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Traveling with older kids can feel like Mission Impossible, but equipped with this list of things to do in Dallas with teens, you’re sure to score the parent of the year award–even in the eyes of the most difficult adolescents.
Ah, that infamously tricky time: the teenage years. Children’s museums start to lose their appeal, while more “boring” adult activities are still out of the picture.
Thankfully, we’ve found the middle ground. From engaging exhibits to entertaining restaurants, every teen will find something to enjoy.
After all, Dallas is an up-and-coming family vacation spot with tons of options for travelers of all ages!
14 Things to Do in Dallas with Teens
Mix and match these fun activities to build your perfect, teenage-approved Dallas itinerary. Good luck!
1. Explore Fun Photo-Ops at Rainbow Vomit
Got a budding social media guru on your hands? Take them to Rainbow Vomit!
Part experimental art installation and part interactive photography experience, this wild, wacky space is full of opportunities to snap pics.
The gallery boasts 7 unique rooms, utilizing over 10,000 LEDs, 2,000 balloons, 300 pounds of cotton, 4 miles of ribbon, and even a life-sized unicorn between them all.
A full walk-through (with plenty of picture-taking time) lasts about 1 hour.
You can buy tickets for this fun activity at the door, but it is slightly cheaper to snag them online and make sure your time slot is secured.
2. Perfect Your Swing at Topgolf
This isn’t just one of the best teenager activities in Dallas, it’s a top attraction, period!
As one of the city’s premier entertainment destinations, Topgolf features a handful of state-of-the-art games sure to stoke some friendly family competition.
Step into a climate-controlled hitting bay and pick your favorite from their wide selection of games, which includes classic driving range practice, accuracy challenges, and even a virtual Angry Birds.
Whether your teens are first-time golfers or Tiger Woods in the making, they’ll definitely find something to have fun with.
The compound also includes batting cages, three 18-hole mini golf courses, and an onsite bar/restaurant serving up kid favorites like burgers, wings, tacos, and flatbread pizzas.
3. Test Your Teamwork at Escapology
Although they can prove a tiny bit tricky for little ones, escape rooms are excellent for teens, challenging their problem-solving skills and bringing the whole family together to solve the puzzle.
That’s why this downtown destination tops our list of things to do in Dallas with teens.
Escapology boasts 7 thrilling rooms, each of which will plunge you into a thrilling, totally immersive storyline.
Go treasure hunting in a lost temple, catch a killer on the Budapest Express, or seek the antidote to a deadly virus in a mad scientist’s abandoned lab.
Whichever adventure you choose, you’re sure to face riddles, puzzles, and code-cracking mysteries galore.
Teams can be made up of 2-8 players, and you have 60 minutes to orchestrate your escape!
4. Enjoy Finger-Licking Fare at Norma’s Cafe
Teens are known for their voracious appetites, so you’ll need some solid restaurant options in your itinerary.
Young travelers are sure to agree with the motto of this Dallas institution right off the bat (“Life is short, eat dessert first!”), and the vintage decor and cozy booths only make it more enticing.
Norma’s Café specializes in super filling, Southern-style comfort food, with a menu full of breakfast favorites, burgers, and homemade rolls and cornbread.
For a whopping post-meal treat, you have to try their Mile-High Pies, which come in traditional fruit flavors as well as extra indulgent varieties like Chocolate + Peanut Butter and Oreo.
We recommend visiting their original Oak Cliff location, which has been around since 1956!
However, for ultimate convenience, there are 4 other spots scattered throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs.
5. Play Giant Pong at the National Videogame Museum
The next of our things to do in Dallas with teens is a little outside of the city center, but well worth the drive!
Found in Frisco, the National Video Game Museum brings fun and education together under one roof.
This is the first museum of its kind in the country, so it’s overflowing with rich history and culture, plus plenty of interactive exhibits that visitors of all ages will enjoy.
Parents can tap into the nostalgia of Pong, Pac-Man, and other classics, while teens can peek into the past.
Step into a fully outfitted 1980s bedroom, complete with retro movie posters and other authentic memorabilia.
Experience the evolution of game consoles and examine early personal computers like the legendary Apple II. Aim for the top spot on a live High Score board in the vintage arcade.
Tickets are just $12 for adults and $10 for kids aged 3-10.
6. Score Treetop Thrills at Trinity Forest Adventure Park
Wobble bridges, tightropes, ladders, cargo nets, and more! Teenagers will test their bravery on this high-flying aerial adventure course, which boasts more than 70 elements and 20 zip lines.
The courses gradually increase in elevation (with the highest point of 50 feet in the air!) and difficulty so participants of all skill levels can find their sweet spot.
Traveling with little ones, too? This aerial adventure park features miniature courses for adrenaline-seekers ages 4 and up.
A 3-hour adventure costs $59.95 per adult, but youths ages 13-15 score a $5 discount.
All in all, it’s a wonderful chance to burn off some energy, enjoy the outdoors, and bond over conquering challenges together.
7. Picnic and Play At Klyde Warren Park
Searching for free things to do in Dallas with teens? Look no further–a trip to Klyde Warren Park is just the ticket!
This urban green space in the heart of downtown is packed with art installations, play areas, free events, and outdoor activities.
Take a self-guided, STEM-focused virtual tour and collect badges at 12 designated stations.
Join a free tai chi, yoga, or dance class. Get active with a game of frisbee, ping-pong, or bocce ball, or simply settle down on a picnic blanket to play cards.
