10 Best Attractions near the American Airlines Center

The American Airlines Center is the home to the world champion Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars teams, as well as the entertainment venue of Big D, featuring concerts by international music acts and performances by classics like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. If you have tickets to one of these upcoming events, you're in luck - as this area of Dallas has a number of world-renowned attractions as well! Plan on coming early or staying late after your event and visiting one of these great spots.

If you're attending a kid-friendly event, take your family to the Dallas World Aquarium beforehand. This fun place is located within walking distance of the AAC and features shark tanks, jaguars and monkeys. If you know you're going to be spending a lot of money at the event, save a buck by bringing a picnic lunch and enjoying it at the always-free Klyde Warren Park, Dallas' newest innovative green space that features a children's playground, putting greens and other activities perfect for enjoying the beautiful weather in Dallas.

History buffs will love the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, to learn more about the life and death of JFK, and the Old Red Museum to get a unique look at the history of Big D. Art lovers can't miss the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, conveniently located in the Arts District near the AAC.

No matter what you're interested in, you can find a nearby attraction to complement your trip to the American Airlines Center.


Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance
Photo courtesy of Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

This downtown museum focuses on preserving the memory of the Holocaust, as well as teaching the moral and ethical responses to prejudice and hate. It features self-guided audio tours and a wide variety of memorabilia from the Holocaust, such as artwork depicting life in concentration camps and more, a museum and library. It was founded by a group of local Holocaust survivors who are sometimes available to answer questions and give personal accounts of their experiences in concentration camps. This is a good historical museum for older kids and teenagers who area learning about the Holocaust in school. Don't miss the Garden of Remembrance at the end of your tour.

Crow Museum of Asian Art
Photo courtesy of Visit Dallas

Travel the globe for free at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, where more than 500 artworks dating from 3500 BC to the early 20th century serve as portals into the captivating cultures of China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. Lovely and serene, the two-level museum showcases the private collection of founders Trammell and Margaret Crow, enabling visitors to wander amongst ancient Chinese jades, Buddhist sculpture, Japanese screen paintings, delicate fans and intricately carved Indian architecture. On the second Saturday each month, there is a hands-on art class for all ages. This class gives visitors the chance to create their own art projects and the instructor combines her backgrounds in design and education to teach different mediums of art.

Old Red Museum
Photo courtesy of Clay Coleman

This exquisite Romanesque revival-style structure, first erected in the 1890's, offers a unique look at Dallas history. The museum's mission to educate and inspire visitors on the "rich and varied cultural, economic, political and social history of the Dallas County Area" comes to life as you wander among turrets, ornate gargoyles and stunning walls of red sandstone and grey granite. Be sure to check the schedule for detailed exhibit info before you visit! The museum is located close to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza and is definitely within walking distance of the American Airlines Center. It's the perfect spot for history buffs!


Originally dedicated as a tribute to a John F. Kennedy in 1970, the JFK Memorial Plaza has become an integral part of Dallas' urban landscape and cultural heritage. Designed by American architect Phillip Johnson, the memorial is located one block east of Dealey Plaza, between Main and Commerce streets, in Downtown Dallas. The memorial is a square-shaped roofless cenotaph, an open tomb, that stands 30 feet high and 50 by 50 feet wide. It is made up of 72 white concrete columns - eight of them extend to the ground and have light fixtures at the ends, while the rest of them appear to float in the air. These elements represent Kennedy's charisma. The memorial was restored to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the JFK assassination.

Nasher Sculpture Center
Photo courtesy of DCVB

Located next to the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center is one of the premier art museums in Dallas, Texas. The center seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor galleries: while it's reminiscent of an archaeological site, it is thoroughly modern, producing a fascinating dichotomy. Plan to spend a morning or afternoon there, as there is much to see. And your kids will even enjoy this type of art! The fabulous collection includes works by greats like Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Max Ernst, Willem de Kooning, Alberto Giacometti, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Joan Miró --- the list goes on and on.

Klyde Warren Park
Photo courtesy of Klyde Warren Park

Located between Downtown and Uptown, the innovative Klyde Warren Park above Woodall Rogers Freeway opened in October 2012. This new green space in Dallas features a wide variety of activities and features, including a dog park, children's playground, fitness area, putting green, ping pong tables, croquet play area, and much much more! This deck park also has many scheduled events, such as concerts. After you work up an appetite getting a great workout from all the free activities, check out the food truck station for a snack. Or better yet, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy your meal out in the fresh Dallas air.

Dallas Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

As its name might suggest, the Dallas Museum of Art is the number one stop among art museums in Dallas, Texas. Its more than 23,000-item collection embraces everything from European paintings to Pacific Island sculptures, from ancient times to the present. Frederic Church's "The Icebergs" and classic Impressionist works by Edouard Manet and Paul Gauguin are just a few of the standouts. Limestone galleries spiral from the museum's center, ensuring easy navigation and outstanding viewing. This museum always has several international exhibitions on display, as well as a wide variety of permanent collections, such as the African collection and the Ancient Mediterranean art collection.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Photo courtesy of Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is Dallas' newest museum. It is the combination of three already-established museums, the Dallas Museum of Natural History, Dallas Children's Museum and the The Science Place. This new museum is conveniently located near the Arts District and Klyde Warren Park along Woodall Rogers Freeway, between Downtown and Uptown. Opening its doors for the first time on December 1, 2012, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science features a wide variety of exhibits and activities perfect for the whole family, including an IMAX theater; an outdoor plaza; a one-acre science park with water features, giant leap frogs and musical instruments; and a Texas-inspired landscape design. Visitors are greeted by a Malawisaurus dinosaur fossil and "dancing water" molecule exhibit in the museum's lobby.

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Photo courtesy of DCVB

The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, located at historic Dealey Plaza in the former Texas School Book Depository building, examines the life, times, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Its impressive collection includes nearly 40,000 photographs, interviews, artifacts, interpretive displays and award-winning videos that chronicle the historic chain of events preceding his assassination on November 22, 1963. Visitors can also enjoy interactive educational programs on the sixth and seventh floors. If you can't put down your smartphone, use it to explore the museum and Dealey Plaza. After a contemplative walk-through, you'll want to be sure to visit the museum store for keepsakes.

Dallas World Aquarium
Photo courtesy of Brandi McComb Photography

From the outside, you may not even realize what a fantastic spot the Dallas World Aquarium really is! Frenzied crocodile feedings, exotic birds soaring freely overhead, a 40-foot waterfall and mesmerizing Mayan dance performances are just a sliver of the thrilling sights and sounds awaiting visitors in the multi-level rainforest of the Dallas World Aquarium. This fantastically fun, one-of-a-kind zoological park features such incredible highlights as free-roaming New World monkeys, rare Antillean manatees, sloths, crocodiles, a panther, sea turtles, majestic jaguars, frolicsome otters, car-sized catfish, a 400,000-gallon shark tank and heartwarming sloth and penguin feedings. The aquarium is stroller-friendly, so it's perfect for young families.


Meet Denise Brandenberg

Born and raised in Dallas, Denise Brandenberg has been a self-proclaimed “Dallas Ambassador” for out-of-town friends and colleagues for years.

Denise started her career as an advertising...  More About Denise