The State Fair of Texas
3921 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., South Dallas
The Texas State Fair is everything you might expect: country-and-western shows, livestock competitions, roller coasters, and food booths that will fry just about anything. Less expected are the tiny homes exposition, where every dwelling is less than 300 square feet, and the vegan-food pavilion. Open for only three weeks a year, the fairgrounds are filled with ornate Art Deco buildings built in the 1930s, and there’s also a lake you can paddle across in a swan boat.
Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ
1950 Market Center Blvd., Design District
Amazing smoked ribs, jalapeño hot links, queso topped with brisket, tons of local beer on tap, plus the Gentleman’s Handshake (a Lone Star with a shot of whiskey) are absolutely reasons to come here. But the huge backyard is the real draw. Among the picnic tables and twinkling lights, a fifty-foot-tall, fully functioning Ferris wheel runs every evening. It’s the perfect place to go on a warm evening, especially if you have kids.
The Goss-Michael Foundation
1305 Wycliff Ave., Design District
Founded by the late George Michael and curator Kenny Goss, the Goss-Michael Foundation focuses on edgy British contemporary art. The permanent collection is amazing, with more than 500 works by artists like Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, and Sir Michael Craig-Martin, but it’s the exhibitions that combine the works of up-and-coming British artists with local artists that are unique and particularly interesting.
Perot Museum of Nature & Science
2201 N. Field St., Downtown
Opened in late 2012, the new science museum is a must-see, not only for its stunning permanent exhibits and traveling shows but also for Thom Mayne’s groundbreaking sustainable building, which boasts a glass-enclosed staircase that cuts right through the structure. There is so much to see here that you might want to break it up into a couple of trips, but our favorite by far is the gems and minerals hall, which among other phenomena, includes an amazing five-foot geode. Plus, if you have little ones, the Children’s Museum alone is practically worth the day trip with all its requisite slides, crawl spaces, and sandpits.
Ranging along the tracks of a long-abandoned railroad line, the Katy Trail is a beautifully landscaped three-and-a-half-mile running/walking/biking path that cuts through some of the busiest parts of town. It makes for a great jog, with CrossFit equipment stops scattered along the way.