29 Fun and Frugal Things to Do in Dallas, TX [Local Guide]

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.

Note: This guide is meant to give the high level overview. Some of the prices or suggestions might be slightly outdated at time. But we try to keep this up-to-date often. For more information on the DFW area, check out my favorite guide, GuideLive, and their Things to Do.

A great list of where to eat, what to see, and the best places to go on your next trip to Dallas. All of these ideas are frugal, cheap, and some are even FREE! Whether you're from Dallas, in town for the weekend, or visiting for an extended vacation, these ideas will work for you.

Getting Around

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.

Major Attractions

  • 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 ($16.00 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 until 8:30pm)
  • 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.

  • 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: Mi Cocina (TexMex), Hutchins (BBQ) Texadelphia (cheese steaks), The Lakewood Landing (burgers), Fuzzy’s Taco Shop (multiple locations), and In-n-Out Burgers (multiple locations).

Final Comments

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.

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Last Edited: January 31, 2017 @ 6:55 amThe content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, podcaster, FinCon Founder, husband, and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Listen to the new podcast, Masters of Money!


  1. How about getting from downtown hotel to Cowboy Stadium.  I understand Jerry
    has made that an expensive proposition!  Anybody have a solution or suggestions.
    Thanks,  Clay

  2. FYI, the Fort Worth Zoo is half price on Wednesdays. Across the street from it is the Log Cabin Village, where they have a collection of cabins that actually belonged to historical figures in Texas history. There are people dressed according to the period and can tell you everything you’d ever want to know about the mementos in the cabin and the people who lived there. They also do various demonstrations, blacksmithing, candlemaking, etc. It’s only about $4.50/adult, $4/kids 4-17, free for kids under 3.

  3. this was awesome, 🙂 thanks.

  4. Irirshredroses9309 says:

    On a different note I would like to say thank you to the person who put this website together. I have lived here a long time and know most every thing there is to do, free or not, but this website has actually given a couple of new things I have never found any where else! So thanks again!!

  5. Irirshredroses9309 says:

    Well I thought I would add to the list as well as give a few personal opinions. While this might not impress those who do not live here, Dog parks are becoming extremely popular (not to mention it’s free) and they are being built all over the place. One is located near white rock lake and has bike and walking trails. It has a wonderful atmosphere and is a beautiful place just to get away and to stay outdoors.
    Now while these next places are not frugal they belong next to six flags on the list, Hurricane harbor (located across the highway from Six Flags in Arlington), Hawaiian Falls in Garland, and H20 water park. If you are here during the summer months, these water parks are the best way to cool off and have a blast with family and friends. Be forewarned that Hurricane Harbor is the most expensive water park here in the DFW area but it has the most rides and types of pools. If you make the trip to Fort Worth, stop downtown to see the Water Gardens. It is a free water “sculpture” garden in the middle of the downtown area. There are a couple of fountains but the main attraction is the massive “walk in” fountain and a one foot wading pool. Its a fun and free way to stay cool!! One last thing I can think of is the historic railroad in downtown grapevine. They run tours all through the year and one even goes directly to the Fort Worth Stockyards for a day of fun. Keep an eye on the Grapevine website because they do a couple of festivals a year and holiday things for the kids including real Thomas the Tank engine train rides and rides in to a Christmas town to see Santa.
    NOTE: If you want to go see one of the Dallas aquarium’s keep in mind that the two are VERY different. The Dallas aquarium is only 4 dollars because it is just a large room with tanks. It has mostly local fish and an old tortoise. If you are in fair park it is worth seeing but if you want to see other kinds of fish and even some animals the Dallas World Aquarium is the place you want to go. It jumps in price to 17 dollars for an adult but it very impressive with its many tanks and animals. Try not to go on a holiday weekend (like mother’s day weekend) or you will be EXTREMELY crowded.

  6. Great…except I live in Australia 🙁

  7. It’s amazing what you can find when you really dig in to see what’s out there! A good list if I ever make the trek down south!

  8. DFW looks like fun. I’d love to visit that part of the country!

  9. Looks like a great place to visit! I’ve never been to Texas, but if I ever go, I’d definitely want to hit up DFW