16 FUN Things to Do in Denton, Texas

From checking out the high-spirited downtown district to participating in many outdoor activities, there are a lot of fun things to do in Denton, Texas.

Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a fun place to spend the day, there is something for everyone in Denton. 

This Denton, Texas travel guide details the best things to do in Denton for families, couples, solo travelers, or simply those who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who want to take a day trip to explore the northern suburb.

Downtown Denton Texas
Downtown Denton is a cute and walkable area filled with vintage shops, unique restaurants, and lots of fun surprises. | Ian Harber from Unsplash

About Denton, Texas

Denton is a mid-sized city located in the northern part of Dallas and Fort Worth. The home to the University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University, Denton is often considered a college town and has a hip, artsy vibe. In fact, it is often compared to Austin, the quirky and “weird” capital of Texas. This makes it a fun place for a day exploring all the unique things to do in Denton or a lively night out.

Denton is also an easy weekend getaway from Oklahoma City or other parts of North Texas, like Plano, Arlington, Terrell, or Irving.

Quick Facts about Denton

  • Total Area: 253.7 km² 
  • Denton Time zone: Central Time Zone 
  • Population: 148,146 (2021)
  • Elevation: 195 m

Where to stay in Denton, Texas 

When visiting Denton, you’ll find no shortage of hotels, thanks to the city’s university which brings in both fans of sports and the arts. 

Stay at Courtyard by Marriott near one of Denton’s best shopping areas, to put you within a short distance of many of the things to do in Denton. It’s one of the best Denton travel tips to ensure an enjoyable experience.

But be aware, like anywhere else in Texas, you’ll want and need a car to get around Denton.

Another option, Embassy Suites by Hilton is attached to the city’s convention center, has both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and a splash pad, making it a great year round option if visiting Denton with kids. 

Unique Things to do in Denton, Texas 

If you’re looking for something unique, Denton offers an array of unique shopping and dining experiences, from the local vintage boutiques to the craft breweries. But shopping and dining  aren’t the only things to do in Denton, Texas.

Here are 11 activities and attractions to visit in Denton.

Visit the Denton Community Market 

a sign at the Denton Community Market - one of the must-visit attractions in Denton from spring through fall.
From Spring through Fall, the Denton Community Market is one of the must-visit attractions in Denton. | Photo by Gervelemae from Unsplash

A popular spot for locals for much of the year, the Denton Community Market is the perfect place to start your Saturday on a weekend getaway. The market is both an art and farmer’s market that takes place in downtown Denton each Saturday from April through November. 

Peruse the market for fresh produce, handmade crafts, and Texas souvenirs. The market frequently has live music and kids activities, as well, making it a great place to visit for families.  

  • Address: 317 W Mulberry St, Denton, TX 76201, United States
  • Admission: Free!

Explore The Bayless-Selby House Museum

the exterior of the Bayless-Selby House -  one of the best things to do in Denton, Texas.
Touring the Bayless-Selby House is one of the best things to do in Denton, Texas. | Photo by Melvis Courage

Located just 5 minutes away from the Farmer’s Market, the Bayless-Selby House Museum is a must-see for anyone who is interested in learning about the history of Denton.

The Bayless-Selby House was built by William Bayless in 1876 after he relocated from Illinois to Denton in 1868, however, the house was later purchased by the Selby family in 1907.

After the purchase, the Selby Family renovated the house and added some touches, including a two-story addition and a grand staircase.

The museum features a wide variety of artifacts that gives visitors a glimpse of how people in Denton lived in the 19th century.

Nowadays, the museum is managed by the Denton County Historical Commission and is part of the Denton County Historical Park, just south of downtown.

If you’re visiting Denton for the first time, then I recommend you check this place out.

  • Address: 317 W Mulberry St, Denton, TX 76201, United States
  • Admission: Free!

