Dallas is a city with a rich history and a diverse population, so it should come as no surprise that the Big D is the cultural center of North Texas. If you are buying or building a home in Dallas, there is always another festival or cultural event to look forward to. No matter what your interests or your heritage is, you will find it celebrated here.
So you can gain a better appreciation of everything Dallas has to offer, we present our review of “Dallas Festivals and Events You Won’t Want to Miss”. This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but it is meant to spark your interest. The best way to soak up Dallas culture will always be to get out and about and experience it for yourself.
NOTE: The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic may affect how and if some of these traditional celebrations are observed. Please refer to the included links for scheduling and safety precautions.
Celebrating the life and legacy of the Civil Rights icon, this free parade is one of the largest such observances in the United States. Every year, 150,000 people line up along MLK Boulevard to watch the floats and marching bands go by.
First held in 1896, this is the nation’s longest continually-running rodeo and livestock show. It attracts an estimated 1.5 million visitors and is directly responsible for the popularity of rodeo as a professional sporting event. Best of all, 85% of events take place under a roof, avoiding the winter ice storms known as “Stock Show Weather”.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Garden has been recognized as one of the premier floral exhibitions in the entire world. This annual six-week event showcases over half a million spring blooms from hundreds of varieties of tulips. Every week, one of America’s six regions is highlighted.
Besides the tulips and the regular exhibits, visitors can also enjoy thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry blossoms. Dallas Blooms also offers live music, wine and beer tastings, cooking classes, guest speakers and book signings, children’s activities, and Easter events.
Sponsored by the Crow Museum of Asian Art, this festival has been a tradition in Dallas for over 20 years. Held on Lunar Day, activities include lion and dragon dances, art displays, traditional music, face-painting, and a special performance honoring the year’s Zodiac animal.
(CONTINUING: Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo)
Held at Fair Park the first week of March, this three-day event is the largest Irish festival in the American Southwest and the second-oldest in the country. Some of the highlights include traditional foods, music and dancers, a craft marketplace, and a whisky tasting.
With nearly 100 floats, almost 1700 participants, and over 125,000 attendees, this is the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Southwest region of the country. The two-mile parade route traditionally runs along Greenville Avenue.
Also known as Ratha Yatra, or “Festival of Chariots”, this festival celebrates the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of India. Activities include traditional Indian food, demonstrations and information about yoga, meditation, health, philosophy, and astrology, crafts, music, and henna tattoos.
(Continuing: Dallas Blooms)
This city-wide observance celebrates and showcases artistic talent in the Dallas area. Attend any or all of more than 100 events, exhibitions, and performances around the city to gain a better awareness, understanding, and appreciation of Dallas’ thriving art scene.
Since 2014, this family-friendly event has celebrated North Texas’ vibrant Latino culture, and it is now the largest festival of its kind. Activities include live music, singing and dancing contests, mariachi performers, and of course, delicious food.
(Continuing: Dallas Blooms)
Dallas is home to the largest and longest-running Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring a festival and a parade. Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT Mexican Independence Day, but it is a commemoration of the first victory of the Mexican army over French invaders.
The local Big Parade is held along Jefferson Boulevard in the heart of one of the most important Mexican-American communities in Dallas. Floats, walking groups, art exhibits, music, dancing, and food vendors are among the attractions.
Showcasing more than 20 Asian countries, the Dallas Asian Festival has been a popular local event for over 25 years. Held in May to observe Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, it is the largest Asian festival in North Texas.
Activities include cultural performances, a themed marketplace, information about Eastern health practices, and traditional food vendors.
Juneteenth is the oldest observance celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. Before it became a federal holiday, it was uniquely Texan, and that history is not lost on Dallas residents.
Some of the day’s activities include a march, musical performances, speakers, food vendors, a car show, and even an exhibit featuring the Negro Baseball League.
For over 30 years, Taste of Dallas has been the one-stop sampling experience featuring the best food and beverages in the Metroplex. Visitors can try dishes from over 60 Dallas restaurants, food trucks, and vendors, visit the beer and wine gardens showcasing the talents of local brewmasters and vintners, or shop for unique food products that are certified “Go Texan”.
The most fabulous LGBTQ+ event in North Texas, Dallas Pride represents a community that is over 350,000 strong in DFW. Activities include a Pride Parade, music, speakers, and food vendors.
Fair Park Fourth does not disappoint. Besides a massive fireworks display, other activities include patriotic music, food trucks, fountain shows and games and rides within the State Fair of Texas Midway.
Held in nearby Addison, Kaboom Town is the largest fireworks show in the DFW and is nationally-recognized as one of the Top 10 4th of July celebrations in America. The 30-minute display uses over 1,500 pounds of fireworks and attracts over 400,000 visitors annually.
Besides the pyrotechnics, the other main attraction is the Freedom Flyover, featuring historic vintage warplanes.
Fort Worth celebrates its Western heritage with the “Best Cowboy Tribute” event in America. Held in the historic Fort Worth Stockyard District, this family-friendly event includes such pioneer activities as chuck wagons, a parade and rodeo, comedy gunfights, armadillo racing, cowboy poetry, and hands-on calf-roping training.
Celebrating both National Watermelon Day and National Farmers Market week, this festival is filled with fun activities for the family — watermelon bowling, eating contests, a barnyard petting zoo, speed-spitting contests, and a scavenger hunt. Best of all, you can support Texas agriculture by picking up a ripe watermelon or other farm-fresh produce.
Held in nearby Denton, this event attracts over 100,000 people annually. This is a perfect small fair experience in the days leading up to the Texas State Fair and includes the best in Texas country music, cook-offs, tractor pulls, and even swimming and racing pigs.
Providing the ultimate art experience in Dallas, this three-day event celebrates everything having to do with music and visual art. Over 100 musical acts and more than 200 visual artists will be represented at this year’s event, which will also include dozens of food vendors.
NOTE: The Deep Ellum Arts Festival features an eclectic and bohemian assortment of artists, which means some of the works may be edgy or even adult in nature. Discretion is advised.
This 24-day event is one of the premier state fairs in the country, attracting over two million visitors annually. The iconic Big Tex statue welcomes fairgoers to a celebration of everything Texas — rides, games, concessions, live music, shopping, and the largest new car show in the Southwest region of the United States.
The centerpiece of the State Fair is the Red River Rivalry college football game between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma, which has been played since 1929.
For over 60 years, the Greek Food Festival has celebrated the cuisine and culture of Greece. Event activities include music, crafts, and of course, food favorites like gyros, souvlaki, and baklava.
With dozens of musical acts and more than 80 visual artists, this festival showcases the best talent in the DFW area. Other activities include a “Taste of Texas” food market, an antiques market, magicians, a family fishing tournament, and a car and motorcycle show.
As part of Native American Heritage Month, this educational celebration features exhibits of indigneous artifacts, storytelling, and cultural performances.
Featuring over 180,000 lights and 10 miles of wiring, this holiday display in nearby Frisco is the largest choreographed music and light show in North Texas. Running from late November through New Year’s, this free show attracts over 750,000 visitors every year.
Other activities include skating, carriage rides, visits with Santa, and shopping.
Held the first Saturday in December, the premier holiday celebration in Dallas draws 450,000 visitors every year. Attractions include festive holiday floats, giant balloons, dance teams, marching bands, and Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Holiday Parade is the largest one day outdoor event in the Dallas metro.
The oldest marathon in Texas has been held in Dallas since 1971. That first race saw only 82 runners, but today’s race draws thousands. Now, the weekend includes a 100m dash, 5k and 10k races, relays, and half, full, and ultra marathons.
(Continuing: Christmas in the Square)