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Dallas, Texas, is a place where east meets west. The metropolitan city has exploded in size as international companies move in and take advantage of a well-educated and willing workforce. Fort Worth, on the other side of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex, has embraced its Texas Cowtown persona while Dallas is less stereotypical Texas than not. With a sizeable business and cultural sector, growing arts and music districts, and historic districts all mixed together, you can always find something to do in the city limits. Thanks to the milder weather, most of the sites are open year-round. Here’s a list of 30 (or more) things to do in Dallas, Texas.

If you can’t find anything to do specifically in Dallas, just look around the area. The Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex at 9,286 square miles is 31 times as big as New York City at 301 square miles. In this post, we’re just sticking to activities within the greater Dallas City Limits (and its little villages). You can find everything from national and state parks to rodeos to more shopping centers per capita than any other city in the U.S. Just choose your days wisely as traffic can vary. I chose a cloudy/rainy Sunday morning to head downtown and there were still small crowds. They were manageable though. Have fun ya’ll!

Quick Tip With the construction going on downtown, parking can be tricky. I am starting at the Sixth Floor Museum not because of the history, specifically, but rather for the parking lot. Located behind the museum, it is about $10 per day where you can park and walk to many of the nearby sites.  Be prepared for the crowds around Dealey Plaza, especially on weekend mornings during the Summer months.

The Sixth Floor Museum/Texas School Book Depository

411 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202

Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, TX
Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, TX
Texas School Book Depository historical marker in Dallas, TX
Texas School Book Depository historical marker in Dallas, TX

The Sixth Floor Museum documents the life, times, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. The museum houses many facts about the tragic day, and each admission comes with a self-guided audio tour. You can stand at the corner window where the fateful shots were fired. The museum is also the former home of the Texas School Book Depository Building, a 7-story structure built in 1901 by the Southern Rock Island Plow Company. A school textbook distribution firm leased the building in 1963, and Lee Harvey Oswald was an employee of the Depository at the time of the assassination.

A short walk down Elm Street, past Houston and right on N. Record Street is the Dallas Holocaust Museum (211 N Record St #100, Dallas, TX 75202 currently). The museum is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and combating prejudice, hatred, and indifference. The museum is going to close on July 31 for moving and will be relocated to 300 N. Houston Street, which is still in this area.

Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza, Dallas, TX 75202

Dealey Plaza plaque. Notice the X on the road. That is the spot where JFK was assassinated. I wouldn't recommend looking any closer (speed limits are a myth around here but you can get close enough to see the grassy knoll, etc.
Dealey Plaza plaque. Notice the X on the road. That is the spot where JFK was assassinated. I wouldn’t recommend looking any closer (speed limits are a myth around here but you can get close enough to see the grassy knoll, etc.
A different historical marker at Dealey Plaza.

After visiting the museum, walk over to Dealey Plaza and see where John F. Kennedy was assassinated while visiting Dallas. Dealey Plaza is also home with several buildings in the historic district. A museum store and café about the area can be found at the Dal-Text building and Annex at 501 Elm Street.

The Dal-Text Building and Annex (501 Elm Street) sits across from the Texas School Book Depository. Constructed in 1902, a nearby three-story annex was built in 1904. The Dallas County Criminal Courts Building (501 Main Street) was built between 1913 and 1915. Dallas County Records Building (509 Main Street) is now part of the Founders Plaza to the east, and the Gothic building was completed in 1928. The Old Dallas County Courthouse (100 S. Houston Street) was constructed between 1890 and 1892. It’s also known as the Old Red Courthouse or Museum.

Old Red Museum in Dallas, TX undergoing construction.
It’s currently undergoing construction, but you can still visit the old red sandstone courthouse museum.

Old Red Museum (100 S Houston St, Dallas, TX 75202)  was formerly merely the Dallas County Courthouse. Made of red sandstone (native to the area), the structure was built in 1890. Today, you can visit the museum to learn about Dallas’ first settlement in 1841 and view other artifacts from the prehistoric to the present day. It’s currently undergoing heavy construction (again, park at the Sixth Floor Museum and walk it), but the museum itself is open.

John Neely Bryan Cabin

600 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75202

John Neely Bryan Cabin from the side.
John Neely Bryan Cabin from the side in downtown, Dallas.

John Neely Bryan arrived near this site in late 1841 from Tennessee and built a log cabin in 1842. The area’s first school and the church were built of logs in Farmer’s Branch in 1845. Many of the original settlers of Dallas came to this “Three Forks” area of the Trinity River as members of the Peters Colony after 1841. This cabin was built of cedar logs before 1850 and was moved from its original site, about 7.5 miles east, and rebuilt at several locations. It was moved to this block in 1971.

Reunion Tower

300 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX 75207

Reunion Tower as seen from Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas.
Reunion Tower as seen from Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas.

One of the most well-known Dallas landmarks, the 561-feet Reunion Tower is a great place to get a 360-degree view of the city. The tower’s observation deck, called the GeO-Deck, allows you to get panoramic views from 470 feet in the air. Inside the Reunion Tower lobby, you can view interactive digital exhibits featuring Dallas landmarks, the tower, the assassination of JFK, and high-definition cameras. You can also get a meal at Wolfgang Pucks’ Five Sixty restaurant at the top of the tower, although it can get expensive. There is also a Cloud 9 café so that you can get something cheaper to eat.

