Western experience with the family

Dallas Now Blog

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8 Ways to Experience Dallas Western Style as a family

Whether you have a young family or a family with teens, we've got you covered for the best places to explore Dallas western style – Yee-hah!

Step back in time at the Dallas Heritage Village

This is possibly one of the best ways to dive into history and learn about the pioneer western life in Dallas during the 1800-1900s era. The historical society has transformed and restored original buildings to create a representation of village life when Dallas was first founded, complete with a school, bank, doctor’s office, blacksmith store and farmstead. They offer a range of children's programs including barnyard buddies story time for under five-year-olds and blacksmith skill workshops for older teens and adults - it's a great day out for all the family! Check out the whole range of programs, or take your time strolling around the grounds and be transported back in time.

Watch cowboys in action at the Mesquite Rodeo

No family trip to Dallas is complete without experiencing a real professional rodeo, and the Mesquite Rodeo is where all the live action is. We're not talking cowboys football here - we're talking about the real cowboys of Dallas. Learn about what it takes to compete in both rough-stock and timed events; check out bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, steer roping, barrel racing and more while your family dines on Texas barbeque and take in some laughs with the rodeo clown entertainment.

Grab a selfie with the cattle drive sculptures at Pioneer Plaza

Make a trip Downtown, and have some fun taking pictures with the cattle drive sculptures at Pioneer Plaza. Tucked between the skyscrapers and urban development of Downtown Dallas, the monument highlights and commemorates the trails that brought the first settlers to Dallas and the first cattle to market. The larger than life bronze sculptures comprise of three cowboys on horses herding 49 longhorn cattle through the largest public open space area of Dallas Downtown. This is a nice quick stop to take a few pics and enjoy the city with a nod to its western past.

Go horseback riding on country trails and visit a ranch

For families who want to visit a traditional ranch and go horseback riding with a view, there's some beautiful spots just a short drive outside the Dallas city limits area. Trail leaders will match you with a horse that meets your level of riding experience and will instruct riders on basic safety and horse riding skills. From the total beginner to the advanced there's a whole range of options for the entire family to enjoy a fun riding session while taking in the beautiful scenery of the western countryside of Dallas. Our top three picks are: Widowmaker Trail Rides, Broken Bow Ranch and Marshall Creek Ranch.

Shop for authentic cowboy boots and apparel

Nothing quite says ‘I've visited Dallas' like wearing an authentic cowboy hat or a pair of cowboy boots. Contrary to what you may think about shopping for boots, choosing a pair is not as easy as it might look. With so many choices in regards to style, types of leather and color choice, you'll want to shop at an establishment which can accommodate all the sizes in your family with a broad range of options and with speciality fitters. Check out Wild Bills Western Store for the full western shopping experience that will have you looking western chic in no time.

Chow down on the best Dallas, Texas BBQ

You haven't tasted anything quite like Texas BBQ until you've chomped on mouth-watering brisket, sausage or ribs in Dallas. Every local you'll talk to has their opinion on what makes the best BBQ place in town. Regarding overall ambience, flavor, taste, service and a western-style experience, we've rounded up our top three choices sure to be a hit for the whole family; Lockhart Smokehouse, Pecan Lodge and Peggy Sue BBQ.

Listen to western live music and enjoy dinner on the patio

Families love space. And patio-type restaurants where kids can sprawl and parents can enjoy a beverage is gold. If you're looking for somewhere authentically Texan, to listen to authentic western music, in a beer-garden setting, The Rustic is a place that celebrates what Texas is all about. Featuring picnic-style tables in a large backyard of sorts, it makes for a relaxing place for mom and dad to enjoy a drink and plenty of space for the kids during the day. By night, this will turn into more of an adult space, but there is a delicious brunch menu on the weekends and good music to give the family a taste of the Texas atmosphere.

Take country and western dance lessons at Cowboys Red River Dance Hall

This is definitely more for families with older teens, as minimum age is 18 to gain entry. So if you're a family with older kids in tow, this is a fun way to have a night out in Dallas and experience a Honky Tonk. Come for the free dance lessons on Thursday and Friday nights starting at 7 p.m. and stay until the band comes on and livens up the dance floor for everyone to enjoy. Apart from the dance lessons, there's plenty of fun to be-had with a mechanical bull, pool tables and Texas Holdem poker nights.

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Children & Family