Irving may be lesser known than the bustling cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, but when it comes to things to see and do, it more than holds its own.
Not only did it play a key role in many significant events in US history, but modern day Irving is also full of history, charm, art and culture.
From its European-style promenade to its world renowned art scene, there is no shortage of things to see and do when visiting Irving.
Here are 23 incredible things to do in Irving, Texas!
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How to get around Irving
Like most of Texas, the best way to get around Irving is to explore on your own by car!
If you’re visiting and need to rent a car to get to your Irving activities, we highly recommend Discover Cars where they find you the best car rental deals from all of the competitors (has saved us so much money!).
Where to stay in Irving
From renovated VRBOS to boutique hotels, here are the best places to stay in Irving.
- (Hotel) Home2Suites by Hilton Irving– this highly rated hotel in Irving and close to DFW is a fantastic place to get some rest and spread out. The rooms are immaculately clean, breakfast is provided, and there’s even a shuttle to the airport if you need it to make your life easier. Enjoy the outdoor pool and the fireplace next to the indoor seating area when the weather gets colder. Click here to check prices and read reviews.
- (AirBnb/VrBO) Charming Irving Townhouse– for the right combination of price and location, check out this adorable Irving townhouse in a quiet neighborhood, walking distance to downtown Irving. With two spacious bedrooms and ample shiplap, you’ll be right at home and won’t break the bank. Click here to check prices and read reviews.
1. Visit the Irving Arts Center
The Irving Arts Center is widely regarded as the cornerstone of arts in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex and one of the best Irving attractions for art lovers.
The sprawling ten acre estate includes four galleries, two theaters and impressive event spaces for live performances by local and visiting artists.
Once you’ve had your fill of art, head outdoors to explore the two acre sculpture garden, which boasts world-renowned pieces both permanently displayed and also loaned to the Irving Arts Center.
There are also children friendly exhibits and activities, along with a summer camp for art fans between the ages of four and eighteen.
2. See the Mustangs of Las Colinas
The Mustangs of Las Colinas are a jaw-droppingly realistic bronze sculpture of nine larger than life wild mustangs that gallop through a stream of granite, in William’s Square, in the heart of the Las Colinas Urban Center.
Commissioned by local Dallas businessman Ben H. Carpenter and created by African wildlife artist Robert Glen, the sculpture reflects the local areas’ rich native history and draws visitors from all over the country.
There’s also a museum in the Square that explains the history and making of the mustangs.
The Mustangs of Las Colinas are one of the most historically significant things to see in Irving.
3. Picnic in the Founder’s Plaza Observation Area
The Founder’s Plaza is an open space area adjoining the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.
Locals and visitors often come to the square to picnic in the leafy plaza, which has been set up with functional picnic tables, benches and telescopes to give visitors a great view of the runway.
Pack a picnic and enjoy the atmospheric radio commentary which broadcasts the live air traffic control communication which announces the arrival of incoming aircraft.
4. Visit the Ruth Paine House Museum
While most people have likely heard the story of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald, not many people have heard of Oswald’s whereabouts before the attack and its devastating aftermath.
Oswald and his wife had stayed at the home of Ruth and Michael Paine on the night before the attack, dragging the couple into the media and investigative storm that raged after the tragedy.
A visit to the restored house museum will give guests a fascinating chance to learn more about the role that the unwitting couple played in Oswald’s grim story, and is one of the top things to do in Irving.
5. Pet the animals at Fritz Park Petting Farm
Fritz Park is an expansive public space, with playgrounds, picnic grounds and various sporting courts.
However a particular highlight is the Fritz Park Petting Farm.
If you relish the opportunity to get hands-on experiences with farm animals, a visit to the Fritz Park Petting Farm is one you should not miss.
At the farm, you can pet and feed all types of farm animals, from cows, horses, goats and rabbits amongst others.
Some of the most popular activities include pony rides and the exotic animal displays, which may need to be booked in advance.
Don’t miss the Fritz Park Petting Farm during your Irving sightseeing tour.
6. Attend a show at Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra
As one of America’s top 100 symphony orchestras, attending a show by the LSCO is one of the top things to do in Irving, Texas.
The Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra presents eight concerts annually in the state-of-the-art facilities at the Irving Arts Center.
The Orchestra is made up of ninety-three professional musicians from over fifteen countries, and are led by the highly experienced and world-renowned Maestro Robert Carter Austin.
Even if you’re not a huge fan of the symphony orchestra, this is a unique local experience that should definitely feature on a list of things to do in Irving, Texas.
7. Watch a show at the Toyota Music Factory
The Toyota Music Factory is one of the largest entertainment venues in the South and comprises over 200,000 square feet of entertainment, retail and food spaces.
Events are held across various venues, from the Pavilion which typically hosts intimate performances to the Lottery Plaza, an outdoor stage which hosts performances of all sizes and interests.
From a goat yoga class to a musical show by world class performers, there’s an activity for all interests, making the Toyota Music Factory one of the most fun things to do in Irving.
8. Visit California Crossing Park
Although California Crossing Park may have a somewhat confusing name considering the park is located in Texas, it’s a unique part of Irving’s native history and one of the most popular things to see in Irving.
The park is dedicated to the early pioneers who crossed the Trinity River during their journey to California.
The park itself spans some thirty acres of grasslands and the historical trail marks the story of the travelers who undertook the difficult journey during the 1800s.
If you’re visiting during sunset time, you’ll also be treated to spectacular views over the Trinity River.
9. Visit Bear Creek Heritage Center
Irving, Texas played a key role in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
A visit to the Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center will give visitors a fascinating insight into the history of the community and the experiences of the African-American residents at the time.
