Not that there isn’t plenty to keep you busy on any old visit to Dallas, but this booming city and its burgeoning suburbs (aka the Metroplex) also have a calendar of festivals big and small that can add extra pizazz to your visit. Plan your trip to the Big D around these suggestions, or just check out local news to see what’s up during your stay.
Remember that spring and fall are peak fest seasons in North Texas; summer is just too darn hot.
Plan ahead if you want to celebrate Independence Day at Addison Kaboom Town! The party sometimes takes places on a day other than July 4, and while it’s free, space is limited. Enjoy food, music, an air show and fireworks, which are ranked among the nation’s best by the American Pyrotechnics Association.
Each September the big Texas sky fills with the color of more than 40 hot air balloons at the Plano Balloon Festival. The three-day fest also includes a half-marathon and other runs; rides and activities for kids; local rock, pop and country bands and other performances; skydivers; and fireworks. On Friday and Saturday evenings, inflated balloons are set aglow for a magical sight.
Dallas is a dining town, and Taste of Dallas has been a foodie-calendar highlight each June for decades. At this three-day event, you can sample the menus of dozens of local restaurants, hear live music on multiple stages and shop foodie markets.
Then there’s barbecue. For Blues, Bandits & BBQ each November in Oak Cliff, 30 teams fire up their smokers on Friday night to start cooking up their barbecue entries for Saturday afternoon’s judging. Buy a wristband to sample entries or just hang out, listen to music, sip a beer and soak up the scene for free.
Six blocks of one of Dallas’ funkier neighborhoods are closed to traffic for the free Deep Ellum Arts Festival each April. The fest is three days of rock music on multiple stages, street food and eclectic.
Each year, on the third weekend in May, the Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival in Richardson attracts more than 60,000 people for three days of music, including national-level acts, on six stages, as well as shopping, eating and kids activities.
Also in Richardson, also in May — and then again in October — the two-day Cottonwood Art Festival is a juried show and sale of high-quality arts and crafts from more than 240 artists. Admission is free, but just try to get away without buying yourself a little something lovely.
Dallas is a thoroughly multicultural city, and you can celebrate many of those cultures at festivals throughout the year.
Among them: June brings the two-day DFW Africa Festival to Lancaster with music, dance, fashion and more. The French have their day (or evening, actually) at Bastille on Bishop, July 14 in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas; sipping wine and shopping are the focus here.
The Otsukimi Moon Viewing Festival in Klyde Warren Park celebrates Japanese culture each September or October (depending on the moon) with an evening of music and demonstrations of the tea ceremony, calligraphy, ikebana and more.
As well as food, music and dance, the three-day Greek Food Festival of Dallas each September includes cooking demonstrations and a marketplace of Greek foods, art and imports. And the Latino Cultural Center honors the ancestors each October with art, dancing and great activities for kids at their annual daylong Día de los Muertos event.