14 FUN Things to Do in Denton, Texas

Denton is a fun college town on the northern edge of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. With a high-spirited downtown district and lots of outdoor activities to participate in, there are a lot of fun things to do in Denton, Texas.

Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just an ordinary family looking for a fun place to take a day trip from Dallas, Denton is a refreshing change of pace from the rest of the sprawling urban metropolis of DFW.

This Denton, Texas travel guide details the best things to do in Denton for families and those who 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 city that Texas is famous for. 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, Grapevine, Arlington, Terrell, or Irving.

Quick Facts about Denton

  • Total Area: 253.7 km² 
  • Denton Time zone: Central Time Zone 
  • Population: 148,000 (2024)
  • 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 lots 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 14 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!

Tour 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 next to 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.

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

Explore the other buildings at the Denton County Historical Park 

The Denton County Historical Park is one of the most popular parks in Denton. It is home to the Bayless-Selby House Museum and other attractions like the Quakertown House Museum and an old log cabin. The park also hosts a variety of recreational activities and the Community Market.

Denton County Historical Park is a place to learn about Denton County, but the small park also features an open green space that is perfect for a picnic.

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

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!

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 $15-25 per person

Checkout Ray Roberts Lake State Park

Ray Roberts Lake surrounded by trees and grass
Ray Roberts Lake State 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 just outside the city 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.

This lovely nature park 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. 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!

Go shopping at a Texas-sized gas station

little girl posing for a photo inside Buc-ee's with the convenience store's mascot
Buc-ee’s is more than a convenience store, it is a Texas-sized road stop experience.

You may not think going to a gas station is a fun experience for the family. But Buc-ee’s is much more than a convenience store. Often hailed as the ultimate road trip pit stop, the Texas-based convenience store chain has achieved a near-legendary status for its colossal size, cleanliness, and an extensive assortment of merchandise.

What sets Buc-ee’s apart is its mammoth-sized stores, some spanning over 60,000 square feet, offering everything from freshly made snacks and meals to a wide assortment of souvenirs, apparel, and home goods.

The iconic Buc-ee’s beaver mascot welcomes visitors, eager to choose from their vast selection of snacks, candies, and jerky.

Stopping in for this Texas-sized experience is one of the best things to do in Denton – and a must-visit for those traveling through the Lone Star State.

  • Address: 2800 S Interstate 35 E, Denton, TX 76210, United States
  • Admission: Free!

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

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, Lone Star Sports Center is one of the most popular recreational and sporting facilities in Denton.

This indoor sports center is open seven days a week and offers a wide variety of activities like roller skating, hockey, and even roller derby.

This facility is 27,000 square feet large, so there is plenty of room to skate or simply watch different roller-skating activities like roller hockey and roller derby.

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

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 near 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.

  • Address: 2600 Panhandle St, Denton, TX 76201, United States
  • Admission: Prices start at $25/hr for weekdays, $35/hr for weeknights, and $45/hr during the weekends.

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 and one of our favorite things to do when we visit.

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 vibe 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

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

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 the Fort Worth botanic gardens and 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 14 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.

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This guide to the best things to do in Denton, Texas was first written in January 2023 but was updated in May 2024 for accuracy and current information.

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1 comment on “14 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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