25 Best Things to Do in Arlington (TX)

Source: Wikimedia / City of Arlington | CC BY-SA 2.0

Strategically located in the middle of the massive Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, Arlington, Texas offers access to world-class sports and exciting entertainment.  With a surprising number of relaxing outdoor spaces, visitors to Arlington will have no trouble finding a break from the crowds.  Whether you prefer your fun in the water, shade, or sun, Arlington can deliver.

Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Arlington (TX)

Source: Map data @2022 Google

1. AT&T Stadium

ATandT Stadium
Source: Flickr / Miguel Discart | CC BY-SA 2.0

The world’s largest domed structure, Arlington’s AT&T Stadium wows first time visitors with its massive scale and state of the art furnishings.  As the home of the Dallas Cowboys, the 105,000 seat stadium features a retractable roof and enormous HDTV screen.  One of the most expensive sports venues in world history, the stadium cost over a billion dollars. 

The site offers a variety of tour options, from self-guided strolls following home games to VIP guided tours that include access to the locker rooms and press box.  Attending a Cowboys game offers fans the best way to enjoy this behemoth.

2. Six Flags Over Texas

Six Flags Over Texas-1
Source: Wikimedia / Cstrs101 | CC BY-SA 4.0

As the original Six Flags amusement park, Six Flags Over Texas remains a popular option for visitors to Arlington.  The name originated in 1961 from the six different national flags that flew over Texas during its volatile history, those of Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States. 

Visitors can join the Justice League in their Battle for Metropolis, a 4D immersive experience that enables participants to fight animatronic figures with stun guns.  The park has a wide range of other attractions, too, from thrilling roller coasters to family rides and live entertainment.

3. Top O’ Hill Terrace

Top O’ Hill Terrace
Source: Flickr / Nicolas Henderson | CC BY 2.0

Originally home to a 1920s tea room, Top O’ Hill Terrace took on an alternate identity as a secret gambling den in the 1930s.  Complete with a hidden tunnel to escape raids, Top O’ Hill attracted an impressive list of high rollers including Hollywood stars and prominent gangsters. 

Texas Rangers finally shut down the illicit activities after a 1947 raid, and the property later became part of what is now Arlington Baptist College.  Visitors can still tour the grounds of what some called “Vegas before Vegas.”  The tea garden, casino, secret tunnel, and a separate building that may have served as a brothel are all still standing.

4. Hurricane Harbor

Hurricane Harbor
Source: Flickr / Jirka Matousek | CC BY-SA 2.0

Arlingtons’ Hurricane Harbor water park invites visitors to cool off on one of its twenty-four attractions.  Enjoy the lazy river winding through the park or take a faster trip on the Raging Rapids.  Those just looking to relax can catch some rays in Suntan Lagoon or explore the million-gallon wave pool.  Adrenaline junkies can take a seven-story drop through a trap door on the Dive Bomber, a free fall water slide. 

Located just across Interstate 30 from its partner park, Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor also boasts a realistic surfing simulator is open to guest over four feet tall. 

5. River Legacy Parks and Science Center

River Legacy Parks and Science Center-1
Source: Flickr / Tess Gilliam | CC BY 2.0

Despite its location in between the urban centers of Dallas and Fort Worth, Arlington provides easy access to outdoor recreation.  Visitors to the 1,300-acre River Legacy Park can enjoy eight miles of paved trails, multiple picnic tables and covered pavilions, and scenic overlooks along the Trinity River.  A canoe launch enables paddlers to explore the river for themselves. 

Abundant wildlife make the park their home, as shown in the onsite Science Center, which presents interactive nature exhibits and serves as the home of a representative sampling of native animals.  The center also offers public programs and educational events.

6. International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame

International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame
Source: Flickr / Steven Martin | CC BY-ND 2.0

Did you know that bowling’s roots go back 5000 years?  Fans of the sport should not miss Arlington’s International Bowling Museum.  Part of a larger campus that includes the Bowling Hall of Fame, the museum includes photos, artifacts, and video of some of bowling’s greatest moments.  Designed to promote education about the sport, the exhibits present items from bowling’s history in the United States going all the way back to 17th Century Manhattan.

