Part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Irving is famous for being the international headquarters of five Fortune 500 corporations, and it is home to 8,500 companies. Irving, TX has several excellent museums, including a museum of scouting, the Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center, a world-class bike path Campion Trail, the beautiful Mandalay Canal, and the picturesque Lake Carolyn with romantic gondola rides. Here are the best things to do in Irving, TX.
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1.Mustangs of Las Colinas
© Mustangs of Las Colinas
Mustangs of Las Colinas is a magnificent sculpture and the centerpiece of William’s Square in the Las Colinas Urban Center. Dallas businessman Ben H. Carpenter converted his family’s ranch into the Las Colinas Center and commissioned African wildlife artist Robert Glen to create a sculpture reflecting the area’s native past.
Dedicated in 1984, the sculpture depicts nine larger-than-life wild mustangs that gallop through a granite stream and attract visitors from around the world. Visit the adjacent museum to learn how the making of the mustangs took eight years and spanned three continents.
5221 North O’Connor Road, Suite 110E, Irving, TX 75039, 972-869-9047
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2.Irving Arts Center
© Irving Arts Center
Irving Arts Center is the home of arts and culture for the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The 10-acre complex houses two theaters, four galleries, and a sculpture garden, along with multifunctional rooms and event facilities. It also features performances and exhibits by both local and internationally-renowned artists.
The 2-acre sculpture garden allows visitors to enjoy a beautiful natural setting while viewing an impressive permanent collection created by local artists and youth, and the garden also displays pieces on loan from around the world. The center offers a variety of free programs for children and families as well as a Summer Adventure Camp for ages 4-18.
3333 North MacArthur Blvd., Irving, TX 75062, 972-252-7558
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3.Founder's Plaza Observation Area
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Have a picnic in Founder’s Plaza and watch the planes landing and taking off from Dallas Fort Worth Airport. A beautiful park-like setting with benches, picnic tables, and grassy areas, the plaza is the perfect place to spend some free time or wait for a flight.
The statues and commemorative monument symbolically display the airport’s history, and a radio broadcasts live air traffic control communications from the towers to announce the arrival of planes. Telescopes are provided, and they offer a great view of the action on the runways. Founder’s Plaza is open from 7 AM to 7 PM with ample parking. Next read: Texas beaches
DFW International Airport, 2400 Aviation Drive, DFW Airport, TX 75261, 972-973-3112
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4.Ruth Paine House Museum, Irving, Texas
© Courtesy of httpcityofirving.org
Ruth Paine’s small suburban home is now a museum that exhibits the history of its role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald stayed at the home with his wife the night before he assassinated JFK at Dallas’ Dealey Plaza.
Restored to its 1963 appearance, the multimedia museum tells the story of how Ruth and Michael Paine became caught in the aftermath of the tragedy and relates important background information, making it a must-see on the list of JFK- related sites. Tours begin at the Visitors’ Center on the third floor of Irving Central Library.
Irving Central Library, 801 W. Irving Blvd. Third Floor, Irving, TX 75061, 972-721-3729
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5.Fritz Park Petting Farm
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A sub-facility of Fritz Park, the Petting Farm offers a rare opportunity for a hands-on encounter with farm animals in the middle of the Metroplex. Located near 15th Street and East Vilbig Road and only open in June and July, the park has a peaceful, shaded environment where visitors of all ages can pet and feed cows, horses, goats, rabbits, and more.
Thirty-minute educational tours are available from 10AM – noon and should be scheduled in advance. The farm sponsors a volunteer program for children who are 12 years and older and interested in assisting with farm work. The park is closed on Mondays.
312 E. Vilbig Road, Irving, TX 75060, 972-721-2640
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6.Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra
© Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra
The Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra is one of America’s top 100 symphonies. The LCSO presents eight subscription concerts annually in the resplendent state-of-the-art Carpenter Performance Hall in the Irving Arts Center. Ninety-three professional musicians from 19 different countries form the talented and affluent orchestra led by Maestro Robert Carter Austin who is in his twenty-fifth season as Music Director.
The Lone Star Youth Orchestra provides talented middle and high school instrumentalists in the Metroplex area the opportunity to benefit from professional training and performance. The youth orchestra performs four series annually on Wednesday evenings. A variety of educational programs are offered year-round.
Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, TX 75062, 972-252-4800
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7.Toyota Music Factory
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Toyota Music Factory is a world-class entertainment destination in the Las Colinas neighborhood of Irving, Texas. The venue was opened on September 9, 2017 with a ZZ Top concert. The main parts of the complex comprise a 210,000-square-foot food and retail space, which includes the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema movie theater and bowling alley, and the Pavilion, an indoor 4,000-seat music theatre that has a wall that can retract to open onto the 65,000-square-foot lawn to add an additional 4,000 seats. The Pavilion can offer everything from intimate performances for 2,500 spectators to open-air concerts for 8,000. Between the two main parts of the complex is Texas Lottery Plaza, the outdoor stage where there is something always going on.
