Cool Things to Do in Downtown Dallas with Kids

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READING TIME: 4 min.

Ask any Dallas mom where to take kids downtown, chances are their list includes the West End, the Perot, and Klyde Warren Park.

Don’t get me wrong—these are fantastic places to take your kids. But if you are looking for some cool and different downtown destinations to take your kids, check these out.

If you like the West End, check out AT&T Discovery District.

Leading-edge technology, multi-sensory experiences, and locally and nationally-acclaimed eateries have made AT&T Discovery District ((208 S. Akard Street) one of the top Instagram-able places in Dallas.

Relax on the lawn while watching the Cowboys game or the latest Warner Bros. movie on the 104 foot tall Media Wall. Snap selfies with The Globe, an iconic sculpture covered with a mirrored surface reflecting the surrounding buildings, as your backdrop. Check out film and TV memorabilia (e.g., Friends, Game of Thrones, and Wonder Woman) in the AT&T Experience. Satisfy everyone’s cravings in The Exchange Food Hall, home to 16 eateries and 2 bars.

To give you a sense of just how much there is to do for all ages at the AT&T Discovery District, here’s what my family did on a recent visit (4 kids, 16, 13, 11, and 7).

We started with lunch in The Exchange Hall, sampling food from Zalat Pizza, Revolver Taco, Monkey Noodle Co., and Shark Tank alum Press Waffle Co. We then headed outside to play on the lawn and snap photos using the fall backdrop set up for family photos.

fall photo of kidsNext, we checked out film and TV exhibits including shooting baskets on a Space Jam replica basketball court and recreating scenes from Friends on the Friends set. Okay, the last one was more for mom than the kids, but the kids were game.

Finally, we indulged dad’s love of westerns with a visit to the Clint Eastwood retrospective at AT&T Showcase, which included Hillary Swank’s boxing gloves and robe from Million Dollar Baby, the .44 magnum gun from Dirty Harry, and Clint Eastwood’s costume and gun from Unforgiven.

For more information on AT&T Discovery District, including a list of upcoming concerts and events, check out their website.

If you like the Perot, check out the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and the Museum of Illusions.

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (411 Elm Street) chronicles the life, death, and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Located at the very spot from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed the President on November 22, 1963, it’s one of Texas’ most visited historic sites.

While I don’t think there is anything in the museum that would be disturbing for young children, given the subject matter and the amount of reading involved, it is more appropriate for kids elementary age and up. There is a youth version of the audio tour.

My kids enjoyed the 1960s era memorabilia and the forensics science exhibits.

Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $14 for kids 6-18, and free for kids 5 and under.

Appropriate for kids of all ages, the Museum of Illusions (701 Ross Avenue) is a visual, sensory, and educational experience with more than 60 illusions from around the world.

My kids in particular enjoyed playing in the smart playroom with a variety of puzzles, building blocks, and games organized by age group.

Admission is $19 for adults, $15 for kids 5-12, and free for kids 4 and under. There is a family pass (parents plus 2 kids) available for $62.

If you like Klyde Warren Park, check out Pacific Plaza Park and Main Street Gardens.

On school early release days, I love to take my kids downtown for lunch with my husband and then to play in one of the great parks near his downtown office.

Pacific Plaza Park (401 N. Harwood) is surrounded by high-rise buildings providing great shade on hot summer days. Its signature structure is a stainless steel pavilion in honor of the site’s railroad history, perforated with Morse code signatures for every stop along the Texas and Pacific Railroad from New Orleans to El Paso. The patterns of ever-shifting light and shade under the pavilion will enchant any kid.

There are lots of activities for kids to do, including lawn games and a playground. Stop by the nearby food court to pick up food for a picnic on the lawn.

Another favorite is Main Street Gardens (1902 N. Main Street). The great lawn provides lots of space to run around. The playground includes toddler appropriate equipment. There is plenty of shade and lawn games like ping pong and Jenga are put out every morning. Officers patrolling the park on bikes make you feel safe.

What are your favorite downtown places to take kids? Leave a comment.

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