From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
The city of Arlington is situated within Texas, west of Dallas. It’s the seventh-most populous city in the state and is home to numerous popular attractions, such as the International Bowling Hall of Fame, the original theme park Six Flags Over Texas, and Hurricane Harbor - just to name a few!
It experiences hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters, making it a great region to get outdoors and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Thankfully, this is easy in Arlington, as it is also home to numerous state parks, with some of the country’s best national parks within driving distance too.
Even those who have lived in the city for a decade would agree they haven’t experienced all that Arlington has to offer, while for those new to the region – well, they’ve got a lot to look forward to as well.
Ready to discover the best of Arlington, Texas? Let’s get started!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Arlington isn’t all hustle and bustle! There are also plenty of state parks and national parks both within and surrounding the area, all of which provide a tranquil escape for those looking to surround themselves by nature.
At Cedar Hill State Park, you can escape the bustle of the city and experience endless outdoor activities; you can enjoy the beautiful lake, walk through an old Texas farm, or wander around prairie lands and rolling hills. The park offers opportunities to hike, camp, swim, and fish for bass or catfish.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park offers, as its name suggests, the 29,000 acres Ray Roberts Lake and all that it entails. Enjoy the excellent fishing, boating, swimming, or spend time relaxing at one of the beach sites. When not enjoying the water, wander around, hike, go horseback riding, or bike.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway rests in beautiful, scenic cattle country. There’s no shortage of fun, family-friendly activities to enjoy with the camping, boating, and fishing options. If you’re interested in natural rock climbing, you’re in luck! This state park is home to one of the few natural rock climbing areas around.
If you hadn’t guessed by the name, Dinosaur Valley State Park was once home to dinosaurs. You and your family can walk in the footprints of the prehistoric creatures that came before us. Throughout over 20 miles of trails, you can explore and hike, searching for prints in the bed of the Paluxy River along the way.
With an idyllic lake, peaceful camping, and winding pathways, Cleburne State Park serves as the perfect escape from the city. You can participate in water activities (boating, swimming, and kayaking) or hike and camp. Trust us, you’ll be glad you made the trip!
Still need to get your nature fix? If you’re craving seeing even more of the beautiful scenery that surrounds Arlington, then there are also plenty of hiking and walking trails for you and your family to enjoy.
The North, West, Prairie and South Loops located in River Legacy Park are popular hiking destinations that span almost 10 miles. Welcome to all levels, enjoy the views of the river and lovely greenery.
If you’re looking for a short jaunt, Crystal Canyon is a perfect choice! At less than half a mile, you can enjoy an accessible hike for all skill levels. Enjoy the native birds and scenic views.
Arlington is home to a bustling and trendy dining scene, so there’s sure to be a restaurant, café, or diner to satisfy your cravings. If you’ve worked up an appetite after a long hike, or simply feel like treating yourself to a delicacy, then you’re in luck. Here are our top restaurant recommendations!
A local favorite, Mariano’s Hacienda’s Arlington location will provide authentic Mexican cuisine you and your family will love. Try their fajitas, brisket tacos, or a refreshing margarita. With fantastic food and even better service, you’re sure to leave fully satisfied!
A family-owned business founded over 30 years ago, Prince Lebanese Grill prides itself on excellent service and a community-based feel. With their fresh, quality ingredients, Prince Lebanese Grill has attracted big names like Guy Fieri and been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Try their award-winning food for yourself, and you’ll keep coming back for more!
Fancy some traditional Irish fare? J Gilligan’s Bar and Grill will provide you with a taste of Ireland through tons of fun and delicious food. Featured on shows like PBS' The Day Tripper, the Food Network, and more, you’ll have the time of your life at any of their events. You can catch a shuttle from AT&T or enjoy Sunday Brunch on the patio.
Conveniently located, Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ will meet all of your shopping and BBQ needs. Browse their inventory, including their famous smoked meats, before enjoying some Texas BBQ. You can experience their extensive menu, including baby back ribs, pulled pork, or brisket.
Serving (hands down) the best fried chicken and the best banana pudding in town, Babe’s chicken is a family owned restaurant known for Grandma’s recipes and a friendly staff. With a super fun atmosphere, come here for lunch or dinner and expect a lovely time. Babe’s is located right next to the Arlington Music Hall, which opened in 1950 and still features the original theater marquee. It’s a great area to explore after you eat and snap some pics.
After feasting and enjoying all that the hiking trails and state parks have to offer, you may be wondering: “what next?” Well, when it comes to Arlington’s attractions and activities, you’re only just getting started. Here are some of the most fun things on offer in and around the city!
Looking to entertain some little ones? Or perhaps you’ve got some teenagers in-tow who are starting to get a little bored? Either way, these attractions will entertain both children, teens, and adults alike!
Looking for an adventure-filled day of fun for the family? Six Flags Over Texas offers over 100 rides and 13 wild roller coasters. You can explore the family rides better suited for the younger crowd, or choose the thrill rides to get your heart racing!