The Hall of Fame relates the storied careers of legendary bowling champions.  Guests can acquire a customized bowling ball in the gift shop.

7. University of Texas at Arlington Planetarium

University of Texas at Arlington Planetarium
Source: Flickr / sk | CC BY-ND 2.0

In a state that claims to be home to the biggest of everything, the University of Texas at Arlington Planetarium fits the bill.  As one of the three largest planetariums in Texas, the facility features a 60-foot dome projection surface for detailed viewing of the night sky. 

Visitors to one of the planetarium’s frequent shows are treated to a tour of the stars and solar system, with updates on the most recent astronomical research.  Dolby surround sound enhances the experience.  The theater seats around 150 people, and is wheelchair accessible.  Practicing astronomers are on hand to answer questions.

8. Esports Stadium Arlington

Esports Stadium Arlington
Source: Wikimedia / Michael Barera | CC BY-SA 4.0

As one of the most rapidly growing industries in the world, esports events continue to gain larger live audiences for gaming competitions.  Arlington is taking the lead in this area with the largest esports facility in North America

The 100,000 square foot Esports Stadium Arlington is specially designed for gaming events, with a flexible layout and a high-tech 85-foot LED board.  The wired space can host up to 100 separate gaming stations and 2,500 spectators.  A live studio for commentators and a control room for orchestrating the show round out the setup.

9. Globe Life Field

Globe Life Field
Source: Flickr / Nicolas Henderson | CC BY 2.0

Completed in 2020, Globe Life Field serves as the home of the Texas Rangers.  Built with a five-and-a-half-acre retractable roof to beat the heat, the new ballpark seats over 40,000 fans.  It is one of only five major league fields to use artificial turf. 

Globe Life Field includes a number of different premium seating areas, including the Dugout Club, which gives fans a close up view of the action alongside the sunken dugouts, and the SkyPorch Bar, with a viewpoint from left field.  Baseball fans will be impressed with the layout of this high-tech facility.

10. Texas Live!

Texas Live!
Source: Texas Live!

On prime real estate between the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium and the Rangers’ Globe Life Field, the Texas Live! entertainment district combines food, fun, and lodging in one site.  With room for 5000 visitors at once, Arlington Backyard hosts live music and cultural events. 

Try out a Texas-sized steak at Troy Aikman’s own restaurant and stay the night at Texas Live!’s luxury hotel.  Conference space is also available for large event planning.  With over 170,000 square feet, Texas Live! is the ideal location for visitors to eat, rest, and hang out in between sporting events and other Arlington sightseeing.

11. Joe Pool Lake

Joe Pool Lake
Source: Flickr / David Baxter | CC BY-ND 2.0

Created in 1989 through the damming of the Mountain and Walnut Creek watersheds, Joe Pool Lake is an over 7700-acre reservoir on the southeast side of Arlington.  Residents from around the region enjoy watersports and fishing at the lake.  Birdwatching and paddling are also common activities. 

Extensive archaeological projects have shown the lake area to be rich in history, with evidence of human activity going back thousands of years to the Paleo-Indian Period, and with many historic buildings from the nineteenth century still standing.  Several parks provide access around the edges of the lake.

12. NRH2O Water Park

NRH2O Water Park
Source: Unsplash / AllGo | CC BY 2.0

Just north of Arlington in neighboring Richland Hills is the NRH2O Family Water Park.  Offering refreshing relief from Texas’ hot summers, NRH2O opened in 1995.  Its nine water slides represent a range of excitement.  Smaller options like the Double Dipper and Purplepalooza are perfect for the younger kids, and have no height restrictions. 

Older swimmers will enjoy the Thundery, Blue Sky, and Green Extreme, the world’s largest uphill water coaster.  NRH2O also features a 660 foot endless lazy river. The Splashatory, a five level water playground, includes interactive activities in a shaded structure, and the NRH2Ocean, a 12,000 square foot wave pool offers space for visitors to spread out and swim.

