Upcoming Outdoor Activities in Downtown Dallas

Fall is blowing in, and with it such beloved traditions as football games, bonfires and — at least in recent years — pumpkin spice everything. Color us biased, but we think there’s no better place to revel in this beautiful season than Downtown Dallas.

Autumn means harvest time, and, in North Central Texas, that means fall is the season for food festivals. Area residents have opportunities to sample Greek, Czech and even Romanian cuisine from September through November, courtesy of local churches and fraternal organizations. However, if you’re a foodie who’s also a fan of Klyde Warren Park, you don’t want to miss their Park & Palate annual fundraiser on October 13 and 14. More than 30 local chefs and restaurateurs will be on the park grounds showing off the skills that have made them veritable tastemakers. Texas wineries will be well-represented, too, and attendees can also look forward to participating in park-centric “lifestyle activations.” This event tends to sell out quickly, so be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance.

The weekend before — Saturday, October 7 — visit the Dallas Farmers Market for the city’s celebration of all things taco. Tacolandia promises all the tacos you can eat from some of the city’s most beloved taquerias, such as The Grove at Harwood, La Nueva Puntada, La Botana and Taqueria La Ventana. Munch on excelente comida Mexicana to the rhythms of polka, cumbia and ranchera, and, if it all proves to spicy for you, you can find plenty of grown-up refreshment on-site. Doors open at 4 p.m. (unless you purchase VIP access), and tickets are available now.

Finally, we’d be remiss in not mentioning the great State Fair of Texas, which will be in full swing Sept. 29 – Oct. 22. Corny dogs, funnel cakes, Tater Twisters and some of the most advanced uses to which the deep fryer has ever been put: Texans flock to Fair Park every year in order to reconnect with their favorite flavors and embark on new culinary adventures. The best way to build up a State Fair-sized appetite is to explore every exhibit hall and pavilion. The agricultural showcase is your chance to see the animals, equipment and practices that have put Texas on the map within this industry. And the Creative Arts competitions will have you marveling at the ingenuity and know-how of the state’s amateur artisans. For entertainment, be sure to check out the Chevrolet Main Stage, which will see 75 headliners ranging from Maren Morris to Wilson Phillips to Flo Rida.

Of course, autumn is also one of the best times of the year to enjoy the beauty of our region’s landscape. If you’re looking to gain a new perspective on the nature of Dallas’ topography, consider booking a personalized jaunt with Dallas Running Tours. Experienced runner Eduardo Navarro Vaca delights in taking fitness-lovers through Downtown Dallas, down the Katy Trail and up to other city high points. Whether you’re a casual jogger or you’re out to break the sound barrier, you choose the pace and the distance while Vaca provides (literally) running commentary on the sights to be taken in along the way.

For more of an upper body workout, paddle up with Trinity River Expeditions. Naturalist Charles Allen leads canoe and kayak tours along the city’s skyscraper- and tree-lined waterways. Depending upon your route and itinerary, you may even be able to dive into the forested areas around the Trinity River Audubon Center. Located just 10 miles south of Downtown Dallas, this 120-acre nature preserve was once the largest illegal dumping site in Texas. Reclaimed, it now plays host to more than 60 bird species as well as other beloved Texas fauna. And with migration season on its way, this gem of a green space is a great place to find yourself.

While the year may be winding down, fall can be an inspiring and creative time as well. Strauss Square is a unique outdoor performance venue located in Downtown’s Arts District. Their fall concert series will be bringing world-renowned musicians such as jazz legend Herbie Hancock and Latin Grammy award-winning vocalist Lila Downs to Dallas all through October. They’re even partnering with Alamo Drafthouse on a unique presentation of the beloved animated feature “The Triplets of Belleville,” with live scoring — just like back in the silent picture days — provided by an ensemble led by composer and conductor Benoit Charest.

If movies really are your thing, don’t neglect to check the showtimes for Main Street Garden’s Movies in the Park and the Friday Night Movies at the Dallas Farmers Market. Drive-ins have nothing on these Downtown parks. Bring a picnic dinner, spread out a blanket, let nature dim the lights and enjoy a crisp night with family favorites like “Back to the Future” and “Chocolat.”

What are some of your cherished fall traditions? What outdoor activities are you looking forward to including in your schedule once cooler weather arrives? Please share! The conversation is happening on Facebook and Twitter.