Things to Do on a Budget this Winter in Dallas


Reliably mild temperatures make Dallas a popular place to be in winter time, with lots of great things to see and do – and at affordable prices too.

(Photo: Dallas Holiday Parade)

The modern metropolis in north Texas is the region’s commercial and cultural hub, brimming with top class museums, restaurants, shops and all the other trappings of a super city. If you’re planning on visiting Dallas over the coming months and would like  to start build an itinerary of great activities and attractions, we’ve looked into all of the options and picked out 10 of the affordable best.

Dallas Holiday Parade

Featuring elaborate, larger-than-life floats, marching bands and giant balloons, the Dallas Holiday Parade has been one of the most eagerly awaited events on the city’s festive calendar since its inaugural edition more than three decades ago. Held on the first Saturday of December each year, the event attracts over 700,000 onlookers who flock here from far and wide to throng the streets, soak up the atmosphere and kick-off of the holiday season in style. The parade is free to attend, but if you want a guaranteed seat, there is fixed-bench seating available for purchase.

Downtown Dallas / 2 December 2023

‘Bianca Bondi: A Preservation Method’ exhibition at Dallas Contemporary

(Photo: Alexandra Hulsey for Dallas Contemporary)

At the Dallas Contemporary art museum, multidisciplinary artist Bianca Bondi is staging her first solo exhibition in the United States through winter and into next spring. The exhibition showcases Bondi’s practice of exploring cycles of rebirth and regeneration through the use of chemical reactions, predominately by salt water. At the heart of the exhibition is a fabricated abandoned billboard representing a relic of the commercial world in a seemingly post-apocalyptic scene. Through this and other exhibits, the artist shines a light on landscape as an unsilent witness to mankind’s destruction and forgotten laws, serving as a poignant reminder that the natural world persists beneath and amid our bustling urban landscapes, emphasizing our collective capacity to liberate this invaluable terrain.

161 Glass Street / Through 17 March 2024

‘Central Track: Crossroads of Deep Ellum’ exhibition at the African American Museum of Dallas

This exhibition at Dallas’s free-to-enter African American Museum focuses on the importance of blues, jazz and other musical traditions in the history of Deep Ellum, the city’s lively entertainment district known for its street murals, quirky art galleries and concert venues. Known as Old North Dallas from the 1920s to the 1980s, this area developed a vibrant African American community, and a diverse array of black-owned businesses, including shoeshine stands and street vendors as well as a variety of vaudeville theatres, record shops, cafes and most notably,  the Knights of Pythias Temple, which provided offices for doctors, dentists, lawyers and other African American professionals, as well as housing a ballroom that hosted African Americans weddings,  parties and other social events. Through a wide range of displays, the exhibition shines a light on the district’s rich heritage.

3536 Grand Avenue  / Through 31 May 2024

‘T. rex: The Ultimate Predator’ exhibition at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

One of Dallas’s most renowned educational institutions, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is currently playing host to a fascinating exhibition all about dinosaurs. The exhibition focuses on the most famous and, arguably, impressive member of the dinosaur family – the T. Rex, with information on how the iconic dinosaur evolved from a superfamily that included more than two dozen species and spanned 100 million years. Visitors can also learn all about the powerful hunter’s keen senses, examine fossils, and stand face-to-face with the most accurate models of the fearsome creature ever constructed.

2201 North Field Street / Through 22 September 2024

‘Groundswell: Women of Land Art’ exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center

(Photo: Nasher Sculpture Center)

In the 1960s, American artists began to move beyond the institutional spaces of galleries and museums to work directly in the land. With ties to Minimal and Conceptual art, these artists foregrounded natural materials and the site itself to create works that were large in scale and located outside of typical urban art world circuits. For many years, art historical narratives of Land art have been dominated by men: Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, Walter de Maria, and others. Hosted at Dallas’s acclaimed Nasher Sculpture Center, this exhibition intends to shift that focus to shed new light on the vast number of Land works by women artists, whose careers ran parallel to their better-known male counterparts, yet have received less recognition and representation. Admission to the centre and its exhibitions is $10 and kids under 12 go free.

2001 Flora Street / Through 7 January 2024

‘Picasso’s Muses: Between Inspiration and Obsession’ exhibition at the Dallas Art Museum

(Photo: Dallas Art Museum)

Free to enter, the Dallas Art Museum is one of the city’s most prestigious cultural institutions, and plays host to exhibitions and events throughout the year. Among its exhibitions running through winter are this celebration of the various muses to have influenced Picasso’s oeuvre 50 years after the Spanish artist’s death. Often considered synonymous with “modern art” itself, Picasso had an enormous artistic output throughout his long career, and was famously inspired by his lovers, who served as muses for his ever-changing style. These women were key to Picasso’s artistic success and fame, yet their contributions are often overlooked. Through seven works on paper, this exhibition serves to correct that omission by shining a light on the women as individuals.

1717 North Harwood Street / Through 8 January 2024

Ice skating at Galleria Dallas

One of the most quintessential of all winter activities is urban ice skating and in Dallas the place to head for slippery, sliding frozen fun is Galleria Dallas, located about 11 miles north of the city centre. Within the popular 3-storey shopping and entertainment mall is an ice rink complete with a huge decorated Christmas Tree in the middle. The rink is open for public skating sessions, as well as tutor-run classes for all ages and abilities. Pricing is $12 to skate and $5 for skate rentals.

13350 Dallas Parkway / Through winter 2023-24

Dallas Zoo Lights Festival

(Photo: Dallas Zoo)

Into the New Year, Dallas Zoo will reopen after it’s usual 4pm closing time each day for the magical annual spectacle known as the Dallas Zoo Lights Festival. Visitors can walk through a winter wonderland with over two million twinkling lights, larger-than-life animal lanterns, an illuminated art show, elaborate holiday-themed displays, and plenty of other seasonal magic. Tickets to the festival must be purchased in addition to zoo admission and are priced at $18 for adults and $14 for children.

650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway / Through 2 January 2024

Brick Fest Live

One of the largest LEGO festivals in the U.S., Brick Fest Live brings its captivating creations to Dallas this January as part of a country-wide tour. Visitors will be treated to life-size models of beloved characters such as Darth Vader, Woody and Mario, to name a few, as well as having the chance to build their own brick-based designs, and contribute to a record-setting, giant LEGO mural. There’ll also be on-site shopping, where avid builders can check out a wide range of LEGO merchandise to take home with them. Tickets are available for as little as $16.

Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center / 20-21 January 2024

BMW Dallas Marathon

(Photo: BMW Dallas Marathon)

Each year, thousands of runner test their endurance levels by competing in a marathon around the streets of Dallas. The biggest single-day winter sporting event anywhere in the city, the race is open to all comers, with the incentive of free entry to the post-marathon party featuring rock bands and complimentary beer afforded to all participants. However, if you’re not of a marathon running disposition, then you can still enjoy the occasion for free by joining the large crowd of spectators who throng the sidewalks cheering on the competitors as they pound the roads around the city.

Dallas City Centre  / 8 December 2023

A John Denver Christmas

For one afternoon only this December the Charles W. Eisemann Center performance hall, situated a 15-minute drive north of downtown Dallas, will host a magical and intimate show that will take audiences back to the golden days of the 1970s when the dulcet acoustic folk music of  American singer songwriter John Denver permeated the airwaves. The enchanting holiday show will feature all Denver’s most popular hits including Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Take Me Home Country Roads,” “Leaving On A Jet Plane,” “Annie’s Song,” and “Thank God I’m A Country Boy,” and others. Tickets start at $40.

Charles W. Eisemann Center, Richardson / 17 December 2023

By Paul Joseph