Reunion Tower is only about 1000 feet from Dealey Plaza, so one suggestion is to park nearby and walk around the area. A cheaper parking garage is just down the hill, and you can park there and walk up, either way, it’s not a bad way to spend the day. If you live in DFW or are staying in a hotel near a DART station, take the train to Union Station, which connects to the Hyatt Regency by an underground tunnel that also connects to Reunion Tower.

Dallas Union Station

400 S Houston St, Dallas, TX 75202

Built in 1916, Dallas Union Station is a stunning example of Beaux-Arts style. Architectural details include original chandeliers and 48-foot arched windows. The ballroom is a popular place for private events and weddings. You can walk through the underground tunnel from Reunion Tower and the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion into the station. From here, you can catch one of the DART trains throughout the city or even an Amtrak train to places unknown.

Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures at Pioneer Plaza

1428 Young St, Dallas, TX 75202

Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures at Pioneer Plaza
Dallas Cattle Drive Sculpture at Pioneer Plaza
Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures following people to work at Pioneer Plaza
Dallas Cattle Drive Sculptures following people to work at Pioneer Plaza

Life-size bronze sculptures of a cattle drive surround Pioneer Plaza, the largest public park in the central business district. It’s one of the few places in downtown Dallas that has more of a Western feel than the majority of the city. Pioneer Plaza commemorates Dallas’ beginnings by celebrating the Shawnee Trail that brought settlers and Texas longhorn to Dallas.

Dallas Pioneer Park Cemetery

1201 Marilla St, Dallas, TX 75201

 

Dallas Pioneer Park Cemetery
Dallas Pioneer Park Cemetery

Historical marker at Dallas Pioneer Park Cemetery

Located just behind the cattle drive sculptures, the cemetery contains many of the earliest settlers of Dallas. The graves buried on this grassy hill date back between 1846 and 1850) and include six Dallas mayors, War of 1812 veterans, Texas Revolutionary heroes, judges, Civil War veterans, and more. The site initially had a view of downtown and the Trinity River to the west. The last burials took place between 1921 and 1928.

[There are parking places beside the Pioneer Plaza that have a time limit, but are free. If you park there and walk up the steps, you’ll walk through the cemetery towards the sculptures.

Majestic Theater

1925 Elm Street, Dallas, TX 75201

The Majestic Theater opened its doors on April 11, 1921. The theater hosted a variety of acts from Bob Hope to Mae West to Houdini. The theater is the last remnant of Dallas’s historic entertainment center, Theater Row.

The Texas Theatre

231 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

After visiting the Sixth Floor Museum, continue exploring the history of November 1963 by visiting this historic theatre which was the hideout of Lee Harvey Oswald and the location of his subsequent arrest for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Texas Theater opened in 1931 and was made entirely out of concrete to be “fireproof.” Also, the theater was the first Dallas movie theater to offer air conditioning. The theater also provides authentic seating, a refreshment area, and entertainment.

Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park

1515 S Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75215

Dallas Heritage Park is a 20-acre living history museum located on the grounds of Dallas’ first city park that was established in 1876. Explore buildings and attractions that allow you to see and experience 19th-century life during the pioneer and Victorian eras. Watch how crops were grown, how animals were cared for, and how the community functioned in Texas over 100 years ago. The collections of buildings and furnishings represent the period from 1840 to 1910.

 

The Adolphus Hotel

1321 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75202

The Dallas landmark hotel was built in 1911 in a baroque, Beaux-Arts style. One of the most luxurious hotels in Texas. The hotel, which is still in use, has over 422 guestrooms in total, including 12 luxury suites and 127 executive rooms. It’s more of a short drive-by for architecture geeks like me, but it’s still a must-see in Dallas (just hard to get a picture in traffic).

Dallas Farmers Market

920 S Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201

The Dallas Farmers Market is a 26,000-square-foot market that has been operating since 1941. The full market includes restaurants, gift stores, and a flower shop. The Market Shops are open seven days a week. On Fridays through Sundays, the weekly farmer’s market with local produce and artisanal goods can be found in The Shed, an outdoor, open-air pavilion. Vendors serve a variety of ready-to-eat cultural flavors at the market during the weekend.

Bishop Arts District

Bishop Avenue, Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX 75208

In addition to art galleries, The Bishop Arts District, in North Oak Cliff, is home to more than 60 restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and boutiques. The city’s busiest trolley stop, circa 1930, is also located in the Bishop Arts District. It’s also known for its diverse nightlife and colorful street art.

Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe (Cathedral Guadalupe)

2215 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe
Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe

Built in 1898, The Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe was the second location of Dallas’s first Catholic parish, Sacred Heart Church, established in 1869. The original church was constructed in 1872 at the corner of Bryan and Ervay Streets and its congregation soon outgrew the original facilities. The cornerstone was laid on June 17, 1898. It’s also near one of the oldest churches left in that district, St. Paul United Methodist Church (1816 Routh St, Dallas, TX 75201), part of the arts district for 145 years.

Dallas Museum of Art

1717 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201

In the Arts District of downtown Dallas, the Dallas Museum of Art is home to over 24,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of humanity from different cultures. Founded in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art is one of the 10 largest art museums in the country in its 370,000-square-feet building.

Across the street is the Nasher Sculpture Center (2001 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201), a 2.4-acre site with a collection of modern and contemporary sculpture.

