Do you live here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (or the DFW Metroplex as we call it)? Or are you visiting this area sometime soon? If so, and you strive to live frugal like me, you’re probably on the lookout for some frugal things to do. I’ve put together a listing of some of the more interesting things to do here in the DFW Metroplex. Most are free or $10 and under a person.
Just a quick note to say that if you’re visiting Dallas, know you’ll need a car while you’re here. Everything is just too spread out and public transportation wouldn’t have a chance at covering it all. There are a few train lines if you’re dead set on using public transport. The TRE runs between Fort Worth to Dallas (DFW Airport is a stop), and then there is the DART which runs from downtown Dallas up Interstate 75 to the suburb of Plano. Prices are very reasonable (under $10) and the rides themselves are fun and somewhat scenic.
- Fort Worth Stock Yards (Free). Watch an actual cattle drive run through the streets.
- Sundance Square and the Fort Worth Water Gardens (Free). Walk around downtown Fort Worth, do some window shopping and people watching, then stroll to the Water Gardens to cool off in the architectural marvel.
- The historic Dealey Plaza (Free). The highly recommended Sixth Floor Museum is also there which includes a view from Oswald’s supposed shooting location ($13.50 Adults).
Sports and Recreation
- The Ball Park in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers ($11/Grandstand Reserved tickets). Yes, baseball is still affordable here. Take that, Yankee fans!
- Dr. Pepper Stadium, home of the Frisco Rough Riders minor league baseball team ($8.90). Beautiful park.
- Six Flags Over Texas While very fun, it’s not very frugal (tickets start at $45 a person). Still, if you make a whole day of it and bring your own food you might could justify it.
- Lone Star Park Horse Racing ($5 / Adult)
- DORBA Mountain Bike Trails (Free, with your own bike). There are some great trails in this area. My favorite is the Lake Grapevine Trail.
- Top Golf ($20 / per bay, per hour). Up to 5 people can play in one bay and the price includes unlimited balls. Think of if as golf meets bowling meets skee ball. Top Golf only has a few locations across the US, and Dallas has 2 of them. It’s fun for the whole family, and no prior golfing skills are required.
Parks and Scenery
There aren’t many scenic views in Dallas. There are, however, plenty of lakes and parks (all free). Here are some of my favorites. But first, stop by the Reunion Tower Observation Deck ($2 Adults / $1 Kids) to get a good look at downtown Dallas.
- White Rock Lake. Close to the city.
- The City of Grapevine (yes, there are wineries there) and Grapevine Lake. Close to a major shopping mall and Bass Pro Shops.
- Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Has actual hills and scenic views. Nice park.
- River Legacy Park. An old favorite of mine tucked away in the mid cities.
Museums and Things
- Kimball Art Museum (Free). Beautiful building in Fort Worth.
- Amon Carter Museum (Free). Also in Fort Worth.
- Two aquariums to choose from:
- Fort Worth Zoo ($10.50 Adults / $8 Kids). Best of the two zoos in the area. Toddlers 2 and under are free, and Wednesdays are half-price admission.
- Log Cabin Village ($5 Adults/ 3 and under free). An outdoor living history museum of 6 log houses dating back to the 1800s. It’s across the street from the FW Zoo, so it’s easy to make a day of both.
- Fort Worth Museum of Science and History: Omni Theater and Planetarium ($7 Adults / $4 Kids). While the actual museum is $14/adult ticket, the Omni and the Planetarium are both just as fun.
- National Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth ($10 Adults / $8 Kids). The ticket price is a little on the high end, but by paying full price for Cowgirl Museum tickets, you can get half-priced tickets to the FW Museum of Science and History if you go on the same day.
- Dallas Museum of Art (General Admission is free). They often have a lot of fun things for kids in the summertime, if you’re visiting then.
- Fair Park’s Discovery Gardens ($8 Adults / $4 Kids). Fair Park has a variety of museums, but the kids will enjoy the Discovery Gardens and the Butterfly House and Insectarium.
- Fort Worth Botanic Gardens (Free). Great place to take a picnic.
- US Bureau of Engraving and Printing (Free). They offer free, 45-minute guided tours on weekdays of their money-printing facility in Fort Worth. It’s one of only 2 in the US. The other is in Washington DC.
- Visit Southfork Ranch (Free to drive up and see. Tour $9.50 Adults / $7 Kids). This is where the 80’s TV show Dallas was filmed.
- See Big Tex (Free). The tallest paper-maché cowboy in captivity.
- McKinney Ave. Trolley (Free)
- The biggest Honky Tonk in the world, Billy Bob’s ($1-$4, during non-concert times).
- Mrs. Baird’s Bakery Tour (Free)
There are so many restaurants here in town that you could literally eat at a different place every day and never run out of choices. Some good resources for you to discover good food at a fair price are: DallasFood.org, CitySearch Cheap Eats, and GuideLive. Some of my favorites: Sol’s Taco Lounge (TexMex), Texadelphia (cheese steaks), The Lakewood Landing (burgers), Fuzzy’s Taco Shop (multiple locations), and In-n-Out Burgers (multiple locations). Please add you’re own frugal eats in the comments below.
Wow. I like my town. There’s so much to do here and most of it is pretty reasonable as long as you have a fuel-efficient car to get you there. There’s so much more that I left off. I’ll try and update this page as new things come to mind and as you add your comments.
For more information on the DFW area, check out my favorite guide, GuideLive, and their Things to Do.