Aside from some inconsistent weather patterns, September through November is an especially fun time to be in Dallas. It seems to be particularly made for families, friends, couples, and weekend travelers looking to fill their days with good food and new experiences.
The DFW metroplex comes alive during the fall season with special autumn events, seasonal food showcases, sporting events, and live shows/music . Plus, there are still the year-round marvels the city is known for; museums, parks, shopping centers, and so much more. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a traditional autumn activity or just get out of the house more often, it’s easy to make good memories in Dallas this fall season.
Here is our list of the top ten things to do in Dallas in the fall:
1. Fall in Love With Autumn at the Arboretum
Named “One of America’s Best Pumpkin Festival” by Fodor’s Travel, Autumn at the Arboretum at The Dallas Arboretum is a true fall experience unlike anything else.
This year marks the festival’s 17th annual fall celebration. Running from September 17th to October 31st, The Dallas Arboretum will turn into a pumpkin paradise. The grounds are covered with over 100,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash which all are brought in from Floydada — the pumpkin capital of Texas.
This year’s theme is “A Fall Fairy Tale” which is being brought to life by a life-size Cinderella’s Carriage, themed pumpkin houses that make up the Pumpkin Village, a magical maze, and stunning displays of reimagined classic tales like Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Little Pigs, The Sword in the Stone, and One Thousand and One Nights.
Within the festival, they also have a ton of incredible events planned:
- Guided Pumpkin Hike — Every Wednesday @ 10 AM
- Dallas Gourd Patch — Every Thursday 10 AM – 3 PM
- Memory Garden Fall Series —
- What’s in Bloom Walk — Every Thursday
- Window to the Wild Bird Flight Show — September 25th and October 1st/16th @ 10:30 AM
- Oktoberfest — September 25th and 25th
- International Coffee Day Celebration — October 1st
- Pumpkin Stacking Contest — October 9th @ 12 PM
- Fall Vendor Market & Craft Fair — October 8th/9th 10 AM – 2 PM
- Dallas Gourd Patch Annual Show — October 15th 10 AM – 3 PM
- Diwali Pop-Up — October 22nd/23rd 10 AM – 3 PM
- Halloweekend — October 29th/30th
For all the details for these events as well as more information on Autumn at the Arboretum, you can visit their website here.
2. Cheer at the Red River Showdown
Considered the greatest interstate rivalry in college football, the Oklahoma Sooners v Texas Longhorns game will take place in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl Stadium this year!
The two teams first played each other in 1900 and the rivalry has been reignited every year without fail since 1929 for a total of 117 games as of 2021. The name “Red River” is derived from the river that forms part of the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma and in the first part of the 1900s has caused conflict between the two states.
If you love one of these two teams or college football in general and are looking for an incredible game to attend, this is the one! The game will take place on Saturday, October 8th.
Tickets are still on sale and you can purchase them here.
3. Enjoy My Fair Lady at Music Hall
This year Music Hall at Fair Park is putting on the wonderful live production of My Fair Lady — a beloved musical about a woman striving to retain her identity in spite of a man who is trying to control her by teaching her how to be “a lady”.
It’s a family-friendly show and a great way to introduce your kids to the theater, classic American broadway, and the beauty of live performances. It’s also a great date night idea or girls night experience!
Dallas’s Music Hall is located in Fair Park where there also is the State Fair of Texas, Cotton Bowl Stadium, African American Museum of Dallas, and many surrounding restaurants!
This show will be running from November 1st to December 4th with multiple shows per weekend. Tickets are still available so go ahead and purchase yours here.
4. Walk Through Fort Worth Water Gardens
A tranquil escape, the Fort Worth Water Gardens is one of the most serene attractions in the DFW area and the perfect fall weekend or late afternoon activity for both kids and adults.
Designed by Phillip Johnson, the Fort Worth Water Gardens is an amazing architectural and engineering masterpiece built into an urban plaza. You can take your time (and fun pictures) as you walk through the three pool areas: the aerating, the quiet, and the active pool.
We recommend visiting this famous Dallas summer attraction during the slightly cooler times of the day such as before noon or after 3:00 PM. This way you’ll avoid the warmest part of the day and the potential consequences of the sun. Even during the fall months, Dallas can still get hot so it’s important to stay mindful when doing an outside activity!
5. Camp, Hike, and Rock Climb at Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Just an hour outside of Downtown Dallas, Lake Mineral Wells State Park sits in the heart of cattle country but you wouldn’t even know it by the lush yet rocky scenery.
The park has many, many miles of walking/biking/hiking trails as well as a lake, rock climbing area, and campsites! At the lake, you can also enjoy fishing and boating. As the weather cools down and some of the leaves start to change, this is the perfect fall day-trip or even hour getaway!
