Sure, you know all about roller coasters and Rangers. But do you also know about all of the other cool things to do in Arlington that might be hidden in plain sight or just a few yards off the beaten path?
If the answer is “no” to more than two or three of these gems, friends, then it’s high time that we remedied that situation—fast. So without further ado, here’s a not-your-everyday Arlington fun agenda—and when you’re finished perusing, be sure and check out the “part one” to this article that we put together a while back.
One: Crystal Canyon Natural Area
Billed as a “geology lover’s paradise in the heart of North Arlington”, the 40-acre Crystal Canyon is a definite treat for nature lovers (especially fossil hunting types) or anyone who enjoys unspoiled natural beauty. To enhance your visit, do a little research before you arrive, making sure not to neglect the canyon’s rumored role in a legend about 19th-century ghosts and buried treasure.
Two: Texas Coffee School
This one is so cool. Unleash your inner barista with professional-grade training at Texas Coffee School, where at-home enthusiasts of the dark stuff can build skills in classes like “Espresso and Milk Skills” or “Quality Coffee Brewing.”
Three: Daiquiri Drama and Margarita Madness
Arlington is home to two shops that specialize in adult beverages of the frozen variety: The Daiquiri Depot, offering a rainbow of flavors in sizes ranging from sixteen ounce to gallon (plus you can grab some nachos, burgers and fries to munch on the side); and the Eskimo Hut, a go-to spot for daiquiris AND margaritas with names like Pink Rain, Fuzzy Memory, Hazel Dream, and Orangesicle. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
Four: Southwest Nature Preserve
No doubt about it, one of Arlington’s best kept secrets is the Southwest Nature Preserve, a 58-acre greenspace teeming with native plant communities and stunning bluff-side views. Bring your camera and prepare to stay a while…
Five: Antique and Vintage Shopping
That groovy pair of cats-eye reading glasses or can’t-believe-you-stumbled-across-it retro print may be just around the corner at the Vintage Depot, Cosmic Crow Collective, ReRun Consignment Boutique, Timeless Treasures, or Cooper Street Antique Mall—and that’s just to name a few of the places where you can go vintage treasure hunting Arlington. Bonus: Be sure and also check out the Handley Antique Mall and Café, a wonderful spot in the historic Handley neighborhood of Fort Worth that’s a mere stone’s throw away from the West Arlington/Fort Worth city limit border.
Six: Live Music
Arlington may not be Austin or Branson, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to make our own live music fun at spots like Stumpy’s Blues Bar, Grease Monkey, J. Gilligan’s, JR Bentley’s, Sherlock’s, Milo’s Bar, or Brickhouse Lounge—and of course the two jewels in our live music crown, Arlington Music Hall and Levitt Pavilion.
Seven: Arlington Tennis Center
Whether you’re a rock star of the racket or just looking for a new fun way to stay fit, you should head to the award-winning Arlington Tennis Center, featuring 26 lighted courts, private instruction, group classes, a pro shop, tournaments and more—it’s super affordable and family-friendly, too.
Eight: Garden Parties
If you want to learn more about native plants, or just like looking at pretty stuff outdoors, you should check out the natural gardens at the Molly Hollar Wildscape, Blackland Prairie Park, SmartScape Garden, Ruthie Brock Reading Garden, or the UT Arlington Community Garden, (where you can plant and grow your own vegetables). Or maybe you dig on gardens that grow art instead of food, in which case we suggest a visit to the Meadowbrook Park Sculpture Garden, the public art trail at Richard Greene Linear Park, the Texas Star Trail or the children’s art sculptures at Bicentennial Park in Pantego.
Nine: Horseback Riding
Don’t let the professional sports teams and world-class concerts throw you off. Arlington is still a place where you can commune with nature on the back of a horse, especially at the equestrian trails at Veterans Park or S.J. Stovall Park— and if you’re looking for a place to board or build riding skills, or perhaps throw a horse-themed birthday party, check out Golden Gates Stables or Triple T Stables.