300 W Las Colinas Blvd, Irving, TX 75039-5469
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8.Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center
© Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center
Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center tells the story of the African-American enclave in Irving’s Bear Creek community during the period of racial segregation in America, and of the lives of African-Americans in Bear Creek from the time slaves were emancipated to the period of Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. Located in west Irving, Bear Creek is one of the oldest Dallas County African-American communities.
The area became predominantly African American after former slaves started moving into the area after the emancipation. The Heritage Center consists of three museums: The Bear Creek Masonic Lodge, which served as a community center to all masons and not only the African-American; the Green House, the home of Sam Green, a long-term leading community resident; and the J.O. Davis House, a walk-through museum of the Bear Creek community. The Center also has a lovingly maintained Native Plant Garden.
3925 Jackson St, Irving, TX 75061, 972-721-2501
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9.SUP NTX-Stand Up Paddle North Texas
© SUP NTX-Stand Up Paddle North Texas
SUP NTX-Stand Up Paddle North Texas on the Mandalay Canal has everything you need to get started enjoying the fastest growing water sport in the world. The family-owned business has a fully-stocked shop where they’ll help you find the perfect paddle board for your needs. Beginners can start with rentals and private classes for all ages and skill levels.
Check out their fitness classes with low impact, full body workouts or join a guided 3-hour sunset tour to the fountains and waterfalls. They offer popular Couples Retreat and Mom’s Day & Night Out packages. Large groups and special event scheduling is available.
113 Las Colinas Blvd. East, Irving, TX 75039, 972-567-7871
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10.Gondola Adventures, Irving, Texas
© Gondola Adventures
Take a romantic cruise on Lake Carolyn or through the Mandalay Canals in a beautiful gondola with Gondola Adventures. Visitors can choose paddle or electric gondolas and romantic cruises or fun trips with family or friends. Relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of private inlets and waterfalls.
Fabulous local restaurants cater the dinner cruises, and gondoliers serenade romantic guests who are encouraged to kiss under each bridge. Gondola Adventure cruises are ideal for celebrating special occasions, and flotillas can be arranged for large groups as well as customizations for weddings and corporate events. Reservations are required for all cruises.
357 W Fork, Irving, TX 75039, 949-646-2067
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© Bread Zeppelin
Salad is salad, right? Not if you make an effort to come up with something truly special. Bread Zeppelin elevated the classic salad bar to new heights with their 40 salad ingredients, 20 dressings, and the Zeppelin: a fresh baked artisan baguette from the local Empire Bakery. You can make your own salad mix, and they will chop it in front of you, flavor it with whatever dressing you want, and serve it to you in a bowl or in a hollowed-out hot and fresh baguette.
You get the best part of the bread – the crunchy crust filled with all the healthy goodies you choose, without all the dense filling of the soft bread middle. You might want to try one of their imaginative concoctions such as Metropolitan Cobb with grilled chicken, crumbled egg, avocado, bacon, tomato, crumbled bleu cheese, and a blend of Iceberg and Romaine lettuce dressed in the Metropolitan Cobb dressing. Be prepared to wait; the line is often out the door. Read more
6440 North MacArthur Boulevard #140, Irving, TX 75039, 469-359-2661
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12.Via Real, Irving, Texas
© Via Real
Located in the upscale Las Colinas neighborhood, Via Real is a popular gathering place for business lunches, celebrations, and parties. It is also a favorite spot for couples who want a romantic dinner for two. The restaurant is elegant and stylish, and features a warm Santa Fe atmosphere created with some tasteful art pieces and muted earth colors. The menu is a fun mix of Mexican and Southwestern dishes.
You will find everyone’s favorites such as ceviche, enchiladas, and tacos, but there are also more refined dishes such as Chicken Monterey with grilled chicken breast topped with spinach and Texas goat cheese on poblano rice and drenched in roasted red pepper sauce. Via Real has a nice selection of wines from all over the world, excellent house margaritas, and a large number of high quality tequilas.
4020 North MacArthur Boulevard #100, Irving, TX 75038, 972-650-9001
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© The Ranch
The Ranch is one of those restaurants where you can see business types and ranch hands having grand old times together and feeling right at home. Everything at the Ranch is big, from their comfortable dining room and pleasant terrace to the menu and dining portions. They take their fork-to-table philosophy seriously, and everything is locally sourced, including their Cobe beef, veggies, shrimps, redfish, wines and breads. Even the bands that play live music on a regular basis are local.
The menu is as big as Texas, and while choosing might be hard, you can’t go wrong with whatever you end up getting. Even if you just stick to the starters, you will find delights such as Cornmeal Fried Texas Gulf Oysters in smoked chili butter, tomatillo, and tangy remoulade.
857 West John W Carpenter Freeway, Irving, TX 75039, 972-506-7262
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© La Margarita
La Margarita is colorful and cozy with a beautiful large mural that dominates the dining room, this innovative Tex-Mex place serves interesting interpretations of classic favorites and some wonderful surprises.
You will find all the familiars such as enchiladas, tamales, tacos, burritos, and chalupas, but you will also see more refined dishes such as Relleno de huitlacoche – poblano pepper stuffed with sautéed Mexican truffles, crema, queso asadero, and roasted veggies. Try one or more of their interesting and innovative house margaritas at quaint Rita’s Bar.