Depending on the season, the park also hosts live concerts, open-air movie nights, and holiday parties. Check their calendar before you go!
Of course, you’ll need something delicious to fuel all this fun.
Luckily, a rotating line-up of food trucks is stationed around the park’s perimeter, dishing up everything from funky-flavored snow cones to the original Texas State Fair corn dogs.
8. Dive Into Hands-on Learning at the Perot Museum
While some teens may resist educational tourism, this nature and science center disguises learning so well that they’ll hardly remember they’re in a museum!
And that’s exactly why it tops our list of things to do in Dallas with older kids.
Packed with interactive exhibits, fascinating finds, and hands-on learning opportunities, the Perot is the perfect place to let your imagination run wild while enjoying an indoor activity.
Test your speed in a virtual footrace against a T-rex, cheetah, or NFL quarterback.
Feel the ground shake beneath your feet in the Dynamic Earth Hall’s quake simulator. Take on STEM challenges like music-making and robot tags in the Engineering and Innovation Hall.
General admission tickets are $25 for visitors aged 13 and up, but you can score a solid deal by purchasing package deals online in advance.
Consider adding access to their temporary exhibits or a 3D film experience!
9. Catch a Show at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
As they say, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” And while a visit to the movies might be standard practice at home, Alamo Drafthouse takes things up a notch–from mere itinerary-filler to one of the unmissable things to do in Dallas with teens.
This is a dinner-and-a-show type of experience. Let your teen pick their favorite flick from what’s currently showing, a rotation of new releases and beloved classics.
Then, settle into a comfy reclining chair (complete with tray table) and place your order. Of course, there are theater classics like pizza, soda, and sweets.
But they also include plenty of vegan options (hello, Beyond burgers and cauliflower wings) as well as decadent flavored popcorn buckets.
Here, there’s no need to worry about running out of popcorn before you even get through the previews.
Simply flag down a server and have a free refill brought straight to your seat.
10. Have a Family-Style Feast at Terry Black’s Barbecue
Adolescents are known for their substantial appetites, so it’s practically a given that one of the best things to do in Dallas with teens is…eat.
And you can’t say you’re traveling to Texas if barbecue isn’t on the menu.
Terry Black’s is a state institution, with roots in Lockhart but restaurants located in Dallas and Austin as well.
Fourth-generation pitmasters run the place, so you can trust that it’s about as legit as it gets.
The menu has everything you need to get a family-style feast going.
Take your pick of tender meats (brisket, pork ribs, jalapeño cheese sausage, and more), and pair them with classic BBQ sides like mac and cheese, cole slaw, and baked potato salad.
For dessert, you practically have to indulge in one of their Texan specialties: mini pecan pies, peach cobbler, and banana pudding.
The industrial-style interiors and red serving trays are an invitation to take this dining experience seriously–so get messy and dig in!
11. Go for a Spin at the Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center
It doesn’t have to be winter for you to enjoy a festive family skate sesh! At the Galleria Mall, this icy activity takes place year-round, with daily public hours.
Of course, it is particularly lively around the holiday season, when a giant Christmas tree takes center stage in the rink.
However, fun events, shows, and lessons make it an itinerary must-have regardless of when you’re visiting Dallas.
Admission costs $12 per person, and you can bring your own skates or strap on some rentals for an additional $5.
As a bonus, if your teens get burnt out on skating, they can head off on a window shopping stroll or hit the mall food court for a pick-me-up.
12. See the Natural World Up Close at Texas Discovery Gardens
Of all the things to do with teens in Dallas, this is certainly one of the most unique.
Although the White Rock Lake and Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden top many city itineraries, this engaging alternative offers tons of creature encounters and natural wonders that older kids will love.
Escape the city’s hustle and bustle in a 7.5-acre organic garden filled with native Texas plants.
Step inside the 2-story Butterfly House and Insectarium, where dozens of different tropical species float by on vibrant wings.
Observe snakes, reptiles, and turtles that live throughout the Southwest US.
Discovery Gardens occasionally hosts seasonal, special events or free public workshops, like a popular Gardening for Beginners class. Check their website before you go to see what’s on!
13. Shop ‘Til You Drop at the Dallas Farmers Market
If your teen wants to shop like a local, take them to the Dallas Farmers Market–where there’s truly something for everyone.
The Market Building (open 7 days a week, year-round) is overflowing with artisanal food stalls, coffee shops, and both indoor and outdoor seating.
Snag some tasty Texan treats or a full meal from one of 4 anchor restaurants.
Does your accommodation have a kitchen? If so, head to the Shed, an impressive open-air pavilion where you can buy fresh, seasonal fruits, veggies, and meats from local farmers.
On the other hand, if your teen isn’t much of a foodie, nearby retail complexes boast clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, and home decor studios galore. Give them a budget, and let them loose!
14. Bring History to Life at the Sixth Floor Museum
We wrap up this list of things to do in Dallas with teens on a bit of a somber note, but if your teen is fascinated by US history and politics, this is the place to be.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza explores the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, showcasing photographs, recordings, and other artifacts from his presidency and diving into conspiracy theories that emerged after his death.
Admission costs $18 for adults and just $14 for teens. You can move at your own pace, and videos and immersive displays keep the storytelling engaging the whole way through this educational experience.
That’s it for today! From Deep Ellum to White Rock Lake and beyond, Dallas-Fort Worth is a fantastic place where teens can have unforgettable experiences.