Ten: Climb, Twirl, Jump, Race
Got a score to settle? Need to burn off some stress? Ready for a different kind of date night? If yes to any, we suggest a few hours of climbing at Dyno Rock, jumping on a ginormous trampoline at Flight Deck, racing a high-performance go-kart at K-1 Speed, or getting’ your spin on at ICE At The Parks.
Eleven: The Popcorn Store
Fair warning: A trip to The Popcorn Store may result in a lifetime addiction—but it’s totally worth it. Flavors we especially recommend include dill pickle, garlic parmesan, jalapeno cheese, white cheddar, and buttery caramel.
Twelve: Ethnic Restaurants
It’s unlikely but true: the city of Six Flags Over Texas and AT&T Stadium is also a destination for some outstanding ethnic neighborhood restaurants that are just waiting for you to discover them—like Al-Amir (Lebanese), Halal Grill (Indo-Mediterranean) , Istanbul Grill (Turkish), Jinn Korean BBQ (Korean), Mon Viet Café (Vietnamese), or Sabor Latino (Columbian) . And that’s just the tip of the iceberg—find more ethnic restaurants in Arlington here.
Thirteen: Heroes Park
Arlington’s memorial to fallen police and fire officers is a good place to visit when you’re in need of quiet reflection and inspiration. Notable Heroes Park features include the park’s central element, the white stone memorial Wall of Honor—as well as a tree-lined walkway and the Stream of Life, a water fountain that trickles water into a pool in front of the memorial wall.
Fourteen: Gone Fishin’
If you’re ready to ditch work and take your tackle box someplace peaceful, you’re in luck, because we’ve got some pretty good fishing spots at River Legacy, Lake Arlington, Southwest Nature Preserve, Bowman Springs Park, Randol Mill Park, and Richard Simpson Park, just to name a few. Bonus: If you like fishing for cash, check out the annual Arlington Bass Classic.
Fifteen: The Green at College Park
This beautiful green space on the UT Arlington campus, perfect for visiting with friends or just relaxing, features a generous native grass lawn, recycled glass paving, and a butterfly/hummingbird corridor; plus it’s within walking or quick driving distance of College Park District events and restaurants and Downtown Arlington.
Sixteen: Fielder Museum
Arlington’s rich history as a farming community turned post-war boomtown can be explored in depth at the Historic Fielder House and Museum and Knapp Heritage Park. They’re both in the “must-do” category for families with younger kids or anybody who loves history.
Seventeen: River Legacy Living Science Center
One of the most unusual museums in the Dallas-Fort Worth region is the Living Science Center, a 12,000 square foot learning destination that’s chock full of interesting (and live!) environmental and wildlife exhibits. After your visit, gather up all the cool new nature facts you’ve learned and go exploring in the amazing 1,300 urban oasis that is River Legacy Park, one of the premier outdoor spaces in North Texas.
Eighteen: Potager’s Other Stuff
This charming Downtown Arlington coffee shop and boutique, famed for its yummy homemade quiche and out-of-the-ordinary organic treats, is a perfect spot for a tranquil afternoon spent with a book and a soothing beverage, or a lively conversation with a friend over some tasty chocolate.
Nineteen: Texas Rangers Fan Experiences
Check out the Texas Rangers website to find out how you can arrange a once-in-a-lifetime game experience for someone—like stealing an in-game base, delivering the game ball, or taking the field pre-game with the player. Your favorite Rangers fan won’t soon forget it!
Twenty: Craft Beer
Did you know that Arlington is enjoying a growing reputation as a destination for some of the region’s most interesting craft beer options? It’s true, but don’t take our word for it—head over to Division Brewing, Legal Draft Brewing Co, On Tap, or Kool Keg to sample a few flights and find out for yourself.
Twenty-One: The Upstairs Gallery
A cozy house on the edge of Downtown Arlington is the home of The Upstairs Gallery, offering classes for beginners and professionals in watercolor, drawing, jewelry making, and experimental art, just to name a few, as well as a gallery filled with works by artists from points across North Texas.