Being alone doesn’t have to mean being bored. In fact, some of the best things you can do happen completely by yourself (don't smirk). Having alone time gives you the freedom to relax, take your time and not be rushed by anyone else while you do your favorite activity (we mean it, don't smirk).
There are so many sights to see and places to visit, it’s easy to forget someone can turn Dallas into a one-person vacation spot on any day of the week. However, if you find yourself alone and can’t think of anything to do, here’s a few ideas to start a solo adventure in DFW.
Learn About Science
With so many rotating exhibits, there’s always a new thing to discover at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. On any given afternoon you can explore the five-story building that offers information about everything from dinosaur bones to space exploration to how weather affects the environment around us.
The museum is not just for the budding scientists at heart. Interactive exhibits like the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall let you run, jump and shoot your way through different stations that teach you as you break a sweat.
For an added bonus, watching a teacher try to control 60 children on a field trip will make you appreciate being alone, and might make you delete Tinder to be safe.
Watch a Midnight Movie
Netflix isn’t going anywhere, so why not catch a midnight movie at the Inwood Theatre? The small, haunted-looking movie theater plays the big Hollywood hits during the day, but after midnight on the weekends, they roll out an eclectic offering for movie lovers.
Check the calendar in advance to see which movie is playing, because the experience of seeing something like The Masters of the Universe will be different from seeing the Rocky Horror Picture Show. For anyone who enjoyed the Disaster Artist but hasn’t had a chance to see the movie that inspired it, The Room, Inwood will give you a chance to watch the cringe masterpiece with a packed house.
Walk/Ride the Katy Trail
Plug in your earbuds, turn on your favorite podcast and enjoy the winding path that is the Katy Trail. The weather might be getting a little bit cooler, but you’ll warm up quick as you run or bike your way along the 3.5 miles that make up the trail. The electric scooters are prohibited on the trail, so if you’re tired of seeing them zip along the streets, consider this a safe haven.
The Katy Trail is a great way to unwind and see parts of Dallas at a relaxing pace. If you get tired along the way, there are plenty of stops to see shops and grab something to eat. The trail is officially open until midnight, but it’s probably not a terrible idea to wrap it up as the sun goes down.
Visit an Adult Store
OK, now you can smirk, but we're serious. You could totally go to an adult store, like one of the many New Fine Arts, on your own. It would be recommended to go by yourself. Like what are you doing otherwise — are you taking first dates here? Yeah, shops like this always try to sell the idea it’s a place for couples, but there aren't couples in these places. It’s single guys wearing baseball caps browsing the best they can while looking at the floor as they walk.
Literally no judgment on what anyone does with their paycheck, but this qualifies as a thing to do alone in Dallas. No one is hosting their high school reunion next to the video viewing booths.
Look But Don’t Touch an Animal
There’s never a bad time to go to the zoo. Unless a gorilla escaped, we mean. That’s historically not fun for anyone — especially the gorilla. (Pour one out for Jabari.) Anyway, the Dallas Zoo has plenty to offer someone wanting to spend a day to themselves with multiple exhibits and animals.
Founded in 1888, the Dallas Zoo is the largest of its kind in Texas, with over 400 species making their home on the 106 acres. Animal lovers can spend a day marveling at creatures from all over the world up close in a safe environment that teaches visitors facts about their favorite animals. You know what they say, you can never be truly alone when you’re watching a koala go to the bathroom.
Learn About U.S. History
Maybe you’re feeling patriotic, maybe you’re the lone Republican in a social circle full of Democrats, but either way you don’t need an excuse to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Located near SMU, for $16 you can have full access to the museum that celebrates and studies the life of our 43rd president.
The museum features a full-size replica of the Oval Office, artifacts and documentation from the 9/11 attacks and countless photos and recordings that document Bush’s time in the White House.
Get Lost in a New Area
Go outside your comfort zone and find a new area to get lost in. If you’re spending all your time in Deep Ellum, give the Bishop Arts District a try. If Bishop Arts is the go-to place when you want to relax, see how Lower Greenville has changed. Park your car, walk around with no destination in mind, and find that favorite spot you didn’t know existed.
In the case of all three of these areas, they’re self-contained enough to safely explore without truly getting lost. Each also offer a variety of small business-run restaurants and shops to get you out of your Target and Applebee's slump.
Volunteer Your Time
A great way to do something meaningful with your alone time is donating it to a worthy cause. Dallas is filled with great charities to support, and whether it’s the holiday season or the 16 months a year where it’s summer, there’s no bad time to volunteer at one.
The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, the SPCA and the Salvation Army are just a few of the places you can go to help someone else in need. It’s a great way to meet other people, it can be as fulfilling as it can be fun and no matter what your skills might be, there’s an organization that could put them to great use.
Get a Drink
There’s no shame in drinking alone, you just need to find the right place to do it. To find that bar where the bartender can see you’re a person looking for a drink and a song on the jukebox that will inspire you to finish the great American novel you’ve been telling people you’re writing. Give Adair’s in Deep Ellum a try. It’s one of the last great bars in Ellum with character that doesn’t grate four kinds of fruit into your drink while they smoke up a glass to serve it in.
They won’t judge you at Adair’s for drinking alone. Hell, they won’t shame you for drinking alone in the morning. Adair’s opens up at 11 a.m. and they wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t totally acceptable to get a buzz before most people have even had lunch. Right? Guys?
Retail therapy is a therapy even Tom Cruise can believe in. There are countless places to shop in Dallas, but there’s always been something about the Galleria that’s different from the rest. It offers enough of a mix of both high-class and thrifty shopping that let’s you wander around and look at a little bit of everything.
As the holidays approach, you can strap on a pair of ice skates and circle the large Christmas tree that reaches to the third floor, sit outside the McDonalds and watch the third quinceanera pass you by or have your '80s movie montage and try on multiple outfits in front of a mirror. Regardless, you can spend hours in the Galleria without spending all your money.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.