Crow Museum of Asian Art

2010 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201

The Crow Museum of Asian Art includes exhibits dedicated to the arts and cultures from individual Asian regions from 1000 B.C. to the 20th century. The museum is always free, although donations are appreciated. One permanent exhibition includes Fierce Loyalty: A Samurai Complete, a collection devoted to the art and culture of the Japanese samurai.

Katy Trail

3505 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

A popular walking, jogging, bicycling trail for Dallas residents, the Katy Trail follows the path of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT). On the northern end of the trail, the best place to park is near Knox Street (cattycorner to Travis Street). Closer to downtown on the Southern end of the trail, you can park at Reverchon Park near the baseball fields.

White Rock Lake Park

E Lawther Dr, Dallas, TX 75218

White Rock Lake is a relaxing park with a large natural area of over 1,254 acres set in an urban setting. Construction of the lake began in 1910, and the park itself was developed in the early 1930s. Over 9 miles of hiking and bike trails circle the area, along with picnic areas, wetlands, a dog park, and benches to sit and enjoy the water. You can walk off into a section of woods for a picnic or take your dog to the on-site dog park.

Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden

8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218

The 66-acre gardens of Dallas’s beautiful Arboretum and Botanical Garden offer plenty of activities for outdoor enthusiasts year-round. The Arboretum is located on the shores of White Rock Lake and feature events throughout the year. One new exhibit is the fresh vegetable and herb garden called A Tasteful Place, which allows you to get a free seasonal snack. Go ahead and buy your parking ahead of time and plan your itinerary as well.

Half Price Books Flagship Store

5803 E Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75231

Book lovers unite! You can easily spend hours in this flagship store, one of the biggest bookstores in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex. Half Price Books buys and sells secondhand books, movies, and music of all types. Entertainment is available on the first Fridays of each month, and the café serves great pastries and coffee.

Highland Park Village

47 Highland Park Vlg, Corner of Preston Road and Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75205-2727

Shops at Highland Park Village in Dallas, Texas
Shops at Highland Park Village in Dallas, Texas

Highland Park Village is a luxurious, Mediterranean Spanish-style shopping plaza with a legacy as the first open-air shopping center of its kind. Historic architecture, premiere retail, and fine dining can be found in this small center. Typical of Spanish plazas, the central fountain is surrounded by ten acres of brick paths and walkways, landscaping, trees and benches, and timeless architecture. The center opened in 1931 and deteriorated for a few years before being redeveloped in 1976 into a luxury shopping destination. The landmark Village Theatre opened in 1935 and was the first luxury suburban theater in Texas—the theater is still open and has been renovated.

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

2943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75205

Located on the Southern Methodist University (SMU) campus, the 14,000 square foot George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum showcases the career of former President George W. Bush. Exhibits include themes and subjects relevant to the early 2000s, such as the financial crisis, education reform, the global war on terror, and the HIV/AIDS crisis. White House exhibits also showcase what life was like for the first family and visit an exact replica of the Oval Office in scale and design. Freedom Hall is a one-of-a-kind, massive 20-foot tall LED screen showcasing various multimedia clips. The Dallas museum is also located next to a 15-acre, prairie-inspired urban park, with Native Blackland Prairie grasses and seasonal wildflowers.

Freedman’s Cemetery

2525 N Central Expy, Dallas, TX 75204

Freedman’s Cemetery was established in 1861 as a burial ground for Dallas’ early African American population. A memorial was built in late 1990 to commemorate the site and significant contributions made by African Americans to the growth and development of Dallas. One bit of advice is to park at Walmart and walk across the street.

Frontiers of Flight Museum

6911 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75209

From early flight to modern space exploration, the Frontiers of Flight Museum has over 30 aviation and space flight exhibits in 13 galleries with over 35,000 artifacts. Included at the 100,000-square-foot museum is a full-size model of the Wright brothers 1903 Wright Flyer, along with exhibits detailing the stories of trailblazers such as Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, and Charles Lindbergh. Artifacts cover the eras of World War I, World War II, Cold War, and space flight, including an Apollo pod. The site also includes a Living History program and a STEM education program.

Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park

11131 Malibu Dr, Dallas, TX 75229

For something different, head over to the Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park for some thrilling adventure. For over 25 years, the Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park’s goal has been to be the most extreme amusement park in the world. The Bungee Jump is a seven-story platform designed for bungee jumping. The Skycoaster is a 100-foot hang-gliding/flying simulator reaching speeds up to 60 mph. If that isn’t enough action, try out the towering propeller Skyscraper that pulls 4Gs or the freefalling Nothing’ But Net that works from a 16-story tower.

Fair Park

1300 Robert B Cullum Blvd, Dallas, TX 75210-2364

Fair Park is a historic 277-acre recreational and educational complex that is the location of the State Fair of Texas. The site was initially built in 1889 as an 80-acre fairground for the Dallas State Fair and was also host to the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. The landmark also contains the largest collection of 1930s Art Deco exposition style architecture in the United States. Five museums and ten performance and sporting events are also held at the park. These include the Texas Discovery Gardens, Music Hall, Gexa Energy Pavilion, Band Shell, and the Cotton Bowl Stadium. Fair Park is also home to five museums and ten performance and sporting venues. A 700-foot-long reflecting pool called the Fair Park Esplanade is capped with three fountains, that often give shows set to music.

Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park

1462 1st Ave, Dallas, TX 75210

Opened in 1936 as part of the Texas Centennial Exposition, the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park has six exhibits and interactive, kid-sized zones. Kids can visit and pet the stingrays, stand in awe at the two shark tanks, and view everything at eye level.

African American Museum of Dallas

3536 Grand Ave, Dallas, TX 75210

The African American Museum is an art museum founded in 1974 and houses a rich heritage of African art and history in four vaulted galleries. Permanent collections include African art; African American art; and magazine, historical, political, and community archives.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

2201 N Field St, Dallas, TX 75201

Home to five floors of 11 permanent exhibit halls, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science offers educational state-of-the-art interactive and multimedia exhibits for kids of all ages. The Museum was a merger of the original Dallas Museum of Natural History, founded in 1936, the Science Place, and the Dallas Children’s Museum at Fair Park. It relocated to its current facility in 2012. The children’s museum morphed into the Moody Family Children’s Museum, which includes terrarium animals, a Mini Dallas Farmer’s Market, and a Dallas Skyline Climber that allows kids to climb a playground of tiny Dallas landmarks. Other exhibits include dioramas of Texas ecosystems, exploration exhibits called Being Human, information about engineering and innovation, weather simulations, and so forth.

Klyde Warren Park

2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy, Dallas, TX 75201

Kylde Warren Park is a 5.2-acre public park that sits over the Woodall Rogers Freeway. The unique park sits in the middle of uptown Dallas and has an amphitheater, storytelling tree, putting green, chess, and ping pong area, and dog park. Food trucks and restaurants line the perimeter. The park hosts concerts and dance lessons. The Dallas Yoga Center occasionally hosts Yoga classes in the park.

Trinity Skyline Trail / Continental Bridge Gateway Plaza West

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas, TX 75207 / Continental Bridge Gateway Plaza West, Dallas, TX
[Spur 366 Over the Trinity River, Dallas, TX ]

 

Continental Bridge Gateway Plaza West
Continental Bridge Gateway Plaza West
View from Continental Bridge Gateway Plaza West introducing a coming Texas rain storm.
View from Continental Bridge Gateway Plaza West introducing a coming Texas rain storm.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and Trinity Skyline Trail are fairly new. The site is slowly becoming an outdoor mecca for people in the area to walk and get a fantastic shot of the Dallas skyline. The bridge opened in March 2012 and connects Dallas’ two riverbanks for easy passage between the downtown area and the neighborhoods of West Dallas. You can park and walk along the bridge to see the skyline and the Trinity River below. Several trails also extend from the parking lot. Great eating places can also be found on the west side of the bridge.

Quick TipLook for the Trinity Skyline Bridge or something other than the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. If you head West on Highway 366 (referred to as the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge), you’ll find that the road turns into Singleton Boulevard. At the first light (Gulden Ln), turn right. When the road starts turning to the left and turns into Canada Drive, follow a little road to the right. It will take you to the free parking lot beside the trails and the walkway. It can get very confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for.

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The design and architecture of church buildings are often domain features that often reflect local decoration and technology. From the native stone churches of the Midwest to the Adobe churches of the Southwest, the structures reflect not only the natural landscape but often the culture of the people who constructed them. The oldest churches in Dallas can be traced to the 1850s, with some of the oldest stretching back to the 1840s in Dallas County. Like most buildings in Dallas, the older buildings are styled in a hodgepodge of Greek Revival to Victorian to Neoclassical construction.

Many of the earlier Dallas churches were built along Ervay streets, such as Elm and Ervay, Ervay and Canton and Bryan and Ervay. Elm Street was another popular street, with many buildings (now gone) congregating in this area. Here’s a look at 21 of the oldest churches in Dallas.

1856 AND 1858

Cochran Chapel United Methodist Church

9027 Midway Rd, Dallas, TX 75209

Cochran Chapel United Methodist Church is Dallas’ oldest deeded church property. The property on which the Sanctuary sits was deeded on July 11, 1856. The W.P. Cochran Homeplace was first settled on in 1851, and the current house that stands on the site was built in 1895. Just south of the cemetery lies the church cemetery, home to some of Dallas’ earliest pioneer families, Civil War veterans, slaves, and Native Americans. The first edifice was built and dedicated in 1858 and the Sunday school dates to 1879. Later buildings were erected in 1885, 1924, 1955, and 1970.

1846; CURRENT SANCTUARY IN 1926

First United Methodist Church

1928 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

 

First United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas
First United Methodist Church Dallas

One of the most beautiful churches in Dallas is the First United Methodist Church on Ross Avenue with its magnificent bell tower to its rotunda theatre. The First Methodist Church of Dallas reports meetings as early as 1846 when the small village of Dallas was a stopping point for Methodist circuit riders. Legend has it that the church met in a small building at the southwest corner of the courthouse square in November 1850 and continued for almost 20 years at the location. The congregation met at three previous locations before the Trinity Methodist and First Methodist congregations combined in 1916. A new building was built for the First Methodist Episcopal Church, South (on Ross Ave) in 1926. The First Methodist Episcopal Church, South, became First Methodist Church in 1939 and then the First United Methodist Church in 1968.