Watch A Live Show At Denton Campus Theatre

Campus Theatre in Downtown Denton - one of the best places to visit in Denton
The Campus Theatre in Downtown Denton is a great place to catch a live performance or play. | Photo by Melvis Courage

Another popular attraction in Denton is the Campus Theatre, it was constructed in 1949 and since then it has served as part of Denton’s cultural landscape.

A wide range of live performances like music shows, comedies, and drama take place at the theatre.

The Campus Theatre also features a 1000+ seating capacity which is enough to accommodate lots of guests for its weekend performances. However, it is a good idea to purchase tickets in advance if you want to take in a show.

This place also serves as the home of the UNT Opera, which presents three full-length operas every season.

  • Address: 214 W Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201, United States
  • Admission: Approximately $15 per person

Tour The Denton County Historical Park 

The Denton historical park is one of the most popular parks in Denton.

It is also home to several historic buildings, the Bayless-Selby House Museum, and a variety of recreational activities.

Denton County Historical Park is a place to learn about Denton County. Visitors can take a tour of the various buildings including a 19th-century courthouse which was built in 1876, and a former jailhouse.

The Historical Park also features picnic areas where families can relax for a picnic, a playground for kids, sports fields, bike trails, and walking trails.

If you’re looking for a place to relax while learning the history of Denton, then I recommend you check this place out.

  • Address: 317 W Mulberry St, Denton, TX 76201, United States
  • Admission: Free!

Checkout Ray Roberts Lake State Park

Ray Roberts Lake surrounded by trees and grass
Ray Roberts Lake Stat Park is a relaxing place to enjoy the outdoors near Denton. | Sandi404 from Pixabay

Another activity on our list of top things to do in Denton is to check out the Ray Roberts Lake State Park, which is located in Denton County.

This park is part of the Texas State Park system, and features Ray Roberts Lake, Isle du Bois, Johnson Branch, and Purtis Creek.

A main reason why checking out this lovely nature park is on our list of things to do in Denton is that it is a perfect location for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy different activities like fishing, swimming, camping, and boating.

Bringing in 250,000+ visitors every year, Ray Roberts Lake State park is among the top ten most popular state parks in Texas.

Ray Roberts Lake also features a camping site with beautiful views of the lake.

If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Denton, then visit this park and enjoy some Texas sunshine.

With a sandy beach area that is great for swimming, horseback riding trails, and a marina where you can rent a paddle boat, Ray Roberts Lake is the perfect place to visit in Denton on a day when the weather is warm.

In spring, you may even find bluebonnets blooming near the lake. Afterall, North Texas is known for its Bluebonnet trails.

  • Address: 100 P W 4137, Pilot Point, TX 76258, United States
  • Admission: $7 per adult | Free for 12 year-olds and under

Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center 

Another place to enjoy the outdoors in Denton, the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center boasts 2,900 acres of forests, riverbeds, and prairielands.

With 10 miles of family-friendly hiking trails, hitting the trailhead and feeling immersed in nature is easy to do at the heritage center. 

The city run facility also hosts  special workshops on topics such as gardening and composting.

  • Address: 3310 Collins Road, Denton, Texas 76208
  • Admission: Free!

Roller Skate At Lone Star Indoor Sports Center

family putting on roller skates
Roller skating is making a huge comeback, and the Lone Star Sports Center is one of the best places to visit in Denton with kids. | Photo credit: Canva

Located near the Denton Central Appraisal District (approximately half a mile away), Lone Star sports center is one of the most popular recreational and sporting facilities in Denton.

This indoor sports center has been open for more than 5 years and offers a wide variety of activities like roller skating, basketball, and volleyball for both adults and children.

This facility is 27,000 square feet large and features a basketball court, a volleyball court, an indoor football pitch, an inline hockey rink, and a full-sized turf field.

You can participate in or watch different roller skating activities like roller hockey, roller derby, or simply practice your skating skills on the rink.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro at roller skating or not, the Lone Star Event and Sports center features a wide variety of activities anybody can participate in.

