This National Landmark is located minutes from downtown Dallas and is the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the United States. Fair Park opened in 1936 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Lone Star State with a Texas-sized party similar to a World’s Fair that drew more than six million visitors. Today, Fair Park’s grounds are restored and still thriving. Dozens of unique attractions call Fair Park home.
Like Golden Gate Park or Balboa Park in California, this arts and entertainment complex aims to enlighten and delight visitors. Crowd size varies widely throughout the year (due to special events), but there is something to do here any time of year. Grounds admission is free, except during the State Fair.
Things to See & Do
Families can choose to explore just one venue or several. Spend just a day to visit to the Children’s Aquarium or Butterfly Garden, for example, or try a supersized visit Texas-style by taking in several museums, gardens, statues and fountains and maybe even a show. All tickets are sold separately, although some attractions are free.
The Cotton Bowl is located in the center of this 277 acre property and has the Red River Showdown between Texas and Oklahoma every October.
North America’s largest Ferris wheel, the Texas Star, lights up the night during the State Fair of Texas, open every September through October. Special guest, the iconic “Big Tex” talking statue, dominates the skyline during the fair, sporting his fifty-pound belt buckle.
Architecture buffs will want to take the Esplanade Walking Tour or Lagoon Walking Tour (directions online) to maximize the experience. Highlights include the Hall of State interior created by world-famous artists and the restored mural on the Food & Fiber building. Although Fair Park is a great example of lasting Art Deco design, there are touches of the old south and even the avant-garde as well.
Six performance venues bring in talented musicians and performers from multiple genres.
The Leonhardt Lagoon Nature Walk has many informative markers and a great view of the swan boat ride.
The Old Mill Inn is open for dining.
Fair Park Insider Tips