1856; PRESENT LOCATION 1911

First Presbyterian Church of Dallas

1835 Young Street, Dallas

Downtown in the historic district, the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas was the first southern U.S. Presbyterian Church organized in Dallas. Founded in 1856, one day after Dallas was incorporated as a city, the church first met in various locations before erecting its first building at Elm and Ervay streets and then Harwood and Main Streets. The present sanctuary was built between 1911 and 1912 and officially opened on March 2, 1913. The Greek Revival church includes the first monolithic Corinthian columns in Dallas.

1857; PRESENT SANCTUARY IN 1929 AT SITE OF FORMER COLLEGE CHAPEL

St. Matthews Cathedral

5100 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

The first Episcopal service was held in Dallas in 1856, and this parish was organized on St. Matthew’s day on September 21, 1857. The first Bishop of Texas visited Dallas in 1860 and conducted services in the Masonic Hall. The growing parish moved to several places but continually moved as the cathedral became too small. The current cathedral moved to the former St. Mary’s College Chapel at the corner of Ross and Henderson in 1929. St. Mary’s College’s cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1876, and classes began in 1889. The school closed in June 1930 after being absorbed by St. Matthew’s Parish. It looks as if the chapel was completed and consecrated on May 10, 1908.

1863; PRESENT SANCTUARY BUILT 1953

Central Christian Church

4711 Westside Dr, Dallas, TX 75209

Central Christian Church was organized in 1863 and originally held services in Preacher Charles Carlton’s log cabin schoolroom in present-day downtown Dallas. A Texas historical marker was installed on a two-story brick building at 703 Ross Ave to mark where the original church once stood. In 1891, the congregation moved to a larger building at St. Paul and Patterson streets and charted the name of Central Christian Church. The current land on Westside Drive was purchased in 1951, and the new sanctuary was dedicated on May 3, 1953.

1868; CURRENT SANCTUARY 2009

First Baptist Church Dallas

1707 San Jacinto St, Dallas, TX 75201

First Baptist Church Dallas
First Baptist Church Dallas

Today a Southern Baptist Megachurch, the First Baptist Church of Dallas was established in 1868 and met in the Masonic Hall on Lamar Street near Ross Avenue. The first building was on Akard Street and the cornerstone of the sanctuary that the congregation worships in today was laid in 1890. The red brick, Victorian-style building was erected in 1890. You’ll find a 3,000 seat Worship center close to the historic building.

1869; PRESENT SANCTUARY 1898

Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe (Cathedral Guadalupe)

2215 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe
Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe

Built in 1898, The Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe was the second location of Dallas’s first Catholic parish, Sacred Heart Church, established in 1869. The original church, constructed in 1872, was at the corner of Bryan and Ervay Streets and its congregation soon outgrew the original facilities. The cornerstone was laid on June 17, 1898, and was formally dedicated on October 26, 1902, in the heart of Dallas’ Art District. Today, the church oversees the second-largest Catholic church membership in the United States. The bell tower, which extends 219 feet,  is a fairly recent addition as it was designed but not built with the original building.

1873; CURRENT SANCTUARY COMPLETED IN 1927

St. Paul United Methodist Church

1816 Routh St, Dallas, TX 75201

St. Paul United Methodist Church has been in the same location in the Arts District for 145 years. In 1873, recently freed slaves who lived in Freedman’s Town, a community just north of the Dallas city limits, met with Methodists ministers Reverend H. Oliver and Reverend William Bush to organize the area’s first African American Methodist Episcopal Church. The early church was a small frame sanctuary, which worked both as a school for school children (1874-1875) and providing training for African American ministers. In 1901, the congregation began building a new brick-clad sanctuary by first digging and completing a basement where church services were held until the construction was complete. The Gothic Revival style church was derived from a design by William Sidney Pittman, Dallas’ first African American architect. You’ll note that the façade has different shades of brick. Parishioners brought bricks to services to help build the church until it was finally completed in 1927. The original 35 stained glass windows, donated by some of Dallas’ first affluent African Americans, can still be seen today. Although the 1950 highway construction and recent regentrification has demolished many of the old North Dallas neighborhoods served by the church, the church has endured the test of time as a political, cultural, and spiritual leader. Homeless are served breakfasts every Saturday, and the church focuses on reaching out to the local community.

1874; Present structure built in 1915

Oak Lawn Methodist Church

3014 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Formerly known as Oak Lawn Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the Oak Lawn Methodist Episcopal Church is a progressive, beautiful church located in Oak Lawn. The large brick, Late Gothic Revival church has significant art glass windows and brick terra cotta work. The original church was formed as a church-schoolhouse in 1874. Read more

1890; Present sanctuary 1921

Christ Episcopal Church

534 W 10th St, Dallas, TX 75208

Built in 1921, the Christ Episcopal Church is one of the few remaining ecclesiastical interpretations of the Arts and Craft style in the Dallas area. Christ Church itself is one of the oldest Episcopal parishes in Dallas County, charged in 1890. The church was built to resemble an overturned ark and in the shape of a cruciform. The Midwestern feel can be attributed to the fact that the design was based on St. Martin of Tours Church in Omaha, Nebraska. The original, beautiful stained-glass windows are also done in the Arts and Crafts style by the Jacoby Arts Glass Company of St. Louis, Missouri.