There are three museums and a native garden to visit, including the original house of Sam Green, a significant and distinguished resident of the local community.
10. Explore the Campion Trails
The Campion Trails are a stretch of twenty two miles of hiking and running trails that hug the Trinity River along the Elm Fork and West Fork.
The ever changing scenery gives hikers the chance to spot both natural scenery as well as urban landscapes and is suitable for walkers of all fitness levels.
There are also picnic spots where you can simply relax and admire the sweeping vistas before continuing along the trail.
Hiking along the Campion Trails are one of the most popular things to do in Irving, for both locals and visitors.
11. Visit Grapevine Lake
A popular place for locals to take their boats out, but also for visitors to spend an afternoon fishing or having a picnic, Grapevine Lake is an important part of the Irving community.
Whilst the original purpose of the Lake was to act as a municipal water reserve, there are plenty of recreational and relaxing activities available to spend an afternoon by the waterside.
12. Stroll along the Mandalay Canal Walk
A three mile canal side walk through the heart of the city makes for an easy and serene day time or evening activity when visiting Irving.
The European-style promenade is lined with cafes, restaurants, shops and the occasional bride and groom taking their wedding photos along the scenic canal.
You can even paddle board or take a gondola ride through the canal if you fancy getting closer to the water.
13. Visit the ICR Discovery Center
One of the most fascinating Irving attractions is the ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History.
This is a creationist museum which promotes Christian beliefs in explaining the relationship between science and the Bible’s teachings.
Even if you don’t personally subscribe to the religious teachings promoted by the ICR, visitors can enjoy the planetarium exhibits, fossil and dinosaur displays and guided talks on human ancestry and DNA.
14. Cruise across Lake Carolyn Lake
If you enjoy being on the water, a peaceful hour long cruise across Lake Carolyn could be a fun thing to do in Irving.
There are a number of tour operators that take small groups out on the lake for a relaxed afternoon of sightseeing.
Depending on your cruise, you should be able to see a number of landmarks, including a kissing bridge, downtown Irving and the calm wetlands of Lake Carolyn.
15. Catch a football game at AT&T Stadium
One of the most fun things to do in Irving during football season is to catch a game at the AT&T stadium.
The Dallas Cowboys are a much loved local team and watching a game in the packed stadium with an ice cold beer and a satisfying hot dog can be a really fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Irving.
The stadium itself also has the world’s largest column-free interior and contains high profile artwork, so keep an eye out for the spectacular interiors whilst you’re there.
16. Visit Lone Star Park
Lone Star Park is one of the top places to see in Irving because of its exhilarating year round calendar of events and races.
There are two annual horse racing seasons, from the Spring Thoroughbred season which runs from April to July and the Fall Meeting of Champions which spans September to November.
Outside of horse racing, Lone Star Park also hosts a number of concerts and other live events, so check the schedule to see if any coincide with your visit.
17. See the Las Colinas Flower Clock
Whilst it may not be the most exhilarating stop of a typical itinerary through Irving, the Las Colinas Flower Clock is a stunning piece of manicured floristry that deserves a look in.
The working flower clock is embellished with over 650 shrubs and blooms and the minute hand itself is over 12 foot long, making this giant piece of artwork an iconic part of the Irving town center.
18. Visit the Jaycee Park Center for the Arts
Built as a gallery home for the Irving Arts Association, the Jaycee Park Center for the Arts is one of the best Irving attractions for art lovers.
Visitors are able to enjoy various exhibits, guided talks, seasonal events as well as take in the peaceful and well maintained gardens that the Jaycee Park Center is based in.
There are two galleries, the East and West gallery and each display a curated collection of photographs and paintings from both local and international artists.
19. Visit the National Scouting Museum
If you never got the opportunity to join the scouts as a child, you now have the chance to try your hand at the National Scouting Museum in Irving.
As the official museum of the Boy Scouts of America, you can learn more about the history of the long-standing scouting club along with trying your hand at some of the activities on offer at the Museum.
From star watching parties, knot tying classes and flag etiquette workshops, there’s an activity for every skill level and age group.
20. Explore Irving’s dining scene
One of the most fun things to do in Irving is to sample some of its world class cuisine.
From fine dining and innovative takes on classic dishes to delectable local fare, there are dining options to suit every taste and budget.
Some popular dishes to try whilst in Irving include the hickory smoked beef brisket at Dickey’s Barbeque Las Colinas and the street tacos at Gipsy Lime Taco Lounge.
Other popular cuisines in Irving include Chinese, Indian and Thai, which can be found in both traditional forms and with a fresh, modern twist.
21. Go shopping in Irving
No trip to Irving is complete without a trip to shop (or window shop) at some of the many local boutiques that show off Texan creativity, charm and hospitality in downtown Irving.
For a traditional shopping experience, visit the Fort Worth Stockyards and Stockyards Station.
Set up in a charming Western-style setting, this is one of the most unique shopping experiences in Irving.
22. Take a ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad
One of the top things to do in Irving is to enjoy a ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, in one of the two historical locomotives that service the track.
You can ride on either the steam or diesel open air train, both of which have been restored to their original Victorian-era style and decor.
The Railroad travels to the Fort Worth Stockyards on weekends throughout the year, with additional services scheduled during the summer months.
A ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad is one of the best things to do in Irving.
23. Catch the Air Hogs in action
The Air Hogs are an independent minor league baseball team and play 100 games every year during the baseball season, typically May to September.
Fifty of these are home games, held in Grand Prairie, a world class stadium with a pool and party deck, restaurants, playground and private clubs.
Tickets can generally be purchased from around $8, making catching a game a fun and low cost family friendly night of entertainment when in Irving.
If you’re searching for stuff to do in Irving, this is one of the most fun activities to enjoy!