If the Texas heat is a little too much for a Six Flags adventure, hop over to another feature: Hurricane Harbor. As the water park portion of Six Flags, you can enjoy the excitement of an amusement park with the refreshingly cool waters of the numerous pools and slides. Relax on the Lazy River or brave the over 70-foot drop of the Der Stuka.
What should you do in Arlington once the sun goes down? We’re glad you asked! Here are our suggested night-time attractions.
The K1 Indoor Speed Go Karting allows you to get behind the driver seat and fully let go. Offering state-of-the-art facilities and high-performance vehicles imported from Europe, you’ll have an experience like nowhere else. After your race, you can stop for a pit stop and enjoy some snacks and beverages!
Something wicked this way comes when you visit Manor Haunted House. With terrifying offerings, such as Big Top Terror and Reagan’s Revenge, you can experience chills and thrills, unlike you’ve ever seen before. Admission is $30 (plus a small service fee) for entry to the park.
What can you do in or around Arlington that won’t cost anything more than a few dollars? The answer: plenty!
The International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame, located a short distance from downtown Arlington, shares the unique 500-year history of bowling and the many famous names in the sport. Admission tickets are under $10, with children three and under admitted for free.
Looking to get the most out of your time spent within the city of Arlington? Whether you want a fun way to waste away a Sunday afternoon or a date idea that won’t break the budget – here are our most recommended things to do in Arlington that won’t cost you a cent.
The Gallery at the University of Texas at Arlington provides visitors with the opportunity to view stunning contemporary art. The Gallery offers many unique exhibits for you to select from various distinctive mediums, such as media. Admission is free to the public with an option for free parking during the week if you call ahead.
Veterans Park, located on 103 acres of spectacular land, offers visitors numerous things to do after paying respects at the military memorial. You can wander the trails, play 18 holes of golf, or have a leisurely picnic. The extensive gardens offer the perfect backdrop for a lovely day in the park.
This is a vibrant entertainment center featuring a variety of restaurants, live music, cocktail bars, and giant TVs. Honestly, Texas Live is a MUST when visiting Arlington. It’s located squarely in between the old and new Texas Rangers stadiums, and to say that you could spend an entire day and night here without getting bored is something of an understatement.
Before you write this off as a cheesy tourist activity, you ask yourself: how many times are you going to get the opportunity to walk onto the field of an NFL team as iconic as the Dallas Cowboys? Daily tours for folks of all interests and ages are on offer, and you’ll also be welcome to toss the old pigskin right straight to the end zone. You could also check out the artwork on display throughout the building, or simply walk around this engineering and architectural marvel and enjoy the views and water features.
Alright, by now you’ve probably been on your feet all day exploring the sights and delights that Arlington has to offer. If you’re craving some rest and relaxation, or even a bit of pampering, these are two of the best spas in the region.
Named the ‘Best of Fortworth’ in 2019, Daireds Beauty Salon & Spa, and celebrating over 40 years in business, it’s safe to say that Daireds Beauty Salon and Spa is a local gem of Arlington. Offering a wide variety of treatments, including skin rejuvenation, facials, and hair care, you’ll find exactly what you need to leave feeling refreshed and renewed.
Located at the elegant Sanford House Bed and Breakfast, the Sanford Spa & Salon offers visitors a peaceful escape with their luxurious packages. Select from their massage and facial packages with the option to add lunch or a hair blow out for an additional fee.
If rejuvenation for you is less about deep relaxation and more about sweating it out, then you’re in luck. Arlington is home to some of the highest-rated gyms and yoga studios within the region.
With a team passionate about assisting you in your fitness journey, at Colaw Fitness you’ll find all the support you need to become your healthiest and best self. This non-judgemental fitness club offers incredible free benefits, including free tanning, massages, and CF-30.
Founded in Arlington, the Yoga Project allows you to bring your yoga practice with you wherever you go. Offering virtual yoga classes for all skill levels and interests, their on-demand classes are convenient and will leave you feeling relaxed and zen.
Looking to fulfill your wanderlust by heading outside of the region for a day? You could spend decades within Arlington without barely scratching the surface of all there is to do in this city, but consider these day trips next time you fancy a new adventure.
Located an hour and a half down 35W, Waco, Texas, provides visitors with endless shops and restaurants to enjoy. Visit Cameron Park (all 416 acres of it!) and the Cameron Zoo or the many arts attractions. Then, of course, there’s Magnolia Market at the Silos, owned by the famous Chip and Joanna Gaines. No trip to Waco is complete without it!
The almost four-hour drive will be well worth your while to see the largest city in Texas. Houston boasts the Space Center Houston, the Fine Arts Museum, and excellent award-winning restaurants. In fact, there’s so much to do here, you may just want to stay for the entire weekend!
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Arlington that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Arlington? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.