13. Richard Greene Linear Park

Richard Greene Linear Park
Source: Wikimedia / Michael Barera | CC BY-SA 4.0

Tucked inside the prime real estate between At&T Stadium and the Texas Rangers’ new Globe Life Field are 41 acres of pleasant green space called Richard Greene Linear Park.  With hiking trails and a lake, the park offers travelers an escape from the hustle and bustle of Arlington’s major entertainment venues. 

Take a breather and feed the ducks in between sporting events and concerts at the nearby facilities.  Each spring the park hosts Art on the Greene, sharing local art with the community.  The park is also home to the Caelum Moor stone art installation, a modern interpretation of ancient British standing stone formations.

14. Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts

Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts-1
Source: Flickr / Justin Higuchi | CC BY 2.0

Although Arlington is well-known for its powerhouse sporting attractions, a flourishing cultural scene is present, too.  At the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, visitors can attend one of the many free outdoor concerts hosted at the open-air concert stage.  Performers range from up-and-coming local acts to internationally renowned artists. 

In 2019 the American Planning Association officially recognized Levitt Pavilion as a Great Public Space.  Situated right in downtown Arlington at 100 W. Abram Street, Levitt Pavilion is easily accessible   Seating is free on the open lawn, and picnics and coolers are permitted. 

15. Fielder House Museum

Fielder House Museum-1
Source: Flickr / QuesterMark | CC BY-SA 2.0

An Arlington landmark, the Fielder House Museum preserves local history in the 1914 home of local lawyer James Park Fielder.  Among the over 200 historical artifacts displayed are a collection of local photographs, items from the Fielder family, and an exhibit on the people of Arlington during the Second World War. 

Fielder House collections also cover the major construction projects in the area, including General Motors, Six Flags Over Texas, and Arlington Stadium.  Run by the non-profit Arlington Historical Society, Fielder House is the place to go to learn more about the local community’s history. 

16. Traders Village Grand Prairie

Traders Village Grand Prairie
Source: Pexels / Quang Nguyen Vinh | CC BY 2.0

Just a couple of minutes southeast of Arlington in neighboring Grand Prairie, Traders Village is an open-air flea market with items of every kind for sale.  From its beginning in 1973 Traders Village has grown to over 120 acres and literally thousands of sellers.  Shoppers and collectors will find jewelry, clothing, furniture, toys, and antiques. 

The enormous market serves up surprises around every corner.  Traders Village also hosts seasonal events.  A range of carnival amusement rides are on site, such as the Fleafall 128-foot drop and the Vortex roller coaster.  A carousel and bumper cars are on hand for the younger crowd.

17. Loyd Park

Loyd Park
Source: Jaymzyates | GNU Free Documentation License

On nearly 800 acres spread along the west side of Joe Pool Lake, Loyd Park invites visitors to enjoy its trails on foot and horseback.  Guests will need to bring their own horse, but they can rent kayaks or canoes onsite to paddle around the lake. 

Overnight lodging at the park takes multiple forms, from RV camping to cabins, or even a room in the Loyd Park Lodge.  There are plenty of spots for families to picnic or swim, and a playground for the kids.  Sports fans will enjoy the ball field and volleyball court.

18. K1 Speed Indoor Go Karts

K1 Speed Indoor Go Karts-1
Source: Flickr / Smart Destinations | CC BY-SA 2.0

For those who feel the need for speed, Arlington’s K1 Speed Indoor Go Karts can put you on the racetrack in short order.  With two different speeds of karts, drivers will gear up to zip around the track at speeds of up to 45 miles an hour.  Junior Karts for the kids reach up to 20 mph. 

Would-be racers will be glad to know that all karts are electric, so even if you are not in the front of the pack you will not be breathing fumes.  K1 also offers arcade games and a selection of food and drink.

19. Crystal Canyon Natural Area

Crystal Canyon Natural Area
Source: Unsplash / Evandro Saroka | CC BY 2.0

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate Arlington’s Crystal Canyon Natural Area, a nearly 40-acre park with a fascinating geological history.  Evidence suggests that Crystal Canyon was once a shallow ocean, and fossil clams and marine minerals are plentiful in the area.  The canyon takes its name from the rock crystals that can be found in many areas of the park. 

