1. Deep Ellum Walking Tour
Deep Ellum is a great place to walk around during the day to check out the local sculptures like the well-known Traveling Man installations, wall art murals and local vintage offerings. Or walk around when the sun goes down to take in the thriving live music and bar scene. There is also the free Deep Ellum Outdoor Market that takes place on the third Saturday of the month where local vendors hawk their curious wares and products such as Lula B’s, Red Ranger Ray Guns, and Texas HoneyBee Guild. Cool vintage stores and restaurants abound throughout the area.
2. Play Disc Golf
If you haven’t experienced the joy of hearing the sound of clanging chains of a disc golf basket, it’s time you discovered one of Dallas’s many disc golf courses. For years, college students and hippies alike have enjoyed this low maintenance outdoor activity. All you need is a Frisbee. Like golf, you try to throw your disc into various baskets in as little throws possible. Dallas boasts many courses for various skill levels. For beginners, try B.B. Owens which has a wide open course and baskets with few obstacles. More skilled players can try Crawford Memorial Park. Check out www.dallasdiscgolf.com for other courses in the area.
3. Check out some Local Comedy
If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy, then you’ll have to dive into Dallas’s rich comedy scene. Dallas boasts talented local comedians such as Paul Varghese, Linda Stogner, and Dave Little as well as fresh, up-and-coming talent. Free open-mic nights take place where comedians of every level test their skills on the stage for your comedic pleasure. Free comedy open mics include: Mondays-Dyer Street Bar or O.E. Penguin; Tuesdays- Dallas Comedy House; Wednesday- Hyenas Dallas Mockingbird Station.
4. Go to a Farmer’s Market
The Dallas Farmer’s Market is one of the largest in the state. Local producers sell seasonal vegetables and fruits. You can also find organic/all-natural meats, local honey producers, and fresh spices. It’s a great weekend past time to chow down on free samples, too! Though the Dallas Downtown market is fun and thriving, there are also smaller markets such as the White Rock Lake Local Market, Coppell Farmer’s Market, and McKinney Farmer’s Market.
5. Walk (or run) around White Rock Lake
White Rock Lake is one of the most popular parks in the city for runners, walkers, and for those just wanting to feed the ducks. It boasts a beautiful lake with winding trails. Take a peek into the Bath House Cultural Center for some local artists and activities. Take the kids to the playground area. You can even do a bit of bird watching amongst the trees with over 217 species of aves to explore. White Rock Lake is a wonderful city park to take in the view and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Dallas Public Library
Some people I know haven’t gone to the library since they were kids, but the Dallas Public Library system is one of the most efficient in the state and has a wealth of resources at your fingertips for free. Find books, catalogues, DVDs, music CDs, microfilm, historical records and texts at any of the many local branch libraries. They also have various classes and events for the communities including computer basics, ESL, movie nights, and poetry contests. Check out one of the 28 local branches nearest you. For more details, go to www.dallaslibrary.org.
7. Downtown Arts District
If you’re a creative soul that loves to indulge in the cultural arts, then you’ll have a blast exploring the Dallas Arts District. Take a walking tour to appreciate the stunning architecture of the Nasher Sculpture Center, Meyerson Symphony Center, the Cathedral of the Virgin of Guadalupe and so much more. You can also enjoy the museums around the city with free admission like the Afterimage Gallery and the Casa Mexicana. And the Dallas Museum of Art offers free admission on the first Tuesday of the month. For more details on the Dallas Arts District, go to www.thedallasartsdistrict.org.
8. Bishop Arts District
Nestled in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, the Bishop Arts District is a thriving area with delicious restaurants and fun boutiques filled with hidden treasures. It’s a nice getaway from the gigantic chain stores you see on every corner in a big city like Dallas. The stores and restaurants here are locally owned and run. Take a walking tour of the Bishop Arts District and explore popular venues like the Soda Gallery, Dude-Sweet Chocolate, and the Spiral Bakery & Diner.
9. Knox-Henderson District
If you haven’t been in the Knox-Henderson area lately, you’ve missed the burgeoning transformation of a neighborhood from small Mexican mercados to super-size McMansions and trendy hotspots. You can spend an afternoon walking up and down Knox-Henderson taking in the locally owned shoppes like WeAre1976 that sells hip, trendy gifts and curios or Emeralds to Coconuts which always has a cool assortment of furniture, vintage clothing, and gifts from around the world. Pop into the Pearl Cup coffeeshop for their trademarked Pearl Latte or have a brew and a game of skiball at Barcadia.
10. McKinney Avenue Trolley
If you’re not the “walking tour” type, then how about hopping aboard the McKinney Avenue Trolley for a nice scenic tour of Uptown. Rides are free, but donations are appreciated.The M-Line uses restored antique electric cars running on some of Dallas’s original trolley tracks. Various stops on the route include the many Uptown bars and clubs, shopping centers, theatres, and hotels. For route maps and more details, click on www.mata.org/.