Family Fun in the Big D: 25 Free Things to Do in Dallas

City skyline with various tall buildings in the background, green grassy field and a small stream in the foreground under a clear blue sky.

You don’t need to empty your wallet to have a great time in Dallas, Texas, with your whole family and kids of all ages! We picked 25 of our favorite places to visit and free things to do in Dallas as a family. 

This article is part of my Wander Like a Local series, where guest writers reveal the best-kept secrets, must-see spots, and unique experiences that only locals know. Discover hidden gems and authentic tips from those who call it home.

When I moved to the area in 2013, I quickly realized how family-friendly it is in Dallas. However, entertaining a family can be very expensive year-round, so I sought out those hidden gems that we can do that are also free! These are my favorite free, family-friendly activities to experience in Dallas. Enjoy!


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A red streetcar passes by a park with a curved metal archway, trees, benches, and an empty table with chairs.
Butterfly Garden Arches at Klyde Warren Park. Photo Credit: Ryan Robins via Visit Dallas.

Get Outside in Dallas: Parks and Outdoor Green Spaces

Dallas has many parks and green spaces offering plenty of opportunities for families to enjoy the great outdoors without spending a dime. From expansive urban parks to tranquil lakesides, there are many places to explore and enjoy.

Klyde Warren Park

Location: 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas, TX 75201

Built above the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, this five-acre unique and updated urban park has been designed as a space to breathe among the hustle and bustle of Downtown Dallas. We love spending time here. 

The Nancy Best Fountain lights up in different colors at night and has music playing for little kids to jump through the water features. We always combine our visit with time at the Sheila and Jody Grant Children’s Park, with a kid-sized climbing wall, a slide, and safe play surfaces in a gated area.

There are tons of great shaded spots when the temperature rises, bathrooms and parking spots close by, and some great eating options with food trucks or restaurants to try. This is the ultimate place to enjoy various free things to do in Dallas in one place.

White Rock Lake

Location: 8300 East Lawther Drive, Dallas

Pack a picnic and enjoy one of the many grassy areas with a picnic table around the lake. The loop around the lake is just over nine miles and is great for a family stroll, walk, or bike ride. It’s easily stroller accessible, too. 

Look out for the birds that love to visit the lake, and check out the signs for more information on the nature surrounding the area. Bring your own fishing equipment and kayak or canoe to enjoy paddling on the lake—both great free options! Check their calendar online before you visit, as they do have some free community events, festivals, or concerts throughout the year.

Reverchon Park

Location: 3505 Maple Avenue, Dallas

What we love about this park is the opportunities for sports and fitness—without fees! They have baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts (bring your own equipment), and outdoor fitness areas to try. It also connects to the Big D’s famed Katy Trail, which is popular for walking, jogging, and biking.

Combine your activity with relaxation: while the kids use the playground, there are some great tranquil spots to watch the world go by.

Trinity River Audubon Center

Location: 6500 Great Trinity Forest Way, Dallas

You may never expect to see such a beautiful spot with nature trails, hiking, wildlife, and learning opportunities so close to the city of Dallas. Expect a mixture of wetlands, forest, and prairie, offering unique chances to see birds and wildlife in that habitat. 

There is a great nature play space for kids to learn while they play at the same time. Bring a picnic to save spending money on lunch and make the most of the free programs and self-guided tours.

A child wearing a helmet and striped shorts is riding a blue tricycle on a forest path.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

Things to Do in Dallas for Free: Hiking, Biking, and Outdoor Play

Hiking, biking, and getting outdoors are crucial when we have pockets of moderate weather here in Dallas (not too hot or too cold!). I picked three of our favorite spots around the Dallas area for you to try.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Location: 6701 W. Parker Road, Plano 

The preserve has three miles of trails and unpaved areas with great views of the prairie. It also has pavilions and a really great playground for kids of all ages.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Location: 7171 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas

Keep a look out for deer, rabbits, and butterflies—and bring your binoculars for a wide variety of bird-spotting options! The walking trails are different levels, from easy to challenging, so pick wisely before you start. Stop by the Native Plant Garden, which has educational displays for kids about local plant species and the ecosystem.

Katie Jackson Park

Location: 4900 Haverwood Lane, Dallas 

In addition to various sports fields and courts for baseball and basketball, the park also has a wooded area and a safe playground with new(ish) equipment like swings, slides, and climbing for different ages. The park also has nice paved nature trails for hiking, biking, and stroller walks! 

A family of five walks into a modern building with large red doorframes and blue spherical decorations hanging from the ceiling.
Interior Entrance of Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Photo Credit: Visit Dallas.

Explore One of Our Great Free Museums

Dallas is home to a variety of museums that offer free admission, making it easy for families to engage with art, history, and science. Whether you are interested in classical masterpieces, modern art, or cultural heritage, there is a museum that will captivate the entire family.