  • Address: 222 S Mayhill Rd Suite 101, Denton, TX 76208, United States
  • Admission: $6 admission $6 rentals

Dare to Tour The Parker House Haunted Attraction

Parker House is one of the most popular attractions in Denton during the Halloween season.

Although not suitable for those traveling with young kids or even grade schoolers, it offers a thrilling experience to its visitors in their teen years or older.

The Parker Haunted House is located in an old abandoned home-based mortuary that was closed down by the FBI because of the horrific acts that were committed by Parker’s daughter Mary.

Historical legends state the dilapidated house was once a mortuary run by the Parker family. But after the deaths of the funeral home operators, their daughter, Mary, used the mortuary as a front for organ harvesting.

The Parker House offers an unforgettable, scary experience that was even voted the #1 haunted house attraction in Texas back in 2016.

If you’re a fan of horror movies or scary attractions, then be sure to check this place out.

  • Address: 8550 W University Dr, Denton, TX 76207, United States
  • Admission: $25

Read A Book At The Denton North Branch Library

Mother and daughter reading a book at a library
The Denton North Branch Library is a great place to spend an hour or so on a cold or rainy day while instilling a love of reading in your kids. | Photo credit: Canva

If you’re looking for a great place with a calm and pleasant environment to study or cozy up with a book, the Denton North Branch Library is a great place to spend a cold or rainy day.

The library features a wide variety of study materials, including a collection of 5000+ books, research papers, CDs, and a computer lab with internet access, and also a wonderful children’s section for kids to explore and develop a love for reading.

The library also has a Maker space where creatives can explore their creativity with 3D printing and other technologies.

From time to time the Library hosts free story time sessions, workshops, and classes for both adults and children.

The programs are usually offered in English and Spanish.

  • Address: 3020 N Locust St, Denton, TX 76209, United States
  • Admission: Free!

Watch A Movie At Alamo DraftHouse Cinema, Denton

One of the best things to do in Denton at night is to catch a movie at the Alamo DraftHouse Cinema.

Alamo DraftHouse features a lot of trending new releases and classic movies like The Grinch, Avatar, A Man Called Otto, Babylon, and many more. With a 4K theater, recliner chairs and food and drinks delivered to your seats, this movie theater is the ultimate cinema experience.

  • Address: 3220 Town Center Tr, Denton, TX 76201
  • Admission: $11.50-$14.50

Go Bowling at Andy B’s

Bowling has always been a popular and fun activity that can be enjoyed by both adults and children.

Andy B’s Bowl Social is located 2.5 km away from the University of North Texas.

If you’re looking for things to do with your family in Denton, then take the kids for a fun game of bowling at Andy B’s.

This bowling center features 24 lanes that have automated scoring, bumper bowling for the little ones, and an impressive sound system to keep the atmosphere lively.

You can also take the enjoyment to the next level by joining a bowling club or derby.

  • Address: 2600 Panhandle St, Denton, TX 76201, United States
  • Admission: Prices start at $24/hr for weekdays, $34/hr for weeknights, and $44/hr during the weekends.

Visit The Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square

The Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square.
The former Denton County Courthouse is not only a beautiful building but a museum dedicated to the history and culture of Denton County. | Photo by Ian Harber from Unsplash

The former Denton County Courthouse is a historic building that has served as a landmark in Denton since its construction in the late-1800s.

The building is also used as an example of what Romanesque Revival architecture looks like. During its active years, numerous important cases, trials, and hearings were conducted here.

Nowadays, it serves both as a museum focused on the history and culture of Denton County. 

  • Address: 110 W Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201, United States
  • Admission: Free!

Attend a festival or event

Denton’s eclectic and artsy reputation make the North Texas city a natural fit for festivals and events. And if your travels to Denton happen to be at the same time as one of the city’s many events, be sure to include it in your Denton itinerary. 

