Related article: Dallas, Texas, USA — Overview for Travelers with information about weather, transportation, airport, city data, and more.
Top 10 Sightseeing & Attractions
- Sixth Floor Museum
- JFK Memorial
- Pioneer Plaza
- Dallas Arboretum
- Old City Park
- Reunion Tower
- Mesquite Championship Rodeo
- Southfork Ranch
- The Dallas World Aquarium
- Dallas Zoo
The Sixth Floor Museum
In 1963, Dallas witnessed the tragic death of one of the most revered presidential figures in our nation’s history, President John F. Kennedy. The place of his death has since turned into a site of historical commemoration for those who have vivid recollections of the man and the infamous moment.
In 1989, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza located at the former Texas School Book Depository opened in downtown Dallas. This exhibit features historic photographs, artifacts, and documentary films, which have taken millions of visitors on a tour through the life times, death and legacy of JFK. The sixth floor is the location from which Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot and killed the president.
Since that sunny 1963 day in Dallas, the nation continues to search for the truth surrounding the death of our 35th President. The movie JFK, starring Kevin Costner and directed by Oliver Stone, was filmed in Dallas and included extensive footage of the School Book Depository, now known as the Dallas County Administration Building.
On November 22, 1993, the 30th anniversary of JFK’s death, Dealey Plaza was designated a National Historic Landmark District. This area includes Dealey Plaza Park, the triple underpass and its bridge, all surrounding buildings and a portion of the rail yards north of Elm Street. Although tragic circumstances surround the designation, the city of Dallas has a great honor in preserving the historic significance of the site. Recent additions to the permanent educational exhibit at the Sixth Floor Museum include artifacts from the Jacquelyn Kennedy Onassis Estate sale. Also added is an exhibit of 13 cameras in use at Dealey Plaza in 1963, including the Abraham Zapruder camera, which captured the entire assassination.
In 1969, a Kennedy family friend, Philip Johnson, constructed the John F. Kennedy Memorial also located in Dallas.
This 50 foot square, open-roofed, concrete-walled, monument resembles an open tomb.
Designed to the specifications expressed by former First Lady Jacquelyn Kennedy Onassis, John F. Kennedy is inscribed on the black marble. It is not unusual to find flowers or notes placed here, especially on November 22.
This memorial is located downtown on Main, Elm, and Market Streets.
… just in time for thousands of international visitors arriving to see The World Cup. Pioneer Plaza commemorates the legendary cattle drives of the old west, as 40 large bronze longhorn steers and their cowboy horseback riders are in place. Twenty more bronze steers will be put in place as time passes, making it the largest bronze statue in the world. But it is more than that because it pays tribute to a colorful western tradition of trails, roads, cattle and the rugged pioneers who attracted thousands of visitors and settlers to Dallas. Pioneer Plaza was designed to create a focal point with historical significance for Downtown Dallas. Built on 4.2 acres at Young and Griffin Streets, between Pioneer Cemetery and the Dallas Convention Center, Pioneer Plaza showcases Dallas history and educates residents and visitors alike.
The longhorn steers are being driven by three cowboys on horses through a landscaped area that includes native plants and a flowing stream. Pioneer Plaza is destined to be a meeting place for residents and visitors. Dan Petty, past Board Chairman of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said “Pioneer Plaza is an important investment in the city’s future. Not only does this historic site attract visitors to Dallas’ Downtown, but it … serves as a celebrated destination where millions of conventioneers, visitors and families flock each year.”
Dave Whitney, President of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, added that “Pioneer Plaza is the ‘front door’ of the Dallas Convention Center and is a major tourist attraction; Pioneer Plaza distinguishes Dallas from its competitors throughout the world.” The plaza and its bronze display is located on the actual historic cattle trail used beginning in 1854. The Dallas Parks Foundation is responsible for Pioneer Plaza’s concept development, funding and project construction. The Dallas Convention Center will maintain the property and provide security. Robert Summers of Glen Rose, Texas, created the Monumental Trail Drive Sculptural Group for Pioneer Plaza.