2922 N Belt Line Rd, Irving, TX 75062, 972-570-1137
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15.Andalous, Irving, TX
Andalous Mediterranean Grill is a colorful, spacious restaurant that introduces healthy, delicious food from a range of countries around the Mediterranean Sea, from Italy, Greece, and Spain to Turkey and Morocco. Grilled meats such as chicken and lamb are combined with traditional spices and fresh, lightly cooked vegetables that retain all their flavors and juices.
Traditional flat breads are baked in house and served hot with some incredibly delicious dips and sauces. To try a bit of everything, ask for a sample platter. You can even choose what goes on it. It is rare to find such delicious food that is also healthy for you.
6450 North MacArthur Boulevard, Irving, TX 75039, 972-401-8900
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16.Taste of Irving, Irving, Texas
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Visiting Irving in May? Don’t miss the chance to sample some of the area’s top-rated restaurants at Taste of Irving in Cimarron Park Recreation Center. Free Admission to this outdoor festival includes fun for the whole family. The highlight is sampling menu items from Irving’s best restaurants for only $5 or less.
There are plenty of activities and features to fill the day, including an impressive craft market, a children’s fun zone area, and a variety of culinary entertainment. Complete the day with live jazz and swing musical entertainment on the Valley Ranch Stage. Free parking and an event shuttle are available from Ranchview High School.
Cimarron Park Recreation Center, 201 Red River Trail, Irving, TX 75063, 972-721-2600
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© Courtesy of Pascal - Fotolia.com
Campion Trail is a 13-mile long, wide, paved path that goes through both urban and rural parts of Irving, a lively suburb of Dallas. The two sections – north and south – of the trail do not connect at the moment, but the plan calls for them to join eventually and form a 22-mile long greenbelt along tributaries of the Trinity River – Elm Fork and West Fork. Irving residents use the northern section of Campion Trail both for recreation and for commuting. The trail stretches from the Valley Ranch at Sam Houston Trail Park to Irving’s business district Las Colinas. The southern segment goes along the West Fork, beginning in Trinity View Park, and passes through Mountain Creek Preserve and Twin Wells Park. It connects to the Lone Star Trail in Grand Prairie.
Irving City Hall, 825 W. Irving Blvd., Irving, TX 75060, 972-721-2501
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18.Mandalay Canal Walk at Las Colinas
© Mandalay Canal Walk at Las Colinas
Escape the city with a stroll along the Mandalay Canal. Just steps below the urban area is a walkway through old-world charm and unique architecture. Las Colinas is one of the first planned communities in the United States. Ranching millionaire Ben Carpenter transformed his family ranch into one of the largest multifunctional developments in the South.
A carpenter designed the walkway to reflect the area’s native setting of streams and waterfalls. Visitors can enjoy the scenery just a few steps away from upscale restaurants and exclusive shops. The walkway is pet friendly, and it’s a great place to watch the gondolas cruise the canal.
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19.BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
© BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a beautiful temple offering locals and visitors alike the opportunity to worship and learn about India and Hindu culture. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan is a socio-spiritual organization with a world-wide network that has received national and international awards for its spiritual programs and humanitarian efforts.
The Mandir is open every day of the year and conducts a variety of activities and programs to cultivate social, spiritual, and ethical values. Darshan times are Monday – Friday 7AM - 12PM & 4PM - 8PM and Saturday – Sunday 7AM- 8PM. Arti times are 7 am & 7 pm (Summer) and 6:30 pm (Winter).
4601 N State Highway 161, Irving TX 75038, 972-243-8669
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20 Best Things to Do in Irving, Texas
- Mustangs of Las Colinas, Photo: Mustangs of Las Colinas
- Irving Arts Center, Photo: Irving Arts Center
- Founder's Plaza Observation Area, Photo: Courtesy of panya 99 - Fotolia.com
- Ruth Paine House Museum, Irving, Texas, Photo: Courtesy of httpcityofirving.org
- Fritz Park Petting Farm, Photo: Courtesy of Mikkel Bigandt - Fotolia.com
- Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Photo: Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra
- Toyota Music Factory, Photo: Courtesy of Aphotostudio - Fotolia.com
- Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center, Photo: Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center
- SUP NTX-Stand Up Paddle North Texas, Photo: SUP NTX-Stand Up Paddle North Texas
- Gondola Adventures, Irving, Texas, Photo: Gondola Adventures
- Bread Zeppelin, Photo: Bread Zeppelin
- Via Real, Irving, Texas, Photo: Via Real
- The Ranch, Photo: The Ranch
- La Margarita, Photo: La Margarita
- Andalous, Irving, TX, Photo: Andalous
- Taste of Irving, Irving, Texas, Photo: Courtesy of borisbelenky - Fotolia.com
- Campion Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Pascal - Fotolia.com
- Mandalay Canal Walk at Las Colinas, Photo: Mandalay Canal Walk at Las Colinas
- BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Photo: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of trongnguyen - Fotolia.com