Children & Family

Best fall activities and jam-packed fun for all the family

Mark your calendars, because fall season is here – and nowhere does pumpkin-spiced-everything and cooler weather fun like Dallas.

Cidonie Richards
Posted on Sep 20, 2019

1. Autumn at the Arboretum Sept. 21 – Oct. 31

When it comes to fall, there's no better place to be immersed in the pumpkin spirit than the Dallas Arboretum's Autumn at the Arboretum. The nationally acclaimed Pumpkin Village featuring pumpkin houses and creative displays utilizing more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash will delight families of any age. Families can look forward to this year's theme,  "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and snap selfies with Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty and Marcie behind the iconic brick wall, get lost with Pig Pen in the hay bale maze, and see the Peanuts Gang at their gourd decorated school house for their autumn carnival. Autumn at the Arboretum is included in general admission.

2. 6th Annual Smoked Dallas Festival – Sept. 21

There's nothing quite like BBQ in Texas, and when they bring the annual Smoked BBQ festival to Dallas, it's a fall party not to be missed. This is where the family can try finger-lickin' tastings from more than 20 of the most popular BBQ joints from across the Lonestar State. All the BBQ, along with sides and deserts are included in your ticket and there's plenty of family-friendly games, armadillo races and a mechanical bull to keep the kids amused. Bring a chair and prepare for the day and take in some country music from acts like honky tonk legend Dale Watson, Straight Tequila Night and The 40 Acre Mule.

3. State Fair of Texas Sept. 27 – Oct. 20

The only thing bigger than BBQ and pumpkin festivals in Dallas for fall is the iconic State Fair of Texas. This years' theme is "Celebrating Texas Creativity" and with more than 100 free attractions, 70 Midway rides and daily live music shows, there are dozens of ways for families to enjoy the fair together. You can't miss an opportunity of an iconic picture with Big Tex or get a taste of one of the newest fried food creations. There are also several college football games happening, including the AT&T Red River Showdown. The fair can be wallet friendly too! Check out their list of daily discounts and offers to save money on admission, food and rides.

4. DiscoTech Silent Disco at Sweet Tooth Hotel – September through December

If your kids love to dance, they'll love the DiscoTech sensory adventure at the Sweet Tooth Hotel. DiscoTech combines music and digital art to create interactive audio-visual installations where kids can use silent disco headphones and explore the music. Tickets are from $15-20 and include entrance into the Sweet Tooth Hotel exhibits for an hour. Children under 2 are free and those under 18 need to be an accompanied by an adult - so it's a great excuse for the parents to also explore the intergalactic beats rainbow disco experience.

5. Dia de Los Muertos Festival and Parade – Oct. 26

One of the most loved and celebrated days of the year for the Latin American community is the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Come and enjoy the family-friendly event with hands-on arts activities, face painting, and make sugar skulls (while supplies last) at the Latino Cultural Center. Aztec dancers will perform and and Dia de los Muertos altars will be on display in the galleries. The festival is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to attend. After the festival, head Downtown to Dallas' first Dia de los Muertos parade! The parade route begins and ends at City Hall Plaza from 4 to 11 p.m.

6. Harambee Festival – Oct. 26

Celebrate unity and African American culture at the 45th Annual Harambee Festival - the oldest and largest African American cultural event in Dallas. Bring the kids out to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center to enjoy cultural experiences, diverse musical entertainment, kid's activities, free treat bags and food trucks. The festival is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free to attend.

7. Diwali Mela – Nov. 2

Enjoy an unforgettable cultural experience with the family at the 14th Annual Grand Diwali Mela (Hindu Festival of Lights) at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park. This festival will celebrate the Indian culture through Bollywood performances, traditional foods and a firework show to end the night. Admission is $12 for adults at the gate or $10 online and kids under 10 years old are free.