In Historical Plaza you can find in a wide spectrum more about Dallas’ County’s history, as well as numerous architectural styles.
Particularly worth seeing is the Old Red Courthouse, which was built in 1890 in the Romasesque Revival style. Or the John Neely Bryan Cabin, a reconstruction of the cabin built by the founder of Dallas in 1841.
This is also where the city of Dallas began. John Neely Bryan, a colonist and city founder from Tennessee, made a visit to the Trinity River in 1839 and built a log cabin on this site in 1842.
In the following years, it served first as a school, then as a church. The current reconstruction was completed in 1936.
Dallas Arboretum& Botanical Garden
The Dallas Arboretum is one of the most magnificent gardens in the nation, a visual banquet that is ablaze in color year-round. The fragrant gardens and lush lawns, on the shores of an enchanting lake that overlooks Downtown Dallas, also feature intriguing sculptures, sparkling fountains, and two historic mansions.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden celebrates the beauty of spring with Dallas Blooms, an annual festival that highlights a bouquet of spring flowers including daffodils, azaleas and tulips.
Old City Park
Discover how North Texans lived at the turn-of-the century.
Composed of 38 historic structures and boasts a working farm, a traditional Jewish household, elegant Victorian homes, a school, a church and commercial buildings.
Old City Park’s collection is composed of 25,000 historic artifacts dating from 1840 to 1910 with a focus on commercial and domestic items. Old City Park prefers to collect items that have their origin in Texas or the North Texas region.
Address: 1717 Gano Street
A 68-second elevator ride propels visitors 55 stories to the top of the Hyatt Regency’s Reunion Tower for a breathtaking 360-degree view of Dallas.
An easily recognizable landmark for Dallas and a dramatic addition to the evening skyline with its lighted dome and flashing light show, the tower has a public observation deck as well as Antares restaurant and the Dome cocktail lounge that rotate at the rate of one revolution every 55 minutes.
Address: 300 Reunion Boulevard East
Mesquite Championship Rodeo
Well the sun is going down, but it’s not happy trails yet.
You will not want to miss the Mesquite Championship Rodeo just minutes from Downtown Dallas. Every Friday and Saturday evening running April through September, true Texas cowboys and cowgirls from North America compete for big Texas dollars in this weekly event. Come see a Dallas tradition and enjoy roping, barrel racing, chuckwagon races, Tijuana Bull Poker and many more western entertainment options.
Just in case you are still hungry, the rodeo offers a BBQ pavilion with some of the best barbeque in Texas. The peach cobbler is good, too! Well, if everyone is not too tired, you can give your boots one last whirl on a hardwood dance floor at one of the many country-western nightclubs. See real cowboys and cowgirls, ranch hands, urban cowboys and wanna-be cowboys two steppin’ the night away.
Web: Mesquite Rodeo
A trip to Dallas would not be complete without a visit to the world’s most famous ranch of all – Southfork!
See how we became famous as you visit the location where the award-winning television series “Dallas” was filmed.
On property resides the Ewing Mansion, the Dallas Museum, a tram tour of the property, several gift shops, Miss Ellie’s Deli and in the evenings, a true chuckwagon supper for all to enjoy. Plan to spend a couple of hours and don’t forget the camera.
Web: Southfork Ranch | Dallas TV Show Set | Tours | Dallas, Texas
The Dallas World Aquarium
The aquarium features more than 85,000 gallons (321,800 l) of saltwater with marine life from around the world.
Walk through the 22,000-gallon (83,280 l) tunnel to experience a panoramic view of reef life.
Many animals found at the top of the food chain can be seen in the Predators exhibit. Ten 2,000-gallon (7,571 l) displays present marine life from around the world –
Palau, Southern Australia, Lord Howe Island, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Bahamas, British Columbia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Japan.
Representing the waters of four continents, three oceans and various seas, the aquarium gives a glimpse of the underwater world.
Key exhibits include the ExxonMobil Endangered Tiger Habitat with Indochinese and Sumatran tigers, the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo with interactive, educational exhibits for children and the 25-acre Wilds of Africa, named the best African exhibit in the United States.
Address: 650 South R L Thornton Freeway