1897

Old Frankford Church

17400 Muirfield Dr, Dallas, TX 75287

 

Old Frankford Church is a one-room church was built in 1897. Since that time, the church has been meticulously restored. The original church was destroyed by a tornado in the 1880s, and the current building was rebuilt using the wood from the first church. It was restored again in 2010. The Frankford Preservation Foundation reports that the church held services when a circuit rider was passing through the area. While several denominations held services at the structure, the main one was Methodist, who were organized as part of a circuit in 1885. Although the town dissolved and people moved away, preachers continued to use the little church through the mid-1920s. Episcopal services began at the small church in the 1960s. Learn more about the Town of Frankford.

1902; PRESENT SANCTUARY BUILT 1903

Grace United Methodist Church

4105 Junius St, Dallas, TX 75246

Grace United Methodist Church grew from two earlier fellowships started in 1868. The Dallas City Mission and 1880 Haskell Avenue Church merged to form Grace Methodist Church. On the back of the current lot, a temporary tabernacle was erected, and the first portion of the present church was completed in 1903. The Gothic Revival church is one of the longest continuously operating Protestant congregation in Dallas worshipping in the same location. The educational unit, as added in 1925.

1903; PRESENT SANCTUARY BUILT AROUND 1926

St Edwards Catholic Church

4014 Simpson St, Dallas, TX 75246

St Edwards Catholic Church
St Edwards Catholic Church

When the Diocese of Dallas realigned the boundaries of Dallas’ Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Parish, St. Edward’s Parish was carved out on October 13, 1903. The first church went up on a piece of property on Elm and Hill Streets; it was dedicated on January 3, 1904. St. Edward’s School had its cornerstone laid on November 12, 1911, and the school opened in September 2012. After years of planning for a new building, the approval to build a new church was approved in February 1926.

1903; 1912 (Original Sanctuary); Present sanctuary in 1925

East Dallas Christian Church

629 N Peak St, Dallas, TX 75246

East Dallas Christian Church
East Dallas Christian Church

The original sanctuary for the East Dallas Christian Church was built in 1912 in a Neoclassical style. The building was listed as a Dallas Landmark in 1993. The church itself began in 1903 in a frame church on the corner of Victor and Peak Streets. A still visible brick building was dedicated in 1912, and the present sanctuary was later built in 1925. The church has since expanded and today serves the Peak Suburban neighborhood.

1914-ish

Holy Trinity Catholic Church

3811 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Holy Trinity Catholic Church Dallas
Holy Trinity Catholic Church Dallas

Holy Trinity College, later renamed the University of Dallas broke around in 1905. Along with the college, the parish also built a small frame church next to the church. The church was formally dedicated in November 1907. The founders spent a significant amount of time on the road to small mission churches around North Texas. The college closed in 1926 and eventually became the Jesuit Preparatory School in 1942. The grade school was founded in October 1914 by the Daughters of Charity. The small chapel on the former University of Dallas campus, it grew into a parish and school.

1916; PRESENT SANCTUARY 1926

Highland Park Methodist Church

3300 Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75205

Highland Park Methodist Church
Highland Park Methodist Church

Highland Park Methodist Church’s impressive example of Gothic Revival architecture was built in 1926 beside the campus of Southern Methodist University. The elegant stone has pointed arch-stained glass windows, buttresses, and a majestic bell tower. Its origins can be traced to the founding of the University Church at SMU in early 1916. The church was then annexed by the town of Highland Park in 1923. The original church was dubbed “The Little Brown Church,” near the current location was constructed in 1917, and the present Gothic building held its first church service on Sunday, February 6, 1927.

1926; PRESENT SANCTUARY IN 1928

Highland Park Presbyterian Church

3821 University Blvd, Dallas, TX 75205

Highland Park Presbyterian Church
Highland Park Presbyterian Church

Highland Park Presbyterian was first established in 1926. The church building was designed by architect Mark Lemmon and erected in 1928.

1940; CURRENT RECTORY BUILT IN 1960

Christ the King Catholic Church

8017 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX 75225

Christ the King Catholic Church Dallas
Christ the King Catholic Church Dallas

Although this is a relatively new church building, it is still a stunning work of architecture along Preston Road in Dallas. The Christ the King Parish, for parts of Dallas north of Mockingbird Lane and west of Central Expressway, was created in 1940. A new temporary church was built at Westchester and Colgate in February 1941. A new school was built in 1946, and the parish was subdivided multiple times due to overcrowding in the schools. The cornerstone of a larger church was blessed on October 30, 1955, but the congregation was divided for the third time in 1961. The original wooden church from Christ the King became St. Rita’s Chapel of Ease. A new rectory was built in 1960 adjoining the church to the north, facing Preston Road and the church has grown since that time.

1968

St. James Episcopal Church Dallas

9845 Mccree Rd, Dallas, TX 75238

St. James Episcopal Church Dallas
St. James Episcopal Church Dallas

Another beautiful church of more recent vintage, St. James Episcopal Church is in the Lake Highlands and White Rock Lake area of Northeast Dallas. The St. James Episcopal School has been operating since 1968.

