There seem to be a lot of big name events that go on in the DFW area. In just a few days the first ever college football playoff championship will be held in Arlington. Just last year the Final Four was held in Arlington as well. The Cotton Bowl is held every year here in the Metroplex. All of those events happen to be held at Jerry Jones' AT&T stadium (presumably because it's huge). But that's not all. Every year, there are countless conventions in the area that bring millions of people to the Metroplex. One of the bigger ones that comes to mind is the Mary Kay Convention that turns Dallas pink.
Filling the down time
Yes, DFW is a very busy metropolitan area. There's so much to do. But where do you start? Not to fear! I'm here to help. These are things you can do if you're just in town for a weekend for one of those aforementioned events and have time to kill.
Visit Dealey Plaza: It's a sad part of Dallas' history, but it is also what put Dallas on the international map. You can visit the plaza where President John. F. Kennedy was killed all day, every day. A lot of the time you'll run into conspiracy theorists out there. There are also two "X"s on the street that mark the two spots where Kennedy was shot. Also at Dealey Plaza is the Sixth Floor Museum which is housed in the old Texas School Book Depository. That is where Lee Harvey Oswald worked and where he shot JFK from (unless you don't believe that). You can actually see the perch that was used to steady the rifle. Very eerie. I'm kind of a history buff and loved my visit. If you consider yourself the same...I'd highly recommend a visit. According to their website, general admission tickets for adults cost $16, kids $13.
The Stockyards in Fort Worth: The best way I can describe “The Stockyards” is that it’s the way people who don’t live in Texas think Texas is like. It’s old fashioned looking. It has a “wild west” feel. There are a lot of people that are dressed like how you’d think a cowboy should dress. It has two cattle drives daily. It has a rodeo. If you’re looking for a touristy spot - this is a good place to start.
Sundance Square in Fort Worth: Many would argue staying at a hotel in the downtown Fort Worth area (which is where Sundance Square is) is better than staying in Dallas. It's a tough argument to beat. There is a lot happening in this area and the city has spent a lot of money renovating it in recent years. There are plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance (both chains and local ones). Sundance Square is also where ESPN sets up prior to "the big game." This week they are broadcasting there ahead of Monday's college football championship game.
In all honesty there are probably more. Personally, I've been to five of the ones I listed. You can't go wrong. I'd recommend doing a quick Google search to make sure they are offering a tour the day(s) you'll be in town. For the Witherspoon Distillery, you have to buy tickets in advance.
Dallas Arboretum: This is a cheap way to kill time. It's great during the summer because there is plenty of shade to stay cool in, and they'll also have the occasional concert. Not to worry if you're here during the colder months. In the winter they have different events going on too. This past holiday season they had "The 12 Days of Christmas" exhibition. It just ended on January 5th. From now until the end of the month anyone can get into the arboretum for just $5 (not including parking, which is typically $10). If you go to their website, you may even be able to find more deals. I've been there several times and I recently became a member, thanks to my Mom. Membership gives me free parking and free admission for two people. It pays for itself after two visits (with a guest).
South Fork Ranch: Have you ever heard of "Dallas"... the TV show? South Fork Ranch is where both the original and re-launch of the show was filmed. You can head there and take a tour of the property. The ranch is located in Parker, Northeast of Dallas. It's about a 30-45 minute drive (depending on traffic) from downtown Dallas. Tours are available for $15, or you can just walk around the property. It's a very cool experience even if you've never watched the show.
Tour AT&T Stadium: This is easy to do during the off season, probably not as much during the football season. My parents and I did this before I moved to Dallas. A group "VIP Tour" as they call it costs $20. Ours lasted about 2 hours. It included a tour of the concourse, Jerry Jones' suite (most recently visited by NJ Governor Chris Christie), the Dallas Cowboys' locker room, and the locker room of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (cheerleaders not included).
Tour the Bush Library: George W. Bush had his presidential library built in Dallas on the campus of Southern Methodist University (which is smack dab in the middle of Dallas). I've been here, but it is the only one I've been to so I can't compare it to others. I can say this, though: it is very nice and modern. A GA ticket is $16 for an adult. Inside, there is an emotional exhibit of 9/11, a replica of the Oval Office, and several interactive exhibits. Even if you aren't a fan of his, I think you'd still enjoy the visit.
There's much more...
The ideas I listed above are just a few of the things you can do during a short weekend trip to DFW. Depending on when you visit there may be more or less going on. For example, the State Fair of Texas runs from mid-September to mid-October. My short list is just a taste of what this area has going on. Most of which won't cost you much. All of which you can do during a short weekend trip to DFW.
Have you done any of these? What did I leave out?