Dallas Museum of Art

Location: 1717 N Harwood Street, Dallas

Always free, we love the family programs and special events they have during the year. They have some great exhibits, interactive galleries, and art activities for kids of all ages. 

Crow Museum of Asian Art

Location: 2010 Flora Street, Dallas

Take advantage of free admission and immerse your family in Asian art, sculptures, paintings, and textiles. In addition to an impressive permanent collection, the museum also hosts great educational programs and activities for kids.

African American Museum

Location: 3536 Grand Ave, Dallas

Located in Fair Park (home of the famous State Fair of Texas), the museum has one of the largest collections of African American folk art in the US and engaging exhibits and programs for kids. 

Nasher Sculpture Center (Free on Certain Days)

Location: 2001 Flora St, Dallas

Mark your calendars for free entry on the first Saturday of every month. There will also be special programs and art projects for kids.

Perot Museum (Free on Certain Days)

Location: 2201 N Field St, Dallas

Another one to mark your calendar for: the renowned Perot Museum opens for free admission on the first Thursday of every month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. It features hands-on exhibits and interactive displays for kids focused on dinosaurs, space, and engineering.

Green corrugated metal building with "Dallas Farmers Market Est. 1941" painted in white, featuring a tractor graphic, under a clear sky.
Dallas Farmers Market. Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Enjoy a Family Friendly Festival or Event

Dallas hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year that are perfect for families. These gatherings often feature free entertainment, from live music and movies to cultural celebrations and seasonal activities. Check the local calendar for upcoming events to plan your family outings.

Dallas Farmers Market (Free Entry, Select Vvents)

Location: 920 S Harwood St, Dallas

The market area sometimes features free outdoor movie screenings during special events and festivals. Be sure to check in advance to find out when they are.

Outdoor Concerts and Movies in the Park

Pull out your lawn chairs, coolers, and blankets to enjoy some great free showings of moonlit movies at The Shops at Park Lane, Sammons Park at AT&T Performing Arts Center in Downtown Dallas, and Griggs Park in Dallas.

If you love live music, they also have outdoor concerts, orchestras, solo performances, and live bands at Klyde Warren Park throughout the year and nearby at Sammons Park at AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Local Festivals

The Main Garden Fall Festival is in the heart of Downtown Dallas and offers pumpkin patches, hayrides, live music, and kid-friendly crafts. In the Spring, we head to Deep Ellum for the Deep Ellum Arts Festival. It features over 200 visual artists, 100 bands, and street performers in an easily walkable area, along with art exhibits, live music, and food trucks. 

Two children wearing sunglasses and colorful swimsuits play in a pool, splashing water and using inflatable pool rings.
Kids Cooling Off in a Swimming Pool. Photo Credit: Pexels.

Summer in Dallas: Splash Pads and Outdoor Pools

Finding Splash Pads is a great free option around Dallas, TX. The newly renovated fountains and splash pad at the edge of Klyde Warren Park are a huge favorite! Here are two more Splash Pad picks for you:

Campbell Green Park

Location: 16600 Park Hill Dr, Dallas

This is hugely popular in the Summer. It offers various water features, play structures, a playground, and a picnic area.

Kiest Park

Location: 3080 S Hampton Rd, Dallas

This splash pad has multiple water features alongside playgrounds, sports fields, and a place for a picnic. 

Our favorite Outdoor Pools in Dallas

Fretz Park Pool

Location: 6998 Belt Line Road, Dallas

This Dallas favorite is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. While it’s not free, it’s very cheap, and they often have special discount days you can plan around. 

Tietze Park Pool

Location: 2700 Skillman St, Dallas

This laid-back pool has a separate kiddie pool and space for sunbathing and picnics.

A tall Christmas tree stands at the center of an indoor ice skating rink within a multi-level shopping mall.
The Holidays in Dallas. Photo Credit: Plano Moms.

The Holidays in Dallas: Check out the Holiday Lights and Displays

Look out for the Dallas Children’s Health Holiday Parade every December. It has elaborate floats, marching bands, and performances. Check the route and find a good spot with parking nearby. 

For a walking option and to see beautifully decorated homes with beautiful lights and displays, Highland Park is a great place to enjoy a night with your family. Armstrong Parkway and Beverly Drive are well known for their stunning lights.

Head downtown to the Dallas City Hall Plaza for a beautiful display, a large Christmas tree, and decorations to celebrate the Holidays. Head indoors to the Dallas Galleria Mall and marvel at the tallest Christmas tree in Dallas, which overlooks its indoor ice skating rink.

Free Things to Do in Dallas, Texas

The Big D is a great destination to spend time as a family if you are on a budget and need your dollar to stretch further. We love living in Dallas, finding free things to do in Dallas, and uncovering more hidden gems that are free. Let’s crowdsource! Which ones do you know of?

Texas Longhorn at Sunset


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