Located on the north side of Arlington, the nature reserve is undeveloped, without even playgrounds or picnic shelters to spoil the view.  Perfect for an early morning or late afternoon stroll, interested visitors can explore Crystal Canyon via its half-mile soft-surface trail

20. Southwest Nature Preserve

Southwest Nature Preserve
Source: Pexels / Mabel Amber | CC BY 2.0

As its name implies, Southwest Nature Preserve occupies almost sixty acres of outdoor space in the southwest corner of Arlington.  The preserve is home to a nice variety of native plant species.  Three ponds enhance the view and provide fishing opportunities; one is equipped with a pier.  Picnic tables, walking trails, and an outdoor terrace with seating for events rounds out the park’s facilities. 

Many visitors are drawn to Southwest Nature Preserve for the excellent views that can be had from the high bluff overlooking the region.  Hikers can see as far as downtown Fort Worth from the sandstone hillside.

21. Knapp Heritage Park

Knapp Heritage Park
Source: Flickr / QuesterMark | CC BY-SA 2.0

In central Arlington just north of the downtown area, Knapp Heritage Park is home to some of Arlington’s oldest buildings.  Two cabins from the middle of the nineteenth century allow visitors to explore Texas in the days of the pioneers.  A period blacksmith barn also takes guests into the past, with monthly blacksmithing demonstrations.

The site also includes an old-time general store, law office, and schoolhouse.  Knapp regularly hosts school groups and offers private tours. A series of historical events are held throughout the year.  Visit in spring to enjoy the bluebonnets.

22. Bowman Springs Park

Bowman Springs Park
Source: Pexels / Anthony | CC BY 2.0

Bowman Springs is on the smaller end of Arlington’s many parks, but it sits on prime real estate.  Located right on the eastern shore of Lake Arlington, the 14-acre park takes its name from an early settler family who arrived in the area in 1852. 

Previously named “Feather Beach,” the park provides an excellent access point to the lake, with a boat ramp, floating dock, and fishing pier.  Bowman Springs also offers the unique element of an 11-mile flat-water paddling trail, the first of its kind in Texas.  The small site also includes a basketball court, short hiking trail, picnic area, and playground.

23. Marrow Bone Spring Archaeological Site

Marrow Bone Spring Archaeological Site
Source: Unsplash / Josephine Baran | CC BY 2.0

Travelers interested in Native American History will appreciate a visit to Marrow Bone Spring.  The park is situated on the site of a long-term Indian encampment going back to at least the eighteenth century.  Evidence of the grain they ground on nearby boulders can still be seen along the creek bank. 

Republic of Texas President Sam Houston signed an 1843 treaty with the local Native Americans at this location.  Following the treaty Texas troops and settlers entered the Arlington area to stay.  The site’s 12 acres include a half mile of biking and hiking trails.

24. Arlington Museum of Art

Arlington Museum of Art
Source: Wikimedia / Michael Barera | CC BY-SA 4.0

In 1986 the Arlington Art Association converted a JCPenney department store into the Arlington Museum of Art.  With plenty of gallery space and a very helpful staff, the facility on Main Street in downtown Arlington features the work of contemporary regional artists from across North Texas. 

After several reorganizations of its mission, the museum now also includes earlier work of historical and cultural relevance to the Arlington area.  The museum hosts frequent traveling exhibitions, including such famous artists as Ansel Adams, Salvador Dalí, Hiroshige, and Pablo Picasso.  The museum also regularly hosts community events and arts education activities.

25. Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Source: Wikimedia / Billy Hathorn | CC BY-SA 3.0

Although technically located a thirty-minute drive from downtown Arlington in Fort Worth, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is a unique destination that is worth the drive.  Visitors can learn all about the process of printing U.S. currency here. 

Self-guided audio tours allow free access to the facility.  An enclosed walkway allows visitors to gain a bird’s eye view of the production floor, where billions of dollars are printed.  Two floors of interactive exhibits explain the history of currency and the process of printing money.  The Moneyfactory Gift Shop enables visitors to purchase a variety of keepsakes.