Not Technically in Dallas, but in Dallas County

ESTABLISHED 1845; CURRENT SANCTUARY 1955

Webb Chapel United Methodist Church

2536 Valley View Ln, Farmers Branch, TX 75234

Webb Chapel United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch
Webb Chapel United Methodist Church in Farmers Branch

Webb Chapel was the first Methodist church founded in Farmers Branch and in Dallas County. It was organized in the cabin of Isaac B. Webb on May 5, 1845. The sermon was preached by Sam Shook, a Methodist circuit rider. In 1846 a log cabin church, eighteen feet square with a wooden floor, was built on Webb Chapel Road between Selma and Veronica. In 1903 the congregation built a “Little White Church” on Valley View in the center of downtown Farmers branch.  The present sanctuary was built in 1955, using some of the original timbers from the “Little White Church.” Located at 2536 Valley View, the huge trees in the Courtyard of Webb Chapel United Methodist Church are said to be over one hundred years old. This church has a rich history having observed its 150th anniversary in 1995.

ESTABLISHED 1846; CURRENT SANCTUARY 1951?

First Baptist Church of Farmers Branch, TX

13017 William Dodson Pkwy, Farmers Branch, TX 75234

Before 1876, the church was known as the Union Baptist Church. It was organized in a pioneer cabin, May 10, 1846, under the leadership of David Myers.  It was the earliest Baptist Church in Dallas County. Charter members were Franklin Bowles, J. B. and Margaret Ann Lee, Letticia Myers, and John Miller Myers. Soon afterward, Sarah and Thomas Keenan and Narcissus Wilburn joined. In 1847 the Baptists, aided by other settlers, build their first meeting house on land given by Thomas and Sarah Keenan. This land was near the Keenan Cemetery in Farmers Branch. The Rev. David Myers, the original pastor, served until his death in 1853. The congregation of the church split for some unknown reason, and the Union Baptist Church moved to Carrollton. Part of the congregation stayed in Farmers Branch and established the Farmers Branch Missionary Baptist Church which became known (October 5, 1951) as the First Baptist Church of Farmers Branch.


Like many large cities, Dallas has a multitude of old church buildings that have changed significantly over time. Congregations grow, or shrink, and find different structures to suit their needs. Other old church buildings in Dallas have been demolished or repurposed. St Joseph’s Catholic Church and Academy on Swiss Avenue was converted into a residence. Some structures are still used as houses of worship, but their congregation has moved, and another has taken its place. Here is a list of old churches in Dallas that are still standing, but do not contain their original congregation.

Map of Where to Find Some of the Oldest Churches in Dallas

21 of the Oldest Churches in Dallas, Texas

Like many large cities, Dallas has a multitude of old church buildings that have changed significantly over time. Congregations grow, or shrink, and find different structures to suit their needs. Other old church buildings in Dallas have been demolished or repurposed. St Joseph’s Catholic Church and Academy on Swiss Avenue was converted into a residence. Some structures are still used as houses of worship, but their congregation has moved, and another has taken its place. We initially covered 21 historical churches in Dallas. Here are other old churches or congregations in Dallas.

1875; Present sanctuary 1957

Temple Emanu-El

8500 Hillcrest Ave, Dallas, TX 75225

 

Originally called the Jewish Congregation Emanu-El, Temple Emanuel was founded around 1875. Temple Emanu-El of Dallas, Texas was the first Reform Jewish congregation in North Texas and is the largest synagogue in the South. Temple Emanuel built its first temple in 1876 on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas. The second location was at South Ervay and St. Louis Streets, and the present site was built in 1957. Today, Temple Emanuel is the largest synagogue in the South. The Temple Emanu-El Cemetery was established by the congregation in 1884 and today contains gravestones exhibiting death dates before 1884 that were moved here in 1956 from Dallas’ first Jewish cemetery established in 1872 on Akard Street.

1876; Old sanctuary built between 1919-1921

St. James AME Former Church Building

624 N. Good Latimer Expressway, Dallas, TX

Much like St. Paul’s, African-American architect William Sydney Pittman constructed the St. James AME Church between 1919 and 1921. The Neoclassical-style building was built entirely by African American Contractors, workers, and electricians and housed the St. James congregation for sixty-four years. The church building was sold in 1983 and is today listed as a Dallas landmark. The church later changed its name to Greater ST. James Temple AME Church and is now located on Jim Miller Road in Dallas.

1889; PRESENT SANCTUARY IN 1957

St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church

6464 E Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75214

St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church was established on December 1, 1889, and was originally named St. Paul’s German Evangelical Church and served a predominately German-speaking membership. St. Paul’s merged with another German Presbyterian congregation already in existence and moved to a  site at the corner of Texas and Florence Streets. The growing group built a new sanctuary in 1912 and services were held solely in the German language until World War I. The name was changed to St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1934. The present site was purchased in 1953, and a new sanctuary was completed in April 1957.

 

1889; Former sanctuary 1915

Oak Cliff United Methodist Church

549  E. Jefferson Boulevard, Dallas, TX

While the congregation itself closed down and merged with Tyler Street United Methodist Church, the structure is still impressive. The original congregation met in a home at 8th Street and Lancaster in 1887. The next church was built in 1915 in Classical Revival style and remained occupied until 2015.

 

Church built in 1905; Now closed but listed as Dallas landmark

St Joseph’s Catholic Church and Academy

2712 Swiss Ave, Dallas, TX, 75204

The Dallas Archdiocese built St. Joseph’s Academy first in 1905. The Colonial Revival style church was later built in 1910 and was the fifth Catholic Church in Dallas. The church was converted into a private residence for actress Ronnie Claire Edwards. The property, one of the few historic buildings remaining in East Dallas/Deep Ellum, went up for sale in 2018.

