A Residents’ Guide On Things To Do In Irving, Texas

When you are craving a getaway and would like to find a place like no other, find your way to Irving. Well, it is understandable if the city has never been on your travel list, but that’s what makes it unique. There are more things to do in Irving Texas than you can imagine, from tapping your toes to the tunes of first-rate musicians and riding on a gondola like the kind you’d see in Italy to indulge in cuisine from all around the world.

This city is more than enough to fill up your weekend getaway, and the best thing is you don’t even have to go far! Read on to discover how to have the ultimate trip to Irving and get the most out of this quirky city! 

A Brief Introduction To The “Crooked I” 

Located in the center of the United States and the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Irving is just a few minutes away from DFW Airport and can be reached non-stop from every major city in North America. Ironically, though, this city wasn’t supposed to end up on a map in the first place. 

Although the area was initially formed in the 1850s, it was Otis Brown and J.O Schulze from the Chicago, Rock Island & Gulf Railway who founded the current city of Irving in 1903. They were tasked with surveying a new rail route –  a place people were simply passing through, yet the pair didn’t stop at that. Instead, they made the place home and acquired over 80 acres of land that would later become a town full of surprises. According to local historians, the name “Irving” might have come from Mrs. Brown’s favorite author. 

A decade later, Irving becomes a destination worth putting on a map and one of the few towns in the U.S that managed to thrive despite the Great Depression. The area is home to a slew of Fortune 500 corporations, including Nokia America, Exxon Mobile, and even the American headquarters of BlackBerry, to name a few. Although this business side culminates in the high-rise center of Las Colinas, the fast-paced, big-city feel influences all the neighborhoods in and around it. 

But Irving is more than a bustling metropolis full of skyscrapers and big companies. Instead, it’s a living embodiment of the old adage “Work hard, play hard.” After all those business meetings are done, the good folk of Irving winds down with a head-spinning array of festivals throughout the year. The International Concert Series rocks every summer, the Irving Main Street Event welcomes fall, and you can end the year with a bang at the truly over-the-top tree lighting combo Holiday Extravaganza.

With a convenient location and all the fun, the city of Irving is now a well-loved escape for folks in Dallas-Fort Worth. With all the bronze mustangs (and marble cows), rustic appeal, and enough heritage to fill the entirety of the Lone Star State, you will quickly be drawn to all of Irving’s little quirks and funky attractions. Let’s explore some of them, shall we? 

what to do in irving
Once You Arrive, You Will Know That Irving Is More Than Just A Bustling Metropolitan – Source: Cvent

7 Quirky Things To Do In Irving, Texas

Things To Do In Irving, Texas – Stay In Style

Any blissful weekend getaway begins with a fantastic stay, and lucky you, Irving offers a diverse selection of rooming options suitable to any budget. 

If you are all for luxurious and delicately decorated rooms, you will feel at home at The Texican Court. Picking up a vintage Southwestern style with colorful furniture and Egyptian cotton linens, the hotel offers a relaxing atmosphere for folks to escape their everyday lives and settle into a world that moves slower. 

Where To Stay In Irving
The Texican Court – Source: Visit Irving Texas

While The Texican Court makes the best option for families, provided that you travel on a smaller budget and would like to explore other cities in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, you can opt for a hotel near the DFW international airport. In that case, Best Western Irving Inn & Suit is an excellent option. Being part of a reputable hotel chain, it will ensure you a comfortable stay along with free airport shuttles.

And if you are thinking about an exciting getaway with your friends? The Friends In RV Spaces will make this trip a memorable adventure! The peaceful setting, large natural garden, and accomodating staff make a suitable place to escape the city noise for a few days, but close enough to explore downtown Irving. If you are an animal lover, you will have so much fun with deers, birds, and other wildlife in the campground! 

Go On A Culinary Town Of The World

Perhaps you already know, but Gordon Ramsay – the famous foul-mouthed chef from Hell Kitchen – recently moved his restaurant headquarter to Irving. And he has a reason to do so. All around Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Irving is most famous for its thriving culinary culture. It doesn’t matter if you eat to live or merely live to eat; wonderful meals are waiting for you at a wide range of Irving eateries. 

When you’ve just arrived at Irving, a big, gratifying lunch might be what you need. There are plenty of restaurants near DFW Airport to choose from. In case you can’t make a decision, I suggest trying out the local-favorite Empa Mundo World of Empanadas, where you can get lost in the vibrant flavors of classic Argentinian empanada, from sweet to savory and everything in between. If you find yourself closer to DFW North, LA Burger, a no-frills modern spot for Korean-fusion patties, BBQ, and other comfort foods is the place to go. 

Empa Mundo World Of Empanadas

On Tripadvisor, Lake Carolyn is regarded as one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Dallas area. Just a few steps from there, you can discover first-rated dining along Irving’s Water Street – a vibrant part of the town, where you can find many bars, coffee shops, and of course, world-class restaurants. 

Nothing better than enjoying the day by the lake, then indulging in a plate of perfect lasagna at Italian Cafe. You might also discover the fresh flavors at Little Katana, a stylish bistro that serves sushi, Japanese fare, and fusion dishes in a bright and inviting setting. Located on Water Street, Hugo’s Invitados will make a good choice, too. It serves authentic cuisine influenced by Mexico, handcrafted from sustainable, organic ingredients.

Last but not least, do you know that Irving residents love weird desserts? At the first glance, Palio’s Pizza Café is a classic Texas dive featuring all of your favorite pizza options, as well as pasta, salads, and sandwiches. The dessert menu, though, is where things get really interesting. There, classics such as tiramisu, cannoli, and cheesecake are served alongside one-of-a-kind dishes such as the Apple Strudel Pizza and the famous Deep Dish Pizza Cookie, which consists of a hot, doughy pizza served below freezing cold Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.

