What would you do if you had one full day in a brand-new city? In Garland, Texas, it’s possible to explore dining, entertainment, nature, and history without leaving the city limits. The only question is where to begin your exploration of this charming, historically significant town.
Like all things Texan, Garland is a big place, so it’s natural to feel overwhelmed by the options. That’s why we’ve created this guide to things to do in Garland to help visitors and locals alike discover their next outing, day trip, or hidden gem in the third-largest city in Dallas County. We’ve included options ranging from arts and entertainment to dining and shopping so that you can curate a well-rounded adventure without wandering too far.
Read on to discover nine of our favorite sites and activities in the area, whether you’re here for a day or moving into town.
1. Grab a Bite at Plaza Garland
If you’re looking for Garland Restaurants, you don’t need to go farther than Plaza Garland. This Garland mall is an indoor bazaar with a large and growing international food and beverage selection. You can find everything from delicious gourmet ice cream to authentic Mexican fare.
Jannet’s Pizza & Pasta is a beloved local pizza spot where residents can order a hot, delicious pizza. Lorena’s Cakes is home to some of the most stunning, creative, edible creations, perfect for celebrations, quinceaneras, or simply a decadent dessert. We’re huge fans of Tres Hermanas Restaurante Salvadoreño, home to stunning Salvadorian food and desserts.
Here are the other incredible eateries you’ll find at Garland Plaza:
- Eliza’s Fruteria
- Gordita’s La Mexicana
- Henrique’s Cafe
- La Real Michoacana
- Little China Chinese Food
- Mango Loco Mania
- Tortas El Niño Pobre
Whether you’re in the mood for a sandwich or a savory South American meal, you’ll find something delicious at the Plaza. Be sure to come hungry!
2. Visit the Patty Granville Arts Center
The Patty Granville Arts Center is home to concerts, fashion shows, stage productions, movies, and more. It hosts multiple theatres, so you’ll have your pick of engaging entertainment right in town. The complex boasts a packed event calendar full of cultural events all year, often hosted by Garland’s local arts organizations.
3. Take a Walk Through Audubon Park
Audubon Park is one of the most scenic sites in Garland, but you can do a lot more than admire the view when you stop by for a visit. The park is home to a dynamic 18-hole disc golf course where you can play through the stunning natural landscape. It also features a playground, picnic facilities, a swimming pool, hiking trails, and a recreation facility.
4. Cool Off Near Lake Ray Hubbard
Did you know that Garland is home to one of the largest lakes in North Texas? Parks and beaches surround the lake, providing spots to relax or engage in various watersports. Families love Rockwall Harbor, where they can shop, catch a movie, or enjoy a stunning Garland sunset.
5. Shop the Day Away at Garland Bazaar
Garland is a shopping destination, whether you scope out the boutiques in the Firewheel town center or browse the tiny shops along the bustling downtown strip. If you want to cover a lot of ground quickly, however, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Garland’s favorite indoor shopping bazaar. Plaza Garland is open six days per week and grants you access to over eighty unique, family-friendly vendors.
Visitors adore the diverse, multicultural offerings, including a few unique vintage shops you won’t find anywhere else. Gamers and collectors can easily spend hours browsing Litretro games and Vintage Toy Finds. Garland Plaza is also a destination for gifts and party supplies, whatever the occasion.
You’ll find shops and services in the following categories:
- Beauty Services
- Gift Shops
- Health & Beauty
- Home & Garden
- Kids Fashion
- Mobile & Electronics
- Party Supplies
- Tattoo & Piercings
- Toys & Collectibles
In essence, you’ll find anything you’re looking for, all under one friendly roof. Don’t forget that the Plaza is also home to some popular Garland restaurants. You won’t need to stop shopping if you work up an appetite, so plan to spend the whole day browsing.
6. Make a Splash at Hawaiian Falls
Hawaiian Falls is the best water park in Dallas County, right in Garland! Bring the whole family and beat the heat on one of the park’s numerous water attractions. For an adults-only good time, rent a cabana and relax the day away with full wait service and mobile food ordering.
7. Explore the Garland Landmark Museum
Why not take a break for something educational during your trip? The Garland Landmark Museum is home to the largest collections of historical artifacts related to the city. Visitors can find the volunteer-run museum at the 1901 Santa Fe Depot in downtown Garland.
8. Bask in Beauty at Spring Creek Forest Preserve
Spring Creek Forest Preserve is a biological museum where visitors can explore up to 650 species of plants and animals native to Garland. You’ll take a leisurely stroll down one of the forest’s paved or natural trails. Bring your best shoes because there are over 4,000 acres to explore.
9. Enjoy a Blast From the Past at NickelRama Arcade
The original NikelRama Arcade is right here in Garland—and, yes, the games take real nickels! Take a vintage walk down memory lane, or introduce the kids to the joys of an old-fashioned coin-operated arcade. Old school games meet new school arcade attractions, so there’s something for every generation to enjoy.
Nine Great Things to Do in Garland
The fine city of Garland, Texas, has been a destination since its founding in the 19th century. Since then, this once-Agricultural hub has transformed into a friendly, multicultural center for dining, entertainment, and shopping. We hope you’ll explore all nine of these great things to do in Garland and discover what this thriving city has to offer.
If you’re short on time, consider stopping by Plaza Garland, the premier shopping mall and dining destination in the area. You’ll explore dozens of eateries and retail spaces under one family-friendly roof. Click here to begin planning your visit.