 

Original structure built 1921; Present structure built in 1942

Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church

919 Morrell Avenue, Dallas, TX

The Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church was constructed in 1921 in East Oak Cliff. The masonry and traditional brick structure feature a cone-shaped, red rock church bell tower with a lighted cross on top. The original owner was the Oak Cliff Assembly of God Church, and the 1921 brick building faces Morrell Street (once called Beverly Avenue).

 

1913; Sanctuary built in 1925

Munger Place Church

5200 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75206

Munger Place Church in Dallas
Munger Place Church in Dallas

The Munger Place Methodist Church was founded in 1913. The sanctuary was built in 1925, and the church was one of the most influential in Dallas for years. After Old East Dallas went through a long period of decline, the former Munger Place congregation merged with the nearby Highland Park United Methodist Church, who took responsibility of the site. After extensive renovations in 2010, a new congregation called Munger Place Church launched out of the old building.

Looking for more Dallas architecture? Here are an additional 21 of the Oldest Churches in Dallas.

Map of Where to Find Some of the Oldest Churches in Dallas

Nestled in a quiet residential area near the bustling intersection of Frankford Road and the Dallas North Tollway sits the 12-acre site that used to be the town of Frankford, Texas. A former tiny prairie town, the site has an old cemetery, windmill, a white-framed church, creek, and prairie meadow native to 19th-century Texas.

It’s a well-hidden spot of nature hidden among some of the posh neighborhoods in far North Dallas. As you turn off Frankford Road onto Spyglass Drive, you’ll meander down beautiful, large landscaped lots and find yourself turning onto Muirfield Drive and landing at the Church of the Holy Communion. If you’re anything like me, I was trying to find the historical marker and thinking that the beautiful church looked much too modern and nothing like the pictures I had found online. At the end of the road from the church is a little wall that leads to a rocky road and a grass prairie. It looks like a time portal as you walk or drive beyond the gates, into an area stepped in time with large swatches of prairie with not much else. Follow that road, and you’ll find a gravel parking lot sitting in front of the Old Frankford Church.

The Town of Frankford 

There’s not much left of the community of Frankford that occupied the site near the natural springs along the Halls Branch of the Trinity River. The site was on the Shawnee Trail, and Native Americans would stop along the trail at the “everlasting springs.” These springs are located on the west bank of the creek near the bridge. Shawnee Trail in this area was later called the Texas Trail. Today it main runs along Preston Road. The prairie town of Frankford Crossing began to fade when it was bypassed by railroad construction, which went to nearby Addison (then called Noell Junction), and the site was eventually annexed into the city of Dallas. The post office, stores, many of the homes, and the Masonic Lodge were torn down or moved to other parts of the area. The land around what was left of the Frankford site was sold and eventually developed as the Bent Tree subdivision, country club, and golf course.

Town of Frankford, Texas, historical markerTown of Frankford, Texas, Indian Springs

The Old Frankford Church and Cemetery

The one-room church was built in 1897 and has been meticulously restored. The original church was destroyed by a tornado in the 1880s, and the current building was rebuilt using the wood from the first church. It was restored again in 2010. The Frankford Preservation Foundation reports that the church held services when a circuit rider was passing through the area.

While several denominations held services at the structure, the main one was Methodist, who were organized as part of a circuit in 1885. Although the town dissolved and people moved away, preachers continued to use the little church through the mid-1920s. Episcopal services began at the small church in the 1960s.

Old Frankford Church in Dallas, TexasOld Frankford Church historical marker

Periodically, the Frankford Preservation Foundation will hold guided tours of the area as well as a Spring Jazz Concert on The Prairie Music Festival. An annual candlelight service called Christmas on the Prairie is held the first Sunday evening in December every year. The church can also be reserved for wedding ceremonies as well.

Down the short road from the Old Frankford Church also lies one of the oldest cemeteries in the area, with the first unknown marked grave dating to 1862. Since the area was also an old Native American stomping ground, there is also speculation that some earlier burials are there as well. The Frankford Cemetary contains many old graves important to North Texas history, including the tomb of Addison Robertson, for whom Addison is named. It is maintained by the Frankford Cemetary Association.

Town of Frankford Old Cemetary MarkerVisiting Bird at the Old Frankford Cemetary

Prairie Grass

Surrounding the Old Frankford Church and cemetery are fields of unplowed, native prairie grass. Pioneers called the native big bluestem grass “turkey grass. This type of grass is one of the “Big Four” grasses of the Blackland Prairie that can grow up to eight feet tall. It is unusual to find in urban sites. The prairie grass has been cared for by generations, and the site lends itself to historical authenticity that can be hard to find. In the Spring, large blue and purple blooms can be seen throughout the prairie. The summer months present more of a traditional grassland appearance.

Town of Frankford Prairie

The Old Frankford Church and Cemetary site is a refreshing place to visit in North Dallas when you’ve had enough of steel, concrete, and traffic. It’s a tie-in back to the historical roots that maintain the peacefulness of a prairie meadow.

For more information, visit the Frankford Preservation Foundation.

Where to find it?

17400 Muirfield Dr, Dallas, TX 75287. Near Frankford and the Dallas North Tollway in Dallas

Town of Frankford Pinterest pin