Where To Eat In Irving
Palio’s Deep Dish Pizza Cookie – Source: Palio’s Pizza Cafe

Things To Do In Irving, Texas – Go On A Romantic Gondola Ride

Are you a fan of outdoor activity? Here in Irving, your free spirit will be satisfied! From taking a Mandalay canal walk at Las Colinas to exploring the Evangola State forest, there are many fun things for you to choose from. Yet have you ever thought about going on a romantic Gondola ride here in America? 

Gliding serenely atop the peaceful water of an urban canal, the skinny, wooden gondola seems like it comes straight from the waterways of Venice. But wake up, you are in Irving, not the northeastern coast of Italy! It feels the same, though, when you cruise down Irving’s own Mandalay Canal, through slanted terra cotta roofs and in the shadows of stone bridges. Now you know you don’t have to travel all the way to Europe to get some romantic moments with your significant other!

Mandalay Canal Gondola

There is more than one tour option for you to choose from, including an amorous dinner cruise with three courses of Italian fare. If you are not a fan of gondola rides, you can explore the canal on a stand-up paddleboard, aqua cycle, or even a kayak. After the trip, don’t forget to pass by the Lovelock Bridge and leave a token of your wonderful time on the canal!

Have Fun At The Campion Trail

Of course, there are more things to do in Irving, Texas for outdoor activity lovers. Campion Trail is a 13-mile long, wide, paved path that runs through both downtown and rural parts of Irving, offering visitors an eclectic mixture of natural and urban views. The trail follows the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, winding through wooded areas and wide-open spaces. Given the proximity to the river, you will likely encounter all kinds of birds, including ducks, herons, and other waterfowl. 

campion trail irving
Campion Trail Is One Of The Best Dallas Bike Trails – Source: Spinlister

If you ask Irving’s residents, they will tell you that Campion makes the best running, cycling, and rollerblading trail. It’s wide and mostly flat, with a scenic view and not super crowded, which is nice for beginners. As you go a bit further, though, there are multiple trailheads for experienced bikers to challenge their rides. Just like user “kennytavon” wrote on Tripadvisor, there are rooms for all! 

Things To Do In Irving, Texas – Catch A Show 

Thanks to its world-class stages and plenty of bars that feature live music all night, Irving is the ideal destination if you want to dance the night away. 

On weekend evenings, you can catch shows from the most outstanding local artists at the Toyota Music Factory or the Texas Lottery Plaza. After the event, chill out and take a bite at the Blaze Brazillian Steakhouse, The Blue Fish, or Bar Louie. Whether you like fire-roasted steaks, craft cocktails, or local beers, these restaurants and bars at Toyota Music Factory can satisfy any taste buds.

Pavillion At The Toyota Music Factory

Hungry for more live performances? To discover up-and-coming Texas talents, head to The Ranch at Las Colinas or the Four Seasons Resort every Friday and Saturday. There, visitors can enjoy music in intimate settings. 

Gallop Along With The Mustangs Of Las Colinas

Williams Square is located near many shops and restaurants in Las Colinas, making it a convenient and essential stop for your journey in Irving. In 1984, Dallas businessman Ben H. Carpenter turned his family’s ranch into the Las Colinas Center and commissioned African wildlife artist Robert Glen to create a sculpture reflecting the area’s native past. 

Gallop Along With The Mustangs Of Las Colinas At William Squares
Mustangs Of Las Colinas – Source: Visit Irving Texas

It took Glen 8 years to finish this monumental work of art, and his hard work paid off. Perpetually charging forward across a granite stream, the nine spectacular bronze mustangs make a magnificent sculpture, serving as the centerpiece of the area. Nowadays, it still attracts countless visitors from all around the world. You may learn more about the history of the mustangs at the nearby museum. 

Things To Do In Irving, Texas – Visit A Piece Of The American History 

Tucked away in an ordinary neighborhood in Irving, Texas, The Ruth Paine House Museum is home to a footnote in American history that’s far more significant than you can expect. As reported, on November 21st, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald stayed the whole night here before attempting to murder President John F.Kennedy. 

The Ruth Paine House Museum Opens

Nowadays, the museum will take you back to the early ’60s. Vintage furniture and appliances preserve the mansion as it was during this pivotal period in history, while actors and actresses portray Michael Paine, Ruth Marina, and Lee. There is only one thing to note: Before you arrive, remember to sign up for a tour in advance! 

The Irving Heritage District, which includes the 1912 Heritage House Museum and a historic railroad depot in Heritage Park, is just a few minutes away. After a long day, wrap up your adventure in the district at the Big State Fountain Frill, an old-fashioned diner that serves snacks and homemade milkshakes.

Bonus: Irving Is Just Minutes Away From Grand Prairie! 

While Irving alone is enough to keep you occupied during the weekend, it also makes a stellar starting point to explore Grand Prairie – the Swan City and one of the most beautiful places in Texas. Stay here and you will be just minutes away from top attractions like the Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark, Lone Star Park, and Prairie Light. There are many things to do in Grand Prairie, so if you want to explore this area as well, it’s best to make a list before you go!

The Bottom Line

Now that you have the list of best things to do in Irving, Texas, it’s time to build the perfect itinerary for this fun and inviting city. And if a little self-pampering is on your list, make sure to indulge in some shopping at the many boutiques, specialty shops, and malls that call Irving home!

Are you looking for the best traveling guide? Head to our Homepage to discover things to do in Richmond, Indiana or top-rated restaurants in Maine!

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