but the entry didn’t look restricted and there wasn’t anyone around on Sunday.

There are other traditional parks in the area as well. Among the most popular is the Main Street Garden Park. This park houses public art, wonderful gardens, a playground and even a splash fountain. On my recent visit it appeared to be popular among the locals.

Conclusion

There are many more free things to do in Dallas, but these five things are all located within one mile of each other making for an easy walk. Exploring the Downtown Dallas area can be fun and inexpensive.  If you aren’t into history, art or green spaces, then you can simply walk around and marvel at the architecture as well!

Either way, if you are in Dallas and don’t have a lot of money to spend or are just looking for a great way to spend a couple of hours, you can’t go wrong with any of the things mentioned here! I enjoyed them all. Safe travels.

 


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