Learn more about Lake Mineral Wells State Park here.
6. Play at the Cidercade
A super fun nighttime activity in Dallas that’s both indoors AND much warmer than outside, the Cidercade is a must for any family, friend group, or couple looking for something fun to do after dinner.
Located a few miles from downtown Dallas in the Design District, this hip arcade has over 140 games! They are broken up into the categories: Classics, Pinballs, Fighters, Shooters, Driving, Sports, and everything else! There is something for everyone here!
Not to mention they have an incredible drink menu filled with hard ciders, hard kombuchas, hard seltzers, and wines that are all made in-house. This is a great way to escape the cold and make some new memories with the ones you love.
7. Meander Through the Holiday Best Shopping in DFW
More often than not, the fall season in Dallas calls for a shopping trip or two to either get some early holiday shopping done, new fall home decor, or to just treat yourself.
Luckily the DFW area is not short on incredible shopping districts, streets, and markets. Here are the ones you should definitely check out this season:
- First Monday Canton Market — The largest flea market in the world, this is an incredible place to spend the day. Way more than your average flea market, this huge venue has become a hub for craftsmen and small businesses. You’ll find there are incredibly unique creations everywhere you look from clothing, to household, to graden, and so on!
- Legacy West — The place to indulge in some high-end shopping and maybe a nice lunch or dinner, Legacy West is filled with glamorous stores that’ll make you fall in love with a whole new winter wardrobe.
- Inwood Village — With its historic art deco architecture, this shopping area has a refreshingly unique atmosphere and is a true Dallas original.
- NorthPark — With one of the finest shopping experiences in the world, you can enjoy an entire day marveling at the over 200 stores and likely find a million things you want to buy.
These definitely aren’t the only amazing places to shop in Dallas, but they’re at the top of our list and bring a lot of variety!
8. Do Some Figures at Galleria Dallas
The Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Rink is considered a top-tier rink in the city with a towering Christmas tree that gives you all the good holiday feels. Plus, it just happens to be the tallest tree in the nation!
This is the perfect activity for families, friend groups, and couples looking for a cool activity to do in Dallas.
In case you don’t know how to skate but want to learn, the ice skating center offers lessons for beginners, including holiday mini ice-skating in December.
9. Enjoy the Coolest Urban Green Spaces
Dallas has made significant efforts over the past few years to increase the amount of green space in its urban care. This has resulted in so many new, natural places residents and visitors can enjoy any day with good weather.
Here’s a quick list:
- Klyde Warren Park — a 5.2-acre green expanse built over a major freeway filled with endless entertainment.
- Pacific Plaza — a true urban neighborhood park nestled on Harwood Street.
- Main Street Garden Park — a great community gathering spot with a lawn, dog run, fountains, cafe, and art installations.
- Annette Strauss Square — a super unique place to catch performances and participate in events, this is one you’ll need to plan ahead for.
If you try to visit one a week, this is a super doable mini winter bucket list you can check off! Plus, it’s a great way to support the community and take advantage of the lack of sweltering heat.
10. Taste the Best Barbeque in Dallas
This will be our third mini-list within a list, but you can’t let a winter in Dallas pass by without sampling the best barbeque in Texas! There’s something about cold weather that just makes you crave warm, yummy soul food.
These are five spots you have to swing by:
- Pecan Lodge
- Lockhart Smokehouse
- Off the Bone
- Blue’s Barbeque
- 18th & Vine
We know, that’s a lot of barbeque to try! But if you spread it out over the winter months, you won’t regret checking out all of these places. Also, who gets tired of barbeque? Not us!
11. Kick it Up at the Fort Worth Stockyards
Whether you’re a first time Dallas-visitor or a long-time local, the Fort Worth Stockyards is a place for everyone and an experience for everyone!
Here you can watch the livestock parade and end the night with a bang at either the Stockyard Championship Rodeo or the Cowtown Cowboy Rodeo! Just check out their website for dates, times, and tickets.
This probably doesn’t need to be said, but your favorite pair of cowboy boots is a strict part of the required attire!
12. Explore the Great Trinity Forest
Did you know Dallas has a forest?
Some longtime locals don’t even know that there’s a hardwood forest right in Dallas’s backyard. Somehow, the Great Trinity Forest has remained a hidden gem in the area, but not for long!
With paved trails, you can easily explore the different routes through the forest and meet some wildlife along the way including birds, otters, and snakes.
The Best Fall Activities in Dallas
The best fall season in Dallas is one you create by doing things you love! You definitely don’t need to feel like you have to do it all, just choose a handful of activities to explore over the weekends and you’ll find you really have explored more of Dallas.
Whether it’s a combination of outdoor activities and barbeque joints or solely spaces that give you a cup of pumpkin spice latte, you can have the best autumn ever here in Dallas!