The Denton Jazz Festival and the Denton Blues Festival are just two of the most popular longstanding events in Denton.

With live music, food and craft vendors, and an overall lively atmosphere, attending a festival in Denton is a lot of fun for the whole family. 

Water Works Park

A great way to beat the intense Texas summer heat, Water Works in a small water park with 5 large slides, a lazy river, wave pool, and a toddler and children’s play area.

The park also includes concessions, lockers, and cabanas – all of which are available at an extra cost. 

Large enough you could spend a full afternoon, yet small enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed or have to do a ton of walking to get between slides, Water Works is one of the most popular summer attractions in Denton for families.

  • Address: 2400 Long Road, Denton, TX 76209
  • Admission:$16 for adults and children 48” and taller | $12 under 48” tall

Shop for vintage goods in downtown 

Vintage neon sign in a Denton Texas shop
Known as “Little Austin”, you’ll find lots of vintage shops in downtown Denton. | Isaiah Schultz from Unsplash

Denton’s hipster reputation is perhaps best experienced in the city’s historic downtown area. Here, you will find unique thrift stores, record stores, and other vintage shops that are fun to rummage through to score unique and unusual items.

In fact, thrifting in Denton is so much fun, it is even worthy of your Texas bucket list!

A few shops where you might score a really great find, Les Muses Vintage, The Vintage Lizard, and Vagabond Vintage Denton.

At night, the downtown district is also a great place to enjoy live music on a patio with friends. That is, of course, if you’re traveling without kids. 

The small downtown area is cute, walkable and a fun place to explore both day and night.

  • Address: Primarily located along Oak and Hickory Streets

Play your favorite sport at The North Lakes Recreation Center

Located just 4 minutes away from the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, North Lakes Recreation Center is one of the most popular attractions in Denton for sports lovers, and it is included on our list of things to do in Denton, during the hot summer months.

This recreational center is 17,417-square-foot large and features a cardio room, weight room, an indoor basketball court, a volleyball court, a pickleball court, and three multipurpose areas that are available for rentals.

If you’re looking for a place to work out and stay fit while you’re in Denton, then the North Lakes Recreation Center has you covered.

  • Address: 2001 W. Windsor Dr., Denton, Texas 76207
  • Admission: Gym memberships start at $20 for one month or $15 for a nonresident rec pass

Other things to do near Denton Texas 

If you’re visiting Denton and want to check out other areas of North Texas, the DFW metroplex has a lot to offer for fun weekend getaways.

From experiencing cowboy culture in the Fort Worth Stockyards to attending a professional sporting event in Arlington, or taking the kids to many of the exciting attractions in nearby Grapevine, a visit to Denton puts you just a short drive away from many of North Texas’ best places to visit.

Also check out: Fort Worth Water Gardens and Fort Worth Sundance Square

Conclusion – Is Denton, Texas worth visiting? 

As detailed above, there are a lot of amazing places to visit in Denton.

From a thrilling experience at the haunted Parker House to stepping back in time at the Bayless-Selby House Museum.

The activities listed here are not the only things to do in Denton, TX, they are just a few of the activities that will give you the best experience.

I hope this list of 16 best things to do in Denton, TX helped you plan your perfect travel itinerary!

Have a comment or question about any of these things to do in Denton? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Like it? Pin this list of fun things to do in Denton to save it for later! 
About the Author of this Things to Do in Denton Guide: Melvis Courage is passionate about exploring the world and learning about different cultures. At 7G Travels, Melvis blogs about his travel experiences and travel tips that will help people have a memorable travel experience.

This guide to the best things to do in Denton, Texas was first written in January 2023 but was updated in June 2023 for accuracy and current information.

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1 comment on “16 FUN Things to Do in Denton, Texas”

You forgot there is another University in Denton- Texas Woman’s University. Over a 100 years old and has provided Texas & thee rest of the world with many note worthy women.

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